Sunday, October 02, 2016

Angus's First Inning

I have a son. I can't believe it. He's only four days old, and has only been at home for about 24 hours. I am over the moon. Astounded. So blissfully happy, I've never even known the feeling was possible. Today I introduced him to this game of baseball that we love so much, or "The Game", as its more commonly referred to around these parts. He was stirring in his bassinet so I picked him up,  held him as we looked at the screen and started describing how this thing works.

What an inning for an introduction. 8th inning, season defining moment for the 2016 Jays (who I'm sorry to say I haven't seen much of this season, but for good reason). 1-1 tie vs Div leading Red Sox (Big Papi's last regular season contest. At Fenway no less.)

The meat of our order up.  A struggling Donaldson up, who happens to knock his way on base. Followed by Edwin Encarnacion who battles back, working a deep count and walking his way onto base.  Bautista unfortunately grounds into a double play leaving the table set for our man, Russell Martin to slap a lightly tapped ball, which moved more like a bunt,  up the first base line, as the vet Canadian catcher legs it out to first.

EE on 3rd, Martin on 1st, 2 Out. Playing for home field advantage in the WC Game Tuesday. Then Tulo, mighty Tulo smacks a line drive into centre field scoring EE and we're off to the races. 2-1. Which ended up standing up. Bring on Baltimore on Tuesday at the Dome.

How fantastic. The first inning, a perfect demonstration of how this Game should be played. Hitting for contact. Grinding out every step. Running full tilt. Even if you're the catcher. Manufacturing that big run in the big moment, in the big game. Just textbook.

Don't know what little Angus will be into as he gets older. Might not like ball, might not even like sports. But one thing's for sure is that if he doesn't happen to get a hold of the Game like I have, it definitely won't be for a lack of exposure to it.

And for now I'm going to enjoy every October inning with my son. Amazing. Astounding. I can't believe what I just wrote.  How simply just pure and good for baseball.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

We're Back

....Oh come on. Just admit it. You were kind of hoping to see us here today. I mean sure, its been a few years. But really, if today isn't the day to dust off the old keyboard, pop our heads up from the sand trap like a critter from a classic Bill Murray flick, and survey the area, then that day will never be.

Not much to say at this point, except for this. The last couple seasons we've been keeping a distant eye on these Jays. I too was excited a few years back when Boy Wonder pulled the trigger on  Buehrle and the boys in his off season splash. Hoping that Jose Reyes would be the fleet footed, spark plug  with and OBP of 1.10 who would lead our lads back to the promised land of October baseball.

But not so much...after another few routine .500-ish seasons, and empty Septembers in the Dome, it was time for a bit of a break the Game. The years were dragging on. This was turning into an abusive relationship. Tough to turn away. But necessary.

So what do we know now? Well we started to check back in at the All-Star Break this year, and wouldn't you know it, even though we were in the familiar .500-ish territory, this Josh Donaldson character was really proving to have some pop.

Even Russell Martin (who will always be a favourite in Maniwaki Country)  was proving to be the Captain Canuck we had hoped for with his monstrous off -season signing.  Truth be told, when I heard the news of his signing this winter,  I was not thrilled. Mildly disappointed even, as I felt the Jays had over-spent on a super star with fan appeal for our Great White Backyard, who would ultimately come up short with the rest of the squad in 2015.  Maybe get us a game or two over .500...

But, like many of us, I started to tune back in and by mid-August we were back in and rolling like it was the old days. Watching consistent innings, day after day, and starting to really pay heed. And really enjoying it again. These lads are not your Devo's or Dave Steibs of the past.  The offence as we know, has been nothing short of crushing. Watching the 2015 Jays is akin to spending time at one of those massive outdoor European metal shows, like Wacken, where you are pummelled over the head relentlessly for four days by the most punishing metal bands from the global corners spanning from Oslo, Norway to Birmingham, Alabama. Everyone gets in on the action.


Yeah so there I was two weeks ago in Lethbridge. Was kind of wandering the city after a day's work on the whisky trail. Not watching the Jays/Yanks game at all that day. Yet, because we were clinging to something like a game and a half on the Yanks for the div, and it was the late season, and we were in a crucial series with the Bombers, I decided I needed to check in and popped into a local sports bar. You know the was one of those massive establishments with Cinemax size screens and gals with form fitting referee jerseys bringing wings and buckets of Corona.

Walked into a giant room, looked up at the screen and saw the face of a man did know something. Here was Russell Martin, in a tight 1-0 game, with a man on base,  a slim lead in both the late innings of both the game and the Division, and who knew this could all go south really quick if he let it.  Not everyone in the bar was old enough to remember '87. Hell, I think I was the only guy old enough who was.

I harkened back to Kirk Gibson in '88 and instantly recognized the look of man who was about to make a statement for his squad. "I can't believe what I just saw....." rang through my mind, as he fouled off a few pitches.  No trace of of anger or desperation or abandon. He knew that that ball was going over the wall.  I picked up the phone and texted a cryptic message to Maniwaki outposts across the country, unaware if the game was being viewed there or not.

