Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bringing the Heat- Dany Heatley Book Signing

It is fairly well known that my favorite hockey player is Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators. Ever since he was acquired from the Atlanta Thrashers for Marian Hossa and Greg de Vries. I admired his play before that as a 2nd overall pick in the June 2000 Entry Draft and his winning the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the year in 2001-2002 with Atlanta but it wasn’t until he came to Ottawa that I truly became a big fan.I have tried in the past at other events to meet Dany in person but come up short. I managed to get a co-worker to get a jersey signed by him at a closed door event in Kanata the first year he was with the team and that still is the highlight of my collection. I would have loved to have met him but acquiring the jersey was the next best thing.

Last weekend I got the opportunity to finally meet Dany in person at his book signing. I knew that he was involved in producing a book authorized by him and written in the first person. I found out when he was having his official book signing at 2 local Chapter’s in the Ottawa area. So Sunday I got up and made my way to the east end and went to the Chapter’s in Gloucester. I got there about 1:30 for the 2pm event. I was given a copy of the book at the door and was told to get in the line and pay for the book, next I was moved to another line where I filled out a ballot for a jersey and a post-it note for how I wanted the book to be inscribed and got a wristband to ensure that I was “entitled” to get the book signed. I was then directed to a third line where i would wait and eventually move through the store serpentining through what felt like 70% of the store, isles and velvet ropes. Then I reached the pinnacle and the promised land. Since i was again by myself I was forced to convince an employee to take my picture with Dany and he did a half ass job and managed to get a great shot with Heater’s head down, but I digress. I got the picture, I got the book signed and personalized and even managed to shake his hand which made the entire endevour worth while. So after all that it was 3pm and 1 1/2hours later i came away a very happy hockey fan.
As for the book itself it is an 80 page autobiography that is aimed at young readers and is more light then perhaps it could have been. The book only briefly touches on the accident that he was involved in that took the life of friend and teammate Dan Snyder but that is to be expected in a book style like this. Hopefully sometime down the road or after his playing days he will write a more comprehensive autobiography that will encompass his entire life and career that may include how one can cope with such tragedy and be able to move on.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Week 15 NFL Picks

GB with the help of Aaron Rogers and Ryan Grant and hopes that MOJO doesn't single handidly run over the GB defence
Indi at home vs winless Lions with no Caulpepper or Johnson
Washington because Cincy is just a train wreck still
Atlanta at home with Roddy White and Matt Ryan
Miami- SF is without Gore
Seattle because they are playing STL.
Buffalo to keep the points close
Tennessee- they are still a very good tram that runs well
SD- LT is due for a big day sooner or later
Arizona air attack to limit Peterson being used effectively
Pittsburgh defence is just a powerhouse
Denver offence should keep game at least close
New England *** only if Cassle plays otherwise that is a lot of points
Giants are still a good team and if Jacobs can't play Ward should replace him well
Philly- not sure what is going on in Cleveland and Dorsey will be in tough

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Maddux Was A Master

He ended his career similar to the way that he played throughout it, quiet, professional and classy. Most players that are not only the best at their position during their time in the game but one of the best of all time would announce their intentions up to a year before so they can get all the fanfare they can and be in the news as a final Harrah! Greg Maddux is not that type of person or player an announcement at 6pm on a Friday night is about as obscure a time as one could ever choose. But that is the most fitting way for this 4 time Cy Young, 18 time Gold Glove winner, 3,000+ strikeout, 355 game winner.

Maddux was one of the least imposing superstars ever to play. A man who looked more like an accountant then a pro ball player was for the majority of his career like a surgeon on the mound. Now a days a pitcher like this probably would never get a chance to get to the majors let alone become one of the best ever. Scouts won’t even give you a look if you can’t hit 90mph on the gun. Maddux learned early that it was more about movement, location and changing speeds then velocity and that was how he became the master.
There is little doubt now that he will be the face of pitching during this era. Maybe it would have been Roger Clemens before his recent troubles but not it almost has to be Maddux. In the steroid era he was never linked or suspected of any improprieties and will possibly be the last pitcher to achieve that many wins in the new age of pitching with 5 man rotations and the way bullpens are used.

In his prime he anchored one of the greatest pitching staffs ever assembled with himself Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz with the 14 time Division Champion Atlanta Braves and was the ace of the staff in 1995 when the Braves were World Champions.

I got the pleasure of watching him pitch in Montreal during an Expos game and saw in person just what a special player he was. Hopefully in 5 years I will get to see him where he belongs…in the Hall of Fame and going in with an Atlanta Braves hat (and not a Cubs one).

Congrats on a great career and for the great memories during your time in Atlanta.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Week 14 Early Picks

My apologies for missing last weeks picks. US Thanksgiving caught up to me and by then figured the rest of the week was a wash. Back this week and hoping for the best! Lets play some Fooooooootbaaaaaaallllllll!!!!

-San Diego is a disappointment and Oakland seems to either be close in games or get blown out it is feast or famin with them
-Indi in hopes that Peyton throws better then last week which was just embarrassing
-Jacksonville is a disappointment and the coach seems to have forgotten how to manage a game
-6.5 is too big a number for Green Bay to cover
-With no QB Cleveland will have a terrible time staying with the Titans
-Petterson to run all over the Lions
-Giants on the arm of MVP candidate Eli Manning? not Peyton, Eli? Ok
-Atlanta with NO being too inconsistent Brees still throws for 325+
-NE needs a win and Seatle is as good a team as any to do so
-The Gun-Singer Farve will let it fly in San Fran
-Miami because the Rogers Centre roof will be closed-watch out for Ginn Jr.
-Denver-Cuttler needs to have a good game
-Warner needs to run the college offence and spread it out and let it fly
-Dallas to get the offence rolling again
-Baltimore because i can't watch a 'Skins game no matter how good a team they are they just don't look entertaining
-Tampa Bay...I still can't trust Carolina and Jake D

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Cost of an Autograph

It is nice to see that there are still good guys in the NHL. Coming off the Sean Avery fiasco a somewhat positive story is a nice change of pace. Alex Burrows, Taylor Pyatt and Ryan Kesler said they will pull out of what could have been a controversial signing session near Metrotown on Dec. 21.The three Canucks players were to be the main attractions for an autograph signing at a supplements store at a cost of $30 for a small Item and $40 for a large item. This was not at a convention or card show either just a promo event that usually brings in people to get foot traffic into a store not try and make a lot of money from the fans.
It isn’t just the fact that they were charging for the autographs but the high cost that they were to be asking $5-$10 max...$30 is ridiculous, especially for less then "premier" players. It is good to see that they had the common sense to get out of that deal or they would have run the risk of looking bad.

I collect autographs myself and have gotten cards signed by Kesler at least and have had no trouble and got them back through the mail (TTM) in a timely fashion at no cost (except postage of course). I would have been disappointed had he followed through and this tarnished him in any way. Burrows said of his autograph: "I don’t think I’m worth $30, not my autograph. You can’t even recognize my autograph, so I don’t think it would make sense. I don’t want to be the kind of guy to do something like that."

Apparently, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner of the Oilers had a similar problem that garnered national attention when they were at a card show that was charging $25. Gagner is another player that I have gotten an autograph from in his junior days so at least then he was very forthcoming. Perhaps as a pro things have changed.

In my experience hockey players in general are some of the best at signing and returning autographs both from the NHL level to the Junior ranks. It goes to show that for the most part they are a pretty decent bunch and it is good that we can include Burrows, Pyatt and Kesler in that group.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This Years Sportsman of the Year - Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps continues his great year with yet one more major accolade. There is little doubt that this was going to be awarded to Phelps and he is certainly a deserving recipient. For 2 weeks in China this past August the Olympics were all about Phelps and his quest to become the most decorated Olympian in history. He walked out of those games with 8 golds the most in one Olympics. Even the casual observer couldn’t help but become captivated by the story in the pool. What he managed to do, and in some cases his team was not only compelling but it brought a spotlight to swimming that will now become obsolete for the next 4 years until the next Olympics. It is too bad that this sport only gets recognition every 4 years along with the likes of gymnastics.
Technically he was sportsman of the 2 weeks even though the 4 years of training leading up to the games will no doubt be overlooked.

As for Phelps himself, he is a commodity and you can see him everywhere either in ads or just randomly in public. Does he run the risk of being over exposed? Perhaps, but in his role as a swimmer he almost needs to exploit himself and stay in the news for as longs as possible because once the light goes down on his star it will be 4 years before he can hope to get it back. It may not be right but that is just the way things go for amateur athletics (just ask Daniel Igali).

In any event Phelps is the big winner this year and we should all applaud what he was able to accomplish.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Plaxico’s Giant Mistake

Does the NFL have a gun problem or do sports in general have a gun problem or again can we just chalk it up to an overall social problem?
Why is it that you hear these stories about NFLers and not so many NBA players or MLB players, is it just the number of people that a team carries or is it more then that?

