SPORTS TALK: This time, the Toronto Raptors are to blame

by James McCarthy- July 28, 2018

So summer is finally here. I say that because all of the rain we had in Yellowknife meant I wasn’t able to mow my lawn for days and days. It started to resemble the Amazon.

You ever try to mow a lawn where the grass was up past your knees? Not fun. It got done but what a chore that was. Now the back lawn needs to be done. Pray for me.

Now on to other things which can be a pain in the arse, which is what one sports executive could have if things don’t go his way:

This one’s on you, Masai

For years, the Toronto Raptors have had to suffer the indignity of star players moving on to greener pastures. It began with Damon Stoudamire, the team’s first-ever draft pick, followed by Vince Carter, followed by Tracy McGrady, followed by Chris Bosh.

The players were blamed for all of those moves but this time, all of the blame is on the Raptors themselves.

Masai Ujiri, the team’s general manager, pulled the trigger on the long-rumoured Kahwi Leonard-to-Toronto deal earlier this month and gave up DeMar Derozan in the process. Let me put it in a way hockey fans will understand: remember that time Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings? Yeah, I still hate Peter Pocklington’s guts.

Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees broke the golden rule of base running on July 23 and it cost his team a win. photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Granted, that’s a bit of a stretch as far as comparison’s go but it’s close enough. DeRozan was someone who bled for Toronto, loved Toronto and even declared himself to be Toronto. He was someone the fans loved and he loved them back. This is the guy you want to keep around, right? Guess not. And he wasn’t too happy about it.

His Instagram post the day after the deal was made spoke volumes. He claimed Ujiri never told him what was going on and Ujiri himself even admitted in the following days that the communication could have been better. I guess so, right? Kind of like a mushroom – feed it crap and keep it in the dark. I wouldn’t blame DeRozan for feeling betrayed but at least he went out with some class by thanking Canada. Never got that from McGrady or Bosh.

I’m not saying Leonard isn’t a great player. When it comes to two-way guys, he’s one of the best there is and Ujiri had been chasing him for forever. I’m thinking this is Ujiri going all-in: one last roll of the dice to win a championship. If this team can’t win it all after this, they need to blow up the shop and rebuild. Leonard, Kyle Lowry, they all go and if it doesn’t work, you can bet Ujiri will become public enemy number one in Toronto.

Nice hustle, jackass

It’s well-known that baseball catchers can’t run too good. That’s not speculation, it’s fact. Their knees are used more for squatting than running and it takes a toll. But Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees has absolutely no excuse for the stunt he pulled against Tampa Bay on July 23.

Sanchez was up in the top of the ninth inning, two outs, Yankees down one, sacks drunk. Sanchez hits a ground ball to the second baseman, who was playing behind the bag expecting a pull. He flipped it to the shortstop who went to second base to try and get the force on the runner coming in from first, but the runner beat the throw.

Imagine the shortstop’s luck when he looks up and sees Sanchez still heading toward first base. He fires it over and gets Sanchez in plenty of time for the final out. Not even close. Worst part for the Yankees? Aaron Judge was the tying run. In the post-game interview in the Yankees clubhouse, Sanchez admitted he should have run harder.

That’s deep thought right there, kids. He should have run harder. No, what Sanchez did was give minor ball coaches around the world an instructional video for why you run the ball out. Every. Single. Time. It was drilled into my head as a young softball player, as slow as I was, that you hustle down that line straight out of the batter’s box.

You can rest assured he will be hustling from now on.

And finally …

Good Idea: Reading a newspaper headline to see what the story is about.

Bad Idea: Reading a newspaper headline only and commenting on the end of the free world.

IMPEACH!!!

So Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin met in Finland and it went about as well as you thought it would. Good grief, I’d call it a gong show but that would be an insult to the late Chuck Barris.

But there was a sports angle to this and it’s making everyone freak out because Russia. Putin gave Trump an official game ball from the 2018 FIFA World Cup during the press conference the two had and it turns out it may have contained a transmitter chip. This was reported by The Hill, a newspaper based in Washington, D.C.

Well, if that didn’t set off alarm bells. There it was – the proof we were all waited for that Trump was under Putin’s thumbnail. The end of the world as we know it. Impeach the guy now! Subpoena the translator!

Those who bothered to read past the headline published by The Hill would know it was nothing but clickbait. The chip in question simply contained information that, if you held your smartphone up to it, would take you to a World Cup-themed website run by Adidas. Every single game ball contained this technology, so nothing special.

If you were to believe the Chicken Littles of the world, though, you would have thought it contained one of those Soviet-era bugs and a pop-up KGB agent who would come out of the bottom and strip the Oval Office of all its intelligence.

#readingmatters

Until next time, folks …

Leave a Comment: