Tagged: Wayne Gretzky

Saving Posters from Real Estate Poachers

In the process of moving my family is now ‘showing‘ their home.  Apparently posters, and enormous shrines dedicated to the Blue Jays are not appropriate enough for people to look at during these home showings!  I don’t know who made these rules?  To me, they would be an enormous sell feature? 

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To save the life of my posters from the evil ‘real estate’ people, I decided to post them on here.  I’ve never been too good at parting with some of the things in my youth.  I resist it as much I can!  Picture a 28-year-old, living with his parents and wearing different baseball jerseys out everyday.  Ya …. that is me.  Without the noticable height, facial hair and maturation you couldn’t tell the difference between me and a 7-year-old.  Call me crazy, but I am very reluctant to trade in my collection of jerseys for plain, neutral and well tailored suits.  Then being told to take down my posters for bland, off-white paint!  Something feels wrong with this process.

Anyway, my wide collection of posters is not all complied of all Blue Jays.  Various other players stood out in my young and impressionable mind during those.  Here they are:

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The wizard dazzled just about everyone in the 80’s.  If you watch an Ozzie Smith highlight reel, it is hard to deny how absolutely spectacular the man was at shortstop.  He was definitely deserving of ‘the wizard’ nickname.  This was one of my favorite posters, even though I acquired it from my older brother Chris when he had to grow up.

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You might remember these Brisk Ice Tea ads with caricatures of Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson.  I got this poster for free, and have been a fan of Brisk Ice Tea ever since.  Am I compelled by advertising or what?  Come on, Babe Ruth is on it!  These ads were the coolest!

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During the late-80’s and early 90’s Tim Raines was the face of the Montreal Expos.  Although his image is tarnish from the mention of his cocaine use in the Ken Burns documentary ‘Baseball,’ Raines was an electrifing outfielder for his time.  He was an icon in Canadian baseball, so much so that Cooper Sports (a Canadian company I believe??) even used him as a part of their baseball apparell campaign.  Before the 1994 strike, Canada had a ‘baseball boom’ and many companys/organizations wanted to be involved with it.  This poster is a throwback to those days.

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If you grew up a young boy in North America during the late 80’s and early 90’s the odds are you had a poster one of these two players.  Wayne Gretzky was born about 15 minutes away from house.  I consider myself lucky to have been alive during the era of their dominance. 

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Of lesser importance is the poster I had of Vince Carter during the ‘Vinsanity’ days when he played in Toronto.  Waste of money if you ask me.  Carter left the Raptors after a fit of whining, and complaining about the team, the city and life in Canada.  This guy was a big disappointment.  His time on my wall was temporary.

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This is a life-sized height measuring poster of the enormously tall John Olerud.  I never got up that grew that much, nor did my brother Jeff, but I couldn’t understand it anyway, as the measuring was in meters??  The gracefulness and beauty of Olerud’s swing was unmatched by many.  No Blue Jay fan will forget the batting title he obtained in 1993 hitting .363 and leading the Jays to World Series in the process.

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‘Donny Baseball’ was amazingly one of my favorite players.  He represented an era in Yankees in history when they weren’t winning!  Maybe that is why I liked him?  He also signed my father’s baseball once, so that left an impression. 

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I love baseball hats!  The designs, colors and logos I find them all truly unique.  Having this poster ensured that MLB was on my mind 24/7!

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This Babe Ruth statue has graced my living room fireplace mantle since I was born.  In the process of ‘showing our house’ the Babe was taken down for a brief period.  I’d argued ‘tooth and nail’ that the Babe adds to the traditional, New England-style decor of our home.  If I were a buyer, I’d ask it to be thrown in with the deal!

  

What Really Grinds my Gears

Checking out one of my fantasy baseball teams today on ‘Yahoo Sports,’ I came across an article that struck a nerve with me.  I don’t usually write back, or comment on writer’s work, but I felt I needed to here.  For the purpose of this blog post, here is the entire article by Gordon Edes on ‘Yahoo Sports,’ followed by my comment in response:

Canadians not worked up over defeat

TORONTO – Canada has had its share of losses that have plunged the whole country into mourning. Going two and out in the World Baseball Classic wasn’t one of them.

When Wayne Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, for example, the front page of the tabloid Edmonton Sun wailed “99 Tears,” and politicians tried to have the trade nullified.

“Wayne Gretzky is a national symbol like the beaver,” said Nelson Riis, a prominent member of Parliament at the time. “How can we allow the sale of our national symbols … it’s like winter without snow.”

It still stings Canadians that they have hosted two Olympics, Montreal in the summer of 1976 and Calgary in the winter of 1988, and no one wearing the maple leaf has won a gold medal. TV ads here promoting the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver are hammering away at that theme, that this time a homegrown athlete will win gold.

