Monday, December 17, 2012

RA of Hope?

 Over the last three seasons, the Mets are 53-39 on the days that 
R.A. Dickey pitched, and 177-217 on the days he didn't.

Not saying this as an endorsement but maybe a reasoning for Alex Anthopoulos`s position. Perhaps he just feels the need for a Dickey extension. Ok that was a weak low brow joke but still funny.

There are just 2 worries for the Jays to pull off a deal of this nature – one or both of Travis d'Arnaud and Syndergaard prove to be real stars not just from a Jays perspective but also as a fan of a team in the NL East. 

The other is that RA, rightly or wrongly reminds me of Tom Candiotti in terms of him being an old pitcher that chucks the Knuks. That worries me giving up top baseball prospects, not just Jays prospects but like top 10 in all of baseball.

Just recall one deal from a team just a bit to the south in the late 80’s – Det. Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. Doyle went 9-0 for the Tigers during his time and help win the Division but flamed out in the ALCS and went 14-11 the next year and retired the year after that...Smoltz went on to be Smoltz and a Hall of Fame career.

The flip side is there have not been a sniff of the playoffs since the early 90`s in Toronto and with the possibility of a vulnerable Yankee`s and Red Sox teams maybe you have no choice but to use the farm system to help your team by moving unproven parts for a better chance to win now.

People have been very critical that the Jays never do anything and they just muddle in mediocrity. The fact that they are even in a position to make a deal like this to put them in an even stronger position must be a welcome change. 
With the line-up the Jays have right now, which I am convinced is not where it will be by the start of the season, a rotation as it stands now is a huge bonus. If you can exchange Dickey for JA Happ in the rotation and roll out. Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Dickey, Brendan Morrow and Ricky Romero and have Happ your guy out of the bullpen you are doing ok. Especially when you have to face a lineup like what the LA Angels are going to be able to throw out there in a series.
Cost/benefit analysis is tough to do. 

Should be interesting to see if this deal happens and what happens between now and seasons beginning.
Exciting times in Toronto regardless. Maybe the best time for all this with no NHL an no Maple Leafs. A great opportunity to take over the headlines and help grow the fan base and team loyalty.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Shoe Revolution- From Air Jordan's to Air Penny's

Recently the new Air Jordan's shoe was released. An interesting design to be sure but as they have been in the past they are more about fashion then as a 'Basketball Shoe". The picture (shown) makes the shoes look a little out there but actually look better when you see them in action on the court.

There is little doubt that the basketball shoe revolution began with Michael Jordan and his custom personalized shoe. Shoes were shoes before the Nike Air Jordans hit the market. Michael was such a powerful marketing and advertising force that he not only helped make Nike the powerhouse that they have become but also with the popularity that his 'Jumpman' brand has become managed to break away from its own maker to form its own brand, logo, marketing and style. From that grew the 'shoe deal'. This was primarily made for the basketball players and the sport of basketball. That has now spread to other sports and was what has lead to the Mega Deal that Tiger Woods got when he broke into the PGA.

The sport lends its self well for this as 1 superstar player can make a huge difference on what happens on the court and you can see the players up close and can recognize them, form a bond with them. Football and hockey players wear helmets that hide their faces and de-humanizes them a bit. Baseball is more methodical and cerebral. Basketball, Basketball is high paced, played with flow and just the sounds of the game...the squeaking of shoes on the hardwood just fits with footwear. After the success of the Air Jordan line Nike and other companies have been in competition to sign these high profile players of various sports for their celebrity endorsement and marketing needs. The real marketable ones get their own line. Some are more successful then others. 'Kemps' were big back in the day, Shaq had his own brand. Kobe for one reason or another was great at marketing but never had that specific shoe that set him apart. Odd for probably the best player post Jordan. But make no mistake Air Jordan's were the true Pioneer success story. This was the the evolution of the new shoe culture, and this is where my shoe story begins.

In 1994 I entered High School and thus began my 'sporting career'. I was very competitive when I played any sport, I wanted to win, I wanted to be a leader, I wanted the ball in my hands. I knew that if I had the ball good things were going to happen. I like to be the facilitator in whatever sport it was at the time. I was the point guard in basketball, the setter in volleyball, the shortstop in baseball and fastball...positions that were the captain/general of the game. Sure I was cocky, I was full of confidence I made no apologies for that. I was probably more confident then I should have been because I know I was not always the best player on the court at any given time but I never let that affect my mindset. Off the court, I was insecure and did not have near the same level of confidence. (The difference was like the kid Archie "Moonlight' Graham transforming into something completely different when crossing over the foul line in Field of Dreams and turning into old Archibald 'Doc' Graham). It is strange looking back at that now on how much different I was when I stepped across  the lines in either direction. The difference was night and day. With all that said my choice of shoe needed to reflect that mentality so I always wanted to have the kicks that were flashy, that said...'yep, I am better then you', shoes that would talk the talk as well as walk the walk.

 Each summer when kids set out with their parents for back to school clothes, my trips would include getting a new pair of kicks for a year of a variety of sports and gym classes. I was lucky and my parents felt that having a good pair of footwear was important and were willing to let me get quality shoes. At the time, even back then shoes were not cheap, especially the ones that I wanted, needed and required. If nothing else I wanted the nice new shoe on the market...not last years model. I can't stress this enough, I was very lucky and had the freedom to procure these each year.

Year 1 Grade 9 - I started with a aumage to the shoes from back in the day. Everyone back in the 80's were wearing Con's! You always hear about people who were wearing the Chuck Taylors from the All-Star of American Footwear. So, with that in mind I opted for the Cons React. They had a little bit of flash a Velcro strap over conventional laces. In the sole were round gel pads that were visible in the heal of the shoe. They had a tight look, a good fit, decent weight and squeaked on the hardwood! Not a bad beginning to a high school athletic career that was somewhat successful. Nothing that earned any athletic scholarships but moderate team success, moderate individual success and a whole lot of fun at whatever sport was played at the time.

