by The Captain… Just wanted to say how much I hate the fucking phone companies,Just my opinion! Douche bags have no idea what customer service is about, yes I’m talking about you Prim-minus. That’s right the offer sounds great but your support is minus a trillion.
Bell, very polite but gauge city…thanks for being so nice over the phone, points!
Rogers? Next time I call you and get someone on the phone that tells me it will takes 5-7 biz days to confirm there is service in the Liberty Village area, I will just hang up. Roger’s people don’t know if they have service in downtown Toronto? What a fucking Joke I tell YA! I did hang up with this asswhipe, guy called “Rymrha” and got Jasmine on line who had me set up in 4 biz days…wow, what great service!
Again, Fuck you Prim-minus for taking my money in two seconds and then telling me it will take 4-6 weeks to get it back” the check is in the mail, right, heard the joke, now fuck off”, and to Dennis Lapointed for being a prick and just laughing about it, he’s a customer service manager at Prim-minus Canada…eat shit and die Dennis! Just my opinion! Tomorrow we’ll talk about the Gas company’s” in the mean time enjoy the lovely bosom of Eva Amurri!
by Nick Colon…
I’m tired of Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and BJ Penn. No disrespect to any of those fighters, but we know they reign dominant right now. So why keep wasting breath about their reigns, and how about a little more talk on the contender subject.
With the most deserving man in Jon Fitch out of the contender role currently in the UFC’s Welterweight division, who is left that has a shot of taking out current champ St. Pierre?
What about the Lightweight title? So many names, not enough talk. And please lets not go into Anderson Silva’s apparent reign that will never end. Listen, if Napoleon couldn’t conquer the world, Silva won’t either—though he may come close.
Below I’ve listed a few names to keep an eye on in each division in the UFC. If anyone would like to do one for Dream, or any other promotion, please do so. I’m only interested currently in the bigtime.
Lightweight (155 lbs.)
1) Kenny Florian
Please, let’s not downplay Florian’s rise once again in this division. Since his loss to Sherk, Florian’s looked nothing short of great, and he is the one in line for a title shot if he gets past Joe Stevenson in November. Don’t sleep on “Kenflo”.
The next fight for Griffin will be a telling one against the former champ Sean Sherk. Don’t be surprised if this one doesn’t go to the judges, as Griffin and Sherk’s feverish pace may make for fireworks.
3) Nate Diaz
As many of you may have read in my recent article about Diaz, he is a sleeper in this crazy division. Diaz is slowly creeping up the ladder with multiple wins in a stacked weight class. If Diaz can make it past Neer, expect bigger fights to come for the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.
Welterweight (170 lbs.)
1) BJ Penn
I know this isn’t Penn’s true weight class, but the fact remains the guy can demand a fight of anyone, and will get it at this point. He recently outpointed Sherk in the lightweight title fight, and it appears Super Bowl weekend may have gotten sweeter with the BJ/GSP fight.
2) Thiago Alves
Not much of a fan of Alves, as he struggled to make weight in his last fight, and shows a lifestyle not of a champion, rather of a chump. However, the guy fights with strength and speed, and if he wins his next fight with Diego Sanchez, could be ready for the shot.
3) Mike Swick
Swick has done well at the lower weight class, but his fights lack the normal luster he maintained at the higher weight. If Swick lets his hands go, and fights like the old Mike Swick, he could be one to watch.
Middleweight (185 lbs.)
1) Patrick Cote
Obviously he’s the current contender, and a fill in for would-be contender Yushin Okami. If he, like Swick, lets his hands go, and fights much like he did against heavy hitter Drew McFederies, he may have a chance to pull off the unthinkable.
2) Nate Marquardt
Marquardt looked simply stellar in his last fight against a well-prepared Martin Kampmann. Marquardt came out with fire, and ended the fight early against a really good fighter. Is probably gearing up for a fight with Okami for that #2 contender spot after Cote.
