Saturday, June 28, 2008

The call of the Motherland

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

Vacation season is upon us, and aside from yours truly, I can't think of anyone who deserves a vacation as much as our girl Hazel. Hazel wrapped up her tenure last night in fine style (as she always does) with a heartfelt goodbye to NESN viewers and a pretty good montage of some of her good and not so good moments - sprinkled in with Hazel being Hazel - the clip is a great example of why people like her...she doesn't take herself too seriously and has fun with what she does. It is what we should all aspire to.

So Hazel, from your Canadian peeps - congrats to you, its time to play Spirit of the West's "Home for a Rest" and enjoy some down time before you embark on your next challenge.

That's about it gang - as mentioned previously, yours truly is going on vacation - scroll down. Posts will be sporadic over the next couple of weeks. To friends on this side of the border - Happy Canada Day to you all on Tuesday, to those of you down south, Happy Fourth of July.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - you went down to Boston and kicked ass on your own terms...good show.

I'm Out - actually on the way to Portugal for two weeks - the call of the Motherland is strong. I couldn't make it to Euro this year, so I thought the next best thing would be to land in Lisbon the day after Portugal had won this year's championships - things didn't go according to plan, but hey, we won't get into that. So gang, I leave you with pics of the Lisbon - the heart of the motherland - where yours truly will be roaming around.

Marques de Pombal

Tower of Belem

Oriente Train Station

National Pantheon

Rossio - STAYING HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be safe all - talk to you all from beautiful


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Legacy of JFJ

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

The Toronto Maple Leafs (Cliff Fletcher) announced they would buy out the remainder of Darcy Tucker's contract - thus making him a free agent. Tucker will receive $6M of the remaining $9M on his contract - the cap hit to the Leafs is $1M per season over the next six year. The Leafs also announced that they had put Andrew Raycroft and Kyle Wellwood on waivers - two more of John Ferguson Jr.'s signings.

The Tucker signing, much like the Blake/Raycroft/McCabe signings, was a mistake - one the Leafs will have to live with for a while. Somewhat disappointed Tucker didn't waive his no movement clause - for a guy who is supposed to have integrity, it looks like he refused to waive his NMC to get the buyout and move on to another contract.

Note to Bryan McCabe - FORGET IT...THERE IS NO BUYOUT FOR YOU. McCabe's agent has let it be known he is not interested in waiving his no movement clause, that the Leafs would have to buy him out for him to leave. HA HA HA - Forget it. Thankfully, Cliff Fletcher made it clear that the Leafs would NOT buy McCabe out. While we'd love to get rid of McCabe and his obscene contract, we'll do it via trade...thanks very much.

Judging by Ron Wilson's early exposure to the Leafs market - McCabe isn't in his's hoping he puts the screws to McCabe until he waives his NMC and has his ass traded to the Islanders.

What Leafs fans are looking forward to this season



That's it for this morning gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - its getting better in Toronto.

I'm Out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Champs & Chumps

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

Another installment of the Champs & Chumps – a look back at the last seven days or so and highlight the notable newsmakers from the world of sports. Some have distinguished themselves with stellar performances, while others have managed to fall a little short in their pursuit of athletic excellence. We honour the Champs with a “Hazie” award and bestow the title of “Hazel’s Hero” for the week; those falling in the category of less than stellar get no award, but do have the title of “Hazel’s Zero” tagged on them. This usual disclaimer is that Hazel hasn’t approved this week’s choices, but we’d like to think she’d smile and give a “thumbs up” if she was checking in today.


Spain’s Iker Casillas turned in an unbelievable performance in a shootout win over Italy on Sunday – preserving the hope that perhaps the most prized trophy in the beautiful game will be won by a team that plays the game the right way. Casillas made two unbelievable saves in regulation time and saved two penalties to lead the Iberians to a 1-0 win over always boring to watch Azzurri.

Russia’s Andrei Arshavin has embraced the spotlight and emerged as one of the most exciting players in the tournament. Arshavin shredded the Dutch defence and was a threat all afternoon as he led his team to a 3-1 win in extra time. He came into the tournament relatively unknown – that all changed on Saturday.

Honourable mention goes to Portugal striker Nuno Gomes – his goal in a 3-2 to Germany made it three successive European Championships in which he managed to score, the first ever Portuguese player to do so. He is by no means a world-class striker, but he finds a way to score.

