Sunday, November 21, 2010

Drive for five complete


Jimmie Johnson finished second at Homestead to win his fifth consecutive Cup Series title.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Time To Reconnect - A Blog's Return

First off I need to make the following statement:

As it has been said by one of the great wordsmiths of our generation " Don’t call it a comeback I been here for years, Rockin’ my peers, Puttin’ suckers in fear, Makin’ the tears rain down like a monsoon - Listen to the bass go boom" - LL Cool J

The last month or so has been rough and I have just not had the energy to be creative as it relates to this Blog and for that I apologies. To those loyal readers I am sorry for the lack of content and updates and I will try my best to supply you with more sports news and opinions and maybe if all goes well some laughs too going forward. Time got away from me but I am back on the horse and It is time for some brief updates just to ease back into the game as it were.

My boy Jimmie Johnson is only a few points behind leader Denny Hamlin in the NASCAR Sprint Cup going into the last race of the season at Homestead Miami Speedway. This is the closest that the series’ Championship race has been since they changed to the "Chase" format. Also in contention is Kevin Harvick who, despite being more of a dark horse is still in a very good position to sneak up and take the lead an win his first Cup Championship. Jimmie Johnson is going for an unprecedented 5th straight championship and if he was able to pull of that minor miracle he would have to be in the discussion as the greatest driver ever. Sure he is probably one of the tops of all time but to string together a run for "Cinco" would be epic. I love the dynasty and seeing historic moments so I am rooting for that story line to play out but as a realist I think that unfortunately it may now be time for Denny Hamlin’s time to shine.

The World Series was taken again by the team with the best pitching and a surprising timely offence. This time it was the San Francisco Giants. What is the worst most sad aspect of this is that my Braves were 3 Brooks Conrad errors away from ousting the Giants in the Wild Card Round. Who knows what might have happened had they managed that final victory in Bobby Cox’s final playoff appearance...oh what could have been. But it what the "Mitch Kramer" look alike Tim Lincecum that led the team to the victory.

The Lakers are who we thought they were so if you want to crown them, then crown their asses. Kobe is still the man and lets just hope they have enough talent to take the title again. In that same line of thought lets hope the Heat don’t even get a sniff at the finals so we don’t have to deal with LeBron, Dwayne, and their tag along little brother like forward Chris Bosh. They could have saved them self a lot of trouble by just keeping Michael Beasley whom they gave away for nothing and is virtually the same player as Bosh. Granted the Raptors should have got Beasley in the sign and trade but that is just another bad personnel move by people at MLSE.

As for the Ottawa Senators they are in the middle of the pack, right where I figured they'd be. At the beginning of the season I was worried where the offence was going to come from and thus far I still have the same concern. They have a lot of depth on the team but without a true trigger man or two it is hard to get consistent scoring, even from the top players. It has been better of late but there is plenty of room for an upgrade on the first two lines. Only problem with that is that it is so hard to make deals. Getting what they need is far easier said then done. The defence is starting to help out offensively so that is good but you can't presume that that kind of help is going to consistently be there. We are near game 20, a traditional measuring point for a teams success going forward and it is what it is. Guess we will see where the team is at in another 15-20 and re-assess.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Brave Celebration - Part 2 of 2

So my Atlanta Braves only needed to win 2 games on the final weekend or win one and San Diego to lose 1 and they would clinch the Wild Card. The Padres needed to sweep San Francisco to force a tie and a one game playoff for the West Division Title. The loser of that game would then play the Braves in a Wild Card Playoff the next day. OK, so the Braves controlled their own destiny, can’t ask for much more then that...unless you decide to get the crap kicked out of you on Friday, get basically shut down completely on Saturday... neither of the games were started by Halladay or Oswalt either. Not a good position to be in going into a Sunday needing a victory to not only prolong the season for the team and the fans but also to do just that for the storied career of manager Bobby Cox.

As I do not have the MLB package and PeachtreeTV still being classified as a movie channel I was unable to watch the game. If I am not going to watch I don’t want to see updates during either of the two crucial ball games. 100% focus on Football where coverage is all NFL and nothing else.

While watching the game the out of town scores were up in the corner and in a glance I saw the score Braves 8 Phillies 2, it would have been around midway through the game. This was a relief and gave a sense of calm... cautious optimistic one might say. I continued with this until I felt like the game must be about done based on the elapsed time so I decided to check on the outcome of the game. The only problem with that was the game was not over and was in the top of the 9th and somehow the score had tightened up to a nerve wracking 8-7. You could almost feel it all just slipping off of the fingertips. The only "saving" grace was that old man Wagner came in to shut the door in the 9th with 3 nasty cutters that sealed the deal and but the Braves in a Wild Card position pending the outcome of the San Diego San Francisco game.
Yeah, there was more drama then that was needed, but that is what happens when you blow the two previous weekend games.

So It is off to San Fran and that game. This one I kept an eye on the score a little more closely. 2-0 for the majority of the game, but in the back of the mind I was just waiting for that Trolly to fall off the tracks. Buster Posey added a little insurance with a solo home run and Brian Wilson - not that one - came in to save the game looking like a cross between Jeff Reardon and Ricky Vaughn. He slammed the door shut on the Padres season clinching the West for San Francisco and setting up a first round match up between the Giants and the Braves.

So despite all the drama and all the critical injuries to a couple of the top Braves players (Chipper Jones & Martin Prado) everything is now set and right. The Braves are in the Playoffs and kicks things off on Thursday and Bobby Cox can continue to do what he does and lead his team.


GO BRAVES!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Brave(s) Celebration - Part 1 of 2

Well, my Atlanta Braves had a nice ceremony before a packed house at Turner Field before the game Saturday versus the Philadelphia Phillies. The attendance was the most for a baseball game in either Atlanta Foulton County Stadium or Turner Field of all time. I was nice to see a packed house in Atlanta, It has been a long time. The occasion was to celebrate the career and contributions of their manager Bobby Cox. Cox will be retiring at the end of the season, which was prolonged by some gut wrenching baseball, but I will get to that.

Cox is the only manager that I gave really ever known since I began following the Braves in the Early 90’s. Until that point I was Blue Jays thru and thru but there was something about the Braves when I was first exposed to them in 1991 when they went to the World Series versus the Twins.
Bobby was hired as manager first in 1978 but was fired in 1981 and replaced by Joe Torre who led the team to their first divisional title since 1969. Cox landed with the Blue Jays in 82 and managed until 1985. At that time Cox went back to Atlanta as the General Manager. Bobby began to build his team over the next few years and in 1990 decided to replace Russ Nixon with himself, where the team ended with the worst record in baseball, at 65–97. Apparently Bobby knew what type of team he was building and figured he was the best person to lead them. Apparently he was right because for 14 straight years (OK a strike may have gotten in the way and maybe the Expos would have won the World Series but unfortunately we will never know) the Braves won their division and won one World Series. I don’t know what it was that attracted me to the team but I am glad that I attached my fan cart to that teams horse.

The Braves, in celebrating Cox presented him with a very nice portrait of him up on the top step of the dugout, a bench that was made of baseball bats and balls (autographed by the team) and a nice new car. Apparently he has enough pickup trucks that they thought he should also have a car. My favorite player, one Mr. Chipper Jones, who does not do a lot of talking, presented a nice speech to commemorate Bobby and his time with the Braves and all his years in Baseball.
This is the conclusion to part 1 of the end of the Braves 2010 Regular Season. Part 2 will be the gut wrenching way the Braves extended their season and managed to obtain the Wild Card birth on the last day of the season. Stay tuned for that soon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Around The Horn

Google Images saved Troy Woolfolk a Michigan Football Player From Going ‘to Jail’. Woolfork forgot his license and had to rely on his smartphone to "Google" himself to prove to police his identification. Had he not done so he would have been taken to jail.
As it was stated...The real lesson is that it’s okay to forget your license or your smart phone, but not both.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was in the news during training camp for not carrying Roy Williams pads, not knowing the rookie ritual. To make up for that misstep he took on paying for dinner for the entire team to make amends. A few more players then he may have thought showed up or maybe he knew what he was getting into. In any event the damage of the meal was reported to be $54,896. Bryant is making $2.8 million this season so no one should feel too bad for him.

