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By the Book

by Archives March 29, 2006

It’s less than a week away from when the defending World Series champion Chicago White Sox will take on the Cleveland Indians on April 2. Just the sound of that makes you think of spring and is there anything better than that? Just ignore the cold weather.

As a kid, I never got into hockey and I was always a baseball guy. I never played a game of organized ice hockey in my life, but I played baseball for about 10 years.

Even though the city of Montreal is entering the second baseball season without the Expos, my love for baseball hasn’t dwindled. I still consider myself a Nationals fan, despite the many knocks I get for wearing the hat with the red ‘W’ around the athletics complex.

There is no optimism like Opening Day. The beginning of a 162 game season is just unbelievable. Say what you want about baseball being a ‘boring’ game [I can go on and on about that, but that is a different column] but I love it. There is no game more enjoyable on the radio and there is absolutely, positively nothing like turning on the television and seeing the green grass of Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field while looking outside and seeing, potentially, snow on our front lawns. With the baseball regular season and the NHL playoffs coming up in the same month. My girlfriend is going to hate me come May.


Golly-Gee George Mason

How about those George Mason Patriots? Only the second double-digit seed to make it to the Final Four, defeating number one seeded UConn in overtime and busting whatever brackets were still together. That is what March Madness is all about, and I have to say, all four teams in the Final Four have a chance to win. LSU and UCLA on one side are two very talented teams that had to defeat Duke and Gonzaga respectively [sidenote: was there any game more exciting than the UCLA comeback against Gonzaga? I think not]. And, Florida and George Mason on the other side have great teams as well.

I think this may be the best final four and most open field that I remember. I am very lucky to have picked two of the final four teams. Most people in pools I’m in have none, maybe one. Mark my words: the final three games of the tournament will be decided by less than 20 points-combined.


Hip Hip Huet!

The Canadiens, after a sweep of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a lacklustre win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, are right back into the thick of the playoff race, and don’t look now, but they are only two points behind Tampa Bay for sixth. Cristobal Huet is making many Canadiens fans say “Jose who?” while David Aebischer has many Canadiens fans saying Red Light Aebischer. But, with 15 goals allowed in three games, five in each game, at least he’s consistent.

The Habs have also been getting great play from Saku Koivu who, even though he hasn’t scored in 21 games, has been picking up several assists in the past few games and has been one of the Canadiens’ most threatening forwards, leading his linemates Chris Higgins and Michael Ryder as one of the Habs most productive lines.

Alex Kovalev has also been a great help as of late and that hit on Darcy Tucker had me on the verge of tears…of joy… as there is no player I cannot stand more than him.


The CFL’s Ottawa Rene-gone’s

There is a sad state of affairs in Ottawa for their CFL franchise and now that Senators’ owner Eugene Melnyk said that he has no interest in owning the team [and why would he], the CFL is scrambling to find anyone not named Glieberman to run the franchise. If they cannot find an owner, I am saddened to say that football in Ottawa may never work. The city went five years between the departure of the Roughriders and the Renegades return, and may have to go at least 10 more if the Renegades leave as well. There just aren’t enough people in Ottawa who have the money to own the team and definitely not if the team continued to lose money. The CFL is a league on the upswing, but this Ottawa franchise is bringing the league down, and it may be time to go back to an eight-team league, for now, and then bring teams to Quebec City and Halifax to have a ten-team league. But that is just a pipe dream.

Can football work in Ottawa? I’m sure it can. People never thought football would be able to come back to Montreal, and we have all seen the results. They have sold out every game since moving to Molson Stadium full-time.

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