Often the butt of jokes around the NHL – the Toronto Maple Leafs scouting staff looks like they hit the jackpot at the NHL’s 2008 Entry Draft. The Leafs traded up to get a future shut-down defenceman in Luke Schenn and followed it up with what more than one scouting service have called “steals”. The Leafs used the 60th overall pick to select New Englander Jimmy Hayes, a kid who would have been a top 10 selection last year had he been eligible; and then followed up by using the 98th pick to select Mikhail Stevanovich, a kid scouts say has “top 10” potential if he somehow manages to combine his natural ability with intensity and consistency. Let the rebuild commence.

Atlanta Braves 1b Mark Texeira hit three home runs on Sunday to lead the Braves to a win over the Mariners – for good measure, he homered from both sides of the plate. Not bad for a Portuguese kid huh?

Maeple Leafs OF Jermaine Dye was named the American League Player of the Week after posting a batting avg of .417 with 5 HR and 13 RBI – it wasn’t enough to win the week for the Leafs in the Yahoo league though.


This one is a little late, and will likely anger my man Johnny P, but the Greek National team’s appearance at Euro 2008 was not only a disaster, but also a complete and utter embarrassment. When they danced in the streets of Lisbon four years ago, they claimed a new era in Greek football was about to begin. Did it ever – the missed the 2006 World Cup, and followed it up by becoming the first defending champions to not advance past the group stage – they managed one goal in three games. They proudly stated that no one could take the championship win away from them…true; but, from now on, when referencing their win at the 2004 Championships, it will be followed up by the embarrassment of such a pathetic defence of their title.

Germany Midfielder Michael Ballack’s theatrics last Thursday were an embarrassment, to both him and his country. The Germans have long been regarded as tough, honest, physical players – but watching Ballack writhe around on the pitch, clutching his shoulder like it had been separated, was absolutely pathetic. Replays showed a Portuguese defender won the ball from Ballack and touched his shoulder (actually grazed it) before starting a rush up field – Ballack lay their clutching his shoulder like he had been shot. His recovery was miraculous – it felt so much better in the second half that he had enough strength to push a Portuguese defender in the box to get a head on the ball for a goal. Remember this Michael – your smile is going to disappear pretty fast when you get to London and Scolari is your coach…if you are anywhere near as ineffective as you were last year…expect to have plenty of time to nurse your shoulder in one of those big comfy sideline chair you piece of crap.

Italy gets a team award for making the beautiful game an ugly, boring event to watch. The Italians came into the tournament like they always do – playing a “tactical” game and seizing opportunities to score. In other words, we don’t have enough creativity to play with the talented teams – so we’ll grind the game to a halt and take our chances in penalties…the Italian Job. It was one sweet consolation to see you lose to Spain.

Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was the big newsmaker in the world of baseball last week. Ricciardi fired long time friend John Gibbons and “announced” that former Jays GM Cito Gaston was coming back to replace Gibbons (better known here as Boomhauer). You would think that Ricciardi, feeling extremely fortunate to have kept his job, would try to keep a low profile. But the Chickenhawk can’t help himself from making matters worse – out of nowhere, Ricciardi craps all over Adam Dunn of the Reds when asked if Dunn would be a good fit with the Jays. From the man that signed the likes of AJ Burnett, Frank Thomas, David Eckstein and many more – just what makes this guy think he is an evaluator of talent? This guy has got to go – he makes John Ferguson Jr. look like the second worst sports executive in Toronto.

The SenaTards – just for being the Tards.

Lines to be updated later.

San Diego over Minnesota – Jake Peavy goes for the Padres tonight, and he is pretty much money at home. Lay $100 on the Padres.

New York over Seattle – the M’s won’t have Felix Hernandez hitting tonight – while Oliver Perez doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, he inspired more that R.A. Dickey. Lay $100 on the Mets and pray.

Kansas City over Coloardo – Go with Greinke tonight, whatever the line. Lay $100 on the Royals.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

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

I’m Out!

Monday, June 23, 2008


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

Quick post this morning - in a weekend that did not go according to form at Euro 2008, with the underdogs all winning, Spain bucked the trend by beating Italy 1-0 in penalties. The Italians brought their normal game - defend, defend, defend and hope we sneak a goal - and by the second half of extra time, had all but packed it in in hopes of getting to penalties.

Iker Casillas broke the hearts of the Italians with TWO penalty kick saves.

Spain carries the hopes of the Iberians, and everyone else who loves the beautiful game - they play it the right way. As for the Italians, take that crap you call "tactical play" back to the boot and console yourselves with delusions of grandeur about how well you play the game - you show up at every tournament with the same crap and bore everyone to death.