Year 2 Grade 10 - This is where the 'Streak' began and there will be a pattern from here-on out in terms of the choice of footwear that seemed to follow me throughout high school. Lets call it comfort with the product, the quality and the brand loyalty that I had during that time period. Next up were the Nike Zoom Rookie. These were the debut of the Air Penny. Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway was a at the time one of the bright spots of the NBA and was a new hybrid guard that was taking hold of the league. While in Orlando he was paired with a young Shaquille O'Neal and was the floor general on teams that went to the finals only to lose to the Houston Rockets in the time that Michael Jordan had 'decided' to go try his hand at baseball. Penny was a 6'8'' point guard that had great court vision, was a great passer a high flyer and shot maker. He was one of those special players that was a real team leader. It is too bad that his knees caught up to him but a great player in his own right for the time that he was at his peak. He was one of my favorite players during that time period and as a result was one of my first jerseys as well. In addition to that Nike created a huge marketing campaign with Penny and his little buddy L'il Penny! This was a joint venture with Nike and Weiden & Amp; Kennedy on their unforgettable Lil' Penny commercial series. L'il Penny was voiced by Chris Rock and that just added credibility and comedy to each spot and to the character in general.

Year 3 Grade 11 - This was phase II in the progression to the growing line of me wearing the Penny brand shoes. This time around I opted for the Olympic version of the Air Zoom Flight Custom from Nike.  These were released for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and Penny's participation as a member of the Dream Team 2. Penny had to wear the number 6 on that team so the shoes. It had had the number 6 on the back heal. These shoes were awesome. They were the first shoe I had that sported the in-sewn sock as well. They were flashy white an blue and the solid reflective blue on the sides shimmered. A sweet follow-up to the Original Zoom Air's I stared with.

Year 4 Grade 12 - Phase III of the line of Penny's that I rode in on. These bad boys were the BEST and probably my favorite of them all and that was the Nike Air Penny 2 (Atlantic blue / black / white / metallic silver) . Loved these shoes. They were probably the best combination of flash and comfort I have ever had the pleasure of wearing on my feet. These are so good that if I come across them again I will likely pick up a pair. If nothing else but for the nostalgic and sentimental value. These were some of the most resilient and well made shoes I ever owned, they were flashy to the end and durable for years! Just thinking bout them makes me happy.

Year 5 Grade 13 (OAC) - The final leg for my High School Athletic Career. Of course, true to form I had to stay brand loyal and finished up with the Nike Air Penny 3 White Eggplant Black. These too had the in-sewn sock and a 'wall of bright blue material up the side that drew the eye and attention to theses bad boys. These shoes had a style that was un-presidented, there was no precedent for them. They were just as sweet on the eyes and a piece of shoe engineering greatness. Even after High School I cared for these and never wore them outside and kept them in as good a condition as I could for as long as I could. I was no longer playing a lot of court sports but for special event tournaments I would have these on stand-by read to strap them up when need be. Sadly they did die a rough death. When they went they went quick and hard. 1 day the one heal air pocket finally burst and from then on it was all down hill and they quickly deteriorated with the glue giving out and the heal pulling away. It was tough to see but they treated me well for a long time and it was a good run.

Like my favorite team, The Braves, the Penny line was on a championship run for me. I was loyal to them and they treated me well. I hear there are talks of Penny and Chris Rock bringing back L'il Penny in a retro Penny V shoe and series of commercials. If this happens I may be forced to nab a pair for old time sake! L'il Penny was, at the time a hugely successful marketing character and starred in many commercials. Like this one with Tyra Banks L'il Penny also was reported to have gone to high school with Kevin Garnett (just tell him L'il Penny from Science Club says hallo)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Head of the Class- 2013

The 2013 Hall of Fame class for baseball should prove to be a very interesting one. As in all Hall of Fame ballots and voting there are always questions and great debate on who is deserving, why this guy and not that guy and then a lot of stats to prove or disprove whatever argument you feel is correct. This next ballet is no different and is actually more controversial then ever before. This is the first year that the wave  from the  'steroid era'. Today, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are set to show up on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling are certain to be among the other first-time eligible  Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines are the top holdover candidates.

There are a lot of the writers/voters that are going to be hardliners and not vote for some or all of the big 3 on 'principal'. Writers tend not to like jerks and that will be 1 strike against the top 3 guys. That should not way into the discussion but it does. Just ask Jack Morris. He is a prime example of old school baseball guys holding a bad attitude over the head of a potential candidate. Because of the new names going on the ballot this year might just open the door for Morris and Tim Raines to slip in. That is one thing I do not understand is how guys that have done nothing in the last year to increase the chances of getting into the hall but because of who they are up against this time around make them more deserving. Their stats have not changed and they did not win a championship but NOW they are worth of Hall of Fame Status? That is just the way that it is under the current system and is that way in most leagues.
It is notable to know that Mark McGwire is 10th on the career home run list with 583, but has never received even 24 per cent in his six tries. Big Mac has admitted using steroids and human growth hormone and recently was on the Dan Patrick Show and stated that he himself did not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

I can see  Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza being worth to get in. Piazza was one of the most feared offensive catcher of all time and when you have power numbers that are in the same range as Johnny Bench it is hard to ignore. He was the best at his position when he played and there is not a lot more that you can ask for. As for Biggio he was productive at the top of the order, he got his 3000 hits and was a leader on Astro teams that were very good for the many years he was there. His versatility also is impressive to move positions the number of times he did to not only help his career length but showed he was a team guy and would do whatever was best for the team. To go from a catcher to second base and then to center field. Teams always like to be strong defensively up the middle and he ended up moving to 3 of the positions up the pipe.

When it comes to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa the debate is there on should they or shouldn't be put in the Hall. Bonds and Clemens are known for not being the most congenial of characters and Sosa has been known to forget how to speak English when asked questions on performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). What people have to remember is that despite the fact that there is all kinds of evidence and seems to be the consensus that all have done some kind of PED's over some time during their career, they were never proven to have done anything wrong. They did not violate any rules that Baseball had in place, did not fail any test while playing and even if they did do something they were, for the most part, facing opponents that themselves were on something at that very same time. That is the thing, the number of guys that were playing were on something probably outweighed those that were playing clean.

