Tag Archives: Blue Jays

Maple Leafs, Raptors Era Of Hope, Blue Jays? Not So Much

Once again the original ideas are clearly sparse these days. As one loyal reader wrote me an email “is it me or is Damien on auto-pilot”. In any event, Dave Perkins took Jeff Blair’s Toronto The Bad story and raised it with a feel good spin:

“The Maple Leafs have hit the all-star break losing 11 of 14 games, the Raptors have dived straight into the tank and, with pitchers and catchers on the horizon, the Blue Jays seem to have already surrendered their season, publicly managing expectations downward the way the Maple Leafs did so successfully last fall.”

9 am, who is ready for a drink?

“So, what to do? Not much except wait it all out and believe that this time, pain will bring gain. In the case of the Leafs, most fans expected this kind of situation and many wished for it; blowing it up is the best way to start over again.Raptor people would feel differently. This team began the season with reasonable expectations, but fell apart terribly. A flurry now and a finish from seven through 11 in the conference would put them into that wheel-spinning ground the Leafs inhabited for so many years; if you can’t be good, be really bad and start building again with a nice draft pick.”

No, I swear I didn’t write the piece. Perkins is right on though….

“The good news for the Raps is that it’s a shorter road back in the NBA and Bryan Colangelo still is a smart guy, even though he’s now on an extended hitless steak. If he can trade Jermaine O’Neal for a large expiring contract, they would have money to spend in the off-season. A 2009-10 team with Chris Bosh, a healthy Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, a lottery pick and a decent free agent, along with the usual spare parts, isn’t so bad. Things can change quickly in the NBA – in either direction.The Leafs, in the big picture, are actually having what sensible people would call a successful season. They’re losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points. As new GM Brian Burke undertakes what a friend calls “a de-Communization” of his team, they are inching toward the bottom and the subsequent potential draft bonanza.”

Ding ding ding ding…give the man a prize. As I have said before, this common sense thing, it’s really not that hard. this isn’t rocket science. “They are losing with effort, most nights at least playing decent games while dropping points” yes, I did just repost that. That is what we want them to do. Raise your hand which team you prefer, the Muskoka five effortless group of last year, or this years group???? This is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.

“The Islanders are in control of the John Tavares Sweepstakes, but the Leafs are only three points out of 29th place and who knows how the ping-pong balls will bounce? If both Tampa Bay and Ottawa make little runs, the Leafs will benefit. They potentially have chips to play with at the trade deadline. If either or both of Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky get rolling, they could depart for a taste of future. Jason Blake, who has been playing with interest lately, has three more years on his contract, but is looking as if he could help somebody else. He doesn’t have a no-trade contract.”

The Obama factor…The most dangerous word in the English language is HOPE…Perkins is using it now. We don’t mind the losing (not loosing) if there is HOPE! “A Taste of the future” EXACTLY!!!

“There are things Burke can do with an eye two or three years down the road, which is, realistically, when they might become competitive. Resurrection begins with good results in the draft, commencing in the lottery, which is why being bad – and .363 is as bad as it gets – doesn’t necessarily need to be the end of the world.”

Stop telling us how bad we are. It isn’t becoming and frankly it pisses us off. It’s interesting that Perkins rightfully leaves the Jays out of the discussion. Maybe he knows what we (with the exception of Eye) believe, that the right guy isn’t at that table. Hope, all we need is a tiny morsel of hope. If the right people are around the draft table there is hope. Guarantees? Nope. No such thing (death, taxes and self serving Berger Blogs excepted). Being so bad should have it’s payoff…Let’s see if the right guys are at the table.

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As Bad A Night As I Can Remember

Wow- something is in the water today? No no, not the Leafs, a good game and a shutout loss…too bad we picked up a point. The Raptors? Hell no, the way I figure they are going to be right in the thick of the John Tavares lottery. Once again I am totally puzzled by the media… It’s like one big Seinfeld episode, except I don’t care for many of the characters, actually the only similarity is that their articles are about nothing… NOTHING…

First, Berger writes a totally useless article about Matt Stajan wanting more noise at the ACC. This is news how? No really, has any player ever not wanted that? The fact that team isn’t that strong at home has nothing to do with the fans. It has everything to with character. That isn’t a shot against Stajan. It’s the whole group. The team that Sundin, McCabe, Tucker lead wasn’t very good at home either. It’s not easy playing here in Toronto in front of the home crowd, it takes character to do it well. When a player messes up he hears about it. Sometimes unmercifully . So to hear that one guy would like more noise is totally irrelevant and not the least bit newsworthy. To write an entire blog about it????? Come on Howie, how about a review of the All Star Official uniforms, I gave you everything you need. Hell, as a member of the media you can probably get a preview too- you got the scoop on the 3rd jerseys after all.

