The new season is under way! You gotta love it!

We are well under way in the 2013 edition of the Pee Wee Babineau Warriors football team!  It’s gonna be tough copying what we did last year, but all things considered… this is gonna be fun!

Three weeks worth of practice, one Jamboree and our first game is in the books!  We have a bunch of returning players and a lot of new faces on the team.  It’s always kind of exciting to see what kind of athletes, personalities and characters we get, and there are definitely some characters on the team!  Our running back corps is very strong and the quarterbacks and receivers are working on the timing.  We have a pretty good O line who are always learning and making headway every practice.  Our D line looks very good and the linebackers are hard-hitting and always first to make contact.  The DB’s are catching on quick and moving their feet pretty well!

Our first game was Sunday afternoon against the 2012 Provincial Champions, the Titans.  We looked ready and practiced well the previous days.  We came out of the chute on defense and made a statement early.  We weren’t giving up yards and we are going to hit you hard, every time.  The players too a little time to adjust to the way thing are during game time; communication, the speed that things happen and knowing where to be.  It took a while, but it looked like we got the hang of it.  Our running backs did very well, chewing up yards and running through tackles.  there were a few nice pitch- and- catches mixed in there as well!  The defense didn’t give up any points, despite the eight that was put up on the board.  There were a few sacks on the quarterback and even an interception!

The players got a feel for what it’s like to be in a game situation.  They responded well to adjustments and most importantly, everyone left the field with a smile.  If you aren’t having fun, what’s the point of playing the game anyway, right?  Our next game is against the Falcons on Sunday.  We didn’t get to play them in the Jamboree, but that just adds to the fun on Sunday!  It should be a fun game and the players will be pumped to lay a beating on those dirty birds!

Go Warriors!

The Memorial Cup…

This Tournament has been around for nearly 100 years.  First called the OHA Memorial Cup, it was changed to the Memorial cup in the 30’s, I believe.  It was originally designed to honour and commemorate fallen soldiers in World War 1, and as of recent, all soldiers who have died in Wars throughout the world.

This Tournament is rich with history and tradition.  These kids, aged from 16 to 20, play a full season, go through playoffs (16 wins, maybe even more games!).  They win their League, be it the QMJHL, OHL or WHL.  What a rush.  What an incredible thing to be a part of! Something to share with their parents, friends, former coaches and team mates.  It’s doesn’t stop there.  These kids want this trophy.  They enter the round robin, playing three games.  If they do well enough to move on, they may need to play a tie- breaker.  Onto the playoffs.  The Championship game.  The win.  Stands erupt in appreciation and cheering.  The winning bench clears to dog- pile the goaltender or winning goal scorer.  This is an incredible feat.  It takes heart, will, determination and a pain tolerance that only CHL players can tell you about.

So, why do people refer to it as “The Mem Cup”? Is this the “cool” way to do it now?  Are we that utterly lazy that we can’t get “Memorial” out of our mouths? Do we speak like we text now? For shame… This is to recognize the top team in the CHL.  This is to honour our fallen soldiers who put their lives on the line for something we only hear about.  We see it, but we take it for granted.  Freedom.  There are hockey players and hockey fans fighting for something they believe in and we want.  Freedom.  Did you know that there were over 100 NHL players who fought in the World Wars? Hobey Baker died in WW1 before he had a chance to play in the NHL as did Scotty Davidson and George Richardson.  The great Conn Smythe was a Prisoner- of- War in WW2.  Howie Meeker was so badly injured that he couldn’t walk never mind play hockey ever again.  NHLers Red Garrett and Joe Dudley died in WW1, just week apart.  These men… boys were just young.  The same age as those who are playing this great game presently.  Every so often, these CHL teams create a hockey sweater to commemorate veterans too. (Regina Pats, Brampton Battalion, etc…)

You see, The Memorial Cup is important.  It’s not just a name.  It’s not just a tournament.  It is an honour.  As days go by, we lose Veterans.  The very people who fought for us so we can live normal lives as Canadians and Americans. This is just a small thing we can do to remember these men and women. Remember them and enjoy this showcase of youthful skill, because these kids, years and years ago, could be the very same individuals that held that rifle, loaded that cannon, manned that ship or flew over the skies of Europe.

Credit: http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com/2008/11/war-and-hockey-history.html

It is the MOST wonderful time of the year!

