Will fans stay loyal as the Blue Jays rebuild?

The 2015 and 2016 Jays were wildly successful but that winning culture couldn't be sustained. A new winning era will take time

Will fans stay loyal as the Blue Jays rebuild?In retail, the time-honoured phrase is “Under-promise and over-deliver.” In sports, you might amend that to: “If you promise something, you’d better deliver.” The history of sport is lined with examples of a fan base turning on a team that, just years earlier, it had worshipped. My book Ice Storm catalogues the meteoric romance between…

Life is like playing baseball

Each of us is a gift to the world and we need to work hard every day to develop these gifts

Life is like playing baseballFormer Toronto Blue Jays all-star Jesse Barfield recently tweeted, “The only person I want to be better than is the person I was yesterday.” There’s tremendous depth to this statement and it’s interesting that it came from someone who was arguably one of the best of all time to play his position. Barfield was the…

In defence of sports greatness, from Justify to the Warriors

Why is greatness supposed to take a back seat to parity, the bastard child of bloated sports in North America?

In defence of sports greatness, from Justify to the WarriorsWatching the super horse Justify cruise to the Triple Crown on Saturday by winning the Belmont Stakes in New York City was a sublime moment for lovers of sports. The three-year-old became just the 13th horse in the modern history of American thoroughbred racing to win the three jewels of racing’s Triple Crown. In a…

Paving the way with quiet dignity

Larry Doby was the second African American to play Major League Baseball. His road to greatness was no less difficult for being second

Paving the way with quiet dignityIt’s unfortunate that we often forget the people who come second. Jackie Robinson is rightly honoured as the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Today, all players wear number 42 on April 15, the day that Robinson broke the colour barrier in 1947. We often forget that Robinson, who played for the Brooklyn…

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heaven

But with so much more money to be made, the potential for mischief seems great. How do we control that mischief?

Gambling and pro sports: a marriage made in heavenIt’s been a big week for gambling. The expansion Vegas Golden Knights – home team of the Las Vegas sports books – continued hitting blackjack on their way to the Stanley Cup Final. And, in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the ban on sports wagering outside Nevada was struck down. Now states can allow legal…

Are the Golden Knights the greatest sports story of all time?

It’s a mug’s game to select one great sports moment over another. But that doesn't make Vegas’s success any less remarkable

Are the Golden Knights the greatest sports story of all time?When a sports team is starting out, most observers set a very low bar for expectations. The hope is the first season isn’t too disastrous, there’s gradual improvement over the next five to 10 years, and the team eventually becomes a playoff contender. There are rare exceptions to this rule. Consider the Vegas Golden Knights,…

Drop-in ads on baseball radio broadcasts are getting out of hand

It’s like meeting a longtime friend for a relaxing coffee chat only to get barraged by a multi-level marketing sales pitch

Drop-in ads on baseball radio broadcasts are getting out of handI can still see my dad, lying on his nursing home bed, listening to a baseball broadcast on his transistor radio. The broadcasters were his daily companions as he dealt with a challenging and scary health issue. In a sense, they were actually his friends; people he could count on to take his mind off…

Baseball’s season of creative destruction

With 12 teams racing to the bottom and bonafide stars waiting for contracts, this looks to be a season of fan despair. Will the Blue Jays join the club?

Baseball’s season of creative destructionThe Major League Baseball season just began and already 12 teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. What's that, you say? We’re only three or four games into the season, how can teams already be eliminated? Yes, it’s a little early for the traditional tragic number, counting down to a team’s elimination from the playoffs.…

Baseball’s big free-agent balk

Baseball’s new success formula: Get out of the middle class for a while, sell the house, live in a trailer, accumulate credits and then buy a fabulous mansion

Baseball’s big free-agent balkWe’re told that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. If it’s the case that teams are imitating the Houston Astros, then it’s no surprise that prominent agents for Major League Baseball players  are screaming foul about the phoney war going on in the baseball talent pool. MLB pitchers and catchers report to spring training…

Full meal deal: sports world serves up plenty of intrigue

What does 2018 hold? Forgettable Olympics, NHL incompetence (followed by NFL incompetence), Blue Jay uncertainty and golf mysteries, for a start

Full meal deal: sports world serves up plenty of intrigueThe 2018 sports year begins with a bowl (of the college football variety) but the full table setting lies ahead. What courses are being prepared? Let’s look at some of the most challenging stories ahead. Dents in the shield In 2017, the National Football League fought Donald Trump and President Trump won. Okay, the American…