Then, bang. There she went. Sailing over the wall. Martin circled the bases and trotted home to an extra 2 spot on the board, coming home to wild team mates, wild Dome, wild southern Alberta sports bar. Most importantly some much needed insurance for the game and season as this was an important jack. To be honest, one of the best I have ever seen. It was like he hit the ball for Canada.


So yeah I'm jacked up. Of course, I'll be watching. I don't know how any of this is going to shake out, but if what's past is indeed prologue, let's do what we know how to do best. Get good and grubby in every inning, have some laughs, drink some beers, squirm through that tight inning, and see where we end up at.  Nice to have October baseball back and of course, this time, even nicer to have it back in our backyard.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Swell Season

So it's that time of  the year. We're a day into the 2012 Playoffs and there's much to catch up on, as you've noticed I decided to take the entire summer off.

All for the better really. Did you really need to read the same sad story day after day? Did you need to hear me bemoan the Blue Jays while begrudging the NHL in the days leading up to the lockout?

Of course you didn't. So in turn we all won out. To recap how the 2012 Jays season played out in Maniwaki Country goes pretty much like this;

The squad started strong. I had hope. I flew out to Oaktown to reconvene with the fam in early June. Many discussions about pro sport were had amongst mon freres and I.  That was the same week pitchers started dropping  off the mound at a daily rate.  The season started sinking.  Muskoka Molly and I went to the Dome to catch the Phills. Sat in the bleachers, ate hot dogs, drank over priced tall cans. I flew home. Didn't bother going to Seattle. Good thing as they got swept anyways. Hope faded. More injuries. More controversy (The Cuban Marker Crisis and The Boston Poaching ...etc) The end.

And now here we are on Day 2 so let's get up to speed.

Caught both games of the new "One Game To Rule Them All" format at both jobs as I was working a double. Atlanta/St. Louis at the BBQ pit and Rangers/Orioles at the shack.

Watched Larry's last at bat, and kind of felt bad for him. Not that I was ever a Chipper Jones fan, but I was kind of hoping  for the "old vet leads young team to greatness on his final tour" story to play out. Turns out you have to be able to field a ball properly for that to happen, (bad calls or not) so no luck for Larry.

Next up was Texas vs Baltimore. Had a couple of delightful Div 1 softball superstars join me at the bar to take this one in. A swell couple of gals on vacay in Canadia, who have earned accolades in The Game back in their home state.   Needless to say, good for baseball.

Despite the Texan's late season division collapse to Billy Beane's eventual "Moneyball 2" cast, I still thought the Rangers were too powerful and pissed off to let this one slip. Darvish on the hill, coupled with the mighty Texan line up would surely make short work of the upstart Orioles.

Guess not.

So as this new and ultimately ridiculous "first round" is over, we get into the real deal today with Oakland/Detroit and SF/Cincy. I, of course, will be definitely keeping more than just a casual eye on The Game this fall, and most likely will have more to say than will fit in a twitter feed.  Feel free to check back here more regularly as once again we will revel in the spectacle and churn out what October 2012 decides to present to us.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Loveable Lackluster

yeah, yeah, yeah...I could weigh in on the Canucks loss/Kings' conquest, the Jays, or even Meta World Peace and the NBA Playoffs....but the only thing that has inspired me to write down is this.

As of today, the 19th of May in the year 2012, The Chicago Cubs baseball club are dead last in their division.

And goddam that seems so. right. for baseball.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Welcome Back


The Spectacle Summons South ...

Oh for fuck's sakes.... I was getting ready for the shack, and figured I might as well throw on "The Jersey" just for whatever. Not that these clowns deserve to win with the way that they've been playing, but I figured I should at least make a token effort at fandom.

I fully expected to go to the shack, watch the inevitable sweep, come home and write a quick obit and put the 2012 season to rest. However, the spectacle seems to be once again folding into a bizarre orca origami, compelling me to take up the e-typer in these e-pages for at least another few post-games.

See the Spouse and I are about to embark down the Pacific Coast, en route to San Diego, passing directly through Dustin Brown's back yard. Despite the many, many Maniwaki domestics that we've had in the past weeks regarding a possible Game 6 stopover at the Staples Center, it appears that we will inescapably be headed right into the unlikely hockey hotbed of California.

We will most likely be in SoCal on Sunday, and I anticipate a more than mild interest in the game from the locals as even the likes of Kobe and Becks showed their mugs in the stands in Game 3.

I wasn't planning on this becoming a Maniwaki road trip, as I've been watching Round 1 emotionally detached and dispassionate, unfazed by the squad's latest offering of playoff cruelty. But the Hanky/Danky reunion and Schneider clinic tonight has suddenly made this series compelling in Maniwaki Country.

Not that I'm expecting a series win. Far from it. I'm fully anticipating the other skate to drop at any second. But I will be in close proximity of the blade when it does begin it's rapid descent.