But Canada being bounced from the WBC by Italy, even though the Canadians were the host team? It doesn’t quite qualify for a national hall of shame.

“WBC? Never heard of it,” said Jim from Toronto, hustling to catch the subway at Union Station on Tuesday, a mere 10-minute walk from the Rogers Centre, just an hour before Italy, 6-2 vanquisher of Canada, was routed 10-1 by Venezuela, which will join Team USA in advancing to the second round in Miami.

“Didn’t even know,” said Fred from Cornwall, Ontario, who was waiting for the train to Montreal.

“Too bad,” said David from Mississauga, a suburb of Ontario, admitting he hadn’t heard the outcome. “Hockey and baseball, those are the two North American sports, no? I guess baseball just isn’t meant to be played here in the winter. “

There were fewer people in the stands (12,411) watching Canada lose to the Italians than saw Team USA beat Venezuela the day before (13,094). The top story in the morning’s Toronto Globe and Mail was about hockey’s Montreal Canadiens firing coach Guy Carbonneau. The Toronto Sun led with the hometown Leafs losing to the Ottawa Senators. The TV stations showed highlights, but the baseball competed for time with world champion Russ Howard shattering his broom in anger during the nationally televised 2009 Brier Curling Championships in Calgary.

“You guys shouldn’t talk about that [expletive],” Howard chided reporters afterward when they asked about his using a broom like an axe. “That’s your problem. We’re out here with the best athletes in the world, and that’s what you worry about.”

When “curling” and “best athletes in the world” are used in the same sentence, it’s clear the Canadian perspective on the sporting universe diverges from the rest of the planet.

The Canadians in uniform took the loss to Italy harder than their fellow countrymen. Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt, the former big league catcher who has been involved with national teams for a decade, said this was one of the toughest losses he’d experienced.

“I’m really devastated,” said Cincinnati Reds outfielder Joey Votto, who had four hits in Canada’s 6-5 loss to Team USA in its first game, and doubled and walked against the Italians. “Sure it’s just a baseball game and everything, but when you do it for a living and you’re playing for your country … I was really excited for this tournament, and to leave after just two games, it’s going to take some time to recover.”

“There’s a lot of frustration,” said Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau, who had four hits against Italy. “We came in and were expecting to take a step forward, and I feel like we took a little step back.”

It would be foolish, of course, to suggest that baseball is an afterthought in Canada, the country that sent Ferguson Jenkins to the Hall of Fame, produced one of the game’s most popular players of the ’90s in Larry Walker and has a brace of current stars in Russell Martin, Jason Bay and Matt Stairs, Morneau and Votto – all of whom played for Team Canada – and pitchers Jeff Francis, Rich Harden and Ryan Dempster, who didn’t.

But nonsupport cost Montreal the Expos after the 2004 season, and the days of the Blue Jays routinely drawing 50,000 a night during back-to-back world championship seasons in 1992 and 1993 are a distant memory.

Alex Besler, a student at the University of Toronto and baseball fan, bought a strip of tickets for all the games here, thinking the demand would be greater. More than 40,000 attended the Canada-USA opener, but interest dwindled thereafter.

“Unfortunately it wasn’t as big a deal as it should be,” said Besler, who didn’t think the tournament was marketed aggressively enough here. “The only people I could talk about the loss with were the people I came to the game with.

“But the tournament isn’t a big deal in the States, either, is it?”

Not yet, but that could change, as USA advances.

Besler wistfully expressed hope for a day when baseball matters again here.

“The Jays winning was before my time,” he said. “These last years, there’s been nothing, no hope, nothing. If we had signed Man-Ram, that would have put 5,000 more people in the seats

a night. But we didn’t.”

This is my HEATED response

(I understand where he is coming from, I just don’t like it)

You make sweeping categorizations of all Canadians in this article.  “When “curling” and “best athletes in the world” are used in the same sentence, it’s clear the Canadian perspective on the sporting universe diverges from the rest of the planet.”

Sure baseball isn’t the number #1 media topic here.  This is hockey country.  I’m sure if this tournament was played in North Carolina now, you’d see Duke and Tar Heel basketball everywhere instead of this.

Not all Canadians are ignorant, not all Americans are either.  People want to see a contending team, plain and simple.  We don’t have the greatest fans in the world, but we have fans.  Many of which may even have more knowledge than the American baseball-faithful. 

The presumption that baseball is an afterthought in this country I find ridiculous.  The catergorization of a whole country I find meaingless.

Hockey might not be #1 in the United States, but I’m not about to say that “all Americans don’t have a respect for hockey.”  There is a great respect for hockey in the U.S., even more so than in Canada in some respects. 

These catergorizations that writer’s make are meaningless and not well thought through.  I think that you are insulting the intelligence of your readers with articles like this.