Until today I was unaware that Chad Ochocinco had a cereal, now I am glad he does. There is a number on the box that directs customers to donate to help feed the children...however the phone number is supposed to connect callers to the charity, which benefits from sales of the Cincinnati Bungles wide receiver’s cereal was incorrect and it sends callers to a Sex Line. On Wednesday, Chad had urged fans to go to his web site to order the cereal and "Start your day with a lil suga!!!". New boxes are to be in production soon and the incorrect boxes have been taken off the shelves. What are the odds that something like this would happen to Ochocinco... too funny!
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday that he is against kicking women’s hockey out of the Olympics and it would be a "huge mistake," Based on his popularity with the IOC and the IIHF this may be like the "vote of confidence" that a GM will give a coach. Bettman can only do more harm then good sow trying to stick up for the woman’s game is probably more harmful. If it does get to stay as an Olympic sport it may be in spite of his comments. The guy just seems to be toxic to anyone who isn’t an owner of an NHL Team.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Hits

It has been too long since I have updated the blog. I will have to be more diligent in the future. With the NHL getting ready to start up its regular season I am sure that more regular updates will be made. Once the teams break camp there will likely be something to comment on on a regular basis. Some good, some bad but that is the fun of it. As for right now just a few "Quick Hits" from around the various sports as we all hold our collective breaths for some real game action in hockey and post season baseball (the kind of ball that is meant to be played and every pitch is watched and scrutinized as a potential turning point or momentum changer)...almost getting goose bumps just thinking about it.

And now the Quick Hits:

~ Ben Roethlisberger is one week away from completing his suspension. I say leave him on the bench and let ex-Lion Charlie Batch keep playing. He’s paid his due playing in Detroit and holding a clipboard for the last several years.

~David Frost of the Frost/Danton fame is in LA selling Hockey equipment under an alias that is his wife’s maiden name. Even if it is above board it still leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

~On the TSN Site, Jesse Palmer shares his thoughts on Eli Manning committing the biggest no-no for a quarterback and with a straight face did not bring up going on the Bachelor. For a guy who was the backup for the Giants to say anything is just funny.

~The sad reality is that we are getting closer and closer to basketball starting. I love watching basketball but I am already Lebron’d out and they haven’t even hit camp yet.

~My Braves are trying as best they can to play their way out of the playoffs and the Wild Card hunt. I want the team to do well on a selfish level as a fan, but more so for Bobby Cox who will be retiring at the end of the season. A nice gift would be a return to the post season for one of the true greats all time in baseball. Lets home they can pick it up in the last few games and give their bench boss a proper send off. The Jays couldn't do it for Cito so maybe the Tomahawk has a little magic left in it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lions and Stafford and Andrews, OH My

The hard luck Detroit Lions lost yet another game on a blown call. Calvin Johnson’s apparent game winning reception was ruled incomplete for no reason and even by the letter of the rule I still don’t believe that the correct call was "interpreted" by the referees. He clearly had the ball palmed the ball across the plane of the end zone both feet in bounds, arm down, sitting on his butt. At that point he got up using the ball for leverage and then willingly and on purpose let go of the ball...sounds like a catch in my books. The Lions needed this win and for that call to go their way for many reasons; a) they are the Lions and they never get a break, b) It is a bad rule and an even worse interpretation c) I have Calvin Johnson on my fantasy team and I REALLY could have used those points d) Not only did they loose the game but they lost their starting QB Matt Stafford after he was injured and will now be missing likely 1-6 weeks due to an injured shoulder. He doesn’t seem to need surgery but this could prove to be a big red flag for the lions as Stafford ended last season on IR.

Stafford went down to Alabama and met with a man that needs no introduction in the sports community and is probably one of the most famous doctors in the world. All you have to do is hear his name and you can almost diagnose the problem yourself and what is going to be done with many of your favorite players. I speak of course to the doctor with the Rock Star status...Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Andrews is an orthopedic surgeon and is regarded in the sports world as the leading expert on shoulders, elbows and forearms...just about the entire arm and sometimes he will even branch out and have a look see at the occasional knee; ACL, MCL, PCL...he does not discriminate.

Dr. Andrews who is currently approaching 70 and is getting older. What happens when he retires? Where will everyone go, what will players do? How will the fans know what is going on with their stars and who will become the new go to guy in the world of orthopedic surgery. Who will do all the Tommy John Surgeries?

It is almost funny that Dr. Andrews name is nearly as famous as the procedures that he preforms when doing Tommy John reconstruction.

* Bob Sanders has undergone surgery to repair the torn right biceps muscle that he suffered in the season-opener against Houston. Famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews performed the operation on Sanders

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Beach Is Closed

THE AVP
July 21, 1983 - August 13,2010

It was a sad day on a personal level when I learned the news that the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) was forced to suspend operations and prematurely end the 2010 season due to financial hardships.

Commissioner Mike Dodd had this statement following the announcement:
"Through the course of this investor search we have encountered individuals and groups with intelligence, common sense and a passion for the game of beach volleyball," said Mike Dodd, AVP commissioner. "Unfortunately, the time constraints were such that pulling the trigger on the amount of money necessary to salvage this season were too great. Ironically this sad news comes as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Manhattan Open, our sport’s crown jewel and the one event that showed us all we could dream big. The Open has seen its ups and downs over the years and always persevered. I’m sure our sport will do the same."

This was a tough thing to hear but also a tough thing to learn. It was nearly a week before I was even aware that this decision was made which I was a little put off by. The first that I had heard of this news was that I got an SI alert that involved Keri Walsh’s name when she threatened to boycott the revamped Manhattan Beach Open because the beach volleyball tournament won’t be played under the accepted international rules.

Until that point I was unaware that the AVP was no more. The fact that there was no news reports I guess speaks to just how niche the sport really is. Volleyball is far from easy to find on the TV dial and only for 1-2 hours every few weeks could you find one or the other Men’s or Women's finals on ABC. You can almost never find Indoor matches even during the times when the World Championships are on.
Unfortunately for the sport people only see it every 4 years at the Olympics and when it is out of sight it is out of mind. It is too bad I always looked forward to when there were games on the tube. Hopefully some more FIVB tour games will be televised in Canada/US but only time will tell. It would be best if they could get a real strong title sponsor and could make the AVP financially viable but that could be tough.

Beach volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1996 and it was helped by the quality of play and players on the AVP tour that helped bring the sport to the foreground.

A committed group, a strong title sponsor and network help will all have to come together to get this back up and running and keep it strong. There is a lot of talent on the beach and unless these games are going to be played on North American TV and on North American soil and not just overseas.

As a fan and a televised sports viewer I cross my fingers that there will be more Volleyball on TV, ether on the beach, indoor, NCAA, International - whatever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Woman's Hockey - The Fight For Survival

Late last week the 4 day summit on the state of hockey on various levels and both the men's and woman's games drew to a close. The day 4 focus was where the game is more so internationally in the woman's game. We all know that there are really just 2 teams at the top of the mountain, Canada and the USA then there are the rest. Sure there are some countries that are making some great strides over the last few years to make their woman's programs a little more competitive but there is still a big gap. The big question continues to be how big is this gap and is there enough ground being made up on a year by year basis by the lesser countries to make woman's hockey a viable option in the Olympics.

It is great when you are Canadian and you know that the worst you are going to finish is 2nd but if it all goes by the waste side what is the point. When you get 2 good teams like Canada and the USA play you get a good game and they put on a good product. If the other countries can make a solid effort and keep growing then the game will make it on its own merit and this won't be an issue after the next Olympics.

The woman are looking to create a strong "pro league" and that can only help grow not only the sport but the overall awareness and maybe get more players involved at younger ages if they know that there is actually something to aspire to and shoot for. I look at a woman's North American Pro League like that of junior hockey. When we see players on the national team, either on the USA or Canada we can choose our favorites but after that tournament they are gone from our sports viewing. if they went back to club teams then you can follow them better and become fans. It is similar to professional wrestling, in the past there were all these regional promotions and splinter cells all around. Then they were all eventually absorbed into bigger more national entities. then you get a WCW/WWE type production which is big. Bigger names, more recognisable players and teams and a stronger more structured set up (provided that it is done correctly). I think that there would be a market for that and with the right amount of team in the right markets it could not grow the game and thrive but help good players from other countries have a chance to not only play with better players but also and maybe more importantly practice with better players and coaches.

