Friday, August 31, 2007

Reebok, What Have You Done Now

Have you seen the new Vancouver Canucks jerseys? Oh man. What planet do they have to sequester their fashion consultants on to get them to agree on these bad boys? So many mixed messages. They brought back the green and blue, which was inevitable I guess, but kept the exploding orca and topped it off with a big ol' reminder that hey guys, we play in Vancouver. I could have gotten behind mish mashing the two jerseys, but the nameplate kills it for me. Makes it feel hugely retro and confusing.

The new NHL jerseys have been trickling out all summer long, and while some teams have opted to keep it simple (Detroit, Nashville, LA and the Rangers) others have used it as an excuse to add some serious ugly. Poor Dipietro. The Islanders don't seem to know what they are doing on or off the ice. They riff on their upstate rival's habit of putting numbers on the front, and then they enlarge their logo because I guess they must have realized their aging baby boomer fans can't see as well as they used too. I think Long Island is the one place you don't want to be captain now. There is a lot going on there.

Tampa Bay and San Jose went for the same design philosophy: new and sleek and stylishly boring. Both have newly stylized emblems updated for the new millennium and I think San Jose might be trying to sneak some orange into their colours. I've been thinking for a while now that both of these teams could use a break from the kitschy early 90's inspired logos they were born with, and I guess I shouldn't ask for more.

It's not all bad; some of the teams that couldn't keep their secret have actually done well. The winners so far are Columbus and Boston I think. Columbus will be adopting that oh so snazzy dark blue patriotic number that had been slowly creeping more and more into Columbus' dressing room and all I can say is finally. Boston went small on their changes, adding serifs to the big B and some black outlines but all it does is make it look better. So far the Original Six teams haven't dropped the ball, but all that means is that there is a bigger chance it will be the Leafs who screw it up. They've already said that there will be changes to the leaf and while I don't think anyone at MLSE would be crazy enough to follow the lead of Tampa and San Jose and create some kind of ungodly stylized maple leaf cum ninja star, this is still the Leafs we are talking about so frankly, it could end up worse. The new Leaf duds drop in two weeks.

Florida seriously dropped the ball on their jerseys, I mean guys this is textbook how not to design a jersey. It's their whites that particularly offend my eyeballs. The Senators updated theirs too, and I will begrudgingly admit that they have made an improvement but let's all be honest with ourselves, they still suck eggs. Am I right or what.

Finally there's Washington, who I will give a tentative thumbs up for their change in direction. By change in direction I do of course mean backwards. Like Vancouver, the Caps have pulled the retro threads out for another try, except unlike Vancouver, the folks in Washington can commit to one idea at a time. Washington's new logo is just modern enough and I think their whites are particularly spiffy. The darks are maybe a little red, and I've never thought Alexander Ovechkin has looked particularly good while suiting up in the motherland's colours. Hey, do you think it's a coincidence that Washington has stepped in line with Russia's colour scheme?

We still have more than half the NHL waiting to walk down the runway. Calgary and Montreal are next and I wouldn't bet on big changes from either team. I'm still worried about my Leafs though. And while we are at it, these guys are the place for logo updates.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Power Rangers, Go

I just wanted to say before I disappear for a week up north and maybe get eaten by a bear, that tonight's record setting 30-3 win for Texas over Baltimore is absolutely ridiculous. It's incredible that a score like that is even possible in what is supposed to be the elitest baseball league in the world.

I mean, 30-3's are supposed to be reserved for when the island of Fiji's baseball team squares off against the US's, not when two fairly equal major league teams meet.

Just look at that score, 30-3. How does that happen. How does Baltimore's pitching staff turn into a Single-A rotation for one night. How do they all suck so hard, all at the same time.

Is it... is it time to start demoting teams to AAA a la European soccer leagues? Cause Baltimore, I'm looking at you.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Simple Truth

Shawn Marcum is mmmmmoney in the bank

Mark, Do Not Ask For Who the Bell Tolls

Oh man, if there's one thing we haven't had enough of lately in the Leafs dressing room it's convicted criminals. I mean, Eddie Belfour waited until he got to Florida before he started showing off his Irish side and Dougie Gilmour's nickname "Killer" was I'm pretty sure just a joke.

Don't worry guys, we got Mark Bell now, just freshly convicted of drunk driving and fleeing the scene. Thankfully Bell's a pro-athlete which qualifies him for the much radder special privileged people's court so he won't have to serve any jail time during the season. Thanks American justice system!

Though from what I've heard about the newest underachiever in Leafland, maybe the best way for him to contribute to this team would be from in a San Jose jail cell.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Some Guys Use DeLoreans, Others Use Phonebooths. All I Need Is A Newspaper

I found something amazing in my basement the other day. I have in my hands the Toronto Star's Sports section from April 29.


The front page, yellowed and smelly but still serviceable, had three stories, as well as pictures of a moody looking Al MacInnis sporting ugly World Championships issue Team Canada duds and Billy Ranford taking some serious goaltender interference. The lead story was boxing - Thomas Hearns beating Micheal Olajide if you care, which leads me to surmise that the primitive people of the early nineties still cared about boxing.

Also ran was a story about the Blue Jays, losers of three straight taking their latest from the White Sox 5-4 at Comiskey Park, which is probably the funniest way of spelling US Cellular Field I've ever seen. The Jays went on to record an 86-76 finish which was considered disappointing by the spoiled fans of the early nineties Jays. The Jays starter that night in April was a dude named Mike Flanagan who the Internet tells me only started five games all season and was out the door by the next one. The White Sox debuted rookie Jerry Kutzler who got the win, which must have been the highlight of his career because he only played six more games in the bigs and I can't say I don't feel glad to know that.