For those of you who say soccer is boring - with the exception of yesterday's game - the quarter-final games were all pretty exciting. A hell of a lot more exciting than GOLF.

That's it for this morning - back later with more.

Another installment of - Why we believe Brian Burke will eventually wind up in Toronto.

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

I'm Out!

Friday, June 20, 2008

An Unjust Result

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

Germany beat Portugal yesterday by a count of 3-2.

The beautiful game can be oh so cruel - the score line will say that Germany dominated, twice with two goal leads, but Portugal were by far the better team yesterday.

Two of Germany's goals came off of free kicks, with Portugal failing to defend in the air - didn't I say the Achilles heel? - with one goal coming on a cross. Other than that, the Germans really didn't threaten that much...Portugal, was buzzing the net for most of the game.

The German messageboards are rife with praise for a dominant victory over Portugal, they have a funny way of looking at things...they were absolutely dominated by a faster, more skilled team.

No point in rehashing it all - the game is over and done with, and we look to the future. World Cup 2010 in South Africa - who knows, this page may still be up and running.

NHL Draft tonight...GO LEAFS GO.

That's it for today gang - no three play - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world. I could use a consolation hug.

I'm Out

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quarter Final Day at Euro

Portugal vs Germany

Not much to say today - the worst possible matchup for Portugal, likely the toughest test they'll face. The Germans are in gamemanship mode - injury questions and heaping praise on Portugal as being the favourites. Come to think of it, the Germans might be soccer's New England Patriots.

The Good
Portugal is in form and go into the game relatively rested. The eyes of the world on on Cristiano Ronaldo today; some of us hope for another performance like he delivered against the Czechs, others hoping he is a non-factor so that they can hate on him. Portugal have a revenge factor, looking to pay the Germans back for a 3-1 defeat in the consolation game of the 2006 World Cup. They are a confident bunch - they fear no one.

The Bad
The Germans will be physical today and they will look to dominate Portugal in the air - the Achilles heal of the team. Their style of play has historically presented Portugal with fits - they will grind the game down to a halt if they can and look to sneak one.

The Ugly
Portugal's recent history hasn't been good against Germany - there was a 3-0 win against Germany in 2000, but the architect of that win - Luis Figo - is in the stands now. It's up to Ronaldo and company to get it done today.

That damn feeling of saudade has me thinking its a crap shoot today - the nation is hopeful, but.

I've got nothing more - hopeful that the boys can get it done; a quick visit to church is likely in order today.

Thanks for taking the time to check in - not much of a post, but the mind is thousands of miles away today.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - hopefully you check in and send the boys some good Hazel Karma.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

World Cup 2010 - Forca Portugal!

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

For some of us - World Cup 2010 starts on Tuesday with Portugal taking on the Ivory Coast. We go into this World Cup with the "experts" doubting us - the Ivory Coast is every jokers sexy pick to progress into the knockout stage, at the expense of the Seleccao das Quinas...just the way we like it. The hopes and dreams of a small nation and its people scattered all over the world rest on the shoulders of

Cristiano Ronaldo

He has his detractors, his doubters and his haters - he is on a mission to prove them all wrong. Tomorrow goes a long way to accomplishing just that.

Prediction - Ronaldo scores in a 2-0 win for the good guys!

While the nation is confident - it never hurts to ask for a little bit of Hazel Karma. Hazel isn't on record as being a supporter of her new country - so the Quinas are more than happy to welcome her on board...along with some of our friends who:

Proudly display the shields


No explanation needed here

We wear our heart on our sleeves - or sorta

Or other places

Hazel you have an open invitation to join our favourite Portugal Fan

Hazel, we're thinking the crest worn over your heart would go great with this little number

here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

Song of the day - A Portuguesa

I'm Out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Il Biscotto

As mentioned this morning – it is D-Day on the second to last day of the group stage at the Euro 2008 Championships; surprise, surprise, controversy is the word of the day…actually the word of the day is “biscotto” (Italian cookie).

More than any other nation of fans – the Italians go into each and every tournament not only expecting to win, but believing it is their God given right, their destiny, to take home the grand prize – anything less than a championship can be explained by a conspiracy to prevent the Azzurri from winning another championship. The entire world is against them.

The Brazilians and Argentineans expect to win.

The Spaniards, Germans and French believe they can win.

The Portuguese hope they can win – that damn feeling of saudade.

The Italians though – well, they believe they are God’s team and it is their destiny to win.

