My Favourite Part Of The Raptors Parade

All that basketball stuff was pretty alright, but I wish to direct your attention to this heartwarming moment.

And it sounds even better from out in the crowd.

Well done, enormous throng of Ontarians. You’re a year too late to do anything about your mistake, but I’m glad you’re starting to realize you’ve made one. Just please remember this feeling in 2022, that’s all I ask.

As for Ford, getting booed out of buildings looks like something he might want to get used to.

Things aren’t going well for Ontario Premier Doug Ford or his government.
Last June, the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government with 40.5 per cent of the vote. The latest polls show that support has collapsed.
Last week, an Environics poll noted a whopping 75% of Ontarians felt Ford’s government was “on the wrong track.” That included 37% of 2018 Tory voters.
More recently, a Mainstreet poll found just 19.9% of Ontarians polled have a favourable opinion of Ford, while 73.4% “have a negative opinion of the premier.”

But there are other signs the government is in disarray:

On May 15, Premier Ford was booed by “hundreds of people” according to the Toronto Star, while speaking at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
“Boy … you know something? I haven’t heard that much energy in a long time,” Ford said in response.
Many attributed this to revulsion at the impact of the Ford government’s incredibly dangerous cuts to autism support.
Several days later, Ford was booed again at a tech conference in Toronto after he cut $24 million from support for AI research.

Word is he thinks a cabinet shuffle is going to fix everything, but I’m not so sure. What’s that old saying about rearranging the assholes on the Titanic?

The 1983 Toronto Argonauts Grey Cup Riot

These days it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone out to an Argos game, but it wasn’t always that way. A whole lot of people used to genuinely care about the team, so much so that there was a mini riot after they won the Grey Cup in 1983.

I have no memory of any of this. I was about to turn four, so was obviously far too young to appreciate it at the time. In fact, this is the first I can even recall hearing about it.

Speaking of firsts, I believe this marks the first time I’ve heard the phrase “dumping confetti on shoppers” as part of a report like this. Was that a thing people used to do? It sounds extra weird coming right after the lighting of firecrackers.

It’s also interesting to hear vague talk of what would eventually become the SkyDome all the way back then, even though it makes total sense given that it opened less than six years later. It still being hypothetical kind of gives me a new appreciation for how fast things like government and construction can move when they want to.

You may also like this post from long-time sports reporter Howard Berger that features both his memories from the time and some scans of newspaper front pages and some of his other memorabilia.

Take It Out AT The Ball Game

So this is a thing that happened at a baseball game a few weeks ago. Angry fan at Mets game threatens young family and exposes himself to the kids

The incident happened in the ninth inning of the Mets’ 9-0 victory over the Phillies Tuesday night, when 20-year-old Richard Patrylo asked the father if he could use his phone, cops said.
The dad, 39, who was watching the game with his wife, 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, said no — at which point the suspect lashed out, police said.
“I will f–k up your entire family!” he allegedly yelled, then dropped his pants, exposing his genitals.

Police say that Patrylo, who comes from Inwood, Long Island (which is great comedy for the 12-year-old in all of us), was drinking during the game, which comes as no surprise and honestly a bit of a relief.

He was charged with acting in a manner injurious to a child and public lewdness, charges that on the surface should be hard to fight since the victim’s son is said to have filmed everything on his own phone. No, I don’t have the video.

Don’t Be Different

Wow, what an absolute garbage decision. Somebody has a naturally occurring condition that happens to make her very good at something, so the solution is to force her to take drugs she doesn’t need, risking her health in the process, if she wants to continue her career? Fuck off, IAAF. Just fuck right off. And anyone who doesn’t see this as the straight up discrimination that it is can feel free to fuck right off with them until the day a differently built man has to go through the sorts of scrutiny that Caster Semenya has. The message is clear. If you don’t conform to what our definition of athlete is regardless of the consequences, you have no right to be an athlete. It’s absolute nonsense. It would be like making the really good Jeopardy contestants smash themselves in the head with a brick until they’re as dumb as the American president so that the others won’t have to worry about getting all butthurt when they’re dismantled by a superior player. Olympic runner Semenya loses fight over testosterone rules

The sports world’s highest court ruled Wednesday that Olympic champion Caster Semenya and other female runners like her with unusually high testosterone must take medication to reduce their levels of the male sex hormone if they want to compete in certain events — a landmark decision with far-reaching ramifications for other women’s sports.
In a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld proposed rules issued by track’s governing body, the IAAF, saying that they are discriminatory but that “such discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means” of “preserving the integrity of female athletics.”
The IAAF argued that high, naturally occurring levels of testosterone in athletes like Semenya with “intersex” characteristics that don’t conform to standard definitions of male and female give them an unfair competitive advantage, and it decreed a maximum level for females.
The court decision could open the way for similar rules in other women’s sports where size, speed and power make a difference, such as weightlifting, boxing, swimming, rugby, field hockey and soccer.

