Good morning, folks.
I’m really not a fan of either the Tampa Bay Rays or the L.A. Dodgers.
I guess if I was hard-pressed, I’d admit to liking the Dodgers a tad more — they play in a much prettier stadium and Vin Scully called their games for 67 seasons. The Rays play at the ugliest ballpark in the world, and I have no idea who calls their games. Don’t care.
Plus, the Rays play in the AL East and as a bit of a Jays fan we hate all AL East teams, right?
How many times have we witnessed the Rays rallying in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Jays like they did to beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series on Saturday night.
Plus, the Dodgers sort of deserve a title, don’t they? I mean they kinda got ripped off in 2017 when they lost to the cheating Houston Astros.
Still, it’s hard to root for the Goliaths of the sports world.
The Dodgers had a payroll of $108 million for the shortened 2020 season, second-highest in MLB to the Yankees at $109 million. Tampa was 28th at $28 million.
In 2019, the Dodgers were $207 million; fourth behind the Red Sox ($229 million); Yankees ($223); and Cubs ($221). Tampa was 30th (the lowest) at $64 million.
But still, the Rays? All that analytics stuff and the introduction of the opener — roll eyes. Guess you have to be inventive when you have no money. But still, the Rays? Have I mentioned that ballpark?
The Dodgers and Rays square off in Game 6 tonight, with the boys from L.A. holding a 3-2 lead in the series and in position to win their first title since 1988. A significant drought for one of baseball's model franchises. So in this case folks, I’m going with Goliath. Once in awhile, they warrant some empathy as well, don’t you think?
For me, it sometimes comes down to something in particular to cheer for. I’m swayed this year by Scully, who is 92; Clayton Kershaw, who is the only three-time Cy Young winner to never win a championship; and finally because the Dodgers have better beards and Justin Turner has the best one.
The Rays organization has a no-beards policy until the majors — roll eyes, again — and the worse MLB beard ever was worn by Colby Rasmus while he was playing for the Rays. And, what is that on your face Blake Snell?
"Way back to the dawn of humanity beards evolved, number one, because ladies liked them — and number two, it was the idea of frightening off adversaries and wild animals... In fact, it was so serious, if you look it up, that there's a divine mandate for beards in Leviticus and Deuteronomy... There became a time when Greek dramatists mined the popular prejudice against clean-shaved men."
How do you not cheer for that?
Go bearded ones.
As always, you can reach me by replying to this mailing or by sending me an email here.
• Fine tuning in Finland: It’s the most important season of Carson Lambos’ career and he’s not leaving anything to chance. The 17-year-old Winnipegger practised for the first time with his new JYP U20 team in Finland on Monday in preparation for playing games as early as this weekend. The Winnipeg Ice defenceman, widely considered one of the top five prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft, has not played in a game since March but will suit up with his new team for at least the next six weeks in preparation for the start of the WHL regular season on Jan. 8;
• Stiff upper lip?: Sunday marks the start of Movember, otherwise known as men’s health month, when your father or brother or son might start sporting something gnarly on their upper lip. But it’s about more than bad moustaches, but education about physical and mental health. Mike McIntyre offers a personal take on what it means, sharing his own experience with anxiety and why it’s more important than ever to speak openly about these issues and find healthy ways to cope in a world that can seem overwhelming at times given the current state of affairs;
• Gym rats: If the Winnipeg Wesmen men's basketball team were allowed to play a game tomorrow, head coach Mike Raimbault would barely have enough bodies to trot out a starting lineup. The majority of the squad lives out of province, leaving Raimbault with only five local players to work with. Despite that, and all the restrictions around basketball, you'll still find Raimbault and his small group of guys at the Duckworth Centre five days a week.
What we're reading
• Victim shocked at selection: Arizona Coyotes top draft pick was convicted for bullying Black, mentally disabled teen;
• Feeling flat: Sportsnet's Luke Fox looks at 10 NHL teams living in salary cap hell (and how they may escape);
• End of an era: TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor writes about how David Braley symbolized the past 30 years of the CFL
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