The Italians go into today’s game knowing that their fate rests in the hands of the Dutch and Romanians – those directly connected to the Azzurri are in full gamesmanship mode, attempting to shame the Dutch into taking care of business for them. Without outright questioning the integrity of the Dutch, they have gone on record as stating that a loss by the Dutch today would naturally raise questions about Oranje’s desire to avoid another potential matchup with Italy in the semi-finals. The Italians are imploring the Dutch to uphold the integrity of the game and not roll over for the Romanians today – hmmm, football (soccer) – Italia – Integrity…hmmm ok.

Their supporters are already offering up excuses for a potential early exit from a tournament they have not nearly been as dominant as they would like everyone to believe. The fans talk about the biscotto – an Italian cookie – and how the Dutch and the Romanians are going to squeeze the Azzurri out…much like the sandwich-like little cookie they love having with their espresso.

They are seemingly oblivious to the fact that they came into this tournament, not necessarily as the best team (not even really top four in terms of talent), but with “favourite” tag bestowed on them by virtue of the World Cup win in 2006 – which included knockout round victories world powers like the Ukraine and Australia. Their fan base is largely ignorant of the blessed draws the Italians always seem to fall into – but keenly aware (read screaming “conspiracy”) of the odd time they may fall into a tough group.

The arrogance on the part of this fan base is obscene – the “Italiani” are masters of the double slap – only the Azzurri and their supporters could package a double insult in one simple statement. It isn’t good enough for them to question the integrity/character of the Dutch – no, they choose their words carefully enough so as to completely discount the Romanians (who won one and tied one against the Dutch in qualifying for the tournament).

The Italians, for the first time in ages, being lumped into a “group of death” at an international tournament are in unfamiliar territory – their usual strategy of picking up a couple of ties and sneaking out a win in the group stage hasn’t worked out this time, and to hear them speak, it is everyone else’s fault.

To the fans of the Azzurri, this page says, DEAL WITH IT. As fans of the Maple Leafs, we agonized for three hours on the final day of the 2006/2007 NHL season when the New Jersey Devils “rested” Martin Brodeur in a game that had playoff implications for us.

The best possible result today would be a tie between the Italians and the French – and a win by the Dutch. That just might leave the Azzurri speechless…but knowing them like I do, I highly doubt it.

Ugly week last week – this week will be better.

New York over San Diego – the Yankees should be able to rough up Randy Wolf; meanwhile the Padres couldn’t hit off of Hurricane Hazel. Lay $100 on the Yankees - $165.

Chicago over Pittsburgh – Vasquez over Snell…enough said. Lay $100 on the White Sox - $170.

Los Angeles over Cincinnati – Chad Billingsley is the most likely candidate to right this mess in Los Angeles. Lay $100 on the Dodgers + $105.

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here’s hoping things are groovy in your world – we’ve got a seat for you on the Quinas bandwagon.

I’m Out!


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

A big welcome to Brian Burke, errr Al Coates, as Director of Player Personnel in Toronto. The Leafs announced the hiring of Coates, who has a long history with Leafs interim GM Cliff Fletcher - did I mention that Coates spent the last six seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, the last two as senior advisor to one Brian Burke.

Burke is coming to Toronto - COUNT ON IT.

Today could be a very interesting day in European Soccer - two of the bigger craphole team, the French and the Italian, kick off today in a must win match to progress on to the quarter-finals of Euro 2008. Both teams are tied for third in their group with one point from two matches - all the talk that these two were regarded as favourites was just that - TALK. A win could be a moot point today - if Romania, who are second in the group with two points, beat the Dutch who have already guaranteed themselves a spot in the quarters.

The French seem resigned to losing - they should be, they are not a threat to win anything. The Italians aren't going down with threats - they have made it known they EXPECT Holland to beat Romania handily, anything less would result in Italy having a look at the game. Typical Italian garbage at a big tournament - often blessed with creampuff draws - these clowns would have people believe that there is some sort of plot against having them win the tournament...they are oblivious to the fact that THEY NEED TO can't win a 0-0 game (well, technically you can in soccer...but you have to make to to the knockout round first).

The Italians have completely dismissed the fact that the Romanian beat the Dutch at home and tied them in the Netherlands during qualifying for the Euro - the Italians would rather believe that there was a conspiracy to keep them from winning the tournament, rather than face the fact that their team lacks the offensive creativity and capacity of the teams that are actually making things happen this time around.

In a just world - the Italians would win today, knocking out the stinking French...and a late goal by Romania would give them the win, thus knocking out Italy. But the world isn't always just - something tells me we are going to have to listen to these clowns for at least another few days.

