Outdoor Game at Yankee Stadium?

Yankee Stadium.  It is one of the magical kingdom’s of baseball.  It is known as ‘The House that Ruth Built’  and can be lubed in with Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago as one of baseball’s most sacred stadiums.

That very same Yankee Stadium is now being discussed by the New York Rangers management and New York Yankees management as a venue for an outdoor NHL hockey game.

The big issue with this notion is that the time frame for this game between the New York Rangers and an opponent to be named later is sometime in 2009 and it would look to be the final sporting event in the historic stadium.

As NHL broadcasting legend Howie Meeker always used to say. “Stop it right there!”  The final sporting event in Yankee Stadium, where the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Roger Maris -to name a select few- turned that stadium into a city icon as recognizable as the Statue of Liberty, might be a hockey game?

I love hockey, and I sincerely believe it to be the greatest sport ever invented, but I can appreciate and cherish the history of another great game in baseball.

Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium.  It would be sacrilegious to have a hockey game in that stadium in the first place, it may very well prove as the apocalypse of the sporting world if a hockey game is the final sporting event in that cathedral.  It would show disrespect to the Yankee greats who played the game of baseball in that stadium and turned it into what it is today. 

Could you have imagined if the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to play an indoor baseball game against the New York Yankees in the old Maple Leaf Gardens?  The City of Toronto and all the Maple Leaf greats -and yes, even though the Leafs are a despised organization, they have had greats- would be up in arms in disgust at this notion. 

I am all for playing hockey outdoors.  The NHL was lucky in Edmonton and Buffalo that the climate allowed for somewhat favourable conditions, and no one can argue with the success of both outdoor games in the new century of hockey. 

Should there be more outdoor games in the NHL?  Absolutely.  Should the NHL, the New York Rangers or the Boston Bruins or the Chicago Blackhawks play a game in some of the legendary ball parks of our time that where helped built by the great legends of the game of baseball?  No.  Not a chance.

As mentioned before, it would be sacrilegious.  If you believe in the Gods of Baseball, who they might be is up to you, they would find a way to make a hockey game in Yankee Stadium a disaster.  If you thought the Curse of the Bambino was bad for all the Boston Red Sox faithful, could you imagine his wrath should hockey be played in the house that He built?

Mariners Trade for Bedard Finally Goes Through.

Bedard

It took long enough. Erik Bedard, welcome to Seattle. 

The Canadian lefty will inject some youth into the Mariners rotation. Though Bedard, who will turn 29 this year, isn’t exactly a kid, their rotation was looking a little geriatric. 

The four other pitchers in the starting rotation will be Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Jarrod Washburn and Felix Hernandez, the first three being in their 30’s. 

Of the bunch, Washburn was the only lefty, other than the rarely used Horacio Ramirez that is. With another good lefty in the mix the Mariners should be in position to compete for the AL West crown.

Since both Oakland and Texas have been pushed to the back of the pack the Angels seem to be the only real competition. Last year, in what looked to be a rebuilding year, the Mariners managed to compete for the wild-card until September when the Yankees ran away from them.  

If they can keep Los Angeles within striking distance there’s no reason to think they can’t make a playoff appearance. 

Andre Beltre

The Bedard deal sent five prospects to Baltimore. The only player expected to play a role for the M’s this season was Adam Jones, so getting the pitcher didn’t cost the team much for this season. 

Big name acquisitions the Mariners have made in the past few years haven’t exactly worked out the way Seattle had hoped.

Adrian Beltre hasn’t come close to the numbers he put up in that MVP season in L.A. His home runs the past two seasons combined (25, 26) barely beat out that one year (48). Richie Sexson has also seen his power numbers steadily decrease since arriving in 2005. He even hit for a career low average (.205) last year and his on base percentage (.295) was its lowest since his rookie year. 

Here’s hoping the Mariners have found a player that can adjust to playing in the Pacific Northwest. If Bedard can produce, the Mariners will find themselves in another playoff chase. 

Johan Santana to the Mets

Santana

Today the Twins made the long awaited move of trading Johan Santana.

In return they received a number of prospects from the New York Mets but none of whom are expected to make an immediate impact.

After signing Justin Morneau to an $80-million contract, it was time to off load the Cy Young award winner but since both the Yankees and the Red Sox had pulled themselves out of consideration, only the Mets had a package that could suffice.

Phillip Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra are on their way to Minnesota in what you could consider highway robbery by Mets GM Omar Minaya.

Adding Johan Santana helps the Mets significantly. Pitching was a major reason for their epic collapse at the end of last season that ended with them on the outside of the playoff picture. The presence of an Ace like Santana allows the team to win some low scoring games every now and then. For a team that was so close in 2006, Santana can help the team rebound from a disappointing 2007 to be NL East champs and potentially a trip to the World Series. He’s already the favourite for the NL’s Cy Young though I’ll hold my tongue until we see more of him in the batters box.

