The Bookshelf: Part 3 of 3

Bookshelf

Here is the third and final part of my annual Bookshelf piece, a thumbnail look at some of the books I have read in the past year. Perhaps you will find something you want to read or to purchase as a gift. . . .

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Razor Girl — Author Carl Hiaasen has produced another hilarious novel. If you are familiar with his work, you won’t be disappointed with this one. If you haven’t yet read anything by Hiaasen, you should know that Razor Girl is centred in the Florida Keys and, yes, it’s outrageous, loaded with, yes, razor wit, entertaining characters — think more than one Florida Man — and loaded dialogue.

Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original — Author Howard Bryant was handed a tough task when he set out to write an authorized biography of Rickey Henderson. And he certainly was up to the task. If you are familiar with Bryant and his work, this definitely is up to his standards as he tells the life story of a man with many sides. But more than a book strictly about Henderson, Bryant tells the story of the Black migration to Oakland and what resulted from that, especially in sports. It also is an in-depth look at racism in baseball. And, yes, it also is the story of Henderson, one of baseball’s all-time greats.

Kraken

Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival — If you’re looking for a book about why the Kraken hired Dave Hakstol as head coach or why it selected this player or that in the NHL expansion draft, this book isn’t for you. If you want to know all that went on behind the scenes financially and politically to get the team on the ice in time for the 2020-21 season, it’s all right here. Remember that before the Kraken came to life, there was a big push being made to land an NBA expansion franchise for Seattle, something that still hasn’t happened. Geoff Baker, who covers the Kraken for the Seattle Times, gets in deep and it makes for a fascinating read.

Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks — The author, Patrick Radden Keefe, has put together a collection of his essays that have appeared in The New Yorker. The interesting thing is that the people portrayed in these essays all are different, but they provide an interesting look into the kind of folks who walk this earth with us. As Rachel Newcomb wrote in the Washington Post: “Taken together, the essays reflect the collective preoccupations of the unsettling era in which we now live: mass shootings and terrorism, unaddressed mental health issues, and the many flavors of financial corruption.”

The Ruin — The opening chapter of this work by Dervla McTiernan is enough to keep you reading. Cormac Reilly, a fresh-faced Irish policeman, is sent to a house that is collapsing into itself and discovers a woman dead in her bed, with two children — Maude, 15, and Jack, 5 — appearing ready for whatever may come. The rest of the book doesn’t quite live up to the opening chapter, but that would be awfully tough to do. Still, Reilly is a likeable character, something that is important to any book, and there are enough twists to keep things interesting. . . . Oh, and make sure you read the author’s note where she admits to doing a bit of, uhh, cheating. LOL!

The Scholar — This is the second of author Dervla McTiernan’s books that follow Cormac Reilly, a veteran Irish policeman. And like The Ruin, which is mentioned above, The Scholar is good stuff. It has an interesting plot and even though the twists are fairly easy to figure out, McTiernan’s way with words is more than enough to keep the reader involved.

The Series — This is a wonderful, albeit short, book about the 1972 hockey series between Canada and the Soviet Union. Written by Ken Dryden, who was one of three goaltenders on Team Canada and played the deciding eighth game, this is a 200-page gem. It isn’t full of anecdotes or play-by-play; rather, it’s just Dryden writing about some of his recollections — and sometimes he admits that he doesn’t remember much about a particular game or games — of the eight-game series, as well as what came before and after. A gem . . . a real gem!

Shōgun — I have no idea why it took me this long to dig into author James Clavell’s masterpiece about Japan in 1600. And that really is what this is — a masterpiece. For the most part, the story is told through the eyes of John Blackthorne, the first Englishman to reach the shores of Japan. It is awfully easy to get lost in all that there is to this book. BTW, it’s rather lengthy, coming in at about 428,000 words.

Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty — It turns out that the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the stars, really did win three championships in spite of themselves. Jeff Pearlman, who has written a number of terrific sports-related book, spells out the winning mess these teams were in all the gory details. It turns out that the young Kobe was a belligerent and rude human being, and he and Shaq couldn’t stand each other. Oh boy, there’s a lot of dirt in this one, including details on the rape charge Kobe faced in Colorado.

Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played — Jason Kendall was a catcher who had a 15-year career in the major leagues. You can bet he saw a lot during that time. But this isn’t that kind of book. Instead, Kendall provides a whole lot of insight into what goes into the game, providing all kinds of tips involving catching, hitting, pitching, signs, managing and a whole lot more. If you’re even slightly interested in the big leagues, you’ll enjoy this one.

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid — Willie Mays is considered by many to be the greatest MLB player of them all. It’s hard to argue with that after reading this gem from author John Shea. With lots of commentary from the Say Hey Kid, this is a terrific look at Mays’ life and career . . . a wonderful book about a wonderful human being.

Visionary: The Ernie Gare Story — Author John Korobanik, a former sports editor of the Nelson Daily News who went on to spend 20 years writing for The Canadian Press, tells the story of the late Ernie Gare, and it’s quite a story. Gare was heavily involved in the founding of the Canadian national ski teams in Nelson. He was the athletic director at Notre Dame University in Nelson — it was shuttered in 1977 — and was a big push behind the school being the first in Canada to offer athletic scholarships. He also was ahead of his time when it came to training, both in- and off-season. And, yes, he was the father of former Buffalo Sabres captain Danny Gare. Unfortunately, Ernie died a young man, taken by ALS in 1981 at the age of 52.

We Begin at the End — This thriller/mystery novel will stay with you for a while if only because author Chris Whitaker has created a memorable character in the outlaw Duchess Day Radley, who is all of 13 years of age and struggling with the unfair hand she has been dealt by life. In fact, more than anything, this is about folks who live in Cape Haven, a small coastal California community, and how each of them is fighting to get through life. But it’s Duchess, the outlaw, who will live in your memory bank.

Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America’s Premier Racing Dynasty — There was a time in the not-too-distant past when Calumet Farms was THE name in thoroughbred horse racing. In this book, author Ann Hagedorn Auerbach details its rise — it was founded in 1924 — and all that led it into bankruptcy, including the death of Alydar, perhaps the most-productive sire in thoroughbred history, but a horse that may have been worth more dead than alive. This is an impeccably researched book and the numbers, many of which had to do with bank loans, will make your head spin.