Portugal gets Germany on Thursday - more on that tomorrow.

Three play and more later today. Thanks for taking the time to check in.

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

I'm Out!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The caption says it all

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

One of the most talked about side stories of this year's European Championships is "Where will Cristiano Ronaldo play in 2008/09?" Real Madrid is said to have an offer on the table which would see the club pay Manchester United anywhere between $120 - 140 MILLION for the transfer of the Portuguese superstar AND pay him a reported salary of $30 million AFTER TAXES. Ronaldo's performance against the Czech Republic probably pushed the numbers up a bit.

Does anyone want to tell me that he won't be the FIFA World Player of the Year?

In other welcome developments at the big tournament. The Greeks and Italians have found out that the defensive style that won them the last two major championships isn't working this year - the style of play has been more attacking in nature, and as such, these two who have played a smothering defensive style and hope to sneak a goal on the counter attack or via a set piece to win the game, have found that they are S.O.L this year.

The Greeks were particularly embarrassing against the Swedes, playing FIVE defenders with one lone striker - at one point during the game, the Greeks were passing the ball to each other inside their own half with the Swedes waiting for them to come forward...disgusting; the one-trick pony looks like they are on their way to the glue factory and the tournament is better for it.

In perhaps the most welcome news - Italy and France face each other tomorrow in a must-win game if either hope to advance to the quarter finals of the tournament. Both sit tied for third in the Group of Death, one point behind Romania who face the already qualified Dutch. IF, and it is a big IF, the Romanians were to upset the Dutch tomorrow, both Italy and France would be out of the tournament- can I get a "Hell yeah!" The Italians, often the beneficiaries of ridiculously easy qualifying groups, look very beatable in the tournament's most competitive group - their lack of creativity and offensive talent has shone through in the tournament and downgraded them from being one of the tournament's favourites, down to the category of also-rans.

The French aren't even worth discussing - they came into the tournament with some high (false hopes) built on big reputations...but the reality is that they aren't a threat to anyone. Some will point to how they recovered from a horrible start at the 2006 World Cup to reach the Finals - to that I say, "The Mad Minator from Marseilles" isn't here to guide this group of overrated sad sacks.

Cleveland over San Diego - Cliff Lee goes for the Indians, that is as close to "money in the bank" as you can get this year. Lay $100 on the Tribe - $180.
Arizona over Kansas City - can't see the Royals winning on the road, even against a very hittable Randy Johnson. Lay $100 on the DBacks -$170.

Seattle over Washington - the number is big for a bad Mariners team, but they are at home, have Eric Bedard on the hill, and they are facing the Nationals. Lay $100 on the Mariners - $200.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

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

I'm Out!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Portugal 3 - 1 Czech Republic

The Man of the Match - Cristiano Ronaldo.

One goal, two assists. DOMINANT.

More later.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Time to Show Who is Boss

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

The news of the day is obviously day 5 of UEFA’s 2008 European Cup, with Portugal taking on the Czech Republic – with both teams having won their opening game, a win by either side would guarantee a spot in the Quarter-Finals, likely as the winner of Group A.

The good guys beat Turkey 2-0 in their opening game but their lack of finishing was a bit of a cause for concern, as well as their defense on set pieces and crosses coming into the box – the latter will be of particular concern with the Czech’s fielding 6’9” striker Jan Koller.

The Czechs won their opening game against co-host Switzerland, but it was by no means an easy or memorable victory – as a matter of fact, the Czech acknowledged they were fortunate to win the game.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that both teams are downplaying their opposition and instead focusing on their game – Portugal knows they need to bury their chances and the Czechs know they have to pick up their game. Cristiano Ronaldo was not a huge factor in the opening game – expect that to change today. Portugal 2 – 1 Czech Republic.

Time for a long overdue Champs and Chumps entry – for those of you who have recently found the page, as you can imagine, the entry focuses on newsmakers from the past week (both the good and the bad). We used to call on Hazel to present the awards – but she may be a bit busy these days, so we’ll do the honours for her.


Cincinnati Reds OF Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 600th career home run – one of the few (if not “only”) milestone moments over the last decade that hasn’t had the suspicion of steroid or performance enhancing substances use hanging over it. Griffey has to be considered the best “all-natural” player of his generation.

Boston Red Sox OF Manny Ramirez hit his 500th home run – another guy with no doubts about how he did it – but he gets mucho amor here today for being the first person to deliveri a long overdue, and very well deserved, “bish-slap” to the mug of Kevin Youkilis. It’s about time someone in that dugout did what 99.9% of non-Red Sox fans (and likely 80% of Red Sox Nation) would love to do. Take it down a notch Youk – the game does not hinge on every single one of your at-bats man…you’re not that important.

