Sunday, November 2, 2014





Prior to the start of the World Series, federal agents confiscated some counterfeit tickets. According to comedy writer Jim Barach, they were tipped off “when they saw the tickets were for the Cubs vs. the Astros.” . . . Major League Baseball is wanting, again, to speed up its game, so commissioner Bud Selig has struck yet another committee. “In a related story,” reports Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald, “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell formed a committee to speed up this season and get it over with.” . . .

You have watched the San Francisco 49ers on TV and you know that their head coach, the tightly wound Jim Harbaugh, doesn’t have a sense of humour. Au contraire. On a recent conference call with St. Louis media, Harbaugh was asked about veteran defensive tackle Justin Smith. First, Harbaugh pointed out how well-respected Smith is, then he added: “Chuck Norris calls Justin Smith ‘sir.’ ” . . . The Erie Otters and Niagara IceDogs drew 10,000 fans to a game in Buffalo the other night. As Vancouver comedian Torben Rolfsen noted: “They may become the first city to upgrade from the NHL to the OHL.” . . .

Judging from a Sportsnet commercial that is getting lots of play, Rogers isn’t too aware of the relationship between Vancouver hockey fans and Mark Messier. Here’s Rolfsen: “Mark Messier selling hockey to Vancouver Canucks fans is like Bono selling anti-spam ware to Mac users.” . . . Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, offered up this following the death of Oscar de la Renta: “Most women are thinking, ‘Sad, it’s the end of an era.’ Most men are thinking, ‘What team did he play for?’ ” . . . Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong knows that de la Renta didn’t play on a team. “I remember clearly when he lost fights to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao,” Chong writes. . . .

There is a report out there claiming that the U of Texas is to begin paying scholarship athletes $10,000 a year. “Why the pay cut?” wonders contributor Bill Littlejohn. . . . By now you have seen the Chevrolet commercial that features Little League baseball star Mo’Ne Davis. It seems that U.S. college footballers Jameis Winston and Todd Gurley messaged the NCAA after seeing that TV spot. The message, according to Littlejohn, was: “Show me the Mo'Ne.” . . .

Montreal Alouettes receiver Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) tweeted the other day: “Meryl Streep changed her phone number . . .” Obviously, the man still has his sense of humour. . . . “California firefighters staged a rooftop rescue to free a woman stuck in the chimney of a home owned by a man she’d just started dating,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Where’d they meet? At a shingles bar?” . . .

Outfielder Jarrod Dyson and his Kansas City Royals were dominated by San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner in Game 5 as the Giants took a 3-2 lead in the World Series. “One good thing for us,” Dyson said after the game, “we don’t have to worry about Bumgarner no more.” . . . It didn’t quite work out that way, did it? . . . According to Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, Bumgarner’s World Series performance “was the most impressive display by a Giant since Andre in Wrestlemania 2.” . . .

“The Cleveland Cavaliers lost at home to the New York Knicks in a major upset on Thursday night,” reports the aforementioned Chong. “LeBron James could only muster 17 points in his much heralded return to the Cavs, and fans were chanting for Bumgarner to replace him during the second half.” . . . One more from Chong: “Consuming three glasses of milk a day has been associated with premature death. That’s especially true when the cow backs up while you’re drinking.” . . .

Things haven’t been going particularly well for the U of Florida Gators this football season. “In the face of mounting criticism,” writes Littlejohn, “Florida football coach Will Muschamp says he’s adopting a bunker mentality. Which one, Archie or Edith?” . . . John Garrett, the Sportsnet hockey analyst who sees the world through Vancouver Canucks-coloured glasses, all but blamed Montreal Canadiens defenceman Alexei Emelin for having a long chin when he got drilled by forward Alex Burrows on Thursday night. It was a predatory-type hit, the kind the NHL should be trying harder to get out of its game. The three-game suspension with which Burrows was hit wasn’t nearly enough, although Garrett likely thinks it was too much. . . .

“Hundreds of Seattle medical-marijuana dispensaries have received letters from the city warning that they might be shut down,” writes Ron Judd of the Seattle Times. “It raises the alarming possibility that city residents might have to resort to buying their pot at a far cheaper price and zero hassle from the same guy in Wallingford who has sold it to them since 1976.” . . . Here’s one from Jack Finarelli, the Sports Curmudgeon: “Rhetorical question of the week. Where else but in intercollegiate athletics could Idaho be in the Sun Belt Conference?” . . .

Over time, for one reason or another, the World Series has lost its mojo. No matter how exciting the series, no matter how much drama there is, it just isn’t what it used to be. “Today, the World Series is like The Ed Sullivan Show, the Miss America pageant, Timex watches, and sitting in your favorite chair surrounded by a stack of daily newspapers,” writes Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. “It’s like Peanuts. It was once the biggest event in sports. Now it’s a relic of a simpler time before the Worldwide Leader and the World Wide Web. My fantasy baseball world of 1962 has been overthrown by the fantasy baseball (where you can win millions!) of 2014. In 2014, the World Series is your father’s Oldsmobile.”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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