Mats and Vince

rewindTomorrow Mats Sundin will likely announce which team he's playing for this season. I have something to say about that, but I'm saving it until after it's all official.

Coincidentally, it was four years ago today that I wrote down my conflicted feelings about Vince Carter. I'm not comparing Mats to Vince, Vince is half the man Mats is, but both ruled this city and left under controversial circumstances.

Here's what I wrote four years ago today about Vincent Lamar Carter.

Now that it's happened, I thought I'd delve into the vault and reexamine the entries I wrote about Vince Carter. They say a great deal about my conflicted feelings about him and what he brings brought to my Toronto Raptors. Lets take a look, shall we? Fittingly, there are fifteen.

  1. The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 / 12:53 EST: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
  2. Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 / 15:03 EST: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
  3. Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 / 08:04 EST: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
  4. Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 / 14:00 EST: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
  5. Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 / 11:09 EST: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
  6. Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 / 15:45 EST: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
  7. It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 / 11:04 EST: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
  8. Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 / 09:04 EST: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
  9. The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 / 10:55 EST: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
  10. Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 / 21:37 EST: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
  11. Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 / 14:48 EST: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
  12. My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 / 08:23 EST: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
  13. 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 / 13:11 EST: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
  14. More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 / 07:56 EST: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
  15. The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 / 17:36 EST: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."

That last line of #14 says it all. I have no doubt that Carter will be awesome for the Nets. He lost all motivation here in Toronto and put it in auto pilot a long, long time ago. It's a damn shame because he had so much upside and could have been the man to lead us to the championship. Could have been, should have been, would have been...

Farewell #15. Thanks for the memories. 51 against the Suns, baby.

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Toronto Managers and Head Coaches Gassed in '08

thumbsdownI recently wrote about these tough times we're experiencing in Toronto professional sports. It seems to get worse every day. Now that A. J. Burnett has flown the coop for big bucks with the Yankees, I don't know how the Jays will crack the top three in our division for the next few years.

In the comments for that entry, someone mentioned that just about every Toronto manager / coach got fired in 2008. Except for the Rock, a team I always forget exists, the Leafs, Raptors, Argos, Toronto FC and Jays all saw a managerial / head coach change this year.

Maple Leafs - Fired both GM John Ferguson, Jr. and head coach Paul Maurice in 2008. Cliff Fletcher was replaced by Brian Burke as GM later in 2008.

Blue Jays - Fired manager John Gibbons in 2008. Somehow, J.P. Ricciardi held on to his job as GM.

Raptors - Fired head coach Sam Mitchell in 2008.

Argos - Fired head coach Rich Stubler in 2008. Don Matthews resigned as head coach later in the year.

Toronto FC - Mo Johnson stepped down as coach in 2008.

I'd hope 2009 is a better year for Toronto sports franchises, but as a realist, I'm already looking at 2010. Sigh.

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Top 10 Own Goals in Hockey

nhlMontreal Canadiens defenseman Ryan O'Byrne recently scored an "own goal" into an empty net with 4:47 remaining in the third period. That tied the game the New York Islanders eventually won.

Here are the ten best (or is it worst) own goals in hockey.

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Sports Wishlist Flashback

rewindFour years ago today, I threw together a little sports wishlist. There were five items on my wishlist, and here they are. We'll revisit the five again after the flashback.

The following are my current sports wishes in no particular order.

  1. I wish Vince Carter would stop being such a suck. He just signed a long-term, big-money contract to play in this city and now he wants to be traded. I wish he'd rescind that request, play his ass off, stay healthy and lead us back to the playoffs.
  2. I wish the Blue Jays could afford to re-sign Carlos Delgado. He's an awesome player, a great person and a our biggest offensive threat. I'd love to see the Jays keep him.
  3. I wish the Buffalo Bills were a better football team. Drew Bledsoe is awfully disappointing and these 13-10 losses are hard to watch. It's going to be a long season.
  4. I wish the NHL season would resume. James had a great time wearing his hockey jersey and chanting Ca-na-da! Ca-na-da! during the World Cup. I think he'd really enjoy watching Leaf games with Daddy this season. It's a damn shame these millionaires can't figure this out for the fans. Without us fans, they're playing nothing more than a game of shinny on a pond.
  5. I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me.

A lot happens in four years.

