Sports


My 2010 World Cup Choice and FootieFox #worldcup

world cupOnce again, I'm without a rooting interest in this World Cup. I faced the same dilemma four years ago.

At that time, with neither my #1 Canada nor my #2 Ireland represented, I decided to go three deep and root for the Netherlands. By June 15, 2006, I had changed my mind and adopted Trinidad and Tobago as my team.

At this time, the Netherlands is still an option, but I'm leaning toward pokies New Zealand. Why the hell not? I love Flight of the Conchords, the other me is from there and they're major underdogs. That works for me!

And before I leave this World Cup entry by a guy who only watches soccer when he's at BMO Field or during the World Cup, I have to remind you all about FootieFox. FootieFox is a Firefox extension that I loved during the last World Cup. It put the current score in my status bar and played a "Scores!" soundbite whenever a goal was scored. If you can't watch the games, you'll love FootieFox.

Download FootieFox here, and go New Zealand go!.

new-zealand

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2010 NHL Season Ends, Pops is Rich, I Miss Hockey

Stanley CupEvery year I make sure I'm watching when the Stanley Cup is clinched and the cup is awarded. There's no better spectacle in all of sports. I love watching each player hoist Lord Stanley's mug, it's the toughest trophy to win, after all.

I thought I might miss that magic moment last night because I had a slo-pitch game until 11pm, but thanks to overtime I was there when Patrick Kane scored the winner. I'm not a Kane fan, but I was rooting for the Blackhawks. They waited 49 years for a cup, and now it's our turn to own the drought. The chants of "1967" are now our rallying cry. I can't wait.

In my annual playoff pool, Pops won the big money thanks to his Flyers trifecta. Outside of Pops, only one Flyer was actually drafted. Pops, you deserve the big win.

In my pool, the second place finisher gets to break even. This season there was a tie for second and for the first time ever we had to go to the tie-breaker. Rule #7 clearly states the following:

7. In the event of a tie, the poolie with the most players from the Stanley Cup winning team assumes the position. If it's still a tie, the winnings are shared.

Because he had two Blackhawks vs. Ryan's one, Steve gets his $20 back.

I tried to catch as much NHL playoff action as possible. It's truly a marathon and not a sprint, but I never tired of it. Nothing beats playoff hockey. Nothing.

If you fancy your chances, find & compare the Best NHL odds for this season at canada.betfair.com.

I miss hockey already. Go Leafs Go!

1967

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Charlie Hustle and his Corked Bat

baseballI was listening to Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth call the Jays game on CJCL 1430 the afternoon Pete Rose set the all-time career hits record. I remember a recorded piece by Sparky Anderson came on to set the scene and tell us all history had been made. Pete Rose had more major league hits than anyone who had ever played the game of baseball and I thought that was pretty awesome.

I've long argued that Pete Rose should be in Cooperstown. I like the Hall of Fame to be about what happened on the field, between the white lines. When it came to playing baseball, Pete Rose is a shoe-on for Hall of Fame honours, and it always bothered me that Charlie Hustle wasn't eligible.

I read about Pete Rose's corked bat on Deadspin. "You're looking at an X-ray of a Mizuno PR4192 bat, commissioned by Pete Rose specifically for his 1985 chase of baseball's all-time hits record. Inside, clear as day, is a piece of foreign material, about 6 inches long, and the diameter of a nickel. "

bat

I don't care whether corking a bat actually helps or hinders a batter, rule 6.06(d) prohibits the use of corked bats. It's against the rules, and Pete Rose did it anyway, believing it gave him an edge while he chased history.

It's funny, but his gambling and lies about it never tainted my opinion of Charlie Hustle, but this does. Rose cheated.

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Stephen Strasburg Will Pitch a Perfect Game Tonight

baseballBaseball is different than hockey. In hockey, certain draft picks are projected as can't-miss elite superstars before they're even drafted. After Wayne there was Mario and Eric and Sidney. We were anticipating excellence before their professional debuts. In baseball, it's a much longer road to the big leagues, and so many things can go wrong along the way, so there really isn't a "can't miss" blue chip prospect as there is in hockey or basketball.

Having said that, I don't think I've ever heard as much hype about a player's MLB debut than I'm hearing about Stephen Strasburg. Stephen Strasburg will pitch tonight for the Washington Nationals and more than 200 requests for media credentials have been submitted. All eyes are on Strasburg who is 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA with 65 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 55 1/3 innings spread across Double-A and Triple-A.

