Sports


The Two Week Wait

The NFL LogoI'm not a fan of the two week delay between the NFL conference finals and the Super Bowl. The big game should be played this Sunday while everyone is still interested. Two weeks of preamble and hypothesis is one week too long.

If you're curious, I think the Pats will win again. This is quite the hot streak the city of Boston is on. The Patriots have won two of the past three Super Bowls, possibly three of the past four, and the Red Sox reversed the curse and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

Excluding the Argos, the only major championships my city has won in my life time are the back-to-back World Series championships the Jays won in the early 90s. Boston's cup runneth over and I'm green with envy.

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Lured Back

Lured BackI blame myself. The Buffalo Bills started this season 0-4 before I swore off regular season NFL football. Then, right on queue, my favourite NFL team won eight of their next nine. I, apparently, was a serious jinx.

If the Bills beat Pittsburgh this afternoon, they will finish the season 10-6 and require either the St. Louis Rams to upset the New York Jets or the Indianapolis Colts to defeat the Denver Broncos to make the playoffs. As a result, I'm prematurely ending my boycott of regular season NFL action to root for the Bills and closely watch that scoreboard.

Go Bills Go!

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The Lowest Of The Low

The Lowest Of The LowI can pin point a moment in October 1993 when the Toronto sports scene was euphoric. Joe Carter went deep in game six against the Phillies and we had our second World Series title in a row. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs were reeling off ten victories in a row to start the season. It was the apex of Toronto sports satisfaction for this fan.

I can pin point this exact moment in December 2004 as the lowest of the low moments in Toronto sports. The entire Maple Leafs season is in serious jeopardy, the last place Toronto Blue Jays have lost their best offensive player in Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter was dealt yesterday from the 8-17 Raptors.

Serenity now.

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Steve Nash For MVP

Steve Nash For MVPWe should all get behind the campaign to have Steve Nash named MVP of the NBA this season. Eric Neel's "A Candidate We Can All Root For" says it best. "If Steve Nash is the MVP, we're not about wars of attrition, muscle-bound match-ups, and watch-the-paint-dry isolations. We're about pace, about play, about players, and about the game we know and love from the schoolyards and those grainy Showtime games on NBA TV.".

The Suns won 29 games all last year but they're going to win that many by mid-January this season and it's all because of Steve Nash. When the Canadian basketball team failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, I wrote this entry in which I trashed Canadian basketball stars for refusing to give up their summer to play for the red and white. Steve Nash did give up his summer for the cause and deserved every word of praise I wrote for him. "We won't be in Athens, but don't place the blame on Steve Nash. This man is a Canadian basketball god and single handedly carried our team into the final four. This product of Victoria, BC is far and away the greatest basketball player our nation has ever produced. We're not worthy."

I actually think more highly of him now than I did back then. The Phoenix Suns are 18-3 with Nash averaging 11 assists a game and 15.6 points a game thanks to a .533 field-goal percentage and .414 shooting from behind the 3 point line. More importantly, Nash has the Suns scoring 109 points a night, 14 points above the league average. Nash is the Canadian at the helm of the NBA's best team and a worthy MVP.

Steve Nash for MVP! Steve Nash for MVP! Steve Nash for MVP!

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Now What?

Now What?Yesterday we learned that Jason Giambi used steroids for at least three seasons and this morning we're learning that Barry Bonds has admitted to using steriods, although unknowingly. Bonds told a federal grand jury that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer who was indicted in a steroid-distribution ring but claims he thought they were flaxseed oil and a rubbing balm for arthritis. Now what?

When Ben Johnson was caught with steriods in his body, he was stripped of his Gold medal and world record. What now becomes of these killer numbers Bonds has been producing over the past five years? I've written frequently about his assault on the record books, his entry into the 700 club and his standing as the best ball player I've ever seen.

Are those numbers sticken from the record? Is he and Giambi stripped of their MVP awards? What happens to his 75 home run season? Does an asterisk go beside that figure?

Bonds has a lot to lose here, as do baseball fans. We now know he took "the clear" and "the cream" and this inevitably bulked him up, made his stronger and allowed him to hit more homers. Now what?

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The Brawl

The BrawlI woke up this morning and put on The Score to watch sports highlights and thought they were showing WWE highlights. I was mesmerized by the brawl that broke out near the end of the Indiana Pacers - Detroit Pistons game in Auburn Hills. If you haven't seen it yet, flip to your local all-sports highlight station and check it out. I don't think I've ever seen a basketball game deteriorate to such a level before.

Although I watched the scenes over and over again on the television, I've been trying to find footage on the web. It seems there's no legal way to offer this video over the web without paying the NBA for the privilege. TSN offers Audio/Video but their SportsCentre update is only two and a half minutes long and all about the Vince Carter trade rumours and the Raptors' fifth loss in a row. I've checked all the usual spots and I can't find video of this brawl anywhere.