Will the Canucks force Game 6? If so, will I over come a marital meltdown and attempt to secure ticket(s)? Will we survive SoCal? Or will I be forced to don an eyepatch and literally bee line for the 1-5 back to Van in the Maniwaki version of "Escape From L.A."?....

...better put this blog back in your bookmarks. At least for the next week or so.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Opening Day 14 Inning Stretch

Holy fuck what a season opener. First time I've watched one at both houses of employment. Caught the beginning at the BBQ pit and lost my brisket when Encarnacion tied it up in the 9th.

By the time I wolfed down an oyster po' boy and made it across town to the shack, I was floored to see this thing had actually reached the 16th, and that most likely Farrell had burned through his entire staff.

Never mind JP's missed sign and walk off, I'm chalking up this win to the squad's new/retro unis. You take the field on Day 1, clad in garb from the glory days, manage to come back three runs and there's no way you lose a 16 inning game.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Maniwaki MLB Season Preview 2012

Yeah I know Ichiro has already ran the bases over in Japan, and that the Marlins unveiled their new multi-million dollar stadium along with new moniker and double rainbow digs. But dammit, tomorrow is the official MLB sanctioned Opening Day, so while you root for Rickey and the lads as they take on the tribe, here's the annual Maniwaki MLB Preview.

This year, I'm trying something different. Sticking with the scaled down theme around Maniwaki Country as of late, I'm cutting right down to brassies by providing only a one word summation for each of our 30 squads this 2012 season.


1. Philly. Arms.

2. Atlanta. Experience.

3. Fish. Zambrano.

4. District Of Clowns. Laughable.

5. NYM. Who?


1. Cincy. Balanced.

2. Beer Swillers. Sleeper.

3. Cards. Spurned.

4. Bucs. .500

5. Cubbies. Overpaid.

6. Houston. AAA.


1. Giants. Timmy.

2. D-Bags. Management.

3. Rockies. Thin.

4. Dodgers. Divorce.

5. SD. Lacking.

Now over to the relevant side;


1. Lone Stars. Resolute.

2. Halos. Bank.

3. Oakland. Oscars.

4. Seattle. Fuck.


1. Tigers. Bidders.

2. Aboriginals. Surprising.

3. Twins. Slipping.

4. Chi Sox. Leaderless.

5. Royals. Soon.

AL E. (as always, in ascending)

5. O's. Futility.

4. Red Sox. Disarray.

3. Rays. Apathy.

2. T.O. Finally.

1. Yanks. Usual.

Friday, March 02, 2012

A Veri-Fitting Farewell

Always liked him. Even the retirement speech stuck to the program. Now that was a ball player. Yup.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Un Jour Très Triste Pour Le Baseball...

RIP Gary Carter. Thanks for playing like a true class act. For giving Canadians hope. And for getting me into The Game.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Yu Fucker

Less than 12 hours before the Spouse and I fly out to the Dot for X-mas, and we're pretty jacked up to say the least.

Over the last week I had visions of walking out of the baggage carousel into ground zero of screaming sports pages trumpeting the newest Jays Japanese Robo-tech super weapon. An acquisition that would spell certain doom for an aging Yankees lineup next season. A cybernetic, lazer hurling beast who would be the final piece to send us back into Contention.

I mean hell, we even issued new battle fatigues.

But. Apparently nay.

On one hand, a damn shame, seeing as since the last WBC I've seen Darvish as some utterly lethal, yet ultimately composed Chow Yun Fat style Crouching Tiger master.

On the other hand, forking out 51.7 mill US just to talk to someone for 30 days is kind of ridiculous.

Regardless, I'll be sure to sit at the Maniwaki Oaktown HQ kitchen table tomorrow AM and pour over the Globe to see just what the fuck happened.

My initial guess? Yu poo pooed the northern Igloo, in favour of pitching for the Series contending Rangers. Or maybe Nolan was still really pissed about losing the whole thing with one strike left and bet the ranch.

Anyways we'll find out exactly what's what tomorrow right from the showroom floor.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Holy smokes, I've got to to work a thousand hours in the food and the beverage right now, but I'm literally losing my breaky at this bomb coming out of Anaheim.

Oh and this $77 million dollar grenade thrown on top for good measure.

They just forked out over a quarter of a billion dollars on two players. How about we all occupy Angels Stadium?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

And On The 168th Day, They Pressed Charges...

24 weeks to the day, and we see the first slate of names come out of the courthouse. I say throw the Big BC Book at them.

Yet, I wonder if any of them don't manage to deal down and are in deed found guilty, when will they be sentenced? 2020?

And what will the final disciplinary action be? A public apology? An afternoon picking up garbage around GM Place?

While everyone's prancing around beaming about the recent five game win streak, let's remember that these motherfuckers turned this city into a smoldering shit show, injuring a slew of people and collectively flushing any goodwill and global accolades left over from the Olympics right down the international toilet.