Worst case, lets say that these guys were juicing.  They still outplayed the competition and were arguably the best players of all time. One might suggest that it was more ego enhancing drugs rather then performance enhancing  Sure the numbers may be skued but these were still some of the best talents of all time. In the case of Bonds and Clemens, the body of work they had with their original teams, Pirates and Red Sox respectively  a case could be made that both players are deserving based on that time alone. It was then, when both were skinny and ``appeared`` that they were...more clean.  Bonds landed in San Francisco and Clemens landed in Toronto those are the times that most believe that they, at least ramped up whatever they may be on and both got bigger and better.

I do not condone the use of drugs to play better or get stronger but if baseball did little to do anything about PEDs until forced to by the government (granted the players union did everything they could to allow players to get away with it), had no method to test or prevent or rules against PEDs then you should not be able to penalize player for something the may or may not have (but almost guaranteed did) done during their career. Drugs or no drugs it still talks a lot of skill to take a round ball a round bat and hit it square. These drugs seem to be more beneficial for recovery so when guys work out they can rebound better and quicker and can then train harder and more often. But they are still training  still working out. All these legal supplements like Whey, Protein  Creatine, Flax Seed whatever you want to add to your morning shake are OK? Where is the line? Even a shot of cortizone is performance enhancing  how many guys get a shoulder or knee shot up to be able to play? How is that not performance enhancing? What is the difference between medicine and dope? All are valid questions with a lot of Grey in terms of answers.

All in all, writers will hid behind the well 'we voted their conscious  excuse and say they are doing it for the integrity of the game and to honor the Hall but their excuse, when you look at it seems awfully thin. Let the players in, drugs or no drugs they were the best when they played, possibly the best of all time and were never convicted.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

While You are Sleeping - NFL Network Pre-Game Show

There are very few reasons to be up early on a Sunday morning. One big reason, if you are an NFL fan, is to watch NFL Networks early morning show First on the Field. The show airs from 7am-9am on the NFL Networks and features Former running back LaDanian Tomlinson, and co-hosts Sterling Sharpe (former Wide Receiver) and Melissa Stark (Monday Night Football and Today Show). The show has a good mix of entertainment and information for the days games each week. Fresh off the field Thomlinson gives a good feel from a players perspective and Sharpe has been doing these pre-game shows since his retirement and has earned a role as a host/co-host while still bringing the ability to break down plays and games. Just about every network has their own version of a pre-game preview show and this one ranks right there with the best of them. What sets it apart is the ability of Melissa Stark as the host and helps guide the ship. Knowledgeable, skilled and attractive...a deadly combination. 

No other Pro football show features a female host which sets First on the Field apart from any of the competing shows. Erin Andrews (Dancing with the Stars and formerly ESPN) is the host for FOX's NCAA Football show on Saturday Nights and also does a good job on that program. 

Stark, who worked on Monday Night Football in the early 2000's left that gig to focus on family. Since then she has done some work on the Today Show. Stark brings a nice balance of classic journalism and can control the show in her role as co-host, but also offers great football knowledge to the show. Her ability to deliver either insight or statistics while keeping it entertaining is a remarkable and it proves to be in that role. Now it must be noted that she also possesses the other skills that helps one on the television excel as well. There is a reason that some people are just better in other mediums. There is a reason for that old saying "a face for radio". The television is a visual medium and like it or not looks count. There is no denying that she is stunningly beautiful and probably possesses the most stunning pair of legs since Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight (and she reportedly had each insured for $1 Million each, so $2 Million total). If that doesn't keep you tuned in and willing to get up to watch who knows what is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blue Jays Trade - Part Deux

The Blue Jays are taking Miami's talent (and contracts) from South Beach

The Blue Jays are still waiting for the MLB to approve the blockbuster trade that has been agreed upon with the Miami Marlins. There does not appear that they can put a stop to this like David Stern did last year with the proposed trade last year with the Chris Paul to the Lakers.

It is interesting to look at this deal not from a Blue Jays point of view but some other vantage point. As for the 3 fans of the Marlins, it is tough. For the few that there were actual fans there is only 1 player left in Miami, OF Giencarlo Stanton. He was on Twitter lat night and said basically ``Ok, i`m pissed``. Clearly he was not a fan of the deal. One can only presume that fish fans feel the same. Miami just moved into a new stadium last year and spent like drunken sailors to make a splash. They hired Ozzie Guillen. All of that turned out to be a colossal failure. Now the Marlins are operating under the marketing slogan ``The Marlins are ALL IN...Toronto``.

Not a minor point either is the money, and not just the salaries that are being picked up by the Jays. Florida is a no tax state and the contract that each player signed is going to be a little less then it was. The numbers work out to roughly 14% of 45% of the players salaries are going to be taxed. Players are taxed on the 81 games they play in Canada.

It is interesting to note that the Marlins have had fire sales in the past, but never to this extent. This time it was the Blue Jays that were the benefactors of this method. Jays fans are not used to the kind of buzz that this deal has created not just in Toronto but all over Major League Baseball but the US and A. When Miami went on the spending spree last season, baseball people were already apparently worried that if their experiment did not work the possibility that a deal like that could happen. What was even more of a sign was that one of the big ticket contracts that were given out included a no-trade clause ..guess that should have been a warning sign. That is a possible good thing for the Jays too as they are not restricted buy such a restriction as well, especially with the deals being very back loaded.

What was always aggravating was that people were always blaming the Jays for not going out and spending. It appears that this was part of the plan all along. If they had spent just for the sake of spending and not doing it wisely.  Building a team and then filling it with high price players when he could. People seemed to always place blame on the Jays GM for not spending on past Free Agents. Just remember that it takes 2 to Tango. Just because you have money and a spot doesn't mean that that the player will be willing to play for your team. Canada has never been a destination spot for big time free agents so to get the big names is not as easy as just spending money. What Alex Anthopoulos was able to do was get last years free agents...this year instead. This time via the trade rout. In the big picture it does not matter what method was used the players are coming now... whether they wanted to or not.

The great thing right now is you know that the Jays are ready to put the big plan into motion and it is only November and there are still winter meetings to be held where a lot of talks take place among GM`s plus free agents are yet to be signed. There is plenty of time to continue tweaking the roster. You never know, just because these players are on the way to Toronto right now does not mean that they will be on the opening day roster. Just remember Mike Avilas was brought over from Boston for Manager John Farrell...he was traded for a power arm to help out the bullpen and is now in Cleveland. There seem to be a lot of catchers on the roster and Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus are far from safe with holes that can be upgraded at second base and left field. Stay Tuned this could just be the tip of the iceberg!