I'm predicting he pitches a perfect game tonight. Anything less will be disappointing.

Stephen Strasburg

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Roy Halladay is Perfect

baseballRoy Halladay pitched a perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday in their 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins.

It's no surprise. Roy Halladay is the the best starter in baseball, the greatest Blue Jays starter of all-time and I once sat in the stands at SkyDome while he no-hit the Tigers for 8.2 innings. You just knew one day he'd be perfect.

Here's how he did it:

Marlins 1st: Chris Coghlan called out on strikes. Gaby Sanchez strikes out swinging. Hanley Ramirez grounds out, second baseman Chase Utley to first baseman Ryan Howard.

Marlins 2nd: Jorge Cantu strikes out on foul tip. Dan Uggla strikes out swinging. Cody Ross grounds out, third baseman Juan Castro to first baseman Ryan Howard.

Marlins 3rd: Brett Hayes pops out to second baseman Chase Utley. Cameron Maybin flies out to centre-fielder Shane Victorino. Josh Johnson strikes out swinging.

Marlins 4th: Chris Coghlan grounds out, second baseman Chase Utley to first baseman Ryan Howard. Gaby Sanchez lines out sharply to centre-fielder Shane Victorino. Hanley Ramirez called out on strikes.

Marlins 5th: Jorge Cantu grounds out, second baseman Chase Utley to first baseman Ryan Howard. Dan Uggla flies out to centre-fielder Shane Victorino. Cody Ross grounds out to first baseman Ryan Howard.

Marlins 6th: Brett Hayes strikes out swinging, catcher Carlos Ruiz to first baseman Ryan Howard. Cameron Maybin grounds out, shortstop Wilson Valdez to first baseman Ryan Howard. Josh Johnson flies out to left-fielder Raul Ibanez.

Marlins 7th: Chris Coghlan called out on strikes. Gaby Sanchez lines out to left-fielder Raul Ibanez. Hanley Ramirez called out on strikes.

Marlins 8th: Jorge Cantu grounds out sharply, third baseman Juan Castro to first baseman Ryan Howard. Dan Uggla called out on strikes. Cody Ross pops out to shortstop Wilson Valdez.

Marlins 9th: Pinch hitter Mike Lamb flies out centre-fielder Shane Victorino. Pinch hitter Wes Helms called out on strikes. Pinch hitter Ronny Paulino grounds out, third baseman Juan Castro to first baseman Ryan Howard.

Halladay's perfect game is just the 20th in Major League history. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy, I just wish he had done it one season earlier.

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It Really Felt Like '93 - Montreal Canadiens Eulogy 2009-10

NHLThe Barilkosphere has produced a great eulogy for the Montreal Canadiens' 2009-10 season. This gem comes courtesy of Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown.

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along at home:

I believed it was meant to be
And it felt a little bit like 93
With flailing hands we held them high
But then the Flyers came along and they made us cry
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

Here's a rap from the rubble of Montreal
Where we used to expect that we'd win it all
The cigars got lit and the champagne flowed
But I guess you could say that was a long time ago

These days the forum ghosts have got pretty quiet
So when we win a round then it's time to riot
I thought we used to brag about 24?
Guess it don't take as much to impress us anymore

"Because we were the eight seed, that's the reason."
Well, yeah, because we sucked for most of the season
From October through March it was losing streaks
But then we got hot for three whole weeks.

Now we're all in love with Jaroslav Halak
Going to pay big dollars now to bring him back
But you're a Hab for life, bro, we got your back
Of course we said the same thing to Georges Laraque

You have one bad game and when you leave the ice
You're going to hear us chanting loud for Carey Price
But don't blame us it's just how we roll
We can be a little tough on the guys in goal

We might be hard to please but now we're rubbin'
One or two out to PK Subban
We know that his defence can be pretty bad
But he's still the best prospect we've ever had

You see we don't draft guys who can help win games
But we do draft guys who have got french names
And that's why this year will always make us smile
Cause we're not getting this close again for a while.