The NFL Draft!   Every year throws us a new wrench in the tire.  Last year, the 49ers took AJ Jenkins in a total head scratcher.  This year could be the most unpredictable draft in recent memory.  What we do know is that with the first pick, the KC Chiefs will most likely take an O- Lineman. I’ve seen a few sources say that the FO likes Joeckel (Texas A&M) but the coaches like Eric Fisher (CMU).  Both are top five guys and can help the Chiefs.  They need it.  I tend to place my focus on positions that aren’t usually talked about during the course of the Combine time.  This year it seems like the LB’s and TE’s were the odd men out.  As always, the nary oft- used FB position is left out as it seems to take a back seat to the pass- happy teams.  I still enjoy the run game and always will.  Three yards and a pile o’dust just oozes football power and pure aggression.  I’ve also had an eye on the DL position.  I’m not going to run through  who is best at the 5 Technique or 3 Technique, or who is best on the edge, or who is the 34/43 tweener… there is just too much info to convey. So… here we go.

LB

I like Arthur Brown (K-State) to to off the list first.  I could see a team like Chicago take him, or even St. Louis to take him to fill a much needed void. Brown is fast and can play sideline to sideline.  Would work well in a 34 in the middle.

Jarvis Jones (Georgia) should be up next. Being an OLB, he would be standing up in a 34.  At 6’2, 245lbs, I think he could be undersized, but the kid is fast and has good hands.  This alone will be the lock for a 34 OLB, either side of the formation.

Now the next one is tough for me, but if a team like Chicago or Baltimore take him, he could turn out to be a good find.  Manti Te’o (Notre Dame) is mostly a “go forward” guy. In the National Championship game, he had a tough time against the NFL calibre O- line, but in other games last year, he played very fast. Despite running a 4.8- something, something in the 40, his football speed is very good.  This might shock some people, but if the 49ers take him at 31, he’d fit in well behind the studs in the inside (Bowman/ Willis)

TE

I think there are just two studs at this position this year.  The first off the board could be Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame).  He’s got the height, size, speed and hands of  a top- notch NFL TE.  The only issue I’ve seen may be his blocking ability and his ability to secure the ball and take off.  Sometimes he had bad drops when he ran before securing.  This can be fixed, I believe.  Green Bay or even the Jets could snag him.

Zach Ertz (Stanford) is up next.  If he is still around at 34, the 49ers take him (unless they package the pick with others and trade up for a D- Lineman/ Safety).  Harbaugh coached this kid and is solid.  He’s got decent acceleration and is good in a crowd.  What I REALLY like is his ability to lower the pads and deliver a hit.  What I don’t like is his blocking ability, which is a must as a 49er TE.

FB

Well this could be very biased but I gotta do it.  If there is a FB that is taken, Bradie Ewing (Wisconsin) is it.  He didn’t carry the ball much, but he is a blocking beast.  He is mean, aggressive and can block inside, outside and at the linebacker level.  He can be a solid ST guy.  He is a former walk- on and, to me, that means he has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.  Not the biggest guy (5’11”, 240-ish) but his toughness makes up for it.  I’m gonna throw it out there… the team who takes Monte Ball takes Ewing in the 6th or 7th round.  I wanna see this kid HIT SOMEONE!

DL

I’m not going to say who is best, but I want to touch on a few players who I really am high on.

Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) is a beast.  He is a full- blown athlete.  I thought he had pretty quick feet and moved very well. He isn’t as strong as some would like, but teams will know this and work with him.  His pad level could be lower and maybe that’s why he missed tackle when the ball carrier was in space. I would LOVE for the 49ers to take him if he dropped into the 2nd round.  That might be tough.

Anyone who knows me and did some research on the next player would know I would like this guy.  Jesse Williams (Alabama) is a full blown nose tackle as far as I’m concerned.  Might not be the best athlete in the DL class, but he has a motor on him.  As a former rugby player (there’s the clue) he can tackle very well and is a fantastic 2- gap guy.  A bona fide space eater at 323 (ish) lbs, he would be a steal for any 34 team.  I absolutely love this guys strength and mean streak. I wouldn’t even expect him to rush the passer all that much.  I love the way rugby players tackle as it so precise and low.  They are taught properly and always stick to their guns.  A great replacement for Issac Sopoaga or any 34 defense, really!

These are just my thoughts on a few players.  I hope it is accurate as I did a bunch of research with draftbreakdown.com videos and a few guys on Twitter (always take these guys into consideration. Such fantastic analysis).  Take it for what it’s worth and if you agree/ disagree or just want to ramble, leave a comment!

