OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball!) Deconstructed

Our Blue Jays are two games up on the New York Yankees in the AL East. I'm absolutely loving this team that seems capable of putting up double-digits at will. It's been a long, long time since we've had an honest-to-goodness pennant race in this city, and I'm enjoying every second of it.

As the Jays' fortunes improved, I've seen the traffic to my OK Blue Jays (Let's Play Ball) entry increase. It ranks well in Google, and people have Blue Jays fever and are chock full of nostalgia. Click that link if you want to hear the song right now!

For fun, I thought I'd deconstruct the lyrics. Some of you kids probably don't have a clue who Dave and Billy are, so I'm here to fill in the blanks.

You've got a diamond
You've got nine men
You've got a hat and a bat
And that's not all

This song was written by Jack Lenz and Tony Kosinec, with help from Alan Smith and Pat Arbour, and they kindly open by explaining the fundamentals of baseball to the uneducated. There is indeed a diamond, and you do indeed field nine men. Players wear hats and hit with bats. All true!

You've got the bleachers
Got 'em from spring 'til fall
You got a dog and a drink
And the umpire's call
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

The dome doesn't really have bleachers, but Exhibition Stadium sure did. It was a football field that was modified for baseball. Lots and lots of bleachers, and the Blue Jays used them from spring 'til fall.

Is that a fly ball
Or is it a seagull
Coming in from the lake
Just to catch the game?

Exhibition Stadium was located where you'll find BMO Field today. It's by Lake Ontario, and that meant plenty of seagulls on the field. The dome doesn't have a seagull problem, but Exhibition Stadium sure did. Just ask Dave Winfield.

It's the last inning
Our guys are winning
Dave's put down a smoker
A strike
And you've got no doubt
(You're out!)
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

Here we learn about Dave who throws strikes. This is Dave Stieb, our early-to-mid 80s ace who ended the decade with the second most wins in the majors. Dave Stieb was the greatest Blue Jays starter ever, until I gave the crown to Roy Halladay. He also has the only no-hitter in franchise history.

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Keith Hampshire is the voice behind this anthem, and he nails this chorus. When I hear it today, I break into the seventh inning stretch calisthenics.

It's a beautiful evenin', fans
At the ballpark
When the game starts
Warm summer breezes
Sun's goin' down
And it's all dark
At the ballpark
But that's okay…it's a night game

I think this is my very favourite verse. There something beautifully innocent about momentary concern when it becomes dark, only to blissfully come to the realization that it's a night game. All is well at Exhibition Stadium.

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

Keith Hampshire had a #1 hit in 1973 with his cover of "The First Cut Is The Deepest". "OK Blue Jays" peaked at #47.

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

The Blue Jays song was conceptualized by Alan Smith, Creative Director at JWT Direct. He wrote most of the lyrics together with copywriter Pat Arbour, although the first verse was written entirely by recording artist Tony Kosinec of the Lenz/Kosinec jingle house, which was hired to write the music and produce the song under Smith and Arbour's direction.

Bring on the White Sox
Bring on the BoSox
Bring on the Brewers
The Rangers and the Yankees too

Here we run down a laundry list of American League foes. Before you scream at me for including the Brewers, remember this song was recorded in 1983 and the Brewers were in the American League until 1998.

We'll beat the Indians
We'll beat the Tigers
We'll beat the A's so bad it'll make
Billy blue
Waddaya want?
Let's play ball!

The Billy that's blue because we beat his A's is Billy Martin who had a brief stint with the Athletics between New York Yankee firings. He was fired as Yankees manager five different times.

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

The song is officially credited to Keith Hampshire and "The Bat Boys". The Bat Boys were Barry Keane, Mike Francis, Roly Platt, David Sawyer, Denis Le Page, Jack Lenz, Ralph Fraser, Tony Kosinec and Laurie Bower.

Okay (okay)
Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Let's (Let's) Play (Play) Ball!

You're forgiven if you thought Keith Hampshire was Canadian. He had his greatest success here, but he's actually British. Pity that...

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Ford Explorer Sport Test Drive

After our visit to Sandbanks, we spent a few days in the city before hitting the road again for a trip to Huntsville. Technically, we went beyond Huntsville into Dwight, but telling people you're driving to Dwight is a recipe for confusion.

For this family road trip to White Birches Cottages we drove an Explorer Sport from Ford Canada. I have a sudden interest in cars with more than five seats, and the Explorer comfortably seats seven. Perfect.


The Sport's twin-turbocharged and direct-injected 3.5-liter "EcoBoost" V6 is good for 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque! If you're a guy like me, who isn't certain what that means, be assured it's awfully powerful and great fun to drive. In fact, if you want power, you won't do any better for the price.

And now a word about SYNC... SYNC is Ford's "integrated in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music and perform other functions with the use of voice commands" and I was first exposed to SYNC back in 2008. No other manufacturer's system is as easy and pleasurable to use. I could see myself buying a Ford just to get SYNC.


I haven't returned the Explorer yet... my oldest son and I drove it to hockey last night and it was nice not having to cram our gear inside. Over the next several months, I'll be checking out other cars with three rows of seats, but the Explorer has set the bar awfully high.


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Three Hits You Didn't Know Were Covers

Last week, I disappeared down the rabbit hole of one-hit wonders, and this afternoon I dove into the world of songs you didn't realize were covers. I'm blaming this article for lighting the spark.

Here are three songs I didn't realize were cover songs. I'm betting you didn't know, either.

