Sports


Win It For

Win It ForThe Boston Red Sox are poised to win the World Series for the first time since 1918. Although a part of me wishes the curse would continue, there's another part of me that wants this for the die hard Red Sox fans. I'm thirty years old and every year I imagine my Toronto Maple Leafs winning Lord Stanley's mug for the first time in my lifetime. Sometimes I close my eyes and envision the seconds dripping off the clock as the blue and white win their fourth game of the finals and a tear comes to my eye. I want it so bad it hurts.

Maple Leafs fans in their 40s can remember the last time Toronto won the cup. Red Sox fans in their 80s can't recall a time Boston was champion. Many a Red Sox fan has come and gone in that span. They experienced pain and heart break Leaf fans like myself can only imagine. We have it tough, but Red Sox fans have had it much tougher.

A Red Sox fan wrote the following piece on a fan bulletin board and reading it brought another tear to my eye. It's tough to read this and not root for the Red Sox tonight. It's tough as a Leafs fan to read this and not think of what it might feel like to be so close to a dream you've dreamt about your entire life. I'll continue to dream that dream. For Red Sox fans, it's about to become a joyous reality.

Win It For

Win it for Johnny Pesky, who deserves to wear a Red Sox uniform in the dugout during the 2004 World Series. Mr. Henry, the trophy needs to be presented first of all to him.

Win it for Bobby Doerr, who, through the sadness of losing his beloved Monica, would love to see his Sox finally defeat New York in Yankee Stadium. Revenge is best served cold.

Win if for Dommie, the most loyal and devoted of men. If he hadn't gotten hurt in Game 7 of the '46 Series, Enos Slaughter would never have scored.

Win it for Carl Yastrzemski. While his heart still aches today, may a smile break through his personal storm-cloud this evening. His beloved son, Mike, will show us the way. God speed, number eight.

Win it for Ted, who once said, "If they ever won it, I would feel so @#%$ warm inside."

Win it for Tony, who taught us all the meaning of courage and grit. A day doesn't go by when I don't think of you, number 25.

Win it for Nedly and Ken and Possum - who provided us with nothing less than the soundtrack to our childhoods.

Win it for Richard Gorman, who followed the team passionately while residing in Queens and the Bronx. He was a master teacher, a supportive friend, and a diehard Red Sox fan.

Win it for Stiffy - who saw firsthand Denny Galehouse's hanging curves, worshiped the Golden Greek even after he died so suddenly back in '55, and got misty-eyed when Rico Petrocelli began to back-peddle on a squirting pop-up to short left-field on a placid October afternoon back in 1967.

Win it for Cheri - may she cry on Giff's shoulders tonight in pure joy and emotion - and not in the stew of pathos. Cheri's unconditional love for the Red Sox serves as a genuine measuring stick for us all.

Win it for Felix - who began living out "The September of My Years" last month as he hit fifty; a fan who has always believed that the impossible is just not a dream.

Win it for Eric Van. Eric, you have truly embodied Hemingway's definition of courage recently. Grace under pressure, indeed.

Win if for Eric Van's father.

Win it for Dalton and Moose and Norm and Buck and Zup and all of the other old-timers on this board whose lives have defined the virtue of loyalty.

Win it for our far-off posters, from Manila to Montana to Mark in London, who have continually kept the home fires burning thousands of miles away from Route 128.

Most of all, win it for James Lawrence Kelly, 1913-1986. This one's for you, Daddy. You always told me that loyalty and perseverance go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing the best part of you with me.

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Why I'm Rooting For The Cards

Why I'm Rooting For The CardsOn Saturday night the Boston Red Sox face the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. I'll be strongly rooting for the Cardinals, and my reasons why are outlined below.

  • Larry Walker - The Maple Ridge, BC native is the best hitter this country has ever produced and he's never won a World Series. I'd like him to.
  • Nintendo - Back in the good 'ol 8 bit Nintendo days, one of my favourite video games was their baseball game. This game used real teams and player names and tried to give the player the same attributes in the game that they had in real life. I often played as the St. Louis Cardinals because of their blazing speed. Players like Vince Coleman, Will McGee, Tom Herr and Ozzie Smith could run out a ground ball if my brother at all hesitated with the throw to first. I haven't been able to hate this team since.
  • Hate On - I've always hated the Boston Red Sox. It wasn't so much the team, although players like Dwight Evans, Tony Armas and Jim Rice always managed to tick me off, but it was the fact they were in the American League East Division. I'll never forget 1990 and our collapse at the hands of this Red Sox team. Any team that would periodically give my Blue Jays grief during pennant races got into my bad books from which they'll never escape. I always root against the Red Sox. I have to.
  • History Repeats - When Ted Williams led the Red Sox to the 1946 World Series following Boston's first AL pennant since 1918, the Cardinals beat them in Game 7. When Carl Yastrzemski's Red Sox made it back in 1967, the Cardinals defeated them again in seven games. History tends to repeat and I suspect the Cardinals will once again prevail in this historic match up.

I'll be watching Saturday night and hoping for Walker to lead the charge.

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Seventh Heaven

Seventh HeavenTomorrow morning newspapers in Boston or New York will be delivered with the headline "Seventh Heaven". It's a virtual certainty. At least one of the major dailies, and sometimes more than one, will go to press following tonight's ball game with that headline in large font on the front page.

