Tag Archives: World Series

Bring On The Fall Classic

jock

Often I hear folks say they hate baseball and that’s fine. I couldn’t care less about NFL football, including the Super Bowl.

Since I was a kid I’ve loved baseball. Loved to play it, loved to watch it, loved to read about it. I was a big Dodgers fan during the Sandy Koufax, Don Drydale, Maury Wills days. Later on it became the Expos, and now it’s no team in particular.

Of course, loving baseball means loving World Series time, which is now. I can remember in grade 5 when my teacher let me bring my transistor radio to school when the Series was played during the day, and my job was to sit at the back of the class, quietly listen to the game, and as the score changed throughout, write it on the blackboard.

I’m cheering for the Giants over the Royals, even though the Giants were the enemy when I was a Dodgers fan. Kansas City might be a fine place, but San Francisco is my kind of town.

(25 years ago, 63 people died during a massive San Francisco earthquake, and it’s assumed a great deal more would have perished had it not been for Candlestick Park being full of baseball fans for game 3 of the ’89 World Series).

Have a look at  Mr. Ed (the talking horse) give hitting pointers to those L.A. Dodgers from my youth. Quite a horse, that Ed.

Babe Balls

I can only imagine what went through your head when you read this title. You should be ashamed of yourself. Maybe go to confession.

Yes, it’s World Series time! I can remember in grade 5 when I brought my little red transistor radio to school and the teacher let me listen to the games, which were held in the afternoon back then, and whenever the score changed, my job was to post it on the blackboard. I was a big shot, everyone else had to do school stuff while I happily listened to the ballgame. It was one of the highlights of my schooldays.

Maybe the only highlight. I think it was all downhill after grade 5.

In honour of the World Series beginning, here’s a sampling of Babe Ruth signing baseballs, which these days can be bought for anywhere from $5000 to $25000. I wouldn’t recommend buying one though, even if you have Scott Gomez-type money. Not with forgers being so dastardly talented.

Babe died in 1948, and the second picture you see here was definitely in his final years.

Go Ahead And Sweep

Game four of the Stanley Cup Finals goes tonight. Go Kings. End this. Then all 30 teams can start off even again next fall.

I want this thing over with, but I hate sweeps, especially in a final series, whether it’s the NHL, World Series, or a Delhi-Punjab cricket showdown. Books aren’t written about sweeps. Playoffs ending in suspense-filled seventh-game overtime drama is what’s sexy, not four-straight. Only sports-hating spouses love sweeps.

Owners don’t like sweeps, even if they’re the owner of the winning team. They might say they do but they don’t. Every extra 500 bucks they can squeeze out of people’s assholes is what it’s all about for them, and sadly, when the lights are turned off, all they’re left with are memories and a couple of mistresses.

Go Kings. Put New Jersey out of its misery. I know it’s been terrific for Kings fans, and Devils fans too I suppose, but for Habs fans, it’s been the season of the sewer, and it would be lovely if the fat lady opened her mouth and let ‘er fly. Then we can get on to next season and the playoffs where hopefully the Habs can pull off a sweep.

 

 

 

Halloween Hab Cat

 

Your hangover might say Halloween’s over, but it’s not. We’re right in the middle of it. The kids haven’t even gone out yet to get those homemade popcorn things that people put together because they’re too cheap to buy chocolate bars.

Not that I like Halloween. In fact, I hate it. I’ve hated it ever since that night in Ottawa in the 70’s when my first wife and I went to a costume party and we were the only ones who bothered to dress up. It was a house full of government workers if that explains anything.

So I swore off Halloween right then and there.  

The picture is of Teesha, a family member, who likes to watch birds and animals on the National Geographic channel. I thought she was a baseball fan until I noticed that she slept through almost every game of the World Series.

She likes Halloween, and the Habs. Of course. You think I’d have a cat in the house that wasn’t a Habs fan?