Enjoy the Draft, folks!  I hope people took Friday off!  :)

Catching up…

Because I am horrible at updating due to absent- mindedness and the fact that there is so much going on inside my head, I can’t possibly put it down on paper (or screen).  Here are a few things going on inside my head in regards to sport and issues…

– Ontario’s Rachel Homan and her rink took the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this past weekend, beating Jennifer Jones and her Manitoba rink.  The future or women’s curling in Canada is in REALLY good hands.  Good luck at the World’s, girls!

– The Brier starts soon… same ol’ names and some new guys out of Saskatchewan.  Brock Virtue will have his hands full.  It seems as thought there is nothing in stone (sorry for the terrible pun) when it comes to men’s curling in Saskatchewan.

-Spring Training!  I love this time of year, but not nearly as much as all year football season!  Toronto looks to be dominate, but that only goes so far and words don’t translate into anything on the field.

– As I sit here typing and thinking and listening to Jeff Blair on SportsNet 590, I just heard that the Niners and KC Chiefs have completed a trade for Alex Smith.  Of course, nothing can be fully completed until March 12.  The question is now, what did the Niners get back and how many draft picks can one team have?  Who will back up Kaepernick?  Is Tolzien the only option?  I wouldn’t mind that at all.  As a Badgers fan, Tolzien might not have the movement, but the guy has a good arm and a football mind.  Love that! What I just heard is a 2nd rounder from KC, maybe more.  That means San Francisco has the 31st and 34th pick.  Great spots and trade bait for a high pick…

– The NFL combine has wrapped up.  A few big stories here.  Star Lotulelei (DT, Georgia) has a heart condition and could affect his football career.  This is pretty big, as he is slated to be taken in the 1st round.  Te’o has spoken!  But nobody cares anymore.  He’ll slip into the second round and a team will use him for depth.  He isn’t a starter… yet, i guess.  There is a shortage of good QB’s in this draft, but an abundance of talented, athletic O-Linemen and DB’s.  Tyler Wilson could be the first QB selected, but maybe not until the second round.  Geno Smith isn’t the saving grace the Chiefs are looking for… Contrary to the uneducated, the 40 time is pointless and just used as a “oh my go, that guy is fast” factor.  Split times are the better stat.  40 times for WR and DB’s are fine, but explosiveness is important.

– I will try to only talk about her once.  Danica Patrick took the poll position in this year’s Daytona 500.  Finished 8th, I believe with Jimmie Johnson winning the historic race.  This is a taste of things to come.  The Gen 6 cars will make drivers drive and Jimmie Johnson is as pure of a driver as any.  Look for him to race hard all year and take a few more races.

– I’m going bonspiel-ing for the first time in a while this weekend.  Wish me luck!!

My wait is over

I am not an overly patient person.  I hate waiting for anything- people, events… time.  So this 17 year wait was sheer torture.

I was 9 years old when I became a 49ers fan.  I remember it (albeit not clearly). The Dallas Cowboys (spit) beat my newly loved team in the NFC Championship.  I’m not entirely sure on WHY there was such an allure for the Red and Gold, but I think it had to do with an uncle of mine being a Cowboys (spit) fan, and decided on the 49ers just to be different… yeah, well go with that.  Nevertheless, I was on the Niners bandwagon.

At 9- 10 years old and not having the opportunity to play the sport, I really was in the dark about what was happening on field.  I took to books and watched intently on a static- filled TV.  As a civilization, we weren’t even close to having a fully functioning internet available, so the wealth of knowledge we have now wan’t available.  I learned the hard way, by video and book- learnin’.  Call me a never- ending student of the game, and I’m sure most people I know can attest to that.  Playing school yard games didn’t help me, as there were no routes ran, no defense (aside from man up), limited positions, dangerous tackles and dumb ass farm kids running around aimlessly, trying to hog the ball as much as possible.  It’s hard for me to say I even learned from this, but I knew it wasn’t the way football was played.   I really wish we had organized football in my little school.  No such luck.

The San Francisco 49ers have been through 6 Head Coaches and 1 interim coach, countless coordinators, 15 quarterbacks who have started at one point, great seasons with Jeff Garcia, bad seasons with Alex Smith, JT O’Sullivan, Shaun Hill and Tim Rattay (among others).  An Owner change over and meddling hands along with the death of the greatest Head Coach in football. We’ve had benching and drama queens, prima donnas and 1st round draft pick busts (Balmer, Lawson, Woods, McGrew, Druckenmiller… hi guys!)

