Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emerging from the mushroom cloud

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

Well, I’m getting over what has to be considered one of the worst weeks in the history of sports fans – everything that could possibly go wrong, did…in spades.

The Dodgers get bounced from the NLDS, thanks in large part to the contributions of a couple of fat slobs – one, an alleged wife beater (Brett Myers), the other, a Blue Jays castoff that should be playing senior men’s softball (Matt Stairs). Still can’t see how those jokers won.

Cowboys lose twice in eight days, one to the consistently inconsistent Arizona Cardinals and another to the previously thought to be awful St. Louis Rams.

The Maple Leafs find new ways to multiple goal leads – put Ryan Hollweg on the ice to pick up a momentum changing five minute major. Leaf Nation can accept that this team is going to struggle against any team that is average (or better). We accept that we are going to lose a lot of games – but to blow a three-goal lead to a team like the St. Louis Blues on Thanksgiving Monday…unacceptable and disheartening doesn’t begin to describe things.

Portugal, welcoming back Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, is held to a goalless draw by freaking Albania – IN PORTUGAL of all places. Their World Cup qualifying campaign has started with a win and a draw on the road, coupled with a total collapse resulting in an unjust loss and a tie at home. South Africa in 2010 is in doubt right now.

So the dream of a “Manny returns to Boston” World Series is dead – with fans of both respective team (and supposedly, network execs at Fox) are disappointed, but I can’t understand anyone who counts themselves as a fan of Major League Baseball saying that they won’t watch the World Series. It sucks that our teams didn’t make it, but you have to give the Rays credit for an unbelievable season. They are THE story of the 2009 season – it is close to impossible not to root for these guys – they play the game the right way. I’ll be watching, in hopes that the Rays will crush those fat slobs in red.

Speaking of the Rays – how are fans of the Toronto Blue Jays feeling right now? The Rays have risen from the ashes to be odds on favourites to beat the Phillies to win the World Series. J.P. Ricciardi was brought in years ago to dismantle the Jays, build up the farm system and make the Jays competitive, working with a modest payroll. His only accomplishment was dismantling the team – his original five year plan is going into its eighth year and Jays look like they will be battling with the Orioles to avoid last place… all this with a payroll in excess of $100 million. For all this – he gets an extension. Wonder if John Ferguson Jr. wishes that Ted Rogers owned the Maple Leafs.

NFL Commish Roger Goddell is very careful to protect the image of the league and its employees – the suits frown upon drug and alcohol consumption; so much so that a player can be suspended for violating league policy if he chooses to consume or over-indulge (see Pacman Jones’ latest suspension). I get that – sorta. But it is interesting to see the league’s silence on reports that Brett Favre contacted the Detroit Lions to discuss strategy against his former employers – the Green Bay Packers. Everyone is in denial mode about what was or wasn’t said between Favre and the Lions – but surely, that kind of contact calls into question the integrity of the game. If something like that happened with one of the league’s notorious big mouths – the Commish would have been all over that. But hey, it is John Madden’s favourite player – everybody’s favourite good ol’ boy, so we’ll just let it slide. Favre is a jackass.

Things must be slow in the NHL, when the big story is about how the NHL’s Governors have discussed the idea of putting a second franchise in “Southern Ontario” (read Toronto). This of course has provided fodder for some of Toronto’s noted curmudgeons to speculate how Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment would block any team infringing on their territory – the rudimentary argument being made is that MLSE is afraid of any competition, in a market that is supposedly begging for another team. So it’s up to the Maple Leafs (and ostensibly the city of Toronto) to save the NHL from itself? Why should Toronto bail out some of these jokers that put franchises in non-hockey markets? What the NHL needs is a combination of contraction and relocation – starting with re-establishing teams in cities like Winnipeg and Quebec City. But when you talk about NHL Governors, the sensible option is rarely (if ever) considered.

Congratulations to Eric Hinske on a World Series ring.

Damien Cox actually makes a good point when he says the Leafs should release Ryan Hollweg.

Jerry Jones, please call Daunte Culpepper – after watching Brad Johnson against the Rams, I’d rather have Culpepper filling in for Tony Romo. Tilt is laughing at me as posts this.

Tomas Kaberle, please reconsider waving your no-trade clause – Leaf Nation would hate to lose you, but re-opening trade discussions with the Flyers starting with Jeff Carter and a 1st round pick would really accelerate the rebuild.

I agree with TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s opinion keeping rookie D Luke Schenn on the Leafs roster for 40 games would be the best for his development. The consensus seems to be that the Leafs would be making a huge mistake by keeping him with the big club and starting his entry-level contract. McKenzie rightly argues that the goal is to develop the youngster while protecting the period before he is eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Thank you Manny Ramirez – thank you for making Dodgers baseball somewhat relevant this year – whatever happens with free agency, no hard feelings…just best wishes.

Morning sports reports north of the border just got a whole lot brighter; in two words: Nikki Reyes.

Well, the first seven weeks of the NFL have been very good – total (virtual dollars) stands at + $1,130…time to push the envelope and get back into baseball and hockey. Today’s suggestions

Tampa Bay over Philadelphia – Cole Hamels has been great for the Phillies, but he’ll be facing a pretty potent Rays offence tonight – his career numbers against them are ugly. Go with Scott Kazmir to neutralize Ryan Howard and Chase Utley tonight. Lay $100 on the Rays - $105.

Florida over the SenaTards – upset special. Call it a hunch, call it seeing the Tards for what they really are – overvalued. This should be a low scoring game tonight – which means it could come down to who makes a mistake. Tards G Martin Gerber is good for at least one big gaff per game. Lay $100 on Florida + $160.

I’ll leave it at that for today – thanks for taking the time to check in.

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

I’m Out!


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