Circle Oct. 30 on your calendar: You want a look-ahead? On Oct. 28, the Toronto Raptors open the NBA regular-season at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers while the Toronto Maple Leafs visit the Dallas Stars. The Leafs have just two games before then (in Vancouver and Anaheim) so if they can continue losing and the Raptors can pull off an upset, there you'd go: Toronto's NBA team has its first win before its NHL team. You don't like the Raps' chances against the Cavs? Neither do I, but not to worry: On Oct. 30 the Raps are in Memphis and the Leafs are in Buffalo. Lookahead? There's your stinkin' lookahead ..
Video replay is a non-starter: as long as Bud Selig is baseball commissioner, so find something else to whine about. Hey, how about the weather? God help us if the Minnesota Twins ever make the World Series in their new outdoor facility. Baseball knows the answer: Cut back the regular season to 154 games, start October playoff games no later than 7 p.m. EDT and include weekend day games in the World Series. Broadcast partners ESPN and TBS would go along with this but Fox - the root of all cultural evil, to begin with - has the World Series and the network is intransigent.
Umpiring is an issue this postseason, but not because of video replay. A dozen veteran umpires were dropped from postseason assignments because of injuries and illnesses ranging from testicular cancer (John Hirschbeck) to stroke (Rick Reed) and concussion and postconcussion syndrome. Some umpires who returned in September did not put in the requisite field-time to work the postseason. The list includes seven crew chiefs. Man, Joe West never looked so good.
Garbage Time: Edmonton Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray is all over the Hollywood tabs because of a $14.3-million (all currency U.S.) lawsuit launched by Anjelica Bridges, the former Baywatch thespian and self-described Cougar Of The Year from whom he is divorced. Bridges says that after a two-year separation, Souray wanted to make the split official to cut her out of a new $27-million contract. … Turfed as president and chief executive officer of the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, Roy Mlakar received early consideration for the Toronto Blue Jays presidency, I'm told.Theo Fleury's "comeback" with the Calgary Flames sure seems to have been about selling books. … Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos might have issues with manager Cito Gaston but it appears as if one flashpoint will be averted. Anthopoulos says that moving Adam Lind to first base is something that "long term … will be looked at. But there's no rush." It was on the table when J.P. Ricciardi was GM.
The divorce: between Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Dodgers president Jamie McCourt, has the potential to be the No.1 off-field issue facing baseball. Dennis Wasser, the lawyer for Jamie, claims the team - including, I suppose, Tommy Lasorda - is community property. Frank's lawyer says differently. The San Diego Padres were run into the ground because of owner John Moores' divorce but this is a bigger deal because baseball's economic underpinning is its strength in the biggest U.S. markets. Blood has already been spilled in the Dodgers executive suite with vice-president Charles Steinberg, a long-time friend of Jamie's and the person who was heavily involved in the new business plan for Fenway Park when he was with the Boston Red Sox, announcing he's stepping down.
So, welcome to our spiffy new digs: on Page 3. Don't know how you spent your weekend, but I had a proper Magical Misery Tour, figuring I'd see two Toronto teams eliminated and another continue its death-spiral in a 24-hour span. And then Toronto FC went and ruined it …
What a weekend: The Maple Leafs hold up their end, losing 4-1 and head coach Wilson and GM Brian Burke take to the airwaves to calm down the masses and The Star reports ticket-brokers are getting less than half of face value for Leafs tickets. My heart bleeds for these legalized scalpers, you know?
Friday, I'd seen the Toronto Argonauts eliminated from CFL playoff consideration and left thinking head coach Bart Andrus was the worst, and certainly least-prepared, coach I'd seen.
Toronto FC coach Chris Cummins refuses to grasp that title, forgetting he's over his head and experiences a strategic stroke of luck: three substitutions, starting out in a 3-5-2 formation and then reverting to a compact 4-3-3 with the lead; sitting Nicky Garcia; going with big lads at centre-half and using Sam Cronin and Jim Brennan on the wings where Brennan, in particular, was hugely influential. Then Cummins said he was going to get "leathered" to celebrate his birthday.
He ought to: It might be a way forward for their next must-win game this weekend against New York Red Bulls.