What’s worse then Berger writing about Stajan asking for more noise, Paul Hunter of the Star writing the EXACT same story…. Complete with the same predictable Dave Winfield analogy. Tomorrow, whichever station books Winfield to talk about asking for noise wins the prize. Come on folks…this is really pathetic.

Then, Hunter’s buddy Damien wrote a totally useless article about Luke Schenn. Let’s see, he thinks, maybe, Burke wouldn’t have kept Schenn up had he been GM at the beginning of the season. Wow! How interesting. Funny, because I don’t think Burke would have resigned Ed Belfour after the lockout if he were GM back then either. Oh yeah, and under the same relevance theme is my favorite, Pat Quinn wouldn’t have yanked Toskala in favor of Joseph for the shootout like Wilson did earlier this year. The usual Damien anti-leaf article is, about, n o t h i n g. A new reader wrote a funny post about LT’s post today being both the argument and the counter-argument…Damien did the exact same thing here:

“the decision to keep the 18-year-old defenceman in the big leagues this season has certainly not been a disaster. In fact, in a season that has become increasingly gloomy, Schenn has been one of the bright notes all year. ” He likes him…..

“What will never be known, of course, is what it has cost the Leafs to keep Schenn in the NHL this season rather than returning him to Kelowna of the Western Hockey League for another season of competing against his peers. ” He doesn’t…

“Perhaps nothing, and it’s true, Schenn has rarely looked outclassed in the NHL this season, and the manner in which he shrugged off a 12-game absence due to a knee problem was a sign of maturity. On Wednesday night he was paired with Ian White most of the night and out against Boston’s tricky line of David Krejci, Mike Ryder and Blake Wheeler, a challenging assignment against the Eastern Conference’s top squad. ” He likes him….

“At the same time, particularly for a player drafted fifth overall, and one for whom the Leafs traded away first, second and third round picks in order to position themselves to get him, there haven’t been many signs of offensive potential. ” He doesn’t

“What the Leafs don’t know is whether this is the Luke Richardson story all over again. Richardson was the seventh overall pick in 1987 and played for the Leafs as 18-year-old, actually potting four goals in his rookie season.The club maintained over and over that, like Schenn now, Richardson had offensive potential that he’d shown as a junior in Peterborough. But it never shone through in the NHL, and Richardson never managed more than 21 points in a season. ” Ummmm, he doesn’t like him…

“Would the Leafs be happy if Schenn turned out to be Richardson? Somewhat, but it wouldn’t be the kind of home run they’d hoped to hit with such a high pick. He’ll never be a bust, it would seem, and the Leafs can only hope he might one day be an all-star.” He likes him

“Schenn hasn’t been eaten alive by the pressure of playing on a weak team in this hockey-mad city, and that’s a good sign. There’s obvious poise, and a willingness to play a physical game and even stand up for teammates, commodities in short supply on the current edition of the Leafs. ” He Likes him

“The older Schenn boy, meanwhile, is still learning as he goes in the world’s top hockey league. He was solid for two periods Wednesday night, but with less than seven minutes to play he was schooled by Bruins blueliner Dennis Wideman on a rush, then was caught napping when Marc Savard hit Zdeno Chara with a goalmouth pass to tie the game 3-3 and create overtime.” He doesn’t…

“He’s a big kid finding his way in a tough league. Whether he should have been in the league so young or not, no one can argue he’s a big part of the Leafs’ future.” WHAT- That’s it???? That’s the conclusion??? Talk about 3 minutes of my life I will never get back… What kind of crock this is. The headline is Burke Likely Would Have Sent Schenn Down..there is no quote from Burke, it’s Damien’s hunch. I know, Damien didn’t write the headline… Talk about an article about NOTHING!!!