Teesha was a baby kitten when friends found her in a ditch, and she was given to us after she lived with a horse in a field for awhile. She’s a loving little thing, full of warmth and tenderness, although she wants to take down Andrew Ference and tuck his middle finger into the open slimey guts of a rat she might murder and mangle.

You Didn’t Think It Would Happen. Fascinating Facts Are Back!

 
Fascinating Fact #1…..Kyla Bremner, a woman wrestler competing for Australia in this year’s Beijing Olympics, is a native of my town, Powell River, BC. She’s on the Australian team because her mother is Australian. But make no mistake, she’s a Powell Riverite.

Fascinating Fact #2……I recently saw a documentary on Russian Czar Peter the Great. Peter would often go incognito to Europe, with a shaved mustache and old hat, and the documentary showed a painting of him in this mode. And lo and behold, he looks a dead ringer for deceased Russian hockey star Valeri Kharlamov.

 

Fascinating Fact #3….Maurice Richard wore number 15 before he changed to number 9, which was the weight of his daughter Hugette when she was born. (9 pounds). (I think you already know this, though.)

 

Fascinating Fact #4……When the Rocket was playing for the Verdun juniors in 1939, he took boxing lessons in the off-season. He became so good at it that he was entered into a Golden Gloves competition, but a damaging punch in the nose by his coach prevented him from participating.

 

Fascinating Fact #5…..New York Astrologer and psychic Monte Farber, bragging about the accuracy of his predictions, claims to have predicted that the New York Giants would beat the Green Bay Packers and win the Super Bowl. I’ve saved the clipping about his other prediction, which I’ve kept on my fridge since the spring, because I’m curious if he’s going to be right or not. He predicts the New York Yankees will face the San Francisco Giants in the 2008 World Series. Right now the Yankees are about five games back, and the Giants ten.

Fascinating Fact #6…..Leaf star Darryl Sittler and his wife Wendy were staying at Paul Henderson’s house and looking after their three daughters when Henderson scored those big goals during the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series.

Growing Up With A Beautiful Red Transistor Radio

Bill Bryson wrote a great book about growing up in the 1950’s, called The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I read it and realized he and I have a couple of things in common.

 

We both lived in towns with great main streets. We both wore Davy Crockett coonskin hats, we practiced our quick draw like Roy Rogers, delivered newspapers, and looked at our fathers’ dirty magazines which we found hidden in the back of closets.

 

Both our dads were creative, his being a sports writer, and mine a sign painter, but his dad got to go to baseball games in New York and Chicago, and my dad stayed home and painted letters on store windows.

 

Bill almost saw a naked girl once when he was about eight years old while playing doctor, but she backed out because she had a crush on him. I made sure I didn’t miss my chance because all I had to do was stand on my bike outside the window of the women’s change room at Couchiching beach and gaze in at the wonders of the world. I was doing great until one of my classmates, Carol Montgomery, saw me and screamed blue murder. Pretty sure I rode away with a smile on my face, though.

 

Bill’s big job back then was his paper route, and it was mine too. I won a red transistor radio once for getting the most new customers, and would tie it to my bike and listen to rock and roll as I made my rounds. It was the beginning of the end of my world as I knew it, because as soon as my ears made contact with Chuck Berry and the rest of those boys down south, everything changed. Music was sure better than school, and it gave me excellent ideas about girls. It couldn’t have been good for me. I blame my red radio for all the mistakes I’ve ever made.

 

Like Bill, we used to go to movie matinees and whip popcorn boxes like deadly Frisbees at the the screen and around the room. It was one of life’s great pleasures. If you’ve ever fired off a popcorn box missile and clunked some guy in the head who was making out with his girlfriend, you know what I mean.

 

Life then seemed to have only a few problems, like hoping the honourable defender of women in change rooms, Carol Montgomery, didn’t squeal on me. Or trying to decide between spending money on pinball or at the new Dairy Queen which had just opened up around the corner. Or straining to listen in school on my new transistor radio, without the teacher hearing, to World Series games which were played during the day while we were stuck struggling with remembering the route Columbus took when he left Spain.

