baseball 9 results

A Great Big Yes to James Paxton’s No-No in Toronto

Sports: Baseball Ladner B.C.’s James Paxton is the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter on home turf, but the man they call Big Maple refuses to chuck his Canuck identity. By Rod Mickleburgh When James Paxton came out for the bottom of the ninth against the hometown Toronto Blue Jays, he was pumped. Three outs away from an historic no-hitter, the steely hurler from Ladner, BC was not going to lose it by nibbling around the edges of the plate with sliders and curve balls. He came right at the Blue Jay hitters with fast balls. Despite having already thrown 92 pitches and never having pitched a complete game in his six-year, injury-plagued career, they were his fastest of the night. One broke the 100 mph barrier (160 kilometres per hour in Ladner). All seven were strikes. Anthony Alford fouled out on the first pitch. Hot-hitting Teoscar Hernandez went down swinging on three blazing fastballs. And dangerous Josh Donaldson lashed the ball hard, but straight at the Seattle Mariners’ ...

After the Boys of Summer Have Gone, the Iceman Cometh

Sports: Baseball Looking back at the year of ball that was, Rod Mickleburgh finds the big league diamonds were rough, but the minor games at the likes of Nat Bailey Stadium were small gem experiences in a priceless setting. By Rod Mickleburgh And so baseball winter has begun, made even harsher by the tragic death of Roy Halladay. The hopeful breezes of spring, the lazy hazy crazy days of summer and the beautifully slanted light of fall have all departed from the diamond, leaving us to bundle up and shiver through the bleak wintry months of no baseball. In that sweet, far-off time when I was a kid, the Series was always over by the second week of October, in time for the players to do their fall hunting. Now, with so many wildcard and playoff games piled on, the Series stretches into November, as ridiculous a month as ever was for the summer game. In November, you don’t think baseball, you think winter. There was hardly a “wow” ending. The highly-anticipated seventh game ...

What The Knuckler? Pitching for Dummies… and Brian Doyle

Sports: Baseball When everything about baseball is new, having a knowledgeable buddy to help you get a grip on balls, strikes and four-seam fastballs can be more fun than shagging a can of corn (The following is part of a continuing correspondence between Charley Gordon, journalist and veteran baseball fan, and Brian Doyle, author of Young Adult fiction and newly minted follower of the boys of summer.)   May 3, 2016 Dear Dr. Gordon: I have a friend who has been a baseball fan for 70 years. I am, as you know, a neophyte baseball watcher. My friend (let's call him "Mike") has a superior attitude and is sneeringly patronizing when it comes to baseball comments. I fear, when I come out of the closet, he is going to dismiss and even scoff  at any observation I might make about the game. I want to say something about knuckle ball pitchers in general and R.A. Dickey in particular. I want my comment to sound sensible and mature and reasonable and I want it to ...

Close encounters on the third base line

Sports: Jays' Spring Training in Dunedin Whether you're sponging up the baseball, sponging off the spilled beer, or buying a sponge in a seaside tourist shop, catching Blue Jays spring training in Dunedin is a ball fan's beery version of Valhalla By Jay Stone DUNEDIN, Fla. — On my first day in Dunedin this year, I went to a spring training baseball game and saw a pitcher named Pat Venditte, who can throw with either arm. He has a special six-finger glove with a thumb at each end, and he can put it on whichever hand he wants and throw with the other arm. Venditte, who is in the Toronto Blue Jays camp, has been in the league for a while — he was with the Yankees two years ago and Oakland last year — and there’s even a rule named after him. It says that he has to declare which arm he’s going to throw with against a switch-hitter. This keeps baseball, which is kind of a leisurely sport anyway, from becoming an endless game of chicken, with Venditte moving his glove from ...

