One thing that really grinds my gears (thanks Peter Griffin) this time of year is the best/worst of the year lists.
This year, it's especially grinding because there are the best/worst of the DECADE lists as well.
So, instead of the best and worst...I present to your the Top Five Moments of the Decade That Didn't Happen But I Wish They Had...or to simplify...my TFMOTDTDHBIWTH list.
5. September 29, 2004 had been just another day on the calendar - Such a sad day, when the Montreal Expos ceased to exist, and moved to Washington.
4. Pat Dapuzzo had avoided that skate - As I wrote in an earlier blog, this was one of the most horrific moments in sports in the last year...all the best to Dapuzzo in his long road to recovery.
3. Mike Weir had put his shot on the green, rather than in the drink, on the third playoff hole at the 2004 Canadian Open and beaten Vijay Singh, rather than ending up a bridesmaid - How SWEET it would have been for Weirsy to win the Canadian Open tourney on home soil at Glen Abbey...maybe one day...maybe.
2. Brett Favre would have either A) stayed a Packer or B) stayed retired - I still get queasy when I think about how much ink and airtime was wasted covering his on again off again on again career.
1. Steve Moore had turned around and fought Todd Bertuzzi - I know that he had already fought Matt Cooke earlier in the game and he was not obligated to fight the Canuck thug, but if he had just turned around and accepted Bertuzzi's offer to dance...all of this wouldn't have happened:
Who knows what the next 10 years have in store for us? Your guess is as good as mine...but thankfully...the "lists" are coming to an end!
Unfortunately some sad news as I sit here on Christmas Eve day...getting word that one of my favourite sports broadcasters while growing up, has passed on.
George Michael, who hosted the George Michael Sports Machine from 1980-2007 passed away yesterday from complications from chronic lymphocytic lukemia...he was 70.
I remember staying up late, or taping, the GMSM Sunday nights on King TV out of Seattle. I also made a special note of when the final Sunday of each month rolled around (and ESPECIALLY the final Sunday of the year)...because that's when he used to roll out his plays of the month/year.
I would sit with the VCR with play/record in pause...waiting for that instant moment to start taping the plays.
The thing about George Michael was that he always had time for ALL sports...not just NFL, NBA and MLB...but he always had info on hockey, bowling, rodeo, skiing, golf, drag racing...EVERYTHING.
He was a real broadcasting pioneer and will be missed greatly.
His final show was in March 2007 so I'll leave you with his final Plays of the Year segment that he did in December 2006 (featuring his amazing voice and unbelievable music that he used for his 'plays' segments!)
Last night Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils broke one of those records that many thought would never be broken.
When he posted a goose-egg versus Pittsburgh, and notched his 104th career shutout with a 4-0 win, he broke a record that had stood for almost 40 years!
Marty Bro...you are the man.
I remember, when I was a young goalie in the West Vancouver Minor Hockey system...when I wasn't on the ice, I was busy being pretty obsessed with goalie stats. I poured over the Vancouver Sun every night (yes, the paper was delivered in the evening back then!) finding out how many shots guys had stopped the night before, who got the wins and the shutouts.
I remember seeing a stat that said Terry Sawchuck (who played before I started following hockey...heck...before I was born) had 103 career shutouts.
"This MUST be a misprint," I thought. "There's no way a guy could get 103 shutouts in his career."
Buuuuuuuuut...it wasn't. Sawchuck had shut out the opponent 103 times during his career. AMAZING!
Now along comes Martin Brodeur...who actually broke that seemingly unbreakable record. The stats say that Marty posts a shut out every 9.92 games...talk about impressive. And, Marty is only 37...how many more shutouts does he have left in his career? MANY more as far as I can see.
When will his record be broken? The closest to him are Detroit's Chris Osgood with 50, and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo and San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov have 49.
I'd say it's pretty safe...for a LONG while.
It's no wonder David Puddy was such a HUGE Brodeur fan!
Considering holiday decorations are everywhere around us, Santa is in the mall, and people are making plans to spend holiday time with loved ones...it's OBVIOUSLY time for a blog entry about hockey fights!
I'll "pull no punches"...I love em!
Something about two guys squaring off...the crowd rising to their feet...the players on the bench banging their sticks with enthusiasm...it's a real spectacle.
Sure, some fights are totally staged (just not spontaneous enough for my liking) and some are just hug-fests (lame)...but every once in a while there is a fight so sensational that EVERYONE that I know that's is a hockey fan, can't stop talking about it.
The legs of a great fight, are a lot longer than those of a great game.
By now I'm sure you heard about Tiger Woods and his admitted "transgressions" off the golf course.
You've probably also heard the voicemail that he 'allegedly' left his little cocktail waitress friend asking her to take her name off call display because his wife found it on his phone.
A couple of things spring to mind regarding all of this (outside of how insane it is that THIS story is the lead on not just SportsCentre and TMZ...but how it is the lead story on the major network newscasts!):
1. How on earth did Tiger Woods ever think that he could 'get away' with something like this?
2. This won't hurt his career one bit.
I'll tackle the first point first (what a concept!)
Tiger Woods is probably one of, if not the most, recognizable people on the planet. People from Dubai to Denmark and Queensland to Qatar know who Tiger Woods is. In this day and age of digital cameras, YouTube, TMZ and seemingly everybody and their brother trying to get their 15 minutes of fame...the fact that Tiger thought that he could have "transgressions" (talk about the new buzz word!) without being found out, is baffling.
Tiger strikes me as a pretty smart guy, he went to Stanford afterall. But obviously, he's just another dope who was thinking more with his little brain, than his big one.
Now, will all this hurt his billion dollar career?
