September 2009

Baseball

Pitcher, Number 34

Your time with the Blue Jays will always remain a mystery. How on Earth did you convince JP Riccardi that you were worth all that money? 55 million over five years. Better question: How did you convince New York you were worth even more? 82.5 million over five years. I guess it all has to do with your potential. That was the word the experts used to describe you: Potential The conspiracy theories about you…

Hockey

The new-found chutzpah of Brian Burke

Brian Burke is not afraid to take a risk. His latest move as general manger of the Toronto Maple Leafs was to trade the Leafs’ next two first-round picks and a this-year’s second rounder for Phil Kessel, who he then signed for five years. Any move involving the Leafs is bound to sound big, but remember that Kessel is 21 and only getting better. Also remember that his career high is 65 points and he’s…

Hockey

NHL Comebacks: Not for everyone

First Claude Lemieux, now Jason Allison and Theoren Fleury. Two players that have seen better days, yet they follow in the footsteps of many just like them. Too many. Players who have had a nice little picnic in the National Hockey League, achieved mediocre careers – at best – and made millions of dollars doing so. They’ve been there, done that and got a t-shirt to prove it. Yet for some reason, after time away…

Hockey

The Leaderless Leafs

In the latter half of the 2007-08 NHL season, long-time Toronto Maple Leaf captain Mats Sundin had a couple of opportunities to do right by his hockey club. Depending on what you consider to be noble – standing by your team or gracefully stepping down – Sundin had the chance to do each, but instead, opted to do neither. Just prior to the 2008 trade deadline, former Maple Leaf general manager Cliff Fletcher quietly asked…

Baseball

John McDonald’s tears cure Swine Flu

Blue Jay fans love John McDonald. It’s a surprising form of loyalty since the veteran shortstop spends the majority of the season in the dugout. However, there’s something about “Johnny Mac” that has captured Toronto’s collective heart, despite his career .238 average (as of Sept. 14). Maybe it’s his highlight reel-worthy defense. Perhaps it’s his speed and hustle on the base paths. It could even relate to having a name similar to the country’s first…

Basketball

My heart is big enough for Wizards-era Michael Jordan, too

There’s hullabaloo in the air about Michael Jordan finally joining the Hall of Fame – he naturally deserves it. This story here then – the one you’ve stumbled upon while traipsing the vast Internet desert – is about that induction to an extent, but not in the way that you would expect. The NBA has been the NBA for 62 years, that’s a lot more than I’ve been I or you’ve been you, (probably*). Many…

Hockey

Sympathy for the Coyotes

Jim Balsillie is not going away quietly. He wants to buy a NHL team. He is willing to pay dearly for one, much more than others are willing to pay. His latest bid for the Phoenix Coyotes is over $212 million, much more than the only other major offer, a $140 million deal put forth by the NHL. Remember, Forbes recently valued the Coyotes at $142 million, the lowest in the league. It’s perhaps unwise…

Basketball

The Unloved: Zach Randolph

For 50 different reasons you could hate Zach Randolph. He’s boring, he’s whiny and he makes $14 million more than you every single year. He’s routinely arrested – never for anything impressive like train robbery or civil disobedience – but for goof-ups like drinking underage, smoking pot and driving under the influence. He’s significantly undersized (if compared to a traditional basketball player at all), substantially overweight, and makes that stupid little crying face whenever something…

Basketball

Being Quentin Richardson

Ahh, to be overpaid in a bad economic climate; to be one of the most valuable chips in your entire profession while holding only average tangible performance value; to be equally desired and reviled, sought after and shopped around; to be Quentin Richardson. Q-Rich has had quite the summer. It really seems to be one of those “lonely in sports” phenomena – after all, what good or service could conceivably be traded four times in…

Baseball

The Toronto Malaise strikes again

Throughout most of the summer, the hottest baseball trade rumors focused on Roy Halladay, then (and still) a starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. With the Jays having by that point sunk from leading the AL East to fourth in their division, their season all but lost, it appeared their ace pitcher was available should the right deal have come along. There were rumors that sent him to Los Angeles, to Boston or to…