Then, to top it all off, the guy I think had really been rising to the top wrote a totally useless article. Jeff’ Blair’s piece in the globe is about 19 segments too long. I actually think I captured the gist in 1 paragraph in a post yesterday. Blair wrote an entire page on the losing records of our teams! An entire page. Complete with quotes from Beeston and Burke. Get this:

“”One of the problems the city has right now is that nobody’s excelling,” said Blue Jays interim chief executive officer Paul Beeston, a committed Toronto booster.” Ummmmm YA THINK???? This from a guy I REALLY like (Beeston)….This from the guy who has “just about finished the Blue Jays President job description”….. What I think Beeston meant was, that the problem is the teams in cities not named Toronto score more points then those teams from Toronto!

“When will the bulls run rampant again in the Toronto sports market? Not soon. Let’s be honest. Of the current crop of Maple Leafs, it’s hard to imagine general manager Brian Burke wanting anybody other than Luke Schenn around in two or three years.” Ok, I am waiting for something I don’t already now…..

“The Raptors have, what, three legitimate NBA starters (four when Jermaine O’Neal’s healthy) and a bunch of guys who wouldn’t be a first option off a contender’s bench? Andrea Bargnani looks to be developing the way general manager Bryan Colangelo expected, but the Raptors have always seemed a day late and a dollar short, and that sometimes happens when you just give away a franchise player such as Vince Carter.” Uh huh, and????

“The Blue Jays’ window of opportunity — created when the late Ted Rogers made his famous three-year commitment — turned out not to be as wide as anticipated because, with the game’s revenue explosion, a $90-million payroll didn’t buy as much as it once did and the Blue Jays didn’t have enough high-calibre young players to fill in when injuries hit.” The part with the news, the actual original thought is coming right?

“Those are some of the reasons for the drought. The good news is no cause is lost, as is clearly demonstrated by what’s happened in Boston since the Patriots won their first of three Super Bowls in 2001. The Red Sox — the Red Sox! — ended the Curse of the Bambino and won their first World Series in 86 years and the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title, and don’t look now, but the Bruins, who haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972, are leading the NHL Eastern Conference.” TIME…that’s what you got Jeff? TIME, so this drought will end because the coin that has landed 1 million straight times on heads will eventually fall to tails????? Because it just has to???? Sorry, I had hoped you could do better then this ending:

“Mostly, though, it’s a hungry market. Kicked in the pocketbook, its psyche battered, and tired of having to go through it all again after the TSX closes. Hey buddy … got a win?”

So the Leafs lost in a shutout, earned one too many points, but that is ok. The Raptors got shelled…stick a fork in their season…the TV show Lost started and I am confused as ever….and I am going to bed disappointed by 4 brutal articles… Here’s hoping tomorrow’s a better day 🙂

Berger is here
Cox is http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Hockey/article/575293
Hunter is here
Blair is here

This Could Get Ugly..

No, very few expected the Tampa Bay Rays to be as good as they were last year. No, very few expected the USA to elect an African American as President. Surprises do happen, occasionally. I am willing to bet that next to no one had the Cardinals and the Steelers as the teams in this years Super Bowls. When it comes to sports surprises do happen, not that often, but they do. Money, also doesn’t guarantee you winning. There doesn’t appear to be a direct correlation between championships and payroll. However, in a sport like baseball, where teams can spend freely it surely helps. When our beloved Blue Jays were 2 time championships they were also leaders in the payroll department. No, money doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it certainly, if spent properly goes a long way to putting you in the position to win. So the Yankees being over 400 million doesn’t mean they are going to win the world series. If I were going to bet on a team, I would wager on the Yanks ahead of our Jays. So yes, every major player could have shit seasons with the yanks, or suffer season ending injuries, so too could each Blue Jay starter win 20 games. Hey it COULD happen..Likely? No, I think not, and so do most of you.