Sure, he'll have to face a media frenzy like the world has never seen before when he plays in his first tournament in 2010. And yes, there will always be the comments and catcalls and innuendo. But as Bob Weekes of TSN said "he's still the best golfer in the world...and as soon as he wins his first tournament or sinks a 20 foot putt in a clutch situation" people won't be thinking about his "transgressions" anymore.
That being said, I don't think his wife will be that quick to let it go. (Well DUH!)
But for now, Tiger is tail-deep in trouble. Have fun hacking your way out of THIS rough Eldrick!
Perhaps Tiger should stop taking his own advice...the last thing he should have done is "just play."
The Toronto Maple Leafs can wait no longer and they've decided that a change has to be made.
Despite their somewhat inspired play of late, the braintrust (?) at MLSE has had enough, and made a drastic move to try to turn around the fourtunes of their sad-sack hockey team.
They've fired...Carlton the Bear.
While MLSE says that Carlton will be "retired" mid-December, we all know what's really going on...this is definitely a FIRING!
Rather than point the fingers at players like Blake, Schenn or head coach Ron Wilson, they've made Carlton the Bear, the scapegoat..or...scapebear!
For 20 years, Carlton has poured his heart and soul into the Leafs, and THIS is how they repay him???
In light of Carlton's dismissal, I thought I'd bring you my top 5 mascots...based on a highly scientific formula where e=laughs and x=giggles while y=head shaking disapproval.
5. Fin - come on, I have to slide a Canucks reference in here. And it's pretty cool when the smoke comes out of his blowhole! 4. The Stanford Tree - how can you not love a freakin' TREE that's a mascot? 3. The Philly Phanatic - Long serving and instantly recognizeable...does a great "fat umpire" imitation 2. Youppi! - Very VERY cool that the Habs adopted Youppi! after the Expos moved to DC 1. The Famous Chicken - Who else could it be? He is truly the best in the business!!
Who are your faves? Post a comment and let me know.
There aren't many things that make me say, "Boy, I wish I was American"...but there are a few.
Being able to pick up 24 cans of Bud for 9.99 at the grocery store is one, and the other, Thanksgiving football!
Sure we can enjoy the traditional slate of 3 Turkey Day games here in Canada on the tube (being a freelance writer I'm preeeetty sure I'll find some time to watch), but from what I can gather, I would REALLY enjoy kickin' it USA style on Thanksgiving.
You know...spending an entire day sitting around with the family and friends, eating turkey, drinking that cheap Bud and watching a full day of NFL football!
In between games, we could all gather on the lawn for a little game of two hand touch and throw the ball around while wearing our cords and oversized fall themed sweaters (does that really happen?)
The beauty of this day is that the games don't even have to be the best matchups. In fact, this years games feature some pretty lousy teams...ahem...Detroit, Oakland and the 5 game losing streak Broncos. But, WHO CARES?
While I still think that the Canadian Thanksgiving falls at the perfect time (mid-October gives you enough time to digest all that turkey before downing another bird at Christmas), it's tomorrow's Thursday football frenzy that makes me envious of the US version of Thanksgiving Day.
Hmmm...Thanksgiving Day...TD...touchdown! It's all starting to make sense to me!
Oh ya, that Black Friday shopping spree isn't such a bad thing either.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. Bring on the games, and I hope your turkey doesn't turn out like this:
Saturday night, Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings dropped 55 spectacular points on the Golden State Warriors (the second highest single game point total for a rook in NBA history).
Immediately and deservedly, Jennings was thrust into the sporting spotlight.
In the ensuing days, the thing that has impressed me most about Jennings wasn't his skill, his background (having played a season in Rome because he wasn't eligble for the NBA draft, and his grades were too low to get into college), or his projected totals for the 2009/10 season.
What impressed me most, was his nickname. He was given it in Grade 12 and has it tattooed across the back of his back: YOUNG MONEY.
I love it!
It's short, it's catchy, it epitomizes a guy who is money on the court, with money in the bank!
Unfortunately, too many nicknames these days are terribly uncreative.
Smith becomes Smitty. Johnson becomes Johnny. Kane becomes Kaner. Stone becomes Stoner (actually that one is pretty good!)
That being said, there are some GOOD nicknames out there...but very few GREAT ones.
These are some of the GREAT ones that come to mind from today and days gone by:
Peter Forsberg has told Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis that he is committing to play this hockey season in Sweden and that he won't be coming to the NHL.
I know Forsberg has a very impressive track record (249 G, 636 A, 885 PTS in just 706 NHL games) but the Canucks, and the NHL for that matter, do not need another Sundin-esque will-he-or-won't-he drama overshadowing the season.
If you recall, and who can forget it, last year Mats Sundin took the majority of the season to decide if he was interested in actually playing in the NHL. Eventually he signed with the Vancouver Canucks and played out the last quarter of the season with mixed results.
But the entire season the media, fans, and likely NHL players too, spent WAY too much time talking about a guy who couldn't decide if he was in or out.
The Sundin talk made news about NHL labour struggles seem breathtaking by comparison. Yawwwwwwwwwwn.
So as we headed into this season, rumblings came out of Sweden that maybe Forsberg would entertain an offer from the Canucks to join the team. In turn, the Forsberg Files began to get more and more coverage...until he quashed all the rumours the other day saying he's staying in Sweden.
It's reported today that his old buddy Markus Naslund may join him to play together on MoDo as well.
Anyhow, to make a long (and boring) story short, Forsberg ain't comin' to the NHL so drop the puck and we can all move on.
At least, until NEXT off season!
Until then, let's all remember what kind of skill and grace Peter "Nut Punch" Forsberg brings to the game:
Being November 11th, Remembrance Day in Canada, Veterans Day in the States, it's a time to remember everyone who has given their time, their spirit and in far too many cases, their lives, for our freedom.
It's a day to remember people like Pat Tillman.
For those who are unaware, Tillman was a starting safety with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL.