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As for the 10 most-enjoyable books that I read this year, here they are, in alphabetical order (OK, I included 12, so sue me) . . .

The Baseball 100, by Joe Posnanski

Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom, by Carl Bernstein

The Dark Hours, by Michael Connelly

Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series, by Gary J. Smith

The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson, by Jeff Pearlman

The Late Show: Letterman, Leno, & the Network Battle for the Night, by Bill Carter

Pleasant Good Evening — A Memoir: My 30 Wild and Turbulent Years of Sportstalk, by Dan Russell

Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant

Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival, by Geoff Baker

The Series, by Ken Dryden

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid, by Willie Mays and John Shea

Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc., America’s Premier Racing Dynasty, by Ann Hagedorn Auerbach

Part 3 of 3

The Bookshelf: Part 1 of 3

Bookshelf

The annual three-part Bookshelf feature is appearing here this week — sorry it’s a bit late this year, but COVID-19 has gotten in the way of getting things done in these parts. . . . Perhaps you will find a gift idea for someone on your Christmas list by perusing thumbnails of some of the books I have read in 2022. . . .

Alaska — Beginning with the days of the mastodon and moving on from there, author James Michener chronicles the history of Alaska. Oh, does he ever! This is a meticulously researched work that relates the area’s story through the eyes of various citizens. It’s thoroughly engrossing, but it’s epically long.

The Baseball 100 — We read to be entertained. Right? Well, author Joe Posnanski’s 880-page labour of love is the most entertaining baseball book I have ever read. In fact, it is perhaps the most entertaining sports-related book I have ever read. Period. Posnanski, a longtime baseball writer and obviously a huge fan, has rated his top 100 baseball players and written an essay on each one. Yes, there are statistics here, but the numbers don’t dominate. Rather, the stories do. It took me almost two months to read, because I would only read one or two chapters at a time. Why? Because it was so wonderful that I didn’t want it to end.

Behind the Superstars: The Business Side of Sports — Although Gerry Patterson wasn’t a lawyer — his background was in marketing and sales — he was one of Canada’s first player agents. This book was published in 1978, and it’s rather entertaining to read about contracts Patterson negotiated on behalf of Jean Beliveau, Gordie Howe, Johnny Rodgers, Guy Lafleur and Rusty Staub. It really was a different world back in the day. Patterson died on Jan. 21, 2005. He was 71.

Better Off Dead — Jack Reacher is back for a 26th time and this time he’s in a small Arizona town, fighting to save his country from what may be a terrorist attack. Or is it just someone wanting to set off smoke bombs on July 4? This one is co-written by Lee Child and his younger brother, Andrew.

Black Ice — This is the 20th book by author Brad Thor that features Scot Harvath, a nice guy who tortures and/or kills the bad guys (in this case, Chinese and Russians) all for the greater American good. I have mentioned previously that a book needs a likeable hero in order to keep the reader interested and Harvath is just that. In Black Ice, Harvath is in Oslo, Norway, when he happens to see a man he had already killed. So what’s going on?

Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom — It’s hardly a secret that the newspaper industry has seen better days. Such as when Carl Bernstein got his start as a copy boy and dictationist at the Washington Star. This engaging book provides a neat look into the news room of a major daily newspaper in the days when everyone seemed to read one. Bernstein was there, in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s so he was witness to a whole lot of history. Of course, in time Bernstein moved on to the Washington Post, Nixon, All the President’s Men, and a whole lot more. But he got his start at the Star and that story is all right here.

The Dark Hours — No one writes cop mysteries better than Michael Connelly and his latest, published in November 2021, doesn’t disappoint. He is slowly transitioning this series from spotlighting veteran detective Harry Bosch to featuring Renée Ballard in the lead role. She works the late shift and loves it. In this one, Ballard is masking up amid the pandemic and deteriorating morale on the force, mainly because of the defund police movement, as she works murder and rape cases, always with Bosch there to help, of course.

The Fallen Angel — This is No. 12 in author Daniel Silva’s series of books that involve Gabriel Allon, an extremely likeable Israeli who, in truth, also is a rather effective assassin. He also is perhaps the world’s best art restorer. This book involves the death of a woman — was it really suicide? — in the Vatican, where Allon is restoring a masterpiece. Silva really knows his stuff when it comes to the Middle East and European history, making this another entertaining read.

The First Season: 1917-18 and the Birth of the NHL — Using newspaper archives, veteran hockey writer Bob Duff tells the intriguing story of the early days of the NHL and how it almost didn’t happen. There were teams added and teams subtracted and, yes, there were lawsuits, too. In fact, Eddie Livingstone, who was involved with most of the lawsuits, had a whole lot to do with the NHL surviving. . . . There also are all kinds of nuggets scattered throughout this book. I mean, who knew that Bert Lindsey of the Montreal Wanderers recorded the first goaltending victory in NHL history? And who knew that he was Ted Lindsey’s father? Great stuff.

Ice War Diplomat: Hockey Meets Cold War Politics at the 1972 Summit Series — Author Gary J. Smith was a young Canadian diplomat stationed in Moscow who ended up deeply involved in the planning and preparation for the eight-game series between Team Canada and the USSR in 1972. This really is a good look at all that went into the impossible task of trying to keep hockey and politics separate while politicians worked to bring the countries closer together. How involved was Smith in all of this? His press pass indicated that he was a member of the Soviet team. This really is an interesting read.

In Harm’s Way — Published in 2010, this is author Ridley Pearson’s fourth book that features Walt Fleming, the sheriff in Sun Valley, Idaho. As usual, Pearson doesn’t disappoint. There are a lot of personalities and a number of twists and turns to keep a reader interested. For starters, Fleming is divorced — his wife had an affair with one of his deputies and the two now live together. Yes, there is tension in this book, too. Lots of it.

The Judge’s List: A Novel — It’s another highly readable thriller from the keyboard of the prolific John Grisham, with this one featuring a serial-killing judge who has been on the hunt for a long time. This book also features Lacy Stoltz, an investigator for Florida’s Board on Judicial Conduct, who was a main character in The Whistler. Stoltz is approached by a woman whose father was the judge’s second victim and the rest is Grisham at his best.