Germany striker Lukas Podolski scored two goals in Germany’s win over Poland on Sunday – in both cases, Podolski was rather subdued and business like. When asked, Podolski (who was born in Poland) said that he didn’t want to show up the team representing his country of birth, a country that a large number of family members still reside. Good for him.

Spanish striker David Villa scored a hat-trick yesterday against Russia – he could have had at least two more, but three ain’t bad.

Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win against Greece yesterday – in and of itself, it may not be that newsworthy, but the goal was a deathblow to the defending (counterfeit) champions who played with five defenders in hopes of a draw or a lucky goal to win it. The one-trick pony that won last time has been flogged to death – PLAY THE DAMN GAME GREECE…you had no business being that the tournament in ’04 and you have no business being there this year.

Ottakring Braueri AG of Vienna has offered a lifetime supply of free beer to any member of the Austrian National team who scores the first goal at the tournament – the brewery’s Chief, Sigi Menz has offered to personally deliver the beer for the first year. Now that is getting behind your national team.


Toronto Blue Jays P AJ Burnett was booed off the field this past weekend after giving up 8 earned runs over 4.1 innings to the Orioles – Burnett acknowledged (mocked) the crowd by tipping his cap as he walked off the field. He later apologized, saying it was probably not the best reaction to the boos – ya think?

Tiger Woods made a half-hearted attempt at humour (in his words) when asked about who he liked to win the Stanley Cup – Woods answered the question with a question of his own, something to the effect of “does anyone even watch hockey anymore?” He doesn’t have to be down with hockey (though he later claimed to be a big fan of watching hockey from the stands), but he could show fellow athletes a little more respect.

A pretty good week last week – the upward trend continues.

Los Angeles over San Diego – the offensively challenged Padres are no match for Chad Billingsley. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $105.

Philadelphia over Florida – the Marlins haven’t been good to Cole Hamels, but he is too good to be dominated by them. Lay $100 on the Phillies - $150.

San Francisco over Colorado – Tim Lincecum has been outstanding this year, Ubaldo Jimenez hasn’t. Lay $100 on the Giants - $120.

Song of the Day – Portuguese ex-pats in Switzerland are expected to be out in full force today supporting the Quinas…so:

Uma Casa Portuguesa – Amalia Rodrigues

That’s it for today gang – thanks for taking the time to check in, have a great one.

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

I’m Out!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Portugal 2 - 0 Turkey

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae, who likely isn't sitting in front of her HD TV watching Euro 2008...but she gets a pass.

A just result on yesterday's opening day of the big tournament. Portugal, favoured going into the game against Turkey, scored two second half goals - defender Pepe in the 61st minute, and substitute midfielder Raul Meireles in the 93rd minute.

The Quinas dominated the game and probably should have had at least four, if not more, goals - while there is much to be happy about, the lack of finishing is cause for some concern. The silver lining is that Portugal dominated a game in which their superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, was not the dominant player on the pitch. Pepe, playing in his first international tournament for Portugal, was a champ at both ends of the pitch - scoring a first half goal that was called back for offside. Simao, who played the wing opposite Ronaldo was a threat all night - I would have included him in the Quinas/Red Sox comparison, but that would have necessitated posting a pitch of Youkilis (and NO ONE needs to see that mug any more than they already do).

While Pepe and Simao starred for Portugal - the third star has to go to the German referee Herbert Fandel who called an excellent game by asserting his leadership early on. Under Fandel's watchful eye, a few early dives (both ways) were not rewarded with free kicks - Fandel also used his judgment in letting the play move on after a foul (playing "advantage"). The only drawback in Fandel's game was that he was so conscious to diving (encouraged by Turkish fans who booed everytime someone fell) missed a red card at the end of the game, when Turkish defender Aurelio went cleats first on a vicious challenge against Nani.

All in all though - a very good start to the tournament.

The Goal

The celebration

The celebration II

2-1 last night, meaning 6-1 on the week - the weekend ends off on a great note with a few winners.

Toronto over Baltimore - Roy Halladay will not allow the Jays to be swept at home...not to the Orioles. Lay $100 on the Jays - $240.

Cincinnati over Florida - go with Aaron Harang (no "atang" jokes) to beat the Marlins today. Lay $100 on the Reds - $123.

