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Newsworthy: The Islanders-Sabres (Questionable) Trade

28 Oct
2012-13 Score - Matt Moulson

2012-13 Score – Matt Moulson

2012-13 Score - Thomas Vanek

2012-13 Score – Thomas Vanek

So, today, the New York Islanders made a very questionable trade.  They traded a soon-to-be 30-year-old scoring winger who wears number 26 who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year to the Buffalo Sabres for a soon-to-be 30-year-old scoring winger who wears number 26 who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.

The scoring winger that they traded has 118 goals in 304 games since the start of the 2009-10 season.  The one that they are getting back has 110 goals in 280 games since the start of the 2009-10 season.

The main difference in the trade is that the New York Islanders also traded a first-round pick in 2014 and a second-round pick in 2015 along with Matt Moulson to acquire Thomas Vanek.  Vanek wasn’t going to stay in Buffalo, but I’d argue that there’s no way he’s going to stay on Long Island, either.  Or Brooklyn, in the non-hockey arena they’re going to be playing in soon.

To me, there is no way this trade makes sense for the Islanders.  In honour of this, I’d like to remind you that the New York Islanders have had some of the worst uniforms in NHL history.  See Miroslav Satan and Lubomir Visnovsky looking just absolutely ridiculous in the images below.  Yes, I’ve talked about this before.  I like picking on them.  They look stupid.  I’m not sorry.


2007-08 Upper Deck Artifacts - Miroslav Satan

2007-08 Upper Deck Artifacts – Miroslav Satan

2013-14 Score - Lubomir Visnovsky

2013-14 Score – Lubomir Visnovsky


The Dodgers-Diamondbacks Brawl, circa 1988

17 Jun

So, we all know there was a bit of a donnybrook last week between the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Suspensions were issued to five players, including ten games to Ian Kennedy and five to Eric Hinske.  In addition, they also suspended some coaches: Mark McGwire, the hitting coach for the Dodgers (I can picture the lessons: “Guys – the trick to hitting? Drugs. Lots of drugs.”) got two games, and managers Don Mattingly for LA and Kirk Gibson for Arizona got one game each.

This got me thinking – what if this brawl had taken place in, say, 1988?  Some pretty big name players from my youth were involved: Gibson, Mattingly, and McGwire, as well as Alan Trammell and Matt Williams, among others.  Yes, I know the Diamondbacks didn’t exist then, don’t ask me questions.  So, let’s go through the list and why this brawl would have been spectacular back then, with the visual aids from 1989 Donruss.

1989 Donruss - Kirk Gibson

1989 Donruss – Kirk Gibson

Kirk Gibson: was the National League MVP for the Dodgers in 1988 and hit a fairly big home run against Oakland in the World Series that same year, so could pretty much get away with anything.  Epic mustache gave him toughness and street cred.

1989 Donruss - Don Mattingly

1989 Donruss – Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly: although he is essentially the only player ever to play for the Yankees not to win a World Series, he owned the city of New York at the time and could have called in some questionable “friends” into any altercation.

1989 Donruss - Mark McGwire

1989 Donruss – Mark McGwire

Mark McGwire: the Steroid Era was in full effect at the time, without all the irritating criticism and judgement from fans that you run into now.  Rage factor of 10/10 would have been interesting to watch.

1989 Donruss - Matt Williams

1989 Donruss – Matt Williams


Matt Williams: still hadn’t learned how to use steroids properly (BA .205 in 1988, .202 in 1989) so could have had an even higher rage factor than McGwire.

1989 Donruss - Alan Trammell

1989 Donruss – Alan Trammell

Alan Trammell: easily could have gotten away with biting, eye gouging or other tactics due to the predictable response: “Alan Trammell was in a fight? Come on, don’t lie to me. I’m not an idiot.”

Sure, these guys have the “grandpa factor” that made this brawl pretty interesting in 2013, but I’d pay money for a quick DeLorean trip back to 1988 to see the fight then.  Tell me you wouldn’t, too.

Newsworthy – 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductions

12 Nov

2000-01 UD – Mats Sundin

1990-91 O-Pee-Chee – Joe Sakic

1992-93 O-Pee-Chee – Pavel Bure

1990-91 Pro Set – Adam Oates

Sure signs I’m officially old:

Item #1: I’m experiencing my third NHL lockout as a fan.  This one is just so ridiculous, it’s laughable.  I feel bad for kids who just want to watch hockey.  I was a kid in 1994-95 and it was awful.

Item #2. These four guys are in the Hockey Hall of Fame now.  Congratulations and thanks for all the great years to Joe Sakic, Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, and especially to Mats Sundin.  Mats, you deserved better.

Newsworthy – Ichiro Traded to Yankees

23 Jul

2012 Topps Archives – Ichiro

I don’t particularly like the Seattle Mariners.  While I don’t have a specific hate on for them or wish them any type of ill-will, for the most part, I enjoy that they are the less successful expansion cousins of 1977 and haven’t really done anything of consequence in the postseason – ever.