I like the men's game for the tough and skilled play, but I also like the woman's game with little or no hitting because it make the game faster and more free flowing. the less contact the less obstruction and the faster the pace. The skill can still be there and tempers can still get high but it doesn't happen as often or needlessly. If there are 2 things that I just can't stand is every time there is a whistle that all the players have to skate into a pile and start face-washing each other and the other is every time a player gets hit there has to be a fight. Even if the hit is clean players seem to think that everything needs to looked at as being predatory and "If you are a good teammate you'll stick up for your guy". What a load of crap...clean is clean, just play the game. It is a collision game, collisions will happen.

Both men's and woman's games have pros and cons but one thing they have in common is they both deserve to stay as Olympic Sports.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What Is Wrong With Today's Youth?

The Little League World Series is going on in Williamsport, Pennsylvania was on ABC this past weekend. Since, once again Canada has not sent a team that is in a position to compete for the title (especially after loosing to Taiwan 23-0). This is fun baseball to watch even though the field looks sooooo tiny.

Sadly what stuck out to me the most was the uniforms that the kids were wearing. Lets get one thing straight - It is NOT OK for the little douche slacker kids walking around the streets with their ironed flat billed hats, especially if they are ones that sport the logo of real teams, even worse when it is "blinged" out NY or LA hats with a picture of the skyline ion them. It is even worse when this look moves to the playing field. These Justin Beiber Looking M-F’ers wearing their hats like this on the playing field is not only annoying but is mocking the uniform and the integrity of the game. If I were the manager I would have these kids bending the brim and looking like they belong on the team and the field.

I blame the C.C. Sabathia’s of the sport for wearing their hats like this. Thankfully in the majors it is the exception not the rule that players are adopting this ridiculous look. In any event, someone needs to get to the youth of today and put a stop to the straight brimmed hipster doufaced slacker look, not just on the streets but more importantly on the baseball field.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Sounds of Baseball - Can You Feel It?


Baseball is America’s pass time. Sure, through the years and the growth of technology it has had a more difficult time staying on top of the cultural landscape but to those who have either been in the bridge period and have experienced both the electronic age and the days where it was not uncommon to only get 1 game a week on TV or only be able to enjoy baseball games on the radio using the skill of the broadcaster and your own imagination to really appreciate how special the game is. It is a game with distinctive sounds that is en grained in us. Whether it is from the voices on the radio like the icons from the past like Ernie Harwell, Jack Buck, Mel Allen, Harry Caray, Red Barber and Vin Scully. Baseball just seems to have its own personality and also be home of great personalities.

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there is a man on base."
– Dave Barry


I recall the sounds of the game while listening to Blue Jays Baseball with Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth on the radio. At the time it was the main source of play by play that you could get. Jays games were covered well on radio and were available. You were lucky if CTV had a Sunday and maybe a Wednesday game on, but that was VERY RARE. There was usually a game of the week but unless you were a Yankee’s fan that was all you were going to get. It was regional games and that was your region.

I then got cable and that was the beginning of more exposure. More exposure and more games led to more variety. It was then that I began to embrace America’s team as my own and they quickly became my favorite team. These were the Atlanta Braves. It was the TBS Superstation that had a big part to play in this. It was a team that had its own network and was shown all over and had just about every game (granted the 14 consecutive division titles didn’t hurt either). They employed 4 of the classic voices that I now associate with baseball. The late Skip Carey, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson and Don Sutton.

For me it always comes down to the sounds, the sounds of the game and the music that is associated with it. It is strange how a few chimes of music can take you back to a simpler time, a time when the most important thing was turning a double play or getting that timely. The Atlanta Braves Tomahawk Chop, and various ‘pump up the crowd organ music. The theme music when certain players enter (eg. Chipper Jones and Crazy Train or Mariano Rivera and Enter Sandman). Perhaps even to a lesser extent OK, Blue Jays. The intro to Blue Jays Baseball, The MLB Theme from FOX, the Sunday Night Baseball Theme from ESPN and the one that takes me back to when I was just a kid the theme music from TWIB (This Week In Baseball), that still sometimes gives me goose-bumps. Oh, and let us not forget the most famous of them all... ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’.

"Why does everybody stand up and sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ when they’re already there?"
--Larry Andersen


Even music from baseball movies have a special feeling to them and their ties to the game. The music from The Natural-when Roy Hobbs hits that epic home run. Just about every 3rd scene from Field of Dreams. It seemed that even the background music from that move made you "feel baseball". Even hearing ‘Wild Thing’ and seeing Charlie Sheen with those skull black glasses.

"Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything."
-- Toby Harrah


In a game that is more a game then a sport it has captivated fans and has survived the test of time. Sure there has been many a dark day but they always seem to get through it. The 1919 Black Sox scandal, the exclusion of negro players and how long it took for those ballplayers to not only get to play but actually get a fair shake. Now, more then anytime before the cloud over the game has cast a very ugly shadow. Steroids, Amphetamines , HGH, PEDS have tainted the purity of the game and it is just now looking to be getting clean or cleaner the cheats are always a few steps ahead of the good guys.

Just remember:
"A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz."
-- Humphrey Bogart

Monday, August 02, 2010

A SIMPLE EXPLANATION OF BASEBALL

This is a game played by two teams, one out the other in. The one that’s in, sends players out one at a time, to see if they can get in before they get out. If they get out before they get in, they come in, but it doesn’t count. If they get in before they get out it does count. When the ones outget three outs from the ones in before they get in without being out, the team that’s out comes in and the team in goes out to get those going in out before they get in without being out. When both teams have been in and out nine times the game is over. The team with the most in without being out before coming in wins unless the ones in are equal. In which case, the last ones in go out to get the ones in out before they get in without being out. The game will end when each team has the same number of ins out but one team has more in without being out before coming in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sportsnet ONE to launch on August 14

Here is the storey on Sportsnet regarding their new channel... I will give my opinion on this soon but in the mean time read this and gear up for more live sports...It may not be ESPN but it may be a start or at least an improvement.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/one/

Sportsnet ONE to launch on August 14

Canadian sports fans will have another channel -- and hours of more live sports -- to choose from when Sportsnet ONE launches on Aug. 14.

More than 800 hours of live sports programming -- featuring the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and Barclays Premier League soccer -- will be available to viewers across the country, the bulk of it in high definition, on the 24-hour national sports digital channel.

Also scheduled to be broadcast are other MLB games, including the Seattle Mariners, and various NBA games.

"We know there is an incredible appetite for live-event sports, and we plan to fulfill that need," Doug Beeforth, president of Rogers Sportsnet, said Tuesday. "We are confident that Sportsnet will be a must watch for Canadian sports fans, and a great addition to the sports broadcasting landscape in Canada."

Sportsnet ONE launches Aug.14 at 12 noon, beginning with a Barclays Premier League match featuring defending champion Chelsea and West Brom, followed by a 4 pm ET / 1 pm PT MLB game and then the Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT.

"Sportsnet ONE is the perfect complement to our four regional channels," said Beeforth. "We have established a reputation for live events on Rogers Sportsnet, and Sportsnet ONE continues that tradition."

Rogers Media, which owns Sportsnet ONE as well as the existing four Sportsnet channels (East, Ontario, West and Pacific), received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a category mainstream sports channel license in March. Sportsnet ONE will be a national channel with the ability to broadcast regional content.

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Le-Gong Show

Wow, what a sceptical and what a joke last nights LeBron infomercial was. That was the most un-necessary, over hyped egotistical and poorly produced thing they could have done. It is bad enough that ESPN, who usually prides itself as being at the very least as a network that does a good job at the programs they put on the air, failed miserably. Softball questions, no before and after reaction from the towns an array of interviews with LeBron by different people asking the same questions and not getting very satisfying answers.

It was a dick move to put yourself ahead of not only the league but to hold the other teams hostage, to not let them know was one of many poor decisions from the James camp. Not letting the Heat know (Allegedly) until minutes before. Doing it the way he did it was just one big giant middle finger to the Cavs fans, the team and maybe even the state.


Sure it may be an exciting team to watch now with James, Bosh and Wade but it would have been easier to accept if done professionally and through the correct and regular channels. I will root for Wade to succeed but as of now Lebron is so far down my depth chart of athletes that I like it will be hard to recapture his original standing. He is a huge talent for sure but in my eyes...and many others he is just a spoiled rich kid looking for camera time.


