Sports


Things That Make You go Hmmmm...

mlbIt's been 28 years since this happened. Yesterday, with 15 games on the schedule, not one save was recorded.

There were ten blow out wins, a couple of ninth inning rallies, six blown saves and a couple of extra inning games, including our 7-6 win over the Mariners in 14 innings on a run-scoring single by Bengie Molina.

To put things in perspective, there were eight saves recorded Friday. It's these things that make you go hmmmm...

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Farewell, FootieFox

soccerWhen the World Cup kicked off on June 9th, I learned about a neat little extension for Firefox called FootieFox. Most games were taking place while I worked and this little guy put the current score in my status bar and played a "Scores!" soundbite whenever a goal was scored.

It was great. I'd work and do my thing and every once in a while I'd hear that sound over my tunes and I'd check the score to see what happened. FootieFox has kept me up to date and entertained this past month but today it's time to say farewell. I've just uninstalled the extension. You see, I only give a rat's ass about soccer every four years during this little tournament, and since I won't be at the computer during the final, I don't need FootieFox anymore.

Farewell, FootieFox. It's been a blast.

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Oh The Humanity

soccerI just watched the Portugal ~ England quarter-final decided by penalty kicks. I followed the Argentina ~ Germany match yesterday which was decided in the same torturous way. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

Let them play! End these games naturally, not with a stunt. Stop the insanity! I don't care if it takes five hours, someone will eventually score. These penalty kicks have to go.

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Reflecting on Stanley

stanleycupI'm a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I always have been and I always will be. I last watched my team play on April 18 when we beat the Penguins 5-3. That was over two months ago.

The next night, eleven of us got together to draft our annual playoff pool. It wasn't until the second last round that someone decided to gamble on an Oiler. In total, 110 players were chosen that night and only four played for Edmonton. To a tee, we all considered them first round fodder for the Detroit Red Wings. Their chances were slim to none and slim was in a cab heading out of Motown.

Damn this Oiler team was likable. A bunch of red-bearded warriors exceeding all expectations and playing a Whyte mile over their heads. It didn't take long for me to adopt this team as my rooting interest for the tournament. They weren't playing for Edmonton and they weren't playing for Alberta, they were playing for Canada and for the dreams of every Canadian boy, aged 4 to 104. They were playing for me.

Last night's game seven was thrilling. I was rooting for overtime because I didn't want it to end. Until Williams' empty netter I continued to believe Edmonton would come back again. Why wouldn't they? They were a team of destiny, but in sport, things don't always unravel as scripted. Carolina won the cup and I watched as they passed around Lord Stanley's glorious mug for a kiss, a hoist and another kiss. I've dreamt that dream a million times. In my mind, I've hoisted that cup high in the air, pulled it towards my lips for a big ol' wet kiss and hoisted it once more. In all of sport, that's my favourite moment. That's the pinnacle.

As a Leafs fan, year after year I sit and watch another team share that moment. It's fans of other teams that reap the benefits and spill into the streets in celebration. I want that... just once. I want the cup.

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The US Open

golfThe 106th US Open teed off at Winged Foot in New York yesterday. As I do with every major, I purchased a trio of golfers in an attempt to win our little golf pool.

As usual, I consulted my brothers before making my selection. They're much bigger golf fans than I. I feel optimistic about this trio because it doesn't include Luke Donald who my brother Ryan has an unhealthy obsession with. My three are:

  • Phil Mickelson
  • Jim Furyk
  • Adam Scott

So far, so good. Both Mickelson and Furyk are even after round one and Scott is +2, only three strokes off the lead. Donald, for the record, was +8. Phew!

Follow the action at http://www.golfweb.com/tournaments/usopen/leaderboard

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Trinidad and Tobago

soccerWhen Canada and Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup this year, I was left without a rooting interest. I contemplated rooting for The Netherlands because I'm always hearing from other Boons in that part of the world and my surname apparently originated there. I'm not much of a soccer fan and only pay attention once every four years, but I need a rooting interest.