Oh yeah, there is still no manager in place.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Huge Deal For Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are set to acquire starters Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck from the Marlins. This is one of those epic deals that is very rare in general for any sport. A deal of this magnitude is rare but even more so because it is involving a Canadian team. Having a deal that will rock the baseball world and being done by the Toronto Blue Jays is almost unbelievable.

A deal like this is something out of a video game or a fantasy league and that can't help but bring hype to a team that needs to be brought to the for front in the city. With no hockey the Jays have a huge opportunity to become the team of the City an this is a great start. Maybe it works, maybe it will be a failure of epic proportions but it has brought back a buzz and optimism to a team that was...3 hours ago a near afterthought and not a lot of love after a dismal end to the season.

The Blue Jays were criticized for the handling of the John Farrell situation, that they had no direction and had no manager. Now the last thing on peoples mind is the loss of Farrell. It will be interesting to see what GM Alex Anthopoulos does in regards to a new manager but you can bet that there will be some interest from players and fans alike.

It appears that the Marlins will receive a package that includes shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, major-league starter Henderson Alvarez, minor-league starter Justin Nicolino Jacob Marisnick, and a catcher maybe JP Arencibia.

Not missing hockey anymore...they can stay locked out now for the full season as far as I am concerned, my interest has now shifted back to baseball. I remember now what a fan I used to be, nice to have that back. I look forward to see what else happens with this team to fill out the roster. I think there is a spot at 2nd base and Left Field.

More to come I am sure!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Exit From LA - Mike Brown Fired

The Lakers have let coach Mike Brown go after a 1-4 start. After the death stare that Brown got from the unquestionable leader and face of the franchise Kobe Bryant the writing may just have been on the wall. When Brown was hired, Kobe came out and stated that he was a little surprised that he was not only not consulted or asked for input before Brown was hired in the first place. That was a big mistake and it has proven to be the case. Most players should not have a voice on who the coach of a team is, Kobe is not one of those players. He is special, he is the face of the team the team leader and holds A LOT of power in the organization. I am she that the Bulls GM  gave a quick call to Michael Jordan before hiring his coaches.

Now the question is who come in? Jerry Sloan? maybe. Mike D'Antoni? maybe. Bring back Phil Jackson? Doubt that he would have any interest in coming back but that would be very interesting. Kobe wants a ring, Steve Nash wants a ring, I am sure Pau Gasol wants another ring...Dwight Howard, he may be more interested in having fun and that can't sit well with Kobe. One might wonder if the Lakers are rethinking if it was such a good idea to drop Andrew Bynum this off season.

The Princeton offence just didn't get any traction and just never fit with the personnel  It is basically a ball movement offence, a half court offence and one that essentially drains skill from the game. That is why Princeton used it. It was used by a team that used that style because they were not good and needed to drain the skill from the game. When you have players that are by all accounts superstars that are athletic and skilled why would you try to restrict them. Maybe it is time to bring back the triangle offence! With that said the overall offensive rating was not that bad. What seemed to be the bigger problem was the defense and that is odd since Mike Brown is/was a defensive minded coach. That's what makes it all so confusing.

Maybe the Lakers need to bring in 2 coaches or in football. Have one Offensive Coordinator that can put it in Steve Nash's hands when he comes back healthy and run a high octane pick and roll offence and then another Defensive Coordinator that can lock down the other teams. Kobe and Dwight are 2 of the better defenders in the NBA when the want to be and Ron Artest is a hard worker and like to crash the boards. There is no reason that they should not be able to lock it down.

This should be another interesting saga to watch play out. After Showtime and The Late Show It will be interesting to see what this turns into...for the sake of Lakers Fans hopefully it doesn't turn into the Magic Johnson show (for those who may not know, I am speaking of the talk show from Magic, not his time on the court)!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baseball Awards 2012

Here is something that I still don't understand about baseball and the way that they reward their regular season awards. You would think that they would have some sort of showcase or at least a small tv or online special that they could champion the faces of baseball and also grab a little coverage for the sport during the off season  At the very least it would or could add some decent publicity and programming time to the MLB Network or one of the many other sports specific networks. NBC sports has a new channel, CBS Sports has a new channel, obviously there is Fox Sports and the mothership ESPN.

Another point that shows that they are throwing away an opportunity to help promote the game of baseball and keep the sport in the front of mind when they are in the off season  I understand that holding off announcing the winners 2 weeks after the end of the World Series helps do that but announcing 1 a day for 3 or 4 days does a disservice, plus it is annoying and more likely to be lost on the casual fan. These are major awards for your sport why would you not want to celebrate the best of the best in your game? You play 162 regular season games and these guys are the faces of your sport, promote them, promote the game.

The Gold Glove awards were announced yesterday and there were a few interesting choices and also a few of what you will expect.There were 9 first time award winners. It is nice to see that the voters seemed to make an effort to get a correct list and not just give it to the same guys every year just to be lazy. It was also  good to see Braves right fielder Jason Heyward grab a Gold Glove. For a full list click HERE


One interesting point that I noticed was the fact that the Orioles managed to have 3 players get the nod. A good achievement for sure in sheer volume but what sticks out isn't even the players that won but the positions that they played. The Orioles were a surprise team this year in the AL East and qualified for the Wild Card Play-In Game and it is clear that defense played a role in them getting there. People always say that pitching and defense win championships, those same people also say that you want to be a team that is strong up the middle. If that is true then the Baltimore team followed that blueprint. The 3 Gold Glove winners were Catcher Matt Wieters, Shortstop J.J. Hardy, and Center Fielder Adam 'Don't call me Pac-Man' Jones. That is solid D in all field general positions and probably why they were as good as the team as they were. It was a bit surprising that Mike Trout did not get the nod as he is one of the games most exciting defenders and it is not easy to stand out as a defender. That could be the first of a couple of snubs to Trout. He will be assured the rookie of the year but may fall short on the MVP front. Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown season may have slipped past Trout's achievements. 