Fuck at the very least, I'd like to see the Canucks organization slap a three season ban on each and every convicted rioter hoping to walk through the Garage turnstiles.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stanley Still Stings

Ok, here's a couple of tilts to tide you over until I actually feel like posting anything about the NHL. Oh yeah....we won. (still not there yet. perhaps in the new year. perhaps...)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bear Hunting

Ok. So there's this sitch with Lucic.

Ryan Miller is pretty pissed, Sherrif Shanny is vowing that it's not "open season [on goalies]", Lindy Ruff is sticking to his story and no one can agree if the right call was made.

While I've always been a proponent of goalies being fair game when they're out of the crease, and while Lucic's hit was a kosher shoulder to shoulder, let's just remember who's testing the unspoken rule in NHL court. Lucic and the Bruins. Quelle surprise.

Admittedly, I'm a bit biased against Boston, after they hammered on Hank and Dan in last year's Cup Finals and were ultimately rewarded for their neo-brand of Broad Streeting. Reading NESN crap like this doesn't help either making me want to lose my Looch in standing by Shanahan's decision.

So ultimately the only reconciliation can be taking solace in Don Cherry's much touted, "law of the jungle". Crunch our goalie, face wash our star....fine. But know that next time you come to our bar we're calling up our 7 foot Sasquatch from Cold Lake Alberta to line match with Lucic on every shift.

Teams need to start crunching the B's back. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Shitty Cell Phone Picture Is Worth 454 Words

Ok there's really no sports shit to talk about here, but I figure that since this is the only place I spew thing, I'll vent out my "fuck I love Halloween" rant here. Here goes.

Fuck do I love Halloween.

Didn't really do anything tonight, but take a very empty shift at the shack. The old shack on All Hallows is pretty damn creepy. Especially when there's barely a soul in it maowing random ahi and black cod morsels.

I spent the night concocting drinks for fall/winter. Got nice and toasty. Sat around and bullshit with the chefs about the ghosts which inhabit the place. (I'm not kidding. More on this later. After I recant my tales, even the most logical scientific of minds will be running out the doors like Shaggy and Scoob.)

Hit the road early. Poured a pop for the hike. Meandered down the dark and boogly path through dark and boogly Stanley Park. Saw some fireworks getting lit off by some kids at English Bay. Decided to plant myself down on a park bench, and take it all in.

Did. And what a damn nice view. Tried to take a cell phone photo of it. Didn't work with a damn. Will have to describe it here instead.

A bright copper laughing crescent moon (which could've given Spielberg's Dreamworks stamp a run for its money), laying out a path so golden over the shimmering English Bay water, it would've made Pony Boy look like a late 19th century chimney sweep.

In addition random bursts of fire works were not only blasting off from the nearby beach, but all across the horizon. From East Van to Point Grey random blasts of various colours and configurations kept lighting the place up. All underneath the lazy, approving gaze this really jolly looking "man in la lune."

I don't know, it was like all these random pockets all over the city were unspoken yet united in their sole mission of the night. Namely to set it off and provide a brief break from The All Encompassing Routine. Not in an idiotic an unfocused way like the riots. I don't know, it was like being in V For Vendetta the end of Fight Club or something. An anti- Celebration Of Light.

Made it home. Took the dog for a stroll. Passed a few heritage houses on Davie with many o Jack O' Lantern perched on the stoops. People that would never usually yak with each other, stopping at each stoop, to weigh in on each piece. Just absolutely fucking neighbourly.

Passed many costumed drunken stragglers. Some pretty creative. Some not. Some pretty skimpy.

Made it home again. Original Halloween with Jamie Lee's on. Got eats, vino, and a tired ass dog.


Friday, October 28, 2011

The Cry Of Collapse

What the fuck was that?

You know you've just watched one of the most epic Series Games ever, when you get home and your Spouse (who could give half a shit about pro sport) asks you what was going on, as her Twitter feed was lighting up like the Super Himalaya at Midnight Madneess.

I've consumed one glass of wine, a stiff shot of Washington vodka, and an easy Buffalo Trace chaser and still I feel like I need about a full distillery's worth to work through the insanity I've just witnessed.

Where to start?

Did everyone forget how to catch? Did everyone forget how to pitch? Like the Skip aptly asked via text across Maniwaki Country:

"Does anyone want to win this game?"

Look, I know nerves come into play on the big stage. And we've seen teams quickly turn their spikes into plastic as they soccer boot their way out of contention (see the 2006 Tigers).

But this. I can't comprehend.

Or maybe I can. As much as I hate to admit it, the Texans are MLB's Canucks. Think I'm wrong? Consider.

1. An original expansion team which has been around for 40 or 50 years, with limited finals appearances, which has never taken home the big prize.

2. A team who on paper is heavily favoured, and is more than capable.

3. A squad who get so excruciatingly close (a potential Game 6 close out), yet make it so excruciatingly painful. (The Rangers unable to clinch the Series with one strike left. Twice in one night. The Canucks going up 2-0, then 3-2, conquering their demons only to have them charge back out at Warp 13 out of hell.)