Kansas City over NY Yankees - upset special. Go with Greinke, who has been very good this season, over Joba Chamberlain who is on a pitch count and may be out of the game by the 4th inning. Lay $100 on the Royals + $175.

For those of you betting Euro - Crotia and Germany are pretty well locks.

That's it for today gang - no use talking about AJ Burnett's meltdown at the Rogers Centre yesterday...let's just say it may be time for another installment of the Champs and Chumps entry. Have a great one.

Song of the day - for the "Dance with the Portuguese" promo on TSN and ESPN.

O Pezinho - Amalia Rodrigues (the incomparable Amalia I should add).

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

I'm Out

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Football 101 for Red Sox Nation

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae on this first day of Euro 2008.

Those of you residing in Massachusetts are aware of the presence of the Portuguese in your great state - outside of Portugal, Massachusetts if home to the the largest segment of people who trace their ancestry back to the motherland. While most of them are members of Red Sox Nation - the hope here is that they will be tuning in today to watch Portugal play Turkey on the opening day of the big tournament.

The similarities between the Red Sox and the Quinas are striking - well, they were before Hazel brought the good karma to Boston in 2004 - full of potential, full of hope, in quest of a the championship. For those of you in New England who claim not to like soccer - take a few minutes to look at the the anatomy of the 2008 Portuguese National Team reconsider your dislike of the world's game - support the Quinas.

The Backbone

Ricardo Carvalho - the last line of defence - rarely spectacular, but always rock solid and makes everyone around him better. He is the backbone of the team.

Red Sox comparison - Jason Varitek

The Driving Force

Deco - while playing second fiddle to Ronaldo, the offence will flow through him; he will be the lynch pin that drives the team.

Red Sox Comparison - Manny Ramirez

The Legs - The need for speed

Ricardo Quaresma and Luis Nani - speed to burn, abundant raw talent, able to change the pace of the game. The future looks bright.

Red Sox Comparison - Jacoby Ellsbury

The Heart and Soul

Cristiano Ronaldo - a man who can take over a game on his own, loved by his peeps...enough said.

Red Sox Comparison - Big Papi

So there you have it gang - they won't be showing Euro 2008 at Game On or the Cask N' Flagon, but consider tuning in and supporting the good guys.


Coming off a 4-0 the other night - tonight's suggestions:

St. Louis over Houston - Adam Wainwright has been outstanding over his last few starts...expect that to continue. Lay $100 on the Cards - $114.

Chicago over Minnesota - you have to like Buehrle over Livan Hernanez who has been throwing batting practice this year. Lay $100 on the White Sox - $160.

New York over San Diego - the Mets should score some runs against Baek tonight, do you really expect the Padres to score runs? Thought not. Lay $100 on the Mets - $115.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - if you are checking in today, why not have a peek at ESPN and see what their programming consists of today?


Song of the Day - A Portuguesa (its worth the read)

I'm Out!

Friday, June 06, 2008

The World Is Watching

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.
The countdown is on - Euro 2008 in 24+ hours; and the decision from would-be Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson who has been given a deadline day of Monday to accept the coaching position in Toronto. With all due respect to Mr. Wilson, who could be working in the centre of the hockey universe, the world (outside of our friends down south) will be watching Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo - arguably the most recognizable sports figure on the planet.
Loved by a nation (and a gender - chicks dig this guy)
Hated by the English
Respected by all.
Ronaldo goes into this tournament with the weight and expectations of the world on his shoulders - he will be the most watched person at the tournament.
Those of us who love the "Quinas" will look to him to lead our boys to their first international championship - we hope the best player on the planet will carry over his form from this past season and lead us to victory. While we hope for the best, if we were being honest about things we would acknowledge that this team is likely to peak in 2010 or 2012 - that is not to say we don't have the players to get it done in the world's toughest championship to win, it is just acknowledging that we aren't the front runners, but we will be a factor. With a little luck, who knows? Just ask the Greeks.
Those who aren't fans of Ronaldo will be looking to scrutinize (criticize) every move he makes - and of course pinning the failure to win sqaurely on the shoulders of the TWENTY THREE year old wonderkid. The English media have never quite forgiven him for the incident at the 2006 World Cup where they accused Ronaldo of getting Shrek (aka Wayne Rooney) red-carded for a boot to the groin of Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho. The English media is lying in wait to roast the kid for anything less than a dominant tournament, resulting in a win for the Portuguese.
He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and the support of a nation (which reaches all four corners of the globe) behind him. Either way, this is one of the few athletes in the world who is truly worth the price of admission and one who can single-handedly carry a team to the promised land.
Turkey tomorrow at 2:45 pm (eastern time) - BE THERE and represent.
That's it for today gang - three play later this afternoon - thanks for taking the time to check in.
Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.
So the Red Wings beat the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup...who cares? Certainly not Tiger Woods...
But the focus of the day, and likely for the next four (YES FOUR) weeks, will be UEFA's 2008 European Championships. Rather than go on and on and on (AND ON) about Portugal in this year's championships - I'll just point you to a link about THE MAN. A kid from the island of Madeira and a son of all of Portugal.
BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!
Back later with three play suggestions.
Thanks for taking the time to check in - have a great one.
Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.
I'm Out!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


