The Toronto Blue Jays season is proving hard sledding for people who want the Big Lede. Eight days in, their heroes have provided more false clues than Sleuth. Fans are getting premature melancholia as the Jays tried to become first team ever to win the World Series in April. Or be expected to, at least.
Take Wednesday, as the Jays lost their sixth game of the season in a fine Detroit mist. Oh snap, they didn't lose. They won 8-6. People who went for dinner missed the whole comeback. And the chance for the Doomsday headline. It's unsettling for the nellies. Just when you've got a good Fire John Gibbons groove going, his hitters find their batting eye, score seven unanswered runs against the Tigers' bullpen to get the win. Large swaths of East York and Etobicoke might not survive the strain of this behaviour the next 154 games.
With no playoffs since 1993, it's understandable Jays fans have forgotten how this pennant-race thing works. If they require a reminder they need only look at the soggy Tigers fans next to them. Detroit is loaded in all the places that count... except one. Their bullpen can't get anybody out.
The defending AL champs, the Tigers, too, are expected to win it all. Just not in April. So while Jays fans were popping Seconals over the Jays falling behind in the rainy contest, Tiger fans shrugged about their pen blowing the lead, trusted Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to make a trade in the summer for a reliever, and then went home to think about their Lions, a team that has its doctorate in losing.
So, breathe, Toronto. You can't win the pennant in April but you can lose your mind.
Tiger ready to roar in Augusta
It has become fashionable in these days of wine and empathy to suggest that everything happens for a reason. According to this meme, good things in the future are a natural consequence of bad things in the past.
The problem with this gauzy notion is that, for many people, bad things happen so that even more bad things can happen. These stories have no reason, just pain.
Wonder what Tiger Woods thinks of this idea in his life? No one crashed more spectacularly than Woods did in 2009, drowned in a tide pool of marital infidelity, lurid sexual behaviour and then the disappearance of the indomitable game he'd used to conquer the PGA Tour.
Did all that happen for a reason? Woods wasn't suggesting that when he met the media on Tuesday in Augusta. His resumption of the No. 1 position in the world, he told the reporters at The Masters, was attributable to hard work, fanatical attention to detail and the healing balm of his kids.
In typical Woods fashion, Tiger played down the romantic in favour of the practical. He wanted the world to know that his status as Masters favourite this year came from within, not some Hallmark card sentiment.
With Sean Foley, his Canadian swing coach, Woods has changed the perception of his naughty past. Having his two kids and Olympic champion skier Lindsey Vonn as his new significant other has helped, too.
Thursday till Sunday, the whole construct will be put to the test on Augusta's slippery greens. He may crumble, although his current form is impeccable. If he makes it all the way back, winning his first major since 2008, someone will no doubt offer "everything happens for reason" in Woods' name.
Bet Tiger tells them to "shut the front door". And then tries to figure out how to top his own self.
" @danjenkinsgd I see the media has already given Tiger the Grand Slam of 2013. Thinking of what he can do for a follow-up. Beat Usain Bolt in a match race?"
No Boomer, please
Just one thought for Day 1 of the Masters coverage on ESPN. Please, no Chris Berman doing golf.
Less talk equals more drama
TNT has decided it will go without a play-by-play announcer when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Instead of Marv Albert, viewers will hear analysts Steve Kerr, Chris Webber and Reggie Miller trying to provide a narrative.
This experiment follows attempts to have no announcers or just a play-by-play announcer cover a televised game. Always eager to break new ground, sports networks keep fumbling for a better talking mousetrap for their product.
Perhaps the best solution to improving game broadcasts is to have them listen to the taciturn British soccer announcers. The drama is in the pauses and ellipses. Talk half as much. And give us Marvelous Marv Albert any day.
TSN's coverage of the Women's World Hockey Championships finals, won 3-2 by the USA over Canada, drew an average audience of 795,000 viewers on Tuesday night. That's a record single TV audience for the WWC. Can only imagine what happens if women's hockey ever develops a third contender besides Canada and the Americans.
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