Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
- I hate the Yankees. And my problem when the Yankees win the World Series is that I feel like that WHOLE baseball season has been a complete waste of time. And we have to do the whole thing ALL OVER AGAIN next year, all the while putting up with the Yankees feeling good about themselves. Bah.
- Hockey season is in full swing and I am, as of this morning, not in last place in our hockey pool. YAY!
- The playoffs for the Canadian Football League (CFL) start this weekend. The local team squeaked in to the playoffs on the back of two wins to end the season and play the provincial rivals this coming Sunday. We shall hope for better results than they've had against the provincial rivals in recent games...
- The rumours about Roy Halladay being traded to the Boston Red Sox are making me very nervous.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Can I just say that the Detroit - Minnesota sudden death playoff game on Tuesday was one of the best playoff game I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing? I love the games where everybody -- offense, defense, both teams - plays fantastic ball. LOVE IT.
One of the things... perhaps the ONLY thing... that I don't like about the playoffs is that the first round is only 5 games. Don't get me wrong, in other sports where the games aren't played in consecutive days, I think that a shorter first round makes good sense. But in the majors, where it is SO hard to make the playoffs and where they CAN play more games in a shorter period of time, I wish that they would go back to a 7 game first round. I just feel like a large number of first round series go buy without any suspense... they're just getting started and then they're finished. The Minnesota - New York series is a perfect example: Here's Minnesota, who has just come off this amazing win over Detroit in the sudden death game, and they're now down 2-0 to the hated Yanks, and they could be gone in what feels like mere hours after their big win. But maybe not - I'll hope they come back and make an exciting series out of it!!
And for my friend Towanda, I'm cheering on your team!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I think that there are two main things that set the incident yesterday apart in my mind:
1) The tirade didn't seem to me to be about the call but more about Serena blowing off steam. Instead of calling out the official on a call she didn't agree with, she insulted, she swore and she threatened. I was taken aback by the pure vitriol in her approach to the official and I would argue that the attack was not just verbally threatening, but also physically so. Had I been the line judge, I would have run fleeing into the stands.
2) The tirade was directed not at the chair umpire, on whom there is a certain responsibility to be accountable to the players for the officiating, but on an essentially voiceless line judge, a person who couldn't defend herself and couldn't answer back. Her only job during the match was to watch the line, and she did that. Her job description does not include speaking to the players, explaining calls to the players and it certainly doesn't include arguing with them.
I should say that I've always been one of the first people to defend Serena and Venus against accusations of ego and/or arrogance, but I can't excuse what she did on the court last night, and I feel badly that Kim Clijsters had to win the match under those circumstances. (Awkward!)
Speaking of Kim, what a win today!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Oh, what a fool was I.
I don't understand how it is that the entire world can know that something is a terrible idea, and it still falls on deaf ears.
HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO MISS SOMEONE WHO WON'T GO AWAY?!
Friday, August 14, 2009
It looks as if the girlfriends of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and third baseman Alex Rodriguez won't be having any sleepovers, either. Since dating Rodriguez this summer, actress Kate Hudson has apparently struck out with Jeter's girlfriend, actress Minka Kelly. "There's been visible coldness between Minka and Kate," a source told the New York Post. "I don't know if it's a personal thing, or just an extension of the ongoing A-Rod-Jeter rivalry."As you were.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I feel bad for Roy Halladay.
While I'm certainly pleased that he's still a Blue Jay and will still be racking up wins for TO, my heart goes out to the guy for the clumsy way that the trade rumours were handled, for the clearly unwanted attention that those rumours directed at him, and for the corresponding lack of run-support provided by his teammates during that same period.
And on a more complicated level, I feel bad for Halladay because if there was ever a guy who had earned the opportunity to get traded to a team with a legitimate chance to win the World Series, it's Roy. Remember when the Boston Bruins traded Ray Bourque to Colorado so that he would have a chance to win the cup? That was a classy move to recognize Bourque's long, long commitment to the Bruins. And, admittedly, Halladay isn't nearly as close to the end of his career (we hope) as Bourque was when he was traded, but the guy has paid his dues to this organization and as he himself said in one of the many interviews he's done over the last month, he's played himself to the point of being able to make decisions about what's best for him. And it's hard to fault him that.
At the very least, he deserves better than JP Ricciardi's bizzare declaration that the Jays were going to keep Halladay and "try to win" next year. I'm as big a Jays fan as the next person, but... really?! What are the odds of that truly being realistic for the Jays? And if they do keep Roy next year, what then? Lose him to free agency and get nothing? I'd rather see him traded to the Angels or the Phillies or any other contending team not from Boston or New York where he has the chance to be impactful into October and from which the Jays could get some good young prospects on which to build a winning foundation for the longer term.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Was it the so-called Eye of the Tiger, staring him down with that miraculous eight-iron to within inches of the cup?
Or was it the added pressure of having been put on the clock by the PGA tour official that caused him to rush that ludicrous shot from the rough that ended up in the drink? (Speaking of, in our living room, it was very clear from his preparatory swings that Padraig was going to over-hit that ball. To quote my husband: "Why is he swinging so hard... That's way too much swing!! NO, PADRAIG, TOO MUCH SWING....[sploosh] See?")
My first reaction was that it was ridiculous to put a final group on the clock. I mean, who are they holding up, except for the local news? But the more I've thought about it, the more I'm convinced that we can't really blame anyone but the Irishman for the implosion. As my husband says, rules are rules, and what is enforced for all golfers must be enforced for the final pairing too. To say nothing of the fact that this is hardly the first time that Harrington or Tiger has been warned about slow play. Added to THAT the fact that the PGA hasn't penalized a player for slow play since 1982, and you have yourself a case of a player letting something get to him that he should have been able to shrug off and stick to his game.