It would be interesting to see what the results would be had MVP voting came after the post season. I am sure some votes would be changed. Poor batting in the World Series in combination with his less then warm demeanor may have changed the vote by some of the writers. I think the feel good rookie story would have been rewarded more for that reason, plus, Trout seems to be a more approachable guy. Popularity always plays a part whenever anyone is in a position to vote for anything.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top Canadian Female Sportscasters

Still waiting for baseball to figure out who will make the playoffs and see how the new Wild Card system will work. No pro hockey of yet and no sign that we will be seeing it anytime soon. I figured that this would be a good time to give a look and a look back at some of the faces that you may see feeding you the scores, the highlights and the video and the audio of whatever sports or teams that you follow here in Canada. I did a list back in 2009 and you will see some familiar names on that one that are still on the list today and some that have been bumped. It is becoming more regular that you can find a  female anchor on a sports show and that is good. It helps that most that are on air are good at what they do and cover sports and present them well. Here is what Canada is bringing to this party.

Because this is a Canadian list there is a small sample size to pick from. It seems that it is much easier to find good pictures of their American counterparts. Partly because the number of woman with big time duties on TV in the USA have gone up, but the skill level is better then ever. In addition, the limited number of national sports channels limits the scope of this list. The one good thing is that for the most part the 10 is a very solid top 10 so that says something for the quality of the depth.

This is a very subjective list as there is no specific criteria for the ranking system. I am factoring in their physical appearance. Superficial, absolutely, but they are on TV, a visual medium so that counts for a lot. Also there is little worse then a badly called sports highlight (And...Boom goes the Dynamite) so ability carries some hefty weight as well.

And right off the bat we have a tie for 10th -  I didn't want to have to do this but I could not justify leaving either of these ladies off. So without further Ado, let's do this thing.

10 Sophia Jurksztowski - The Score
Although I have only seen her set up a Live update She makes the list if not strictly for good work but I dig the cool name.

10 Alyonka Larionov - TSN
Alyonka is only on every now and again for special coverage and very less important features. She is not a regular and is probably not as polished and will not be seen on the 11pm SportsCenter anytime soon. The Daughter of former KLM line member and Red Wing Igor Larionov may not be at the level of an anchor person but it would be wrong to not allow her onto this list.

9 Sara Orlesky - TSN
Sara is not on the desk very often and is more a sideline-field reporter. She does a good job and is very knowledgeable. She has fallen back after being on the podium in my original list but that is mainly due to he not being as front and center and not getting as much face time.

8 Laura Diakun - The Score
I like her work on the updates. She too has a cool name. Seems to know her sports well and of course fits the other criteria that allows her to excel on TV as opposed to radio. Pretty much everything on her profile on The Score website impresses me as well. I too agree that even though Jim Thome is a sure bet Hall of Famer he is still under rated and he was the first baseball player to send back an autographed card that I sent him

7 Holly Horton - TSN
I still concider Holly as the dark horse in my list. When she had just started, she very raw and her ability was questionable. Over time she have become a first rate anchor, her delivery and knowledge is top notch and she managed to get more attractive which is a nice bonus.

6 Martine Gaillard - SportsNet
Martine has fall on the list pretty much for 1 reason. Haven`t seen her on TV in a long time. When on camera she is top of the class but when MIA she has to expect to be knocked down a peg. She was great at the Score oh so many years ago and did a good job on SportsNet even when the failed loosey goosey hip approach they tried on Connected. Get he back on the anchor desk and she will be promptly promoted. Knows her sports and seems to be a legit fan of sport.

5 Jennifer Hedger - TSN
Jennifer was off for a bit so that didn`t help her. She is still top of the class and her too, like Martine can move up given more airtime and given the freedom to flex her sports knowledge and delivery doing highlights and news.

4 Natasha Staniszewski- TSN
Natasha is the newbie but had cracked the top 5 earlier then I would have thought. She is a very beautiful lady but also does a good job calling whatever sports highlights she is given. She seems to be getting more airtime and that is only helping her case for this type of rating. I am a big fan of her work.

3 Evanka Osmak- SportsNet
Evanka has come a long way from her start and has become a solid sportscaster in her own right. She has dropped a bit but it was nothing that she did. It just came down to a numbers game and she was forced out. Still there is no shame with a podium finish. Bronze is nothing to shake a stick at.

2 Renee Paquette- The Score
This was a tough one as her body of work is still a little raw but natural ability has vaulted her into a silver medal. The work she does on Aftermath is the main reason she is as high as she is on this list. Renee is very attractive and like I said on a superficial list like this counts for a lot but the fact that she brings legitimate interest and knowledge to such things as WWE wrestling gives some major bonus points. It is one thing to be hot, another to be hot and like sports but to do both and add to that an interest in wrestling...rare and impressive. Renee is now doing Score Live and does a good job, especially when forced to work with that Cam Stewart guy ( I am not a fan, kinda wish he was still just on the radio that I did not get and has since stopped broadcasting). For that, even more bonus points are awarded. I am sure ones Rogers takes over she will continue to see good on camera roles.
UPDATE: Renee is leaving the Score and is joining the WWE - Still not going to change the list, she earned the silver and there she stands, With that said she will be missed and I am thinking that I will not be watching Aftermath too often anymore.

1  Kate Beirness - TSN
The true underdog story, and I kind of surprised myself when I was ranking each on the list. At first glance I would not have had Kate this high but the more I thought of it the higher up the rankings she went. Perhaps more of a Mary-Ann type (Gilligan`s Island reference for those who may have missed it) but pulls it off admirably. A very attractive looking lady but the real reason that she is where she is is her on air ability. That put her over the top. She does a great job on the anchor desk and is pretty entertaining as well. A great combination and worthy of the crown.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Playoff Baseball Creates Real 'Legends Of The Fall'

Well, Reggie Jackson is not playing in any of these baseball games but that isn't stopping a bunch of ballplayers from trying to steal his appointment as Mr. October. Sure he was the first and it is unlikely that anyone will try to steal that name but a bunch of players are already making bids to at least get into that conversation.

Just like a lot of the big sports, it seems like the best part of the playoffs are the first few rounds. There are more teams involved, more games a day and for some reason the way the games are played seem far different then that of a regular season game.