The bottom story was about the St. Louis Blues forcing game seven against the Chicago Blackhawks thanks to two goals by Brett Hull. The winner of game seven, Chicago, incidentally, would go on to face the eventual Stanley Cup winners, the Edmonton Oilers in something called the Norris Division finals. Call me a smart-assed ankle biter if you will, but how did the NHL get by with such useless division names? And why was Toronto grouped with the Western teams, while we're at it. Staying topical, the Hawks coach at the time was Calgary's current new flame (oh man, I totally did not intend that pun) Mike Keenan. Daaang has that guy been around. The Hawks were also relying on the unproven goaltending of some kid named Belfour, who lasted all of two and a half minutes before the Keener yanked him.

Delving inside, we find the reason for Al Mac's resigned scowl was because Team Canada had lost to those damned Czechoslovaks 3-2 at the World Hockey Championships in Bern. Canada was coached by Dave King (who is speculated elsewhere to soon make the jump to the NHL, though that would be delayed for two years) and the goaltending tandem of Kirk Mclean and Bob Essensa while the Czechoslovaks went with Dominik Hasek. The article hearkened back to simpler times in the NHL, when there actually was some difference between North America and European hockey, when the Soviets were still scary, when Alan Eagleson was still cool.

Below that is an piece on the outraged Habitants who were of course still in shock that they would not be drinking from the Cup that year. "They've become so accustomed to winning, many consider it some sort of divine right that they keep Lord Stanley's old goblet year after year." I think it's safe to say that after fourteen years without it now, Montreal is probably over it's withdrawal symptoms. But the columnist was no fool. "...Montreal is, as usual, not far removed from the Cup." I don't think I need to remind you who won the cup three years later.

Misc hockey notes: The owners of the Minnesota North Stars are planning on selling their franchise in order to obtain an expansion team in Silicon Valley and the Nordiques are looking to sign their number one overall draft pick, a spunky Swede with generous blond hair, Mats something who is showing "a large amount of talent" while with Djurgarden, recent winners of the Swedish Elite Division, beating out Hakan Loob's Farjestad.

This one has nothing to do with sports, but there is a giant ad for what is described as "The Ultimate Business Weapon". Yes, we're talking cellular phones. The Motorola cellular phone is of course the lightest and smallest model on the market at a slim and svelte 12.3 ounces and 15.8 inches and features a novel way to hang up. Simply flip the mouthpiece shut to end the call! Oh my! Ok, I'll stop.

Page Six features a small blurb about the world snooker championship, which is probably exactly one more small blurb about snooker than the Toronto Star has ran in the last decade.

And finally, file this one under "Some Things Never Change" but the back page featured several goalies complaining about the rampant goaltending interference and abuse they've had to suffer. I'm sure they'd be happy to know that 17 years later, their descendants are keeping the fight alive.


Saturday, August 11, 2007


Baaaaaaaaaaarry. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarry. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarry.

Yeah, yeah he hit the freaking home run finally. Honestly back when he was passing Babe Ruth I was pretty he sure he would be dead before he ever got this far, or at least I don't know, hobbling around on artificial hips or something. I didn't think he would do it. So I can find something to appreciate about the feat, even if Barry Bonds is a rather large taint when it comes to being a human being.

I'm also glad he had the decency to hit 756 in San Fransisco because wouldn't you hate to have people booing what should be a happy moment, so that whenever sport shows drag out archive footage of that moment for whatever top ten the interns in the back room pulled out of their asses we won't have boos drowning the whole thing out? Asterix or not, he should be able to enjoy his moment. I just hope he retires after this year, that's really all I ask.

I'm approaching the whole Bonds steroids thing from a kind of zen position, I've made peace with it and moved on. It helps to know that Barry won't be number one in ten years thanks to MLB's other designated asswipe, Alex Rodriguez. Now there's a hate on I can get behind.

Can't you imagine it? If A-Rod is a douche now, when he's in the prime of his career playing for the most prestigious baseball team in the world and putting up numbers like he was Baseballbot 3000, imagine what he'll be like when he's a forty year old DH in Kansas and the only thing he has to play for is a record nobody wants him to break. He'll make Barry look like he was on Zoloft, not testosterone.

I think the era of sport heroes being decent human beings is officially over.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Let the Kids Play

Good golly but why is it so hard for managers to figure this out? During the winter J.P Ricciardi signed a slew of over the hill veteran journeymen, and the only one who panned out, ok he didn't just pan out, was Matt Stairs and that probably has more to do with being home and not so much due to J.P's uncanny eye for talent. Royce Clayton was finally cut a few days ago, so we can stop pretending any one other than Johnny MacDonald is the number 1 short stop and the three pitchers hired to hold together the rotation didn't last till July.

Instead, the Jays rotation is relying these days on a youthful trifecta of Dustin "Mutton Chops" McGowan, Shaun "Maple Syrup" Marcum, and Jesse "You Can Stop Bringing Up The Batboy Thing Now" Litsch. Why did this take so long to happen?

Why are people in sports always so willing to fall back on guaranteed mediocrity when they have potential gold sitting right in front of them?

Whatever, even with a decent rotation, it's too late for the Jays. How bout next year eh?

Also, happy trails to Jason Phillips, the Jays' on again off again third string catcher for the past few seasons. They let him go so that they could bring up their own prospect Curtis "Playpen" Thigpen and I mean it's not that big a loss for the Jays' batting order but I'm still gonna miss the guy. What can I say? I have a thing for athletes who wear glasses.