3) Yushin Okami
You can’t take a guy out of contention just because he gets hurt. If that happened with other greats like Liddell, or GSP, fans would have their arms up in the air. Okami should get one warmup fight, with Marquardt as aforementioned to prepare for Silva if successful.
Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.)
1) Rashad Evans
Now with a guaranteed shot against current champ Forrest Griffin, the season one and two winners of The Ultimate Fighter will duel to see who the best at 205 lbs. actually is. Griffin won’t be knocked out by any fluke punches, and he’ll take a beating before he goes down.
2) Thiago Silva
I’m his biggest fan. No question. But the guy now needs to rehab, and get another fight or two before his shot comes. This means fans will have to wait until late Winter, early Spring before we see the throat slash back in action.
3) Lyoto Machida
With his fight against Silva now scrapped, this leaves the warrior waiting by the sidelines. His camp has said he will wait for Silva to rehab so that they may continue on with the fight, however Dana White and Joe Silva may have different plans in mind.
Whatever happens, Machida’s a fight or two away from the shot.
Heavyweight (207-265 lbs.)
1) Brock Lesnar/Randy Couture
Well, this is awkward isn’t it? These two will be beating each other up about a month before Nogueira and Mir go to war. What does it mean for other heavyweights? Just keep winning.
2) Gabriel Gonzaga
He lost two bouts in the last two years; once to the current “champ” Randy Couture, and once to Fabricio Werdum. If he regains his hunger, he can make it back to the title.
3) Cheick Kongo/Werdum
To be quite honest, these two fighters need to fight one another. Kongo talks about training for nothing, and Werdum’s next fight is against a nobody. These two would set up a nice No. 2 or No. 3 contendership.
If you have any suggestions, or recommendations yourself, please post comments. All are welcome.
by Shane House…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, that time of year when your buddies come over wearing their favourite hockey jerseys, drinking their favourite beer, and once again arguing about what’s the best team in the NHL (face it, its Toronto, don’t deny it, just accept it). That’s right, its fantasy hockey season.
Who will win the Ovechkin lottery? Who will get that big late round steal? Who will be that big bust and who will be that solid free agent pick-up? All solid questions to ask, but what are the right answers? Now I am not saying I have all the right answers but with my prowess in NHL hockey, I think I will mostly have some accurate predictions.
Money In The Bank
Alexander Ovechkin—The man who won MVP honours, the Hart Trophy and Maurice Richard Trophy is probably the most reliable person to pick in fantasy hockey. He can score, set up plays, rack up points with consistency, never injured and isn’t scared to use the body. Easily the best pick to get in the draft.
Ilya Kovalchuk—Would have won the Maurice Richard title if not for Ovechkin’s freakish scoring. Loves to put the puck in the net and never gets injured. Will easily score 40 goals on his own and if not for a bad team would get more. Solid top five pick.
Martin Brodeur—The best fantasy goalie by far (even though he is notorious for slow starts). Has gotten 30 wins almost every year he has played and is always top ten in every goaltending category. Will play 65-70 games minimum and will play solid no matter what. Should be first goalie taken in most drafts.
Joe Thornton—Probably one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Always get at least 90 points a year and loves to set up plays. Always plays full out and is a point-a-game player who never gets injured. Will definitely be a top ten pick.
(The reason I did not mention Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is because Malkin will lose playing time to Sidney Crosby and Sidney Crosby has had injuries the past two years.)
Risk and Reward
Nik Antropov—You got to love this guy. The most hated of all Leafs for years then becomes best player. This guy is 50/50 when it comes to production because of so many variables. He will play on the first line, but have no one to play with. He didn’t get injured last year, but does that take away the injury prone tag for good? Worth a look with a late pick to see what he can do.
Marian Gaborik—You got to feel bad for the guy. He has the talent to be a leader in goal-scoring and in total points, but he plays in a Jacques Lemaire system and is injury prone. The main question here is can he stay healthy? Is worth a mid-round selection.