"Obsession" by Animotion was originally done by Michael Des Barres and Holly Knight.

"Gloria" by Laura Branigan was originally an Italian hit by Umberto Tozzi.

Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning" was first recorded by Evie Sands.

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The Complexity of Today's Shooting of Two Journalists

Early this morning, while broadcasting live on WDBJ7, reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were murdered. They were shot at close range by a former WDBJ7 employee.

There's not only footage of the live broadcast, but the shooter himself took footage and shared it on the web. I've shared a link to the first video via Twitter, but have decided not to share the second video. Some feel neither video should be shared or viewed. Others feel both videos are part of this news story and fair game for public consumption. This is merely one complexity amidst many with a tragedy of this nature in this day and age.

When the name of the shooter was revealed, some felt his name shouldn't be written or spoken. He wanted fame, but all attention should be given to the victims. After all, he might get off on the infamy. I respect this argument, but still decided to share his name and picture on Twitter.

Then, there's the hot button issue of gun control. Shootings of this nature happen often in the United States, they just don't typically happen on live television. Gun control is a very serious issue, but is it one that overshadows the even more serious mental health crisis? In my humble opinion, yes. I Tweeted a screen capture of the shooter's Twitter feed, and it's clearly a mentally ill individual. Gun control is important, but mental health is often the root of violent crimes of this nature, and the mental health crisis seems grossly overlooked.

Then there's the 23-page manifesto faxed by the gunman to ABC News. Should that be shared? Should it be suppressed? Is it a legitimate part of this developing news story or a soapbox this double murderer should be deprived of?

And what about race? Was the story covered differently when the suspect was assumed to be white? What of the fact the shooter's manifesto named the recent Charleston church shooting as motivation for his actions?

Mental health, race relations, gun control... all accelerated by the immediacy of social media. It's all so very sad, and so very complex. And in 2015, everything happens lightning quick in the public sphere.

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GMC Yukon XL Test Drive

I took a couple of weeks off to spend time with the family, first camping and then renting a cottage in Muskoka. There are five of us, two tents, a cooler, several sleeping bags, a BBQ and, well, everything else. To borrow a line from Martin Brody, we're going to need a bigger car.

GM Canada came through with a bigger car. Except it's not just big, it's absolutely humongous. The GMC Yukon XL has seats for nine and a mind-boggling amount of space in the trunk. Here's the little guy for scale.


Everything fit!


I had come from a Mazda Protege, so it took me a little time to adapt to my new size, but in no time I forgot I was driving a small bus. It was a quiet, smooth ride to Sandbanks, and its 5.3L V8 EcoTec3 engine was a welcome change.


What a great week!

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Daily Photo: Cottaging on Oxtongue Lake

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One-Hit Wondering

I spent some time heading down the one-hit wonder rabbit hold this morning. It all started with this interesting article about the death of one-hit wonders.

Since 1958, Billboard has released a weekly “Hot 100,” which ranks the “most popular songs across all genres.” Over the years, their ranking methodology has changed to reflect how people consume music; currently, it is measured by radio plays, sales and “streaming activity.”

We took this data and analyzed it for the number of Billboard Hot 100 songs in a given year by artists that never appeared in the Hot 100 again. In the chart below, each point represents the number of one-hit wonders in a given year. (It’s worth mentioning that the counts from 1965 to 1970 may be slightly inflated because these early one-hit wonders might have had a hit prior to the establishment of the Hot 100.)


I once wrote about our need for a standard to define one-hit wonders. The criteria criterion used in this article is an artist who appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 once, but never again. That's fine, but it's resulted in some rather questionable data.

For example, here's what their analysis has determined to be the top 50 one-hit wonders of all-time.


Where do I begin...

  • There's no way the Righteous Brothers are one-hit wonders. In fact, they had two massive hits with "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".
  • Moby's in there. That doesn't make sense unless it's because of how that song was credited as Moby featuring Gwen Stefani.
  • Same goes for Evanescence. They had a few other hits, so this must have to do with how the song was credited.
  • Tubthumping was a great single, wasn't it?

Fun article, though. I'm going to spin some Chumbawamba now...

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Thoughts on the Galleria Mall Redevelopment From Someone Who Worked There

The Galleria Mall at Dufferin and Dupont is where I worked for five long years of my life. I was a grocery clerk at the Food City there, and helped Oshawa Foods convert it to a Price Chopper.

Five years is a long time to work anywhere, let alone the Galleria Mall. When I started there, Boots was the drugstore across the hall from Food City and Zellers anchored the west end. P.M. Toronto Sports Bar was where degenerate gamblers hung out and I remember an LCBO and pet store amidst smaller ma and pa outlets. I knew the Galleria Mall like I knew the back of my own hand, having wandered around killing time during many a break.

News broke earlier this week that Freed Developments has purchased the Galleria Mall, and surely changes are coming. After all, if any piece of real estate in Toronto needs an overhaul, it's the Galleria Mall. The Honeydale Mall in Etobicoke would be a close second.

The Galleria Mall was always sad. It screamed of despair, so dark and dingy. Although the Food City and Price Chopper was always busy, inside the mall there was little foot traffic. It was so lifeless in the early 90s, I can't imagine what it's like today.

Blow it up and start again. It's long overdue.

Photo by blogto.com

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Shots Taken With the Sony RX100 IV Camera

I unplugged for a few days, so I'm only now getting to some unfinished business. I wrote about the Jays game I attended on Sunday. During the game, I was given a Sony RX100 IV camera to play with, and these are the shots I took.





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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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