If you are going to move move, thats fine. It is a business and this does give the best chance for Championships but just be humble about it. He went from the most popular person in the league to probably, unless you are a Heat Fan as one of the most disliked. I relate it to the WWE where the once good guy bashes another good guy in the head with a chair and instantly turns into a heal (or bad guy), and the people say "Why? You used to be so good, why would you disappoint us like this?"


At least the Heat will get a boost in ticket sales and NBA merchandising money

Thursday, July 08, 2010

LeBron-A-Thon

The LeBron-A-Thon has almost reached the climax and it could not have come any sooner. This media driven hype factory has been more aggravating then the annual Brett Favre saga that we have to sit through every year. Now, on the plus side with other terrible events going on like the world cup, at least some of the focus has been deflected from it.

So tonight is the night that it is all to go down with an hour long "Selection Show" on the ‘Mother Ship’ aka. ESPN. This is an unprecedented move for a free agent to take up an hours worth of network programming to make an announcement of this nature. They say that the money raised will be going to the Boys and Girls Club of America. A transparent attempt to cover a narcissistic, self indulgent, 1 hour infomercial. Nothing says needy kids like The Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich Connecticut. If you wasn’t to help the kids donate some of your millions that you are going to make under this new contract or better yet some of your time. Not everything needs to be a sceptical. If you are trying to grow a Global Brand in LeBron Inc. This type of behavior and action is not going to help public image.


The other 2 big players were Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade seemed to do things right and did his other meetings with other teams but didn’t make a show of it. Bosh on the other hand took a camera crew to his interviews with all the teams for a documentary his production company is going to make. That with all the tweets and what not was aggravating but not to the level LeBron took it. Wade and Bosh have decided to land in South Beach with the Heat so at least that ended that. Now if James goes there it will be interesting to see what other pieces they add to them to take a run at some championships.
Question: Does Will Smith make some money on royalties tonight when Lebron grabs the Heat Hat and "I'm going too Miami" starts playing and the light show and confetti begins?


It is funny that at the end of the day, if all 3 end up with the Heat that the one that was the quietest and most professional will be the leader of the team. Make no mistake this is WADE’s Team. If LeBron wanted to be the Michael Jordan type guy he would be the leader of his own team like Mike was, like Kobe is, not just a complementary player...an All Star and maybe talent wise one of the best ever but not the face of the team.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Neverending Match Ended

Love Tennis? Hate Tennis? Don’t care about Tennis? It doesn’t matter in this case. This is one of those stories that is just something that transcends the sport. This is not just an achievement in terms of an athletic feat but it is just captivating in terms of the magnitude of this one match.

The longest match up to this point was 6 hours, 33 minutes, set at the 2004 French Open, and the previous record for longest-ever fifth set was a mere 40 games. That pales in comparison to today’s match between American and 23rd seeded John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut. This match has not only been suspended once due to darkness When the score was 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3) . Then they came back for the 5th and deciding set the next day. That 5th set made for the longest match in history and then it also got suspended due to darkness when the match was ties 59-59 in games. Each player has held serve the entire set and just keep going back and forth.

The two greatest match I have seen have both been at Wimbledon. One was Roger Federer vs Nadal and the other was Federer vs Andy Roddick. No one is accusing this as being games of that nature. Those were exciting well played edge of your seat action with the trophy on the line. This is more like a boxing match without a 12 or 15 round limit. This is where both guys are getting their shots in and it is just back and forth shot for shot and the first mistake will likely cost one of these young men the game.

The thing with this game is that we may not remember the names of these guys 5 years from now but we will remember the match as the "Lamb Chop Match"....the one that ‘Will never end, yes it goes on and on my friends, some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because...’ it is an unbelievable feat not just in terms of time but of games played and the will of these two athletes.

And it is over 70-68 for the 23rd ranked John Isner and his 112 aces. And thus concludes one of the craziest tennis matches that you may ever see or hear about again in 11+ hours. For a first round match a lot of effort and energy was extended.
To put it all in perspective the first 4 sets went 2h 54min the 5th set alone lasted longer then the LONGEST MATCH EVER 8h 11min over 3 days...cricket matches end faster then this did...WOW.
note: I am usually wrong when it comes to making wagers on the Proline but I will throw this out there...bet on whomever either of these guys plays in the next round...these gentlemen will almost have to be spent after this and after 3 days of play for one match there may be some scheduling issues that may creep into play. Also look to see these dudes in some Degree, AXE or Old Spice Deodorant/antiperspirant commercial in the near future!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Wizard of Westwood

It has been close to 2 weeks now but I didn’t want to not touch on the passing of arguably one of the best coaches, not just in basketball but in any major team sport.
UCLA’s icon John Wooden passed away June 4th in his 99th year. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (inducted in 1961) and as a coach (inducted in 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories. Only two others since have had that honour.
All he did as a coach was win. This is shown by the ten NCAA National Championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA. 3 of his tems went through perfect and undefeated. Also he was a winner off the court in his teaching of his players and just regular people alike. His Pyramid of Success is part of what made him so great as a teacher of both basketball and life.The Pyramid of Success consists of philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. In his later years he was hired by corporations to deliver inspirational lectures and even appeared in commercials for Hartford Insurance and the NCAA.

Some of Woodens Maxims include:
• Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
• Flexibility is the key to stability.
• Be quick, but don’t hurry.

I am glad to say that I was able to get this All Time Greats autograph before he passed away and also received a card with information about the Pyramid of Success and his 7 point creed. Pretty cool to get something like that from a legend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seven Up-In LA

It is a nice thing to see a good team actually play as a team, play with effort and play with heart. The Lakers are a good team and when they show up and play with some urgency they make shots, force turnovers, get rebounds, play good defence and force good luck and good bounces.

While watching the Lakers-Celtics game 6 last night, although one-sided it was still good to watch, especially as a Kobe and Lakers fan. When the team you are rooting for manages a victory in the double digits and the game never in doubt you can sit back and watch a game and enjoy it for what it is and not fear that this could be the end of the line.

The Lakers bench and rest of the team for that matter actually showed up to play and played with a little fire. Ron Artest looked focused and didn’t try to force things. Lamar Odom looked at least a little less laid back and was a solid contributor and Pau Gasol gave a good solid game. The team actually helped Kobe and gave him the option of using them...but more importantly trusting them. Kobe has not taken more then 30 shots in an game win or lose. For him to be criticized for jacking up too many shots in game 5 and not using his team is silly. If your team isn’t helping you, sometimes you have to take over. It is not selfish to put the team on your back, sometimes the best have to be the best. The unfortunate thing for Kobe is he can’t win unless he wins. IF they lose and he put up 40 he is a ball hog, if he only get 18 then he had a bad game or was contained. If they win and he has the same numbers he was a leader on the court with 40 or he made his teammates better with 18...damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

All I know now is there is going to be a Game 7 at the Staples Centre on Thursday night and it is for all the marbles and should be a tight well played game and will likely go down to the wire...and I have no idea what happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Celtics came out and take the game.

We will see how it all goes down on the court.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chipper To Talk To Braves Management

Chipper Jones has hinted that his retirement could be near. It looks like the 38-year-old, six-time All-Star might be ready to make that call when he sits down today with the Braves.

More on this when I hear more.... Chipper is my favorite player and I fear that his end may be near with my Braves. This might be a tough one to take.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup? I'll Pass...Since That Is All They Do Anyway

All signs are pointing to this being the end. Yes it has in fact been 4 years already and unfortunately that means that the World Cup of Soccer is now at hand, silly FIFA. Now there is some saving grace that the games are during the morning hours so I shouldn’t accidental trip over a broadcast but that doesn’t save me from the ‘highlights’ on shows like SportsCenter. Even the local sports radio station, the Team 1200 is bending over for this event. Not only are they bringing in the Team 990 soccer guy in the mornings, Noel Butler (who’s show by the way is called Oranges at Halftime..brutal), They are having a former employee call in the afternoon show to talk footy, they are picking up the ESPN soccer wrap up show in the evenings as well. Then there is the regular ‘new’ show called ‘Corner Kicks’ on Thursdays. This is just not cool. You can hardly get baseball coverage on the ‘all sports format’ but your airways are polluted with this garbage, where is the justice.

The only thing worse then watching soccer is listening to people talk about soccer. I understand the interests as it related to kids, it is inexpensive and is good exercise TO PLAY. To follow as a competition, no thanks. Even to gamble on it is not fun, half the time the games look not to be on the up and up and with the probability of a nil-nil draw on the pitch so high one never sees the offensive explosion of a 2-1 game happening, those bastards come out of nowhere!