Part 1 of 3

No Ray of sunshine for Mariners . . . Report takes aim at Hockey Canada’s operation . . . Time for MLB to get Rose into Hall

Once again we are left to wonder why a major league manager gets into a playoff game and operates differently than he did during the regular season? A MLBteam spends 162 regular-season games defining roles and a manager blows it all up during a playoff game. Why?

I was left to wonder again on Tuesday as Scott Servais, the manager of the Seattle Mariners, went to the bullpen for starter Robbie Ray, bring him in with a two-run lead and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning in Houston.

By now you are aware that it didn’t work out. And, yes, this kind of thing will happen again. Likely before the first week of November expires.

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Joe Posnanski, looking back at THE decision in the Houston Astros’ victory over the visiting Mariners on Tuesday:

“When Mariners manager Scott Servais faced his nightmare scenario — having to get Yordan Alvarez out to seal a game that the Mariners had led by four runs on three different occasions — he decided to bring in left-handed starter Robbie Ray. I’m not going to lie, even in the moment this seemed like the worst of all options. Robbie Ray is a fine pitcher, he won the Cy Young Award just last year, but in his extensive baseball career he had never once been brought into anything even close to a situation like this. Not once.

“In fact, even as a starter he’s never faced a situation like this. He’s only completed one game in his entire career, and that was a complete -game shutout he threw in Pittsburgh back in 2017. He’s never had to get one guy out in the ninth inning to win the game. This seemed a hell of a time to ask him to do it.

“Even beyond that, Ray’s most glaring flaw as a pitcher is his tendency to give up the long ball — he gave up 32 of them this year, second-most in the league. He has not, even in a tiny sample size, shown any noticeable ability to get Alvarez out (in five previous encounters, Alvarez went one-for-three with two walks). Alvarez, as mentioned, hits lefties about as well as he hits righties.”

(Check out Posnanski’s substack site right here.)


Truck


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith honours oppressed anti-vaxxers by marking 2 minutes of coughing.

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Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Update: Next 6-8 months will feel like a decade in Alberta.

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Some interesting numbers from Dan Gartland and Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, involving Aaron Judge, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth, the American League’s three single-season home-run leaders. They point out that Judge got into 161 games this season and faced 230 pitchers. . . . Ruth saw 230 pitchers in 10 years with the Yankees. . . . In seven years with the Yankees, Maris faced 270 pitchers. . . . Of course, Judge hit 62 home runs, one more than Maris (1961) and two more than Ruth (1927).

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BTW, only 11 players who qualified for a batting title this season hit more than .300, the third fewest in MLB history — ahead of only 1960 (10) and 1968 (6).

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More from Gary Cavalli, who blogs at The Inside Track: “There were only 36 complete games pitched in the major leagues this year. Seriously. . . . Consider that the Giants’ Juan Marichal completed 30 by himself in 1968. . . . This year teams used an average of 8.71 pitchers per game, second-highest total in history after last year’s 9.09. And starting pitchers averaged only five innings.”


Movie


On Sunday night, I posted a quote from then Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule here — “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.” That was after a 37-15 loss to the visiting San Francisco 49ers that left Carolina at 1-4. Rhule was fired Monday morning. No need for a tag day, though, as he is still owed more than US$40 million on the seven-year, $62-million deal he signed on Jan. 7, 2020. It’s pocket change to owner David Tepper, a billionaire who manages a global hedge fund.


“A new report commissioned by Hockey Canada says that a controversial reserve fund it used to settle a multi-million-dollar lawsuit alleging a 2018 HockeyCanadagroup sexual assault involving World Junior players was necessary, but there were serious problems with how that fund was administered, CBC News has learned,” writes Ashley Burke of CBC News. “CBC News has viewed and verified parts of a 100-page-plus preliminary report written by retired Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell that recommends sweeping changes. The report found Hockey Canada didn’t have policies and procedures in place to govern use of its reserve funds, didn’t fully disclose its funds in financial records, and broke the rules by failing to notify members of large payouts.”

Burke’s complete story is right here.

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THINKING OUT LOUD — If you are watching the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies this week, pay special attention to the umpiring crew because it includes Stu Scheurwater, the 39-year-old pride of Regina. Scheurwater, a full-time MLB umpire since December 2017, was at second base in Game 2 on Wednesday. . . . Does anyone else find it a bit off-putting that the Canadian Hockey League, whose players are mostly teenagers, appears to have cut a sponsorship deal of some kind with BetRivers Canada, an online casino and sports book? . . . When the 2023 MLB season gets here, the Cincinnati Reds will have a BetMGM sportsbook operating right in their home stadium. That being the case, it would seem that it’s time for MLB to induct Pete Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Fiftycent


A SIGN OF THE TIMES — If you’ve been watching sports on TV lately, surely you have seen the commercial pushing Google Pixels. Although it’s a phone — at least, I think it is — the word ‘phone’ is heard/seen exactly once in the 30-second spot. All the rest of time is spent telling us that this is the best camera of them all.



Before arriving in Prince George for a Tuesday night date with the Cougars, the Brandon Wheat Kings apparently merged with the Portland Winterhawks . . . The Wheat Hawks, er, Wheat Kings went on to post a 2-1 victory over the Cougars before an announced crowd of 1,671. . . .


Rome


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Dylan Guenther, who played the past three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings, is on the season-opening roster of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. He was the ninth overall pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Guenther, 19, could get an early-season taste of NHL play and then be returned to Edmonton. The first year of his contract doesn’t kick in until he plays a 10th NHL game. . . . He put up 45 goals and 46 assists in 59 regular-season games in 2021-22, then scored 13 goals and added eight assists in 16 playoff games. . . .

F Fraser Minten of the Kamloops Blazers remains with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he has a wrist injury. Minten, 18, is expected to be back in Kamloops by Sunday. He was a second-round selection by Toronto in the NHL’s 2022 draft. Last season, he finished with 20 goals and 35 assists in 67 regular-season games, then added 16 points, six of them goals, in 17 playoff outings. . . .