On Friday night Plaxico Burress of the New York Giants was involved in a club shooting. Burress accidentally shot himself in the leg with his own gun. Luckily he didn’t permanently hurt himself or anyone else but that is besides the point. He still had a loaded, concealed weapon without a permit in a club and no good can come from that. After the Pacman Jones issues in Vegas that left a bouncer paralyzed this issue has gotten a lot more media attention. Granted there is a culture that many people may not understand about where some of these guys come from and "carrying" is common and in some cases a necessity but sometimes common sense must play a roll. Sean Taylor was killed in his home and another NFL player was robbed just outside his house at gunpoint, but that is very different, that is at home. Have a gun to protect your family... many people get that, but maybe not at the club. Why? Maybe you shouldn’t be at the club- No good comes from being out after 12:30am in a club, nothing. Not the last drink, the last conversation, the last woman or the last piece of pizza. Just go home.
Athletes are targets, we all know that, both for the good and the bad and it may be hard to tell if a person want an autograph or your watch and money. But after midnight in a club it is more likely to be the latter. Here is a novel idea, hire an off duty cop or detective to be around you when you go out, maybe not to be an imposing figure but to at least act as a deterrent or someone to de-escalate bad situations.

Plaxico has had a rough year with fines and suspensions from the team but this will no doubt be the last straw. His issues affected mainly just him but this recent issue brought teammates into it, namely Antonio Pierce who was apparently there and may or may not have been involved in some way, possibly involving the gun itself.

It is doubtful that Burress will play for the Giants again with the injury as well as the NFL’s personal conduct policy, not to mention that New York has one of the strongest anti-gun laws he could be in more serious trouble and could get anything from probation to 5 years in jail. This doesn’t look like being a star athlete is going to help get him off the hook this time. Playing football will be the least of his worries for the next while.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Almost A Done Deal Now- and not a moment too soon

Finally we can move on from the incessant Brian Burke rumors to Toronto, Burke agreed to terms yesterday and not a moment too soon. Burke will become the President and GM of the Leafs and have "complete autonomy". That, "It is what it is", "secondary scoring", "puck moving defenceman", "compete level" and "soccer mom" and all terms that in my opinion can’t stop soon enough. It is buzz phrases like that that just make you want to bang your head against the wall, but I digress...
But back to the complete autonomy. In the deal it is apparent that he wanted and it would appear that he would get the same type of deal that Bryan Colangelo gets for the same position with thee Raptors. Granted I am more comfortable with Colangelo then Burke, I mean clearly "Bryan" with a "Y" carries more respect then one with an "I". Apparently Burke will get up to $3.1M per year if he reaches incentives listed in the contract and have the final say with only Richard Peddie to report to on the MLSE Board. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to put his stamp on the team and purge Europeans and high ticket players.
Now if we can just get Mats Sundin to sign somewhere maybe people can go back to talking about the games and end all the speculation talk for a while.

In a side note Luke Richardson was waived by the Sens and all but ends his long career. If not claimed it is likely he becomes a coach in some capacity with the organization and would be a valuable addition to young defenceman in the system. It also allows for a little more cost flexibility or the team...Is this just the first move? Is something in the works? We will just have to keep an eye on that pipeline.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NFL Week 12 Picks

Last Week was an 8-7 week so over .500 but not by much need a strong 10+ week soon!
Cleveland to cover but Quinn's injury could pose a bit of an issue
KC has been decent the last 2 weeks and at home may keep it close
Tennessee to stay undefeated and score late to cover
New England because coach Bill is bitter over loosing last time to Miami
Frank Gore to keep his team close in Big D
Tampa because they are playing the Lions
Eagles just because i am praying that there isn't a tie for Donovan's sake
Chicago in hopes special teams are good, the offence may not put up 8 points on their own
Adrian Peterson and the Vikings to run over Jacksonville
Oakland to stay close to Denver even if they have no right to
I trust Matt Ryan more then Delhomme and Carolina
Washington needs a win and needs to play big vs Seattle
Giants because the defence is just good but I'd rather see the Cards win in this one
Indi with San Diego struggling and Manning needing to pad some stats
Green Bay as long and Breese throws for less then 367 yards

Friday, November 21, 2008

History matched and made, 3 TIME CHAMP!!

I hate that it has taken until now but I must take the time to touch on the historical events of the past weekend, and no it isn’t that of learning that there is in fact ties in the NFL (sorry Donovan but come on, you are an NFL QB how do you not know that, ever wonder why the Jets that you played in 2002 were like 8-2-1 or something like that, weren’t sure what the 1 was for??)
Of course I am speaking of NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus in driving into the record books as only the second driver to ever win 3 Championships in a row and being the only crew chief to go for 3 in a row.

Now I am a huge Jimmie Johnson fan and have been from day 1. I do have some 48 Lowes swag, dicast and the like as well. From his rookie season on I have been with him and I am pretty proud of that, there was no wagon jumping, I hitched onto that star early, saw the superstar potential early in the game and have taken that ride. After being a brides maid for the first few years it was frustrating but I guess you have to loose before you can win. I have been lucky that 2 of my favorite teams have enjoyed a long run of success during my time as a fan and that makes for some good watching. Between Jimmie and the Atlanta Braves I have had Championships and playoff runs to enjoy. Too bad the Senators have missed that memo so far, maybe someday.

I have heard that there is some debate on his place in history but based on what he did before winning the championships and then now it is hard to ignore just how good he is and has been. He is like Tom Brady (has he done enough to be great yet? Is it partly his location? Is his significant other just hot or super hot ...great player or greatest player you be the judge).

Congratulation to Jimmie, Chad, the 48 Lowes Team and all the rest of the people associated at Hendrick Motorsports, even Jeff Gordon who may not have won a race this year but at least by being part owner of the 48 will get a piece of that pie.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Country For Young Man

After attending the second leg of my 5 game pack that I got that includes 3 Senators games and 2 World Junior Games I am starting to see a similar theme. Firstly, not unlike the first game it is still interesting to attend a live sporting event alone. To put it in another way you feel like a Man Without A Country when up in the upper bowl by yourself, on your own Desert Island. At least this time the seats to my left were empty giving me a little extra room. If you have ever been in the 300’s at Scotiabank Place you know it can be a tight fit. On the other side was a very attractive girl that appeared to be with her little sister so at least that took away some of the sting, even if her finger did have a huge rock on it. Clearly this one was taken but at least it was nice to look at between whistles. Going with at least 1 other person gives the ability to talk about something that has just happened on the ice right after it happened, which is part of the fun, whether it be good or bad.

Unfortunately the Islanders and the Bruins games it has been more of the latter. As for the game itself...not the greatest. I am not one of those fans that only equate wins as a good game but a little hope can go a long way. Entertainment is first wins are second, this one was a sloppy affair on both sides but very weak on the Ottawa side. I think the majority of tape to tape passes from the Ottawa D that connected were to the Islanders and not the forwards. The Sens are in uncharted waters right now, struggling for an identity and struggling for points. As a fan it sure is frustrating, hopefully they can pull out of this tailspin and right this ship, if not there could be some big moves abrewing. Trades, demotions, promotions, firing's who knows at this point. Who knows, maybe if things don’t work out with Brian Burke in Toronto maybe he can take over another Bryan Murray team and win a Stanley Cup. Sure it may be a long shot but stranger things have happened.

I hope that the next 2 tickets in the package prove to be better games. The next one is Canada vs Germany and if it doesn’t result in a win there will be a lot of angry Canadians...but if Germany wins you have to figure it would have to be a good game to pull that kind of upset, and it is all about the entertainment factor.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Week 11 NFL Picks

8-6 again last week. At least were are staying consistant and at least it is on the right side of the .500 mark.
Lets try our luck again and try to build on it.

Denver to keep it close- Matt Ryan doesn't look like a rookie at all
Miami- the line is big but after last week Oakland looks like Detroit
Baltimore and Joe Flacco to keep it close- Giants are the class of the NFL right now
Indianapolis- Starting to get Manning going, Houston not solid
Green Bay- Just for the Frozen Tundra
Philladelphia- See Oakland reasoning
KC to cover- Thigpen looks like he may not be that bad
Detroit to cover- Jake D's 4 picks isn't convincing
Tampa- Povided Peterson doesn't schred the Bucks
SF- but if Gore does't play all bets are off
Arizona- on Warners arm
Tennessee- 2nd best team in the NFL
San Diego- LT to have a big day
Washington- Dallas is a train wreck, Romo not 100%
Cleveland- Quinn looks solid on his first start, lets see how round 2 goes

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Week 10 NFL Picks

Last week a good week for me going 8-6. Now if I would have trusted myself and picks these games on Proline it could have been a good week.