He had dedicated his life to football and the Cardinals, even turning down a multi-year contract offer from the St. Louis Rams so he could remain loyal to the Cards.
But more than anything, Tillman was loyal to his country.
In May 2002, eight months after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Tillman gave up his football career to serve his country in the Army.
After going through all the usual levels of training and participation in the field, Tillman was eventually redeployed to Afghanistan.
On April 2004, nearly two years after Tillman left football behind for a life as a soldier, Pat Tillman was killed.
Initially the Army told his family that Tillman had been killed by enemy fire...and subsquently he was awarded a Silver Star for his selfless actions in trying to protect his fellow soldiers.
But it wasn't a simple open and shut case...far from it.
As the details emerged, it turned out that no hostile forces were involved in the firefight. It was reported that the two Allied Forces groups fired upon each other in confusion, after a explosive device detonated nearby.
There were more accusations that Tillman may have been killed by shots fired at short range...perhaps by his fellow soldiers. The coroner even refused to sign the autopsy because he said the gunshot wounds were not consistent with the Army's original story.
But what DID really happen?
Finally July 14, 2008 the investigation committee stated that its "investigation was frustrated by a near universal lack of recall" among "senior officials at the White House" and the military. It concluded:
"The pervasive lack of recollection and absence of specific information makes it impossible for the Committee to assign responsibility for the misinformation in Corporal Tillman’s and Private Lynch’s (another soldier) cases. It is clear, however, that the Defense Department did not meet its most basic obligations in sharing accurate information with the families and with the American public."
To date, the REAL truth about what happened to Pat Tillman has not been determined. A very sad and tragic ending to Pat Tillman's time on this planet.
Can you think of another pro athlete that would give up EVERYTHING to join the military? Without knowing any of them personally, I highly doubt that there is anyone who would make the choice and sacrifice that Pat Tillman did.
Please take time today to remember EVERYONE who has, and continues, to serve our (or your) country and fight for the freedom that we currently enjoy.
For more check out the 60 Minutes piece from May 4, 2008:
I've been meaning to get this story out to the masses for a while but I've just been a little busy moving to do so.
But now that I'm settled, I'll pass it on.
It's the story of NHL linesman Pat Dapuzzo. It's a story of suffering, not only a horrendous career ending injury, but also with the struggles with physical and mental pain, multiple surgeries, and of course the long, long road to recovery.
When I first saw the incident back in February, I was sickened by what I saw.
I had patrolled the lines in junior hockey for many years and had had a couple of close calls with sticks and pucks, but never with any skate blades. I couldn't begin to comprehend what was going through Dapuzzo's mind when the accident took place.
Rather than me tell you the story, I'll let Dapuzzo tell the story to you in his own words.
CLICK HERE for Dapuzzo's story as told to Fanhouse.com and re-printed in the October 30, 2009 edition of the Toronto Star (thanks to my brother Todd for passing it on to me.)
The video of the incident is below. As you can tell by the urgency in his voice and delivery, the rinkside reporter Steve Coates, knows that the injury Dapuzzo suffered was more than just a bad cut.
All the best to Pat Dapuzzo and his ongoing recovery.
CAUTION - this video does contain some graphic images
...that Jacques Plante, of the Montreal Canadiens, donned a hockey mask for the first time.
And with that, the look of hockey changed in an instant.
When JP first put on the mask, he was mocked, ridiculed and made fun of to no end.
"A goalie wearing a mask," John Q. Hockey player would say. "That's like a forward wearing a helmet! Or using a curved hockey stick!"
Ah, how the times have changed.
Being a former goalie (who will one day don the pads again...I swear!) I have been fascinated with masks forever.
There have been thousands of masks that have been worn in the NHL since November 1, 1959 and each one has had it's own unique look.
Unfortunately, all of todays masks are vitually the same, just with different paint jobs. While the images are very well done, they tend make the mask too busy and impossible to identify and understand without a close-up view. Check out Rick DiPietro's...CLICK HERE.
The GREAT masks were the ones that were worn in the 70's and 80's. They were fibreglass masks made out of a mould of the goalies face. They offered very little protection, but it was better than going out on the ice barefaced! They came in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and weren't "overdone" like contemporary ones.
To commemmerate the 50th anniversary of the hockey mask, I wanted to give you my top five masks of all time. Simply click on the name, to see the mask.
5. Brian Hayward, San Jose Sharks Okay, I will give credit to one of the "new" style masks. This beauty was probably the mask that inspired all of todays goalies to get intricately detailed paint jobs. While far too many current masks are too "busy" for my liking, the simplicity and fierceness of Hayward's makes it a must for my top five.
4. Ron Low, Washington Capitals Low used this mask to honour the USA's bicentennial in 1975. It's very difficult to find a good picture of Low wearing it in action (really, who would bother taking pictures of the 1975 Washington Capitals?), but it's certainly better than this ugly helmet/cage combo he wore later in his career.
3. Gilles Gratton, New York Rangers A brilliant mask...what an amazing paint job. It could easily be number one on the list...it's just that most people would say "Who the hell is Gilles Gratton?"
2. Gerry Cheevers, Boston Bruins With each stitch representing a place on the mask where a puck, stick or skate would have cut him, if not wearing the mask, Cheevers would have been a very disfigured man today.
1. Gary Bromley, Vancouver Canucks With a nickname like "Bones" it was appropriate that Bromley wore this amazing skull mask. Intimidating, cool, unique. It's ironic that he wore such a cool mask, while at the same time wearing what's been called the ugliest uniform of all time!
What would be really great, but I seriously doubt anyone would do it, would be for a goalie in one of tonight's games wear an "old style" mask for a period to honour the day. They could even wear one just for the warm up!
But with the speed of the shots and the lack of protection a crappy 70's/80's mask has, I don't think there'd be any way a goalie would step out on the ice wearing one...as cool as it might look.