 

Back then, Greenland wasn’t melting, the NHL only had six teams, and doctors recommended smoking for enjoyment and relaxation.

 

It was a good time to be young. Although I would’ve become a much better prson later in life if it wasn’t for that darn red transistor radio.

 

Those Montreal Expos: It Was Fun While It Lasted

I miss the Expos.

 

I miss Warren Cromartie and Tim Raines and Tim Wallach and Steve Rogers.

 

During the 198o’s, I almost followed every pitch. The Expos were one of baseball’s best teams, and for a nice stretch during these times, they were always in the thick of it come September.

 

I listened to Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider on my truck radio as I drove here and there out of Ottawa. And I watched as Rick Monday’s home run spoiled the Expos chances of advancing to the World Series that September of 1981 which became known as Blue Monday. 

 

There was Andre Dawson, Ellis Valentine, Chris Speier, Scott Sanderson. And of course a great catcher and a man who loved the limelight, Gary Carter.

 

I miss Rodney Scott, Larry Parrish, Dick Williams, Woody Fryman, Bill (Spaceman) Lee.

 

But the Expos are now the Washington Nationals, and I pay absolutely no attention to them at all. The Expos are gone. End of story.

 

And or me, the real reason the Expos aren’t in Montreal anymore is because the Big O was a ghastly place, a giant orange cave that echoed and swallowed you up. The seats were set in on a gradual slope, so even though you might be only 20 rows up, it seemed like you were a mile away.

The track that was used in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal surrounded the playing field, so it created not only a lousy un-baseball-like atmosphere, but also made it that many more feet from the stands, even, I think, from the dugouts.

So no one went. Most games were far from sellouts because the atmosphere wasn’t worth the hassle of driving there and parking. Attendance was dismal in Montreal, and Expos owners lobbied the city to build a nice baseball stadium downtown, (Olympic Stadium was way out in the east end), but were denied, and the next thing you know, they were gone.

 

I suppose Montreal will never see another major league team because usually, once you lose it, your chances are gone.

 

But we had them for awhile, and they sure were good. 

All Of A Sudden, After A Long Night, There’s A New Feel To The Finals

Is it possible this could be a dream series after all?

Is it possible that one team, although badly outshot in the series, down three games to one, with one young star, Evgeny Malkin, asleep at the wheel, and the other young star, Sidney Crosby, not behaving like the new Wayne Gretzky, can now make this a real series like we all thought it would be, on the strength of Petr Sykora’s overtime goal in game five that now makes it three games to two.

This absolutey can be a series to remember, although not the way we thought it would be. We thought it could go either way before it started. But Detroit’s been too good and it should be over but it’s not. Now, Wednesday’s tilt in Pittsburgh should be a real beauty.

Although we’ve been fooled before.

 

There’s nothing worse in professional sports than a final series sweep, or even a five game series.  In a perfect world, the showcase stretches out, with drama and heartache, and ending with sheer ecstacy for one team, with one player who creates a legend for himself by hitting that ninth inning pitch into the bleachers, nailing that last second three-pointer or Hail Mary, or notching a game seven overtime goal.

It’s drama. It’s what most of us want. Not some lacklustre, one-sided four game sweep. It’s not good for anyone, except the winning team.

Now we’ve got a series. Maybe.

In the last few hours I’ve talked to people who feel Pittsburgh can now win the whole thing. I’m not sure I feel this way, but they do.

And how can this be? The Penguins have been outplayed, outshot, and outclassed. But goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is starting to play like Martin Biron did in the Montreal-Philadelphia series, which is not something I’m particularly thrilled to remember.

 

Game Note.

When Maxime Talbot tied the game up late in the third period, it was originally announced as having been scored with 34 seconds to go. So I planned on mentioning that this would be the biggest goal with 34 seconds to go since Paul Henderson’s in Moscow in 1972.

Then the official time became 35 seconds to go. So never mind.