I believed it was meant to be
But instead we got sent home in round three
Our flailing hands are held up high
While the cop sprays pepper spray in our eyes
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

So here's a little shout out from around the league
From the fans out there of the other teams
Let's raise a glass and send up a call
And make sure they can hear us out in Montreal

This is for the Habs fans with the attitude
For the guys getting drunk and acting rude
For the US anthems that you booed
For the tiny little hot dogs you call food

For the fans who act like they think they're better
For making our school kids read The Sweater
For the pomp and the hype and the made up curses
For the punched out linesmen and the stolen purses

For the nightly pre-game banner raisings
For the nightly post-game frat boy tasings
For the loudmouth fans and their ole oles
For the loser rubbing shoe polish on his face

For the centennial and for your barber poles
For your ghosts and your luck and your waived off goals
For the dives and the faking that made us sick
For Too Many Men, and for McSorley's stick

For the non-stop talk about 24
For the knowledge that you're never going to win one more
For the broken windows and the burnt out cabs
Shout it one more time y'all, [bleep] the Habs

I believed it was meant to be
But our forwards look a little like five-foot-three
So let's find some old guy
And raise another number up to the sky
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

I believed it was meant to be
But instead we got a Puck Daddy eulogy
So let's watch the police helicopter in the sky
And party on the streets and try not to die.
We used to talk about Stanley Cups
But now the conference finals is good enough
So if we just won a game in the second round
Then let's burn this city right to the ground

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Steve Nash: Brilliant Freak of Nature

nashSix years ago, I called for Steve Nash to be named NBA MVP. That eventually happened. Twice.

Five years ago, I called for Steve Nash to be named Prime Minister of Canada. That hasn't happened. Yet.

I was just catching up on my RSS feeds when I read Rick Hodge's take on Steve Nash.

They say Einstein could see light. Ted Williams could see the seams on a 100 mile an hour fast ball. Mozart didn't just write notes, he could see the notes. Gretzky knew where his teammates were going be before they did. Vision, anticipation. Their world moves in slow motion. They see things we can't. That's how Steve Nash plays basketball.

I agree 100% with Rick Hodge. Steve Nash is a virtuoso who plays basketball with a hockey player mentality. Tim Duncan’s elbow to Nash’s face last night wasn't enough to keep Nash on the bench. Steve Nash returned to the game with his right eye swollen shut and still finished with twenty points and nine assists.

stevenash

Nobody plays basketball like Steve Nash. Nobody. Appreciate this brilliant freak of nature while you can.

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My Thoughts on the Four Remaining NHL Series

Stanley CupI absolutely adore the NHL playoffs. There's nothing like it in sports, in my humble opinion. It makes the NHL regular season feel like exhibition games.

Now that we're in the second round, and since it's all about me, here are the series I'm digging and not digging and the exciting reasons why.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens

pit mon

This is my favourite series right now, because it includes both my favourite remaining team and my least favourite remaining team. I hope the Pens crush the Habs and show no mercy. If I were building a team from scratch, I'd pick Sidney Crosby first overall.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins

phi bos

This is my least favourite series right now, primarily because I despise both teams. Can they both lose?

I'm watching game one right now and rooting softly for Philadelphia, so I can stop hearing about Tuukka Rask.

San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings

san2 det

I grew up just hating the Detroit Red Wings. It was the Norris Division rivalry, and I couldn't stand them. Then, with guys I liked like Brendan Shanahan and Steve Yzerman leading the charge, it became harder and harder to hate them. Today, I don't mind them at all, and I sort of like watching the Sharks falter spring after spring.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks

van chi

The next Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup has to be my Leafs. As a result, I'm physically incapable of actually rooting for the Canucks. 40% of my playoff pool plays for Vancouver, so I don't mind them going another round, but that's it.

But Chelsea Dagger is a great tune, so in this series, I'll just root for overtime every game.

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The Mayor of Montreal Chimes In On The Habs

PuckSomehow, against all odds, the Montreal Canadiens have forced a sixth game in their series against Washington. They've exceeded all expectations, but that doesn't mean the mayor of Montreal is happy.

Here's the mayor of Montreal chiming in on the Habs.


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Brian Kownacki = Best Slide Home Ever

baseballIn US College baseball action last night, Fordham rallied from 9-1 down to win 12-9 against Iona. You don't want to miss Brian Kownacki touching home plate in the clip below.

The call is by WFUV's Gregg Caserta.

[via The Sporting Blog]

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