Blame Canada

Posted in Canada, Sports on March 8th 2006 by Randy Reichardt

.: And so, the World Baseball Classic is underway, and a team of Canadian underdogs, which include a handful of Canadian-born MLB players, and without Canadian MLB pitchers Eric Gagne (who won the 2003 Cy Young Award), Rich Harden, and Ryan Dempster, pulls off a major upset and defeats Team USA 8-6 today. Love it, love it a lot.

.: I leave for Atlanta on March 24th, to attend the ACS 231st Meeting. I’ve been struggling with creating a presentation for this session, and made some small progress today. I hope to have something ready in a few days. I’m fighting writer’s block, fear of presenting to the converted, and a general feeling of lethargy.

.: Connect2Canada is an interesting website from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC.

On July 1, 2005, Ambassador Frank McKenna launched Connect2Canada.com, a virtual network for Canadians and friends of Canada who live in the United States. Since that announcement, thousands have signed up to receive information on subjects as diverse as our global troop deployments, updates on BSE, Canadian events in the US, and the latest on our efforts to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Many Canadians have told us how proud they are to be a Canadian in the U.S. Many Americans with links to Canada have also signed up to be a part of this network. They are emblematic of the proud and deep history between the people of Canada and the United States.

Connect2Canada is a way to exchange news and ideas, and find out what is happening in the U.S. related to Canada. Members of the network can receive email notices on a range of topics of interest to them and can share their views with others. As the network grows, it will serve as a knowledge base and a ready resource for facts on the major issues in the United States and Canada today.

We invite you to sign up to the network, so that the next time the conversation turns to Canada, you can have key facts at your disposal, such as:

    Canada, not Saudi Arabia, is America’s largest supplier of crude oil.

  • Canada has put 15,000 troops through Afghanistan.
  • None of the 9/11 terrorists came through Canada.
  • Facts on why the US market needs tariff-free Canadian lumber.
  • Canada-US trade, at more than $1.5 billion US per day, supports over five million jobs in the United States.

Please spread the word to anyone you think would be interested in joining this network. We are also interested in feedback on how this network can be useful to you. You can send us your thoughts when you sign up to the network.

An article in today’s Edmonton Journal suggests that one reason the website exists is to help dispel myths many Americans have about Canada, such as:

  • Some of the 9-11 Hi-jackers entered through Canada: FALSE. This is simply not true. In fact, they had all been legally admitted to the United States, as has been confirmed by senior American officials.
  • Canadians are all Hockey Players: FALSE. The most popular participation sport for Canadians over the age of 15 is Golf. In 2000, there were 730,000 registered soccer players in Canada, compared to 500,000 for hockey.
  • Canada is all ‘way up North’: FALSE. Twenty-seven of the fifty U.S. states have land North of the Southern most point of Canada – Middle Island, Ontario.
  • Canada caused the blackout on August 14, 2003: FALSE. The initial cause of the blackout began in Ohio.

It’s a good effort, but don’t expect the majority of Americans to ever change their views and impressions of Canada; it’s the nature of the beast down there.

Sox 2

Posted in Sports on October 26th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: It is so cool that the White Sox won their first World Series since 1917, a year after the Red Sox won their first WS since 1918. In 2004, the Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four straight games, and the White Sox did the same to the Astros this year. So two very lengthy gaps between World Series victories, and a curse in Boston’s case, have been erased and ended in about a year. The announcers on Fox made mention of these dates shortly after the game ended tonight.

Now the pressure is on the hapless Cubs, who have not won since 1908. Big Guy called me after the White Sox clinched the game tonight, and we talked about how the Baseball Gods, wherever and whomever they may be, seem to be working some weird kind of magic, and it’s a wonderful thing. Now, baseball training camps open in about 14 weeks…

Progress and A Grand Slam

Posted in Personal, Sports on October 23rd 2005 by Randy Reichardt

.: I returned home from dim sum today, determined to make some progress on house renos. I washed the downstairs bathroom door and door frame with T.S.P., a heavy duty cleaner, and then covered both with white primer. Following that, I installed a new face plate for my cable connection, and replaced the plugs and cover in the downstairs bathroom. Since April, when the work began, the main floor of my home has been littered with paint cans, brushes, rollers, pans, tools, wood, latex tiles, curtains, and more, and I am growing weary of looking at all of it on a daily basis. The next job is to paint the door and frame a semi-gloss white, and reinstall the door afterwards. Once done, I will call upon the help of friends to install the baseboards in the washroom, and the mouldings around the door frame.