  1. The Vince Carter era ended a couple of months later. We had a lot of history together. Luckily, he'll never win a thing. FUVC!
  2. Carlos left. He's never really been replaced. In Travis Snider we hope and trust.
  3. Over the past four years, I started liking football less and less. The militaristic style with interchangeable parts stopped appealing to me. Today, I don't read past the headlines and I haven't yet watched a minute of action, NFL or CFL.
  4. We got our hopes up in February of 2005 and the NHL season eventually started up again on July 21, 2005. We're still waiting to enjoy another Leafs playoff game, and it seems we'll be waiting a while.
  5. This was a lyric from a Pearl Jam song I dug. I still dig it.

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Be Like John Thompson

BallI'm still angry. Last night my rec league softball team lost a semi-final game by a single run. It was as close as a game can get with me as the tying run deserted at third base in the bottom of the last inning.

I'm still angry because one of my players played a horrible game. He killed us defensively all night and in the last inning when we needed four runs to tie, he was the first out in the dumbest base running play I've ever seen. That's when I thought about John Thompson.

John Thompson was coach of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team. In 1982, his Hoyas were in the NCAA finals against Michael Jordan and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Thanks to Jordan's jumper, North Carolina led 63-62 with 20 seconds to play. Georgetown's Fred Brown dribbled the ball up court and inexplicably threw an errant pass right into the hands of North Carolina's James Worthy.

At that moment, Fred Brown had cost Georgetown the national title. I can imagine how Brown felt. Right after the buzzer went, John Thompson went straight to Fred Brown and hugged him. I often think about that moment and remember it's just a game. I try and be like John Thompson at that moment in 1982.

Fred Brown would never play NBA ball, but he would eventually win an NCAA title with the Hoyas in 1984. I couldn't find footage of the hug, but here's the last 20 seconds of that game that inspired me so.

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Sports Shorts

question markI caught about 4 minutes of The Fan 590 during lunch and they were calling in to vote on which sport was best on the radio and which ones you have to see in order to enjoy.

This got me thinking about the four major sports: baseball, basketball, football and hockey. Which one do I enjoy most on the radio? Which one do I enjoy most on television? Which one do I enjoy playing most? Answers below!

Best on Radio

  1. Baseball
  2. Basketball
  3. Hockey
  4. Football

Best on TV

  1. Hockey
  2. Baseball
  3. Basketball
  4. Football

Best to Play

  1. Baseball
  2. Hockey
  3. Basketball
  4. Football

The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Canadian males in general.

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Release The Brett

nflThe Green Bay Packers should release Brett Favre. You don't bench Brett Favre for Aaron Rodgers.

When Favre announced his retirement, I wanted one more year. He's started 275 consecutive games and he deserves to start another 16+. Favre don't backup nobody.


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baseballI played a game in my rec league last night, and we won our second in a row. Later tonight, I've got a couple of games in my comp league with Raging Storm. Right now I'm off to a company sponsored softball tournament which I fully intend to win.

There's no better way to spend a sunny summer day. Gotta jet...

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Ball Girl Catch of the Century

baseballI just got back from the Piranhas first win in franchise history. That's right, my horrible recreational softball team won 24-15 tonight. I went 6 for 6 with 6 runs scored, but who's counting...

This isn't about me and it isn't about the Piranhas'. This is about a ball girl who made the best damn catch this side of Reed Johnson. You have to see this to believe it. It's awesome.

Update: She's a fake. A viral marketing nugget that slipped past the radar.

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Ken Griffey Jr. Gets Screwed by Bonds and Sosa

MLBKen Griffey Jr. should sue Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Griffey just joined the 600 club and it's barely registered as buzz-worthy. Griffey is the sixth player in baseball history to join the exclusive club, but he's the third in recent years. There's one big difference between Griffey, Bonds and Sosa, however. Griffey did it clean.

No, I don't know for a fact that Griffey did it clean, but I believe he did. His body type didn't change over the past twenty years and he's never mentioned in allegations or reports on the matter. I'm comfortable saying Griffey is the first clean member of the 600 club since Hank Aaron became the third player to hit the mark. That deserves more attention than this.

When I was a kid, I knew every player in the 500 club. The 600 club, however, was something special, as only one man belonged to it. Willie Mays at 660 stood alone, third overall.

I'm just sorry Griffey was slowed so by injuries these past several seasons. It would be sweet to see him supplant Bonds at #1.

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