However, I like Ichiro Suzuki.  He has been unique to his generation, and probably unique to all of baseball history.  He’s been a lot of fun to watch, and we are fortunate to have been able to watch it from the sidelines and our living rooms.

It is for this reason that I am not happy about Ichiro’s trade to the Evil Empire of the New York Yankees today, even if he’s a shadow of what he once was and even if it made sense for the Mariners to move on.  I would prefer to remember Ichiro wearing Seattle’s colours – their somehow enduring teal and blue colours – and not this god-awful mess of Yankee nonsense:

 I’m sorry Ichiro, but I now wish for you to fail at baseball for as long as you are a Yankee.

Newsworthy – 2012 MLB Home Run Derby

9 Jul

2012 Topps – Prince Fielder

As it turns out, Prince Fielder is a hitter, not a quitter (see Terry Tate, Office Linebacker), as he won the Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star festivities in Kansas City tonight.  He certainly deserved it, hitting two that traveled 476 feet and several into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium (insert your own wet balls joke here).  As you can see in the image above, he also plays first base, although I think his body type is better suited to shortstop or centre field.

Toronto’s Jose Bautista finished second, putting on a good show as countless people across America asked themselves where exactly Toronto was and why the SkyDome/Rogers Centre kind of looks like an igloo, when Canadians are always making such a big deal of the fact that they do not, in fact, live in igloos.

1991 Donruss – George Brett

1992 O-Pee-Chee – John Kruk

The best moments of the evening, however, were provided by George Brett, for showing up on live television drunk, and John Kruk, for crushing a pile of Kansas City barbecue ribs as if he still had a mullet.  Now, that said, I am merely commenting, not judging.  If I was George Brett, I’d get drunk at an All-Star Game in Kansas City too, and KC makes some of the best barbecue out there, so I can’t blame Kruk for not waiting until the post-event spread.

All in all, a pretty entertaining evening.  Good on you, Major League Baseball.

JP Arencibia: AL Player of the Week

21 May

2012 Topps Heritage – JP Arencibia

So, JP Arencibia was named the AL Player of the Week this week, and as John Lott points out in the linked article, promptly thanked his dog as well as the Man in White at the Rogers Centre.  Congrats to JP on the award and thanks for the humour.  (If you’re unclear on that, educate yourself and read this post from The Blue Jay Hunter from last summer when this first became “news.”)

Now, that said, what I really want to know is whether or not he will receive a trophy similar to the one on this baseball card?  This particular golden award was bestowed upon him for being a “Topps 2011 All-Star Rookie,” which everyone knows is pretty much the baseball equivalent to the Medal of Honor.  Don’t argue with me.  It just is.

If there is no trophy like the one above, I’m afraid this Player of the Week Award is a little hollow.

May 18, 2012 – Kerry Wood Retires

18 May

2012 Topps Heritage – Kerry Wood

His career didn’t end up being what we all thought it would be back in 1998 – when he struck out 233 batters in 166.2 innings – but Kerry Wood was the kind of player you don’t see all that often.  Injuries aside, he was pretty much what you would call a generational talent.

Kerry Wood retired today.  Not a lot of people get to go out the way he did – watch this video to determine if you have a soul.  If you get a bit emotional, congratulations, you’re part of the human race.  If you don’t choke up even just a little, well, I’m not sure you’re telling the truth, and also, you’re probably not paying attention, so try watching again.  Don’t lie to me.

If you need a reminder of how good he was, watch this clip of his 20 strikeout game.  As a rookie.  Early in the season.

Pujols vs. Hatcher

1 May

2010 Topps Opening Day - Albert Pujols

1987 Topps - Mickey Hatcher

So, it would turn out that Albert Pujols is upset with Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher for revealing some pretty mundane details about a meeting Pujols had with other Angels hitters.  Probably something the hitting coach should avoid doing – what could he possibly gain from that?

However, did Albert Pujols have a card in 1987 Topps?  No, he did not, because he was seven years old in 1987.  Advantage, Hatcher.

There is some actual analysis of this situation and of Pujols’ season thus far over at Getting Blanked.

Jackie Robinson Day – April 15, 2012

15 Apr

2010 Topps Heritage - Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson Day is one of the things that Major League Baseball does really well.  Former MLB player Doug Glanville writes about it today on  If there was still a team in Montreal, they’d probably also be talking about how it all started there.

Newsworthy – Ozzie Guillen… Again…

10 Apr

1993 Topps - Ozzie Guillen

We knew this was going to be interesting.  Ozzie Guillen managing in Miami with a new team name, a new ballpark, an exciting new outlook for the franchise… we all anticipated the entertainment value that the situation was sure to provide.  But this?  We didn’t expect this.  We didn’t expect the content – vocal support of Fidel Castro, in Miami, of all places – and we didn’t expect it so soon.

Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie… oy, oy, oy.

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