Martin Havlat—Man what a fall from grace. Went from a potent goal scorer with the potential to be a 50 goal scorer to fighting for significant time on a now talented Blackhawks roster. Will have one more kick at the can with the Blackhawks and is worth a mid to late round pick.
Rick DiPietro—Every year seems to do well then gets bit by the injury bug, leaving you scraping up goalies in free-agency. If he can stay healthy should be able to play solid for a weak team. Worth a mid-round pick.
Notables: Patrick Sharp, Patrick Marleau, Mathieu Garon, Scott Gomez, Mike Ribiero, Bryan McCabe
Dan Ellis—After taking the starting role from Chris Mason and playing at an all-star level in the playoffs, his stock has risen. But still a sleeper in most drafts because he hasn’t played a full season yet. Will be playing 65 games this year and does warrant a late round pick.
Dustin Brown—Plays on a terrible team and never gets noticed because of Anze Kopitar, this kid has some skill. He is in the mold of a more talented Ryan Malone and is able to get 50-60 points this year along with plenty of PIM’s. Worth spending a late round selection.
Filip Kuba—A very solid defensemen that no one has ever heard of before. On a terrible Tampa Bay team last year got over thirty points with a decent amount of goals for a defenseman. Will be on nobody’s boards come draft time and is worth a late pick selection.
Dustin Byfuglien—Probably the biggest sleeper in this year’s draft is Byfuglien. Can score goals and get points and pack penalty minutes on all at once. Plays both defense and forward so can be placed at both. Worth a late round pick and you will not regret it.
Notables: Steve Bernier, Jason Pominville, Peter Mueller, Scott Hartnell, R.J. Umberger
Erik Ersberg—Played late last year for the Los Angeles Kings and did very well as an unknown. Will be looking for a role with the big club this year and if he can get a back-up spot, will be battling by mid-season for the starting role. Worth a look at mid-season.
Danny Carcillo—Was a wildman last year and led the league by far with over 300 PIM’s. Will get more points this year with Phoenix and if you’re in a league that awards points for penalty minutes, will be a hidden gem for your club.
Fabian Brunnstrom—Had great numbers last year in the Swedish Elite League and was signed this off-season. Has a good shot and I believe once he gets used to the North America game, he will be a good point producer and a great mid-season pick-up.
Brendan Morrison—Once apart of one of the most feared lines in the NHL, Morrison has been on a slow decline ever since Todd Bertuzzi cross-checked Steve Moore from behind. Could find his legs on a new team with a new system along with some new line-mates.
Notables: Johan Franzen, Michael Ryder, Kyle Okposo, Alex Steen, Sergei Samsonov
So there we go, those are my picks that I will be thinking about for this year’s draft. Hopefully I have been of some help and always be looking for those sleepers.
by Farooq Ahmed …
Another great premier league weekend, goals, drama and tempers. Here’s my recap on the Top 10 stories of Week 4 of the Premier League:
1. Liverpool have the momentum! Something I didn’t think I would be saying so early, but a resilient and convincing win over Manchester United sends Liverpool into second place level with Chelsea at the top. Can this finally be their year?
2. From great to bad to worse, to just horrible, and then ugly. The story of Newcastle’s last week, the sacking of “messiah” Kevin Keegan, ownership protests from the Geordie fans and an awful performance and result against Hull. Credit where it’s due to Hull, they outplayed the Toon and were deserving of the victory.
The ugly came when Danny Guthrie’s nasty challenge on Craig Fagan towards the end of the game summed up the kind of month Newcastle fans have had to endure. Fagan suffered a broken leg. Guthrie has since apologised for the tackle.
3. United’s keeping problems. Edwin Van Der Sar came in for a whole load of criticism after his shocker against Liverpool, which begs me to ask; Are Man Utd in need of a change at the ‘keeper position? With Tomas Kuszczak and Ben Foster on the sidelines, United have more than capable replacements, both have EPL experience. This isn’t the first time Van Der Sar has made a big mistake either.