New York over Toronto - a case of the lesser of two perceived evils, Mussina vs Litsch, I'll go with the Yankees in tonight's game. Lay $100 on the Yanks - $130.

Cleveland over Texas - still having a hard time believing that Sidney Ponson is pitching relatively well; but I'll go with Cliff Lee and the Tribe tonight. Lay $100 on Cleveland - $145.

San Diego over Chicago - after seeing Lilly pitch last week at Wrigley Field (albeit from the bleacher seats) count me amongst the unimpressed; Maddux on the other hand has been pretty good. Lay $100 on the Padres +$115. Upset special.

Detroit over Pittsburgh - after a thrilling triple overtime win by the Pens on Monday night, expect the Wings to end it tonight in Pittsburgh...they won't let it get away. Lay $100 on the Wings - $130.

That's it...have a great one.

What's a little tampering between friends?

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.
NHL Commish Gary Bettman put the Toronto Maple Leafs on notice, albeit not directly mentioning the organization by name, when he said the league would investigate AND punish any team found (or believed) to be tampering.
The Leafs have offered former Sharks coach, and self-professed Canadian media hater, Ron Wilson. Leaf haters in Canada have come out in force, charging the Leafs with trying to get around tampering charges by offering the vacant coaching position of one of Brian Burke's best friends in hockey - the aforementioned Ron Wilson. The haters point to their friendship, dating back to their playing days at Providence, and the fact that Burke is Godfather to Ron Wilson's child.
The haters have gone as far as to suggest that Burke is "quietly" pulling the strings in Toronto, that Ron Wilson would never accept a job in Canada if he didn't have assurances that Burke would be there to guide the team he was going to coach. Is that the case? Doubtful, Burke has too much integrity to do that - but likely more a case of the Leafs forcing Anaheim's hand and letting Burke know that IF/WHEN he comes to Toronto, he will have a coach he can work with.
Speaking of tampering, the most sought after free agent is getting offers while still technically under contract. The word is that Hazel did the media tour (radio) to dispel any notions that she is leaving NESN because of a contract dispute. Hazel has chosen to take the high road in explaining why she has (amicably) parted ways with her employer - but that hasn't stopped media outlets from courting Hazel to join their outfit. While graciously declining, citing that she is still an employee of NESN, you can bet that come July 1 - there will be three big news stories in the world of sports.
1) Anaheim releases Brian Burke from his contract to allow him to accept the vacant GM's job with the Maple Leafs;
2) Hazel Mae accepts a position with a national media outlet (the betting here is Fox Sports, though me thinks Rogers Sportsnet should get involved in the bidding);
3) Portugal still in rapture after winning Euro 2008.
I'm going with that
Three play later this afternoon.
Thanks for taking the time to check in - have a great one.
Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.
I'm Out!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Burke No #2 on Leafs list

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

Anaheim GM Brian Burke was interviewed during last night's game between Pittsburgh and Detroit - when asked about the alleged extension on the table from the Ducks, Burke first dismissed the question by saying the focus should be on the Stanley Cup, then reiterated that he liked the Ducks ownership. Burke was again non-committal, he likely had not yet heard that the most attractive potential GM in the NHL was now free to talk to Toronto about the vacant post.

Hazel Mae announced that she would be leaving NESN at the end of the month to pursue other opportunities. While speculation is that she might be considering ESPN - an anonymous source says that Mae will meet with Leafs' interim GM Cliff Fletcher next week to discuss the possibility of taking over her beloved Maple Leafs.

While there will undoubtedly be speculation that ESPN will talk to Hazel about opportunities there - Leaf Nation says "Come on back home Hazel - the Leafs need Hazel Karma at the ACC every night".
New England's loss will be Canada's gain - as it should be.
Back later with more - thanks for taking the time to check in.
Hazel, you're a champ.
I'm Out!

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