After checking out the action over the past week, I've decided my team is Trinidad and Tobago. They're an underdog, I watched them tie Sweden and loved their goaltender and the joy their fans expressed and I heard a very cool interview this morning with a Torontonian from Trinidad and Tobago that pushed me over the edge.

As I write this, they're tied 0-0 with England after the first half. Trini to the bone!

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The NHL is the Pearl Jam of Sports

nhlThis June 1st article by Greg Wyshynski makes the following statement.

Eddie Vedder and the boys were on top of the world in the early 1990s, and then suffered public indifference and critical blasting for the next decade. But they kept making the albums they wanted to make, and touring around in sold-out shows their true fans. Now, despite not having appeared in an MTV video since the "Ten” album, PJ has become a cult sensation on the road – "Entertainment Weekly" just did a piece on the band's massive touring success – and its latest album was well-received both critically and financially.

By being the band they want to be, Pearl Jam is relevant again. And by finally ignoring what others think it should be and where it should be seen, the NHL is starting to build that same kind of street cred.

I'm a big-time fan of both Pearl Jam and the NHL and I've never cared one iota what the public and media thought of either. My love of both is strictly based on an appreciation for the product. When Pearl Jam's sales began to fall over the past decade, I was still there spinning the discs and buying tickets to the shows. When the United States all but abandoned our national sport, I was there not giving a shit.

Pearl Jam and the NHL are indeed a lot alike. They stayed true to the trade, made the grade and in the clubs and the pubs their records were played. In the end, that has made all the difference. Spin the black circle... both of you forever more.

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When In Rome

soccerI was just reading about the World Cup and which teams are favoured to win, when I realized something. I’ve never played a soccer match. That’s right, I’ve never participated in a single match, not in school, not in a league and not as an adult.

Soccer is the number one participation sport in Canada and both my brothers played in recreational leagues, but I somehow missed out completely. I played tee-ball, hockey and softball, but not soccer. It's hard to believe but it's the absolute truth.

No wonder I don’t care for the sport. It’s as foreign to me as cricket and my home and native land is just as competitive in it Internationally. I don’t love the sport, but for the next few weeks I’m going to be immersed in it as it swamps Toronto. I can fight it and refuse to acknowledge it or I can dive in and enjoy.

When in Rome… Go team go!

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A Simple Twist of Fate

mlbTime sure does fly. It was almost ten years ago that 12 year old Jeffrey Maier interfered with a deep fly ball hit by Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Had Maier not deflected the ball, Oriole outfielder Tony Tarasco would have made the catch and Baltimore would have won game one of the 1996 American League Championship Series. The rest, as they say, is history.

Oriole fans have cursed the name Jeffrey Maier ever since. In a very interesting twist of fate, Maier is now 22 years old and a first-team all-NESCAC selection at Wesleyan University. He's Wesleyan's career hits leader and hoping to be drafted in next week's Major League Baseball amateur draft. This is where things get interesting.

The Washington Post reports that Baltimore is considering drafting Maier. Orioles owner Peter Angelos said "I wouldn't be at all opposed to [drafting Maier]. In fact, I'd say it's a very interesting development. You can say the Orioles are very seriously considering him. I know this much: I was at that game, and he certainly did seem to be a heck of an outfielder. Sure, we'd take him. In fact, I like the idea more and more, the more I think about it."

What's next? The Cubs drafting Steve Bartman?

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It's That Time Again

soccerIt's that time again when otherwise proud Canadians delve into their family tree until they hit a country represented in the World Cup. We all know the drill. Checking the schedule you know which areas in the GTA to avoid on which days. It all gets underway a week from today.

I delved into my family tree and smashed into Ireland, but they aren't there. Then, reaching as far as I can, I came up with The Netherlands. It's so far a reach, I don't have any passion for the orange, but I don't really have any passion for the sport so it probably doesn't matter.

I always wondered by The Netherlands was sometimes referred to as Holland, so I just looked it up. Holland only represents two of the country's twelve provinces and the fact I didn't know that is proof of how Dutch I am. I might just throw my support behind Côte d'Ivoire because their flag looks awfully similar to the Irish flag.

Who am I kidding? I'll be rooting for the teams that will cause the least amount of traffic headache in Toronto.

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