Blue Jays Should Stay the Course

The major papers keep bringing up the fact that if the Jays keep loosing to teams like Tampa then they won’t make the playoffs. Earth to writers: they weren’t supposed to. Toronto is in no position to make a run for anything other than five games over .500 and that is exactly what they should be doing. And don’t even think about talking trade deals over Vernon and Orlando. Everyone and their flearidden dog is trying to get better pitchers right now, especially in the American League. The Orioles, Yankees, and Twins are all scanning the market and driving the trade prices up. Don’t give in J.P. Stay the course with the team you have and wait for the off-season to do some trading, probably with the two guys already mentioned. The team has the ability to keep within the .500 area. Towers needs run back up, Lilly needs to be reminded to control his curve ball on occasion, and Chauchin is a freaking rookie who’s doing really well all things (especially marriage considered). The infield is more than solid and the outfield can do things on occasion. Toronto is a decent team. There’s no reason for us to want anything but that for the remainder of the year. Enjoy the games folks. Close ones are exciting.

winners by far

The biggest winners in the NHL lockout will be the Balmy Belt teams of the Southern United States. That’s right. I said it. Now before my fellow Canadians form a lynch mob and figure out the best way to dispose of a carcase let me explain. I know conventional Canadian wisdom says that if you can’t play the game outside for half a year then it shouldn’t be played at all. I know that there is no nation-wide television deal. I know that fan interest is at an all-time low. I also know that these are precisely the reasons why the balmy belt is going to be a hot-bed of hockey in five years time.
Even without market research it is safe to say that interest in the game of hockey is at the lowest point in history. If anything the work stoppage forced people to look elsewhere for entertainment. Perfect. The balmy belt has consistently shown that it needs a massive influx of fans. The best way to accomplish this would be a large scale publicity and awareness campaign. If the work stoppage has accomplished anything it has forced the NHL into a position where they need to do this instead of thinking they should. The Canadian fans will come back. Anyone who thinks otherwise should look to baseball and notice that those numbers are pretty close to where they were before their work stoppage. A massive awareness campaign by the NHL in the palm tree section of the hemisphere will lead to increased interest in the local game.
What can help keep that newfound interest in the local game? Television coverage. I’m not talking about a national deal. Outside of the Great White North it shouldn’t happen. National interest can only occur after a number local interest areas are created. You cannot sell a product to someone with no knowledge. The NHL didn’t get good ratings on national deals because the market wasn’t there yet. Get the locals interested in the game and the ratings will follow. To make matters even more interesting, the local t.v. deals should be cheaper because of the lack of national coverage. If the NHL tries to milk the local market instead of massaging it, then all bets are off and we’ll be down to 15 teams by the end of the decade.
And now for the final option. The NHL should invest in summer in-line skate hockey camps and promotions, much like the NBA does with the street ball. Yes it is true that people cannot play ice-hockey in the summer. But if that was the case wouldn’t football be destined for failure? You can’t play it outside in the winter after all. I have just one two words for you. Arena Football. Picking up where the XFL should have gone it has gained a national contract not because people were bored but because local excitement made it to the national level. It is arena football that the NHL needs to compete with first, then they can work at toppling the NBA.
Nothing I’ve mentioned could have possibly happened without the work stoppage. If the NHL had inked the Gretzky/Lemieux deal back in the spring the dire impetus to make sure the Southern teams can survive would not be in place. The NHL would have plodded along and the teams would have died a slow, painful death.
The future of the game will not be solved by this contract. It will be solved by the willingness to work at getting interest back into the game.

new rules

Well it’s about bloody time that the NHL made a deal and changed some of the rules. Here’s my take.

Two points or nothing: Some say that it will lead to even more defensive play. Bullshit. They’ll start working their asses off in the third just like before.

The huge, contentious, apocalypse will happen (depends on which Sun columnist you read), hockey will never recover change: the 7th to 10th teams will do a three game playoff to get the final spot. The naysayers say it will dilute the bottom half of the playoff pool, or that the teams will work for tenth instead of sixth, or remind us that the Flames would have had another series to go through before they bother to choke in the finals.

Helloooo. McFly????

The Western Conference desperately needs to have this option. The last few years the last 5 or so teams have been separated by a single point (I’ll check this officially later since the NHL stats site is confusing at best). How many teams have their hopes crushed at the end of the year because of a single game. Sure the Eastern Conference will be filled with a bunch of teams from the southern US states but that’s the price we have to pay to get some real action in the West.

The Rest of the Crowd

Remove the red line for two-line passing. This has been needed for years. How many times have we seen a breakaway falter because of a wistle (not that often as of late because nobody bothers). That should change things. Hell it might even lead to some, gasp, action.

Icing. Here are a few neat touches (pun not originally intended but kept upon editing). Icing counts according to the stick hitting the line first. This should keep some of those heads rammed into boards incidents down. Icing the puck also means you don’t get to change your players. Heads will certainly roll for this one. Expect a bunch of higher scoring games.

Tag up offsides: If you’re over you can leave and come back if you’re quick. Should be neat to see. I’ll wait before I pronounce final judgement though. I don’t know if this one will actually work or not.

Delay of game: Throw the puck over your boards and you’re in the box. Again, about damned time.

Fines for criticizing officials: I can’t wait for Jerome Roenick to pull out his wallet, throw down a few bills, bitch out a shitty call by the ref, throw down some more bills, and do it again. This could turn into a real fun-fest. I’d suggest that the money be put into a pot for charity. Criticize the refs, support MS research. Sound super.

Overtime: Don’t really care. Either way they should work their asses off to get those points. I didn’t see enough of the 4-on-4 to really say it was good or bad.