G Talyn Boyko, who finished last season with the Kelowna Rockets, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the New York Rangers, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL draft. The 6-foot-7 Boyko is to turn 20 on Sunday. The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-7 Boyko from the Tri-City Americans during the 2021-22 season. . . . As a 20-year-old, he is eligible to play in the WHL, but, at least for now, he is with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen.


Animals


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Homeless

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while continuing to wonder what hit the Blue Jays . . .

Scattershooting2

You are able to find Randy’s Vinyl Tap on a Corus radio station near you for two hours every Sunday evening. Check it out!


While watching the Toronto Blue Jays implode on Saturday, I kept seeing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beating the visiting New York Yankees with a walk-off home run a few weeks ago and screaming something about it being “my house” as he trotted from third to home. . . . Of course, the Yankees won in Toronto the next night to clinch the AL East. And then along came Friday-Saturday and the Seattle Mariners. . . . Let’s not forget that Aaron Judge hit No. 61 there, too. . . . All of that means that the Yankees and Mariners have done a lot of celebrating in Vladdy’s house. . . . Maybe he and the rest of Toronto’s young guns will learn something about humility and the baseball gods from how this season ended . . . Oh, and get rid of that gawdawful jacket thing, too.



Amazon


Joe Posnanski, who writes baseball as well as anyone, had this after Saturday’s marathon between the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians: “For almost five hours, under the heat of playoff baseball, we watched two teams fail to score a single run. They failed to score a single run off FIFTEEN different pitchers. Until the last batter, Cleveland hit .090 and struck out 20 times. Tampa Bay hit a stouter .122 and struck out only 19 times.”

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And here’s Posnanski on a key point in the Seattle-Toronto game: “And Blue Jays manager John Schneider, the one who did not play in ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ went to the mound, pulled (Kevin) Gausman, and brought in lefty Tim Mayza. It didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense when he did it, since Gausman clearly was not gassed and (switch-hitter Carlos) Santana has, throughout his career, been a better hitter against lefties. This year, he hit just .178 and slugged .366 against righties — he hit almost 90 points better and had 150 more OPS points against lefties.

“But, he was 0-for-3 against Mayza, so maybe that’s what Schneider saw. I don’t know.”

Of course, the bases were loaded, Mayza threw a wild pitch and then Santana drilled a three-run homer. The rest, as they say, is history.


Here’s Matt Rhule, the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, after losing, 37-15, to the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday: “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.”


Corndogs


“Minnesota Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson made major-league history by having the longest last name on the back of his jersey, supplanting ex-catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The team seamstress is now on the 10-day injured list with RSI.”

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Perry also passed along this gem from Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune after Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady threw a tantrum: “Brady broke two tablets vs. the Saints, tying the cherished 3,500-year-old world record set by Moses.”


Here’s Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Herschel Walker isn’t the one who belongs in a concussion tent. No. Anybody who’s still thinking of voting for this guy belongs in the blue tent.”

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Lupica, again: “One more thing about Herschel. I’m really starting to worry about just the sheer logistics of what next Father’s Day are going to be like for this guy. The more you read, the more you think he hooked up with everybody except Stormy Daniels.”


There are some parts of the world of hockey that really do need to pay more attention to history and, in particular, to the people who put so much into the building of leagues and franchises. So . . . here’s hoping the decision to remove banners from the Regina Pats’ home arena is a temporary measure to accommodate the removal of dust from the rafters or some other house-cleaning item. . . . And here’s hoping, too, that there is a plan in Regina to hang more banners representing names from the Pats’ glorious past to those rafters.


Keith


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

F Logan Stankoven, the CHL’s player of the year for 2021-22, has been returned to the Kamloops Blazers by the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He has signed a three-year deal with the Stars. Last season, Stankoven had 104 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, then added 17 goals and 14 assists in 17 playoff games. . . . Remember that the Blazers are to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. . . . Stankoven, 19, is expected to be in the Kamloops lineup on Friday night against the host Tri-City Americans. . . . While returning Stankoven to his hometown team, the Stars kept F Wyatt Johnston, 19, who was their first pick in that 2021 NHL draft. He played the past two seasons with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, putting up 124 points, 46 of them goals, in 68 games last season. . . .

Meawhile, the Vancouver Giants got back F Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, from the Ottawa Senators. Ostapchuk, 19, was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Last season, he had 26 goals and 17 assists in 60 regular-season games, then added 23 points, 16 of them assists, in 12 playoff games. . . . The Giants next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Brandon Wheat Kings in Langley, B.C. . . .

The Tri-City Americans, playing their home-opener, got two goals and two assists from F Jordan Gavin in beating the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-1, on Saturday night. Gavin, from Surrey, B.C., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, and has two goals and five assists in five games. He won’t turn 16 until Nov. 13. . . .

When host Kamloops dropped Victoria, 3-1, on Saturday night, it was the Blazers’ 23rd consecutive victory over the Royals. . . . Seriously! . . . The loss also left the Royals at 0-7-0, not quite the start the franchise needed. . . . Victoria is the only one of the league’s 22 teams without a victory. . . .

At the other end of the spectrum, the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds remain unbeaten — the former at 5-0-0, the latter 4-0-0. They’ll go home-and-home on Nov. 4 and 5, opening in Portland and closing the series in Kent, Wash. . . . Before then, the Winterhawks are home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday, the same night the Thunderbirds entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this is the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds have opened with four straight victories. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, meanwhile, are 5-0-0, the first time that has happened since 2000-01, according to Troy Gillard, their director of broadcasts and media.


Commas


THINKING OUT LOUD — In getting swept from a best-of-three series, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t get even one pitch out of Jose Berrios or Yusei Kikuchi. Berrios has an average salary of US$18,714,286, while Kikuchi’s annual average is $12 million. . . . Hockey Canada didn’t make a big news dump late Friday afternoon, but Andrea Skinner, the interim chair of the board of directors, did resign on Saturday. Hey, it’s a start. . . . How come I didn’t know before Saturday evening that the Okanagan Sun has a hotshot KR/WR named Mike O’Shea, who just happens to be the son of Mike O’Shea, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach? . . . BTW, the Sun just finished off a 10-0 regular season. . . . ICYMI, the Cincinnati Bengals left three points on the field Sunday night in Baltimore and lost by two to the Ravens. Could it be some of those coaches are spending too much time listening to the analytics people? Sheesh, kick the field goal!