Even with Tiger's great birdie at 16, I think that Padraig had a really good chance to beat Tiger yesterday afternoon, or at least to take him to the wire. But unfortunately, a drop in focus led to a disappointing afternoon and another notch on Tiger's already-substantial belt.
That being said, Harrington has always been a resilient player, and I look forward to seeing how he responds next week at the PGA Championship, especially during the first two rounds, when he's grouped with none other than one Tiger Woods.
Bring on Hazeltine!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Say it with me folks: HALLELUJAH!
Finally, we can begin the process of bringing up the former Green Bay QB only in conversations about his great talent, his incredible energy and his amazing statistics. Through a careful regimen of conversation control, we should be able to eradicate any memory of his awkward parting-of-ways with the Packers, his ridiculous year with the Jets, and the repeated will-he-or-won't-he marathon discussions about his retirement.
In 5 years' time, I want only to be saying and hearing good things about Favre. Although, considering that we're STILL talking about Michael Jordan's ill-fated foray into baseball, maybe that's an optimistic timeline.
(I apologize for all of the adjectives in this post. Good Lord.)
Monday, July 27, 2009
In honour of this odd tradition, today I bring you.. Terrell Owens' opinion on the reinstatability of Michael Vick.
From TSN, The Canadian Press
PITTSFORD, N.Y. - Terrell Owens wants Michael Vick to be reinstated immediately by the NFL, and said any extension of the quarterback's suspension would be similar to "kicking a dead horse."
Let the people rejoice! TO has spoken!!
Speaking after the Buffalo Bills training camp practice Sunday morning, the star receiver referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's handling of Vick's status as "unfair." Owens also lobbied to have more of the league's high-profile players voicing their opinion in support of Vick and asked the NFL Players Association to become more involved.
If I had to guess, I bet there A LOT of so-called "high profile" players that like dogs.
"I think he's done the time for what he's done. I don't think it's really fair for him to be suspended four more games," Owens said, referring to reports that the NFL is considering to further punish Vick. "It's almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground. ...
Isn't it nice that Owens uses a metaphor involving a dead animal to talk about the treatment of an NFL player who has been suspended for killing animals? It's like, all, ironical, and stuff.
The guy's already suffered so much." Wha?Trying... hard... to ... feel... sympathy.... can't... muster... tears... not... actually.... trying... that... hard...
Owens said he would welcome Vick as a teammate.Oooooh! Lucky coaches!
"Michael Vick is a guy that really hasn't any character issues besides what he got a prison sentence for, so why not?" he said.
"Michael Vick is a perfect guy, other than all those crimes he committed, so you know... whatev."
And on it goes...
To be honest, I don't really care if Michael Vick gets to play in the NFL or not. Having served his sentence, if he continues to stay out of trouble, then fine. And I'd actually be supportive of it if the league could work out some agreement that Vick gets to play, but only if TO keeps his mouth shut on all issues forever.
That would be swell.
Friday, July 24, 2009
And it was awesome.
I love the intimacy and the gentleness of minor-league ball. I love the passion you see in players who are working hard at a game for reasons other than money. The Prairie City team is a good mix of journeymen players long past their MLB days and young guys hoping to make it there. The crowd at the game was a good mix of families and rowdies. Lots and lots of seniors keeping score in their programs, talking about the games and the players they've seen in their lifetimes.
And of course, the classic smells of baseball... rosin, dust, peanuts and beer.
We were sitting next to a nice middle-aged couple who come to every game, and know all the other regulars in section H. Every few minutes we'd hear, "Hey Brenda! Kid's doing alright tonight, eh?" or "Hey Jack! Guess every night can't be a 5-5 night, eh?"
The local team won, but I'm not sure that it really mattered in the end. People left the park enjoying the fact that they had the opportunity to sit in the sun on a beautiful evening, talk baseball with their neighbours, enjoy a hot dog and some beer, and be at peace.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Let an edict go out throughout the land that you can only dress like this if you back it up with good play. Because, you see, the problem with dressing like this and then missing the cut is that you end up looking like you devoted way, way more time to figuring out what hideous thing you were going to wear than you did to working on your golf game. On the other hand, if you play really well and have a quirky fashion style (see Stewart, Payne), people are more inclined to perceive your sartorial choices as charming, rather than annoying.
Friday, July 17, 2009
And I recommend scrolling down to the previous two posts as well, about this year's results of the English Premiership and the Italian Serie A.
- Fantastic weather: Rain one minute, wind the next, sunshine the next, then more rain... I LOVE IT.
- Knowledgeable galleries: If you hit a bad shot at The Open, nobody claps for you. You earn your audience response.
- Links Golf
- The idiot who always screams GET IN THE HOLE doesn't come to The Open. And if he did, he would be frowned upon.
- Unbelievable beautiful golf courses. Have you seen the coast-line view at Turnberry this week?! Stunning.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
But anyway, this article popped up earlier this week, regarding the potential trade of one Roy Halladay by the Jays.
My initial reaction is... "poo."
Beyond that riveting analysis, I guess I can't be entirely surprised. He is the best pitcher in the majors, and I think that I've always known that he wouldn't be a lifer in Toronto. But I have a couple of requests for Jays brass as they begin to consider trade possibilities for Roy:
1. Please do not trade him to Boston, New York, Tampa Bay or Baltimore.
2. Please ensure that whatever you trade him to, you get at least two of that team's best young prospects in return. Please don't give him away.
That is all!