4. Arsenal Cruise to victory over Rovers. Theo Walcott once again had a good game, setting up Van Persie for the first and ripping through the Blackburn defence all day. Emmanuel Adebayor took the headlines with a hat-trick as Arsenal make up the top three.
5. Robinho in his first start for Man City had a good show, scored from a free-kick but poor defending from Chelsea and a slight deflection carried the ball goalwards as Petr Cech didn’t move. Chelsea, however got the job done as they were convincing 3-1 winners.
6. Respect the red card! John Terry was left baffled after he was sent off against Man City for bringing down Jo after he had broken into Chelsea territory. But with Ricardo Carvalho running around to cover, referee Mark Halsey said it was due to serious foul play, but Vidic of Manchester United was shown a yellow for a very similar offence. Chelsea will receive the result of the appeal today.
7. Chris Brunt’s goal with seven minutes remaining gave West Brom their first win over West Ham. James Morrison and Roman Bednar also scored for the Baggies, while Mark Noble and Lucas Neill had the West Ham goals. Newly appointed West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola, hired two days ago to replace Alan Curbishley, watched from the stands as the Hammers were led by interim boss Kevin Keen.
8. Amr Zaki’s goal with 12 minutes left gave Wigan the tie against Sunderland, who received an own-goal by the constantly error-prone Titus Bramble. How he is still playing Premier League football, I have no idea!
9. Everton travelled to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City. The fixture didn’t promise too much , and the first half delivered only a few dots of quality as “The Yak” handed the Toffees the lead.The second half was full of incident. David Moyes was sent to the stands for contesting a penalty that was given to Everton, then un-given? Victor Anichebe looked to have put the game to bed with a second for David Moyes’ troops, but, thanks to Rory Delap’s monster throw, Stoke equalled it from Seyi Olofinjana and an own goal from Phil Jagielka.
Comeback kid Tim Cahill, though, was on hand to smash hopes of a Potters win as he headed home with 13 minutes left on the clock.
10. And finally Tottenham remain bottom of the league after their Monday night fixture resulted in a 2-1 loss at the hands of Aston Villa. Poor defending and all around sloppiness cost Spurs the game. New Spurs shot stopper Gomes has an evening to forget as he had a terrible final 45 minutes after producing several top-class saves in the first half.
Spurs are now the only Premier league team without a win, their only point coming in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
by Bryan Thiel…
The Chicago Blackhawks are back. Are you surprised?
As I’ve talked about in my previous looks at St Louis, Nashville, and Columbus, it used to hurt to watch all these teams struggle against a powerhouse like Detroit.
It’s not like I need to tell you again that Detroit may be facing one of its more difficult seasons—although with the way things have been going in the Central the past few years, difficult isn’t exactly a stretch.
Roster Additions: Christobel Huet-G (Free Agent), Brian Campbell-D (Free Agent), Doug Janik-D (Free Agent), Tim Brent-F (Trade)
Roster Subtractions: Patrick Lalime-G (Free Agent), Yanic Perreault-C (Free Agent), Rene Bourque-F (Trade), Danny Richmond-D (Trade), Jason Williams-F (Free Agent), Robert Lang-F (Trade)
How Did 2007-08 Go? 40-34-8, 88 points, 10th in conference, third in the division.
2008-09 Goal: Top ten in Conference, make the playoffs.
Let’s Break’er Down…
There hasn’t been a team that’s been more talked about this offseason than the Chicago Blackhawks.
They have the crafty, young, explosive forwards that can bring the fans to their feet, some gutsy defensemen, and they’ve now added Scotty Bowman—a man who has coached his way to nine championships (with three different teams, which no other coach has done) and “advised” his way to another with the Detroit Red Wings this past season.
In every single way, the Blackhawks have risen above the basement, and may challenge to be the first original-six team not named Detroit to win a Stanley Cup in thirteen years within the next few years.
Sharp(ening) my Kane and Stepping on Toews…
No one starts talking about the Baby ‘Hawks without mentioning their two budding superstars—the reigning Calder Trophy-winner Patrick Kane, and team captain Jonathan Toews.
