I 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.
Montreal 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.
Four 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I wish I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me.
A lot happens in four years.
- 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!
- Carlos left. He's never really been replaced. In Travis Snider we hope and trust.
- 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.
- 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.
- This was a lyric from a Pearl Jam song I dug. I still dig it.
I'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.
I 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
Best on TV
Best to Play
The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Canadian males in general.
The 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.
I 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...
I 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.
Ken 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.
The t-shirt has spoken.
The NHL's official online store briefly featured a blue Alexander Ovechkin T-shirt with the phrase "2007-08 Hart Trophy winner" displayed along the bottom. The NHL claims it don't mean a thang.
"In an effort to offer our fans the merchandise they want in a timely manner following an event such as the NHL awards, our licensees prepare product for all possible outcomes," spokesman Frank Brown said in a statement. "In this situation, the link for one of the possible products became live early through an error by our e-commerce provider. We regret the error and have since taken steps to amend."
With 65 goals and 47 assists in 82 games, I knew Ovechkin was going to win before this gaffe.
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