Last year we were a fumble away from making it to the Super Bowl.  The team was solid, top to bottom- run game, game manager QB, stout defense and a punter who could make a good situation out of a mess. This year, Alex Smith was ousted as the starter and 2nd year QB Colin Kaepernick entered Jim Harbaugh’s hand-picked, drafted QB.  What a decision.

The win against Atlanta only gets us to the Super Bowl.  This isn’t finished.  February 3rd will be a day full of emotion for me.  To see the red jerseys step onto the field in New Orleans will be a fantastic feeling.  I will be a whole lot less nervous about this game then the NFC Championship game.  I will be watching this game without distraction.  I want to watch, and re- watch this game, regardless of the outcome.  It’s our time, 49ers Empire.  2013 has been a fantastic football year for me, all things considered.  This will be the absolute icing on the cake.  I am proud to be a 49ers fan, through and through.  The history, the dynasty, the legacy and the play on the field define this team.

THIS IS OUR YEAR! GO 49ERS!

It’s baaaaaaaaack…

If you have been living under a friggin’ rock for the past day or two, you would have missed these miserable, pencil pushing, hockey killing suits finally came to a TENTATIVE deal.  Yes tentative… for what it’s worth.

I’m not going to get into the details of the CBA ’cause 1. We’ve heard enough numbers and psychobabble about it already and 2. To us, it’s a game.  Having the NHL back is one thing, but who is going to watch?  I’ve heard a lot of back- and- forth with fans not going to pay to attend games, not buy merchandise, cancel Centre Ice, even as far as actually going to the games, but during, having the whole crowd turn around for a few minutes and NOT watch the game.  I would assume this would be the fans way of saying “screw you guys”, then turn around like it never happened.  We all know Canadiens fans won’t do this and Leafs fans are well accustomed to turning their back, but normally due to shitty play and never making the playoffs.  That said, within 48 games, they now have a chance… not much of one, but it’s a chance nonetheless.

We are back to hearing constant bragging from Canucks fans, then hearing constant bitching the next day.  More concussion talk (Hi Sidney), and more “get fighting out of hockey” (Hi media wimps).  More of how Florida doesn’t deserve a team and less of where Luongo is gonna end up, cause who cares… One thing is for sure, I will welcome all this to hear less of CBA, as will everyone, I’m sure.

I will watch NHL hockey on TV.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s better than NBA basketball (patiently waiting for March).  What I will not do is buy NHL merchandise. I probably won’t buy NHL licensed anything.  Ever.  One person won’t make a difference, and that I understand, but this is my way (and, I’m sure more than just me) saying that the NHL and the NHLPA have screwed NHL brand hockey.  You have screwed lifelong fans and you have screwed yourselves.  Screw you.  It will take you time to win the fans back, whether they disengage completely or subtlety.

To the fans who will disengage fully.  I urge you to support local hockey, if you aren’t already.  For those who still want to be a part of this League, you are die hard.  I can understand why, and that’s ok.

Bring it on, NHL.  Don’t ever fuck your fans again.

Bowls, Bastards and Bling…

I need to talk less about blogging and actually do it.

I’ve watched a bit of, or all of every BCS Bowl game there is over the holiday season.  I wanna run down a few things that I think have some substance.

1. Jadaveon Clowney (NC State Gamecocks) is the real deal.  If he isn’t drafted in the first 5 picks in the 2014 draft, those 5 GM’s should be canned.

2. Wisconsin has some work to do.  It was great to see Alvarez on the sideline.  Gary Andersen is a perfect fit with the Badgers.  Here’s hoping he recruits and brings in all those Samoan kids, and their work ethic!

3. Purdue completely fell apart.  I expected a better effort from them.

4. Northwestern deserves all they worked for this year.  Top notch school.

5. This is really Big 10 oriented.

6.  I love the Standford brand of football.  That is the most West Coast Offense I’ve seen all year.

7. Brett Bielema, you are a great college football coach, but you are a bastard. Enjoy shitty Arkansas and the elitist SEC.

8. Contrary to what seems like popular belief, Notre Dame has a chance.

9.  Nevada Wolfpack and Pistol offense genius Chris Ault retired.  Nevada will never recover.

10. K-State and Oregon may prove to be the highest scoring Bowl game ever.  K- State plays a little bit of defense, but don’t expect much.

Despite being one of the shittiest formats ever, for anything, I still love the heart these players bring to every game.  People bash the BCS, and that’s fair, but you can’t help but appreciate the football being played.