4. A club who is ultimately doomed to a "traditional" franchise boasting a ton of titles and experience.

I was at the shack holding down the fort in both circumstances. Which leads me to point # 5.

5. The random bitch. I've worked with the stinking public for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I hate them all. Well most of them. But they can be dealt with. 99.99 times out of 100, when dealing with an annoying characters, you carry a variety of arrows in your quiver capable of chilling them out. But sometimes there's a personality so far gone that no matter how much fire across the bar, even a complete projectile blackout ala 300, you will the not puncture the impenetrable shield of stupidity.

More specifically, you will find "the random bitch" the one who won't shut up and who only gets louder at all the wrong times. She is light years beyond shrill. She is incredibly incessant. She says the most inane shit.

And she only shows up when the aforementioned long suffering team, is about to shit the bed in the grandest of fashions.

The last time I encountered such an enraging entity was Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A Bruins fan from fucking Langley who probably thought she was Cam Neely's 10th cousin. And tonight I encountered another. Who randomly squawked out O.M.G!!!! Every two seconds. Who made the ground breaking analysis "baseball is so slow and boring". And who managed to announce every woe of her last place NFL team (also the Cardinals! Crazy!) every time the game was on the line.

The second she planted herself at the bar, I should've known it was over.

Wasn't Josh Hamilton supposed to be the hero? Looked like it for about half an inning. Weren't we all supposed to clap as Nolan Ryan graciously accepted the Rangers' first Commisioner's Trophy? Weren't we supposed to feel smug as Albert and La Russa slinked off into the dugout after the final out?

The out that never seemed to come. No matter how close. Why was Nelly playing so shallow? Why couldn't Neftali get that big out?

Why couldn't Nolan Ryan himself suited up in extras to close it out?

I'd like to offer the Rangers and their fans some hope, but the writing is on the wall. They get blown out in Game 7.

And I'll probably have a full bar of harpies commentating all 9 innings.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

W.C. Fields

A guy walks into a bar, and asks, "Are you playing the World Series on the TV tonight?" To which we responded in unison, a resounding, "yup."

Now while this sounds like the opening of a bad joke, in a round about way it is as;

1. The guy was from St. Louis, a huge Cardinals fan. So much so that he recanted a story about meeting Big Mac and asking him to call his ailing 92 year old father. McGwire obliged and the next day yakked with the guy's pop for 20 minutes on the horn. Say what you want about "not talking about the past", that's just good for baseball.

2. The guy asked for a booth where he could view the game whilst dining with his wife. I made sure there was an unobstructed sight line, and kept the non-Series watching bar patrons off on the wings.

3. He sat intently, locked in for 8 full innings, and had to be dragged out by his irritated wife, just as mighty Josh Hamilton sac flied in Kinsler to tie the game.

4. Ended up missing the rare Cards bull pen break down, as Michael Young also sacked in the winning run, cuing Nolan Ryan to finally crack a smile in the stands.

So yeah, I guess the punch line was pretty bad for him. But it was a damn good game, and now a damn good Series.

The Spouse and I are off to America tomorrow, which I'm pretty jacked up about, as Americans know a thing or two about baseball. So it will be pretty damn good to catch a few innings on Saturday, from the other side of the bar, on the other side of the border.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Evil

Well this is really is turning into the Tony La Russa Show isn't it?

Let's pull the best pitcher in the post season while he's rolling, only to have the music from "The Natural" play for whomever bench player takes his spot in the batter's box. Ironic that over managing was the downfall of last year's Texas team, and "hyper" managing has gotten a last minute Wild Card clincher into an early lead in The Series. Washington doesn't have a hope in heck of trying to out move this guy.

I kept and eye on the game at the shack, and damn at least it was a good watch. Texas didn't roll over like I thought. Kinsler was an absolute beast defensively, and CJ actually lasted until the sixth.

Yet, I still knew that even though in the top of the ninth, and being down 3-2 with two out and Nelly coming up , the Rangers were doomed. Sure as shit, he popped out to end Game 1 and most likely The Series.

At this level it's entirely mental, and like it or not evil genius La Russa has successfully gotten into the entire opposing organization's collective psyche. Expect nothing more from Nelly. Maybe a token blast from Hamilton. A big game on both ends from Kinsler.

She ends in 5.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's The Post Season. Not The Off Season.

I just love how The World Series starts tomorrow, and while these idiots didn't even play one game in October, they're still managing to dominate the ball headlines. Can we please just get to some actual ball?

So yeah...turns out I was as wrong as wrong can be in the prediction dept this year, as Texas and St. Lou go head to head for all the marbles.

Will it be a great Series? Of course it will. Just look at both lineups. Look at the match ups. I can't wait to see Nelly step into the box vs Carpenter. I can't wait for Albert to try and one up him, hitting bombs all the way to El Paso. I can't wait to see how La Russa's itchy bull pen phone lines up against Ron Washington's newfound Zen calm.