As a baseball fan, I've been thoroughly enjoying this series. Down 3-0 to the Yankees, I left the Red Sox for dead. Now we're treated to a game seven tonight to see what new creative way Boston finds to cough it up. The Curse doesn't just dissipate because the Red Sox rally to win three in a row. The Curse is more likely the reason the Red Sox have rallied to win three in a row. It's a giant tease to make Red Sox fans believe again. Hope that was lost three games ago is now very much alive which will make tonight's defeat all the more heart breaking.

That is how The Curse works, isn't it?

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Baseball Notes

Baseball NotesI watched most of both games yesterday and here are a few random notes that are bouncing around my cranium.

  • I want the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. My reasons why can be summarized in two words: Larry Walker. When he silenced the crowd with a 400-plus shot to left centre in the first inning yesterday, I leapt out of my seat. The Maple Ridge, BC native is batting .357 in the post season with four home runs. In his 16th year of Major League Baseball, he is without a doubt the best hitter this country has ever produced. Heck, I'm not even sure who would be number two...Matt Stairs maybe? I want St. Louis to win it all so Canada's best player can add a World Series title to his already impressive resumé.
  • How can anyone refute the existence of The Curse? During our Thanksgiving get-together my brother Steve tried to convince me that this was Boston's year. I had no doubt the Yankees would beat the Red Sox then and with New York holding a 3-0 lead in the series, it's looking awfully certain that I was right. There is a curse and Boston will never again win another World Series. Mark my words.
  • Roger Clemens is the best pitcher in the history of baseball. He seemed to get stronger as he went along yesterday and provided Houston with a vital win in their NLCS. At 42 years of age he may very well win his unprecedented seventh Cy Young award this year. No other pitcher has won six. I wasn't happy with the way he orchestrated his way out of Toronto, but I can't complain about his two Cy Young seasons spent here. He's simply the best.

Now for some football...

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Shocker

ShockerIn a shocking development, a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica Wednesday night has eliminated Canada from the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

It's time that we as Canadians accept the reality of this situation. We stink at soccer.

Go Ireland Go!

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The Curse

The CurseI grew up despising all other teams in the old American League East. That includes both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. I can't stand either team yet I rooted for each team in their respective division championship series. I'm not a fan of the Red Sox or Yankees, but I'm a big fan of The Curse.

You see, I believe in The Curse. It believe it to be a living breathing organism beholding the power to interfere with free will to ensure a destiny that will never again include a World Series Championship returning to Boston. I'd recap the legend of The Curse in my own words, but Bambino's Curse does it so well I'll quote that site below.

In 1918 the Red Sox won their 5th World Series, the most by any club at that time. One of the stars of the Boston championship franchise was a young pitcher by the name of George Herman Ruth, aka The Babe or The Bambino.

In 1920, however, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee needed money to finance his girlfriend's play, so he sold Babe Ruth's contract to Colonel Jacob Ruppert's New York Yankees for $100,000 (plus a loan collateralized by Fenway Park).

Since then, the Yankees, who had never won a World Championship before acquiring Ruth, have gone on to win 26, and are arguably one of the greatest success stories in the history of sport.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox have appeared in only four World Series since 1918, losing each one in game seven. Many consider Boston's performance after the departure of Babe Ruth to be attributable to "The Curse of the Bambino."

Tonight, at Yankee Stadium, The New York Yankees will once again host the Boston Red Sox to determine an American League World Series representative. Read this Chronological History of Amazing Boston Red Sox Losses, Remarkable Collapses and Other Record Breaking Feats for an idea of what to expect in this series. I'm sure of it. I believe in The Curse.

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Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro SuzukiThe Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki registered three singles to equal, break and then add to the Major League hits record with his 259th of the season in a game against the Texas Rangers Friday. The Japanese outfielder matched George Sisler's 84-year-old mark of 257 hits with a first-inning single before setting the new standard on a base-hit to center field in the third.

This is quite the feat. 84 years is a long time for a record to stand. The Blue Jays record for hits in a season belongs to Tony Fernandez who recorded 213 hits in 1986. Fernandez also leads the Jays in career hits with 1583.

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Goodbye

GoodbyeIn front of 31,395 at Olympic Stadium last night, the Montreal Expos played their last ever home game. They got killed 9-1 by the Florida Marlins, but the final score didn't matter. 36 years of Major League Baseball in Montreal has come to a final halt. Here are scenes from last night's finale.

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Adieu, les Expos

Adieu, les ExposTonight the Montreal Expos play their last ever home game. Next season there will be no Montreal franchise in Major League Baseball. The team will play out of Washington, DC under a new name.

For as long as I can remember there has always been two teams in Canada. As a die hard fan of one of them, I've always been fairly indifferent about the other. Sure, I liked the fact they were Canadian-based and they were always my favourite National League team, but I'm hardly a big Expos fan. For me, I was always way too focused on the Blue Jays to allow another team into my heart.

I'm sort of sad to see the Expos go but I won't be shedding a tear. What does concern me is the very real possibility that this scenario repeats itself one day in the future and it's my Blue Jays that relocate. If that were to happen, I wouldn't shed a tear, I'd fill a bucket.

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It Was 32 Years Ago Today

Henderson Scores For Canada32 years ago today, on September 28, 1972, "The Goal" was scored. There was only 34 seconds left in the eighth and final game of the Summit Series, and only a win would allow Canada to lay claim to victory in the series against the USSR. 32 years ago today, Paul Henderson scored for Canada.

Bless the CBC Archives. It really is an awesome resource. If you want chills, watch this. If you didn't get chills, you're not human...or you're a communist.

Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here's a shot - Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here's another shot! Right in front - THEY SCORE!!! Henderson has scored for Canada!

     Foster Hewitt

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