If you’re a sports fan, this is Christmas season. Baseball playoff push, NFL and College football under way and NBA training camp right around the corner. (Cue music) It’s the most wonderful time of the year….
The Jays have continued their dominant push into the post-season and are incredibly only 2-wins behind Kansas City for best record in the A.L. That seemed like an impossibility at the All-Star break. It goes to show how big of a difference the best all-around player and the best pitcher in the league can make. David Price is 7-1 since joining the Jays and leads the A.L. in ERA. He is definitely a Cy Young candidate. Josh Donaldson is THE best player in the league and if he doesn’t win MVP it’s because the writers are infatuated with Mike Trout and don’t pay attention to the Blue Jays, even if they win the A.L. East. Those awards are secondary because we want playoffs. We want a series win in the playoffs. We want the World Series win in the playoffs. This team has become so good that just making the playoffs or winning one round might not be enough. With the chance of this team partially breaking up next year, us fans want this now. We want the World Series. If we get Tulo back in 3 weeks like they’re saying, that is a potent playoff lineup. When they won their first World Series in 1992, I was 17 and baseball was still the most important thing in my life. Twenty-three years later, it’s not the most important thing but it has become the most exciting thing. Go Jays!
Yes, the Lions blew it in Week 1, causing me to toss and turn in bed. The most bothersome thing is how they seemed to be the reverse of last year’s team in that game. Last year, they could be down early and it was no worry because they would come back but this game they went up early and collapsed. They scored their third touch down early in the second quarter and didn’t score again until late in the fourth. Stafford hardly found Calvin Johnson and that is a problem. This team will not succeed unless Stafford hits Megatron 6-10 times a game. Doesn’t matter about the coverage. He can beat a double-team and if he’s triple teamed, that means Tate is wide open. Megatron’s 30 now so the window for this team is slowly closing. Stafford was the reason they didn’t go further in the playoffs last year so everything falls to him. If the Lions win, he gets the credit and if they lose, he gets the blame. In this case it is deserved both ways.
Going into Week 3 of college football and Penn State is already in trouble. They were beaten badly by Temple in the opener exposing a dysfunctional offensive system. They were lucky enough to play a lowly Buffalo team last week and get the less-than-impressive Rutgers this week. The bright side for them is ease of schedule. They don’t play anyone of substance until Week 7 when they will go into Ohio Stadium and get crushed by the Buckeyes. That begins six straight Big 10 games to end the season, three of which they are almost guaranteed losses which means best case scenario, an 8-4 season. Not good enough. Especially with all the sanctions gone and scholarships reinstated. James Franklin was brought in as a long term solution but so far it hasn’t worked. He needs to get this program back on track as a respectable contender in the Big 10.
Quiet on the Raptors front right now as training camp looms. Pre-season will be important this year with a few new bodies on the team to get up to speed. I love the make-up of this year’s team and with a defence-first mindset I expect to see a lot of 91-87 wins. Toronto is also hosting the All-Star game this season so the city will be on full display for pending free agents (aka Kevin Durant) so we need a strong season before we add that final piece to a championship team. Another new thing is the Raptors now have their own D-League team located just outside Toronto in Mississauga. The Raptor905s (905 is the area code) are set to start in mid-November and help develop some of the young stars like Bruno Caboclo. The best part is if they call someone up it is literally a 20 minute drive to the Air Canada Centre.
With the Jays heading into the playoffs and the Raptors well on their way and TFC looking at their first playoff appearance this could be one of the more memorable seasons in Toronto sports. But don’t hold your breath just yet.