Since I'm batting 0.00 in predictions, I must continue by boldly proclaiming the Cards 2011 World Series Champs in Seven Games, by virtue of their history/experience/hot streak.

However at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox found a loophole to allow them a retro active two round by into Fall Classic to take the whole thing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Most Unlikely October Contests

So Tony La Russa's been line matching like a Cup contending coach, and apparently it's paying off big time.

Is this really surprising? Maybe, considering the many unwarranted early, exits of his starters. But Wild Card team or no, the second Carpenter won that epic Game 5 vs Roy, all regular season rankings went out the window. The Cards have the squad with the most experience, the manager with the most experience (despite what you think of him and his porn star mustache) and well...the most playoff experience historically.

Will Prince and Ryan Braun be un-handcuff themselves for the next two games? Let's put it like this. Even if they do, and break out for 6 hits and 10 RBI's between them in Game 6, Marcum (12.46 October ERA) is on the hill for the Brewers.

So...yeah....most likely it'll be Cards/Tigers...for all the marbles?


Hey at this point I won't be surprised to see Carpenter pitching perfect ball in Game 1, twisting Miggy and Mags up like a dirty martini and still getting the hook in the 3rd for Octavio Dotel.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Catch Up

Ok so the DS's have all wrapped up and we're into the CS's. While I haven't been as hopped up as usual, I have been paying close attention. Let's recap a few things worth recapping.

1. Deep In The Heart Of... Holy smokes is Texas deep. After CJ's Game 1 meltdown against Tampa I figured it was all over, but wouldn't you know it, this squad has managed to keep its shit together to actually look pretty scary.

Dispatching the Rays in four and now up 2-0 heading into Tiger territory tonight, Ron Washington's lads are proving that experience matters. (Also heard one of the commentators note that Washington has taken a very hands off approach to managing this Oct, in favour of "letting the players do their thing.") Seeing as he out maneuvered himself last year in The Series, this is pretty wise.

Patience is the key in Texas as Nelly proved last night to hit his historic October slam. To continue my current personal drought of missing the big moments of the 2011 playoffs, I of course happened to turn around the exact second he did it, leaving the volumeless, slo mo replay on the shack TV to fill me in. Speaking of which...

2. Is Tito Still In The Broadcast Booth? What's fortunate for me about these playoffs is that I've managed to actually catch a few of the games at home, meaning attention at my own discretion. And volume. While the latter is usually a welcome addition to the complete playoff viewing package, the first two games of the ALCS taken in at HQ, have sounded like a four hour asinine episode of "Off The Record."

Sure Terry Francona helped to bring a long awaited WS Banner back to Boston (and another to boot), and sure his recent departure probably wasn't under the most equitable of circumstances, but my god listening to him try to banter with Joe Buck for 9+ innings (with rain delay) is like being 5 years old and being forced to go a 3 hour midnight mass on Christmas eve delivered entirely in some Slavic language you can't begin to understand. All with no Star Wars action figures. Excruciating.

3. The Best Inning Of Playoff Ball I've Seen In A While. All the bookies in Vegas must have been doing backflips as both the Phills and Yanks exited early. Let's go back to the game they're now calling "an instant classic." Namely Game 5 of the Phills/Cards.

Two ex-Jays (yeah, I know you've already heard it. whatevs...) duelling as intensely as Kenobi/Skywalker in Episode III, Halladay vs Carpenter was definitely one of the best test of wills I've seen on the diamond in a while. Caught this one at the shack, and as it was unfolding, I too got flashbacks to Jack Morris in 1991.

The key for me. Eighth inning, Doc dealing with the bases juiced and you knew that no one was coming across the plate. Naturally, he followed up with a massive strike out.

Watching Carpenter absolutely slay the Philly line up, outgunning Doc, to the tune of a 1-0 complete game shut out, had me
literally weeping as if I'd just experienced a stunning psychoacoustic performance from a famous virtuoso.

4. Prince Is Fat, But Fuck Can He Hit. Yup.

Friday, September 30, 2011

BBQ... Bourbon... Bunting

Let's just recap the day a bit shall we?

Finished early at the BBQ joint. Had the telly tuned to all the DS pregame all shift. Heavy anticipation. Finally the predictions and prognostications had given way to bunting and a packed stadium. It's on. Let's go.

Plunked myself down at the bar at about the mid 3rd to a full platter of brisket, pulled pork, and smoked jalepeno sausage. Corn bread, baked beans. Slaw. Phenomenal. And a shot a half of a damn fine, bold bourbon. Knob Creed 9 Yr Single Barrel Reserve. Heavenly.

Probably one of the best BBQ and whiskey experiences of my life. Perfectly smoked pork. Tender ass brisket. Baked beans that acted as a warm blanket to provide comfort from the west coast downpour. Fiery, spicy bourbon to spark the slow smoked meats. Cold coleslaw to balance everything out.