If you know where I can find this video, please let me know and I'll share the link here. The NBA and Oakland County Prosecutors Office are reviewing the incident and I smell lawsuits by the barrel full. Artest rhymes with arrest, doesn't it?

Update: I found the video. You'll find it here, unfortunately you'll need RealPlayer.

Update 2: I found great video with commentary in ESPN Motion. You'll find it here and it's much better than the previous link.

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The Crosby Show

The Crosby ShowPeriodically I like to check in on Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic, the best prospect in hockey. Last night, Crosby set up four goals in the first period to power the Oceanic to a 7-3 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League victory over the Gatineau Olympiques.

Crosby now has 51 points, including 36 assists, and he has a 12 point lead over Alex Bourret of the Lewiston Maineiacs and Stanislav Lascek of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the QMJHL scoring race.

The NHL lockout has me starving for the World Junior Championship which get under way on Christmas Day. Crosby is going to be a huge part of our team this year and a victory would mean Canada is the reigning champion from the Olympics, World Championship, World Cup and World Juniors. Not bad...

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Jason Bay

Jason BayTrail, British Columbia native Jason Bay got 25 of 32 first-place votes and 146 points Monday from the Baseball Writers' Association of America to win the National League Rookie of the Year award. He's the first Canadian to win Rookie of the Year honours.

I hadn't heard of Trail, so I hit the city's official site. They refer to themselves as the Home of Champions. Here's a list of the names on the Home of Champions Monument in Trail's downtown. The only names I recognize are in the hockey category and currently the only name listed under baseball is Andy Bilesky. Bilesky is a successful Little League manager who was chosen as Trail's Citizen of the Year in 1986.

Move over Bilesky, Trail's got a new champion.

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Toronto Sports Shorts

Toronto Sports ShortsWho needs the Leafs on a night like tonight in the big smoke? It's been a great night for sports fans in this city. Some random sports notes at this hour...

  • The Argos are crushing the Tiger-Cats in the East semifinal. It's now 24 to zip in our favour and we're on our way back to Montreal. Arrrgoooooos!!!!
  • I know we're only two games into the regular season, but already the Raptors are sure showing something special. Tonight was another entertaining up-tempo game and a big victory against a tough opponent. Who needs Vince when you have Loren Woods and Chris Bosh?
  • I'm digging the "Bawitaba" intro for the Raptors at the ACC. It's right there with the Leafs' "Beautiful People" intro we won't be able to see this season.

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The True Confessions of a Flip-Flopper

Confessions of a Flip-FlopperThe Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions for the first time since 1918. The curse is no more. Never again will Red Sox fans be haunted by the four numbers 1-9-1-8.

I must confess, I started the post season wanting any team but the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to win it all. Towards the end, I was more than okay with it. Here is a chronicle of my flip-flopping on this issue, exposed for the entire world to see.

  • October 12, 2004 / 10:54 EST - I wrote about the curse and explicitly predicted the Yankees would beat the Red Sox in their series. I had no doubts.
  • October 14, 2004 / 10:31 EST - I wrote about former Blue Jays in the playoffs. I stated how nice it would be for John Olerud to play for another title and how likely that was considering the curse.
  • October 17, 2004 / 12:44 EST - With the Red Sox down three games to none, I laughed at those who didn't believe in the curse. "There is a curse and Boston will never again win another World Series. Mark my words."
  • October 20, 2004 / 07:56 EST - Prior to the seventh game between the Yankees and Red Sox, I was looking forward to seeing "what new creative way Boston finds to cough it up". I thought the three game winning streak was "a giant tease to make Red Sox fans believe again."
  • October 21, 2004 / 15:12 EST - Shocked by the Red Sox victory the night before, I start to believe in the impossible. I start to believe the Red Sox could win it all. "Everyone suddenly has warm-fuzzy feelings about all things New England and if they manage to reverse the curse and win the World Series Kerry may ride that Boston high to victory on November 4th."
  • October 22, 2004 / 08:17 EST - I throw my support behind Larry Walker and the Cardinals referring to my "hate on" for the Red Sox and the fact history repeats.
  • October 22, 2004 / 18:11 EST - A Guest Blog by my brother Steve accuses me of brushing the Boston victory under the blogging carpet. In response, I write "I must be the only one who hasn't embraced them."
  • October 27, 2004 / 16:09 EST - Just yesterday I stumble upon a message on a Red Sox fan bulletin board that brings a tear to my eye. "Win it for Ted, who once said, "If they ever won it, I would feel so @#%$ warm inside."" At this point, I'm rooting for the Red Sox as I relate their fans' woes to mine as a die hard Leafs supporter.

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