Sports


It's All About The Brett

nflAs I type, there is 6:57 remaining the 4th quarter of the NFC championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. It's tied at 20. I don't follow the NFL like I used to, but I'm watching with a passionate rooting interest. It's all about The Brett.

I want to focus on these last seven minutes, so I'm not going to run down the 101 reasons why this game matters. There's a taste here, if I'm being too cryptic. #4 epitomizes something that transcends the game of football. He's playing for something more. Brett Favre gives us all hope.

Over a week ago I changed the header image for this site so it included a number four. Many of you emailed me, wondering what the heck it meant. It means something special. There is only one player in the National Football Player I'd do that for, and that's #4.

There is now 5:09 to play. It's Brett's time. This is for all of us.

Brett Favre

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Rick Nash's Amazing Goal

nhlIn case you missed it, Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets scored this gem against the Phoenix Coyotes last night.

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A Return to Innocence

mouseBack in September I discovered the Stat of the Day blog and I've enjoyed it daily ever since. One of the writers there is Andy and for fun he just started a new blog I'm absolutely loving. He's going through all 792 Topps baseball cards one by one, explaining why the card is awesome and sharing a cool stat about the player. His 88 Topps Cards blog can be found at http://88topps.blogspot.com/.

I'm loving this new blog for two reasons. Firstly, I collected Topps baseball cards in the '80s. We had bags of 'em dating back to 1983. I loved those cards. Secondly, I really miss this era of baseball. I was young and in love with the sport and my Jays and I didn't have a clue about luxury taxes or performance enhancing drugs.

In a nutshell, revisiting the 1988 Topps baseball cards is like a return to innocence. When a blog gives you that, it's something awfully special.

Topps

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An Outdoor Maple Leafs Game

hockeyAs I watch the snow fall at Ralph Wilson Stadium, I realize there's a reason we don't play NHL games outdoors. It's tough to get the ice right, there's a wind factor and 73,000 freeze their butts off in the stands. As terrible an idea as this is, I love it.

I want an outdoor game here in Toronto. I'm just not sure where we'd hold it. There are probably only two options: SkyDome and BMO Field. SkyDome could probably hold about 60,000 whereas BMO Field is only good for a few more than they can fit in the ACC. I've love to attend an outdoor Leafs game, ideally against the Habs, I just wish we had a Ralph Wilson-like field to play it on.

Now that we're in the mood for pond hockey with the puck about to drop, I urge you to check out Pond of Dreams. It still brings a tear to my eye, all these years later.

The Leafs Practice at Rennie Park

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The Mitchell Report

baseballGeorge Mitchell, a former United States senator and prosecutor, releases his report today following a 20-month investigation into drug use in Major League Baseball. I understand it's going to come out in about 30 minutes.

A couple of big names in the report have already leaked out. ESPN.com reported Brian McNamee, a former trainer for the Yankees and Clemens, told investigators he supplied Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte with steroids and that information is in the report. That's right, the Rocket is named in the Mitchell Report. This is going to be big.

Will there be Blue Jays, other than Troy Glaus, in the report? What other future hall of famers will be named? What next?

Expect this Wikipedia page to contain such names very soon. I'll keep my eye on it. This is going to be interesting.

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The Definition of Gamer

nflLike many of you, I've always been a fan of gamers. Gamers are a special breed of athlete. They play with a linebacker's mentality and elevate their game when it matters most. They hustle all the time and never let up. They play through pain and do what it takes to get the job done.

A gamer plays the way Pete Rose played, the way Doug Gilmour played, the way Michael Jordan played. The all-time epitome of a gamer, however, is Brett Favre.

Favre will start against the Raiders next week after he was knocked out of the Packers' 37-27 loss at Dallas with elbow and shoulder injuries. It will be his 250th consecutive start at quarterback, a streak that dates to 1992. If you include playoff games, and we should, the streak will hit 270. That's absolutely incredible, because not only does he play a most targeted position, but he plays it hard, sacrificing his body whenever necessary and he plays it well, accumulating several passing records. Check out the Favre Record Watch.

He's 38 years old, battered and bruised, and can't play forever, but I wish he would. I don't want this ride to stop.

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Cowboys and Packers on TSN

nflI hear there's an interesting match up tonight in the NFL. Something about two 10-1 teams hooking up... there's controversy too, because in the USA it's only airing on the NFL Network. The NFL Network has been in a dispute with large cable providers who don't carry the network on a basic tier. The network is available in only about 35 million of the nation's more than 111 million homes with televisions.

Here in Canada, there's no such controversy. You can watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Green Bay Packers by tuning in TSN. That's right, this NFL Network-only debacle only applies to our neighbours to the South.

NFL fans rejoice. I'll pop over and see how my bud Brett Favre is doing, right after the Leafs game.

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Phil Dawson Hits Post But Breaks the Plane

nflI don't remember seeing this before. Phil Dawson had to make a 51 yard field goal to force overtime in the Cleveland Browns - Baltimore Ravens game yesterday. At first, they ruled it was no good, having hit a couple of posts before bouncing out. Then, they reviewed the play and reversed the decision.

Check out this crazy bounce.

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An Imminent Saskatchewaner Invasion

cflLess than a million people live in Saskatchewan. That's incredible when you consider the Greater Toronto Area has about 6 million residents. It's even more incredible when I think about all the Saskatchewaners (or is it Saskatchewanites?) I've met who now call the GTA home.

I married a girl from Saskatoon, where Joni Mitchell was born, Wendel Clark is from Kelvington, Leslie Nielsen is from Regina and Humble is from Moose Jaw. Saskatchewaners are everywhere, and they'll be coming out of the closet wearing green next week when the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers hook up in the 95th Grey Cup game, right here in the Big Smoke.

The last time Saskatchewan invaded the Grey Cup party was 1997 in Edmonton, where they lost 47-23 to the Toronto Argonauts. Their last Grey Cup win came in Toronto in 1989, when Saskatchewan won a thrilling 43-40 game over Hamilton on Dave Ridgway's last-play field goal. Current head coach Kent Austin quarterbacked that Riders team.

The Prairie invasion is imminent.

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Innocence Indicted

baseballWhat I loved about baseball was how timeless and romantic it was. Baseball might be America's sport, but I developed a love for the game as a young boy and cheering the boys of summer quickly became a cherished summer ritual.

When they cancelled the World Series, we fans were screwed by the business of sport. It wasn't all about the crack of the bat, the hustle from first to second and the play at the plate. It was about big business and elite athletes demanding their fair share. I was hopeful 1994 was the low point. The cancellation of the World Series was my generations Black Sox scandal, and things could only get better, or so I thought.

Barry Bonds has been indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. "During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes," the indictment reads. This is a sad day for baseball.

In December 2004, when we learnt that Bonds admitted using steroids, I wondered what was next. How would we treat his records? How does it effect his accolades and imminent hall of fame entry?

Those seemingly innocent days of my youth are long gone. Everything is stained. I find myself longing for the days it was all about money.

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