The Blue Jays brass met with 400 season ticket holders last night. Following in the footsteps of the Maple Leafs the Jays have lowered expectations for the upcoming season. They haven’t come out to the same extent as the Leafs, but to be honest they don’t have too. The Jays have a very easy excuse to use as the reason for their inactivity this off-season, the economy. When the Leafs started the season, they had an interim GM and everyone knew or hoped that once a permanent GM was hired the building could begin. The Jays have an interim President and a GM entering the final year of his contract. I think we would feel a lot better if the roles were reversed. Imagine they had let JP go, or he had decided to move on and say Pat Gillick was the interim GM, then the wait till next year song would sound a hell of a lot better then it does right now. Most Blue Jay fans aren’t overly enamored with JP. With the exception of the real die hard, he hasn’t done much to excite the average fan. The average fan doesn’t know who is on the farm team and who may be coming up. The average fan knows who is on the team now and may know a name or 2 based on what Elliott, Griffin or Blair has to say. To the average fan, JP was brought in as the boy wonder who was going to turn water into wine. He had the difficult task of bringing down payroll, drafting well and then building up to a championship. Of course things aren’t under the GM’s control, and that works both ways. Success or failure falls on his shoulders. Is it his fault they haven’t won, yup. In the same he would take the credit for winning a ring. Fair?? Nope.

“There’s a little bit of a setback this year with A.J. Burnett not coming back,” said Paul Beeston, the Jays’ interim president. “The rest of the team is back. Hopefully we don’t have too many injuries. We think we have the wherewithal to take the team forward to play some competitive baseball.”

Ouch! This is not the Maple Leafs. The TED is not filled every game regardless of outcome. As goes the team so goes the attendance. As goes the team so goes the sale of sponsorships and luxury boxes. Ask a fan of the Montreal Expos to tell you how the story goes and this is starting to look familliar.

“We’re really not looking back. We’re looking forward,” Gaston told reporters after an hour-long question-and-answer session with fans. “We’re looking at the next five to 10 years, and not just one year.” “You’re going to see in the next few years baseball that is very, very exciting,” Beeston said, while raving about the talent in the team’s minor-league pipeline.”

We Maple Leaf fans know all about looking at prospects through blue and white colored glasses. We all know this, a prospect is just a prospect until they arrive and perform. Baseball America and similar publications haven’t rated this “pipeline” as anything exceptional. That’s not a slam on any one player, its a comment on the group as a whole. If any publication has rated the Jays farm system as being in the top 5 in all of baseball I haven’t seen it. Could the experts be wrong? Of course.

“You increase your revenue at the same time as you increase your salaries. The salaries are a function of how much revenue you’re bringing in,” he said. “You cannot sustain losses forever. … As we go forward, we raise revenue, we raise our salaries and we take it to the level we want it to be at.”

That is why this could ugly. There is no real reason to think that revenues are going to go up. Ticket sales are off from last year. A lower payroll doesn’t mean higher revenue, it means lower expenses. GM, the biggest sponsor is gone. The CBC didn’t renew their television contract. No one is stepping up to the plate to fill that void. Revenues are going down. Salaries are going down, this reeks of preparation for a sale. No one wants to buy a team with expenses far outweighing revenues. What’s the answer, slash expenses because it is a hell of a lot easier then raising revenues…

As for JP, he sounds like he as already left the building. ” “I’ll be honest,” he said. “My two boys are growing up (in Worcester, Mass.) without me. It’s a tough thing when I leave the house and they’re both crying.
“My No. 1 priority is to be a father. I love being a GM, I love being a part of this team. But in two years, I’ll sit back and assess where I am.” Doesn’t make you feel all warm and cozy, for the Jays sake does it? Don’t get me wrong, I hear what he is saying, as a father of 2 I really do. I have no problem with him saying Boston or bust, my family comes first. Just as long as he is sincere about it. If it is a Toronto thing, then say it.

Everyone including my dog knows the Jays need a bat. ” One fan wanted to know, and legitimately so, why it wasn’t possible to bring in a big bat, such as Jason Giambi, to fill the team’s power void, even on a one-year contract. “We just feel it’s going to take at-bats away from Travis Snider and Adam Lind,” Ricciardi said. “With the uncertainty on our pitching staff, we feel like it’s a chance to get those two guys established.” That just doesn’t make me want to run out and buy tickets. I am the Jays target audience. A father of a family of 4, with 2 kids under 18. Why? Well, if they can get my kids interested now, they will be fans for life. Kids in this city don’t have baseball in their blood, so they have to be wooed into baseball.