An awesome October opening series, taken in post shift, whilst having the best seat in the house. Literally feasting on, and fully savouring the break between shifts sip by sip.

Said it a trillion times, I'll say it again.

Fuck, I love October baseball.

Christ it's just like whisky.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Day After. The Day Before.

Holy fuck who's excited? This guy.

After a summer long malaise, the much touted "single greatest day in regular season history" has definitely demanded I pay attention and commanded me to return to The Game.

Thus, I must answer the call and use this brief beer/blog/couch time to break down the imminent October play downs. Now that the tourney bracket is set, let's assess:

1. Rays/Rangers. Sure everything's bigger in Texas. And wow, they sure do have big bats. But please. This isn't even a contest. You can talk to me Josh Hamilton/Kinsler/Nelly/ all you want. The fact of the matter is that the Rays just overcome the largest Sept deficit in MLB history to reach the DS. They have pitching. They have bats. They all buy into the team game. And they are managed by one of the best minds on the bench right now in the Bigs. Let's just remember that last year, Ron Washington got out maneuvered by a guy who's biggest offensive weapon was Cody Ross. Rays in four.

2. Yanks/Tigers. Yes, yes, yes. Justin Verlander had a swell year. Yes, Miggy and Victor Martinez can swat. But let's just remember the Tigers WS team of a few years back that mistook the ball field for a rugby pitch and literally tried to kick field goals every inning. The Yanks have been bred to win The Series for decades. Version 20.11 is no different. Even though they're old, and Detroit looks pretty damn competitive on paper, the Yanks will finish this off in four. IF and I mean IF the Tigers can get it together mentally and thus defensively, and somehow win the first round, they will win the whole thing. But we all know that won't happen.

3. Phillies/Cards. Please. Next.

4. Brewers/ D-Backs. My sleeper hit to make some noise during this whole October campaign is Milwaukee. If in four weeks, I'm writing a retrospective about how Prince and Co, managed to bring the banner to Miller Park I will not be completely flabbergasted. Consider. Prince, the prize free agent, poised to drive his stock through the retractable by having a monster October. Zack Grienke, who will do one of two things; collapse under the immense spotlight or routinely pitch complete games shut outs until Halloween. If he goes the latter route, I won't be surprised to see this Cinderella squad celebrating their first franchise World Series win on the Bronx grass.

"I Can't Believe What I Just Didn't Saw...!!!!!!!!"

Did I just see that?

Both Leagues with two teams tied in Game 161 for the final playoff spot. Four games which I was furiously flipping amongst at the shack tonight trying to keep pace. Two of said games going into extras. One which was an absolutely Herculean comeback. And two historic September collapses.

Did I really just see that?

Apparently not, as when every single game changing highlight reel play hit the screen, I happened to not be watching. Turned away for a second or doing some menial shack shit. Each pants shitting play commentated to me by the puck masochistic, non-ball fans (soon to be October converts) mulling about the shack.

The bottom of the ninth two out game tying Dan Johnson Devil-jack. The bottom of the ninth two out, two strike Papel-meltdown, to Andino bloop game winner. The Hunter Pence late inning in-field knock to knock out the Braves. The Longo walk off to lock up the AL WC.

Yup. Missed'em all. But no matter. The TSN is calling today "the greatest day in regular season baseball ever." Hard to disagree. Truth be told, I wasn't really too jacked for October this year.

But holy fuck. I guess The Game had other ideas. As once again, it's time to crack about 1000 Tremblays and write off the next month.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rally Monsters

Ok, so yeah it's another year of playing out the last week of September but at least the Jays final home game of the year had a few pluses.

1. Edwin Encarncion cracked a walk off 12th inning bomb to keep the Jays a perfect 11-0 in extras at home this year.

2. In doing so, helped to stymie those damn rally monkeys, by keeping the Halos from gaining any WC ground on the Red Sox.

3. Hey according to the major label feed, it seems that this 11-0 home bid is now some new obscure MLB record. A stat which I'm sure Jamie Campbell's great grandson will trot out in 2112 on some Rogers Solar System Jays broadcast.

4. Home attendance was tallied at 1,818,103 which is a far cry from the 3 mill outburst of the late '80's. But's going to be another predictable .500 finish.

At least it's not like the Tampa sitch, where the Rays sit second last in attendance yet are involved in yet another late September pugilistic playoff push.

Tell me that if the Jays sat a mere 2 games behind Boston with under 10 to go, the Dome, and the Tower wouldn't be packed every night. Christ, even the Sky Pod would be over capacity.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello Nora Jeanne...

Well, there's nothing like good old fashioned, good news to shake a guy out his extended summer sabbatical. As the news doesn't get any better than the addition of another very, important crew member in our coast to coast cast.

I am quite convinced that it is no coincidence that on the night that big league Hockey returned to the Canadian Prairies, young Miss Nora Jeanne-Marie began making her journey down the hallway, to step out on the proverbial ice for the first time.