Just saw a headline go by that said that the Jays have released BJ Ryan. Tough decision... but makes sense to me!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Chorus and her husband are on the hunt for gadgets for the new house, including a key pad garage door opener. Their search takes them to the door bell aisle where, because they have a combined emotional age of 13, they commence pushing the doorbell test buttons.
Chorus presses one of the buttons.
And out of the speaker comes the dulcid, doorbelly tones of...
Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Exhibit A: My favourite target for sartorial judging, Phil Mickelson. This shirt is a freaking disaster. Specifically, it's way, way, WAY too big. The shoulder seams, which should be sitting on, oh, HIS SHOULDERS, would be more accurately described as elbow seams. This has the affect of ruining the line of the shirt, and pulling the weight down and out across his chest, which makes him look like he has girl-boobies. Now, granted, there's a fitness issue here too, but if Phil's shirt fit better, he'd look a lot less pudgy. How poorly this shirt fits is accentuated further by the horizontal stripes, which show off all the places this shirt doesn't sit right on his frame.
Now, to be fair, Phil has gotten a lot fitter in recent years, and he's started dressing better too. Gone are the days of flood pants and balloon shirts, although he still makes the occasional odd choice. For those watching today's round, the striped pants aren't working for me.
Exhibit B: Davis Love III, who, in my opinion, is one of the worst offenders for ill-fitting shirts. I like the colour of the blue number on the right but, like the shirt Phil is wearing above, the fit is way too big. Davis has kind of a funny body, with skinny legs and skinny arms and a bit of a paunch around his middle. Wrapping that body in all this excess fabric makes it worse.
Exhibit C: I don't know anybody with a weirder relationship with his shirts than Paul Goydos. I have no idea why, WHY, he insists on doing up his buttons right to the top. The top button of a golf shirt should always be undone to avoid the being-strangled look that Paul is modelling so successfully here. I did hear him say once when asked about his buttoning habits that the extreme slope of his shoulders and the fact that he has no neck means that if he doesn't do up all the buttons, his shirt falls off. I wonder, though, if he did unbutton the top button, if it might successfully make his shoulders look a little bit broader? Hard to say, but I do know that this looks silly.
I should say that Phil, Paul and Davis are all doing better in these pictures than this choice by Ian Poulter, demonstrating that as much as shirts can be too big, they can also be too tight (look at the arms!), and demonstrating that colour choice is almost as important as fit. This shirt is so bad, it's insulting.Ok, having picked on the bad, let's look at some good. There are lots of guys on tour right now who wear their shirts perfectly fitted for their bodies.
Canadian golfer Mike Weir is a terrific dresser. Note that stylistically, this shirt is very similar to the shirt being worn by Phil in the first photo we reviewed. But everywhere that Phil has done wrong, Mikey has done right. Specifically, the shoulder seams sit on the shoulders so the shirt fits perfectly. Mike's horizontal stripes are all perfectly lined up, indicating that the shirt is sitting on his body exactly the way it's designed to do.
You can't have a conversation about people who dress well on the tour today without including mention of Tiger Woods. Tiger wasn't always a good dresser (anybody remember the panama hat disaster?) and before he filled out, none of his clothes fit right. But recently, it's been all good. The shirt in the picture on the right, Tiger's classic Sunday red, fits perfectly. On cooler days, Tiger also often pairs his shirts with a sweater vest most successfully. With the vest as well, fit is important. It shouldn't pull the shoulders of the golf shirt out of line or cause any unusual wrinkles or tucks.
I'd like to close by speaking to a couple of variations on the classic golf shirt that have appeared in recent years. One that I like and one that I don't. Let's start with the one that I don't. I don't like the mock turtleneck look. It's not that they look bad, exactly, as long as they fit properly, but there's a casualness to them to them that doesn't feel appropriate for the tour. The mock turtleneck also leads nicely into a brief conversation about fabric, because the very light material that many mock turtlenecks are made of make them look like undershirts.
What Sergio is doing here though, I like very much. There are no golfers on tour that swing more between looking fantastic and looking ridiculous than Sergio Garcia. But his ridiculous outfits are so almost 100% of the time because of colour. His clothes always fit right. Here, he's doing a modern interpretation of the traditional golf shirt, sporting a zipper insead of buttons, and angled seaming in towards the collar instead of at the shoulder. It's visually interesting, it fits properly, the white seaming on the black shirt is classic, and I approve entirely.
All three of Sergio, Mike and Tiger are in good physical shape, which helps, but to anybody that thinks that you have to be in good shape to make a shirt look good, let's check out Angel Cabrera. Angel is a big boy, and not at all in good shape (he's one of few PGA players who smokes on the course), but because his shirts fit his body properly, he looks good. See? This shirt is even a bit too big, just judging by where the shoulder seams are sitting, but otherwise, it fits nicely, it's a good colour for him, and the looks is a success as a result.
One last thought, the brighter the colour and/or the funkier the pattern of your shirt, the more important it is to pair the shirt with a neutral pant - black, navy, grey, or tan.
Next time, on my series of posts in which I judge professional golfers on their attire, who should be in the Wears White Pants club, and who shouldn't.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jose Canseco plans to file a class-action lawsuit against Major League Baseball and the players' association, saying he's been ostracized for going public with tales of steroids use in the sport.
Wow... Jose must be really broke. Only a man desperate for income would launch a lawsuit against a group of people he'd insulted on the grounds that they stopped talking to him after he insulted them.
Canseco said Wednesday that he has discussed the suit with lawyers and intends to enlist Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro to join in the suit.
Oh good, a veritable trifecta of dependable and trustworthy plaintiffs.
Canseco said the basis of the suit would be "lost wages -- in some cases, defamation of character."