“It’s going to be a shootout in spring training,” Ricciardi said. “The only safe bet is Doc as No. 1.” Why they aren’t trading this guy to speed up the rebuilding is beyond me. For years we bashed the leafs for being in no mans land. Not good, and not bad enough to get good. All the times they could have moved valuable assets like the Flyers and they never did. The Jays have the rare gem. The one guy that could bring back cornerstones and they don’t. Forget what they owe Roy. Forget what he owes them. Do the right thing. If you are rebuilding, REBUILD. If the Jays trade Roy and get studs back, there is a chance i will take the kids to see the young studs. To go watch one guy pitch surrounded by question marks, why bother? They jays are trying to be half pregnant and I for one am not buying it. Could they pull a rays?? Of course they can. Is it likely? Nope… Baseball fans, this could UGLY this year.

quotes were used from the globe, star and sun

Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all

Random Thoughts On A Snowy Toronto Sports Night

Some things have been going on that I think need commenting on, call me crazy (lots of folks do)

The Toronto Sports Fans apathy to the Raptors is at an all time high. The team is in a spiral and not too many people seem to give a rats ass. There is more noise made about the Jays when things go south then there is right now for the Raptors. I heard and read more comments about the Argos dismal efforts then I am noticing with the Raptors. Ask anyone in the sports industry what the worst thing that can happen to an organization and they will tell you fan apathy. The fact that this team is performing so poorly without a whimper of discontent does not bode well for the Raptors. I am stunned that more of the usual suspects haven’t come out a swinging at Bryan Colangelo. I guess the reason they don’t is that they can’t. None of them really know the game well enough to comment. I know, they don’t know hockey either, but with hockey they THINK they do. Kudos to Bob McCown for watching last night’s game(Monday’s) on Raptors TV repeat. The game was on TSN2 which I believe is only available via illegal means here in the GTA. The bobcat was playing scrabble with his son during the live event. Hey at least he watches games on tv!

Could anyone have predicted a less exciting start to the Brian Burke era then we have seen. I know, I know his trading embargo is in place and he is in a new gig learning about his new team, but man what a buzz kill. The build up to his reign was so HUGE that the fall off the cliff was due to be big but man has he been quiet.

Speculation is abound as to what Burke’s first move will be. Berger thinks Burke’s first move will happen between the pipes for the leafs. Dreger thinks it will be for toughness. Dreger even suggests that Burke has an itchy trigger finger so long as teams aren’t asking for Luke Schenn.

Speaking of quiet, serious props to the first radio station in town to get Sam Mitchell on the air. No coach has been more entertaining in recent memory then Smitch. I can’t imagine pleasant things being said if he ends up on 640 before 590.

I love what Ron Wilson is doing. You know that by now. However, I am starting to get a small sense of where things went south in San Jose in how he is speaking, at least publicly about Jason Williams. “Right now I’m watching him under the microscope,” said coach Ron Wilson. “If I see him get comfortable then we’re going to yank his chain around.” Nothing wrong with being a hard ass, but geeze, give the guy some credit. You call the guy up and all he does is score in every game. Would it kill you to give him a small pat on the back? I get the message and I am sure Williams does too.

You know I love the Globe and Mail Sports section. Clearly the most improved in the city. Not sure who wrote this gem as a byline to David Shoalt’s piece “Winger scores on fourth shootout attempt to ensure Toronto doesn’t lose to its former AHL goaltender “. Look Scott Clemmensen deserves a ton of credit. Why? He is making the most of his opportunity. Raise your hand if you think for one second he would see the playing time but for the injury to Brodeur. There are a ton of mistakes the leafs brass has made over the year, letting Clemmensen is not one of them. Claiming that the Leafs would or should be embarrassed to lose to New Jersey and their ex goalie is just baloney. New Jersey is, even without Broduer a pretty amazing team and their record shows it. Losing to them is nothing to be embarrassed about. Given the Leafs squad it is almost expected. Extra kudos to Wilson’s boys for eking one out in a shutout.

Things that make you go hmmmmmm. If Scott Clemmensen carries the Devils far this year does that diminish the accolades of one Martin Brodeur? My favorite New Jersey Devil of all time, ex head athletic trainer Bill Murray (no joke).