I wish I had seen this trick on Twitter about 50 years ago. . . .


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Store

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if Stars’ Oettinger can continue to hold off the Flames . . .

scattershooting

A few words from blogger Joe Posnanski:

In 1974, a rock journalist named Jon Landau watched a concert at Harvard Square Theater and wrote, “I saw rock and roll’s future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.”

That’s how I feel now watching Carlos Alcaraz play. There has been a bit of sadness among many tennis fans because we all know that the greatest era in the sport’s history is coming to an end. But I’m not sure that era is ending. I saw tennis’ future and its name is Carlos Alcaraz. He just might be Fed, Rafa, Novak and Andy all rolled into one.



Is this the season when we get to see Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels in the MLB playoffs for the first time in his career? He’s the best hitter in the game and it would be great to see him perform in the autumn. As Chris Branch of The Athletic Pulse put it this week: “They’re (24-13), with Trout looking like Mickey Mantle again and Shohei Ohtani looking like Babe Ruth.” . . . Of course, the Angels haven’t finished with a record above .500 since 2015, so . . . yes, it’s early.


Penfish


And then there were five . . .

The Kamloops Blazers went on the road Sunday and were able to finish off the WHLplayoffs2022Vancouver Giants, posting a 6-0 victory in Langley, B.C., to win their WHL Western Conference semifinal, 4-2. . . .

That leaves just one conference semifinal still being played — the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks will visit the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. The Winterhawks hold a 3-2 lead in the series and have won both games that have been played in Kent — 4-2 on May 7 and 5-1 on Friday. . . . If this series needs a Game 7, it will be played in Portland on Tuesday. And, yes, Seattle has won twice in Portland — 5-0 on Wednesday and 3-1 on Saturday.

In the Eastern Conference, meanwhile, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice and No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings are waiting to get started. Games 1 and 2 are scheduled to be played in Winnipeg on Friday and Saturday.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., F Fraser Minten scored an early shorthanded goal and G Dylan Garand stopped 24 shots, leading the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers to a 6-0 victory Kamloopsover the No, 8 Vancouver Giants. . . . The Blazers won the conference semifinal, 4-2. . . . The Blazers will be in the conference final for the first time since 2013 when they lost in five games to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops will meet either the No. 3 Winterhawks or No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds in the final. Portland holds a 3-2 lead in that series going into a game tonight in Kent, Wash. The conference final is to open in Kamloops with games on Friday and Saturday. . . . Minten opened the scoring with his fifth goal of the playoffs at 6:06 of the first period. . . . F Luke Toporowski (8) made it 2-0 at 10:27. . . . Kamloops got second-period goals from F Daylan Kuefler (4), at 12:03, and F Logan Stankoven (10), on a PP at 13:07. . . . Kuefler also had two assists. . . . Toporowski (9) added a PP goal at 1:05 of the third period and F Caedan Bankier (5) closed out the scoring at 12:30. . . . Kamloops was 2-for-6 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-for-3. . . . Vancouver held a 12-10 edge in first-period shots, but was outshot 15-4 in the second. . . . Garand posted his third shutout in 10 playoff games. He is 8-2, 1.51, .940. . . . D Alex Cotton, who left Game 5 with an undisclosed injury, was in the Giants’ lineup, as was F Colton Langkow, who hadn’t played since Game 1 on May 6. F Cole Shepard left after one period on Sunday. He hadn’t played since March 16, then came back for Game 4.

——

Michael Bublé, who owns a piece of the Vancouver Giants, wasn’t able to be in VancouverLangley, B.C., for their WHL playoff game with the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday. He was in Las Vegas where he was a presenter during the Billboard Music Awards. . . . But he planned on listening via his phone, even while was on the red carpet. . . . “Forget about being an owner, I love hockey and I’m a proud Vancouver guy,” he told Simon Little of Global News earlier Sunday, “so even if I had nothing to do with the Giants, I’d still be on the red carpet listening to the game.” . . . He also said that he is really proud of the Giants, who went into the playoffs as the Western Conference’s eighth seed and knocked off the No. 1 Everett Silvertips in the first round. . . . “I’m not sure if people realize but it’s the first time in the history of the WHL that an eighth seed has taken out the top seed,” he added. “There’s not a lot of parity in our league, it’s not like the NHL, the No. 1 seed is a goliath. The fact that we’re here, hoping to push it to seven is absolutely wild. . . . I’m surprised more Vancouverites aren’t as excited as I am. I say it all the time, I love my city but sometimes I wonder, are we a hockey town or are we a Canuck town? Prove me wrong Vancouver.” . . . The Blazers beat the Giants, 6-0, on Sunday to win the series, 4-2. The announced attendance was 4,310.


From The Associated Press: Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais said on COVIDSunday “a couple players” won’t make the trip for a three-game series in Toronto because of the Canadian government’s vaccine mandate. Servais did not identify which players will be unavailable. . . . Just as the U.S. does for foreign travellers, Canada requires anyone entering the country to have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, the second at least 14 days before entry. . . . From Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times: But per an agreement between MLB and the players union, (Servais) wouldn’t provide any details. He is not allowed to speak of a player’s vaccination status.


Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Poll: Majority of Canadians favour making sports betting illegal again just to get rid of the (bleeping) ads.

——

Another headline from The Beaverton: Sportsnet apologizes for interrupting gambling commercial with hockey.



Hats


THINKING OUT LOUD: The Winnipeg Ice and Edmonton Oil Kings are to open the WHL’s Eastern Conference final with two games in the Manitoba capital in an old arena that seats around 2,000 fans, many of them on benches. Gotta wonder if the WHL considered moving Winnipeg’s home games to Cranbrook? You know, just for old times’ sake. . . . Does anyone know when the first shovel will go into the ground to start construction of the Ice’s new home? . . . Are you old enough to remember when you could turn on your TV set and watch a WHL playoff game, or even an entire series, on Shaw? . . . The Cincinnati Reds are 9-26 this season so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that they lost, 1-0, to the host Pittsburgh Pirates who didn’t muster even one hit on Sunday. And the game won’t count as a no-hitter because the two Reds’ pitchers didn’t combine to throw nine innings.


