March 2011

Baseball

J.P. Arencibia’s bold plans for Blue Jays

When Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields let loose a 93 mph fastball down the middle of the plate to rookie Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, neither he, nor anyone else in the Rogers Centre knew exactly what to expect. What they got was a bomb over the left field wall. A statement from the then-24-year-old that he – the consensus franchise back stop of the future – was ready to put an end…

Hockey

The goalie swag revolution

With his first ever Ontario Hockey League shutout last Saturday, Belleville Bulls netminder Tyson Teichmann proved there is more to “goalie swag” than a well made blocker, sturdy pads, and creative mask design. The 18-year-old led his eighth-seeded squad to a 3-0 upset over top NHL prospect Gabriel Landeskog and the Kitchener Rangers – the second-place team in the Western Conference. Honing the red, yellow, and black of his hometown team, Teichmann turned aside 34…

Basketball

Dwight Howard free agency watch: Bracing for Evil Superman

Dwight Howard is one of the most lovable players in basketball. A 7’0″ physical specimen who bounds around the court with a giant smile while playfully calling himself Superman, Howard just exudes charisma and appeal. Entering the league as an exuberant mass of basketball potential, Howard has matured into the dominant low-post player scouts dreamed of when he was drafted first overall in 2004. Often criticized for his inability to do anything but out-muscle defenders…

Hall of Fame

Ryan Callahan is so last Sunday

I almost wish that Ryan Callahan never blew the lid off of Madison Square Garden last Sunday, it’s bringing out the worst in me. Part of me wishes that the most criminally-underrated forward in the NHL didn’t obliterate the Philadelphia Flyers for four goals in a 7-0 Rangers win and even applauds Marian Gaborik for flubbing a pair of second-period possessions that could have given the 25-year-old points number six and seven. I’m not a…

Baseball

The tao of Gregg Zaun

Gregg Zaun is the ultimate journeyman. Fifteen major league seasons with 10 separate teams. And don’t forget about the additional six seasons he spent in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system either. Now the veteran catcher is eyeing a 16th MLB season with his 11th team, the San Diego Padres. But even if Zaun fails to make San Diego’s roster, he has nothing to be ashamed about. Zaun, 39, has experienced more than the average baseball…

Baseball

Making the case for a Shin-Soo Choo trade

After agreeing on a team-friendly one-year, $3.975 million contract for the 2011 season in January, Shin-Soo Choo and his agent, Scott Boras, were still working hard with the Cleveland Indians trying to figure out a contract extension. Less than two weeks later, reports surfaced that Choo said he would be open to discussing a contract extension during spring training, but not during the regular season, setting an Albert Pujols-style deadline for contract talks. With spring…

Baseball

Baltimore Orioles: Appreciating the unappreciated

Are the Baltimore Orioles the most intriguing team in the American League East? It’s a nonchalant question with what feels like an obvious answer, but before rejecting the concept altogether, consider the actual definition of the word. Do the Baltimore Orioles inspire the most curiosity of any team in the American League East? Absolutely. Whether or not the Vladimir Guerrero investment pays off for the wayward Orioles, the chances of the city of Baltimore seeing…

Hockey

Draft Dogs part two: Ryan Strome

“We’ll have to wait in our seats when they call ‘Niagara IceDogs’ to see what name they call after. But, I’m sure I’ll look over at him and he’ll look over at me. We’ll give each other a handshake after and congratulate.” Ryan Strome, the man responsible for the quotation above and recipient of the OHL Player of the Month for January, is referring to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and the possibility of both…

Baseball

The History of Fantasy Baseball: A Nerd’s Tale

To say that fantasy baseball has developed a cult following would be an understatement. In fact, it’s more than that, frighteningly more than that if you think about it long enough, cults don’t generate billions of dollars. Whereas player pools and teams have extended beyond the diamond and into sports venues around the globe for decades now, there’s no mistaking the fact that the phenomenon known as fanball originated with the sport of baseball first….