The pendants will tell you that the playoffs are a whole new beast and the games changes. This seems to be even more true in baseball. Watch a game in early May and compare that to the feeling you have when watching a game in September the feeling is night and day. It is no longer about an inning that can change a game, not a hit or a stolen base but there are many time in a game that you can feel the momentum shift on a single pitch. There are many people who find baseball to be a slow game but it is probably one of the most cerebral sports that require exceptional athletic ability. A high fastball inside may be a ball and to the casual observer a bad pitch, but that one "bad pitch" may be the difference when setting up a hitter for your 'out pitch' by changing his eye level or his timing. That one little thing seems to hold more weight on how a situation ends and by extension helps decide a games outcome.

It is a weird feeling when watching a game and knowing that even the appearance of a blowout gives no real guarantee that the game is over. A quick run in one inning can change the tides and momentum can shift and just like that a game that is all but over and a team left for dead gets its second wind slowly manages to get up off the mat and begin to chip away at a deficit and claw their way all the way back.

The St. Louis Cardinals did that in the NL Divisional Series vs the Washington Nationals and for those who got to see it was treated to one heck of a ballgame. The Giants of San Francisco did it in another clawing back not in just a ballgame but in a series and erasing a 2-0 deficit and managing to win the next 3 on the road to take out the Central Division Champs Cincinnati Reds. The American League was not outdone and supplied their own level of exciting games. Both series went to 5 games and both were compelling from start to finish.

If the League Championship Series are near as impressive and exciting as those that have already been played baseball fans will be treated to some great ballgames and hopefully bring in some of the casual fans that may be looking for something to fill the void that the Locked Out NHL has made and the time in-between NFL games. It is sure worth the effort. Enjoy the post season and everything that comes with it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Out Of Sight - Out Of Mind

The puck is supposed to drop but all the buildings in the NHL are dark, empty and cavernous. There are no sounds of sharp skates cutting through a fresh sheet of glass-like ice, no chimes of a rubber puck hitting a goal post making the sound of metal on metal, and no taps of sticks clapping together as they battle along the boards.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. That is not always the case and when that absence is in reference to professional sports the issue is even more magnified.

The NHL owners have locked out its players and now it has become a showdown between Billionaires and Millionaires and how to divide up Billions in revenue. Seems like it should not be a difficult thing to do. They are not trying to change a system or make any crazy changes to the existing system it is just terminology and what pool of money should be included in the percentage breakdown. It is frustrating for the players but probably even more so for the fans who are the real victims who not only do not have a true voice and are the ones that truly suffer. It is always the most difficult on the children when mommy and daddy fight.

The thing that is the most interesting, on a personal level is the lack of interest that is felt. With the NFL in full swing, NCAA football and Baseball playoffs currently throwing 4 games in a day, missing hockey is far down the list of interest.  Even when baseball winds down after the World Series there is always junior hockey . With Landsdown Park is under construction and the 67's playing at Scotiabank Place for the next few seasons we can go to the OHL games and if need be since it is an NHL venue, pretend that it is an NHL game.

It is a little surprising that, as an NHL fan that the impact and possibility of a lost season is not having the same impact as it did during the last work stoppage. This is probably not a good thing. If a longtime hardcore fan is showing disinterest how is the NHL going to overcome the same feelings from casual or less passionate fans? This is a very dangerous game of cat and mouse they are playing. The less that people are caring as this whole things plays out the less that are likely to come back when they finally come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. When all is said and done this is still a gate driven league and does not have huge TV deals like the other big sports. If people are luke warm when play resumes, ticket sales could drop and the few teams that are propping up the MANY struggling US teams may not have as much to share. If that happens it stands to reason that the struggling teams will spiral even further down and require even that much more help. If the pie gets smaller the allocation to the teams and players gets smaller teams could be in jeopardy and if that happens the number of players jobs would also fall and that would be a major blow to the League. Just remember baseball is America's Pastime and it was devastated by their lost time in 1994 and it took a long time to bounce back. The NHL got lucky their last lost season and fans came back in record numbers, even growing in some markets. It is playing with fire that the same will hold true again this time around.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Wild Card May Be Too Wild

I am more of an old school traditional baseball fan. I like the National League over the American. I would rather pitcher to have to hit and if you are going to have a DH then the batting order should be 10 batters if it needs to be in the game.If you have a DH it should be for older players who can't play every day in the field but are still good hitters not people who are are just bad with a glove.

Bob Costas had a good idea about the wild card. And this is more or less his idea. I may have tweaked some details but the jist is the same and I agree with the concept.

Instead of having a one game play in playoff game, shorten the season two say 158 games.  Have the two wild card teams play and best two of three series vs. each other.  This is baseball not football or the NCAA tournament.  After playing in 162 games it should not come down to a one and done.  The wild card team with the best record should host a series. Like in the case of the Atlanta Braves who are far ahead of the next wild card team they deserve to get an advantage. Due to the fact the second wild card team would have just been able to sneak in they deserve to be at a disadvantage.  The winner of that series should have to go and immediately play in that league divisional series.  The structure for this should be as follows: 3 home games for the division winner in the beginning and the last two at the wild card winners park. That way there's the potential for the last wild card team to not play a home game it in nearly a week.

The way the wild card system is set up right now it is almost giving the advantage to the wild card team.  For the most part those teams are already in playoff that would just try to make the postseason.  The division leaders are winners have usually wrapped up the title and with more than a week to play in the season.  At that in the games are more or less meaningless and players are sat and rested.  The wild card teams have to be playing the best baseball just to make the playoffs, therefore, they're more likely to be honor roll.  If you're gonna play at 162 game season it is unfair and unwise to penalize a team for being good for that duration of time and rewarded team for scratching or backing their way into the postseason.

There been a lot of wild card team since its inception who've gone on to win the World Series.  Team should not be rewarded after such a long season for being hot at the right time.  Teams that have been consistent over the long haul deserve to be given an advantage.  Wild card teams will have to use their best pitchers and early and may not be able throw their ace out in the first game of the a division normally championship series.  Does that put them at a disadvantage?  Yes it does.  And it is deserving.  Does that allowed the division winner to set up their rotation better?  Yes it does.  And that is something they have earned.

A one and end system is almost as ridiculous as having the winner of the All-Star game decided who is going to be the home to the World Series... Especially this year when the MVP of the game and the game itself  was won by a player on a walk off who is now under suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. The team with the best record should be rewarded for having the best record and with that home field advantage,why else play 162 games? Why do you think they call it home field advantage and not home field dis-advantage.