Denver- Quinn's irst game will result in struggles
Jacksonville- Detroit is Detroit
Tennessee- Grossman is Grossman and Tennessee is a top 2 team
New England - Bills will struggle on the road vs a good Pats Team
New Orleans - Sheer offence
St. Louis- Bulgers arm to cover
Seattle- too many points
Green Bay- Rogers to move the ball well
Baltimore- Falco looks good of late
Carolina- The -3 yards offence last week in first half not good for the Raiders
KC to cover 15.5 is just too much to give
Giants- Top team in teh NFL
Arizona on Kurt Warners Arm

Barack, A Sporting Mans President

When Barack Obama was on Monday Night Football talking about sports it shows that he is knowledgeable on the subject, I am sure that he was given a list of questions prior and he had his people writing for him, but he presented himself as a big sports fan and spoke as well on those subjects as that of the economy or foreign policy. He not only said that he would want to change the BCS College football system and get rid of the polls and ranking but also proposed that an 8 team playoff would be a fair alternative. Good insight. Also he stated that the NCAA Basketball March Madness was one of the most exciting sporting events with its one-and-done set-up. Another good point.
He is a Bears fan but we can excuse him for that I guess, nobody is perfect.

Where does he go in April for the first pitch? Wrigley, not likely? U.S. Cellular Field? He is not just a casual fan of the White Sox, he’s a devout supporter or does his position require him to go to Nationals Park in Washington. We know that he is a bit of a baller and enjoys shooting hoops and is apparently very good. Now, if you are one of the guys in his pick-up game how can you call him for a foul? Not many double dribbles, lane violations, or traveling calls I wouldn’t suspect.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Winds of Change - Obama is President Ellect

On the day following the historic US Election I must deviate from sports for a moment and comment on this topic.

While watching both Sen. McCain and President Elect Obama’s speeches there were a few things I noticed and first and foremost was the almost exact same visual from Season 6 of the Simpsons in the episode titled Sideshow Bob Roberts. If you saw the 2 official headquarter parties where the speeches were delivered you’ll know what I mean, the only difference was the party alliances. Bob is Republican, Mayor Quimby a Democrat. McCain had an invite only party at a hotel. It was quiet and small, almost looked like they were expecting defeat (Not unlike Mayor Quimby). Obama had nearly 1 million people at Grant Park in a lavish open air nearly concert style event (just like Sideshow Bob’s Mayoral victory speech).

Both men handled themselves well and conducted their speeches appropriately. McCain was gracious in defeat and despite a bitter campaign did a good job to support the president elect going forward as an American. Also, not letting Palin speak was probably also a good call for all involved.
Obama didn’t go all Raw! Raw! Raw! He was thankful but serious, he was very even keel and matter of fact, showing that he is prepared for the uphill battle that is in front of him based on the mess that he is inheriting.
I would like to know just how much security was positioned around Grant Park last night.
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out and in what direction things go.

Other things I learned:

• Networks will call a state with 0% of polls reporting.... must be some kind of new math
• You can do just about anything with a green screen and graphics.
• Even a college degree isn’t enough to comprehend the process of the Electoral College
• They can call an election and presidential winner by 11pm but can’t have a World Series game end before 1am
• Michelle Obama’s dress looked like it was something hit by and SUV and was probably the one gaf of the evening.
• Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw did the best job in coverage. Williams looks like he is at the top of the anchor heap now and may even be getting to the level of the big 3 (Jennings, Brokaw, Rather) that proceeded him.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Week 9 NFL Picks

Last Week was another great one a 6-8 sub-par performance. Week 9 is here and without further delay. Minnesota to just barely cover in a tight game
Jacksonville because Cincinnati doesn't want to win this year
KC played decent last week, and may keep it close
Cleveland just because they are at home
Buffalo in a bounce back game and Lynch should be strong
Arizona has Bolden back so the offence should be able to handle St. Louis
Detroit plays hard, just arn't good 13.5 is just too much to give
Tennessee looks strong and should keep rolling
Denver in a very tight game, Miami just won't go away
Atlanta with White, Ryan and Turner to score enough
Giants, as Dallas is just too banged up and Johnson starting again
Philly for Donovan to put up some numbers
New England to win outright
Washington at home with there cheerleaders being the 12 man

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh Captain, My Captain

Well looks like Daniel Alfredsson is going to be a life long Senator. Alfredsson has been signed to a 4 year $21.6 million contract extension. I thinks it is a great thing to ensure that the captain remains with the only NHL team that he has every played for. The number 11 will be in the rafters of Scotiabank Place not long after the 4 year deal is over. He will become the first player of the modern era in Ottawa to have that honour.

The only concern is that giving him a 4 year deal, you are giving a 36 year old a lot of money and a lot of term. I have less issue to the money but guarenteed on the books for 4 and a no movement clause is always a dangerous thing.The saving grace, of all people who would give you 100% for as long as he physically can, Alfie would be that guy.

I hope that there is still enough money out there, or i guess under the cap to get a true #1 goaltender somewhere within that 4 year span .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Series Game 5 1/2

Tonight might just be the conclusion to game 5 of the World Series...or maybe not. The Phillies might be World Series Champs...or not.
The series may be on its way back to guessed it, or not.

There are many factors one must be accounted for:
• With Barack Obama’s 30-minute TV spot with CBS, NBC and Fox may push the game just a little bit later, at this point I guess sure why not, just pile it on.
• It will be 30 degrees F at game time, that isn’t good for anyone
• Do they play the National Anthem? If so is it Patti LaBelle again and does her butchered version last longer then the game itself?
• Do they announce the players?
• Is there already guys warming up in the bullpen at the beginning of the game? Are any starters available to throw tonight?
• At what point do they stop serving beer? If it is in the mid 6th inning already most stadiums stop in the 7th
• How many people show up, sit down, and then get up to leave immediately to beat the traffic?
• Does Bud Selig make up some new rules midway through the game but not tell anyone, not the players, umpires, managers or announcers.

The question for the last few days has been who does this suspended game benefit more the Phillies or the Rays? We know that it hasn’t been the fans or the audience and probably many gamblers.
The answer is easy... The team that WINS.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NFL Picks Week 8

3-11 Last week. Things hopefully can only go up from here.

Oakland coming off a win to keep it close
San Diego because they need a win and it is neutral this week
Jets Because it is KC but the points are a lot
Buffalo is a strong team and Edwards looks decent
Tampa...Dallas may be in a free fall without Romo
Philly because of their D vs a rookie QB
Rams just to keep it close after 2 good games
Carolina as Delhomme is playing well
Washington because they are playing the Lions
Jacksonville just because of the run
Houston because Cincy is still missing Palmer
Giants as defending champs with a good Defence
San Fran because Seattle is just bad
Tennessee to keep rolling and Indy not clicking right now

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday Sens at Scotiabank

While attending the Senators vs Bruins game at Scotiabank Place on Saturday there were a few things I noticed and a few things that I learned. Some were about the game and is sports related the other is from the social viewpoint.

As for the game itself it was entertaining. More to the point it is entertaining to be in the building watching it live, if I was watching the same game on TV there would have been a good chance that the majority of the time would have been spent on the Red Sox vs Tampa Rays baseball game instead. There was not a lot of speed and not a lot of emotion from either the players or the crowd and neither got the other going. I was a typical defensive Bruins game with not a lot of great chances. It ended 4-2 for Boston.

Now for the social comment:

I purchased a 5 game pack for 3 Senators games and 2 World Junior games (Just so I could see 1 Team Canada game live). Since I was unable to get anyone to go along and get tickets I ended up just getting the 1 bunch. Attending the game alone was an experience, as it is the first time I have gone alone to a game. Sure it is like a movie and watching it with someone really shouldn’t make it any more enjoyable as you are there to see the action but it is still a little different. You do get the feeling of being out of place. At the beginning my row was full and all was well. After the first the 3 to my left had moved. They were the cheering type and probably hunted down some better seats. Now I had some room so that was ok. By the 6 minute mark of the 3rd the 2 beside me left early to get a jump on traffic (this is one of my pet peeves, go to a game stay for the game, until the end. Even if it is a blowout you stay...but I digress). At this point you get that awkward feeling as there are 7 seats around you that are empty and you are just sitting there by yourself. Sure nobody probably noticed and if they did, didn’t care but it is still a awkward feeling for sure.

In any event I still look forward to the next game on the schedule and enjoy the product on the ice as best I can.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

ALCS GAME 7, What...Game 7??

Almost time for game 7 in the Tampa v Boston ALCS. Who will be the hero (or the goat)??

In one of the more unlikely events, there is in fact a game 7. After Being down 3-1 in the series and 7-0 in the 7th in game 5 the Sox managed to claw back in a historic comeback in that game and then followed that up with a game 6 victory on the road in Tampa.