Minaya didn’t really even have to mortgage the future of the team to get him either. The four players they sent to Minnesota aren’t sure things and they managed to hold onto their two best prospects, Fernando Martinez and Mike Pelfrey.

The deal hasn’t gone through just yet, since he hasn’t passed a physical and Santana is asking for a contract extension in the neighborhood of six years and $160 million. Sure it’s the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, but ask yourself this, have you ever seen a free agent that deserved it as much as the 28-year-old Santana? The money is peanuts when you consider he’s probably entering the prime of his career … and that’s scary.

The Mets had better pay the man, or they’ll be no better in the pitching department than their rivals in the Bronx.

Justin Morneau

From Minnesota’s perspective the trade was a must. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get any help in the short term, but if any of these players pay off down the road the team will be in good shape to contend. Especially now with both Morneau and Cuddyer locked up and Joe Mauer under contract for a few more years, the Twins might suffer this season but there are certainly better times to come for this group. This year may have been a write-off as is with Detroit acquiring Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. The Twins would have had to battle Cleveland and an AL east team for the wild-card, not to mention the Mariners if they can swing a deal for Erik Bedard.

Francisco Liriano may be the key to the Twins future success. If he can come back healthy in the near future, he should be able to pick up where Santana left off. I’d hate to see him go the way of Mark Prior but you can’t rule out that possibility. He’s an exceptional talent and just 24 years-old.

The Twins aren’t leaving the cupboard bare. I feel they’re just taking into account the talent in their division. Getting younger now will allow them to compete in a few years when their new stadium opens and other teams are having trouble signing their stars.

It’s inevitable in this sport.

This trade helps both teams. New York will see the dividends instantaneously while Minnesota will have to be patient.

Best of the Best: Part V – Sports, Where Would We Be Without You?

I signed on to this website today to begin my usual rant on what’s wrong in the world of sports when I watched the video Hosea posted yesterday.

Then it occurred to me. Could you imagine a world without sports?

It seems trivial and silly, but honestly, could you imagine a world without sports? God forbid the day should actually come when sports no longer exists.

When I watched this video, I began to think about how sports defines who we are as people. Sure, most of us were not gifted with the same skill set that pro athletes are, but I thought of how sports affects our lives.

Remembering 9/11

After the attacks of 9/11, it was baseball that took America on its shoulders and provided an uplifting emotion, passion and simplicity back into life. We all saw the images on television of players, coaches and spectators that were seen crying in those first few days when baseball came back following the attacks and we could understand that in the face of a life-altering event, this game of baseball was there to offer a release.

Every fan of the game could connect with every player in the game because of the tragedy of 9/11, but we could all connect with the emotion and the raw passion of a home-run, a great play in the outfield or a bottom-of-the-ninth strikeout to save a victory when the game was close and so much was at stake. With every fist pump, with every controversial call and with every hot-dog consumed in the crowd, the game of baseball lifted people from this tragedy and brought North America back.

If sports, and in this case, baseball didn’t exist, could the people of North America have found anymore common ground other than grief to rally from? Probably not.

Take the Boston Red Sox’s two World Series victories in the last four years. People have been quoted as saying that they wish their family members could have lived to see the Red Sox win a championship, something that seemed impossible until 2004 when ‘The Curse of the Bambino’ was officially lifted.

Canada celebrate hockey

For most Canadians, we take hockey as our national sport. After all, this country has produced majority of the NHL players in the game, both past and present, and we pride ourselves on being the best. Our pride as a hockey nation is always at stake when we play in international competitions.

When Team Canada won at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, city streets were aligned with the Canadian colours and young and old and people of all different ethnic backgrounds and cultures were seen celebrating together because they were all brought together by Canada being the best at what it is the best at.

Chants of “Go Canada Go” echoed everywhere and it was an inspiring sight to see just how this game and all the emotion that comes from it just sweeps people up. When Canada wins, or the Canucks or even the Leafs, people that have that team or country in common come together to celebrate. If hockey didn’t exist, what would Canada be? What would Canada be without the rivalry of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens? A cold, snow-covered land with barely any common ground.

Then we have the athletes themselves. Doesn’t matter what level of sport, be it a pro athlete, a junior hockey player, a peewee football player, it doesn’t matter.

Sports is a way of life that has so much passion, no matter what the sport. We feed off the emotions, the talent, the desire to win and the attitude.

Tiger Woods Fans

Tiger Woods is a great example of this. The man is the best athlete in the world and every tournament he goes to, thousands and thousands of fans will follow and will get just as excited as he does when he makes a big shot on his way to victory at a major championship. We will sigh and curse and get frustrated just like he does when he fails.

As humans, we are emotional, but when we see people we idolize, we feel their emotions and sports is great for that. When someone gives a fist pump or hangs their head in defeat, thousands more of us do so as well.

We cherish these athletes and we marvel at the trophies, medals and awards because they represent being the masters of courage, passion, talent, years of failure and dedication to one day shed that failure.