We know about Toews’ deft stickhandling, pinpoint passing accuracy, two-way game, and his leadership skills. We know that Kane is a bit undersized, but will skate like the devil, never give up on a play, and he’s a little point machine—this coming from the guy who thought he should stick with the London Knights another year.
But let’s play a game of “Did you know?”
Did you know that Patrick Sharp scored 36 goals last year, ending up with 62 points? Granted, I don’t think he can score quite that many again—I think he’ll begin to settle around 25 or 30—but that’s still not a total to be ignored.
Did you know that Andrew Ladd came over in the late-season trade that alleviated Chicago of Tuomo Ruutu, and rediscovered his scoring touch? In 43 games with Carolina, Ladd was only able to net 18 points. In 20 games in Chicago, Ladd got 12 points—improving his point-per-game average from 0.42 to 0.60.
Did you know that youngsters David Bolland and Jack Skille will be looking to make memorable impressions with the big club and stick around for an entire season? If they’re able to do that, then the ‘Hawks have added even more energy to a youthful lineup with two solid competitors.
Did you know that Martin Havlat hasn’t been able to stay healthy throughout his Chicago career? You may also be interested to know that I took Havlat in the B.R. Fantasy Draft.
Although Havlat has produced in a ‘Hawks uniform—84 points in 91 games—he’s missed 46 games. All of those games have been scattered throughout his two seasons in the Windy City, making it hard for Havlat to generate consistent success with the team.
If he falls victim to the injury bug again this season, it’ll be interesting to see the team’s course of action with the oft-injured Czechoslovakian.
Oh, and did you know that Robert Lang was traded to Montreal? Good riddance.
Can I get a Keith’s with my Campbell soup?
If you aren’t aware of where one of the most-sought after free agents of this year’s market went, then you may want to take your fingers out of your ears, and take off the eyepatch(es).
The Chicago Blackhawks went out and addressed their biggest need this offseason, getting one of the better puck-moving defensemen in the NHL in Brian Campbell.
In all honesty, I’m surprised Campbell left San Jose. Yes, he came farther East in order to be closer to his family—but San Jose seemed to agree with him, and with more time to acclimatize to his new surroundings, I’m sure he would’ve fit in perfectly.
Either way, the ‘Hawks were able to add a defenseman that will be able to move the puck and put up points—especially more than the 32 Duncan Keith had to lead the defense corps last season.
Because of Campbell’s ability, though, you can expect Keith to get the puck even more on the power play, and his total of 12 goals last season should see a bit of an increase.
Although James Wisniewski will be sorely missed after suffering a torn ACL in March, Cam Barker can help alleviate the hole if he can finally display the ability to play at the NHL level consistently.
While Brent Seabrook will continue his development into a dependable top-three defenseman, expect Brent Sopel, Jordan Hendry, Doug Janik, and Aaron Johnson to be relied upon heavily for depth reasons.
Check out these pipe
Chicago’s other big free-agent acquisition has led to some questions blowing about the Windy City.
Does Cristobel Huet’s entrance mean an exit for Nikolai Khabibulin and his Chicago career?
Since entering the fold, the ‘Bulin Wall’ has rebounded from his disappointing first season in Chicago. However he’s also suffered through injury problems, playing in only 50 games in 2005-06 and 2007-08 while suffering from a vast array of injuries, mostly centralized in his back and knees.
Instead of re-signing Patrick Lalime to backup Khabibulin, the Blackhawks targeted a second starting goalie—perhaps to push Khabibulin to be the man, or maybe to replace him altogether—former Montreal Canadien and Washington Capital Christobel Huet.
Whether Nik gets traded or not is still debatable. The Robert Lang trade opened up some room, but it’ll be interesting to see if Chicago yearns for—or needs, as I’m not quite sure—more room under the cap. but Chicago will be prepared with a solid 30-game winner in Huet waiting in the wings.
So what does it all mean?
So what’s the biggest necessity needed for the Blackhawks to challenge for a spot in the upper tier of the Western Conference this season?
