Friday, May 28, 2004

Scanlan on the Lynx 

Sadly still subscriber content, but Wayne Scanlan has a marvelous column on the joys of attending a ballgame on a sunny day, specifically the Lynx in this case. Some of the highlights:

"A sun-kissed afternoon, with school kids happily running amok in a perfect outdoor stadium. Quality players, many on their way to the big leagues, engaged in the beautiful summer game. Baseball luminaries lingering in the background, sharing wisdom gleaned from thousands of games they've played and monitored."


This is part of the allure of International League baseball, watching the stars of tomorrow learn their craft. A fan sitting up in section FF, just up and over from home plate, gets it.

"I don't understand why more people don't come out," he says to a guy carrying a hot dog back to his seat. "I've watched players like Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko play here, and you can't beat the price."

It wasn't me who said this, but it could have easily been. The baseball fanatic in me struggles to understand how attendance could be in the state it is. The baseball fanatic would buy season tickets. The part of me that's stuck in a busy life, and that has only been to 2 games so far this year, can unfortunately understand.

A lot of people don't find time for baseball, what with family activities that run from soccer to baseball to karate to dance to music to year-round hockey to gardening. When a body takes the time, slows down, plunks down in a blue seat to soak up the detailed brilliance of baseball played well, it's good for the soul.

And the blood pressure.

Amen to that Brother Scanlan!!

Those are just a few of the highlights, but the whole column is well worth the read if you can get your hands on a copy of today's Citizen. He does a great job of conveying the ballpark atmosphere that I love.

It's horribly sad to me that we may lose the Lynx. Attending a ballgame is one of my great loves. Walking through the enterance and glimpsing the perfect green field never fails to bring a smile to my face, and make my heart race, if only for a second. It'll indeed be a sad, sad day if the Lynx leave. If you're a ball fan, go now, you won't regret it.

Online Renegade 

Even if you can't make it out to Kemptville, you can get the insider's take on camp from free agent signee, and local boy Pat Woodcock. He's writing a daily camp diary on his website. The site looks good, although navigation could be improved a bit. The diary is only linked from the front page as far as I can tell, and you can't move from one day's entry to the next without going back to the main index. No biggie with Mozilla tabs, but a minor quibble in an otherwise cleanly designed site.

Thanks to Ottawa Renegades Fan Page for the link.


One other 'Gades note: the Sun has a nice piece on Gary Etcheverry's defensive approach. Very blitztasic. Should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Why Jarome Iginla may be my favourite player... 

Now, I might draw scorn as a bandwagon-hopper for choosing this particlular time to write this, but, as a fine writer made a fine book out of saying...so it goes.

In a nutshell, I love Iginla's enthusiasm for the game.

When they interviewed him after he found out he had made the the 2002 Olympic team, he had a big shit-eating grin that he couldn't seem to wipe from his face.

When they interviewed him prior to his first playoff game this year, he had that same BSEG. You could tell he was just chomping at the bit to get at it after an 8-year absence from the post season. I remember thinking at the time: "I hope it's a long series before he gets knocked out".

So it goes.

But it's that kind of enthusiasm that I love to see. It's the enthusiasm of a guy who loves his sport so much that it bubbles to the surface. In a sports world of straight faced, paint-by-cliche interviews, his enthusiasm is refreshing.

Although I thought his playoff run would be finished early, I'm thrilled that he's co-carried (with Kipper) the team this far. As the Globe and Mail points out in an excellent piece yesterday, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, or a better hockey player.

Update: Looks like I'm not the only one who's noticed Iginla's infectious joy for the game. I saw this post from Steve at PuckUpdate this morning.

hold that pogey cheque... 

After being rumoured for the last couple of days, the Florida Panthers finally confirmed today that Jacques Martin will be their new coach. The other half of a seemingly odd couple is Martin's long-time friend Mike Keenan, who has been re-hired by Florida as GM.

Assuming Keenan is patient enough to not replace the youthful core of the team with his favourite veterans ("Mr. Matteau?...Mr. Keenan on the line for you"), Martin enters into an excellent situation. The Panthers are stocked with some of the best young talent in the league especially Luongo, Bouwmeester, Weiss and Horton. With Martin's ability to bring along young teams, the Panthers could be a force to be reckoned with even sooner than expected.

Not that anyone expected him to be unemployed for long, but it's good to see Jacques back in hockey.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Trade (maybe), signings, and more... 

All the news in brief for a busy day on Ottawa sports...

Denis "through the outstretched hand of" Montana is now a member of the Stampeders. Or is he? After his trade was announced yesterday, the trade is now in dispute over the conditional draft pick. More news to follow, I'm sure.

From the same article, OL Ibrahim Khan, a recent Cincinnati Bengals cut, and WR David Azzi have signed 2-year deals with the Gades

For any season ticket holders out there, the season ticket pick-up BBQ is between 4-8 the afternoon/evening.

Hossa, Chara, and Bondra have been named to the Slovakian World Cup team.

At the Memorial Cup in Kelowna, the Olympiques clinch a playoff spot with a 7-2 rout of Guelph.

Also, the Lynx have a great new promotion.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Way to go Wade! 

Congrats to Wade Redden who will be representing Canada at the World Cup in August. Congrats also to fellow (Prince Edward) Islander Brad Richards, who was also named to the team this morning.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Of free beer and disco demolition... 

On the heels of the overblown reaction to Tampa Bay's free beer promotion, Wayne Scanlan has a great column today (subsciption required, unfortunately) that puts the promotion in perspective relative to two of sports' most infamous promotions: 10-cent Beer Night in Cleveland in '74, and the legendary Disco Demolition Night in Chicago on'79. Compared to WKRP's memorable "Thanksgiving Turkey Drop" episode, 10-cent Beer Night and Disco Demolition Night prove that truth can almost be as strange as fiction. In comparison, free beer in TBay is as innocuous as SpongeBob Squarepants at Lynx Stadium.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Renegades prospects and other Ottawa sports notes 

It's almost Renegades season. I can't be bothered to look up the exact date at the moment, but IIRC training camp starts on the 22nd or 23rd. The 'Gades took a step toward erasing one of their big question marks today as they signed kicker Sandro Sciortino to a two-year deal. Sciortino came over as part of the big Calgary deal in January. Also coming over in that deal was Calgary's first pick in the Canadian draft, second overall, which the 'Gades used to select big O-lineman Ibrahim Khan who was released by the Cincinnati Bengals just yesterday. Khan is expected at camp and should make the team, thereby opening the door for countless shamelessly bad "Wrath of Khan" headlines. Let me be the first to either get it out of my system, or start working toward its overuse. I haven't decided yet.


Senators news (you didn't think I could go a whole post without some Sens news did you?): The Sens have signed Kelowna netminder Kelly Guard (let me be the first to set the over/under for a "Stand on guard for thee" headline at less than a day. My prediction is that the Sun will use it tomorrow). By all measures, Guard had a great year, and is a great addition to the Sens system. You can check him out at the Memorial Cup starting this weekend.


With their professional sport bias , surely most media will miss the story, but the Ottawa Hi-Tech softball league kicked off it's season this evening. Anxious to get swinging, I did just that - swinging at the first pitch up each trip to the plate. Unfortunately they were mostly bad pitches and I was only 1 for 3. However, on the bright side, it was a beautiful evening and no ball game is ever a bad one in my books.


The Team 1200 afternoon show is infinitely more listenable without "The Dandyman". Although I can't listen every day, Buzz with Steve Lloyd/Gord Wison are a huge improvement.