Here is the soccer breakdown for this month long margarine known as the World Cup in 3...2...1

‘Blake kicks the ball with high hopes that it will enter the goal, but it does not.’

I know we promised you soccer highlights, so let me just tell you that England beat USA one-nothing, Ivory Coast beat South Africa one-nothing, Uruguay beat South Korea one-nothing, and Italy beat Brazil 2-1 in an offensive slug fest. A modest proposal - make the nets bigger.

A tip of the cap to the character Dan Rydell for the inspiration and partial quotes as it relates to soccer.

Remember here at abitofeverythingsports.blogspot.com I’ll bring you the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat, and because we’ve got soccer highlights, the sheer pointlessness of a zero-zero tie.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

It's Strasmus in Washington

Stephen Strasburg, the Washington Nationals young pitcher and last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick who went on to sign a record US $15.1 million contract before stepping onto a major League Diamond, went beyond the hype by striking out 14 batters in his electric major league debut. Unfortunately that may have been the worse thing he could have done. You always want to make your first game memorable but that in itself comes with a lot of extra baggage.

With a standing-room-only crowd cheering every pitch, the Washington Nationals phenom put on a dazzling display of pitching power Tuesday night in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh. He was only touched up once on a 2 run home run but the rest of the time looked virtually untouchable. His fastballs topped 100 mph., and his nasty curves fell off the table and made opposing batters look silly standing in the box. What was equally as impressive was that he managed to do it in 94 pitches - just shy of the limit imposed by management before the game -- and 65 were strikes. He threw strikes and worked fast.

Usually when there is this much hype it doesn’t live up to it...not this time, the kid was SICK. That being said there is the fear that a) It was versus the Pirates sand that he still has yet to face a Major League Team and b) he may set the bar too high to soon. Every start from now on will be compared to this game...a tall order for a seasoned vet let alone a 21 year old fireballer. How does he respond when he gets roughed up in a start? There have been Phenoms before him that have looked good only to flame out (Mark Prior and Kerry Wood), lets hope that is not the case for this kid. Only time will tell if he has a Hall of Fame arm or is just a flash in the plan. In any event it was one of the most exciting regular season games, maybe ever. When each team plays 162 games a year it is rare that one has she sound and feel that there was in DC last night.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The 28-Out Perfect Game

By now I am sure most people have heard about Armando Galarraga’s "Perfect Game" that was taken from him by a blown call from 1st Base Umpire Jim Joyce. Many people have had varied opinions on the subject to how this all should have been handled and was it indeed handled correctly.

Given the circumstances I think that mistakes were made on both sides but in the long run it may make this one games stand out and pass the test of time. This will likely be the game that changes baseball forever. This will most likely make baseball expand the use to some sort of new system for instant replay. No small feat for baseball who does not like to adopt change unless it is set in motion by them and on its own timetable. The 28-out perfect game proved to be in many ways a goodwill storey rather then the storm of controversy like the numerous blown calls in last years playoffs resulted in.

Why is this better? Joyce, upon seeing the replay said that he knew he blew the call and ‘kicked the shit’ out of the call. That the poor kid worked his butt off just to have it taken away from him. Most officials from any other sport would have not addressed the media and would have been ‘protected’ by the union. The fact that Joyce got ahead of it and also made a point to go to the tigers dressing room and apologize to Galarraga made a huge difference on how we perceive this mistake. Next is the way that Galarraga reacted while on the field and handled the situation. Most players would flip out and explode with rage, but not Armando, he smiled...smiled. Sure part was in disbelief but the level of maturity and sportsmanship that he showed is the attitude that kids should emulate. They say that athletes should not be role models, maybe but Galarraga may be the exception to that as well.

Did Bud Selig do the right thing by not overturning the call?? Unfortunately yes, you can’t change a call no matter when it happens in a game after the game, even if it ends play and nothing else is to be decided. Sure it is their fault for being too far behind and not dealing with this inevitability sooner in terms of a replay rule but baseball is never quick to make any change. Who is to say that a simmilar call that happened in the 3rd inning doesn't effect everything that happens going forward. The approach to a hitter will change as the circumstances do. What should have happened was there should have been a conference on the field at the time involving the 4 umpires. At that time of the game with a Perfect Game on the line, everyone in the stadium knew what they were seeing and that includes the other 3 umpires. One (or more) should have had the balls to get the 4 guys together and make the correct call. The second base umpire surely had a good view of the play, all eyes would be on first, someone in a position of authority should have stepped up and helped make the correct call, even if it may "embarrass" a colleague. When even the runner can't believe he was called safe chances are the call may not be correct.

There may have been only 20 perfect games ever thrown but it is the 3rd (had it counted) in less then a month. This one will have a lot more staying power for the way it went down then any other. If Galarraga is at all concerned about his place in history going forward he need not. This game will be linked with perfect games forever, some of his gear has been requested to go to the Hall of Fame, the Tigers organization rewarded him with a Corvette. He gets all the pub and knows what he did was the real deal and if he can handle all that he should be just fine.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Weekend That Was

It is too bad that the weekend produced nothing to talk about around the water cooler today, a rare miss for the sports world. Unless you count; Game 1 of the Stanley Cup that was a game full of mistakes but was by all accounts a very open game that, if you are a fan of goals you loved this game. 6-5 is not what anyone expected going into the game. You would have thought that with all the time between the Conference Finals and the finals you would have thought that there would be some rust on the teams, or at the very least some close checking as the teams felt each other out...Not So. It was high flying and high scoring, maybe game 2 will settle things down but if the goals still are netted at the rate they were in game one, however and whom ever wins the games will be sure to be great.

Oh, then there was game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals where the good Canadian Steve Nash all but guaranteed that the Suns would take Game 6 and force the Series back to LA. That did not sit well with the Lakers as a team but perhaps more importantly Kobe Bryant. He was not going to allow that kind of talk to come true, not on his watch. Kobe dropped 37 points in guiding his team to a road victory to clinch the West and set up a match up versus the Boston Celtics. When your teammates say things like teammate Lamar Odom said; "Kobe’s so good," "He makes incredible normal for us." It is hard to argue that he is the straw that stirs the drink in the City of Angles. The Black Mamba may once again be on the loose and have his eyes set on the Celtics.


Not enough drama yet? Ok, lets factor in former Ace of the Blue Jays staff, Roy Halladay. We all know that he was one of the best pitchers in the game, a horse, a guy you want on the mound for you. This guy eats up innings as well as opposing batters. It is only fitting that he of all people secured his place in history as one of the greatest by throwing only the 20th Perfect game in Major League history. Zero Hits, Zero runs, Zero Errors and Zero base runners...he faced the minimum 27 batters and none reached first base. Thankfully the currently offensively struggling Phillies managed to put up 1 run for their teammate and even it was on a misplay by the Marlins defence. After all the years in Toronto I guess Doc Halladay learned that without a lot of run support, sometimes you have to do things yourself, and he did! Well done!

Sticking with baseball. Most of us when we were kids imagined being up in the ninth inning with the bases loads looking for a chance to win the game with a walk off - just imagine that dream coming true as a major leaguer. Wouldn’t it be awesome, wouldn’t it feel great!? You bet it would, unless you are Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Kendry Morales (not to be confused with Esai or Bob Morales) who, after hitting his first career grand slam, fractured his lower left leg, landing awkwardly on home plate while being mobbed by teammates. Maybe this will change the dog pile mentality that teams have after teammates do something to win a game. Maybe stick with the high 5 and not "Jump Around" like they are featured in a House of Pain Video!

The potential for a tragedy was nearly avoided in the Indy 500 when Mike Conway was flown to an Indianapolis hospital for evaluation following a horrific crash at the end of the Indy 500. Conway was battling Ryan Hunter-Reay for position between turns three and four when the two collided. The 24 car flew up into the catch fence then fell back toward the track the car disintegrated while he was strapped into the "fuselage" and managed just a leg injury. It was horrible looking and for the car that drove under the air born 24 nearly taking out that drivers head. It is a wonder that there was no fatalities after this crash.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Battle For The Cup

The Stanley Cup is set to begin on Saturday night..novel idea I know! After a long layoff things are getting set to begin, and better yet, all the games are slated to be played at 8pm Eastern - no afternoon games!