I see it as being a close game with Lester and Garza on the mound. Both are young, strong and have little fear, so basically a push...Boston has the experience and have been in the comeback position before (just ask the Yankees) Tampa may have more pressure being young as a team and young in terms of experience.

Short story shorter...I choose to make no prediction and just look forward to watching the game as a baseball fan and let the best team win! Loving the October Baseball.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Week 7 NFL Picks

(Picks are in Red)
Tennessee because KC is just bad and Kerry Collins likes to throw
San Diego because LT have something to prove
Pittsburgh facing and ailing Carson Palmer
Miami because I have fallen under the spell of the “wild hog” or “Single Wing”
Dallas even with a banged up Romo or a healthy Brad Johnson should prevail over the Rams
Chicago, just because
New Orleans because of Drew Breeze, no other reason
SF just to keep it close
Houston because Detroit is Tera-Awful... a combo of terrible and awful plus no Williams or Kitna
Jets because I picked up Cotchery and Coles to fill holes due to bye weeks in my pool
Cleveland, looked half decent in the last game...finally
Indianapolis because they need to keep winning
Tampa because everyone in Seattle is hurt
Denver because the Pats looked exposed last week

Memo to these teams: Please do well I need a good week, this is starting to get embarrassing

Friday, October 17, 2008

Red Sox Deja Vu??

Down 7-0 going into the seventh inning in Fenway the Red Sox looked like the next time they would be in Tampa would be for spring training or maybe spring break. A Pennant celebration on the Fenway field for the Rays was imminent by a team of destiny from the sunshine state. Cue David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. Ortiz and Drew each hit huge home runs to make the game close and then Drew capped the biggest postseason comeback since 1929 with a two-out ground rule double in the ninth.
Lets not go crazy, The Rays are still up 3-2 with a young stud pitcher in Shields going at home where they have been good all year but even a banged up Beckett may still have some life in that ailing arm. He has proven in the past that he can handle the pressure and wants the ball.
By all rights the Rays are better, would make for a better World Series and be a better rags to riches storey but like the Verizon Network, Red Sox Nation is back behind the club....Except for all the stupid Boston fans that left in the 5th and 6th innings. How spoiled or apathetic are these people to a) leave Fenway early ever or b) leave a playoff game early. If it is 18-2 in the 9th with 2 outs you stay in your seat, it is rule 1 for being a fan. I guess that is the difference between a fan and a corporate guy rich prep CEO who goes because it looks good and got free tickets. TERRIBLE.

I don’t care at this point who wins at this point. The Red Sox are good but the Rays are better, The Sox have history and experience and the Rays have youth, speed and depth. I still like either the American League teams to win it all over the Phillies, but that is on paper and is why you play the game. In any event more playoff baseball is never a bad thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I love playoff baseball

Watching the Red Sox v Rays game there have been a few things that I have noticed.
1) Tampa is a great TEAM with great speed, power, and pitching
b) Red Sox injuries have piled up and have all but sealed their fate and will likely be done for the season very soon.
3) BJ Upton and Carl Crawford are 2 guys that should be challenging Usain Bolt
4) Probably most importantly: Kevin Youkilis may have the thickest beard ever and though I think Dustin Pedroia should be the AL MVP Youk has won me over as being one of the smartest position players in the game. Off the top I can think of 3 great defensive plays that he has done to pick off runners and also sports a great bat. I never much cared for him before but i have come to appreciate what he does on the field. I liken him to the thinking mans player A.J. Prerzynski except less a little bit.

Week 6 NFL results

5-8 this week. Looks like it was another banner week. I hate the NFL. With 5 last second field goals to decide games...whats the deal, i mean really. Oh well next week is another week. Gotta stay confident i suppose.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Young prospect dies during game

Yet another young hockey player has died. This time it was actually during a game. According to initial reports, Alexei Cherepanov collapsed on the bench after suffering a heart attack and was unable to be resuscitated. Cherepanov, a first round pick of the Rangers in 2007 was playing for Omsk in Russia in the KHL. It Seems to have happened way too often recently in sports and one might wonder why. Last year it was Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud, and it is a few years removed from Juri Fischer from the Red Wings who thanks to having a Defibrillator accessible was able to be revived. In Fischer's case he may never play hockey again but he is alive.
Just another reason to ensure that all areana's be equipped with this type of machine. Malls have them, sport venuse need to too.
Heart attacks of this nature are subjective and many times will be hereditary but it does raise the question of perhaps some of the supplements these kids are taking to get that edge to become bigger stronger and faster. Not illegal drugs necessarily but the Creatine and items of that nature. It seems to be more evident in hockey for some reason then other sports. Football has had there share of tragedies but it seems more a matter of heat and exhaustion. In any event it is just a sad situation that not only a great young player was taken away but also young life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 6 NFL Picks

• Aaron Rogers if at least 75% should be able to handle a very bad looking Seattle team
• No Kellen Winslow for Cleveland should let the Giants Roll
• Dallas V Arizona may be the one of the games of the week, look for the Cards to keep it close
• Lions are just bad, Look for Peterson to run all over them
• Rams, new coach or not are bad and Washington has looked good the last few weeks
Fingers are crossed for some redemption this week, and man do I need it!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Week 5 NFL Results

Wow, so 4-10 is not going in the right direction at all. Sure there were some games that I only lost due to a mere 1/2 point but that i guess is why the line was set where it was. I was actually pretty confident in my picks this week, only to get cut down again. Like I said last week and will say again, next week is the week and all the bad luck will turn to good luck and right the ship. Week 6 is in the cross hairs already. Have a look on Friday!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Week 5 NFL Picks

It is the second quarter of the NFL season and it is time to make the move away from mediocrity. Here is to hoping that I will have a good week and start making a charge. Check back Tuesday for the results

Thursday, October 02, 2008

NFL- Always entertaining, even off the field

Travis Henry is in trouble again, this time it is for something a little more serious then smoking some pot. He has been arrested in an alleged coke deal. A trooper and DEA agent stopped a car that was carrying six pounds of marijuana and about three kilograms of cocaine.
He should have stuck with his day job...which was apparently fathering nine children by nine women as stated in a child support case in Georgia. Looks like Henry is taking the role of the NFL’s version of Shawn Kemp.

Al Davis finally drooped the axe on Lane Kiffen.
In one of the more entertaining press conferences in some time by Davis he not only announced the firing but made it a point to systematically cut down Kiffen basically calling him a liar and a fraud. It may have been harsh, but no denying it was entertaining.
It may have only taken 4 months longer then it should have but it is done and the soap opera has come to a conclusion...or has it?...bummm bummm boooooommmmm.

Cardinals Wide Receiver Anquan Boldin has fractured sinus membrane.
This will come as no surprise to anyone who saw the "snot knocker" of a hit he took in last weeks game versus the Jets.
But in all seriousness it is good that that was the worst that happened as it initially looked like he may have suffered a serious spinal or neck injury.

Chad Ocho Cinco says that he loves the Cowboys, So much so that he says that he is going to score and Kiss the "Dallas Star".
Even T.O. must shake his head on this one. Maybe he should mention to chad that the "Star" celebration has been done and it isn’t worth the hit. Sure when Owens did it there was no kiss but Ocho Cinco needs to be more creative, the way he was when the Bungles were good that 1 year.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 4 NFL Results

Well it was a tight one again this week, but for the first time all year I have broken the .500 mark will a dominant 7-6 performance. It is too bad i didn't keep the 7 that i got correct with my proline picks. Every week there is always the 1 game that trips me up on my ticket and screws me over. This is why I am not a hardcore gambler, it is always that 1 game, even the $2 bets that lose is still tough to take.

But there is always next week! Check back Friday as I take yet another stab at it.
...and "Boom Goes The Dynamite".

Monday, September 29, 2008

Around the Horn

The Mets managed to choke out another September collapse, the second time in 2 years.
This time it was’t to the epic proportion it was last year but still not good.
It was kind of a weird atmosphere after being eliminated from the playoffs to have a celebration to close Shea Stadium, it sure was no Yankee Stadium.
Question: How does Omar Minaya get a 4 year extension with this team? and, How can a bullpen be that awful?

Win less St. Louis Rams fired coach Scott Linehan?
0-4, no hope for a turn around, what took so long?
Marc Bulger must be the happiest man in town today, he may get to see the field again.