Will the goaltending (be it Khabibulin, Huet, or otherwise) be consistent? How productive can Brian Campbell be (or choose to be) after receiving his big-money, long-term contract? Will Kane and Toews remain to be Chicago’s two consistent scoring threats—or will the ‘Hawks have to look in other places as the two suffer through sophomore curses?
Side note: Of the past 14 Calder Trophy Winners, seven saw relevant statistical categories drop the season after winning the Calder, and seven saw their stats rise. In some cases (Teemu Selanne, Martin Brodeur) the drops in stats were due to a lack of games played, but it’s interesting to note that Kane has a 50-50 chance of suffering some sort of sophomore jinx.
Depending on how consistent these players are, the ‘Hawks could be the trendy pick over Columbus for second in the division (although I seem to think they’ll tie), but if they aren’t consistent, the kids could falter.
Second in Central Division (Tie)
And now, with the Community Leader View from the Pressbox is Blackhawks Community Leader Michael Wagner:
Key Roster Additions: Tim Brent F, Pascal Pettiler F, Brian Campbell D.
Key Roster Subtractions: Patrick Lalime G, Danny Richmond D, Martin St.
Pierre F, Robert Lang F.
2007-08 Record: 40-34-8, missed playoffs by three points.
2008-09 Goal: To make the playoffs.
The Blackhawks are still a very young team, but after a year of struggling to get into the playoffs they have gained tons of experience in the process. Toews and Kane showed tremendous ability and if they can avoid the dreaded sophomore slump they will have even better seasons.
I think that if the Blackhawks can avoid being bit by the injury bug once again, they will be poised for a strong playoff push—and dare I say, contend with Detroit in the Central division.
A man can dream, can’t he? I do see the Blackhawks being a powerful team in the Western Conference for years to come.
As always, thanks to Michael for helping out with my season previews. And as always, tomorrow is another day.
by Daniel Sallows…
So how big a thrill was it to run into Jaromir Jagr at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas a few weeks back? Pretty darn interesting considering he was one of my favorites growing up playing the game, and because I had ripped on him in numerous articles …sorry Jagr, my bad!
I sat down beside him and his brother at one of the tables, he was more impressive in stature than I thought and smelled like how I would think Pierce Brosnan would smell. I placed my bet and asked if Jaromir would mind taking a photograph with me.
His brother quickly said no and that Jagr probably wouldn’t want to be photographed in the casino, so after losing $500 I was on my way, and figured maybe I was right about this guy after all.
About a half an hour later as I was circling the casino looking for women, like a coyote searching for a marmot, I was approached by Jagr. “So you want a picture?” he said in his broken Czech English. I was floored as I said yes and shook his hand. His hands were massive as well-no wonder he had such a good wrist shot.
His brother quickly snapped a couple shots and I began to tell him how I had been a big fan, and wore number 68 in my last year of midget hockey and had a bad mullet like he once did.
I had a quick conversation with him and asked if he was done with the NHL.
His mood got serious and he said that he was hoping to return one day and win one more Stanley Cup. His heart had been in New York and he hoped to get his confidence back in the Russian Super League and hopefully come back to New York.
It’s clear that it is not about the money anymore, but it is personal with big number 68. He wants to prove to the fans, his critics, and most of all himself that he is still the best in the world and can lead a team to hockey’s biggest prize.
After my quick meeting with him, well I kind of hope he can too.
by Navin Vaswani… First of all, fuck you, Dustin Pedroia.
Look at that smug little grin on his face. What an asshole. I’m off Pedroia. Huge.
My apologies, but I had to get that out of the way.
Well, it’s all over for the 2008 edition of
our Toronto Blue Jays. We went into Boston needing to take at least three of four, and we got only one. My dream of a Jays’ playoff berth has been stored away in its regular place - the depths of my soul - for another winter.
It was a most disappointing weekend, but I’m not going to shit on my team. I’m not going to shit on the offence, or the bullpen - especially my man crush Scott Downs.