And just to think, there was a day where NO ONE wore one!
With the start of the 2009 World Series tonight, let's take a trip back in time...to the 1994 World Series.
Ah, what a series it was. The powerful New York Yankees versus the lesser know, but more powerful, Montreal Expos.
Experts worldwide gave the Yankees far more, and the Expos far less, credit than they deserved.
While many called for a Yankees white-wash of the 'Spos...in the words of ESPN's Chris Berman...that's why they play the games.
GAME 1 New York @ Montreal - After a blistering rendition of O Canada by Celine Dion, the series kicks off with a bang. Bernie Williams homers off Expos starter Pedro Martinez to lead off the game and the rout is on...not quite. Martinez settles down and proceeds to limit the Yankees to 3 more hits while striking out 12 over 8 innings. Moises Alou and Larry Walker go back to back in the 6th off Jimmy Key and the Expos take game one 2-1.
GAME 2 New York @ Montreal - Yankees pinch hitter Jim Leyritz steps to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the 7th and rips a curveball from Jeff Shaw for a double down the left field line. Alou boots the ball letting all 3 runs score. Alou somewhat redeems himself with a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 7th but the damage is done. Yankees win 5-4.
GAME 3 Montreal @ New York - Rain delays the start of the game for 1 hour but that time apparently gives Yankee pitcher Jim Abbott time to figure out each Expo hitter. He baffles the Spos for 6 innings, yielding one hit. Fighting a blister on his left index finger, he yeilds to Paul Gibson. Bad move. Gibson hits Mike Lansing with his first pitch and things just get worse from there. The Expos bat around in the 7th, hilighted by an upper deck homer by Larry Walker and the Expos win going away 7-1.
GAME 4 Montreal @ New York - With no stolen bases in the first three games, both teams go nutty on the basepaths. The Expos swipe four (Grissom, Walker, Lou Frazier with two) while the Yankees take six off of a bewildered Darin Fletcher (Williams and Luis Polonia 2 each, Mike Gallego, Randy Velarde). The Yankees play some "NL small ball," get a monstorous homerun from Danny Tartabull and teriffic pitching from Jimmy Key to take game four, 4-0.
GAME 5 Montreal @ New York - The series is tied two games a piece and tensions run high. In the 6th inning, after Cliff Floyd launches a 3 run bomb, surprise game five starter Scott Kamineicki throws behind Wil Cordero and both benches empty. No punches are thrown but both sides are warned. In the bottom of the inning, Expos starter Ken Hill drills Bernie Williams and is ejected. The Expos bullpen can't get it done and gives up four runs in the inning. Yankees win 6-4.
GAME 6 New York @ Montreal - The series returns to La Belle Province and no one is happier than Youppi! The Expos mascot has to be carted off the field on a stretcher in the top of the first after he falls off the Yankees dugout while dancing with excitement. Despite the bad omen, the Expos bring their A game and crush 4 home runs (Alou, Grissom, Rondell White, Sean Berry) while Jeff Fassero, Mel Rojas and John Wetteland silence the Yankees bats. Expos win 9-0.
GAME 7 New York @ Montreal - Nothing like a game seven! The Big O is jammed to the rafters and Pedro Martinez and Jimmy Key each take to the mound for the third time in the series. Both pitchers struggle with command early, but stellar defence (including an sensational rug-burn inducing sliding catch by Marquis Grissom) keep the score close. They both turn things over to the bullpen. As has been the case all year, Mel Rojas and John Wetteland are unhittable, while the Yankees bullpen can't get it done. Expos backup catcher Tim Spehr pulls a line drive homer down the right field line in the bottom of the 8th of Bob Wickman. Then, soon to be named World Series MVP Moises Alou follows with his third home of the series to ice it. Expos win the game 4-3, the series 4-3, and their first, and only, World Series.
*Editors note: The preceding games actually did take place, in BrockTalk's mind only. DREAM ON BUDDY!
Speaking of DREAM ON...if you've never seen this piece by ESPN...you can thank me now. Simply amazing.
First off, let me state that I am not a hardcore hoop-head. I watch it now and then, cheer for the Memphis (Vancouver) Grizzlies and can pretty much live off the highlights. But with the new season starting tonight, I thought I should at least give it a little acknowledgment.
So, tonight's the tip-off of the latest edition of the Kobe vs. Lebron League...aka...the NBA.
No matter how much the NBA wants to talk about the bevvy of stars that run their courts, for the casual fan, it always comes back to Kobe and Lebron.
Again, from the casual fan's perspective, will you tune in to see players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett or Chris Bosh? Unless you have a vested interest in the teams that they play on, not likely.
Will casual "court surfers" tune into an NBA game if Kobe or Lebron are on the floor? It's a helluva lot more likely.
I know there are millions of fans who are absolutely bursting at the seams with excitement because of the start of the season. And don't want to take anything away from the rest of the NBA players, but unless 24 or 23 is on the court, I'm not terribly interested.
Further, when it comes to basketball, is there really any reason to watch anything but the final two minutes of a tight game? (which, admittedly, can be incredible viewing, especially in the playoffs)
Anyhow, four games tonight, with Cleveland (Lebron and Shaq) taking on Boston (Garnett and Rasheed Wallace) as the marquee event. Should be a good tilt, but I'll just wait for the highlights.
Now if you want some REAL basketball action...
Or a great track to get you pumped for the b-ball season...
As tempted as I am to talk about the continues woes of the Toronto Maple Laffs, I can't do it because I'm enjoying their slide so much and I don't want to jinx anything (cue the Laffs winning their next game because I wrote this!)
So I'll turn my attention to baseball again.
Game six of the ALCS goes tonight in the Bronx (weather permitting).