A fan’s lament

R.I.P Blue Jays Season The boys in blue took Canadians on a roller coaster ride through the post-season, turning even the hesitant and risk-averse into Bautista worshippers, but even with a pumped up Pompey and a ride from Revere, the Royals won the division crown By Rod Mickleburgh And so it ends, as it almost does in baseball when you embrace a team, with heartache and a taste of bitterness. After a magical, three-month run that delivered such delirious thrills and joy to me and millions of others across the country, the Toronto Blue Jays are gone, leaving players and fans to agonize over what might have been. It happens every year. Teams get so close to the final hurdle, only to falter at the finish line. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be sports, and everyone’s team would win every year. In baseball, only one team out of 30 wins the World Series. How often is it the team you root for? The Cubs haven’t won since 1908, the Red Sox went 90 years without winning, Seattle ...

Orbiting ball lore with the Spaceman

Southpaw pitcher Bill Lee climbs back on a mound of memories created during the Montreal Expos' brief run at greatness from 1979 to 1981, when the storied team fell just one inning short of a trip to the World Series By Rod Mickleburgh Suddenly, baseball is fun again, at least if you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. Although the Montreal Expos remain closest to my heart, I still root for the Jays. Those World Series years of 1992-93 were wonderful. (Devon White!) Of course, it’s been mighty lean pickings, since then. Now, finally, as they tussle with the hated Yankees for first place, Canada is back on the Jays’ bandwagon.   With this renewed whiff of baseball in the air, I offer a special Mickle treat for Canadian ball fans, especially those who remember the Expos from 1979, when they first drove for the pennant, and 1981, when they fell an inning short of the World Series, done in by Rick Monday’s cruel home run off Steve Rogers, a starting pitcher ...

Rod Mickleburgh pens an ode to Jay messiah

Surprise slugfest shatters expectations of a humdrum night of baseball, inspiring a veteran scribe to take an original trip around the horn of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's classic, published June 3, 1888 By Rod Mickleburgh Earlier this week, on a beautiful night for baseball, I was at the Skydome for what hardly promised to be a classic ball game, between the struggling Blue Jays and woeful White Sox. But my friend Peter McNelly, having spent part of his boyhood in Chicago, remains a diehard Sox fan, and me, well, I love baseball at any level, so off we went. Of course, since baseball ever produces the unexpected, what transpired on the field, against all expectation, was as exciting a game as I can remember (and I remember Mazeroski’s homer!). It was an old-fashioned slugfest, with more twists and turns than the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. It was a pitchers’ duel all right, as in who would get to the showers first: the Jays’ R.A. Dickey, whose knuckleball danced about as much ...

Baseball: And it’s root, root, snooze for the home team

Rod Mickleburgh pays a visit to Seattle's Safeco Field to deliver valuable coaching advice from 30 rows up that, tragically, went unheeded By Rod Mickleburgh One of my favourites among the many things Yogi Berra never said is: “There’s one word that describes baseball: you never know.” Like so many Berra-isms (“It gets late early out there.”), it has a wisdom all its own. For it really is one of the great things about baseball: you just never know. So many sports have a sameness to them, and I don’t mean that as a knock. I’m a huge hockey fan, but basically, the players go up and down the ice trying to score. It’s pretty basic. How many Kevin Bieksa-type stanchion goals are there in a season? Not so with baseball. It’s been played for more than 125 years, and you can still go the ballpark and see something that’s never happened before. Last year, at Safeco Field, I saw the left fielder throw out a runner at first (explanation available on request). On the ...

Can’t anybody here hear this game?

Charley Gordon finds quiet the beauty of the moment amid the constant cacophony of mindless colour commentary By Charley Gordon Sports can be nice when nobody is talking. I had that realization a few weeks ago when I watched a professional golf tournament in Florida. My son and I had been given tickets. Not knowing exactly how these things worked, we walked through a gate, followed some people and suddenly were beside the third green, along with a handful of others. We saw some men walking up to the green and suddenly realized they were well-known golfers (whose names I now forget), along with their caddies. There was no spoken announcement of who they were, no shouts from the crowd. They walked, without fanfare, onto the green, where, I now noticed, two golf balls lay, and got ready to putt. It was mid-morning and the leaders of this tournament wouldn't tee off for a few hours, so the crowds were thin and a certain calmness prevailed. Part of the calmness was due to the ...