Category Archives: Sports

Framing Pitches – Jose Molina, you cunning devil.

Makes it seem like far less of a coincidence that it was Jose Molina catching when Brett Lawrie was twice denied a walk.


Fun vs Effort

I went surfing and it wasn’t great.  It just required so much paddling compared to the thrill of riding waves (if caught, and even then, standing up is tough).  So I started wondering about the fun of an activity vs the effort it requires.  I wondered if there was a ratio above which the activity becomes “worth it”.

Volleyball and golf are low-effort and lots of fun.  Squash, soccer, and ultimate are high-effort, but also fun.  Baseball isn’t as fun, but definitely requires less effort.

The issue of going to the gym to work out – not fun by any means, but still something I enjoy, ruins this whole idea.  There must be other factors.  Feeling of reward from good exercise and possibly endorphins.  And then level of competition, the company you’re around, etc.

It’s nice that things can’t be boiled down to just numbers.  Some concepts are just too complicated.  Life is complicated.  If it was so simple, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

The all-star lineup

After 15 years of having the Yankees (and to a smaller degree, the Red Sox) as the MLB team with the killer roster, it took me longer than it should have to realize that it’s now the Phillies who have that role – and in the NL, to boot, for ages considered the weaker league.  Rollins, Utley, Pence, Howard, Victorino, Ibanez.  6 quality hitters that can generate runs any inning.  Compares well to Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Matsui, Posada, Cano (2009 Yankees), or even to Henderson, White, Alomar, Carter, Olerud, Molitor.  Not only that, but they have one of the best pitching rotations I’ve ever known.  Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and young Vance Worley?  Scary.   Their fourth starter was the ace of his previous team.

I tend to cheer for the underdog in sports. (I wonder what that means psychologically…)  When the Phillies were coming together, I was enjoying their pursuit of a championship.  I’m still not tired of them, because this group has only won one Series.  And I really want Doc to win a ring, because we in Toronto still have a collective major crush on the best player ever to wear a Jays uniform.  It’s sad for us that he’ll probably enter the Hall of Fame as a Phillie.

Not to say it always happens.  I booed the Yanks even when they started winning in ’96.  But the rising of the Red Sox and Rays earlier this decade was enjoyable, despite them also being division rivals.


I think that the all-star lineup is far more common in baseball, with it not having a salary cap, meaning a team with a lot of money can go out and buy a good team.  The NFL seems to have the most different playoff-bound teams and champions.  The NHL might be the biggest test of good management, with a tight salary cap forcing good drafting and development, and scouting projection as necessary in order to build a winning team.  (Detroit Red Wings, I tip my cap to you.)

The NBA has a few all-star rosters, and is far more disparate than MLB.  I hate how a few teams absolutely dominate the league, and that’s pretty much always the case.  I don’t have the stats, but I’d bet that the NBA has the fewest playoff upsets of all major leagues.


Does it make a difference to a hockey team if the player who takes a penalty is a defenceman rather than a forward?  I’ve never played hockey, but it seems like it would be worse to have a defenceman in the box.  Because a power-play unit is usually 2F, 2D, that might tire your 5 defencemen a little more.  Or would it not really matter?

What a good night for Burrows.  And Vancouver.

Televised games

What games would people watch on TV?  They probably all exist already in some fashion, but here are some thoughts:

Televised Chess
Televised Bridge
Televised Scrabble
Televised Poker (nobody would ever watch this, right?)
Televised Call of Duty
Televised Magic: The Gathering
Televised Beer Pong

When I thought about things like poker and darts, I wondered where the line is drawn between “game” and “sport”, and also “activity”.  Is darts a sport?  If a sport involves physical ability, including dexterity, then beer pong is just as much a sport as darts.  And considering “activity”: I would think that snowboarding and biking are sports when you race or do tricks in competition, and activities otherwise.  It follows then that individual things can be “activities” but team things can’t.  No matter how little you care about winning, I would still call volleyball and rugby “sports”.  Golf is some sort of exception, because playing a round alone, even if you don’t keep score, I believe would still qualify as a sport.

And now I can’t stop thinking about this.

Why the Canucks deserve to win

When I noticed that Vancouver had handily won the Western Conference, but the other four teams in their division didn’t even make the playoffs, it begged the question, did Vancouver do well just by beating up on crappy teams in their division, or were they great, and teams like Calgary struggled because they had to play powerhouse Vancouver six times.

With a breakdown of record by division, it stands out that the western playoff-bound teams beat up on the Northwest division, but only Vancouver also beat up on the Pacific and Central.  Only San Jose came close to Vancouver’s record, but they didn’t hold up against the East.

Vancouver is legit.  Hopefully they can turn regular season success into a long playoff run.  Anything less than taking the conference final to 7 games should be considered a failure.  Go ‘Nucks!

Cricket and Baseball

I love Toronto.  Only in a city this diverse would I find out that India won the world cricket championship, without the media.  It was even my first guess when I stepped out of the subway and saw about 25 people cheering and waving Indian flags.

Last night I went to the Jays home opener.  I’d never been to a sellout game (or anything even close) and the crowd fever was contagious.  I was excited enough anyway.  Congrats to Robbie Alomar and Pat Gillick for their inductions into the Hall of Fame.  Now I wonder if they’ll retire Alomar’s #12.  Toronto teams don’t seem to like retiring numbers, but I like the gesture to players who contribute so much to the local sports scene.

World Cup

There’s a World Cup of Football going on right now, and despite the obvious popularity, somehow I’m hearing nearly as much about it from people expressing their dislike of the whole thing. Ok, free speech, no problem. But: Really? I can’t remember any good event for which more people have denounced it. And to clear any misunderstanding, by “good”, I mean positive and enjoyable, rather than things like the Gaza blockade, or Mike Harris’ honourary degree*.
I can’t wait for school to end so I can watch more matches. Here’s how excited I am to watch more soccer: I will get up in the morning.

I’m torn, too, about the vuvuzela, aka those annoying horns. They’re so bad that when I first turned on a game, I wondered if my TV was busted. Then again, they represent both national pride (imagine people wanting to ban our Olympic mittens!) and home field advantage.
I like this quotation: “A ban would rob the tournament of part of its cultural identity, leaving thousands of locals perplexed: could you imagine being told by an international body that you could no longer drink beer at American football games, or fall asleep during baseball?” Ryan Bailey, Yahoo Sports

I still wish I was going to South Africa, despite the $3000 plane tickets. I’ll make another try for Brazil in 2014. Cheers!


On the subway today, the TTC made an announcement saying that Canada had won Women’s Hockey gold. It was a great moment, and a great gesture by the TTC.

Go Canada!

Super Bowl Betting

Like millions of other people, I was watching the Super Bowl this year. And for the first ten minutes or so, I couldn’t help but thinking about money changing hands. Not on the overall outcome of the game – that’s a given for any major sporting event – but down to each play.

It starts with the coin toss. Who’s gonna win the toss? What are they going to choose? Then the kickoff. What player catches it? How far is it returned? What kind of odds do people give for a kickoff touchdown? And even the drives. Is the first play a rush or a pass? If a pass, is it completed? Do they make the first first down? Does the first drive end with a touchdown, field goal, or something else?

I could seriously picture many many people gambling on all these petty outcomes. Some people betting a dollar on them, and some hard-core types betting far too much. In the end, my head was hurting thinking about the meta-game and all that, and I stopped so that I could just enjoy watching.

Oh yah: the onside kick to start the second half? AWESOME.