Philadelphia will take on Chicago in a battle that on paper looks to be a very good match up. Throw out the fact that the Flyers are a 7th seed the teams seem to stack up well versus each other. Both are deep teams but Chicago looks like they may have just a little deeper skilled bench. What the Flyers may not have in speed they make up for in tough physical play. The Blackhawks have a lot of skill and speed and will need every bit of it to get away from the bruising attack from Philly. The showdown between the two young star captains Mike Richards and Jonathan Toews should be epic. One of these guys is going to complete a good year captaining their team to a championship and going home to polish the Olympic Gold Medal that they both have from the Vancouver Games...not too bad for 2 guys in their early 20’s.

There will be plenty to watch with all the little battles between players and lines. There will be some great match ups on the ice and the team that does better in those situations will likely take the Cup.

I am looking for Chicago to take it in 5 or 6 very close games. After 2 years of game 7’s I don’t think that we will see that again and despite both teams having questions in net, I think the Chicago bench may be a little more talented 1 thru 6.

Also in a less important factor but one that needs to be mentioned It would be best for Chicago to win as an original 6 team, a team that has not won since 1961 and most importantly the team with probably the best Ice Crew in the game. I think that those lovely ladies should get the chance to celebrate a championship!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Quick Hits

National Football League star Albert Haynesworth is being sued for $10 million by an exotic dancer who claims he impregnated her and then abandoned her, the New York Post reported.
The NFL is not catching a break during the off season again. Each year it is almost worth the effort to get into, as the comish calls it, "personal conduct" pool. Between this story the Rothlesburger situation and the regular drug issues the NFL continues to be shown in a bad light. Luckily it is the one sport that fan’s don’t care what happens as long as the product on the field is still good...the cheaters and bad guys are usually the ones that get rewarded.

Reigning champion Roger Federer was a second-round winner Wednesday at the French Open. One can only presume that this is setting up for yet another showdown between himself and the clay specialist Rafael Nadal. Nadal’s dominance on clay is only matched by his record vs Federer something in the neighbourhood of 14-7.

The Ottawa Seantors have signed Brodeur!!! Correction, Senators have re-signed goaltender Mike Brodeur to a 2 way contract. Hey it is something at least. Gotta find the silver lining as it looks like the team will be losing Anton Volchenkov as a free agent July 1 unless rights get traded but that is unlikely to happen. Lets just hope that the youngsters Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen are able to make the team and be an unlikely surprise.

Thanks to NBC for not allowing the Stanley Cup to start until Saturday night. Seems like a network that has no "real money" invested in the NHL holds so much power on when it starts. This experiment to get it in view of more Americans may be better off to try and mend the fences with ESPN and ABC family and get some coverage that way and away from Versus and NBC. A Thursday start would have made sense, which is why it is starting on Saturday...Logic and common sense is not the network or Leagues strong suit.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What Castle Will The King Be In Next Year?

If you thought that the Brett Favre saga the last 3 or so years (including this year where he said that that if The Southern Miss Golden Eagles baseball team can make it back to the College World Series for the second straight year, he will return for one more season in the NFL) was annoying and just kept dragging on just wait for the LeBron James storey to get into full swing. Now that the Cavs have been ousted by the Celtics in the NBA Payoffs it is now open season on what Lebron is going to do. There has been ample of speculation for both sides staying and going. Some say if he won this year he would definitely stay, other said he’d definitely go. Same thing if he lost.

Truth is no one knows and there is a good chance that even LeBron doesn’t know at this point. Being one of the top 2 players in the game, and at his age there will be every team in the league at least asking for his services. Some teams are in a better position to make a real push for him, but there are teams that have been clearing space for not only him but Dwayne Wade and to a lesser extent Chris Bosh.

It is going to be a long month and a half ahead with everyone and their dog giving their opinion on where he is going to end up next season. Someone is going to be right but it is going to be a long and painful process until July when he can actually put pen to paper and officially make his decision on the team, price and term that he is looking for.

It is fun to speculate where players will go when they get to free agency, just look at the NHL here in Canada. July 1st is not only Canada Day but also marks the first day of the free agent frenzy. The difference here is that there is going to be constant "news" just about him. Saying news is kind of misleading as there will be very little new to report until he actually signs, and the coverage and questions will be plentiful, annoying and no doubt redundant.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Madness May Be A Good Thing - NCAA Tourny To Expand

I don’t know where the games are going to be played. I don’t know what teams are going to be involved but what I do know is that the NCAA March Madness Tournament is set to hold the First and Second Rounds on March 17-20, 2011. In addition the field has been extended to 68 from the current 65 where the "opening round" is essentially a play in game between 64 and 65. How this new change will affect the dates and times is yet to be determined. This change comes on the heals of a brand new TV deal that the NCAA is entering into with partners CBS and Turner (TBS and TNT) worth a reported $10.8 billion.

What this means for fans is The NCAA’s agreement with CBS and Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System Inc, which runs from 2011 through 2024 is that every game next March will be shown live on CBS, TBS, TNT or truTV this will mark the first time this will happen in the tournament’s 73-year history.

It looks like the partnership will morph over time to a similar set up to what NASCAR has with Fox and now ESPN/ABC (formerly dealing with NBC and TNT). Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner; the Final Four and the championship game will alternate every year between CBS and TBS. Under the agreement, the NCAA and CBSSports.com will again provide live streaming video of games, though Turner secured rights for any player it develops.

There was very heavy talks to expand to a 96-team field but that would have likely enveloped the 32-team NIT, the NCAA’s other, independently run season-ending tournament. and all but eliminated it. Sure it is less followed and less known, especially here in Canada. Sure it is the equivalent to a B Pool final but it is a little extra revenue for the NCAA, this may be the best of both worlds...at least for the time being.

Time to start planning vacation time around the tournament. Maybe not the play-in game but the first round I try to make my "Masters" a tradition Unlike Any Other!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No House Call For Doc This Year

You can blame the economy and you can blame global politics for a lot of things but I didn't think that they would be blamed for not allowing the "Doc" Roy Halladay to make his big return to Toronto. After being traded in the off season to the National League Phillies, by luck of the draw they were scheduled to play an inter-league series versus each other...that unfortunately is not to be.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced that the Phillies-Jays series will be played in Philadelphia because of the G20 Summit. The three-game series scheduled for June 25-27 will be relocated from Toronto's Rogers Centre to Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park because of security issues for the G20 Summit. World leaders will gather at a convention center near the Toronto ballpark.

It is too bad that a) Fans won't be able to give their salute to a player who not only did a lot for the team on the field but maybe just as much of it off it, along with his wife in their charitable work in the community. and b) a chance to draw a very big crowd to the Rogers Center which has seen some of the lowest attendance in the majors and all time low in the stadium's history be lost with this re-location. Having the Doc in town for 3 days would likly been a good shot in the arm for the turn styles at the Rogers Centre.

Maybe the schedule maker will provide a make good next year and have the Phillies come to TO so Doc can get the reception that he deserves.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Case Of The Mondays

In a rare "Dark Night" for the NHL and their playoffs with no games on the schedule it was a very entertaining night with plenty of selection, especially for a Monday night. The LA Lakers had their own version of lights out as they usually do during home games as they play with the house lights down (looks cool when all the spotlight is on the court, and Jack Nicholson of course). In keeping with the "light" theme here, the Lakers, specifically Kobe Bryant shot the lights out in a blowout victory over the Phoenix Suns in the first game of the Western Final. Bryant scored 21 of 40 in the 3rd quarter and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odem actually both showed up in the same game as the Lakers cruised. LeBron may be younger and a phenom but I still back Kobe as the most entertaining player in the Association. Maybe it is the way he carries himself, or the effortless way that he moves on the court but he is the best, most entertaining player to watch. He can take over a game just about anytime he wants but also has the ability to use the players he has around him and make them better.

In addition to the NBA Playoff game there was still some hockey on, CHL Junior’s Style. The Hitmen from Calgary played the Spitfires from Windsor in each teams second game at the Memorial Cup. The game was close and competitive after Windsor got up by 3 early but Calgary came back to make things interesting before the Spitfires managed to pull away in the third. If it was Kobe in the basketball game it was potential #1 draft pick Taylor Hall who took centre stage and showed why he is regarded as one of the best junior players. Hall seems to share some similar traits with Kobe. He is a winner, he makes his team and teammates better, he has sick moves and great hands and will not back down. Both will go through a wall if he has to (in fact in the first game Hall almost went face first through the end boards, got a few gashes but was right back out there blocking shots, a warrior on the ice).