By the end of the evening, it's possible that the Yankees could be off to the World Series, or, the Angels could have forced a game 7 (my personal choice).
The way October 25th has shaped up in the past, I expect something magical to happen tonight for a few different reasons.
October 25, 1923, Bobby Thompson was born. Ever heard of him?
October 25, 1971, Pedro Martinez was born. Ever heard of him? (Showing love for the Expos!)
And oh ya, October 25, 1986, Mookie Wilson hit a little roller hit up along first...
A couple of pretty significant birthdays, and one of the most memorable moments in sports history...October 25 has been a pretty big day in baseball history.
Will the Yankees and Phillies add to the legend of the day? We'll find out tonight.
As a former official, I tend to be a bit lenient when it comes to the guys and gals who wear the stripes, carry the whistles and don the mask.
But the more I watch the MLB playoffs, the more comical the officiating has become. I can't defend them anymore!
This post season, it's been blown call after blown call after blown call. And these aren't just "close calls"...they are blatant screw ups. Errors that are so bad that you honestly, truly wonder, if the umps really do need glasses.
How else can you explain Phil Cuzzi's foul call on a drive by Joe Mauer that was not only touched in fair territory, but it landed in fair territory. And Cuzzi was RIGHT THERE!
It's not like he was 200 feet away, look how close to the play he actually was.
And how about Tim McClelland? Talk about wearing some large goat-horns!
First he calls Nick Swisher out for leaving the bag early on a sac fly (while not even looking at Swisher during the play) and then the grand-daddy of all blown calls (currently being referred to as the "worst call of all time")...missing the obvious double play at 3rd by Angels catcher Mike Napoli.
Again, the ump was standing RIGHT THERE.
For a great video breakdown on the game 4 umpiring madness CLICK HERE.
At least McClelland manned up and admitted his mistake after the game, and was obviously upset and embarrassed...but guys...come on!
So MLB has now decided to break with tradition and use only experienced umpires during the World Series. In the past at least one ump in the six man crew, would be doing the Classic for the first time.
"Good," you may say. "They should have the most experienced umps doing the playoffs!"
Sad thing is, Cuzzi has been an MLB umpire for 19 years and McClelland 26 years.
Maybe it's time for MLB with younger eyes, not older.
I can only imagine how ole Earl Weaver would have reacted if he was managing during this year's playoffs...probably a lot like this (caution...BAD language! And why aren't officials and coaches mic'ed up every game? This stuff is priceless!!!)
You're parent team has just lost their leading goal scorer for 4-6 weeks.
You're being called up and immediately being placed on the first line.
You're Michael Grabner.
It's the opportunity that every young hockey player waits for. You play your game, put up some numbers, and wait for your chance to play on the big squad to make a name for yourself.
Most young players would make their debut with the third or fourth line. MAYBE, you get to play on the second line.
But Michael Grabner gets to make his NHL debut playing on the Vancouver Canucks first line...talk about an opportunity.
That's like a 16-year-old being handed the keys to a new BMW.
"Have fun, just don't wreck it kid."
He was terrible in the pre-season...management and fans were both disappointed in Grabner's production (or lack thereof)...but now thanks to an injury to Daniel Sedin, Grabner gets his 'big break.'
It's not a 'produce or you're done' situation. If he plays five games and gets zero points, it won't be the end of the world. But, he sure won't endear himself to Mike Gillis and Alain Vignault, and his next chance, may be a long time coming.
It's time for Michael Grabner to make some hay and get it done.
For years people have found a way to do just a little bit of work and pass it off as a fully thought out and complete piece.
Television writers have the clip show.
Musicians have the greatest hits cd.
Heck, even retailers have the clearance rack.
So I present to you, my first edition of BrockTalk Bites...a collection of a whole bunch of things happening in sports, and I'm just too lazy to write full articles about them! Must be the tryptophan.
-If you missed the Monday Nighter between the Dolphins and the Jets...you missed a doozy! I was incredibly impressed with the 'Fins wildcat offence...how do you stop it?? The two headed monster of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (I'll call him BROLLIAMS!) was uber-impressive. Also Chad Henne looked great. And that Tony Sporano sure does sweat a lot!
-ESPN's "C'Mon Man!" feature before the Monday Night Game is brilliant!
-Vancouver Canucks Sami Salo, out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Salo is injured? Oh yes, and this just in, the world is round.
-Those were some serious meltdowns in the MLB playoffs by the guys who are supposed to come through in the clutch...the closers. I'm talking Raiders of the Lost Ark 'melt your face off' meltdowns. Nathan, Papelbon, Street...GAG!
-I've entered 3 hockey pools...I have no idea who I have anymore.
-Denver Broncos are 5-0. WFT? I thought the Chargers were supposed to run away with the AFC West...it's now a must win for the Bolts vs. the Broncos on Monday Night. A 'must win' in October? It's true.
-Derek Anderson goes 2 for 17 passing for the Browns versus the Bills, and he's KEEPING his job this week! Speaks volumes about what the Browns think of Brady Quinn.
-Toronto Maple Leafs start the season 0-5-1. Everyone outside of the GTA (non-Leaf Nation members) is loving this.
-Calgary Flames blow a 5-0 lead and lose to Chicago Monday night. If Kipprusoff can't get it done in net...they always have Curtis McIlhanney (yikes!)
-From the 'well, DUH!' category...Tiger Woods, he's pretty clutch.
-JaMarcus Russell's play is making a lot of people compare him to Ryan Leaf. Ugh. Not exactly what the Raiders envisioned when they drafted him #1 in 2007. It's time to put that experiment to bed. Paging Jeff Garcia...Jeff Garcia...please report to Oakland immediately.
-Still can't believe that Allen Iverson will be in Memphis this year.
-Sportsnet's new website is terrible. Horrendous actually.