And Now, Here To Perform The American National Anthem In The Key Of C-rap…

What exactly is this man doing? Yes, I know he’s attempting to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game, but what is he doing? And more importantly, why is he doing it? Did he just discover right now, here in this moment, that he suffers from crippling anxiety? Did he overshoot his vocal cord and social lubrication targets by a couple of miles? Is he dying of something and this is his make a wish?

I figured it had to be at least one of those things or that perhaps he’s spent his entire life away from civilization and was rescued and cleaned up right before show time (How else do you forget the words to the American anthem?), but no. Turns out it was just cramps. Brain ones would be my guess.

It happened Sunday, before a game between the High Point Rockers and Sugar Land Skeeters and involved a “last minute fill in,” Fox Carolina reported. High Point is about 80 miles northeast of Charlotte.

Video posted on Facebook by TV station WXII reports Rockers employee Chuck Hayworth was the singer, and it shows him struggling with both the melody and the lyrics. The results include uncomfortable pauses, skipped lines and occasional shouting.
Hayworth apologized later on social media, explaining he developed cramps from getting overheated just before starting “and you saw what happened,” the station reported.
“By no means was this any disrespect to our country or our organization, nor all those who serve it,” WFMY quoted Hayworth as saying.

The team apologized, too, saying “the rendition was not up to organizational standards,” and noting the singer was standing in for someone who got sick at the last minute, reports.

How much worse could the sick guy have sounded, I wonder.

Happy 50th Birthday, Whatever Is Left Of The Montreal Expos

This is video of the first home run hit by a Montreal Expo during a home game. In the first inning of the first major league game ever played outside of the United States (April 14th, 1969), Mack Jones crushed it into the right field seats to give the Expos a 3-0 lead. They’d go on to blow a six run lead but still beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-7. A pretty good start to an era that never should have ended the way it did and one that will hopefully return some day. I was never much of an Expos guy, but I still liked having them around because it was cool that our country had a team in each league, plus it was an automatic rivalry that always felt like it meant something to the fans even though the Expos and Jays didn’t play each other all that often.

Here’s a look back at that first game, and here’s an oral history of the last one.

If Your Pool Wasn’t Hosed Already…

…It is now. Colorado Avalanche eliminate Calgary Flames from Stanley Cup playoffs

My memory for hockey trivia isn’t the best, so I thought maybe that was why I was having trouble thinking of another time when the league’s two best teams got massacred so badly that they could only manage a single playoff win between them. It was starting to bug me a little that I couldn’t come up with anything, but apparently I don’t have to worry about my forgetfulness, at least not right now. The reason I don’t remember this happening before is that there’s nothing to remember.

Since 1967-68, when six teams were added to make the NHL a 12-team league, there have been a number of playoff formats: division-based, conference-based, and for two seasons (1979-80, 1980-81) the top 16 teams were seeded by regular-season points.
In none of those instances had the top two teams in each division or conference, or the teams with the two best records, been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay (62-16-4) tied the NHL record for wins in a season, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings, and finished 21 points ahead of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference.

Calgary (50-25-7) led the Western Conference by six points over the San Jose Sharks.
The Lightning lost four straight games to the Blue Jackets and were outscored 15-5 in the final three, including 7-3 in Game 4.

The Flames lost four straight games after winning Game 1. The Avalanche won Game 2 and Game 4 in overtime.

I wish I could tell you that Carin picked both Columbus and Colorado, but even she’s not that good. But of the two, picking against the Lightning is probably the weird pick that makes the most impact, so it’s still some pretty solid work.

My God, Guelph And Columbus Actually Won

It’s not every day that a team I root for does something historic that doesn’t involve losing to death, so allow me a moment to gloat. The Guelph Storm complete their remarkable comeback against the London Knights, winning Game 7 by a 6-3 score

It will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Guelph Storm history.
They trailed the series 3-0 and fought back to force a Game 7.
They trailed 3-1 in the second period of that Game 7.
Then they kicked some ass.
The Storm scored five unanswered goals to complete the miraculous comeback and down the regular-season champion London Knights 6-3 in Game 7 Tuesday night at Budweiser Gardens.
They now move on to meet the Saginaw Spirit in the Western Conference final. That series starts Thursday in Saginaw.
“The first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘we did it! We did it!'” said Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe.
“It’s indescribable. The resilience this team has, the character, the skill that we have. You put all those things together and we’re unstoppable,” said Ratcliffe, who scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals in the third period.