On another note, the NHL lockout is still ongoing.  Listening to SportsNet Radio,  it seems like people still care.  or maybe it’s just the SportsNet people… I want hockey as much as the next guy (or girl), but if TSN and SportsNet keep giving the NHL and NHLPA this undeserved attention, I’m gonna lose it.  Tell them to contact you when there is something of substance.  When Bettman goes to a microphone and says 20 seconds of nothing, then states, “there isn’t anything to report”, what the hell is the point of being there?!?! He wants his 15 seconds and it turned out to be months of attention.  Unnecessary.

Looks like Canada will meet the USA in the Semi- Finals of the World Junior tournament.  I didn’t think Canada had the strongest team this year but they are proving me wrong.  That Camara kid is a bulldozer of a hitter, it’s just too bad hitting isn’t allowed in IIHF hockey (note the sarcasm).  To be perfectly honest, Sweden looks like the strongest team out there.  Russia got pushed by the Swiss this morning… I am not sure if Blades goalie Makarov was tending the goal or not.  Big things for that kid in the NHL when he cracks a roster… This would be the bling part of the title.😉

That is it for now!  Thanks for reading and please, by all means leave a comment, positive or negative.  I’ll be sure to respond!🙂

Beyond Sport…

Sport.

We use it as a crutch, in some aspects.  We use it to bring people together, to form a brother or sisterhood, to compete, make a living or just for the fun of it.  There are times when the ego of sport is set aside for something much more important.

Early Saturday morning, Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Javon Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend. She was also the  mother to his 3 month old daughter.  Belcher then drove to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs practice and play.  A gun draw to his head, Belcher spoke with GM Scott Pioli and Head Coach Romeo Crennel, plus another coach or employee.  The men tried talking to Belcher, whom thanked his Coach and Manager for all they have done for him.  Walking away, and as the Police drive closer, Belcher pulled the trigger, killing himself instantly.  The Chiefs did play yesterday, defeating the Carolina Panthers despite the murder- suicide.

It was also brought to my attention today that when Belcher attended his Alma Matre, the University of Maine, he Majored in Child Development and Family Relations, and in the 31/2 years there, he was a member of the Male Athletes against Violence Initiative. He also signed a pact to never be involved in domestic violence (Credit: USA Today).  Truly disturbing…

We see professional athletes as machines- robots, if you will.  In a sport where grown men physically beat and hit other grown men in the name of money, fame or a trophy, we tend to lose sight of something more important.  We think of these people as immortals when they win and degrade them when they lose. We tend to lose sight that they are only human.  They have flaws.  They smile, feel joy, want affection, seek appreciation, become fearful, feel shame, and endure sadness.  Seem familiar?  These athletes are no different than us.  They need support.  They need to talk and need to listen?  Seem familiar?  In many ways, we can relate to athletes.  They may have been from a bad upbringing, they may have had all the support and family in the world, they may have worked for everything they had or given that same everything until they can give back.  When we see football players- athletes- on the field, ice, pitch or diamond, we look at them as icons.  Truly, they are no different than us. We need to look after ourselves, as do they.

Javon Belcher may have had money, a family, a degree… everything we may want.  He was also a human, just like us.  He may have dealt with internal issues, just like us.  It’s easy to put on a smiling face and lie about how we are tough, we can deal with everything that we face on our own on a daily basis.  The fact is, we can’t.  Javon Belcher was obviously troubled.  Something was happening in his head that we may never know of.  Was there anyone involved in his life that he could talk to?  Was he able to talk openly about something troubling him? Can these be life skills developed where other things can be omitted?

What’s more, we talk about athletes when something like this tragedy happens, but when a war Veteran kills himself because of the ongoing pain he feels from being involved with war- what they did, seen or know, what do we say? Again, we are no different.  We are all the same…

I’ll end with this… Brady Quinn, Quarterback of the Chiefs, stated in his post- game press conference, “When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?”.

Are you… really?!

The QB and the Controversy

The Alex Smith era of the 49ers have come with much controversy, and just as many back up QB’s.  Shaun Hill, Troy Smith, JT O’Sullivan, Trent Dilfer and now Colin Kaepernick.  The Nevada Wolfpack star (and record breaker) has been used as a “wildcat” QB, otherwise known as the “wildkaep” package.  He showed off his athletic talent in the preseason with a long run for a TD as well as numerous times throughout the season.

Kaep got his first start on Monday Night Football against one of the best defenses in the league in the Chicago Bears.  Kaep looked like a veteran under centre and in the shot-gun as he tied Jeff Garcia for the most pass yards in a QB’s first start with the 49ers with 243 yards., passing for two touchdowns as well.  Crabtree and Davis brought in both passes.  Crabtree’s TD was a nice break off play where he saw Kaep in trouble and scrambling.  Crabtree broke his route off and headed to the back left corner of the endzone, where Kaep laid a nice pass in for the score.