Successful sports franchises are those that appreciate the window of opportunity and just how small it is. In each league only one team wins the big one every year. Bad teams are unable to realize just how hard it is to be a champion. It is the smart GM who knows when it is time to admit the opportunity with a certain bunch has passed and make the hard and sometimes unpopular decision to re-tool. Recognizing that you won’t with a group of players who may be fan favorites or good regular season performers is hard. Actually pulling the proverbial band aid off an trading or releasing those assets is really what defines a champion. With that in mind, anyone else think that maybe, just maybe, the ship has sailed for some in Ottawa?

I say it enough times, I am not a basketball guy. However 6 NBA coaches fired so far this season and a combined worse winning percentage then their predecessors tell you something. Perhaps those teams are talent deficient and the coaches are the sacrificial lambs to pacify fans and owners. I agree with Jack Armstrong who said tonight that if he owned a team he would tell a GM before hiring a coach, when you hire this guy you are tied to him. If you want to fire him down the road, you go too. I know it would never work, but man it sounds good doesn’t it?

I am biased, but I really like former University of Vermont Captain Jamie Siffers. Reminds me of all the games he pummeled those nasty Terriers!

Sorry to hear about the 600 layoffs at the Sun’s parent company. People losing their jobs this time of year is beyond sad. If rumors are true that one of those gone from the Sun is Scott Morrison then I have to wonder who is making the decisions at the paper Little TSM loves.

Anyone else wonder what Jeff Marek was thinking jumping off Wilbur’s wing? I don’t know the guy, have nothing against him personally either. Since he left talk640 I have not seen or heard him and I thought he was pretty funny. I know he is on Sirius hockey night in Canada radio. Anyone listening to that? I sometimes tune into the XM hockey channel. I know that I am in the minority when it comes to satellite radio in this town….Not that it is entirely an indicator of performance (and certainly not of Marek that is for sure) but with the Sirius/XM stock at .15, that’s right fifteen cents things aren’t looking for rosy for the satellite radio folks.

Our respects to Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who’s father died Monday. From the articles I have read, it sounds like his father was an amazing man and even better father. Here is hoping JS and his entire family are able to make it through the holiday season with only great memories of Claude Giguere.

I love to ski. So reading of an accident involving chair lifts scares the hell out of me. (It also does make me think of that awesome episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. When does the next season start anyway? ) Seriously. I can’t wait to take my kids to Whistler skiing and I have been on the Excalibur lift many a time. I hope that those hurt are ok and that the cause is soon discovered and repaired. For those who don’t know,” The RCMP say at least 10 people were hurt in the accident that happened at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, though none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening. Fifty-three people were rescued, some after spending three hours in the air.”

Have the Blue Jays done anything, no literally anything to make you want to consider buying a ticket? Me neither.

Congrats to TFC for selling all 16,000 season tickets. In this economy that is, in a word, awesome.

I read tonight that the Yankees have replaced GM with Toyota and Audi as a sponsors of the team. In other news, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Could you imagine if GM were still the automobile sponsor of the Yankees. We need a bailout but…..

True story, I was offered a full page ad in this year’s superbowl game day program and 2 lower level premium seats for $40k with any payment terms I want through the end of 2009. Is it just me, but doesn’t that seem really low?

Have I missed anything? Oh yeah our first reported major snow storm is apparently here. I have a brand new snowblower in my garage. I was pretty psyched to fire it up. Then Joe Sakic had to ruin it for me…. Safe travels tomorrow am all.

OH wait, I know what I forgot, Thursday is Mats Sundin Day. Question, won’t it be interesting if he goes to a team other then the NY Rangers. You know I love McCown. He may still be right. What happens if he doesn’t sign with the Rangers? I know the world won’t end but someone will have some splain to do. For my part, “oh well, my sources were wrong” won’t just cut it. If I were Rick Toccheting on a prognosticator I would go with Hanky. I am pretty sure he has had #13 going to every team in the league at some point so he has to be right. One last Sundin thought for the night. Riddle me this. Do we get a farewell press conference in Toronto. Will we not get the tearful goodbye so many people here want and deserve?

J.P. Ricciardi Looking To Injured For Help

According to the National post Blue Jays GM is looking to add to oft inured players to his roster, Carl Pavano and Rafael Furcal.

“Pavano made just 26 starts over four injury-plagued years with the Yankees. The 32-year-old went 4-2 with a 5.77 ERA in seven starts with New York after he returned from Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2008 season.”