The first thing I did when the horn sounded was jump up, yell “Wow!”, and then text “lol” to one of my Knights fan friends.

When they were down 3-0 in the series, I texted that same friend and asked “are you ready for the four straight comeback?” I always had some hope, but I sent that mostly as a joke because I thought that even though they might put up a good fight, they were probably toast. But hey, here we are! And we’re only the fifth team in OHL history to sweep a series after nearly being swept. That’s pretty cool. The others are Peterborough, Ottawa, and Windsor twice.

I’m still not sure if they’ll win the league, but it’s getting harder to doubt them after this. So bring on Saginaw and let’s see what happens.

In other hockey playoff news, holy shit, Columbus! Way to screw up everyone’s pool. Ok, everyone but Carin, who now looks like some sort of genius.

And since we’ve been talking history, with the loss, the Lightning have made some by becoming the first team since the NHL expanded beyond the original six in 1967 to have lead the league in points and then not won a single playoff game. Yay?

And back to the subject of screwed up pools, I knew I should have picked the damn Islanders. I was half a second away from doing just that when my stupid inner voice said “pssst, remember this is Pittsburgh.” Thanks, idiot.

But even though winning the pool is unlikely at this point, I’ll still call it a win if I manage to time the inevitable Sharks exit correctly. If all goes to plan, I should be throwing that victory party by Thursday.

Victory party cancelled. Fucking Sharks got me again. Sounds like a hell of a game though.

And Vegas, I’m sure it feels like no one understands you right now, but believe me, I know how you’re feeling. I’m a Leafs fan. We’ve been down this road once or twice. At least this year we got straight up trounced. It’s still no fun, but it’s easier that way.

Kill The Runner On Second Base In Extra Innings Experiment With Fire And A More Sensible Plan

Baseball’s pace of play people have had some well intentioned ideas (trying to cut down on the deliberate time waste between pitches), some ideas I don’t care for (I still think you need to earn your stupid intentional walk), and a few ideas that are downright terrible, like starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

Imagine overtime in hockey if nobody was allowed to touch or get in the way of anyone else until each team had taken at least two clear shots at the opposing net. That would be silly. Yet somehow, this foolishness got to the experimentation stage in the minors. I hadn’t heard much about how it was going until I found this, which leads me to surmise that it’s going about as well as anyone who thought about it for a minute would have guessed it would go.

The game was between the Phillies affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers, and the Yankees affiliate, the Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League. It was only a scheduled seventh inning game, so the extra frame was the eighth inning.
The details: Tampa starter Deivi Garcia tossed seven perfect innings, but it was tied 0-0 at the end of seven. Clearwater began the top of the eighth with an automatic runner on second. He went to third on an error. Two batters later, he scored when a Thresher batter grounded out to first base. Tampa went down in order in the bottom of the eighth and that was the ballgame.

That’s garbage.

If you’re going to defense yourself out of a perfect game, a no-hitter and a win, that’s fine. Things happen sometimes. But giving the other team a giant head start feels both lame and unfair.

If you really want to do something about extra innings, I have an idea. Maybe somebody has already come up with it, but for now I’ll call it mine.

I mentioned overtime in hockey. Let’s treat extra innings that way. To be clear, I’m talking about overtime before they instituted the shootout, which is also bad. Hockey games should not be won and lost by skills competition. If shootouts were any good, we’d be using them in the playoffs. So no, I’m not suggesting that tie baseball games be settled by home run derby. What I am suggesting is that if extras are required, you play one inning. If nobody can win after that, the game ends in a tie and each team gets half a game in the standings. You know that no game is ever going to go on hours longer than it should and at the end everyone gets something useful for being equally good or bad at their jobs.

Problem solved.

You’re welcome.

Two Good Things About The Jays So Far

I didn’t win the Blue Jays charity 50/50 draw today, but I still feel like a winner. I haven’t been to any of the games this weekend, but I was able to enter the draw because they’ve started selling tickets online. I love buying in when I’m there (no, I’ve never won), so this is pretty cool. I hope they keep it up. If they do, the place to get your tickets is

No matter what happens today (we’re tied 3-3 in the 11th), I have to say I’m impressed with the team on the field so far. The offense isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders just yet, but my god, the pitching. If we get anything close to what we’ve had out of the starters through the first four games fairly consistently, we might just be alright. I’m especially impressed by Trent Thornton today. Dude struck out eight guys with 75 pitches in five innings. Oh, and it was his major league debut. That’s a record. Not too shabby.