-Great to see Paul Kariya back and playing with the skill we're used to!
-We should do all that we can to ensure Betty Fox lights the Olympic torch.
-Happy Thanksgiving...and Bob Dylan has just released a Christmas album.
The International Olympic Commitee has recognized the need to give more exposure to the props, locks and wings of the world. They have added rugby to the 2016 and 2020 Olympic games.
Good on ya!
Rugby, while a big sport around the world, has suffered from immense under-exposure in Canada. It's considered a niche sport but anyone who has played the game, understands that it is quite possibly the quintessential 'team sport.' No helmets or padding (okay, extremely limited for some players), cauliflower ear, broken everything, it's all part of playing rugby.
Hopefully, the exposure the sport will gain will help generate more interest and, in the end, more funding for the national programs.
But at the same time as making a wonderful decision to let rugby in, the IOC has also decided to give more exposure to the hundreds of men and women who make thousands and millions of dollars playing golf on the PGA and LPGA tours.
Oh who am I trying to fool, they just want to get Tiger Woods into the Olympics!
For the love of...okay cue the rant...
The professional golf season runs for about 51 weeks of the year. By the time it ends, the next season is only a fairway (or trip to Hawaii) away. The golf audience is then subjected to 51 weeks of "how is Tiger doing? Did you see Tiger's shot? What spot is Tiger in?" On and on it goes.
I love watching Tiger Woods. He's a phenomenal player...the best in history (sorry Jack and Jack's fans)...but I don't need to see him in the Olympics.
The same goes for all the other professional golfers on tour. Will a professional golfer really see an Olympic gold medal as a pinnacle of their career? I bet dollars to doughnuts that they'd give up five gold medals for one green jacket.
Maybe the IOC will deem that the only players that will be eligible will be, GASP, amateurs. Somehow I doubt it.
We've seen Jordan, Gretzky and Federer in the Olympics...I'm sure Woods is next.
So in 2016 when you see Tiger strolling the course wearing his Nike gear, his Rolex watch, sipping Gatorade and counting the millions he's made just from endorsements...make some time to cheer on those Canadian men and women on the rugby pitch who need to return all of Tiger's Gatorade bottles, just to make ends meet.
And if you need just one reason to watch some rugby during the Olympics...
I'm a long-time card carrying member of Canucks Nation.
Ever since my dad took me to my first Canucks game back in the late 70's (versus Phil Esposito's New York Rangers) I've bled blue and green...and for a while yellow, black, and "salmon" red.
Also, for the past year, I have lived outside the greater Vancouver area...and followed the team from a distance.
That distance has given me pretty good perspective on a number of things. I don't miss Vancouver bridge traffic, I do miss being by the ocean and mountains, and a disturbing number of Canuck fans are complete IDIOTS!
How on earth can you call yourself a Canuck fan, if you are sitting in the stands during the Canucks home opener and you are booing Roberto Luongo and cheering when he is pulled from the game for the backup goalie Andrew Raycroft?
If you were one of them, then you are one of those idiots.
Yes I know that Luongo flamed out in game six versus the Blackhawks last year, and I know that at that home opener, he looked awful and the Canucks were on the way to an 0-3 start, but please...GET A FREAKIN' GRIP!
You were booing the greatest goalie in Canucks history, and when you cheered for Raycroft, you were giving the verbal finger to Luongo and telling him to get "the eff" out of town.
"We don't need you Roberto. We have Andrew Raycroft." Think about what you were saying.
Sure an 0-3 start is ugly, but in case you were unaware, they play 82 games in the NHL.
0-3 start in the NFL, you are sunk. 0-3 in the NHL, unless you lose all three games 12-0, then who gives a crap?
Of course, after last night's 7-1 win over Montreal, it's all lollipops and rainbows once again in Canucks Nation. I'm sure those fairweather fans that were booing Bobby Lou a couple of nights ago, are today singing his praises, building a monument and once again planning the parade route.
So bandwagon Canuck fan, prepare yourself. The Canucks are going to lose some games. Edler is going to fall down. Dan-rik Sedin will go a few games without scoring. Luongo is going to give up some bad goals.
You don't have to be Nostradamus to see that coming.
Canuck Nation, save your breath, and if you're going to boo, remember to boo people who ACTUALLY deserve it.
For great blog regarding "premature evaluation" by TSN's James Duthie, CLICK HERE.
And with one save, a new saviour for Leafs Nation is born.
Last night, in NHL exhibition action, the Toronto Maple Leafs prized goaltending prospect Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson made his home debut at the Air Canada Centre and treated the fans to two periods of shutout hockey, which included a spectacular save on a two-on-oh breakaway versus the Detroit Red Wings.
I have to give him credit, it was a pretty mack-daddy save.
With that save (and having seen incumbent #1 goalie Vesa Toskala look extremely ordinary in their other games), Leafs Nation has declared Gustavsson their new hero and the man who will lead them to the promised land, capture a Stanley Cup, conquer the world, dominate the universe, rule the solar system...ya...Leaf fans can get a little carried away when something good happens to them.
Lets remember it was Mursak to Ryno, and not Zetterberg to Datsyuk. And if Ryno had shot high, the environment in T-Dot this morning would likely still be doom and gloom, rather than lollipops and rainbows.
As much as it sickens me to say it (boo Leafs!), it looks like the Buds may have a stud in Gustavsson. He's massive and moves well (check out the overhead view of the save to get a perspective of his size and flexibility), and by all accounts he looks and acts very calm...all qualities you want in an NHL goalie.
Of course...the christening him as a hockey God by Leafs Nation, comes after he's played three, yes, A WHOLE THREE, periods of exhibition hockey. And of course, he hasn't been thrown to the wolves (the Toronto media) for a full season yet.
Time will tell how The Monster (BLAST! He's even got a cool nickname!!) turns out, but for one day, he's the King of Toronto.