After all the years of failure, defeat, tragedy, blood, sweat, tears and every other form of adversity, we could hold that belt, that trophy or that medal high above our heads and have that moment of extreme jubilation, that moment in time that we cannot honestly describe how good it feels to be the best because we cannot comprehend that feeling yet. The true feeling of a champion.

Whether we compete in the sport or we watch it or analyze it, we all want that one moment where we can say we overcame every obstacle to be the best. That is what sports does.

It has that power, like love, to envoke all these emotions from the good to the bad because we all live for that moment of greatness.

It doesn’t matter what sport or what athlete it is. From Babe Ruth to Muhammad Ali to Mario Andretti to Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard to Tiger Woods to Hayley Wickenheiser, the list can go on and on, it is these people and the world of sport that bring us together from all walks of life for those moments of greatness.

And that is what sports is all about.

I would hate to live in a world without sports.

Greatest Sports Moments of All Time

Brought to you by ESPN, this is one of my favourite clips as it compiles some of sport’s greatest moments.

There are sections with greatest calls from broadcastors, to flashes of greatest coaches, to greatest sports pictures, it’s a complete collection. It also plays to the tune of Dream On by Aerosmith.

It’s a must watch for sports fans. See how many plays and incidents you recognize.

Enjoy. 

For The Record

To all our devoted readers and followers, and we know there are many.

For the record, the TSC has tabulated the records of all the writers who contributed to and predicted the outcomes of the Major League Baseball playoffs. By doing this, we can name a TSC Baseball Playoff Champion and the winner gets … BRAGGING RIGHTS!

Rules for this competition:
1) Choose a team from each series and see who wins.
2) The winner, if a tie between two or three writers occurs, shall be decided by who choses the World Series Champion.

Cam Tucker: 4-3 (including choosing the World Series Champion)
Hosea Cheung: 4-3 (including choosing the loser of the World Series)
Thomas Miller: 2-1 (didn’t predict Round 1, but a commendable effort nonetheless)

CAM TUCKER WINS!

“It feels great, I’m so glad I stuck with the Red Sox through out the playoffs.” – Cam Tucker, while playing “Shipping off to Boston” by the Drop Kick Murphys


 

BoSox Take World Series

Red SoxIt’s safe to say that the “Curse of the Bambino” has been officially lifted and we are never going to hear of it again.

That’s because on Sunday night, the Boston Red Sox won their second World Series in the last five years, defeating the Colorado Rockies 4-3 and sweeping the championship, four games to none.

Give the Rockies credit for what they did to get into the World Series, but in the end, the Red Sox were just a step ahead of their much younger and inexperienced opponents from Denver.

Up and down the line up, the Red Sox dominated the entire post-season, slipping up against the Cleveland Indians before clawing back from a 3-1 deficit and outscoring the Indians 30-5 in the last three games of that American League Championship Series.

The BoSox starting pitchers, especially Josh Beckett, was overpowering, as well as deceptive and were able to keep the big guns for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, for the most part the Cleveland Indians and the Colorado Rockies off balance during the clutch situations. When you combine unbeatable pitching with a gritty and powerful offence, chances are you’re going to win.

The Red Sox were just that team. In game three of the World Series, after Colorado’s Matt Holliday scorched a three-run homer over centerfield in the seventh inning to make it a 6-5 game, the pitching for the Red Sox came through when it mattered and the offence for Boston put up three runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth to ultimately solidify a championship one game prematurely.

Good pitching set up good hitting and over the four-game sweep, that was the story. The Rockies simply couldn’t match up to what Boston was doing on both sides of the ball.

Mike Lowell JD DrewNow, as for Mike Lowell being named the World Series Most Valuable Player …

Good for him. In game four of the series, Lowell hit one home run and one double, scored twice and played third base without flaw. His performance in game four was enough to solidify him as the MVP, but not many maybe aware that he was also included in the trade from Florida that brought the Red Sox playoff ace, Beckett, to Boston.

It was predicted by most within the baseball world that Beckett would be named World Series MVP if the BoSox won the title of world’s best, and had this series been taken to a fifth game and won by the Red Sox, than perhaps he would have been named the MVP.

None the less, Lowell is 100 per cent deserving of his title. The stats speak for themselves. He hit .400 (6-15) and knocked in four runs, while scoring six times, including a lead off home run in the top of the seventh inning in the final game.

But up and down the line up, the Red Sox were the better team. Their offence simply overpowered the Rockies pitching, including North Delta’s pride and joy Jeff Francis and the BoSox pitching, from Beckett to closer Jonathon Papelbon, was way too much for Colorado hitters to handle.

Good for the Rockies for making it as far as they did, the odds of them making it to the World Series with just 14 games left in the regular season were 1 in over 200,000.

Congratulations to the Red Sox for a dominating and as close to perfect performance as possible.