If that doesn’t scratch the itch in terms of Sports Entertainment there was also TNA Global Impact as well as RAW from the Air Canada Centre available on TV, if you are a Pro Wrestling fan. Plenty of options for good entertaining sports on a "Dark Night".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Give the Kid A Break

For the record I am not the worlds biggest Sidney Crosby fan. That being said I am still a fan and the one thing that I can’t stand is that there are a lot of people who seem to unjustly jump on him for everything that he does. It doesn’t matter if it is the right thing, the wrong thing, or even the same thing that 99% of other players do, people (usually the media and hockey followers that think they know more then they do) try to spin everything that is said or done in a negative light. Sure it is easy to take pot shots at him because he is the face of the game (a title he did not run for but was appointed to, just for being good) but sometimes he deserves a break from the criticism. People say he’s a whiner that he complains too much...ok that may be the case but maybe the reason is because as the best he is targeted by the other team and when you constantly have an Iso-cam on you at all times everything is caught. You not think that Jarkko Ruutu or Dan Carcillo or even Jerome Iginla cherp as much as he does?

People will again argue that as a play of his stature he is held in even higher regard and should act accordingly. I agree, but again everyone has a breaking point and for the most part he does fight through an awful lot, and after all he is only 22.

One thing I did hear this morning was an ignorant radio host trying to blame Crosby for not being "Patriotic" enough in declining a spot to play for Canada at the World Hockey Championships. First off, there are many players each year that decline invitations to this tournament who don’t even make the playoffs to single him out after playing in the finals 2 years ago -2 full seasons -a Stanley cup last year and 2 rounds of playoffs this year, oh yeah and mix in the Olympics as well. That is a lot of hockey.

If you watched any of that series he looked like a guy who was either physically and mentally worn down or a guy who was injured. Either way not up to flying to Germany to play in this tournament. The team only has one member of the Olympic team on it and that is Corey Perry so to single out Crosby is just ridiculous. What about Luongo then, should he not be questioned, or every other player on the team??

It is sad when people and the media build someone up so much and then when they get to a point where they are covered so much that they begin to get scrutinized for every little thing it is just a shame. Crosby gets more negative attention because he is the first and last person people see or hear about and that makes him an easy, but undeserving target.

No one was criticizing him in February when he potted the "Golden Goal". How quickly some people forget.

In a related note, it is being reported that he will be moving out from Mario Lemieux’s home. He has apparently bought a home in Pittsburgh near Lemieux house...It looks like hockey’s most famous house guest is moving on up, no word as of yet if it is to the East Side.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bad Impact

Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to watch the beginning of the Boston-Philadelphia game 6 match up so when I was able to get to the car to look for an update on the local Sports Radio station, Team 1200 they had Network programming on from the US. Usually I like the variety that the out of market shows give because you can only hear about hockey so much that It begins to get annoying. There are other sports that need to be mentioned from time to time.

This time all I wanted was a quick update and that was clearly not going to happen on the US show so I ventured back down the dial to the TEAM 990 out of Montreal and I heard what I have determined to be the WORST sporting event coverage that I have ever heard...no it wasn’t a Habs radio call in show which will usually make your ears bleed by two faced wishy washy Canadians bandwagon jumping fan. No, this was a live" athletic event" (notice I did not say sporting event?). There was Soccer being called on the radio, Soccer. This was a all new low. All I could think of was Kent Brockman from The Simpsons doing play by play for a Soccer game "Half back passes to the center, back to the wing, back to the center. Center holds it. Holds it. Holds it..." Not a sport for radio. Needless to say I got no update there.

I don’t care if the Montreal Impact are to be the next MLS Team or not. Watching soccer is only surpassed in boaringness with listening to soccer.

Speaking of Soccer Montreal Canadian Fans should leave the soccer chants where it belongs, on the pitch. Ole, Ole, Ole is the most aggravating chant in the history of chants. It makes Pepsi’s forced Team Canada Chant " Eh, Oh Canada Go" seem like Stairway to Heaven. Maybe if the fans knew when to use it, it would be better, but probably not.

I noticed that there were also a few people out on the Streets of Montreal last night and again the Simpsons show us the way.... "What began as a traditional soccer riot, has escalated into a city-wide orgy of destruction". You gotta love the bandwagon jumpers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Around The Horn

The NCAA Tournament is Awesome! Regular Basketball is good to watch. Playoff Basketball is even better, but if they are not careful they will alienate their fans and drive away viewers by trying to accommodate the TV networks. Ironic as it may be, it is funny that postponing the starts of series to fit the TV lineups better there are large gaps in the time between the end of one series and the beginning of another. Granted, when a team sweeps and the other series goes 7 there is going to be a long layoff, that can’t be helped. For instance Orlando is waiting for the winner of the Celtics and the Cavs (2-2) but the Lakers and Suns are both done and ready for the Conference Finals but that doesn’t begin until next Monday, a 6 day layoff. That is a lot of time for rust and a long time for fans to stay interested. Especially when the weather is starting to get nice. The NBA is playing with fire and does so every year.

3 teams have been down this round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs 3-0 or 3-1. 2 of the 3 series are still going on and in each one it is/ or was very conceivably the team that moves onuntil last night when the Canucks failed to show up and got blown out 5-1. The Canadiens, Canucks and Flyers have all been on the brink of elimination but now 2 of the 3 have a legitimate chance in making the improbable comeback. At the very least they are ensuring that we get to see some more games, but they are also adding to the excitement of an already great playoffs so far. The first round was good, and the second is holding serve and keeping the quality and entertainment level high.

Just when you think that they are starting to do things right the Bengals make a questionable move to bring in Pacman Jones. The team was bad on the field for a long time. Then they got better on the field, then a bunch of players started to get arrested. At one point it was like you couldn’t go a couple of days without hearing about a player in some hot water. Production began to drop on the field and now it is like they are just looking for players with checked pasts to fill out the lineup. The thinking in Cincinnati is anyone’s guess. If Michigan plays in the Big House I guess that the Cincinnati Bengals play in the Half Way House.

A New Zealander gave new meaning to the golfing term ‘hazard’ when he fell from a cliff while searching for his ball. The 66-year-old sustained serious injuries but was in a stable condition. The man fell 30 metres onto seaside boulders and was only discovered a good time later after his golf cart was noticed. The man was playing alone at the time. Between cliff’s in New Zealand and Gators in Florida nobody can say that golf is not a dangerous game.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time is Killing The Radio Star

Is there anything better then sitting out on the patio in the summertime with a nice cold beverage listening to America’s Pastime (even if you are Canadian...don’t be so PC!)? There is something soothing about listening to the theatre of the mind with the context of a sporting event. If done well it is very entertaining and relaxing. That unfortunately is beginning to be more and more difficult. Sure with Satellite radio and laptops equipped with MLB on demand you can get just about any game if you were so inclined to sign up and pay for the service. The Only real problem with that is the quality of broadcast that you will get. Most are done well, professional and informative but it isn’t like the past. Sure what is anymore I guess. With the recent passing of legendary announcer for the Detroit Tigers, Ernie Harwell at age 92. He was part of the crew that called Bobby Thompson’s "shot heard ‘round the world" in the 1951 playoff game that determined the winner of the National League pennant. The number of all time greats are getting smaller and smaller, the Vern Scully’s for the world and the like. These were the guys that came up calling the game some before widely viewed TV and before the boom of not only all sports radio and TV but also the internet. It is that technique that we are beginning to loose. A lot of the announcers are from the new school and call games like they were doing tv, the style lacks the descriptive nature and a kind of storytelling style that made all these older guys great. There are a few out there that I really do like, I am used to hearing Jays games so I grew up on Tom Cheek and Gerry Howarth so because of that they rate decently for me. I don’t get to hear a lot of out of market games to judge them all but based on being a Braves fan I liked and was always impressed with Joe Simpson, Peter Van Wiren, Don Sutton and the Late Skip Caray. Of the newer guys I think the best I have heard is ESPN’s Dan Shulman, his is probably one of the best in the biz. The fact that he can go seamlessly between basketball and baseball is a credit to his versatility but also his ability.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Use Of "Los"

A lot of people has gone PC and sure it is annoying that you almost can’t say anything anymore without having to worry about people getting offended, Even if there is no racial or stereotype meant people get overly touchy and look to find a perceived slight on them personally whether one exists or not. Apparently the exception to the rule is "Los". Apparently you can use the word "Los" to make anything you want Spanish/Mexican. I for one love it! Regardless if it is the San Antonio becoming "Los Spurs", Phoenix becoming "Los Suns" or New York becoming "Los Mets" is apparently is just that easy. It seems to be very respectful for pro sports teams so I guess it is OK for the little kid to ask his father (or PaPa) if he can have "Los Hamburger", after all it is just showing support for the hamburger right? Treating it with the true respect that it deserves.