I’m not going to complain that the Jays, as a team, weren’t able to get it done when it mattered most. Instead, I’m going to focus on the positives, and the fact that this team, left for dead so long ago, had me on the edge of my seat watching meaningful baseball in mid September.
I will, however, shit all over the umpires, and Bartolo Colon.
Shitting All Over the Umpires, and Bartolo Colon
I don’t know about you, but I thought David Ortiz’s slide in the 7th inning of Saturday night’s game - a crushing and demoralizing defeat in which the Jays blew a 5-2 lead and lost 7-5 - was bush league. He went cleats up dangerously into Marco Scutaro’s leg on what was easily a double play ball. Scoot, obviously, wasn’t able to make the play and the Red Sox scored a huge run in the process. Where was the interference call? Where was Ortiz’s ejection for his reckless slide? Where was the mother fucking umpire? If that wasn’t interference, I’m not sure what is. Oh, and fuck you, Big Papi.
In Sunday’s game, Lyle Overbay was robbed of a double in the 9th inning when he was called out by the douchebag second base umpire, whose name I’m too lazy to look up. As you can see in the picture above by the vein ready to explode in Overbay’s neck, and the incredibly homosexual smile on Pedroia’s face, Overbay was safely in there, and replays proved it. Overbay would have been on third base with only one out in the inning had the correct call been made. Of course, we ended up losing the game by just a run. Fuck you, douchebag second base umpire.
And, seriously, how much of a fatty is Bartolo Colon? His neck has its own zip postal code. Motha sucka clearly has never heard of a stationary bike, or a treadmill.
The starting pitching was pretty dope all weekend. David Purcey battled on Friday night, without his best stuff. Jesse Litsch started on three days rest and gave it his all on Saturday night, giving up three earned runs in five and a third innings. The kids were alright, man, and I’m proud of ‘em.
If A.J. Burnett does walk as a free agent this summer, and he most surely will, Saturday afternoon
is how I want to remember him. Pitching on three days rest the night after the Jays lost the series opener, Burnett was filthy. As The Ack so aptly put it with only a picture, “Nails.”
Travis. Mother. Fuckin. Snider. He homered and doubled on Saturday afternoon, driving in five runs, and added another RBI in the nightcap. He gave notice to the Red Sox and their fans that he has, at only 20 years old, arrived, and is for real. As I like to say, Travis Snider is the truth. For guys like Adam Lind and Sniderman (hat tip to the The Ack, who coined that awesome nickname), the future is tremendously bright.
Some jackass in the comments section over at The Tao of Stieb, who doesn’t even have the balls to leave his name, made the utterly foolish assertion that because Roy Halladay lost to the White Sox on Wednesday and to the Red Sox yesterday, “he is not a big game pitcher.” It gets better: “Right now, Lester is the better pitcher and beat Halladay.”
Doc gave up six hits and two earned runs in seven innings against the defending World Series champions, in Fenway Park. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. But he’s not a big game pitcher. And Jon Lester is better than him. You see, this is the type of nonsensical bullshit we have to put up with here in Toronto. I hate to use the word retarded, you know, for politically correct reasons, but that anonymous commenter over at The Tao of Stieb is, well, retarded.
In Defense of Downs
Watching Scott Downs fall flat on his face while the Red Sox scored the winning run on Saturday night, and essentially silenced our faint playoff hopes in the process, was gut-wrenching. He was tagged for three runs, and the loss, in the type of game he’s been money in all year long.
The bullpen has been so strong all year, with Downs leading the charge. Saturday night was one lead they couldn’t hold on to, and I can’t find it in me to be down on the guys. No way. The pen is one of the main reasons why the Jays were able to make something of this season, and they deserve better than a public flogging from me.
As for Downs, it turns out he didn’t heed the advice of trainers and doctors
when he rolled his ankle a month ago on August 13th. Since his return from a week off after the injury, Downs has struggled, and it was the same ankle that led to his most inopportune, and embarrassing, fielding mishap. But I’m going to give props to Downs for playing hurt. He wanted to be out there for his team, and I can’t be mad at him for that. I still have mad man love for Scotty Downs.