.: I am at home on Sunday night, with the World Series on the tube. As a kid, I was an avid hockey and baseball fan, and my love of these sports continued into adulthood. I’ve also enjoyed NFL football over the decades. Growing up in Winnipeg, it seemed natural to cheer for the Minnesota teams, the Twins and the Vikings. As well, we had relatives living there since the 1950s, and we visited them often. My father was a Montreal Canadiens fan, so we followed suit as kids growing up in his house; despite having lived in Edmonton since 1978, I still cheer for the Habs.

Since the mid-80s, I’ve had few friends who share my interest in sports, so there are few people with whom I can discuss the latest developments. That said, I’m not sure it’s such a big deal anymore. (Aside: White Sox just hit a grand slam, with two out!) My interest in hockey began to wane as the game deteriorated in the 1980s – the NHL expanded to 30 teams and watered down the product, players showed no respect for each other, offense diminished as the emphasis switched to defensive style, and the game itself slowed down as players resorted to clutch-and-grab tactics. The recent lockout, which resulted in a cancelled season, may reinvigorate the game, but this is conditional on a number of issues, not the least of which is whether the referees will enforce the new rules, designed to allow for a more fluid, faster game. Regardless, while I will be a Habs fan for life, I am no longer interested in spending three hours in front of the tube to watch a hockey game. Baseball, however, continues to fascinate and intrigue me, and I will continue to follow it closely for years to come.

The 2005 WS features a team that has never won, the Astros, and a team that has not won since 1917, the White Sox. I’m rooting for the White Sox. Last year, the Red Sox won the WS for the first time since 1918; if the White Sox win this year for the first time since 1917, the two Sox championships would feel like bookends, and the White Sox would end a drought of similar proportions and agony shared by the 2004 Red Sox. Then in 2006, the pressure would be squarely on the Chicago Cubs, a team that hasn’t won the WS since 1908. If the White Sox win this week, and the Cubs perform a miracle in 2006, the three teams with the longest stretch between WS victories will have each one again, in three consecutive years. Lyrical, magical, mathematical. Now I hope I haven’t jinxed the White Sox.

Hell Freezes Over

Posted in Sports on October 27th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

boston.jpg


Marvelous, totally brilliant. The curse is over, the 86-year drought is finished, and the Yankee fans can no longer scream, “1918”. Instead, they can put a sock in it. Johnny Pesky, Bill Buckner, Bob Stanley, Calvin Schiraldi – all is forgiven.

Sweet.

Hell Gets Really Really Cold

Posted in Sports on October 26th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Man, what a fall classic we have on our hands. With the Red Sox Nation ahead 3-0 in the World Series, everyone, and I mean everyone knows better than to assume the Sox will win it all tomorrow, or on Thursday, or on the weekend, breaking their 86-year drought. We’ve seen it not happen too many times before. But migod – you could taste it tonight. You could taste it in the late innings of the game, when it became apparent St Louis wouldn’t mount a comeback, and you knew the Sox would win Game 3. The Cardinals are almost an afterthought tonight. I want the Sox to win, badly. Do I think they’ll do it? Maybe. Y’see, when you pull for the Sox, or the Cubs, or White Sox for that matter, you assume nothing, and follow the Berra rule: it ain’t over ’till it’s over.

The sheer, crystalline beauty of what the Sox accomplished against the Yankees last week can’t be celebrated and savored enough. Yes, the Yankees have 26 WS titles, and no other MLB team has more than 9 – St Louis, oddly enough, is that team. If the Red Sox win, they will move into third place, with 6 WS titles. In 1986, the Sox were within one strike of the title, with a 2-run lead, and found ways to lose. It wasn’t Buckner’s fault, his was the last in a series of mistakes made by the team. In the ALCS last week, the Sox turned the tables on themselves – down to three outs away from being swept, they tied the game against arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball, clawing back in extra innings to win Games 4 and 5 at home, anchored by their own version of flawless relief pitching. Game 6 saw Schilling’s miraculous turn, and in Game 7, the icing on the cake: a 6-0 lead after two innings, allowing baseball fans across Planet Earth to watch both teams set records: one for the greatest comeback, and one for the greatest choke in 100 years of baseball playoffs. The overpriced Yankees were absolutely humiliated in their home park while hundreds of millions of fans watched worldwide. It was a stunner.

The first WS was held in 1903. Boston beat Pittsburgh. There was no WS in 1904, and in 1994, it was cancelled. Thus, 2004 is the 100th WS. How fitting it would be for the Sox to bookend 100 years of World Series play with victories at both ends of the playoff century.

Hell hasn’t frozen over yet, but the temperature is approaching sub-zero.

Also posted to Blogcritics.

There Is No Joy In Mudville

Posted in Sports on October 20th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: And God smiled on Boston. Yeehaw!

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