Toronto Blue Jays
I loved going to Blue Jays games at Exhibition Stadium. Some called it the mistake by the lake, but to me it was where my Jays played and that was everything. George, Damaso, Ernie, Jesse, Lloyd, Dave, Alfredo, Tony, Willie, Rance... so many memories.
At the precise spots where the bases used to be, they've put cement markers. I think this is very cool. Even though it's a parking lot now, it's neat being able to see where our Blue Jays played before the dome.
I biked over today to snap some pictures and step on home plate.
The Jays just took two out of three against the Rays and are now 8-17. That's a .320 winning percentage. That's not good.
I wouldn't bet my own money on the Jays making the playoffs this year, but there's hope. In 1989, back when I wouldn't miss a single inning, my beloved Blue Jays were 12-24 when they fired manager Jimy Williams and gave the job to Cito Gaston. 12-24 is a .333 winning percentage. We ended up winning the AL East that year.
It won't be easy, but there is precedent in Blue Jays history, and that was before there were wild cards. We no longer have to win the AL East to make the playoffs.
The '89 Blue Jays were a good team that needed a spark. The 2017 Blue Jays aren't that different from the 2015 and 2016 teams that made the ALCS, and as bodies return from the DL and bats warm up, you just never know.
Stranger things have happened.
Despite frustrating me for three quarters, the Raptors actually won in Milwaukee yesterday to tie their first round series with the Bucks at 2 games apiece. They should advance to the second round, although nothing is a surety when this team is in the playoffs. They're rather unpredictable, hence the frustration.
Tonight I'll be glued to the Leafs game as we try to win at home to force a game seven with the President's Trophy winning Capitals. What a series this has been... four games have been decided in OT and the other was decided by a single goal. The Leafs are hanging with the big boys and it's been thrilling.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are in Anaheim so I've been waking up to find out how we've done. We lost last night, lowering our record to 4-13. That's a .235 winning percentage. That's bad... very, very bad.
The past two years the Jays and Leafs were flipped. The Jays were thrilling, advancing to two ALCS. The Leafs were junk. They've essentially switched spots on the Toronto pro sports spectrum.
One day, all three teams will be competitive. It's never happened before, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, I'm just glad we've had two out of three in the playoffs the past few years. It sure beats how things looked a mere five years ago.
And two out of three ain't bad.
In this 223rd episode, Mike chats with Barry Davis about his years at The Fan, his time at Sportsnet covering the Blue Jays, why he's no longer there and his Tom Petty tribute band, We Ain't Petty. This episode is exactly 56:28.
You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:
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I'm not certain when the Joey Bats Rogers vans started popping up around this city, but I think it was the summer if 2015. Seeing Jose Bautista, Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson on the side always made me smile. If a Rogers service van is making you smile, you know it was a wise marketing move.
When the Jays were humming and hawing about bringing Bautista back, I tweeted it was a no-brainer because of these vans.
The Jays should sign Joey Bats yesterday. If for no other reason than to save themselves from having to re-paint the Rogers service vans.— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) January 13, 2017
According to my estimates, it would cost Rogers $18,500,000 to remove the Joey Bats graphic from their massive fleet of service vans. Signing him to an $18,500,000 guaranteed one-year contract was a slam-dunk.
I've been blogging here for 14 years, and during that time there were some pretty low times in Toronto sports. Just four years ago I wrote this about the new bottom for Toronto sports teams. Things were very, very bad for the big five.In 2016, things got a whole lot better. In fact, there's something great to report about every team in the big five not nicknamed the Argos. Although we didn't win a championship, we were close!
Ten years after their birth, TFC hosted the MLS Cup final, losing a heartbreaker to Seattle. That second leg against Montreal in the semi-final was absolutely thrilling.
Toronto Blue Jays
For the second year in a row, the Blue Jays played in the ALCS. Unlike the hype train of 2015, this didn't seem likely in September as we sputtered into the playoffs, but an Edwin walk-off against Baltimore in the wildcard game and a sweep of the Rangers in the ALDS helped recapture the joy of the previous year.
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors won a best-of-seven playoff series. And we did it twice! We even took two games against Cleveland in the conference finals, making this far and away the best Raptors season, ever.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Last season, the Leafs were bad. Very, very bad. This is a good thing, as it helped us land Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft. Now, with Matthews, Marner and Nylander, the future actually looks bright and the present is a lot of fun, too.
Let's not ruin this entry with an Argos update.
In addition to successful developments for the big four teams in this city, Toronto hosted the Grey Cup, World Cup of Hockey and World Juniors. 2016 was a very good year for Toronto sports. Let's hope for a championship in 2017.
A couple of days ago, CBC Toronto news anchor Dwight Drummond dropped by for a chat. Dwight started at City TV and worked on Electric Circus as a security guard. He mentioned the cowboy hat wearing dancer.
Immediately, I remembered a story Maestro Fresh-Wes told me about this cowboy hat wearing dancer on Electric Circus back in the day. Maestro referred to him as "Soul Train meets Dukes of Hazzard". This guy was so notable a commenter referenced him in this comment left here back in 2011.
I'm more curious as to where the cowboy hat wearing guy that used to "dance" on Electric Circus every week is now. He could really hold that cheap cowboy hat and bust-a-move!
Dwight shared a bizarre legend he'd heard that this cowboy hat wearing Electric Circus dancer was Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey's father. That sounded too good to be true, but I was curious. So I asked Dalton.
@torontomike That he did haha— Dalton Pompey (@DaltonPompey) November 17, 2016
Confirmed! The legend is true! Dalton Pompey's father, Ken Pompey, was a regular dancer on Electric Circus back in the day! Ken Pompey was the Cowboy!
Here's Ken Pompey dancing on EC.
Here's Ken Pompey today.
You can see more of Cowboy Ken Pompey dancing on Electric Circus in this Retrontario clip.
Dalton Pompey's father, a.k.a. Kenrick "Cowboy" Pompey, famed Electric Circus dancer, released a house track in 1992 entitled "Summertime Summertime". It was distributed by Sony Music Canada and included a radio mix, a club mix and a smooth mix.
Deborah Cox is listed as a writer and, according to Dalton Pompey's mother, did the backup vocals. Here's the cover of the album and vinyl:
Here's the radio edit of K. Pompey's Summertime Summertime featuring Deborah Cox. If Dalton doesn't make this his walk up music, I've lost all hope in humanity.
Thank you to Brian McKechnie for getting me the MP3 and Steve Magyari for ripping it from his personal CD collection. Awesome!
Tristan Pompey has shared the music video for Summertime Summertime to his YouTube account. Here it is.
The Toronto Blue Jays have signed free agent Kendrys Morales for three-year at $33 million. Morales batted .263 with 30 home runs last season for the Kansas City Royals.
Morales is primarily a DH, which means re-signing Edwin Encarnacion seems highly unlikely to me. Unless Edwin primarily plays first base, which is possible. Personally, I think Edwin is gone, but I also thought Hillary would win easily.
Assuming Bautista and Encarnacion sign elsewhere, and I'm guessing they do, I hope the Jays strike a deal with the Reds to bring Joey Votto home.
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