“Furcal missed most of last season because of back surgery, though he did hit .357 with five home runs and eight steals in 36 games with the Dodgers.
The career .286 hitter stole at least 22 bases in each of his first eight seasons, with a high of 46 for Atlanta in 2005.”

The excitement is overwhelming.. At least there is Jays news to talk about as it relates to on field matters.

Read the post here

Boredom Didn’t Last Long

Sorry for yesterday’s post…. I am back to being riled up.

“Yes, this Buffalo Bills game in Toronto today has not exactly worked out as planned but even so, the economics have to be daunting for the Canadian Football League. Today’s game will bring in more ticket revenue — about $8 million — than the Argonauts manage for an entire season. The Argos range from $6 million to $7 million a year in ticket sales”

“But the first National Football League game to be played in Canada ended up accomplishing what nobody really envisioned. It angered people in Buffalo. It angered people in Toronto. It cost Rogers Communications all kinds of money. And it entertained almost no one.”

Ahhhh yes, Mr. Simmons. To whom the glass is always entirely empty. Funny how only yesterday the CFL should be worried that one games revenue equaled more then an entire season and today everyone is “angry”.

Ok sports fans, I will bite… Raise your hand if you are angry about yesterday’s game at the Ted. Forget the outcome as well, anybody can be angry on any given Sunday. Seriously, I want to know the person who was “angered in Toronto”. Except those who couldn’t drive around near the Dome yesterday due to road closures, raise your hand if the game made you “angry”. That is what I thought. There is nothing to be angry about. His entire article is full of contradictions. I spoke to 25 people who went to the game yesterday. Each of them and their respective groups were thoroughly entertained. Every one of them said the same thing “We had a great time”. So, there you have it, I can’t believe my peeps were the only ones entertained…

The game brought in 8 million in ticket revenue alone. That doesn’t count all the other crap. Was it a HUGE success ? No, was it a COLOSSAL failure, no. Let’s recall all those stories about the amounts of money the Rogers Community has lost on the Blue Jays or other entities. Certain things corporations do for total profit (like charging 1.99 for directory assistance on a cell call) and others they do for profit, pr, marketing etc.

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of being outside for about 20 minutes at a local cemetery. Never a fun event, but I can tell you it was certainly in the top 5 coldest 20 minutes of my life. So, for the Bills fans who are so angry, get your pals and companies to buy more tickets so that your owner wouldn’t have to move a few games to where he can subsidize his take locally. That, or get in the car and drive. As much as people say they would have preferred to be outside yesterday, be the least be honest. Here in Toronto, which is Florida compared to Buffalo weather, it was unbearable outside yesterday. I can only imagine what it was like in Buffalo. Those Bills fans who went to the game (of which half of my 25 were) all were thrilled it was in doors.

“People paid mortgage payments for a pair of tickets to watch J.P. Losman play quarterback. That doesn’t seem fair to anybody. He is Buffalo’s Michael Bishop — and before Saskatchewan let him go, you could watch for him about 25 bucks.”

Now, remember that line folks, and compare it to:

“The good people at Rogers — bless them — announced attendance at 52,134. Some of them apparently paid. Those who attended the Metro Bowl high school championships last week were given freebies. Those who work for Rogers or the Blue Jays were informed they could have free tickets.

    Outside, you could have had scalpers’ seats for less than $50. That makes this event dubious as a way of impressing the NFL.

So, you want it both ways? Metro Bowlers (couldn’t resist) and Roger Community Members were allowed in for free and scalping would land you a seat for $50. Raise your hand if your mortgage payment is $50. I know the argument, people shelled out good money early at face price for seats. I know a couple of people who had to fly home last minute from Florida last week. The bought their tickets on westjet.com the day before the flight, they paid under $200 for their tickets tax in. They sat with another friend who just happened to be on their flight but bought her ticket several weeks ago. She paid over $450 for her ticket. Life isn’t fair. What can I tell you.

“What also was evident was that the emotional draw that makes sport special — being here for your team, caring, being passionate — loses its appeal in what ostensibly seemed like a neutral-site game. When I asked a friend in the stands to rate the atmosphere, he called it a D-.”

Clearly your friends aren’t my friends.

“This had a corporate Super Bowl feel to it. A lot of people paid a lot of money to be here and then weren’t sure what to do.”