With only 12 games left on the schedule, and an 80-70 record, the Jays need to finish strong and look to 2009. Selfishly, I want 90 wins. Ten out of twelve. It’s a tall order, but I’ve got faith in these guys. They’ve proved over the last two months that they can play with anybody in the American League. 90 wins won’t be enough to quiet the J.P. Ricciardi haters out there but, really, how do you fire the general manager of a team with 90 wins in the AL East? I don’t think you do. Stay tuned, a Ricciardi inspired post entitled “One More Year” is coming down the pipe.
With twelve games left to play, both Burnett and Halladay will get at least two more starts. They’ve both got 18 wins, and it would be quite a way for A.J. to go out if both he and Doc can get to 20 wins. They’ve been the best one-two punch in the American League this year and I’ll always be left to wonder just how scary their combination would have looked in a playoff series. For shame.
I’ll be watching the final twelve games of the season with interest because this is a good baseball team. A playoff team. I truly believe that. As Mike Wilner was so kind enough to point out, the Jays’ fate was determined not this weekend, but in April and June, when they went a combined 21-33. For the rest of the season, the Blue Jays sport an impressive record of 59-37. So when you hear or read someone say that Doc isn’t a big-game pitcher, or that the Jays choked, take it for what it is: bullshit. This season was not lost when we couldn’t close the gap in the wild card race to 7.5 games with 12 games left to play. It was lost early on in the year, when we couldn’t beat the Royals, Mariners, Indians and Athletics of the baseball world.
In the end, the hole the Jays dug themselves was simply too deep to climb out of. But it was exciting as fuck to watch them do everything they could to try.
See you in 2009, with bells on, Massholes.
by Long John Silver…
Communicating a problem to the concerned individual and transparency in the process are the key to many potential solutions. It lets the individual know where exactly the problem is, and why he was dismissed temporarily. It helps him focus on addressing the issue from day one, without the need to wait eternally in determining the problem. Last but not the least, it sets an example in addressing similar cases in the future.
If you do the crime, you must do the time—t’s a rule that’s applied to ONE and ALL in the Aussie Team.
Quite Utopian, but it is one of the cornerstones of the Australian team’s success. It is a rule that has been applied consistently and quite indifferently for the last two decades, no one is exempt from it, and it applies to all from the skipper…down to the last substitute.
Roy (Andrew Symonds) went fishing instead of attending a team meeting in the midst of a tour, and the Australian team thought that was inexcusable. They spelled out very clearly why he was sent back—ruthless, remorseless, and fair. I highly commend the transparency of the process.
In a world where ‘Resting’ has become such a mundane euphemism for dropping key players, such transparency is what keeps the ‘Green and Gold’ at the top of the pack.
Not many teams would have sent back one of their most important players, back home for such a transgression, a more comfortable option would have been to slap a monetary fine and sweep it under the carpet.
Quite frankly, the loss of Roy could have cost them the series, but that’s precisely where one has to remember that with power comes responsibility. If Roy was such a key player to the team, the Aussies felt that he ought to have been more responsible.
He let himself, and even worse…his team mates down. One of Roy’s best friends and skipper Michael Clarke had no remorse in making such a decision. He would do the same thing a hundred times over, when faced with such a situation.
Some of the other cricket boards—Pakistan, India, and the Windies (and in many instances other boards too) can learn from such clear transparency. With despicable politics (Mr. Dalmiya? Seriously … the BCCI is not your fun-house) and the background theater, there have been many instances where no one knows why an individual has been treated shabbily or dropped, in any of these teams. It serves no good, for both sides.
Roy knew why he was dropped, Roy knows what he has to do to come back, and every other member of the team knew that no one was above the overall welfare of the team. It is simple—yet, efficient and a fair solution.
Transparency and fairness are the cornerstones of the success of the ‘Baggy-green’