CC Sabathia threw a complete game on 3 days rest for the 3rd time in a row.
Either he is a freak or it proves that like I said in an earlier blog, let pitchers pitch, don’t baby them and their arms will only get stronger.
p.s. CC PUT A CURVE IN YOUR HAT AND PUT IT ON STRAIGHT, you look like an ass just like all those straight brimmed punks at the mall

Matt Flynn saw some snaps in relief of an injured Aaron Rogers for the Green Bay Packers.
Good work on managements part to get a credible veteran backup. I am not saying Brett Farve but maybe have traded Farve for Pennington not a draft pick. There must be a one of the Detmer’s or isn’t there another Hasslebeck out there looking for work

T.O. got 1/3 of all the plays that the Cowboys ran, and they lost and he complained about not being used enough.
Marion Barber had 8 runs and Felix Jones didn't get 1 play from scrimmage. I think that they may have more of a beef about not getting the ball enough. Probably a good reason why the Cowboys lost

Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 4 NFL Picks

After 2 weeks of less than 50% I am looking for a bounce back week.
There are some tough lines this week and for some of these teams you don't know who is going to show up and who will take the week off so here we will take a swing for the fences and see what happens. Check back next week for the results, or before just to be enlightened by the regular Blogging!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The way it should be

The Sports scene once again makes sense again and all of the stars have aligned.

Until the Red Sox’s final out last night I couldn’t completely believe that the Yankees would be eliminated. How many times over the last 4 years have people early and mid and even late season say the Yankees are done only to see them reel off a ton of games and once again make it in. I was worried that it would come down to the last 3 games at Fenway with a 1 game playoff at the end...the 13 year run is officially over and my braves record of 14 still stands (double bonus that all were division titles in the case of the Braves)

The Detroit Lions finally removed Matt Millen from his roll as President and GM. This once great franchise...hahaha, even I have to laugh at that. Lets just call them Barry Sanders old team has been even worse then a disappointment for many years. Maybe they can get someone with some better vision and knowledge of drafts and pro scouting. You can’t complete a chapter let alone the book without turning the page.

Only thing that cold have made this better would be if the Cubs or Braves managed to win the World Series.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On par- but over par

Just as I suspected this weeks games were a bit challenging and I was pretty surprised with some of the outcomes. I hate the backdoor covers and learned that there is no such thing as "garbage time" or "meaningless field goal". Some of these teams need to listen to Herm Edwards..WE PLAY TO WIN THE GAME.
I like the looks of week 4 a bit better and hope to get some respectability back in the coming week after the 7-9 performance this week.
Friday I will have the week 4 picks.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Around the Horn

Brian Griese threw it up 67 times in Sunday’s game. (38-67, 407)
Says very little for the running game for Tampa Bay, says a lot for the prestigious Michigan Wolverines pedigree for QB’s

Former Michigan QB Tom Brady is my early season MVP candidate.
After watching New England play, Brady hasn’t even played a full quarter and is out for the year and clearly he is the most valuable to his team.

The Mets, after last years collapse or choke job or whatever you want to call it look like they want to make it an annual event.
Sure it isn’t of historic proportions as it was last year but they seem to be trying to do everything in their power to give it away again. As a Braves fan, I will watch and enjoy.

Kyle Busch was dominant in Dover Nationwide race
Kyle Busch was first eliminated in Dover Sprint Cup race with engine failure.
Looks like Kyle chose the wrong race as he has dug himself into a hole in the Chase Championship that will be tough to get out of...No, No, dig up stupid!

Yankee Stadium saw its last game on Sunday.
Did anyone else think that it was a little odd and frankly unjust that it was a game involving the Baltimore Orioles and not the Boston Red Sox?

Blues defenseman Erik Johnson suffered a knee injury. Johnson is a promising young defenseman and high prospect. He was attempting to stop his golf cart and step out to hit his next shot when he jammed his right foot between the accelerator and brake.
This would never happen to a Toronto Maple Leafs player as they have had more then enough practice on the golf course after missing the playoffs the last 3 years.

John Ferguson Junior has been hired as pro scout director in San Jose
Yes, that sound you just heard was Joe Thornton flipping pages looking for that opt-out clause in his contract

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week 3 NFL Picks

Coming off the heels of a 7-8 week I am not looking forward to this weeks games. Looking at the Proline form there are a lot of games that i just don't like and lines that further complicate matters. It is tough to determine if teams are as good as they look or as bad as they seem. That is why we play the games. So without further delay here are this weeks picks against the spread. I am going to need a lot of luck this week, the confidence just isn't there.

No-mar baseball for Garciaparra

Mr. Mia Hamm- Ramon (call me Nomar) Garciaparra went down...again with an injury. Quick someone call Ripley's because they arn't going to believe it. It seems that every time you turn around this once decent and relatively solid player is dinged up and missing time. I never got the allure of Ramon even when he was having somewhat productive years in Boston how people thought he was as good as they did. I am glad that GM Theo Epstine dropped him when he did, goes to show that he is a top rate GM. I too thought he was over rated then and even more so now and yet teams keep throwing money at him. To me he is just an average player who's OCD type behaviour at the plate is just difficult to watch, with the feet and the gloves and, well, the whole production. When watching the highlights from the game I thought I was watching soccer (I guess being married to the best female soccer player that the US you pick up the same traits) when the announcer said something like... And Garciaparra goes down like he was shot!
Not the first time someone has said that about Ramon and it probably won't be the last.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jeter - A big hit at Yankee Stadium

Derek Jeter, the current Mr.Yankee went 2-for-3 the other night to break a tie with Lou Gehrig for most hits all-time at Yankee Stadium. The two hits give Jeter 1,271 to Gehrig's 1,269. The hit came in Jeter's 8,002nd major league at-bat, and he passed Gehrig for second on the Yankees' career list behind Mickey Mantle (8,102). This is just another notch in Jeters belt to prove that he is one of the all time Yankee great. Now I hate the Yankees as much as the next guy and I am very happy that it looks like their streak of 13 straight playoff appearances will come to an end. I am a huge Braves fan and I want the Braves 14 straight division titles/playoff appearances not to be matched by the boys from the Bronx. With that being said I do respect what Jeter has done through out his career. He is one of the greatest clutch performers of all time, the ultimate professional, a class act all the way, The Captain. It won’t take too long after he decides to retire before you see his bust in the New Yankee Stadium with his #2 retired along with the other all time Yankee greats, the likes of Mantle, Ruth, Dimaggio et al. Yankee Stadium will close this Sunday after the last home game of the season and it is fitting that the House That Ruth Built is going to become the House that Jeter closed down with every hit and hustle play he has has over his Hall of Fame career.
Congratulations Derek, this record is one that will not be broken.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rough first week

Ok so after 1 week of NFL picks against the spread we are sitting at a not surprising sub .500 record with a less then stellar 7-8 after the Houston game was postponed due to having only half a roof on their stadium.
It was a great week to watch games with all the calls, missed calls, blown calls, Riverboat gambler calls, and pure offensive onslaughts. Tough act for week 2 to live up to but we shall see.
Lets hope that this weeks picks are better, all I want is to average a .500 record...that's not too much to ask, is it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Around the Horn

Wth all the postponed, cancelled and relocated games over the weekend due to Hurricane Ike made the sports scene a scheduling nightmare.
What is worse I heard that Ike was so dangerously powerful and destructive that Tina Turner had to postpone her current tour and retreat even more inland!

The San Diego Chargers lost in the last seconds for the second straight week. This time it was partially the result of an admitted blown call by the usually great and respected Ed Hochuli.
Norv Turner and The Chargers can only be so upset as Hochuli is an established lawyer that has huge guns in his Smedium shirt, not one to mess with. If Hochuli was on the San Diego D the Broncos would not have rolled the dice in that ballsy call and gone for 2

As a Michigan fan it was an epic game to watch as USC beat the living crap out of THE Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday
Again Coach Tressel blew the big one on the national stage, hang your head all the way back to Columbus nice drop of some 10 spots in the stickers on the helmets this week fellas!

Rough week for the Patriots and extended family.First Tom Brady goes down with a torn ACL and torn MCL and Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss did the same after being taken out by one of his own players with help from a Michigan player
What’s the matter Tom, Charlie stayed in the game until the end couldn’t you? And you call yourself an athlete

Wayne Gretzky will again be part of Team Canada but not as Executive Director. Possibly that opens the door for Steve Yzerman to take that position.
The FOG (Friends of Gretzky) may be lifting from Hockey Canada’s men’s team

Chris Cooley wanted to show the readers of his popular blog some of the study materials the players were given by coach Jim Zorn.
A good idea and good of him to show the behind the scene happenings of the NFL.Next time consider using a picture that doesn’t let your junk show for all to see, may I suggest a towel, jogging pants, a pair of boxers or even a jock...Chris put that thing away, you’ll scare the children

U of T's Varsity Blues broke a 49 game losing streak versus the University of Waterloo at the beginning of the season, the first win since 2001.
This was a huge win for U of T, breaking the longest Canadian University losing streak but more importantly allowed the bare-chested guys from the phys. ed. department to fervently chant "Waterloo smells like poo"

Carlos Zambrano pitched the quietest No Hitter in recent memory after being played in Milwaukee as a home game for Houston due to Hurricane Ike.
Few people seemed to talk about it or praise it as a great feat. Dan Patrick said it right it was like a game of Clue.. Zambrano- in Milwaukee against the Astros-with a 4 seam fastball

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MLS in Ottawa? Noooooooooooooo!