Here we are with about a week and a half to go in the MLB schedule. With the way things sit today, you can pretty much put a nail in the coffin of the MLB playoff 'races.' They are done like dinner...and so could the interest in baseball.
Sure, the Twins miiiiight catch the Tigers for the AL Central title, and there is the verrrrry remote possibility that the Braves, Giants or Marlins might catch Colorado for the NL wild card...but seriously...can you recall a season where all the playoff chases were so non-existent?
These races have been as entertaining as a pitching conference on the mound.
Back in 1994, MLB went from four divisions to six, and added the wild-card playoff birth to increase the number of teams in the playoffs. Subsequently, this meant that more teams would be in the playoff race as the season wound down.
Not this year!
Check out the leads as of today:
NL East - Philadelphia 6.5 games NL Central - St. Louis 10 games NL West - Los Angeles 5 games NL Wildcard - Colorado 4 games AL East - New York 6 games AL Central - Detroit 2.5 games AL West - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (still a Mickey Mouse name...appropriate that they play next to Disneyland) 6.5 games AL Wildcard - Boston 10 games
So with all the races pretty much over, I would think that MLB would be quite nervous about ratings and interest heading into the playoffs. I suspect that with the NFL in full swing, NBA and NHL seasons soon to open, MLB execs would gladly take a massive losing streak by Colorado or Detroit right about now, to spice things up.
Of course, with the Yankees assured of a playoff spot, and Boston all but assured one, when October baseball rolls around...every baseball fan will have at least one team to cheer against!
Considering the lack of storylines in this year's MLB playoff race, I give you a much more entertaining baseball story to consider:
Michael Crabtree, if you do not sign a contract with the San Francisco 49'ers and get into the NFL this year, then you are a FOOL.
Crabtree, a pass-catching vaccuum from Texas Tech, was taken 10th overall in the NFL draft by the 49'ers, but as of today, he has not yet signed with the team.
The 31 other first round picks? They've all signed.
But not Mr. Crabtree.
Crabtree played on a high profile team at Texas Tech and scored a dramatic touchdown to beat Texas (CLICK HERE to see the td) so there was a lot of hype behind him when he entered the draft.
But in the NFL, you don't get paid on hype. Draftees are paid based on where they were drafted. A first overall pick gets first overall money, a 32nd overall pick gets 32nd overall money. So that means that Crabtree should get 10th overall money...right?
Apparently not in Crabtree's world.
He and his agent (who happens to be his cousin...great decision BTW) believe that he should get more money than 7th overall pick Darius Heyward-Bey because...wait for it...they feel that Crabtree SHOULD have been picked before Heyward-Bey.
Excuse me? What kind of ass-backward logic is that?
If I arrive 5th at a restaurant, and because of that I'm going to be seated 5th, I wait my turn. In Crabtree World, he would just burst to the front of the line and grab his own table.
Heyward-Bey's contract with the Oakland Raiders will gaurantee him $23.5 million bucks...and Crabtree wants MORE than that.
If he signed for 10th overall money, he'd probably have to suffer with making around $20 million. (Dripping with sarcasm) Now how on earth would a man be able to survive on a measly $20 mill???
And the capper is, that if he doesn't get the money he wants, he'll go back into the 2010 draft so he can be drafted by another organization next year.
Mmmhmmm...and tell me Mike, exactly which team would want to take you?
You would be the guy that: -offended pretty much every professional football player, coach, scout and water boy with your selfishness. -gave the middle finger to the NFL because you want things your way. -obviously has made money the most important thing in your life.
Hardly what you would call a team player.
Crabtree, just sign your contract, and join the Niners. If you even come close to living up to your hype, your BIG payday (like this one isn't big enough) will come eventually. End this foolishness and start playing the game you love, in the biggest professional sports leauge on the planet, and live off that paltry $20 million you'll likely get.
Serena Willams is one of best tennis players to ever take to the court.
She has 22 Grand Slam titles (11 in singles, nine in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles,) two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles and she has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history.
But, she will never get the respect that she deserves...and last night at the US Open was a perfect example why.
Williams was taking on Kim Clijsters in the women's semi-final when she took her dispute with a line judge one step too far.
Williams was serving to stay in the match and was down 15-30. She was called for a foot fault on her second serve in the next point to go down 15-40 and took exception to the call by the line judge. She then verbally abused the judge, pointing her racquet and finger and yelling at her a la her idol John McEnroe.
Following the exchange, the line judge jogged over to the chair umpire to complain about Williams' tirade. Williams then disputed with the chair umpire and supervisor, and a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct was called -- the call awarded the next point to Clijsters, which ended the match with a 6-4, 7-5 final.
In the video at the end of this entry, you can quite clearly hear Serena threaten the judge by saying "I swear to God I will take this BLEEPING ball and shove it..."
Well, only the people in the first few rows know exactly where that ball would be shoved. Classy.
Of course, Serena plays dumb in the post match press conference questioning a reporter's comment that the judge felt threatened and she did not own up to what she did. Double classy. Or in this case, double fault.
In the end, Serena is out of the US Open because of her temper, lack of sportsmanship and all around "holier than thou" attitude towards the judge.
Whether or not the foot fault was the right call, it doesn't hide the fact that Serena's behaviour will continue to tarnish the image of one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
On the other hand, for those who can't stand Serena (and her sister Venus), seeing Serena lose that match last night in that kind of fashion was like finding a 1000 bill in your pocket...FANTASTIC!
Last night in Vancouver, the Canadian women's hockey team took on the American women in the gold medal game of the Hockey Canada Cup, a 2010 Olympics test event.
The Canadians ended up losing to the Americans 2-1...making it four consecutive tournaments in which the Yanks have beaten the Canadians.
Do I care?
Not one bit.
