Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Little of This, a Little of That
Potpourri from the world of sport. A dog’s breakfast of athletic events. Mid-week tidbits from the arenas, the ball diamonds, from all of the sporting venues.
The Detroit Red Wings are at it again. They have put together a group of grizzled veterans, several mid-round draft picks, and a few castaways to arrive at the brink of yet another Stanley Cup. Few would have predicted that they would be led by Chris Osgood, the backup goaltender to Dominic Hasek at the beginning of the season. Even the most learned red wings fan is jolted by the fact that “Ozzie” has now won more playoff games than Terry Sawchuk!
Not long ago it would have been almost blasphemous to say or write such a thing. Osgood began his NHL career with Detroit, and, following a couple of dismal playoff seasons, moved on to the New York Islanders, then to St. Louis. He returned to Detroit for the 2005-2006 season. He did not even play any playoff games for the Wings in the past two seasons.
The Penguins are not likely to give up without a fight. They have plenty of young weapons, although they have begun this final series completely “out of sync”. The kids will be happy to return home to their Igloo to play the Wings in more friendly confines.
How about those Blue Jays!
Their roller coaster ride continues. They bested the Kansas City Royals in a four game sweep this past weekend for the first time in history. There is no question that they have the arms.
Game after game, they receive most commendable performances on the mound. The most serious concern thus far this season is that they have not been able to hit with “runners in scoring position”. I put that in brackets because I find it a little irritating after a while. Man on second, two men are out, and the batter at the plate is averaging .200. What do you expect? Sometimes I think a runner in scoring position has his foot six inches off home plate while the ball is caroming around the outfield wall.
Matt Stairs began his major league career as an Expo in 1992. Since then, he has stepped to the plate more than five thousand times. Acquired as a free agent last year, he provided the Jays with timely hitting, and 21 home runs for good measure. His attitude is infectious; he plays hard every game, every inning. Always a treat to watch.
The Belleville Minor Football League season has begun. Several local kids have participated in the program over the years. Many have gone on to star in High School and College. A few have begun professional careers after getting a start at the minor level in Belleville. Games are played on Friday nights and Saturdays /in Belleville at Quinte Secondary School.
Track and Field Championships are now on the go in the Elementary and High Schools. It is always gratifying to see records broken every year. The Olympic Motto of “Faster, Higher, Farther” comes into play in these events. Many of the top local high school athletes move on to provincial and national championships to record personal bests.
Only four teams remain in the hunt for the National Basketball Championship. Both struggles are Titanic. Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers against the San Antonio Spurs in the West. In the East, the Boston Celtics have their hands full against the Detroit Pistons. The home team wins a very high percentage of the games, more than in any other professional sport. It will be interesting to see which teams can break the deadlock, and emerge to the final.
And finally, a tip of the hat to the Belleville Bulls. For only the second time in the team history, they played in the Memorial Cup finals. They played valiantly, and ran into some tough luck and an inspired opponent in the Kitchener Rangers. The Bulls will regroup, and will ice another excellent squad next season. After ninety-nine games, hundreds of practices, hours in the gym, and a few sleepless afternoons before the big games. They deserve a rest. Great job, boys!
The Belleville Club is promoting its annual “Trip To the Blue Jays” on Fathers’ Day, June 15th. Tickets are field level seats. Cost of the entire excursion with the Foley Coach is $ 70. Tickets may be obtained by calling the Club, or by calling 613-399-2278. It is your opportunity to be “Taken out to the Ball Game”.
Keep your Stick on the Ice!