Tuesday looks to be a sad day for Ottawa Sports. Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will officially announce his bid for a Major League Soccer franchise at a press conference. The first time Mr. Melnyk came onto the Ottawa scene he came in on a white horse and saved the Ottawa Senators from bankruptcy. Sure it was probably a decent investment for him but he also got a great low right? In any event he was a hero.The Sens have enjoyed much success in his time as the owner, perhaps not the ultimate success in terms of the Stanley Cup but great consistency. Well that good will that he earned has dried up in my mind with this new news. Melnyk, who has revealed plans to build a "world-class" stadium in Ottawa, had previously stated his intention to go after a franchise, which will cost at least $40 million US. Sure this is a very big long shot right now and won’t be an issue for some time and many years now, as there are many cites that are sure to be well ahead of Ottawa (including Canadian Cities Vancouver and Montreal) but just the prospect of a dirty soccer team coming to town pains me. It isn’t the money, the stadium issue or the Soccer team itself (although I have made it very clear that I have little or no use for soccer at any level, at any time), it would be the “fans”. That is all we need is some wannabe wanker posers thinking they are in Liverpool or something trying to emulate what garbage they see on Saturday mornings on Sportsnet. Heads up on hoodlums in the streets, urine bombs from the top level, projectiles thrown about flair's shot from the stands and just all around unruly behavior in the stands.Then of course part 2 of the negatives that would come with an MLS team...the soccer itself. There would be chaos..there would be the oranges shortage that would come due to the halftime snacks, stretchers would become in high demand as they would be used for all the embellished injuries each game and who knows what else. You want to see soccer become a Toronto FC fan and go to Toronto to see a game.

And here are some examples from where no one can dispute...
The Simpsons:

Announcer: This match will decide which nation is the greatest on Earth: Mexico or Portugal!

TV Announcer: You'll see all your favorite soccer stars. Like Ariaga! Ariaga II! Bariaga! Aruglia! And Pizzoza!
Homer: Oh, I never heard of those people.
TV Announcer: And they'll all be signing autographs!
Homer: Woo-hoo!

Mexican Announcer: Halfback passes to center, back to wing, back to center, center holds it! Holds it! Holds It!

Just Say No to the MLS, we are all better off without it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

NFL Picks Week 2

Around the Horn will be moved from its regular Friday Time slot to make room for the NFL Picks.
It will be moved to a yet to be determined day so STAY TUNED!

So here is the plan. Friday’s I will post my NFL Football prognostications for each weeks games. I am starting Week 2 so I could see some of the teams in action and try and get a feel.
I will give the final tally on Tuesday as to the success/FAILURE rate. Games will be selected against the spread that has been provided by Proline at the time of the predictions.
Over the course of the season I will keep track of the record and use that to prove why I should NOT play Proline.
I am by no means saying I am an expert, or that I will even hit 50%, heck I don’t even think I would take my own advice (also note that this is going in early on Fridays before some injury reports.....Ok, Ok enough excuses) but maybe I will get lucky and end up with a good record. Who knows. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Down And Out - The Tom Brady Story

Not much is left to be said about the New England Patriots and of Tom Brady. Most of the angles have been covered by this point. All I can say is that from the moment that I saw his leg bend the wrong way while watching the game I knew it was bad, the fans knew it was bad, the team knew it was bad, but most of all Brady knew it was bad. You could see both the disappointment and the pain on his face.
What New England will do is anyone’s guess, and guess they Coach Belichick usually plays it close to the vest. A few QB's have been contacted and/or signed eg. Matt Gutierrez. They are still a good team and are one of few teams that a next guy in line mentality that may be able to handle the adversity but it will be an uphill battle.

Gone for the season is tough but what is worse is not knowing what kind of player will come back after surgery and rehab. It is a lot to expect the same player to return and it will be interesting to see whet level he can perform at and for how long. Lets not forget it was Brady who took over the team when then starter and thought to be franchise QB Drew Bledsoe went down with injury and except for 1 playoff game never gave the job back. Could history repeat itself? Will Matt Cassel take the ball and run with it? Remember he was behind many a good QB throughout his career (Carson Palmer and Matt Lienart at USC and Brady in New England) and is probably a pretty good QB just waiting for his chance, and in New England...wouldn’t surprise me one bit. I hope that is not the case as I am a fan of what Brady has done but only time will tell.

To some it is debatable about overall greatness and Hall of Fame worthiness, to me there is no doubt. Top 5 All Time and no brainer Hall of Famer. The Super Bowls, the undefeated regular season and the TD passing record and most importantly the Michigan pedigree all add up to one of the all time greats. Here is to hoping for a fast and successful recovery and that there is still a job for him when he returns.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Retrofitting - Toronto Style

The year: 1996

~The Olympics were being held in Atlanta, Georgia. Turner Field was not yet a baseball diamond as it was was just built as the Olympic Stadium and later converted
~Yasser Arafat is re-elected president of the Palestinian Authority.
~The Dallas Cowboys become the first NFL franchise to win 3 Super Bowls in a span of 4 years.
~The British Government announces that Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) has been likely transmitted to people.
~Steffi Graf defeats Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the longest ever women’s final at the French Open to win her 19th Grand Slam title.
~The Colorado Avalanche win their first Stanley Cup in their first season based out of Denver, Colorado, defeating the Florida Panthers.

Ok. enough of the history lesson but this was also when the following 3 men were in control of all the Pro Sports in Toronto.
Cliff Fletcher- GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Cito Gaston- Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays
Don Mathews- Head Coach of the Toronto Argonauts

Flash forward to 2008 who are in these spots right now??
Cliff Fletcher- GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Cito Gaston- Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays
Don Mathews- Head Coach of the Toronto Argonauts

Today Don Mathews was named as the new Head Coach of the Argo’s taking over for the fired Rich Stubler. Either this is a case of Toronto sports teams going nouveau or they are all just lazy and figured "It kinda worked last time, lets catch that lightning in a bottle"
None of the above even get partial credit for creativity that is for sure but in all three cases they actually make sense and may actually work. Lets just wash our hands with the last 12 years and pretend that 2008 is really 1997.
If the Toronto sports scene wasn’t so dysfunctional it probably wouldn’t even be interesting.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Around the Horn

ESPN has a show called Around the Horn
Not only did they steal the name from me but the show is not good and diminishes this Friday feature. If i had legal ground I would sue, and all I would want is that they send me ESPN programing here in Canada without CRTC regulations screwing me over

Great response from tennis player Andy Roddick regarding the injuries or phantom injuries that Novak Djokovic seems to en cure increasingly more often in matches
"I’ve got to feel good because (Djokovic) has got about 16 injuries," Roddick told the crowd, adding fuel to the fire of their ongoing fued when asked about a Djokovic ankle injury....It is just too bad that he lost to Djokovic later on.
"Isn’t it both of them? And a back? and a hip? And a cramp... bird flu... anthrax. SARS, common cough and a cold.

Olympic hammer throw medallists investigated for doping
Is nothing sacred anymore? How can the purity of the hammer throw be tainted?

Rafael Nadal played Mardy Fish at the US Open in a match that began at 11:30 pm and ended at 2;11 am..the third latest finish at the Open
Even the allure of the #1 player couldn’t keep me up for this one. The late sessions are cool but come on, your crushing your own potential ratings.
At least it wasn’t like the match in Australlia that went to near 5am.

It went Supersonic to Thunder in record time. The former Seattle team relocated to Okalhoma City and have now been named Thunder
In a shocking move at the press conference they played AC/DC’s Thunderstruck.
The potential for a good marketing logo was there but alas they came up short. When I played for a team called Thunder we actually had a cool logo and it was far from a professional team.

Tatum Bell lost his job as running back with the Lions, Rudi Johnson gained a job as running back with the Lions, but lost his underwear
Bell apparently took two Gucci bags that Johnson had received as a Pro Bowl gift, included was about $200 in cash along with his ID and the credit cards. He got the bags back empty, and this is the NFL not the CFL..I just hope that they wern’t his "LUCKY DRAWS"

The Montreal Canadiens are looking at playing an outdoor game at Olympic Stadium as part of their 100th anniversary celebrations.
Great cash grab if you can get 39,000+ in at most likely a somewhat inflated price point.
Opening up the roof at the Big O is like opening Pandoras Box, once it is open you may never get it closed again. Get the hardhats out because you know the concrete is going to fall like rain!

Daunte Culpepper has retired, gone after 9 seasons at only 31
A former MVP and one half of one of the best QB/WR tandems ever can’t even hold a clipboard anymore. A shredded knee has taken him off the map and out of the league.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

History Made - PVR That Home Run!