Let’s look at the passing stats.  Smith is sort of notorious for having trouble finding receivers down field.  Kaep found Kyle Williams for a 57 yard gain, Manningham for 37,  Davis for 32, and Crabtree for 20.  In a west coast offense, this is key.  Short passes to set up the run, which set up the long pass downfield.  The 6’4″ 230 lbs frame of Kaep looks to be the athletic body the Niners are looking for.  Not to say Smith isn’t athletic, ’cause he is, but doesn’t it seem that the QB situation is more about what’s inside the head?  Smith is a smart guy.  That was proven in college and recently with his game managing skills in the Harbaugh era.  It seems to me that Kaep has more of a football sense and more of a reaction state of mind, rather than an analytical state of mind, which Smith seems to be more like.

I’m a fan of both guys, I really am.  Both seem like likable people and both can play football at a high level.  I am in full support of whoever Coach Harbaugh names as start, as it is always team first for me.  It really seems like the Niners are once again at a crossroads with the QB position.  Albeit a positive crossroads as compared to other years.  Do they go with an experienced QB who paid his dues and can manage a game and protect the ball, or does the team go with the young upstart who can scramble and get the ball down field, but the lack of experience against a team like New Orleans may be a factor.

This next game will be a tell- all, in my opinion.  If Kaep gets the win, it will be huge for him and the rest of the Niners season.  If he takes a loss, will Smith’s confidence be shaken and may play into his next start?  It certainly is a unique situation, but not necessarily a bad one either.

I’m not one to be an offensive minded person for the most part.  I enjoy all that is defense.  A lot of people think they know all that there is to know about that position, but to me, it seems more subjective than anything.  We are not professional coaches and can’t hold a candle to someone who played the position in a moderately successful career as Coach Harbaugh did.  I feel there is a method to Coach’s madness and believe he will make the right decision in any case.

Regardless of QB…  GO NINERS!

Tearing it down… again.

A big ol’ friggin’ trade blew up social media last night.  I use “blew up” in two senses.  One, this is a massive trade.  Like, really massive.  Two, The Miami (Florida) Marlins have, once again, blew the hell out of their team.  In case you are living under a rock or block all that is baseball when it’s football season, this is the trade deal.

Going to the Toronto Blue Jays:

SP Josh Johnson, SP Mark Buerhle, SS Jose Reyes, Utility man Emilio Bonifacio, Catcher John Buck and reportedly $4 million cash.

Going to the Miami Marlins:

SS Yunel Escobar, P Henderson Alvarez, Catcher Jeff Mathis, INF Adieny Hechavarria, OF prospect Jake Marisnick, and pitching prospects Anthony Desclafani and Justin Nicolino.

There is a lot of money being thrown around in this deal.  The Jays pitching line up looks to be stabilized with Romero, Buerhle, Johnson, Happ and Morrow. Throw Drabek into the mix too if he recovers from Tommy John Surgery.  The only real issue the Jays are contending with is at 1st with Lind looking to be on the outs.  The Jays odds of winning the World Series just jumped from 100-1 to 15-1.  With a Manager who can handle this spotlight (yes, I think Toronto just became a spotlight team), this could possible be the best Jays team assembled (see 1992- 1993).  Who could the next Manager be?  I’m probably one of the few who want this but with the Marlins transplants, why not Ozzie Guillen?  There aren’t many people who like this guy, but he has shown when he has the chance (White Sox), he can be a very good Manager.

Shifting attention to the mess that is the Miami Marlins.

Can’t win.  All that talent just couldn’t get it done in a less- than- desirable market.  They are blowing this team up yet again.  Now, when the Marlins won their World Series’, they ended up dismantling the teams, dumping potential increasing salaries and getting prospects… This is different.  I really think that this Marlins team needs to disappear.  There is nothing good coming out of Miami.  So much was said about the new team, the new jerseys and the big name players that came in, only to turn a very flat season.  They weren’t the worst team in the league, but considering all the talent, it could be argued.

The jays just sent a huge message to the AL East, and the whole American League.  Alex Anthopolis means business and wants to win, after all the speculation that he is not the right guy for the job.  His legacy could be this trade.  This next season will prove to be interesting… barring injury.  Fingers crossed for a healthy and productive Spring Training!