Cherry Picking

While we wait and sort out the drama that is the impeachment proceedings in our country, a sports broadcasting legend was unceremoniously booted for showing pride in his country.

You could say that Don Cherry is to the hockey broadcasts in Canada what John Madden was to American pro football. He could relate to his fans, and the fans in turn could relate to him.

While we get a steady diet of college and pro football every weekend this time of the year, Canada similarly loves its hockey. Cherry would commentate on the games between periods and give his opinions which sometimes weren’t hockey related.

As we celebrate Veterans Day, Canada has a similar day called Remembrance Day – usually noted with a small flower worn in the coat pocket called a poppy. When Cherry noted that he didn’t see a lot of poppies and a lack of national pride, he said so on the air.

It only took the Canadians a couple of days to make Cherry, who had been on TV 38 years, an ex-hockey commentator. Some fans considered his remarks xenophobic – with Canada a more liberal country in its embrace of cultural diversity.

Me, I say life’s too short to worry about what other people say. Sooner or later, you find someone who’ll complain about it anyways.

Game Seven

The decade of the 2010’s will have one last baseball game in it, as Houston and Washington are tied at three games apiece in the World Series.

For those of you who don’t follow sports, that means tonight’s game determines who wins the Series itself.

It also marks the first time in Series history that the road team, who has the disadvantage of batting first – has won the first six games in a best four out of seven series in major North American sports. No team has ever won the World Series without winning at least one home game, something Washington may accomplish tonight.

Even though the Nationals have their “ace” (a top starting pitcher) going – I wouldn’t be shocked if Houston won.

The Bucs Drive For 55

The great part about the sporting world is that it has moments no one expects. After the Rays reached their summit on Friday night in clinching a playoff spot, only a few expected the Bucs to do big things against the Rams.

In Los Angeles, where the Bucs played their first ever game in 1976 – the Buccaneers made history with a 55-40 win over the previous season’s NFC champs. The odd thing about Tampa’s scoring spree is that it could have easily have been more, despite breaking their all time single game scoring record of 48.

If the Bucs can find some maturity on defense, the future for Tampa Bay’s NFL franchise may get here sooner than anyone expected. Their game this Sunday against New Orleans could be a indicator of how far they already have come.

Return To Glory?

Regardless of what happens the rest of the way, it was a memorable year for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019, despite all the drama swirling around their future.

It was six years and a manager ago when the Rays played meaningful games in October. With so many talented players winding up on other teams, it sure seemed longer.

But when that final out was registered in Toronto on Friday night that clinch Tampa Bay’s spot – the frustrations eased way. The young team celebrated without restraint their achievement – hopefully with more rewards awaiting them.

Congratulations to the Rays – in my book, you’re winners.

Football In A Time Warp

The Cleveland Browns and New York Jets played on Monday Night Football last night for the first time since the very first game of MNF in 1970. The Browns won that first game and this most recent meeting, 23-3.

Imagine if you were a football fan in 1970, and hadn’t seen the future yet – but someone knew that future.

They begin to tell you what’s changed over time, like the show no longer being on ABC but on a sister cable network, or that ABC was running something called a reality show that had a ballroom dancing competition featuring celebrities.

The original MNF had a guy named Dandy Don. Season 50 has a commentator named Booger.

The football fan could probably envision the Super Bowl being a big event, or a 32 team league – probably wondering why there isn’t 50 teams or thereabouts.

I just wonder what “1970 Football Fan” would think of the cable television landscape of all news channels, all sports channels, and an all weather channel.

I’m also thinking that if we sat that fan in front of a TV, they’d sit there, eternally.

Rays And Bucs

The Tampa Bay media market has to be one of the more unique sports markets in the world.

We have a baseball team in the Rays that win consistently all season, yet no one goes to their games.

The Buccaneers have the exact reverse problem: people go to see them, but they can’t win.

The latest evidence of this was the 2019 opening game against San Francisco where the visiting team won 31-17. Jameis Winston, whom for some reason the Bucs ownership still thinks is a competent quarterback, threw three touchdown passes. Unfortunately, two of them went to the 49ers via interceptions.

The Rays, on the other hand, look like a playoff team and would make it if the season ended today. It’d be their first trip to the postseason in six years, back when Joe Madden managed a nearly entirely different group.

The best of times and the worst of times.