Last Thursday Major League Baseball began a new venture into the realm of technology....the use of "limited" replay.
Last night was the first time that replay was actually used to uphold a decision on the field of a home run by, and fittingly so Alex Rodriguez. The "Lightening Rod" hit his 549th homer putting him into 12 place all time passing Mike Schmidt. The ball was a towering shot that was hit above the fair/foul pole. The umpires gathered, left the field to review the video, a process that took 2 minutes, 15 seconds and upheld the call.
As for most sports they have already adopted such a system and have had it in place for some time now. Even the CFL had it first, which is a little embarrassing. nevertheless MLB has it at their disposal but only for disputed home runs and only at the decression of the umpiring crew chief, unlike the NFL there are no challenges.
In fitting MLB fashion they screwed up but implementing this 3/4 of the way through the season with no testing but here were are and lets go from here.
It is an interesting venture and one that is a good idea in theory, but then again Communism works in theory too.
Home Run calls are one thing, however there are other plays that may be just as important that are unreviewable. The one thing about baseball is that 1 small seemingly unimportant play sets off a chain of events that dictates how the situation will become resolved, more so then any other sport, it really is all about the flow of a play until its completion.
This is why C.C. Sabathia’s potential no hitter could not, and should not have been overturned. Yes it was a bad call to call that play a hit and not an error but you can’t reverse it now if you wanted to. Based on that 1 hit being on the board would have not only changed the mindset of the pitcher, his approach to the rest of the game, the increasing drama and stress and how the team played behind him. Just like the home run debate 1 call changed the outcome of that entire game.
Surely in the future it will be tweaked and more will become reviewable, I just hope they know when to say when and draw the line.
In a sport like baseball you can’t take the element of human error out of the game, it is part of the fabric of the sport and one of the reasons the game is great.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Basketball, Canadian Style...Sort Of

Over the weekend I was able to take in the Can Am Shootout at Scotiabank Place which saw a double header of the Ottawa Gee Gees vs. South Alabama Jaguars in the first game followed by The Carleton Ravens versus the defending NCAA National Champion Kansas Jayhawks. The turnout was decent, not packed but as far as basketball in Ottawa goes I’d say pretty impressive (announced a shade over 7,000, although that may be generous). The 2nd match was really why I was there. To see, effectively the top teams from each country, obviously Kansas lost a few players from last year that led the comeback against Memphis in the Tournament and Carleton was upset and its run of CIS championships have been halted but still probably the best program in the country, it was still a good bill.The first game live up to what it was...a warm up, the game had little flow, poor execution and just a parade to the free throw line.Even the announcer sounded 2nd rate, basketball was not his forte. It was like the guy from the epic Fresh Prince Episode and every time he spoke to announce a basket all I heard was “In your face Will Smith, it doesn’t get any better then this” and “In your face Markus Stokes, Bel Air Prep up by 1”. In the second game of the double header it was clear that I wasn’t the only one more geared for that tilt. It was night and day from the first contest. That game was fast, the shooting was good, plays and passes were crisp and executed and the ball movement... well there actually was some. Even just looking at the team Kansas looked better, the players just looked bigger carried themselves larger and had more of tat, lets say “swagger”. I am sure that the Jayhawks didn’t throw their #1 lineup out and it is still very early in the year for college basketball so it is more about learning and in some cases probably just making the team.I don’t put too much stock in that Carleton managed to only lose by 1 but it was still a good showing and they hug with he team they played.It is rare that a defending National Champion would be in Canada playing let alone in Ottawa so this was a must see event for me to see. The cost was great and the entertainment value was great. For that reason is why I would like to take in the World JR. Hockey Tournament. Local and something that won’t come around too often, if ever again especially so conveniently close.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Year for the "Ages"

After the story of the young baseball player that was not allowed to pitch because he was too good. It re-hashed my questions about age of athletes. As we are still only slightly removed from the Olympics and we are getting to the point where it and gymnastics will fall off the interest table I figured that I should touch on the young Chinese gymnasts again, and then I guess let it go since it looks like optics and proof are 2 very different things.

The IOC asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate possible violations as to the ages of members of the Chinese Gymnastics team.
Throughout the Olympics questions had been raised as to the true age of these VERY YOUNG looking girls. Younger gymnasts are considered to have an advantage because they are more flexible, and are likely to have an easier time doing the tough skills the sport requires. They also aren’t as likely to have a history of injuries or fear of failure. The age restriction was introduced to protect the athletes and their bodies from abuse (I know that sounds like the cop-out from the baseball people but i believe that it is really apples and oranges). It comes as little surprise that the Chinese are at the front of this story as they are not knows for the best human rights record, youth labour and being upfront or truthful.

It does seem awfully convenient that the documents that they use to prove the age of these girls are government issued and the when they control everything the documents, you can’t figure are worth the paper they are written on.

I am just glad that the US Team have other achievements and medals to make up for the ones that they are getting screwed out of. Sure the medal haul would be more impressive and potentially make them a few more dollars in endorsements after the games but at least they aren’t coming back empty handed.

There was a hope late during the games or shortly after that there was the possibility that there was info that may prove some impropriety and could “vault” the US team to a Team Gold and give Nastia Lukin the Gold in the uneven bars which she deserved anyway since she never “lost” but tied.

That is like saying in soccer it is 0-0 but you had 3 more shots on net so you win, craziness. Although if any sport would be foolish enough to do something i bet it would be soccer

Friday, August 29, 2008

Around the Horn

Chad Johnson has just taken the cake and we all must bow to him...He has reportedly legally changed his surname to 'Ocho Cinco'
This may not be "He Hate Me" but it is close. Even Manny being Manny thinks this is over the top.
From (There was a basketball player in the 80’s - World B. Free was an NBA player in the 1970s and 80s who changed his name from Lloyd Bernard Free in 1980. It’s long been considered the benchmark for novelty names.)...until now.

Kicker Jay Feely was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs, the after signing a one-year deal.
Almost as bad as the time that Rob Ducey was essentially traded for himself...not a proud moment for either guy.

When the news came out about Russia and Georgia how many people thought that it was the first out of conference game for the Bulldogs vs the New Red Army?

Michael Phelps had better sign up fast and get in the World Series of Poker if he hopes to keep his streak of SI covers intact. I don’t think that appearances on the VMA’s and SNL are enough to do it.

Michael Strahan decided to stay retired.
$8M to play and get hit and banged up every week or $2M to sit at Fox in a fancy chair, even with his divorce settlement I think he made a smart choice.

Shawne Merriman has decided to play this year with a tear in both his posterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament.
Is this a case of being: A Warrior? A Great Teammate? Loyal? OR Stupid, Selfish, or just plain not bright? Shut it down and get the surgery.

The LPGA is adopting a policy that players must be able to speak conversational English- at first glance this is just wrong and unjust.
On second glance it comes down to $$$ English = no schmoozing of sponsors = no sponsors = no tournament= NO TOUR

Which event was more choreographed The Opening and Closing Ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics or Barak Obama’s acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium in Denver last night?

In a report by La Presse Friday, the Montreal Canadiens plan to retire jersey No. 33 of goaltender Patrick Roy in November.
I just hope that his acceptance speech in front of the crowd goes better then the last speech that he had as a Canadien which was one-on-one with then president of the team Ronald Corey during a game which ended with him in Colorado (...stupid Mario Trembley).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Foul or Fair?

The Youth Baseball League of New Haven, Conn., has banned a 9-year-old from pitching, banned him because he throws too hard and too accurately.
Isn’t that the idea, throw hard and accurately? How do kids learn from this? How do the others get better?
The parents claim to be protecting their kids from being hurt. Fact is young Jericho Scott hasn’t hit anybody. Sounds like they are more concerned about protecting the kids from striking out not a ball between the numbers.
I used to play against a kid who had a beard and he was 13, I am not talking scruff I am talking a full out beard and he had a fireball for an arm, only difference was he wasn’t as accurate and I don’t recall anyone whining then.
And it goes both ways too. It is like when they put a kid on a pitch count in Little League games, I used to play ball 1on1 with a tennis ball half a day every day in the summer playing as my favorite team, switch hitting with the current lineups and then organized ball at least twice a week during the week, and occasionally just going out for a game of catch or pop 500...I don’t recall any pitch counts then.
Over protective parents are just hurting these young talented kids who are just looking to have fun and learn to play and get better.
No wonder why MLB pitchers gt hurt so often, they have been babied since the age of 9.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Flame Has Been Extinguished