I get why people like the wild card begins 14 to chance to make the playoffs the keys teams in contention longer and therefore fans are more interested and continue to watch September baseball.  That if there's a chance to team could make the postseason you are gonna watch, you're going to be invested, more people will deliver the Parks and more people watch on TV.  Ticket sales and ratings speak volumes.  The integrity of the game should not be jeopardized for business reasons.  That is also the reason why game should start regardless of what is best for TV.  There should not be drying gaps in between series.  If this series is it able to start immediately it should start immediately.  If the National League series is ready to go before the American league series is finished so be it. Team should not have to sit around into a cold because they're too good.  If one teams sweeps and the other league goes up and games why does the team that wins have to sit around?  Better teams need to be rewarded from beginning to end and not penalized.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Retirement Tour Has At Least 1 More Date

Tonight marks the last regular season game for one of the best third baseman the game has ever seen. At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Chipper Jones will throw on the Atlanta Braves uniform for the last time after a Hall of Fame career.

At the beginning of the season Chipper announced that this was going to be his last season playing, no matter what. He stated that it was time for him to move on and do something else and that although the mind was still sharp and that he still had a passion for the game the same could not be said about the body. For anyone who does not know Chipper has had to fight through numerous injuries throughout the years most being related to his legs and knee. In 1994 he missed the entire season after tearing up his knee resulting in surgery. As he got older the injuries became more frequent. When in the lineup he almost always produced (as seen by his notorious assault on the New York Mets over the years and his 1999 NL MVP award).

As the year went on his numbers, when in the lineup were stellar and it seemed that when he was in the game they won more often then not. Obviously people would ask are you sure you are done after this year, you are having a great year? Every time that was asked the answer was the same, I'm sure. He said from the beginning that he has already made spring break plans and summer vacation plans with his kids and that was not going to change. To his credit he has stuck to that and in a strictly selfish way I wish this time he would have been lying to fans and that he could give is one more season. He clearly still has the passion and the skill but I guess when the body is ready to tap out there isn't much you can do about it. 162 game seasons is a grind for any player, especially one over the age of 40.

The one benefit Chipper had about announcing his retirement was that he gave, not only himself but the fans in all the cities a heads up that this was it and that he was about to embark on what I suppose could be considered the Chipper Jones Farewell Tour. Not since Cal Ripkin Jr.'s final season has baseball seen a player been so widely acknowledged by every team in every city that he has gone to. Being a Brave was all Chipper has been and now all other ball clubs have had pregame ceremonies to congratulate his on his career and most have given his some sort of "gold watch retirement gift". That is saying a lot when teams that you have never played for, only fought against on the field show you that much respect for your body of work.  Here is a partial list of Items that teams have given Chipper on his last tour into their cities:

Braves Pennant (Cubs)
Stan Musial Jersey (Cardinals)
Third Base (Reds, Yankees, Pirates)
Bat, Base & Photo (Nationals)
Fishing Gear (Marlins)
Artwork (Mets)
Painting (Phillies)
The #10 (Red Sox)
Pool Table & Hawaiian Vacation (Braves)
Cowboy Hat (Astros)
Hunting Bow Camera (Todd Helton)
Surfboard (Padres)
Year's Supply of Sausages (Brewers)

There are probably even more but just those alone show just what an impact Chipper has had on the game of baseball and just how respected he was and is. The State of Georgia had awarded September 28 “Chipper Jones Day.” and a Georgia farmer even made a giant "Chipper Jones Corn Maze" in his honour.
The Braves made the playoffs as the first Wild Card team so that extends Jones' career by at least 1 game and ensures that he will be going out an a somewhat high note and getting back to a place that he and the Braves are so familiar with - Post Season Baseball.

I am sure to have another blog after the Braves are eliminated (or are victorious) to give a final salute to Chipper and his outstanding career.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Playoff Ticket Punched!

In The Immortal Words of Billy Zane: 

It's a walk-off! 

Chipper Jones gets to finish his career the way he and his teams was used to doing-
Going to the playoffs!

One year after a gut wrenching September collapse, that only a Red Sox collapse was able to cover up for the most part the Braves clinched a spot in this year's post season and can at least get the team ready for the one game playoff that comes with the wild card spot and/or make a run to try and catch the Nationals for tops in the NL East, but that is very unlikely. Freddie Freeman's two-run walk-off home run allowed the Braves to win yet another Kris Medlen start while punching their playoff ticket with a 4-3 win over the Marlins at Turner Field on Tuesday night. With Chipper Jones on 3rd Freeeman crushed the Mike Dunn pitch right back dead center right over the 400ft marker in center field.

With the comeback, the Braves won the 22nd consecutive game started by Medlen. As I recently posted the run that the Braves are on when Medlen takes the ball to start a game is just amazing and just goes to show that you need solid combination of luck and skill. Who knows how long the run will last but for now it is pretty amazing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday Night Mayhem

I was tired of hearing about the NFL replacement refs but the last and deciding play of tonight's game was a disgrace. No game should ever end the way tonight's game ended. They say that it is not a missed call that cost a team a win and that had they played better they would not have had to let 1 play beat them. Well in this case that is not true, Green Bay was jobbed at least 3 times during the last drive due to terrible and wrong calls that should have been able to be fixed at some point. What is the point of having coaches call for red flag video reviews or having video replay in the game if it is not used to make obvious wrong calls overturned. If a bad call is made on the field it should be fixed if possible. This was a play that could have been overturned but because the ref with the worst position to see the play makes a call on the field there is no way to have the correct call made, ridiculous. Golden Tate somehow came up with the ball in the end zone to grab a last-gasp "win" Tate not only pushed off 1st but didn't even have possession at any point. The real refs had better be in place by next Sunday after this gong show.The refs didn't even know that after the wrong call was made that Seattle needed to try for an extra point. It took nearly 10 minutes for the refs to get the teams back for the extra try. That oversight just magnified how bad they botched the game. In a Billion dollar industry to have the integrity of the game compromised is a very dangerous thing. Worst of all is that was not the only bad call of the night. Every mistake just gets compounded and that is huge. The money that powers the NFL is outrageous and that doesn't even come close to touching what is generated from both legal and illegal gambling. Somebody in Vegas is getting his legs broken right now after this fiasco.  A lot of money will be changing hands but in the wrong direction.

