Wednesday, September 07, 2016


Labour Day 2016

Last week, I gave you an update on the Canadian Football League. I trust you enjoyed the annual Labour Day Classics, in both the East and the West. For those of you more attracted to the American game, the NFL breaks camp this week and gets the season underway. They will battle until the Super Bowl next January.

Patriots’ fans will have to wait four weeks for the return of their quarterback Tom Brady. He was given a brief suspension with regard to the amount of air in the footballs used in an AFC Championship game. It became yet another occasion when lawyers received buckets of money.

Tennis fans are following the U. S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. All Canadians have been eliminated this year. Genie Bouchard had nasty blisters that affected her game. Milos Raonic could not get his first serves into the court, and that is his bread and butter.

For the next month, most of our attention will be focused on Canada’s only Major League baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays. I do hope you are neither surprised nor disappointed with their current play. I have warned you several times in this column not to expect this year’s edition of the Jays to run away with the pennant. It will be a struggle to the end. Some say that now is the time that the games really count. I advised that the games count just as much in April as they do in September.

For the Jays to be successful, they must get good pitching, both from their starters and their relievers. That is not rocket science; however, along with good pitching efforts there must be run production. Lately, that has been a weakness for the Jays. There are no Blue Jay starters currently batting above the .300 mark. They do have their good power hitters, but run production increases when there are men on base for the sluggers.

The Jays have been fortunate with some of their mid-season acquisitions. Jason Grilli brings good emotion and good pitching to the mound almost every time he gets the call in the bullpen. But some of the starters are becoming suspect, and struggle to finish five innings. Dickey, Stroman, Estrada, Happ, and Sanchez must deliver the goods in order for the Jays to get into the post season.

The Jays will rely heavily on Francisco Liriano, if Brett Cecil continues to falter. Melvin Upton Jr. is beginning to find his stride, finally, after coming over from the Padres.

They will battle the Red Sox, and the Orioles, and possibly the Yankees, who are getting stellar play from their rookies and call-ups. For the month of September, every team is allowed to increase the roster to 40 players from 25. There are many reasons that the game allows this, primarily for the bottom feeders to have a look at their younger players, under the Major League spotlight.

Rest assured, it will go down to the wire!!!

James Hurst

September 5, 2016. 

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