The Olympics are over and surprisingly I am a little upset with that. I liked having the option of turning on the TV at any hour, any day and getting to see a sporting event that was not only some what interesting but occasionally compelling. I don’t know why it was compelling, there is no reason for it, I wouldn’t choose to watch fencing or water polo at any other time, but for 2 weeks I did, and enjoyed it as well. I guess I just gave into the Olympic spirit for 2 weeks and just enjoyed.
I am resigned to the fact that yes I am sure either within weeks, months or even years that there will be some sort of drug controversy or form of performance enhancing scandal and that yes the Chinese gymnasts were in fact not 16 nor even 14 and maybe not even double digits at all but that is OK.
There were a record number of world records broken, I believe in the neighborhood of 43. The pool was “juiced” the track was “juiced” the air didn’t seem to be as much of a factor as first thought.
There was a little bit of everything and there was a little bit for everybody, Triumph of a favorite winning the gold as everyone predicted like with USA’s Beach Volleyball and Basketball, the heartbreak of the favorite placing 8th like with Adam Van Koeverden. The tears of joy from a long shot getting on the podium like with former Russian-now German Oksana Chusovitina at age 33 (twice the age of some competitors and possibly 3 times the age of some of the Chinese gymnasts) who moved to Germany so her son could receive the health care he required. There was also the horrible sportsmanship of the athlete who took off his bronze and threw it to the mat claiming he was not there for 3rd place, or the Cuban who pushed a referee and snap-kicked a judge in the head after he was disqualified from a match-now under a lifetime ban.
After the terrible attack and early and murder of US Men’s Volleyball coach’s in-law the games went on without a hitch or reported incidents.
It is too bad that few will care about diving, table tennis speed walking and badminton for another 4 years but when it is London’s turn in 2012 lets hope for more of what we just got. The bar has been set high, but the athletes are probably high too so i guess it is fitting.
All I know is I enjoyed it and hopefully everyone else did as well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Around the Horn

Firstly, Congratulations to Phil Dalhauser and Todd Rogers on their 3 Set Gold Medal win last night 23-21, 17-21, 15-4. in the men’s beach final. It was a great match and I was glad I was able to stay up for the duration. The 3rd set was taken over by the best player in the world, Dalhauser who made the Great Wall of China pale in comparison to his giant wing span . He was blocking everything in sight as the US team dominated the Brazilians to claim gold. It was hot, humid and sunny for the match, a far cry from what Kerri Walsh and Misty May had to play through the day before.
Now the Beach is closed in Beijing.

Swedish wrestler Ara Abrahamian threw his bronze medal to the mat, and walked off the podium.
What a child, everyone knows that a bronze is the second best medal. If it was a silver I would understand.
Gold= Win
Bronze= At least you get something
Maybe he just had to put his medal down because his soup was ready (Huh Mr. Sundin??)

So they are canceling Woman's Softball from the Olympics because the US is too good?
Interesting, if that were true would Japan not just upset them, Explain to me that logic.

U.S. 400m relay teams drop their batons and will miss the finals
Someone must have said " is that a syringe coming behind you?" and they panicked and it dropped (allegedly)

Water Polo is impressive in the fact that they never touch the bottom of the pool during a match.
What is even more impressive is that it is the closest thing to a death sport in the Olympics... it would probably be the closest thing to MMA at the games. Water Cube or cage...Think I’ll take the cage...what happens under the water stays under the water

I just saw BMX as a sport being demonstrated in the Olympics
The is the Olympics not the X games, get out of Beijing and go back to Cleveland.

Jose Calderon has a ‘strained adductor’ not good news for the Raptors and their point guard
We here in Ottawa know all too well that a strained adductor can prove to be more troublesome then the actual injury itself...Dominic Hasek, I am looking in your direction.

IOC president Jacques Rogge made some comments regarding Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt for showing a lack of respect to other competitors
This guy is head of the IOC - not the most credible organization in the world, clean up your judging (actual event judging and not your judgemental high and mighty judging first) Just remember about people living in glass houses.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dream In Gold

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh managed to do a couple of the more difficult things in sports last night. Misty and "6 Feet of Sunshine" didn’t need any sunshine as they played in a driving rainstorm that perhaps helped the Chinese even the playing field a bit. Not only did they go into Beijing as the favourites (not ranked #1 which makes no sense but whatever) to win gold in Beach Volleyball but that is what they actually did! Not always easy to live up to lofty expectations. They not only accomplished that but they did it without loosing a single set and have pushed thier record to 108 matches since their last loss and 14th straight at the Olympics. That is over a year of competition both domestic on the AVP Tour and Internationally and covers this and the Athens Olympics. They also are the first team to ever win back to back gold at the Olympics.

With the 21-18, 21-18 win the duo have cemented them selves as the greatest female team ever on the beach and have made a strong case as the greatest team ever - male or female. For Walsh, the win marks her 100th career victory, becoming the youngest and fastest to ever reach the 100 wins. Misty has 103 wins. They are the only 2 women in an elite group that includes beach volleyball legends Karch Kiraly, Sinjin Smith, Randy Stoklos and Kent Steffes.

The only troublesome thing now is that both May and Walsh are looking to start families very soon and will most likely take 2009 off to have babies. Hopefully this isn’t the end of this dominating pair and they have at least 1 more Olympics left in them and a few AVP seasons left.
As Misty joked following the match maybe they can both start the next great pressure for any yet to be created babies. But wouldn’t that be something?!

Like Misty says; individually they are good, together they are GOLDEN!

I am a huge volleyball fan and love to watch the game even if TSN and Sportsnet think that fat guys playing poker, dog shows and spelling bees are more compelling and offer higher ratings. If that is true then that is just wrong.
You know that I will be rooting for "The Thin Beast" Phil Dalhauser and "The Professor" Todd Rogers to grab the men’s gold tonight but it is not as sure a thing as May Walsh I am afraid, should prove to be a good match.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Positively Beaming

The US Golden girl is finally golden. Shawn Johnson has won gold on the beam. Not the gold that she may have wanted but a gold none the less. For a while it looked like the projected superstar for the US Gymnastics Team may have had to settle for only silver as she continued to fall just short of gold in every event. I started to really feel for this young girl who was so highly touted to be draped in gold by this point of the games. She fell short in the Team All Around. She was beaten out by teammate Nastia Lukin in the All Around and grabbed yet another silver in the Floor Exercise. I was rooting hard for this athlete who came in with so much pressure on her (legitimately)16 year old shoulders. After each blow that she took she always had those big eyes and that huge smile and a hug for a teammate or fellow competitor. Sure 2nd is a huge accomplishment but gold is gold. She is now one of the most decorated Olympians in US Gymnastics and the gold just helps solidify that. To be able to stay as focused, through all the disappointment and to come through in her last event was what the Olympic games are supposed to be about. Determination, perseverance and excellence. Way to Go Shawn!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LPGA CN Canadian Open

On Thursday I had the opportunity to go to the first round of the CN Canadian Open held at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club an event that was both historic and of great interest to me. It was the 100th anniversary of the course, possibly one of or more likely the last professional tournament that Hall of Fame golfer and probably the greatest women’s golfer of all time Annika Sorenstam, plus just the opportunity to be there in person and see a live golf event firsthand. Though no longer a major many still feel that it is and the is why they managed to get some 48 of the top 50 players on tour into the field.

The event itself was first class all the way, well organized, good course and very accessible, great field and the fact that they managed to raise over $1 million for CHEO was just a great feat.

From a more selfish or perhaps a more personal angle, getting to go that round was awesome. One thing that find very difficult is to get people to go to important events such as this with me which has forced me to miss some things in the past that I would have liked to do and/or taken in but I guess that is out of my control. This time I supposed the stars aligned and I was able to take advantage and I am so glad that I did.
I got to see and follow some great golf from great players and see them all up close and personal.

That is where things hit the pinnacle for me on a personal level. As someone who enjoys acquiring autographs this was the perfect event. From what I hear and what I now know the two best professionals that make themselves the most accessible are NASCAR Drivers and LPGA Players. Big or small those ladies were terrific. I noticed it early with a ton of people walking around with signed hats that had been gotten during the Pro-Am and practice rounds. To make a long story short I managed to get a few ladies autographs some well known and some lower tier but at that point it didn’t matter it was still cool.
The ladies went out of their way to sign as much as they could and when you think of the demand on them it make is all the more impressive with how well they handle it and how good they are.

The two that I would have liked to get but was unable to was World #1 Lorena Ochoa whom I missed just because of bad timing and Michelle Wie who just passed me by but I was unprepared and didn’t get the book and Sharpie out in time…Rookie Mistake.
I was side by side Canadian favourite Lori Kane, Bombshell Natalie Gulbis, and walked with the rising star Paula Creamer. The highlight though for me was the main reason I wanted to go in the first place and that was to see Annika, whom I have loved since I was in high school, before she was the Hall of Fame golfer she is now. I watched her hit puts for maybe 20 minutes after her round. I not only did I manage to get her autograph on the cover of the program but was able to walk with her for a bit.
The beauty of this was there was no velvet rope or fence between us, no imposing police man or bodyguard, just her caddy and maybe 3 other people. She was nice made some small talk and was gracious the full time to all that were there.

So with that, thanks to the Ladies for making my week, month and probably more, and showing how great of people and golfers they truly are!