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 ...
Yogi Berra: More than Mr. Malaprop
The late legend was a perennial MVP and one of few good reasons to root for the New York Yankees
Sure, Mantle might hit a homer, but he might just as easily strike out. Berra, notorious for swinging at balls so far out of the strike zone they might have been in Poughkeepsie, almost never fanned – just 414 times in 19 seasons, writes Rod Mickleburgh
By Rod Mickleburgh
A few words on the late, great Lawrence Peter Berra, known to one and all, except Yankee manager Casey Stengel, as Yogi. The Old Perfessor always referred to him as “my man” or “Mr. Berra.” It was his show of respect for the team’s catcher and long-time clean-up hitter. While others might mock and deride Berra’s squat stature, homely mug and lack of verbal sophistication, wise Casey knew just how key Berra was to the success of the Yankees in those long-ago years when they seemed to win the World Series every year. From behind the plate, he guided the team’s often far from brilliant pitching staff ...
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 ...
Art star and X-Games pro Tyler Shields makes directing debut
Tyler Shields started skating professionally at the age of 12 and made it to the top of the extreme athlete podium before he turned his talents to art photography and high-end shoots, but he says directing his debut feature was the biggest risk yet, if only because he'd promised his Robin Williams he'd make it the right way.
By Katherine Monk
LOS ANGELES – Robin Williams made him promise to be true to his creative soul, and while it hasn’t been easy, Tyler Shields has managed to resist the temptation of quick hits and lowest common denominator success to pursue a unique vision in the richly saturated shadows.
An art star in the world of fine art photography and a former professional in-line skater, Shields has certainly felt the warm glow of popular success in the past, but when he decided to follow his childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker, he knew things would be different. And they were.
Shields directed the B.C.-shot thriller Final Girl ...
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 ...
Pop Culture Decoder: American Ninja Warrior
Misty Harris breaks down the appeal of TV’s best competition show that's basically the sports equivalent of dating George Clooney between 1994 and 2013
By Misty Harris
American Ninja Warrior is summer’s best competition show that sounds like it was named by a six-year-old who just watched his first Chuck Norris movie. The series features increasingly grueling obstacle courses designed to test the mettle of America’s top athletes, and to shame everyone watching from their couch at home (those who can’t do, watch).
A part of me, childishly, wants to hate ANW for its hyperventilating celebration of all the people who would’ve picked me last in gym class. But as much as I’m a bitter old wannabe who can’t touch her toes, I find myself impervious to the charms of this show – the seventh season of which premieres May 25.
Contestants train like fiends year-round, will often wait days to audition, and have less fat in their entire bodies than I have ...
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 ...