Granted for the most part when that term is used it is to show support and like Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire said, "to let the Latin community know that we’re behind them 100 percent." The Suns decided to break out the "Los Suns" jerseys for Cinco de Mayo (also known as the 5th day of Mayo). They also were in part making a political statement in regards to the law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer that has drawn widespread criticism from Latino organizations and civil rights groups that say it could lead to racial profiling of Hispanics. The law itself has also been criticized by President Barack Obama has called the law "misguided.’’

The Suns owner, Robert Sarver who was born and raised in Tucson wanted to voice his opinion and frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with the illegal immigration issue led to the passage of what he called "a flawed state law.’’ Sarver left it to the players to decide if they were comfortable with the jerseys and the seemed to be on board. Apparently Steve Nash said "I think it’s fantastic,’’

So with that I will end Los Blog post,
Gracias

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fear The Boogieman!

If you didn't need another reason to fear "The Boogieman" here is another reason. Bob Boughner, The Windsor Spitfires coach has taken his team to victory in the OHL Championship.In an interesting conclusion to the OHL final the Windsor Spitfires did in fact finish off the sweep of the veteran Barrie Colts to take the OHL Title. That was the 7th straight victory for Windsor, who are looking to repeat as Memorial Cup Champions.

Where this gets even more interesting is the increasing bad blood between the two teams. After a Barrie player took a dirty run at the Windsor goaltender behind the net at the end of game three, Boughner took his goaltender out of the game for his own protection and was yelling at the Barrie coach. By all accounts he looked like he may live up to his nickname "The Boogieman" and jump the boards and go after the coach. There was also some rough play at the end of the game that resulted in 3 player being suspended indefinitely. This has now seemed to deteriorate any good feelings between the two teams. Bob Boughner, Spitfires Coach chose not to shake hands with the Barrie Coach after the series. Was this because of the shenanigans from the play on the ice or the shenanigans from the boardroom where there was a chance that there could be more blood shed there then on the ice?

At the recently held OHL Draft Owner/GM Warren Rychel made it known that he intended in drafting his son in the second round. Usually there is a gentleman’s agreement that if a family member is available in the draft that teams would let them fall in specific slots in the rounds that they were expected to go in. For example the Foligno’s were allowed to land in Sudbury and the Hunters were allowed to land in London. Rychel sent a memo to all teams with this request and all seemed fine with it, all except for Barrie. They took Rychel’s son at the end of the first round. Was this because he was that good a player or was it spite for what was happening on the ice between the two teams? Barrie has a reputation for playing a little fast and loose and this doesn’t help their rep.

In Barrie’s defence Rychel may have been looking to have his cake and eat it too and may have gotten a little greedy. He traded down in the draft to acquire more picks and better his team (that has been very good the last few years), thus allowing him to potentially get his son at an even better value. So that may not have been on the up and up either. Barrie has a veteran team that will need to rebuild and may look at this as a way to hold up Kerby Rychel for a kings ransom to Windsor in order to fast track them in rebuilding the team.

As a side note, there was no contact between Barrie and the Rychel’s before the draft and calls to Kerby to congratulate him upon being drafted to Barrie have yet to be returned.

This is like hockey, WWE Wrestling, Prime Time Drama and Soap Opera all rolled into one.
All it is missing is the relationships and love interests and love triangles to make it complete. I look forward to seeing how it all plays out regardless of how Windsor does in the Memorial Cup.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Around The Horn

Don’t Call It A Comeback, He’s Been Here For Years! Roy Halladay can now be pencilled in as the National League Cy Young winner. Since moving to the Phillies in an off season trade with the Blue Jays he has amassed a record of 5 wins-1 Loss,1.47 ERA in 49 innings - 3 Complete Games and 2 shutouts with 39 strikeouts.
I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get into the 20’s in wins with the lineup he has around him. If only Toronto could have fielded a better team in his time there. His numbers would likely be out of this world. He has even learned how to handle a bat a little bit. After looking awkward and tentative early on he looks a little better in the box and now has managed 4 hits.

The Windsor Spitfires were on a 3 game losing streak going down 0-3 versus the Kitchener Rangers then after an amazing comeback they took the series 4-3. Now in the OHL Final the Spitfires have won the first 3 and are on a 7 game winning streak and are up 3-0 in the series versus The favoured Barrie Colts. They might be a tough team to face should they advance to the Memorial Cup as they look to defend the title they won last year in comeback fashion.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather took down "Sugar" Shane Mosley on the weekend in decisive fashion. Sure he may be pound for pound the best fighter out there, and after this bout it is hard to dispute. All that is left is for Mayweather to take on Manny Pacquiao. Just to put any critics and fans questions to rest this match needs to happen. Either Mayweather needs to drop his demand for a blood and urine test or Pacquiao needs to suck up his "Fear of Needles" and just get this done. Quit the ducking and just fight. Boxing is in enough trouble with MMA on its heals it needs to keep any momentum that has going.

The Thorpedo may be looking to make a comeback in the pool for the 2012 Olympics.
Ian Thorpe was the world’s highest-profile and at the time the best swimmer in the sport until American Michael Phelps came onto the scene, and had a list of lucrative endorsement deals. He admitted in February that he had financial problems after his personal savings were affected by the global economic crisis, This was most likely his motivation for a possible comeback. It was reported that Thorpe talked to several of Australia’s leading sprinters recently about a potential return for the 400-metre freestyle relay. Thorpe retired after the 2006 Olympics and is now 27. It would be interesting to see both he and Phelps in a pool at the same time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Talk About Comeback Kids!

Down 3-0, The Windsor Spitfires became only the third team in history to win a playoff series after losing the first three games. Windsor defeated The Kitchener Rangers to move on to face the Barrie Colts in the OHL Final for the Championship and the right to represent the OHL at the 2010 Memorial Cup. That’s right, Memorial Cup NOT Mem.Cup.

Their improbable comeback is topped only by last year’s improbable run where they became the first team to capture the Memorial Cup after losing the first two games and needing to go through the tiebreaker. The Spitfires are my adopted Western Conference team as I feel the need to like the 67’s but that is primarily a geographic thing. The Spitfires have just a wealth of notable named players that makes the team easy to follow. This is either as a result of being a good prospect or as a by-product of the World Juniors Tournament. When you can float players out like possible top draft pick Taylor Hall, Ryan Ellis (Nash), Adam Henrique (NJ), Greg Neimez (CGY), Cam Fowler Top 5 potential, Zack Kassian (Buf), Eric Wellwood (Phi) Scott Timmins (Fla) and Dale Mitchell (Tor) it makes it surprising that they fell down 0-3 but also explains how they managed to fight back to take the series.

When the Spitfires match up versus the Colts it is going to be a good series, these are both highly rated and highly skilled teams. It is a shame that these teams can’t both move on. With the host being from the WHL they get the benefit of the extra team. It would be a good story to have Windsor move on to defend their title but after such an emotional comeback it will be interesting to see how they respond in the OHL Finals.

If your teams happens to be eliminated in the NHL, maybe have a look into this series and the other CHL games on the road to the Memorial Cup.

Barrie Colts vs. Windsor Spitfires:
Game 1 – Tuesday April 27 at 7:35 pm – Windsor at Barrie
Game 2 – Thursday April 29 at 7:35 pm – Windsor at Barrie
Game 3 – Sunday May 2 at 4:05 pm – Barrie at Windsor
Game 4 – Tuesday May 4 at 7:05 pm – Barrie at Windsor
Game 5 – Thursday May 6 at 7:35 pm – Windsor at Barrie*
Game 6 – Saturday May 8 at 7:05 pm – Barrie at Windsor*
Game 7 – Monday May 10 at 7:35 pm – Windsor at Barrie*