In a 16 game season each game means even more then in just about any other sport and that could be the deciding factor if they make the playoffs, win the division or get home field advantage. A horrible and wrong call by replacement refs should not potentially ruin a teams season. Hopefully that is not the case but we will know by week 17.

NFL has to get the real refs back, 1 to show they are serious about the integrity of the game and 2 to prevent anything worse from happening. Tempers are already wearing thin and things are already breaking down.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Braves Not 'Medlen' Around

The Atlanta Braves have been known as the team with the best pitching staff over the 1990's and into the 2000's. When you can throw out 3 near lock first ballot Hall of Fame inductees like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and then mix in other ace potential starters like: Denny Neagle, Kevin Millwood, Steve Avery, Charlie Leibrandt, Pete Smith,  Jason Marquis and Jason Schmidt, you quickly see that the Braves have a history of building a championship caliber team from the mound out.  It was a great time to be a Braves fan. 14 straight division titles will do that for you. When you looked on the bench you would see Bobby Cox getting ready to get thrown out of a game and pitching coach Leo Mazzone rocking back and forth watching his pitchers.

Now the Braves are looking at going back to the playoffs, this time likely as the Wild Card team. This is for 2 reasons 1) The Washington Nationals have over achieved and have the best record in baseball and 2) The Braves have been hit with big injuries to key pitchers and yet have managed to secure a spot in the post season.

The Braves have managed to do what the Nationals have botched up from the beginning and that is to have a young stud pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery and managing his arm correctly and not harming their team in the process. Washington has the well known big gun Stephen Strasburg, the Braves have much less known Kris Medlen. The Nats made Strasburg the opening day starter and rode him as the ace until late August when they realized that he was getting close to the max innings they were prepared for him to work so as to not harm him long team. A fine Idea if you are the Houston Astros and have no hope of making the playoffs and shutting him down has no baring on anything, but the Nats were supposed to be good and should have know that using Stephen Strasburg as much as they did they would have to shut him down early or risk breaking there plan and putting the golden arm in a potentially dangerous position. The Braves seemed to take the opposite approach with Kris Medlen. The started him out in the bullpen, managed his outings, pitch counts and innings. In mid season they called on him to join the rotation as the rotation had been pounded with injuries and inconsistent starts.

Since then Medlen has been nothing short of spectacular. Currently (9-1) lost the first two starts of his career in 2009. He hasn't taken a loss in any of his 26 starts since, with the Braves prevailing in the last 21 of those...almost unheard of (The Yankees won 22 consecutive times when Whitey Ford started games from 1950 through 1953). Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams said recently on the Dan Patrick Show that he was the best pitcher in baseball right now. Not bad for a guy who started the year as a reliever.

Had Medlen been in the rotation he would likely be in the running for the Cy Young in the NL but then he also would be over his innings limit like Strasberg the Braves still have Medlen's services.  After losing Brandon Beachy's services after he went under the knife with Tommy John Surgery the braves were in need of a new ace. Ben Sheets went on the DL, Tim Hudson was on and off injured, Tommy Hanson had his struggles and Jair Jurrjens was inconsistent and then on the DL.  The braves managed to work through these injuries and still be in a position for the wild card.  No small feat for sure. Going forward they also have 2 guys to help fill out the depth of the rotation in respect to high end prospects; Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran. Both have a high upside and can hopefully come in and compete for a spot, work out of the pen as they mature or be used to help fill out the roster with the holes via trade that will open up this off season.

Just where would the Braves be have they have a full staff.  If Medlen and Beachy were healthy at the same time and Mike minor continued to pitch the way he has been and mix in Ben Sheets and Tommy Hanson WOW, that is one awesome staff and likely top team in the east.  Unfortunately injuries and baseball are and inevitability and that is why pitching depth is so  key.  Braves fans can only hope this is the second coming of a dominant pitching staff like they have in the mid 1990s.  It is too early to put these guys in the same class as future Hall of Famer's but the potential is there.

Hopefully the one game playoff between the two wild card teams does not come back to bite the Braves.  It can be interesting to see what this group can do. A strong playoff runin Chipper Jones last season would be a fitting end to a magnificent career.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Anti-Gay Slur Has Jays Escobar in Hot Water

The Toronto Blue Jays say they are investigating why shortstop Yunel Escobar played Saturday's game against Boston with a homophobic slur written in Spanish under his eyes.

It is too early to know both sides of the story and the truth may clear Escobar of any wrong doing but at first glance this is a very messy situation. It is never a good thing to use slurs of any kind but it is even worse and is more magnified when it is used by high profile athletes. In the heat of competition things are said and trash talking happens. It may not be good, it may not be tolerate or politically correct, but it happens. You can't defend it, but it is a convenient go to response for many people. 

The comments are usually not meant literally but hold a lot of power and are offensive and insensitive. An athlete who uses these sayings do so at their own peril and if overheard usually come with a firestorm from both their league, the fans and the press. That is just from saying it, having it written on your body or on your uniform is just ridiculous. You either had no idea and one of your "friends" thought it would be funny or you are so oblivious that you thought that because it was in another language it would get past people.

If it is found that Escobar knowingly had  "TU ERE MARICON" ("You are a fagot") written on his eye black shows that he is not only immature but not a very bright person. In an age where everyone has a cameras and you are used to being seen by thousands of people to not expect a huge backlash, investigation, and potential penalties is just really short sighted.

There were character questions when he was traded from Atlanta to Toronto and until now he seemed to be an upstanding teammate but now there are questions again. He was never number 1 on former manager Bobby Cox's list and that helped prompt his exit from the ATL and who knows this could be the tipping point that could get him moved again.

When you have a young up and comer looking to take your position like Escobar does being careless like this is a good way to becoming instant trade bait. If he is not smart he could be writing his own ticket right out of town. If the Jays are able to fill a hole in the roster maybe someone with a bad PR rep is easier to make expendable and also make the ball club seem to have high standards and a solid image.

It will be interesting to see how things shake down but there will surely be some repercussions. It is just a matter of how severe they are.