What wages?? And WHAT CHARACTER??
"Because I used steroids and I came out with a book, I was kicked out of the game, but I have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame," Canseco said in a telephone interview.
YES! That's exactly right. I fail to see the problem here.
"A lot of these players have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Mark McGwire and so forth. They're losing salaries, because obviously when you're inducted into the Hall of Fame, you get asked to do certain, you know, appearances and shows and so forth, which incorporates income. So there is a major income loss.
"Not even that, baseball blackballs you from their family, meaning you can't have a future proper reference from them, a job, no managerial jobs, no coaching jobs, nothing. They completely sever you."
BECAUSE YOU CHEATED, YOU BIG CHEATER McCHEATERSON. That's like complaining that the company that fired you on the grounds that you were stealing from them won't give you a reference or hire you back or throw you a retirement party.
The 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 AL MVP, Canseco hit 462 home runs from 1985-2001 and currently is 32nd on the career list. (Yes! A good career according to the stats!) In books published in 2005 and last year, he detailed steroids use by himself and others. (Yes! A good career in which he cheated!)
Whether a judge would think Canseco has a case -- and would even allow it to go to a jury -- remains to be seen.
He appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007 and received just six votes, 21 below the amount necessary to remain in the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot in future years. Because he cheated.
McGwire, eighth on the career list with 583 homers, received 118 Hall of Fame votes this year, which came to 21.9 percent. That's well below the 75 percent threshold needed for election and down from 128 votes in each of his first two appearances on the ballot. Because he cheated.
"Always, one individual has to make that stand, which is me," Canseco said. "And then I'll obviously speak to other players and other individuals, see how far they want to go."
I'm sure that lots and lots of other players will want to be associated with a credible guy such as yourself. That'll do nothing but good things for their reputations.
Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations, declined comment. Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Unhuh, because Manfred and Weiner have better things to do with their time.
Canseco said players shouldn't be stigmatized for using steroids before players and owners agreed to ban them in 2002.
"I don't see why people just don't get it. I don't understand the ignorance," he said. "Listen: It was allowed by Major League Baseball. It was endorsed by Major League Baseball. Why should the players be now reprimanded?"
Ok, I kind of get this point. It wasn't against the rules. But that doesn't change the fact that now it is! And MLB is trying hard, I think, to make amends for the steroid scandal. And they didn't need Jose Canseco's book, which he wrote for MONEY, to help them do that.
And, MLB has not reprimanded anybody for taking steroids before the rules were in place banning them. That would be stupid.
He wasn't surprised by a report Tuesday by The New York Times that Sammy Sosa was among 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey. The paper cited lawyers with knowledge of the 2003 drug-testing results who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly discuss material under court seal.
"Like I've said all along, in my era 80 percent of the players were using steroids and why would Sammy Sosa be excluded from that?" Canseco said. "I think people are going to be amazed how, you know, extensive that list is that Major League Baseball is holding back right now and who are on it."
Jose, that is terrible, terrible grammar.
Canseco said the list should remain private because players were promised anonymity, but he predicted the remaining names eventually will trickle out and become public.
OR, Canseco said the list should remain private because nobody had offered him any money to reveal the names that are on it. But he predicted that someone might offer him that money sometime, in which case he would write another book and reveal all. Because that's just the kind of classy guy he is.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Ryan Leaf. Selected 2nd overall in the 1998 NFL draft after a successful college career at Washington State University. Awful 4-year NFL career, characterized by disappointing play and petulant behaviour.
And today, an arrest on charges of drug use and burglary.
There's something about this story that's sadly familiar and becomes another example of how ill-prepared many athletes are to succeed in life outside of the sport in which they excel. And it makes me wonder at what stage of a developing athletes career do coaches and advisors decide that someone has enough talent and potential to not need some basic lessons about how to live. Ryan Leaf is the perfect example of why, no matter how talented and how promising an athlete is, they gotta have life skills. Because I suspect that when Ryan Leaf realized that his football career was over, he had absolutely no idea what to do with himself.
Friday, June 5, 2009
- I don't really want to talk about the Blue Jays right now. A bad stretch of 9 straight losses recently has brought the team's great start to the season crashing back to reality. By no means are the Jays out of the race for the division or the wildcard, they just need to believe that, and they need the fans to believe it. Also, better pitching would help.
- Thanks to Jack McCallum from SI for this gem from Glen Beck, featured in the reporter's weekly Bottom Ten list of the worst in sports: "Reaching deep into his mixed-sport-metaphor bag to trash Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, the commentator opined that "our government needs to keep their eye on the ball when nominating Supreme Court justices," and that "right now it's the bottom of the ninth and we are down to our last out and our last strike" and wondered if our government will "take strike three looking or will they wake up and save the day with a heroic three-pointer on a penalty shot?"
- Also from a recent Bottom Ten: "Despite entreaties by the NHL players association, league execs, many of whom are former players, [NHL General Managers] elected not to outlaw hits to the head, although they did agree to add a General Manager of the Year award."
- I give Phil Mickelson a rough time on this blog, but the news about his wife is awful. Phil will play the US Open, and let's hope that's a sign that his wife's health is positive.
- Pittsburgh Penguins have come back to tie the Stanley Cup finals 2-2. Series heads back to Detroit for game 5!
- It's a good news/bad news thing for 300-game winners this week. On the good side, they added one Randy Johnson to their ranks and on the bad, Tom Glavine was cut by the Atlanta Braves this week for, from what I can tell, no good reason.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Knowing that, and knowing about other passions in my life, you can understand my excitement when I heard about this.
I need to get my hands on this book! Assuming I'm able to find a copy, look for more on this subject in the near future.
