Blue Jays Babble
This past week the Toronto Blue Jays were embroiled in a potentially season-defining series with the New York Yankees. After an offensive outbreak that led to a sweep of the Oakland Athletics in their three-game series, the Blue Birds headed to New York for four with a wild card spot still in reach.
The Jays opened the series on Labour Day with an 8-0 romp that included homeruns from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez, and two from Marcus Semien. On Tuesday, Toronto won its sixth straight game, defeating the Yanks 5-1. Semien contributed with another homerun while Alejandro Kirk hit two.
In Game 3 on Wednesday night, Semien continued his offensive output with two RBIs and Guerrero Jr. hit another homerun as the Jays defeated the Yankees 6-4. Then in the final game on Thursday, it was Guerrero and Bo Bichette going long, and trade deadline acquisition Jose Berrios struck out eight to lead the Jays to another 6-4 win.
With the series sweep of the Yankees, the Blue Jays had won eight straight and 11 of their last 12 and climbed their way back into playoff contention. They left New York a half game back of the Yankees for the second wild card spot.
The next stop for the Baby Blue was Baltimore for a four-game series with the Orioles on the weekend before heading home to Toronto. Last week Fall baseball seemed unlikely, but the Blue Jays are taking control of their own destiny and giving fans an exciting run to watch while doing it.
CFL Catch Up
Week 5 in the CFL saw a barn burner, an upset and a couple of teams returning from a COVID-19 interruption.
In the barn burner category, the Montreal Alouettes clobbered the Ottawa Redblacks 51-29. The Als defence may not have exactly been a fortress, but they did force three interceptions. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. shone, throwing 18 of 23 for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
In Saskatchewan, the home team was handed their first loss of the season as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers upset the Roughriders 23-8. With the win, the Blue Bombers have claimed first place in the west.
In Calgary, after missing their game in Week 4 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Edmonton Elks defeated the Stampeders 32-20 in the Battle of Alberta. Quarterback Trevor Harris was the story, throwing 31 for 41 for 398 yards and four touchdowns.
For the other team impacted by the COVID cancellation, a loss was in the cards as the Toronto Argonauts lost 32-19 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their annual Labour Day match-up. The Ti-Cats lead the annual Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1, and have now won seven straight in the holiday matchup.
It was a bye week for the BC Lions.
Last week the NHL and the NHL Players' Association announced that they had reached an agreement for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
The 2021-22 NHL regular-season schedule includes a break to accommodate NHL player participation. It will be the first Olympics for NHL players since Sochi 2014. With COVID-19 and the Delta variant continuing to pose a challenge, the agreement allows for the possibility of a later decision to withdraw from the Olympics if the parties determine participation by NHL players is unsafe.
The break in the NHL schedule is scheduled to run from February 3rd through to the 22nd and includes the All-Star Weekend and the Olympic men's hockey tournament. The gold medal game is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022.
NHL players have participated in five Olympics since 1998 but did not participate in the 2018 tournament. Canada has won Olympic Gold in men’s hockey at Salt Lake City in 2002, Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.
NHL pre-season games are scheduled to begin on Saturday, Sept. 25 with two games on the docket. The Montreal Canadiens will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in an afternoon game and the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues will meet in an evening game. The regular season opens on Tuesday, Oct. 12.
With training camps getting under way this coming week, we can expect a flurry of activity as teams come to terms with their restricted free agents, and the last tier of unrestricted free agents are signed to contracts or professional tryouts. Management groups will assess their training camp rosters and try to fill some last minute holes. A couple of teams are still hoping to pull off a trade – Jack Eichel and Vladimir Tarasenko remain the most prominent names hoping to find new homes.
It’s been a quiet summer, but it’s about to get louder than a bagpipe in an elevator. Settle in for an awesome Fall season in sports!
Lori Bennett is a social worker, policy professional, recreation softball player and coach, and newbie ukulele-ist. A Newfoundlander living in Toronto, Lori loves a good hockey chat, just as long as it remains respectful. Find her on twitter as @lori10habs.