Should I care?
I'm not going to apologize for not liking women's hockey.
I won't apologize for not liking water polo, cricket or table tennis, so why should I make excuses for not being interested in this game?
Women's hockey just isn't my thing.
"But you're Canadian, you have to support our women's team," the PC-world is saying to me.
Oh I support them..."Go Canada" I say!
But will I be clearing my schedule to watch the women's hockey team play in the Olympics?
Being a lifelong fan of the type of hockey which feature bodychecking, playoff beards and the odd fight...women's hockey just doesn't give me the same kind of rush watching "mens" hockey does.
I've seen women's games from ice level. I've sat right up against the glass for it. And what did I find? It's slower. It's less physical. It's got full facemasks. And there is too much high-pitched yelling on the ice!
I know that Kim St. Pierre, Meghan Agosta, Sarah Vaillancourt and the rest of the players train incredibly hard, sacrificing time, money and their families to make their dreams come true...but do are lugers, figure skaters and cross-country skiers.
I hope the Canadian women reach their goal and win that gold medal in 2010. I really do! I just won't be sitting on pins and needles waiting for it to happen. Just like I won't be waiting breathlessly to see how we do in biathlon.
I just like some other sports more than women's hockey.
Considering there were just over 8000 people at GM Place last night in Vancouver for a game that was billed as a "preview" of the Olympic gold medal game, it seems that I'm not alone.
Nothing rhymes with it, and no other jersey pops like it.
Last night, while the BC Lions were upsetting the Montreal Alouettes in CFL action, they were wearing their gorgeous orange home unis.
A few years ago, the Leos decided to go back to the orange/black/white colour combo that they were famous for in the 70's and 80's...a great decision.
Orange is a jersey colour that, for the most part, works very well for those teams who choose to rock it. Orange is a bold colour choice that can look fantastic, like the Lions, or pretty questionable, like the New York Islanders third jersey from a few years ago.
NFL - Denver Broncos. The Orange Crush. Even though I couldn't (and still can't) stand the Broncos, I have to give them props for these beautiful uniforms.
NBA - Phoenix Suns. When it comes to roundball, I'd suggest teams stay away from orange. It just doesn't work as well as in other sports. Though, the Phoenix alternates do have a have decent look.
NHL - Philadelphia Flyers. Last year the Flyers debuted a 3rd jersey that could quite possibly be, the BEST uniform in the history of the NHL. Beautiful orange...and with the white name bar...it's amazing!
Although they won't admit it, I think that the reason the Winnepeg Blue Bombers ended up passing on signing troubled NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones comes down to one reason: bringing in Jones would turn every Bomber game into a sideshow.
To that idea, the Bombers said 'thanks, but no thanks.'
Just look at how much press the Bombers were getting by even CONSIDERING signing Jones. They had TSN, Sportsnet, The Score, CNNSI, local tv, radio and newspapers beating down their door trying to get get information on the potential signing.
Coach Mike Kelly (who handles the media like you would handle taking a pot roast out the oven with your bare hands) was being bombarded with questions and inquiries upon the rumour coming out that they were on the verge of signing the twice suspended Jones.
The Bombers obviously recognized that this would not stop if they signed Jones...so why bother?
Sure he's a former first round NFL pick, and a pretty talented cornerback and kick returner, but his play on the field could never counteract the headaches off the field that his signing would cause.
So for now, Pacman waits for another team to take a chance on him.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers make a couple of shrewd moves to load up their roster for the upcoming MLB playoffs. One of those moves, was aquiring slugger Jim Thome from the Chicago White Sox.
Not only is Thome recognized as one of the 'good guys' in baseball, he can also MASH!
This will give the Dodgers two top notch sluggers in their lineup, when Thome joins Manny Ramirez and the rest of the Dodgers today.
Together, Thome and Man-Ram have knocked 1,106 career homers. Pitchers beware!
So with these sluggers united in La La Land, it got me thinking about some of the hitters that are a 'must see.' These are the guys that you have to stop and watch when you're doing a little diamond surfing on the tube. They hit them big. They hit them long. And sometimes they hit them out of the stadium!
According to hittrackeronline.com, the longest home run hit this season was slammed by Arizona Diamondback Mark Reynolds...and whopping 481 feet. Yet Reynolds, won't make the following list (though in a few years he probably will...even though he's 2nd in the majors with 40 dingers, I just haven't seen enough of the guy to make me say 'hey, buzz off, I'm watching Mark Reynolds')
Sticking with current MLB players, these guys always have the abilitly to provide a 'did you see that home run last night?' moment when they step to the plate...
5. Prince Fielder - His top knock this year travelled 460 feet. When Cecil's 'little' (and I use that term loosely) boy steps to the plate, it's always time to put down your brewski and watch him swing away.
4. Adam Dunn - 3 of the top 10 longest home runs hit this year were hit by BAD, Big Adam Dunn (the longest being 473 ft). Too bad no one ever sees his dingers since he plays on such a lousy Washington team.
3. David Ortiz - I know his production is down due to his horrendous start and there's been the cloud of suspicion around him all year regarding 'roids...but when Big Papi steps to the plate, don't change the channel or you could miss something spectacular. Plus, Red Sox haters can celebrate when he fails to get the job done.
2. Manny Ramirez - Ya ya ya...another dude, like Ortiz, that should have an asterisk by his name, but there is no denying the fact that when Man-Ram digs in, everybody and their brother wants to see what the outcome is.
1. Albert Pujols - Phat Albert leads MLB with 41 homers, many of them being of the spectacular variety. Oh ya, he's also hitting .320. Albert is definitely the King of Swing in MLB right now.
Those are my fave 5 to watch...what about you? Did I leave someone out that YOU always want to watch?
Leave me a comment, and don't forget, 'chicks dig the longball':