Almost all his life Jack Kerouac had a hobby that even close friends and fellow Beats like Allen Ginsburgh and William S. Burroughs never knew about. He obsessively played a fantasy baseball game of his own invention, charting the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks).He collected their stats, analyzed their performances and, as a teenager, when he played most ardently, wrote about them in homemade newsletters and broadsides. He even covered financial news and imaginary contract disputes. ...
All these “publications,” some typed, some handwritten and often pasted into old-fashioned composition notebooks, are now part of the Jack Kerouac Archive at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. The curator, Isaac Gewirtz, has just written a 75-page book about them, “Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats,” to be published next week by the library and available, at least for now, only in its gift shop.
Friday, May 15, 2009
- Halladay vs. Burnett in game one of the Jays' first series against the Yanks this year.
- The coveted Number One spot in the Sports Illustrated Rankings for this week! Woot!
- Games 2 and 3 of the series against the Yanks, especially Game 2. However, the Jays have been remarkably good at not letting one or two losses affect them over the long term. I'll hope to see more of that consistency this weekend against the White Sox.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
From Alex Ovechkin after the Capitals Game 5 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday: "Next game is going to be different. It's not over yet. If somebody thinks it's over, it's not over. We're going to come back here again. Game 7."
While this is not as overt a guarantee as some, it still motivated me to post on the subject.
Don't guarantee wins. Just don't. Not only does a guarantee cause all kinds of media fuss that distracts you and your teammates from the task at hand, but way WAY more often than not, you end up looking like a doofus. Yes, once in a while, your guarantee turns out to be correct and the whole thing becomes an awesome story of grit and determination (see Messier, Mark), but you're much more likely to end up looking like a tool.
So just don't do it, 'k?
Friday, May 8, 2009
- Sad to hear that Dom DiMaggio died this morning at the great age of 92.
- The Manny Ramirez saga that kicked off yesterday was surprising to me, and for some reason and despite my weariness with big stars using PEDs, I believe Manny's prescription story. That doesn't change the fact that he's a cheater-cheater-pumpkin-eater, but until I hear any further evidence of greater intention, I'm calling this situation disappointing, but not fatal. Serve the suspension, come back, play ball.
- And by the way, how are all athletes not hyper-vigilant about checking with the league when doctors prescribe things for them?
- The Washington-Pittsburgh series in the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs is unbelievable. Both Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin had hat tricks in the second game of the series. Through the first three games, the two of them have 9 goals combined. NINE! I can't wait to see how this series ends.
- Players Championship this weekend... I love this tournament and am firmly in the "This Should be a Major" camp. Someday, I'll ask my husband to guest post why he thinks the PGA should drop the Masters from the list of Majors and add the Players. It's never gonna happen that way, obviously, but I love the argument, which boils down roughly to teaching Augusta that the tour is no longer going to stand for the things that Augusta stands for, and is no longer going to support a tournament that intentionally restricts fan access, and replace it with a tournament on a great course with wall-to-wall coverage, three great finishing holes and the potential for loads of drama.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Major worries continue to focus on injuries to the pitching staff. The series in Kansas, I think, exposed what those injuries have done to the staff with a couple of really bad outings for Purcey and Burres. On the other hand, Scott Richmond has been a pleasant surprise, and despite losing in Kansas, Tallet has been more than capable.
The offence continues to be a force for good, with Vernon Wells doing what he gets paid those big bucks to do, and Aaron Hill showing MVP-like form. (That's right, I said it.) And we've seen major improvement in Alex Rios in the last few games, including a big home-run last night against the O's in a tight game.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated thinks that the good times in Toronto won't last and that the Jays will be a victim of the AL East. What do you think?
Friday, May 1, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Let's back up a moment. Bob Gainey, the coach and general manager of the Montreal Canadians, was asked yesterday to reflect on what can be accurately characterized as a disappointing and puzzling centenary season for the Habs in the wake of the team's first round sweep out of the playoffs at the hands of the Bruins. Specific focus has been placed on Gainey's decision to stick with young young goaltender Carey Price:
What we have here, class, is a fairly standard, not particularly creative, sexist comment. Not earth-shattering, just stupid and annoying.
Veteran radio reporter Peter Ray noted his wife couldn't figure out why the general manager/head coach continued to use Price, whose losing streak reached seven games by the time the Bruins eliminated the Canadiens Wednesday night.
"Carey Price is a thoroughbred. Maybe your wife doesn't recognize it," replied Gainey, who went on to say: "I don't bake bread very well, either; we all have our areas of expertise."
So, from the perspective of a person who knows more about sports than she does about baking bread, I thought I might provide a theory.
Bob Gainey saw an opportunity. An opportunity to share the blame for the dismal end to the Habs season. Carey Price had lost six straight games. The Habs were down 3-0 in their series to the Bruins, and nobody was holding out much hope for a comeback. I honestly don't think that Bob Gainey looked at the decision of whether to leave Price in or take him out as a strategic one. I think he was looking for a way to cover his ass.
If Bob Gainey leaves Price in for Game 4 and the Habs win, Gainey stands to garner some praise for his willingness to stand behind his young "thoroughbread." If Bob Gainey leaves Price in for Game 4 and the Habs lose, Gainey has someone else to help shoulder the blame. If Price doesn't stand up (and he didn't), then Gainey can blather on some crap about teachable moments and the young goaltender's need for experience and his ability to bounce back at his young age, and in doing so, he can deflect all the attention away from how badly he dropped the ball this season.
I'm not suggesting that Gainey was setting Price up to fail; I'm suggesting that Gainey thought more about how he was going to explain the decision than he did the decision itself.
