Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brothers from another mother

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Anyone with more than a casual interest in the NHL knows that things are exactly looking great for our beloved Maple Leafs (still including Hazel as one of us); thanks in large part to the departed John Ferguson Jr. who made a mess of things with bad contract offers, ill-advised trades, and very poor drafting. The only consolation for Leaf Nation is that as bad as Ferguson was, he isn't anywhere near as bad as another sports executive in Toronto.

It has been a while, but it is time to bring Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi back front and center. The Chickenhawk boldly predicted that the 2008 Blue Jays were talented enough to compete with the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees - one quarter of the way into the season and the Blue Jays are in last place in the AL East with an 18-22 record. Things aren't looking good for the Jays with news that their CF Vernon Wells would be lost for 6-8 weeks with a wrist injury. The Hawk's answer to Wells injury was to sign free agent Brad Wilkerson and Texas Rangers farm-hand Kevin Mench. Ricciardi has told the fans and media in Toronto that he is done tinkering with the roster for the year - its Wilkerson/Mench or bust until Vernon Wells comes back.

Ricciardi has always had an excuse for past failures - lack of talent, lack of money, lack of luck, and too many injuries to overcome - for the most part, he has gotten a free pass in Toronto as fans waited for the man who studied under Billy Beane to implement the Moneyball philosophy in Toronto. Seven years into the five-year plan and the jig seems to be up - the fans and media are starting to turn and the issue of whether or not J.P. should be canned is receiving some serious attention. The Fan 590 in Toronto spent an hour between games 1 and 2 of the Jays doubleheader with Cleveland talking about what is wrong with the Jays. The finger is starting to be pointed right at Ricciardi - there is no talk of payroll, no talk of whether Manager Gibbons should be the fall guy, no talk of bad luck cursing the Jays - the talk is all about poor decision making and a lack of vision for the team.

It all comes down to one line Jim Kelley said - paraphrasing - Ricciardi seems to have forgotten, or ignored, the fact that Toronto fans know what a winning baseball team looks like, they've seen a winner and they know enough to know that this Jays team isn't even close. Ricciardi has been playing a game of "three-shell monty" with Jays fans...it is about to come to an end.

J.P. Ricciardi and Ferguson's tenures in Toronto are marked by the same poor decision making - both being over-matched in their respective fields. Toronto fans have rid themselves of one weak GM...could the other (and definitely weaker) be far behind?

With the Conference Championships featuring four American based teams - the majority of fans in Canada have turned their attention to the World Hockey Championships. The highlight of the tournament so far has to be the post-game press conference where Team USA Coach John Tortorella was asked about the awful call that resulted in a goal against the US. When asked if he was accusing the officials of being biased or incompetent, Tortorella responded by saying "No, I'm accusing them of blindness." Classic...the NHL needs this guy to stay in the league - he is worth the price of admission. John Tortorella is a CHAMP - love this guy.

Last week ended off on a bad note - but the total for the week was even. A new week starts with a positive outlook. Today's suggestions:

Boston over Baltimore - the Sox should rebound after a tough couple of games against the Twins, especially with Josh Beckett on the mound - the O's are falling back to earth after a nice start. Lay $100 on the Sox - $165.

Seattle over Texas - revenge game for King Felix who lost his last start at home to the Rangers. Lay $100 on the M's - $120.

New York over Washington - the Mets were pounded last night in their first game back after a west coast roadtrip, not surprising; what would be surprising is if they lost tonight. Lay $100 on the Mets - $200.

To the anonymous poster who left a comment yesterday - I couldn't agree with you more when it comes to Jason Blake...thank you!

That's it for today gang - have a great one.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!


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