You may have heard that a guy named Elon Musk is in the process of buying Twitter and has said that when it’s all done he will reinstate Donald Trump, who presently is sitting out a permanent ban. “In related news,” writes Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, “Pete Rose is lobbying for Musk to buy the Baseball Hall of Fame.”



Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “I really was genuinely happy for Touchdown Tom, though, when I heard about the Fox deal. Finally, the guy catches a break.”


Towers


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Open

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if the magic of a no-hitter has been permanently lost . . .

scattershooting

Mothers


There was one playoff game in the WHL on Sunday night, and there will be WHLplayoffs2022another one tonight (Monday). . . . Last night, the host Portland Winterhawks used a shorthanded goal to get past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1, to take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series. . . . Tonight, in the Eastern Conference, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings take a 2-0 series lead into Red Deer for a game with the No. 3 Rebels. . . . The Rebels have yet to score in the series, having been blanked 4-0 and 5-0 by the Oil Kings and G Sebastian Cossa.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

Western Conference

In Portland, the No. 3 Winterhawks got the winner late in the third period as they defeated the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . Portland, which won, 4-2, Portlandin Kent, Wash., on Saturday night, holds a 2-0 lead in the conference semifinal. They’ll play the third game in Portland on Wednesday. . . . Last night, F Lucas Ciona (4) put Seattle in front at 9:05 of the first period. . . . F Tyson Kozak pulled Portland even at 11:02 of the second period. . . . Then, with D Josh Mori serving a tripping minor, F Gabe Klassen (4) snapped the 1-1 tie at 16:22 of the third period. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, in his return to Portland’s lineup after a two-game absence, drew the lone assist on Klassen’s goal. . . . Portland was 0-for-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-4 with two of those opportunities coming in the last half of the third period. . . . Portland got 28 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who is 6-0, 1.17, .959 in these playoffs. Gauthier, 20, was acquired from the Prince George Cougars during the season and it would seem he is enjoying his first WHL playoff run. . . . G Thomas Milic blocked 29 shots for Seattle, including a second-period penalty-shot attempt by F Cross Hanas.


Here’s Larry Brooks, in the New York Post: “So the (New Jersey) Devils conducted a soul-searching and thorough review of the organization and appear to have to come to the conclusion that assistant coaches Alain Nasreddine and Mark Recchi were the problem and thus had to go.

“That kind of reminds me of when the Devils missed the 1996 playoffs as defending Stanley Cup champions and decided to dismiss PA announcer Bob Arsena after the season ended.”

Recchi, a Hockey Hall of Famer, had one year left on his contract. He owns a chunk of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers. Recchi, 54, was an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins for three seasons before spending the past two seasons with head coach Lindy Ruff and the Devils.


Joe Posnanski just couldn’t get fired up recently when five New York Mets pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies, and here’s why . . .

“The magic of a no-hitter is not that one team gets no hits,” Posnanski wrote. “That’s just a bad hitting performance. The magic is that one pitcher accomplishes the feat. The magic is that the pitcher finds a way to keep the no-hitter going even after he’s shown all his pitches, even as his stuff diminishes.

“Sending five hard-throwing pitchers out there to throw a no-hitter — ending with a closer who throws 100 mph — feels sort of the opposite of magic. It feels like playing a video game on cheat mode.”

He’s not wrong.



Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Delta and Omicron variants jealous that younger XE strain gets away with anything it wants.



THINKING OUT LOUD — Hello, baseball gods. Would you please, please, please free Joey Votto from the hell that is the Cincinnati Reds. Thank you. . . . Surely you have been stuck at a railroad crossing with a train crawling along, perhaps even getting almost past you and then backing up and doing it all over again. While you’re sitting there have you ever wondered if whoever is running that train has ever had to sit at a crossing? Yes, I sat at one for 14 minutes on Thursday afternoon. No, the ice cream in the grocery bag didn’t melt. . . . If the Vancouver Canucks were going to bring Bruce Boudreau back as their head coach, wouldn’t the deal have been done before now? . . . I’ve been told that Rylan Ferster, a veteran junior hockey coach, is soon to be back in the BCHL, if he isn’t already. Are you hearing that, too?



Here’s a thought from Sportsnet’s Luke Fox: “Based on Jim Rutherford’s half-hearted endorsement, the cleared bench in Philadelphia, and the relationship with GM Chuck Fletcher, it’s nearly impossible to find someone in hockey who doesn’t believe Bruce Boudreau will end up behind the Flyers’ bench.”


Beer


The pandemic will claim its one millionth American victim this week and we won’t even blink . . . 1,000,000 dead . . . ho hum!

Here’s Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:

“There was a point in the pandemic at which one million dead was as inconceivable to us as a million cattle would have been to an Englishman of the 12th century. There was a point in the pandemic at which 674,000 deaths, more deaths than in the 1918 pandemic, was inconceivable. But every grisly mile marker went by until we got to the past week, and one million dead, and this happened because a great deal of the country’s reaction to the pandemic was just as inconceivable at its beginning as the ultimate body count once was.

“For example, I figured that there would be a general ‘war’ on the disease, because we can’t confront any big problem without declaring ‘war’ against it. What I did not see coming was an actual political and social ‘war’ against the cure, one that included everyone from radio hosts to certain cardinals of Holy Mother Church. What I did not see coming was a ‘war’ against the public health measures that the pandemic made necessary. Pissing and moaning, yes. Bristling over the little inconveniences, absolutely. But not an all-out assault on the idea that we must adopt measures against epidemic disease that might disrupt our daily lives, however slightly.”

On Sunday night, the counter at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed the U.S. at 997,503 deaths, along with 81,858,744 confirmed cases.

Johns Hopkins had Canada with 39,817 deaths, along with 3,805,916 confirmed cases.


The Boston Bruins were without D Charlie McAvoy when they beat the visiting COVIDCarolina Hurricanes, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon to even their first-round NHL playoff series at 2-2. Where was McAvoy? He was in COVID-19 protocol after having tested positive. . . . A good guess would be that McAvoy was showing symptoms, which is why he was tested. . . . And now you know why professional teams playing in Canada have taken to avoiding testing by riding a bus over the U.S. border before catching a flight to an American destination. The last thing those teams want is to have an asymptomatic player test positive and have to miss playoff action.