It's ok though, Bob. Coaching is hard. Maybe you just didn't recognize that. We all have our areas of expertise.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
On behalf of all Jays fans, if I may say so, WOOT!
The Jays offensive continues to pound out hit after hit after hit, protecting the young pitching staff. Aaron Hill is clearly back in form post-concussion, Marco Scutaro has been on base in all 10 games, and the young tandem of Lind and Snider continue to impress.
On the Bad News side, Jesse Litsch has been put on the DL with a forearm strain. I am from the cynical side that doesn't believe that pitchers ever have quick-healing injuries, so this is a big concern for a team with an already-depleted pitching staff. Brian Tallet is being moved into the rotation, but there is no word on what this move will mean for Tallet's highly off-putting mustache.
Perhaps the only blip on the offensive side relates to a somewhat slow start for Alex Rios (0-5 last night), but I think it's a bit early to fuss too much about it. He'll figure it out.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Phil and Tiger pushing each other and the leaders in ways that probably only the two of them are capable of. Kenny Perry sticking it within a few feet on 16 in what looked to be the definitive shot on this way to the green jacket, only to blow it on 17 and 18 and be forced into a playoff with Angel Cabrera and Chad Campbell. Cabrera yanking it into the trees on the first hole but still managing to get his par. And the Argentinian breaking Perry's heart on the second playoff hole to take the green jacket to South America.
There are issues with the Masters. Issues with the Old Boys Club that runs the tournament, issues with terrible television and internet coverage, issues with how the field is set.
But it is a great tournament nonetheless, and Sunday afternoon proved why.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Nowhere to go but up, boys!
So, two games in and the Jays are 2-0 after one blowout and one bottom-of-the-ninth thriller against Detroit. Cool.
Two games in and the liquor license at Roger Centre has been suspended (including the clubhouse) thanks to a bunch of dink-heads who threw stuff on the field during the season opener. Less cool.
Two games in and the Jays have enjoyed one near sell-out, and one crowd just barely over 16,000. Sigh.
Some other notables:
- Great, great, GREAT to see Aaron Hill back in action after the concussion nastiness of last season. Great to see him put bat to ball in a big way last night.
- Exciting to see young players make an offensive impact; this means you, Lind and Snider. Cito Gaston is the perfect manager to guide these guys through this season.
- Obviously, the pitching staff is the big question mark for the Jays this year. In particular, I am worried about B.J. Ryan. The Jays need a solid closer to protect whatever leads they can muster this year, and I sense an uncertainty around Ryan. I'm not sure if it's injury-related, or something has just shifted in his delivery, but I don't get the sure-thing feeling about him that the Jays were looking for when they signed him.
Monday, April 6, 2009
- The start of the baseball season, of course
- The final few games of the NHL season, in which a desperate few teams compete for even fewer remaining playoff spots
- The Men's World Curling Championships. Go Kevin Martin! To quote my husband yesterday: "Oh good. Canada vs. France. This should be close."
- And the Masters this weekend!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
In short, the Hockey Hall of Fame has finally amended its bylaws to smooth the road for the induction of women into the Hall. This has been a long time coming, and the list of women who are worthy candidates is a long one. Given the length of the list, I'm not entirely sure that I understand why 4 men will be inducted each year and only 2 women, but we'll call this a step in the right direction.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I knew it as soon as Tiger dropped the birdie putt on 15. This was the classic Sunday Tiger that we've missed so much in the last nine months. There was the stagger, the stare, the intensity, and the inevitability.
And with the daylight fading faster than Sean O'Hair's hopes, he sealed the deal with another 15-foot birdie putt on 18. And then, the fist-pump.
I sure am looking forward to the Masters in a couple of weeks!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I got the chance last night to watch just a couple of innings of the final game, and I thought it to be tremendously exciting and vibrant baseball. The opportunity to watch two Asian teams play each other underlined some of the differences between the way that these teams play ball and the style I'm used to seeing in the Majors. Meaning no disrespect to MLB, I see an extra element of energy and excitement in the way that the Asian players play baseball. It is as if the players are all on tightly coiled springs, and when the springs release, the vivacity with which the play unfolds is intoxicating. This energy manifests itself throughout the play... the hitting, the pitching, the running, the defense... It all happens so fast, and so explosively, that you can't be perfectly sure you've seen what you thought you saw.
It's an interesting parallel against the largeness and the power that so dominate the western style of the game nowadays. The fact that Japanese speed and finesse easily defeated US power in the semifinals puts the American baseball purist in a difficult position. Tommy Lasorda, for example, is not taking the picture well.
"Can you believe this? Look at the score. I feel so bad about this," Lasorda said. "We had high hopes. This is the second time we were supposed to win. We taught these people the game."At the very least, fans of the MLB style of play can comfort themselves that the winning hit in the final came off the bat of Ichiro, a familiar figure for whom American baseball can take some partial credit.
Update: What he said.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Schilling is an interesting figure for many reasons: the immense talent, the flare for the dramatic, the chip on his shoulder, the fantastic pitching in big games, the unwillingness to choose his words carefully.
I used to read his blog, but to be honest, I got a little tired of reading Schilling on Schilling. His writing tone always came across to me as slightly defensive, even when there was no cause to be. I think that's the tone that wore on people, eventually.
I did think it was amusing that his retirement comes with "no regrets." If I'd been paid $8M last year to do nothing, a regret might be hard to find for me too.
Friday, March 20, 2009
And now you know.
England's Prince William has revealed the source of the "Harry Potter" scar on his forehead on a BBC television show. According to the Golfonline UK, it was caused by a flying 7-iron, although he didn't say who threw it.