Greeted by her new proud parents, The Skip and First Mate. To whom, I trumpet with an air horn, a multitude and myriad of of congratulations.

Welcome to the squad kid. We're ecstatic you're on the team.

Time for a celebratory smoothie...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Half Full

So yeah.

A couple of back to back wins to get back to .500. This I've enjoyed over the last few days. Especially the manufactured walk off last night in extras. I love aggressive base running, especially when it leads to sac fly walk offs by Sir John A. Good for baseball.

And tonight just a pummelling. Also, this is baseball worth watching.

It's Wednesday and that means Whitecaps on the telly, and hell, even they didn't shit the pitch tonight. Rallied to garner the draw.

Right now this all must seem pretty mediocre, but I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

MLB Notes

Holy fuck.

A real weekend. Can't believe it. Two full days off, and n'ary a shot to pour or a salmon to sling. Save for myself, should I want.

Hunkered down at HQ, with an early Jays/Yanks tilt on the sportsnet. Coffee. Computer. July rain outside (?). Soon, bacon.

Anyways a ton of doings happening around ball lately. Before I fire up the skillet, let's pour another cup of scoop and see what's what:

1. Sign Stealling? Can the pinstripes just fuck off back to the Bronx and stop moaning about how their billion dollar franchise has gotten mashed over the last two days, giving up a combined 23 runs?

We have Major League manager, musing in the media about the Jays' alleged ability to read Russell Martin's pitch calls all the way from Bloor St, but admittedly the manager isn't, "...100 percent sure about anything."

These latest sandlot antics serve as the official Reason #5903 to hate the Yanks. Whining.

2. ASG 2011. Caught a bit of the AL/NL showdown at the shack the other night. Not really too memorable of a game, but I did dig seeing Bautista put his stamp on the score card, with a spectacular sliding catch in right, and a rare AL base hit.

Yeah...the times definitely have changed when the AL is limited to one run. Prince had a nice bong as well, leading his League to home field advantage in The Series. There's just something really right about baseball when you see a jolly, portly guy round the bases after mashing one out of the park.

3. 3000 for D-Jeets. Pinstripes or no, you gotta respect Jeter and his impact on The Game. As the Captain cracked his 3000th hit in grandest fashion last weekend, we're cuing up the music from "The Natural", taking second and tipping our caps.

While quite often, the term gets flung about carelessly, we have no hesitation to call Jeter's 5-5 performance with a bomb (in the Bronx) to tally his 3000th hit as undoubtedly and positively Ruthian. 'Atta go Jeets.

4. Roger Dodger. Look. When the Rocket initially got named for juicing, it was a pretty big deal as it was pretty much him, Bonds, and Big Mac, and of course, Canseco serving the biggest names to be associated with steroids. Now, over the last few years, we've witnessed pretty much half The League outed,

[goddammit, let's stand up and have another hand clap for Jetes. Way to stay clean for the kids.] there's no way Congress is going to send this good old boy to prison. Clemens' name is in now the public syringe lot with everyone else's. Case closed.

5. Full Tilt In Spokane. Looks like the C's did their best to recreate the Stanley Cup riots, last week at Avista Stadium. Maybe they should've flipped over a field maintenance go cart and set it on fire. Looks like some old time hockey!

Monday, July 11, 2011

All Star Breakdown

Holy fuck it's the All Star break already? This really is the latest I've gotten into a season in a while.

So. I love the Home Run Derby. And like everyone else across Canada who gives half a shit about the horsehide, I of course was rooting for Mr. Blue Jack himself, Mighty Jose Bautista.

When I finally caught a piece his plate appearance from the shack telly, things weren't looking so hot. About 3 bongs with close 8 outs. Ouch. A trip out of the first round was not looking likely.

And so, I had to endure watching two Red Sox and a Yank battle it out for the remaining two hours, with Robinson Cano finally taking 2011 Derby.

Christ. We have the number one hitter in baseball and still can't even catch a break at the All Star Break.

At this rate I'm expecting Halladay to drill Bautista in square in the hand tomorrow, breaking three bones. Whilst Ricky Romero gets chewed up and spit out like some bad chaw by Scott Rolen.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Change Of Venue


I get it.

After last night's last minute meltdown by the Whitecaps, I turned from the beautiful game back to the Grand Old Game. And was pleasantly surprised to find that the Jays were in command tonight against the Tribe.

For a grand total of 8 1/2 innings.

Then. The obligatory base juicing by the bullpen setting the table for Mr. .342, Mighty Travis Hafner.

We were up 4-1. From the way things had been going around Maniwaki Country lately, I knew what was about to happen.


I get it. The spectacle is trying to throw me out of the arena. It's putting a tarp on the field. It's shutting down the concession. It's sending out its burliest bouncers.

So. Ok. No worries. I'll take a cue. For this weekend at least, as I'm hitting the road and playing the first out of town show I've played in a loooooong time. Yup. Now thats good for baseball.