Err


Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Sign of hard times, at Wednesday’s Oakland Athletics game at the Coliseum: One food truck on the plaza. Used to be there were eight or 10 to choose from. Pretty soon it will be just a guy selling day-old churros and two kids with a lemonade stand.”



“Hey, badder batter!” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “MLB hitters had a bad April, scoring the fewest runs per game (4.0) in the month since 1981 and posting the worst   batting average (.231) in history.”


The MJHL’s championship final is going to a seventh game. The Dauphin Kings took it to Game 7 with a 2-0 victory over the visiting Steinbach Pistons on Sunday night. G Carson Cherepak earned the shutout with 24 stops. . . . They’ll decide things in Steinbach on Wednesday night with the winner moving on to the Centennial Cup tournament in Estevan, Sask.


Tuna


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Open

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while wondering if spring finally has arrived (sorry, Brandon and area) . . .

scattershooting

F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats will be on the roster when Hockey Canada announces the roster of the team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world HockeyCanadachampionship in Germany later this month. . . . That means he will be reunited with David Struch, who was fired as the Pats’ head coach on Nov. 18 and will be an assistant coach with Team Canada. . . . Bedard and his Pats closed out their WHL regular season on Sunday with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Bedard put up five points — two goals and three assists — to finish the season with 100 points, including 51 goals, in 62 games. . . . Bedard, who will turn 17 on July 17, is the third 16-year-old in WHL history to score 50 times in one season. F Glen Goodall of the Seattle Thunderbirds scored 63 times in 1986-87, which was his third season in the WHL, while F Dan Lucas of the Victoria Cougars struck 57 times in 1974-75. . . . The U-18 tournament is to run from April 23 through May 1 in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany. . . . I believe that Bedard also is eligible to play in the 2022 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup early in August in Red Deer and the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is scheduled for Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. . . . As for his future in the WHL, well, there already are rumblings in the hockey world that he could end up with the Blazers if Kamloops wins the right to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. Now that would be a trade for the ages!


SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Regina, F Connor Bedard ended his season with a flourish, putting up five points as the Pats beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-4. . . . Included in Bedard’s effort were his 50th goal and 100th point of the season. He finished with 51 goals. . . . F Tanner Howe (27) snapped a 4-4 tie, on a PP, at 7:15 of the third period. Bedard followed with No. 50, on another PP, at 13:50, then got No. 51 into an empty net at 19:36. . . . Howe’s season shouldn’t be overlooked in all the Bedard hype. Howe, who turned 16 on Nov. 28, finished with 69 points, including 42 assists, in 64 games. . . . F Cole Dubinsky (20) added two goals and an assist for the winners. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (13) score twice for Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors will meet the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the playoffs; the Pats didn’t qualify. . . . Regina ended up tied for ninth with the Swift Current Broncos and Calgary Hitmen, each with 59 points, two shy of a playoff spot. . . .

In Calgary, F Alex Thacker’s OT goal gave the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Thacker’s 14th goal came just 19 seconds into extra time. . . . The Hurricanes led this one 2-0 before the first period was 12 minutes old. . . . Calgary F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (28) tied it, on a PP, at 18:27 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and will meet the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings in the opening round. . . . The Hitmen didn’t qualify.


Osprey
The osprey have arrived back on the South Thompson River east of Kamloops. This happy couple have started rebuilding their nest, while also looking for food. The latter won’t be an issue with lots of fish in the river.


SOME NUMBERS: F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels won the Bob Clarke Trophy as the WHL scoring king with 112 points. He was one of four players with at least 100 points, the others being linemate Ben King (105), F Logan Stankoven (104) of the Kamloops Blazers and F Connor Bedard (100) of the Regina Pats. . . . King led in goals (52), one more than Bedard. . . . Bains was tops in assists (69), five more than D Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips. . . . King finished with 15 game-winning goals, one off the WHL record that was set by F Brian Propp of the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1978-79. . . . G Daniel Hauser of the Winnipeg Ice had the best GAA, at 2.00, while G Taylor Gauthier, who was acquired by the Portland Winterhawks from the Prince George Cougars during the season, was tops in save percentage (.928). . . . Hauser and Dylan Garand of Kamloops led in victories, each with 34. . . . Hauser had a WHL-high eight shutouts. . . .

According to numbers compiled by the WHL, the average attendance for 748 games was 3,203. That’s down from 4,154 for 694 games in 2019-20 and from 4,361 for 748 games in 2018-19. Of course, this season’s numbers are skewed because of pandemic-related restrictions in the early going.


THINKING OUT LOUD: Nothing sums up the end of the race for playoff spots in the WHL’s Western Conference like the Prince George Cougars starting Saturday in seventh place, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Rockets in Kelowna that night, and, despite the loss, moving up to sixth place in the final standings. . . . The Winnipeg Ice won the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s top regular-season team. If the Ice goes on a deep playoff run, will it play all of its home game in what is the smallest arena in the 60-team CHL? The most frequently announced attendance in the Wayne Fleming Arena is 1,621. . . . The playoffs open on Thursday with the Lethbridge Hurricanes visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Because of a Paul McCartney concert in Spokane on April 28, the Chiefs and Kamloops Blazers will open with three games in Kamloops, and then have a break between Game 3 (April 25) and Game 4 (April 29). This is the first stop on the tour, so they will start setting up and staging on April 24. Perhaps the Chiefs can get Sir Paul to hang around and do the anthems before Game 4. Hey, why not? After April 28, he’s off until May 2 in Seattle.


Insomnia


If you’re a baseball fan, you no doubt were disappointed on Wednesday when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts yanked left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was throwing a perfect game through seven innings. Kershaw had thrown 80 pitches and the Dodgers held a 7-0 lead over the host Minnesota Twins at the time.

There was a whole lot of indignation on social media, with Roberts getting mostly roasted.

But the best take I saw came from Joe Posnanski, who wrote in part:

“There was no chance in the world that Clayton Kershaw was pitching nine innings on Wednesday in Minnesota. We all knew it. We might not have liked it, might have wished for something else, but I mean, when that game started, if someone had asked you, “What are the chances that Clayton Kershaw throws a nine-inning complete game today?” you would have said: Zero percent.