The royal was hurt when goofing around on a putting green at the tender age of ten, when he was hit with a golf iron.
In a feature on the BBC's Newsround programme, the Prince compared the mark with that of fictional teenage wizard Harry Potter, who also has a scratch on his forehead.
"I call it that because it glows sometimes and some people notice it – other times they don't notice it at all," said William.
"We were on a putting green and the next thing you know there was a seven-iron and it came out of nowhere and it hit me in the head."
The moral of the story? Duck.
There is no doubt that Phil is a lot fitter now than he used to be. He has slimmed down, and toned up, and is looking pretty good! Even the man-boobs are a thing of the past! But Phil ain't in 6-pack category yet, and still has a bit of a gut. The effect of this white belt on the all-black background is akin to pointing at it with a large arrow and screaming, "THIS IS MY GUT!" "LOVE HANDLES HERE!" "SPARE TIRES R US!"
It's only one small step from tying a large red ribbon around his middle.
Camillo or Sergio can pull this off. Sorry, Phil.
Otherwise, loving the all-black look!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
And no, I'm not joking. Curling is a fantastic sport for television. The view of the playing surface is wonderful, there are opportunities to hear the players discuss strategy and the pace of play is pleasant. I think that one of the measures of a good televised sport is how well the broadcast increases the accessibility of the sport for those who may be unfamilar with it, and TSN's coverage of curling in Canada has increased the popularity, familiarity and relevance of curling for Canadians in spades.
WORST: Trade Deadline Day Coverage.
ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz...... It's worse than the 6 hours of pre-game show we get for the Super Bowl.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
In the same week that Alex Rodriguez admits to the world that he and his cousin partook in performance enhancers but shrugs it off as harmless side-effects of youth and stupidity, the Yankees slugger gets into an SUV driven by the same cousin after a spring training game yesterday.
What part of that seemed like a good idea for a guy who is trying to convince the world that his steroid use was limited to 2001-2003?? I tell ya, he's making the "stupidity" part of his defense seem more and more believable by the day.
If I was A-Rod's manager, I would chase him around the Yankees training facility with a bat, screaming, "IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO MAKE THIS SITUATION WORSE THAN IT ALREADY IS?"
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
- Nice to see the news that Ken Griffey Jr. is going to back to Seattle, where it all began. I can't think of anything nicer than ending his career where he is universally loved and admired. It will always strike me as profoundly unfortunate that injuries so affected his great career.
He's sick... the guy is just sick.
- Speaking of young hockey stars, I heard something interesting on the radio yesterday or the day before about the hype around Sydney Crosby and how, predictably, we might have been a bit hasty in suggesting that he would be the greatest of all time. That's not to say that Crosby will not be a great hockey player, but chances are that he will only ever be one of many great hockey players. It makes one think that perhaps we need to rethink how quickly we throw around predictions of Amazingness. Gretzky was a once-in-a-lifetime player, and we will probably not see his kind again.
- Israeli Tennis player Shahar Peer was recently denied entrance into the United Arab Emirates because of her nationality. Lots of interesting commentary on the incident, and the WTA's response to it here.
- How exciting was it to watch Michelle Wie almost win in the first LPGA tournament of the season? If she keeps this up, the embarassment of recent years will fade into the distant past with merciful rapidity.
- And I'm excited for Tiger to come back. Just sayin'!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
1. I love the way that ballparks smell. It's a funny kind of combination of peanuts and beer and fresh air and rosin. There's no other smell like it in the world, and it's fantastic.
2. I've been to two major league games. WH took me to a Jays-Orioles game in Toronto when we were dating. Surprisingly, the Orioles lay a drubbing on Roy Halladay. And then last summer, WH and I went to a Cubs-Giants game in San Francisco. It was awesome to see such a classic rivalry and in the end, the Giants came from behind to win, but it was so cold sitting out there by the bay that we only made it about 4 innings before we headed back to the hotel and watched the rest on TV.
3. I've been to a bunch of minor league games here in Prairie City and I've loved every single one of them. The most memorable was a game for which Kevin Brown pitched in an injury rehab start for the opposing team. He got paid $900,000 to play that game, more than probably the entire lineup of Prairie City team combined.
4. John Olerud was my favourite player from the Blue Jays World Series winning teams. He just seemed like such a nice, quiet man, and WOW could he hit the baseball.
5. I hate the New York Yankees.
6. I like keeping score. I enjoy it so much that I'll keep score for games I'm watching on TV .
7. I played intramural softball for about five years and I umped for a couple of summers. Umpires have a very, very difficult job.
8. I know that it's a topic of great controversy, but I don't really mind the designated hitter. I mean, all sports have specialized players, and I would frankly rather watch a DH hit the ball well, than watch a pitcher whiff away just because he has to take an at-bat.
9. Chewing tobacco is a disgusting habit.
10. Baseball is the only professional sport I know where the coach wears the same uniform as the players. That is one of the most ridiculous pieces of baseball trivia out there. I mean, who cares?
11. They have these garlic fries at AT&T park in San Francisco that are unbelievable. SO GOOD. They are a kind of signature food for the park and rightly so. If you ever go that way, you must try them. You must!
12. I think that my favourite play in baseball is a watching an outfielder try to throw out a runner at home because to do it successfully, so many different things have to go absolutely right. When it all works, it's like poetry in motion.
13. One of the things you lose watching a game on TV is a sense of how everybody on the field works together on every single play. There's a great moment just before the pitch is thrown when everything seems still, and then as soon as the pitcher releases the ball, everybody starts moving. Given how many players are involved, it's a wonder how rarely they get in each other's way.
