Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Group of 20 ego trip trashed a perfect summer weekend in Toronto last year and also delayed Roy Halladay's return to Rogers Centre.
Halladay, who was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies from the Toronto Blue Jays for prospects before the start of the 2010 season, is scheduled to pitch next weekend against the Jays. A series between the teams last season was moved out of Toronto because of the G20 meeting to Philadelphia, where then-Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston gave Halladay a ring and pendant in a private meeting the day after Halladay pitched against his old team for the first time.
But now Halladay will toe the rubber on the mound where he made his reputation and that presents a bit of a conundrum for the Blue Jays: How do you fete the best pitcher in club history who left town because he thought he had a better chance of winning in Philadelphia? This isn't Vince Carter or Chris Bosh or Tracy McGrady - at least, not in the consciousness of the average Blue Jays fan.
The villain in Halladay's departure is still, in their mind, former general manager J.P. Ricciardi. But there is nonetheless a fine line that ought to be walked for an organization that has had difficulty in the past moving out of the Flashback Fridays stage.
My guess is it will rightfully be left to the fans to acknowledge Halladay, with a low-key presentation or video-board tribute on one of the days he doesn't pitch. The Phillies (who have Monday off) could skip their fifth starter and let Halladay go on Canada Day, when Halladay would be up against Ricky Romero in what would be a test of Halladay's legendary focus that he would most likely pass.
CLEARING THE BASES
Usain Bolt isn't expected to run at the Diamond League meet next week in Lausanne, Switzerland, but 800-metre world record-holder David Rudisha of Kenya will compete for the second consecutive weekend after missing three months with tendinitis in his foot. Rudisha ran the fastest time of the year this past weekend in Nancy, France - 1 minute 43.46 seconds - and has targeted breaking 1:40 possibly as early as the world championships in Daegu, South Korea, at the end of August. Rudisha holds the world record of 1:41.01, breaking his own mark seven days after initially bettering the standard owned by Wilson Kipketer for 13 years. … With Justin Morneau of New Westminster, B.C., out for six weeks after neck surgery, Joe Mauer will begin taking ground balls at first base for the Minnesota Twins. Mauer's body is breaking down and a move from behind the plate is in the future. … The Pirates will run out Kevin Correia on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre. He's a National League-best 7-2 (2.54 earned run average) on the road this season and, at 9-6 overall, is bidding to become the first Pirates starter since Bob Walk (1993) with 10 wins before the All-Star Game break. … The Hockey Hall of Fame announces its latest class on Tuesday. Cue the acrimony.
Roy Halladay's record in games in which the Philadelphia Phillies give him a lead.
Number of consecutive victories for the Phillies in Halladay starts if he wins against the Blue Jays,
Blue Jays record this season when they do not hit a home run
TAKING IT TO THE LIMIT
With the NHL's free-agent period about to open on Friday, here are the three teams with the most and least available cap space, as well as the number of players under contract, according to capgeek.com.
Florida Panthers, $41,991,291 (11)
Colorado Avalanche, $34,804,167 (14)
Carolina Hurricanes, $33,216,667 (12)
Calgary Flames, $7,566,666 (19)
Philadelphia Flyers, $7,576,905 (18)
Pittsburgh Penguins, $7,912,500 (18)
OTHER CANADIAN TEAMS
Montreal Canadiens, $14,804,490 (16)
Vancouver Canucks, $18,616,667 (13)
Toronto Maple Leafs, $18,785,000 (17)
Ottawa Senators, $19,525,000 (17)
Edmonton Oilers, $21,625,000 (14)
Winnipeg Jets, $28,358,344 (15)
All currency U.S.
"Last year, we thought we were getting one thing (with Casey Printers) but we got something different. We had to scramble for the rest of the year trying to get on the same page. Travis … he's been with this team the whole off-season, helping us get better, helping get himself better. It just instills confidence that this thing is going in the right direction." ~ B.C. Lions receiver Geroy Simon likes where the team is with Travis Lulay at quarterback going into Thursday's CFL season opener against the Montreal Alouettes.
"It's been as good a run as I've seen in a very long time. The one guy he does remind me of that I faced a few times is Goose Gossage. He's a big-body guy out there. He's rearing back and letting it eat. If your foot is not down by the time he grunts, you're going to be late." ~ Clint Hurdle. The Pittsburgh Pirates manager talks about closer Joel Hanrahan, who has converted all 22 save opportunities heading into the first game Tuesday of a three-game interleague series at the Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hanrahan is the only National League closer with five or more saves without a blown save and is one reason the 39-38 Pirates are hanging around in the balanced NL Central as one of the biggest surprise teams in baseball.
THE LAST WORD
Relax. NBA owners meet Tuesday in Dallas, just two days before the expiration of the collective agreement with the National Basketball Players Association, and they could vote to institute a lockout. Cue the hand-wringing - except, wasn't that what everybody was saying about the NFL negotiations, which now appears to be showing signs of progress? This is a different economic and labour climate than we've seen before. Best, then, to hold off on the doomsday stuff.