What were people expecting? This is not a surprise to anyone with a brain who knows the Toronto market. Look at the facts. The majority of people who grew up in this city loved one of several NFL teams, the cowboys (America’s team), the Dolphins (I am not sure why), the bills (proximity) and the (steelers- Bradshaw and the boys). No offense to anyone who lives and dies for another team. Growing up in Toronto, everyone I know roots for one of those teams in strong majorities. Toronto is not entirely a Bills town. This was a neutral site game. It is not different then games in Europe, Mexico or anywhere else. To complain that it had a corporate feel is stupid. Love it,or hate it, this is Toronto. If you don’t like it, unfortunately, you are wishing away your teams. People may bemoan the corporate feel to the ACC, but guess what Leaf Nation it is sold out every night. If you want the team to be able to spend to the cap, and you want it go get big name GM’s and coaches, that barn has to be full. Wait until you see what the Blue Jays look like this year if the rumored trimming takes place.

“All our lives we’ve been waiting for the National Football League. Today we have to take a moment and wonder why. After the most talked-about, most promoted, most hyped football game played in Toronto, all there was left at the end was a sense of ambivalence.”

Who hyped it? Who has been waiting for an NFL Bills Dolphins Game all their lives? If that is you, I am truly sorry for you. Give Toronto a game where it is the home team, the Toronto Whatevers against either the Bills or the Dolphins then we can talk. The hype? Media created. Yes Rogers held a press conference, the press covered it. How many times did the folks at the Fan590 have the bills guys on the air. Say what you want, and I know who owns the fan, but the hype here is on the press. The naysayers poo-pooed this from the get go. There is no surprise at the result. What did people expect?

Say whatever you want. The NFL should be the easiest sale of the year. Each HOME team only hosts 8 regular season games and 2 pre-season games. No matter what you charge for a season ticket, the multiplier is 10….10!!!!! Not 41, or 81, 10!. If you don’t sell the game out they Bill Wirtz you. That’s right the game doesn’t go on local tv. 5 times this year, a HOME team hasn’t been able to sell enough tickets to lift the blackout. Here we had a neutral game and they were able to lift it. 5 times, the folks in their respective home towns couldn’t care enough to go to a game. In those towns there is a HOME team. In those towns (Oakland and Detroit) the teams suck, but hey so do the Cubs and the Maple Leafs. We all know of cities that have lots teams. It happens too often and will happen again. (personally I don’t think it’s that unimaginable that the Jays aren’t here in 8-10 years, but that is a blog post for another day). Here in Toronto the game sold out. I don’t care the ‘nitty girtty’, the NFL wouldn’t lift the blackout if they weren’t satisfied that their standards in doing so weren’t met. This wasn’t a home game, this was an event. At 5 different home stadiums where weather wasn’t an issue (one is a dome, one is in CA) they couldn’t sell enough tickets to show the game on tv.

Anyone who is grumpy about the price of tickets or concessions needs to give their head a shake. If scalpers were selling tickets as cheaply as being reported then you could have gone for next to nothing. As for concessions, take your kids, or your significant other to a movie and buy a popcorn and a pop. Go to the Jays game and see what you pay. Newsflash, we live in an expensive city. Have you been to a local McDonald’s lately?? Seriously, I don’t take my kids because the food is lousy AND it’s not cheap… I could live with crappy burgers if they were cheap.

The game was exactly what it should have been. For those who said it didn’t feel like a normal NFL game, newsflash, it wasn’t. Every other NFL game has a home team. Those who went and said I don’t get the hype, then you weren’t paying attention to the nuances of the game and your expectations weren’t properly set. Go to Washington DC and take in a Redskins game. Go early, find your way to a tailgate party. Do the same in Chicago, San Diego, Miami….

Lastly, as for the game itself. Which, in all sporting EVENTS is usually secondary, was pretty much what was expected. The Dolphins who were 1-15 last year are a team on the incline. The Bills despite their start are clearly a team on the decline. The game pretty much matched that. If you read the Buffalo paper today and compare it with the Miami papers and look at the game analysis you will see just that. How many Super Bowls have been great games. Events as opposed to games are rarely worth watching.

Simmons’ column is the usual BS. Noise created by a badly dressed spinster.

I feel so much better now….