14. I've always thought it would be a great trip to drive across the US, hitting as many ball parks as you could along the way.
15. If you want to get on my nerves, say this: "You watch baseball? But it's so boring." But be prepared that I will then pester you mercilessly with all the reasons why you're wrong.
16. This is a great book.
17. I'm fascinated by catchers. I think that former catchers make excellent managers because catchers have to know everything that is going on on the field at any given time. Catchers have a good sense of the strategy of the game, how all the pieces - offensive and defensive - fit together. I think that the importance of the catcher is karma giving a little boost to all of the kids who were told to play catcher on their school teams because they were perceived to be the least able.
18. I really like A League of their Own.
19. The singing of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch was a very moving and emotional tribute after 9/11. But it's time to put it to rest now. The seventh inning stretch should be about Take me out to the ballgame, sung loudly and off-key, preferably by Harry Caray. Sigh...
20. I've eaten peanuts at a ball game, but never crackerjacks.
21. Is there anything more beautiful than a 6-4-3 double play with one out and the bases loaded? I thought not. Well, maybe a strike out with two out and the bases loaded.
22. It took me a strangely long time to figure out that the spring training cactus league was in Arizona and the grapefruit league was in Florida. Duh.
23. I missed Joe Carter's famous home run to win the 1993 World Series. A friend's mom told me about it: "Oh, by the way, they won. Somebodyorother hit a home run and they won."
24. Setting aside PED's for the moment, I remember being totally entranced by the McGuire/Sosa home run chase. I went out and bought a St. Louis Cardinals jersey because I was rooting for McGuire to come out on top. Knowing what we know now, the chase takes on a kind of sad backstory, but at the time, I still maintain that what we were watching was incredible.
25. I think that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. I know, I know, he bet on baseball and lied about it and was, frankly, a bastard. And I certainly understand why the consequences for those actions were so harsh. So I say, put the whole story in the Hall of Fame. The skill, the talent, the statistics, the accomplishments, the downfall. Tell it like it is.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So, official count of Happy Spaniels in the world this week: at least 2!
Monday, February 9, 2009
I never liked the guy, so it's kinda nice to feel vindicated in my opinion.
I think the whole thing - the drug use and the explanation for it - reeks of ego and greed.
And I choose to make that all I want to say about it right now!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
... drumroll please...
Barry Bonds took performance enhancing drugs.
Ok, so this piece of news doesn't exactly qualify as ground-shaking. But you know what does surprise me and has surprised me since we began to hear some of the more intimate details of the Clemens investigation?
I was never surprised that professional athletes took drugs. I think every Canadian that remembers the Olympics in Seoul and the positive drug test that took down Ben Johnson developed a veil of cynicism about athletes and performance enhancement. But until the last couple of years, the Mitchell Report, Clemens and Bonds, I had no idea how... disgusting the whole business is. I'm not sure how many more stories about injection sites, side effects, dirty medical practice, syringes etc. I can stomach. I mean... EWWWWW.
How does anybody with a sound mind look ahead to all the vast and miserable downsides of a career dependent on chemicals and think that those downsides don't outweight the one positive, that you might enjoy one or two moments of glory before the whole thing comes crashing down around you? And of course the answer is that anybody with a sound mind sees the picture for what it is; it is those with unsound, or perhaps, undeveloped minds that are the targets of those who are invested in this business. And this group, sadly, often includes young athletes.
So, of course, there is considerable burden on parents, coaches and teachers of young athletes to send hard and strong messages about PEDs, to monitor young athlete activity, to be aware of who else is targetting young athletes and to remind athletes that that moment of glory so sought after by people like Bonds is achievable on a different path than the one he chose. If those parents, coaches and teachers are looking for effective messaging, I suggest starting with Bond's trainer's description of injection site cysts, as found in the article above.
Excuse me whilst I gag.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I wrote the post below on my "regular" blog and thought it would make a great cross-post here for a start!
Today's post is dedicated to making a little fun of Phil Mickelson, largely because of the following quotation, which I found on golf.com. Phil uttered these words after his early exit at last weekend's FBR open, a tournament at which he went 7 over-par and missed the cut by seven strokes.
This does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm about this year. I'm excited about how I'm putting. I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee.
Seems innocent enough, eh?
Let's start with the last sentence, shall we? I'm excited about how I'm driving it off the tee. Really, Phil? Are you REALLY excited??? REALLY? The reason I have my doubts is that, frankly, you drove off the tee like crap last week. To be specific, David Toms had the best driving accuracy last weekend, at 69.64%. The average through the field was 50.48%. Your driving accuracy was 28.6% TWENTY-EIGHT POINT SIX PERCENT, Phil. Of a possible 28 fairways, you hit 8 of them. ... EIGHT! I've been golfing for two years, and I suck, and I HIT MORE THAN 28% OF THE FAIRWAYS I FACE.
And your putting? YOU'RE EXCITED ABOUT YOUR PUTTING?! You are currently 155th on tour in putts per round. Thirty putts per round was your average for the two rounds you played in Scottsdale, Phil. Not exactly a statistic I'd write home about in the same sentence as the word "excited," unless the sentence also included the words, "not," "at," and "all."
Phil, Phil, Phil. I think the reason that some people don't like you is that you can come across as phony. And here's a perfect example why. I would have more respect for you if your post-tournament comments this last weekend were more along the lines of, "Boy, was that ever bad. B-A-D. I'm really going to have to do better if I hope to crack a top-ten this year, let alone win something. Back to the driving range, I go!" We know you're capable of this, Phil. After the disaster at Winged Foot, you said, "I can't believe I did that. I'm such an idiot." And we loved the comment because it was true!!