“Not 1%. Not 0.5%. No: 0.000000000000000%.”

Posnanski went on to point out that Kershaw “finished last season with his elbow barely intact . . . he only began throwing again in January . . . in a shortened spring training, he threw a grand total of 101 pitches . . .” Posnanski also mentioned that Kershaw hadn’t thrown a complete game in almost five years and it was “like 30 degrees with a howling wind at Target Field.”

Posnanski’s complete take is right here.


Google is your friend if you aren’t aware of Tom House and his accomplishments in the world of baseball.


Bacon


Joe Maddon, the manager of the Los Angeles Angeles, ordered up a bases-loaded walk in a Friday game.

How did that work out?

Here’s Joe Posnanski: “Here’s something funny about managing a baseball game: You could do the absolute right thing from a percentage and logic standpoint and have it blow up in your face. And you could do the dumbest thing imaginable for the dumbest reason imaginable and have it work out perfectly.”

His complete take on Maddon’s move is right here, and it’s a great read.



From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Kiara Thomas was arrested and charged with assault in Laurel, Mississippi, for punching an umpire at a 12-year-old girls softball game, WLBT-TV reported. The capper? In her mugshot, Thomas rocks a ‘Mother of the Year’ t-shirt.”

——

Perry, again: “LSU outfielder Gavin Dugas was hit by a pitch 13 times in his first 103 plate appearances this season. Twins scouts love him, saying he’d be a perfect for Target Field.”


Dennys


The Athletic’s Chris Branch reports: “MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gifted every major leaguer a shiny new pair of Bose headphones on Opening Day as a way of saying, ‘I’m sorry for trying to withhold as much money from you as possible’ after a lockout that got particularly nasty at points. At least those pregame playlists will sound crisp now.”

——

One more note from Branch: “Jrue Holiday started Milwaukee’s 133-115 loss to Cleveland on (April 10), his 67th game this season, but didn’t stick around for long. Seconds after the opening tip, Holiday intentionally fouled Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, exited the game and never came back. Why? Holiday’s game total triggered a $306,000 bonus in his contract. That’s $38,250 per second of play. Not bad.”

The aforementioned Dwight Perry chimed in with: “Which pencils out to a tidy $136.8 million an hour.”


Headline at The Beaverton — Canada to distribute remaining vaccines through “Roll Up the Rim to Win” contest.

One more from The Beaverton — Study finds cycling healthiest way to get hit by a car.


Headline at TheOnion.com — Climate report finds Antarctica could support multiple golf courses by 2050.


It was just a week ago when I mentioned in this space that OF Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins was capable of having an MVP-type season if only he could stay healthy. . . . Well, he went down in the Twins’ 8-4 victory over the Red Sox in Boston on Friday afternoon. He left the game in the first inning with soreness in his right knee, and now is likely to miss at least a week.


Manure


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to be on her team by sponsoring her, you are able to do that right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Feta

Scattershooting on a Sunday night after getting a real deal on cheap gas . . .

scattershooting


On Sunday, Westhead tweeted that “Branch said OHL commissioned an ‘independent investigation’ after a player reached out via its ‘player communications tool’ to report alleged incident.


There was a time when MLB had the best playoff format of them all; of course, that was before TV money came to rule the roost. But back in the day the American and National League teams with the best regular-season records met in the World Series. Now they are bickering over whether 14 teams should get into post-season play. That’s like holding a debate over whether to add more chopped lettuce to a Subway ham sandwich.

——

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, in a column about what’s on the MLB commissioner’s consideration list: “Expand playoffs, for the fans’ good! Bud Selig is in the Hall of Fame solely because he expanded the playoffs. Hmmm. Our side has proposed expansion of playoffs to 14 teams, the players say they’ll go for 12. Why be so exclusive, like the playoffs are some snooty country club? Propose 32-team playoffs! We have only 30 teams, but we could add two minor-league teams to even out the brackets.”

——

Headline at TheOnion.com: MLB owners propose CBA that offers players college credit in lieu of salary.



The price of gas hit $1.95.9 a litre in Kamloops at some point on Sunday. But don’t feel sorry for me because I was able to find one station at $1.75.9. With a deal like that, how could I not stop and fill up even though the gas gauge still was above half?



ICYMI, the pandemic is over. Done. Finis. It is because the NFL says it is. On Thursday, the NFL told its 32 teams that life is back to normal. No more protocols related to COVID-19. No more mandatory testing. As Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) tweeted: “Being around everyone is back.”

——

Meanwhile, David Rising of The Associated Press wrote this on Sunday morning:

“The official global death toll from COVID-19 is on the verge of eclipsing 6 million — underscoring that the pandemic, now in its third year, is far from over.

“The milestone is the latest tragic reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic even as people are shedding masks, travel is resuming and businesses are reopening around the globe. The death toll, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, stood at 5,996,882 as of Sunday morning and was expected to pass the 6 million mark later in the day.”

At the same time, Johns Hopkins had the U.S. death toll at 958,437. Through Friday, the seven-day average was 1,541. . . . What about Canada, you ask? Johns Hopkins had the death toll at 36,998, with a seven-day average of 62 through Friday.

The NFL is right. What pandemic?

——
T. Ryan Gregory is a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Guelph . . .


Fixes


If you’re a sports fan who loves great anecdotes, you can’t go wrong with The Baseball 100. This marvelous book was written by Joe Posnanski, a veteran writer who obviously is a huge baseball fan. He rates his top 100 baseball players of all-time, and has provided an essay on each one of them. The key is that the essays aren’t over-populated with numbers; rather, he has stories to tell about each of the players. The book is pricey — the Canadian cover price is $54 — but it’s 700-plus pages of great reading. Get your hands on one and thank me later.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, isn’t taking sides in the baseball mess. As he explained: “Neither side is worthy of praise or support. If you ‘take sides’ here, you are merely selecting the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs.”

——

My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.


After a Global AgeWatch Index ranking of the world’s top 96 places for seniors to live, RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com noted: “Its top three are Switzerland, Norway and the L.A. Lakers.”


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

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Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Beer

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