Tour de France

I know it’s not really proper to say it since it isn’t over but DAMN! Lance Armstrong is just Schooling everybody for his last race. He just burned up the entire field on the alps. Not being able to watch the coverage is the one true regret I have about not getting cable right now.

the dog days of summer

A couple of months ago Seraph hooked me up with some swimming lessons at the city recreation complex a block away from where she works. She was tired of hearing me think about doing it. I took the lessons with a few goals in mind. First, I needed to make sure I could not drown. This was fairly simple as I already knew the basics. Second, I wanted to front crawl with my head in the water. I never learned the whole pulling your face to one side while in the midst of a stroke thing. Third, I wanted to be a strong enough swimmer that if I wanted to swim to an island in the middle of a lake one day I could.

My first lesson was a disaster. I spent the entire drive over getting completely worked up and nervous. I finally settled down, changed, showered, walked to the pool, and promptly had to do everything in reverse because some kid threw up in the water. The next five weeks went well. I learned the breast stroke in the last ten minutes of one lesson and had it working well by the next one. My back stroke was fine. The last half hour of the last lesson made it all worth while. I figured out what was wrong with my front crawl. My elbow pulled to close to the water. I was swamping myself every time I went to breathe.

Now? I’m up to half a kilometer (20 laps) a night. Last night I even alternated breast and front crawl for the last half. I’m slowly building my way up.

It’s nice to have something to do with Seraph (who could swim since she was born I swear). It’s also nice to not be afraid in the water. I’ve even been having, dare I say it, fun. I’m putting on body mass. My shoulders and chest are becoming huge. That’s a nice touch. I’ve always felt insecure with such a skinny frame. Now I get to fill it out. I’m rather enjoying what I see in the mirror these days.

London Bombing

First, I do not in any way support the attack of innocent civilians. But let’s be honest here. This is one of the stupidist attacks I have ever heard of. Why? Look where one of them happened. Beside Hyde Park. If you really wanted to demoralize a nation why didn’t anyone think of hitting the huge concert that happened to be there a few days ago? If you want to mess up the G-8 summit then why the hell do it in London? Wander into the protesters with a nail bomb. Massive disruption is unbelievably simple to accomplish. And think about it even more for just a teensiest of a second. London. England. Somehow I kind of wonder how smart it is to bomb the most resilant freaking people on the entire fucking continent! These people have lived through the burning of their town, two to five plagues (depends how you look at it), the blitz, and the IRA. You seriously think that this is a target that will cower in fear over a bombing? Fuck, they’re more liable to go out, have a couple of drinks, think it over, and bomb your ass back to the stoneage. I guess in the end, Isalmic Fundamentalists didn’t watch Sean of the Dead. That alone would have given them a bit of a clue how wrong their ideas were.

Addendum:

I had this in the original post and deleted it when I revised. I’m going to put it back in because I do feel it still. The first thing I thought when I read about the bombings was this: “2 people? I wonder if it was the States.” Don’t get me wrong. I am in no way suggesting that President Bush signed off on what would be an act of war against his most powerful ally to get support back up. I’m just suggesting that someone might have thought he needed a little help. To make matters worse in my head, al-Qaeda is usually a hell of a lot more talkative. They usually love saying we blew up a Western nation. There’s still no confirmation outside a single website that confirms their involvement. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’m just worried.

it figures

NASA manages to land a probe on a comet, an act that will lead to massive scientific information up to and possibly including the origins of the universe and somebody sues them. For messing up the moral balance of the universe. Apparently a Russion astrologer wants $300,000 (US) in damages for the irreperable harm caused to her since her readings will no longer be accurate.

I wonder if she did the paperwork before the launch or after the impact? The answer might be prima facia evidence to her abilities.

sigh

Wasn’t up at 5 this morning starting to freak out about the TD Summer Reading Club starting today. Nope. Not me. Not me at all.

I look like an accountant

I went to an oldschool male barber yesterday. He cut my hair. We chatted about how the guy ahead of me was an idiot for never buying a house back in the forties. He used a straight razor to clear up the edges. And he did the left side part. Yep, I had my hair parted and combed to the right. I haven’t had that since grade school. To top it all off my new electric facial hair trimmer says the number two but what it really means is two days of not bothering to shave length of growth instead the more universalish number two cutter length.

The funny thing is, barely anyone at work noticed. I wonder if it had anything to do with my bright as the sun yellow shirt that I was wearing. I got comments about that.

Ack, my marriage is dying

Hmm. It’s the day after the House of Commons said gay people should be able to get married. So far my marriage hasn’t disintegrated but we’re on full alert here at tweed central. Since I’ve yammered about this before (not that you can find it at the moment since I have still yet to transfer my files over) I’ll just throw out some random thoughts on the process.

– It’s about bloody time.
– Didn’t you love the bit when Harper started crying that the bill was being propped up by separatists?
-And does he have no one on staff who thought that was a stupid idea?
-When is David Foley going to announce he’s been playing the role of Stephen Harper for the last year and a bit. I know it won’t be as dramatic as doing it say at Rideau Hall but it might mean he’d get a couple of votes.
-Are you worried that there might actually be enough people angry about the gay marriage bill to put him into power given the first past the post system?
-Aren’t you surprised that I’m worried about giving him power since I’m a fiscal conservative? I know I am.
-Who the hell am I going to vote for now? So far the marijuana party is beginning to look reasonable.
-Wasn’t Ken Dryden’s article in the Toronto Star the best seen on the topic in ages?
-Is there a pool I can get into for when the institution of marriage starts visably combusting? I’ve got five bucks that needs wasting.