SPORTS TALK: Cleveland wins! Cleveland wins!


Nothing warms my heart more than seeing bullies get their comeuppance stuffed good and tight right down their throat.

This comes from Utah, where an autistic boy by the name of Michael Conrad was the victim of a cruel prank. Conrad was duped into believing that a cheerleader had sent him an invitation to his school’s homecoming, which was preceded by the brave group (no idea who they were, which is the most unfortunate part) egging his house. Imagine his heartbreak when the cheerleader in question told him she had a date already and had nothing to do with what happened.

Up steps Dexonna Talbot, who is in the running for Miss Utah. After being contacted by one of Conrad’s former teachers, Talbot asked Conrad to go and the rest is history. Again, it’s a shame no one knows who the bullies were because I would be first in line to stuff it right down their throats.

On to other heartwarming issues:


Took them long enough

Isn’t it a joyous occasion? The Cleveland Browns finally winning a game? No, stupid – it’s the free beer everyone got. More on that in a minute.

The Browns won a game for the first time in the Trump administration era after beating the New York Jets on Sept. 20. The scenes were something to behold, kind of like when the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup … said no one ever. But if only you knew why the fans were celebrating.

Yes, it was a big night. After all, nothing could be any worse than last season for the Browns but there was the bright side – it was last season. A new season springs eternal, right? So imagine when the Browns tied their first game of the season. Hey, at least they didn’t lose, right? But it was back to normal the next week when they lost.

It took until week three of the season that the monkey was finally taken off their backs and head coach Hue Jackson could smile for a change.

Cut to the streets of Cleveland and they were celebrating for a different reason. You see, Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Bud Light, had a promotion going on. They had put beer fridges up all over Cleveland and if the Browns managed to win a game this season, all of the fridges would open up at the same time and free beer was to be had by all. One estimate had the crowd at one location to be as many as 1.3 million people.

It’s free Bud Light, people. Kind of like fat-free cheese – it’s cheese but it still sucks.

Perhaps the funniest line of the entire ordeal that was a Cleveland Browns win came from the Cleveland Division of Police, whose Twitter account published the following:

“We WON!!! —-Wait….Oh God. The free beer thing…Ok Cleveland. Stay calm. GO BROWNS!!!”

Sums it up perfectly. Cleveland has had a problem with beer-related promotions in the past. Look up 10-Cent Beer Night if you want a history lesson.


Whatever that is …

After all these years, the Philadelphia Flyers have a mascot. I could have lived without it.

Gritty is the name of whatever the Flyers unveiled on Sept. 24 and his biography at the Flyers’ website is something resembling Vince McMahon could have conjured up for a WWE superstar. In short, the mascot looks like Animal from The Muppet Show if Animal suffered from a pituitary gland disorder at the age of five.

On the flipside, it could also be the illegitimate child of Sweetums, the giant Muppet that scared the crap out of me as an impressionable kindergartner.

Because it looks like a strung-out serial killer, it fits in perfectly with Philadelphia. And you know it’s going to make the team a lot of money through dolls, shirts, public appearances and so on, which is why I’m sure the team went with it in the first place. New revenue streams, dontcha know? Can’t wait for the memes to start with Gritty ramming his head through the door a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

I applaud the effort but there are better ways to come up with a mascot.


And finally …

John Gibbons won't be back as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays for 2019. He had ups and downs but he generally did a decent job with the Blue Jays. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
John Gibbons won’t be back as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays for 2019. He had ups and downs but he generally did a decent job with the Blue Jays. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Good Idea: John Gibbons leaving the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bad Idea: John Gibbons leaving the Toronto Blue Jays.

So John Gibbons won’t be back as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. I admit I’m torn.

I never thought much of Gibbons as a manager. I always looked at him as someone who hit the panic button way too soon in certain situations, much the way the movie Mr. Baseball presented Japanese baseball managers as always too happy to pull the trigger on going to the bullpen at the first sign of trouble and not giving the pitcher a chance to pitch his way out.

I always looked at him as lazy in a way, not taking advantage of certain situations.

But over time, you look back and you appreciate some of what Gibbons did. He had his managerial style, like everyone else who manages a dugout. That’s his job and you can second-guess him all you want – like I’ve done – but it’s his job. He’s the captain of the ship and it’s his head if 25 guys are lousy.

Gibbons is considered a players manager but he was never shy about reminding his players who was in charge. Ask Ted Lilly or Shea Hillenbrand about that when they decided to challenge him. They found out that if you have something you want to say, tell him. If not, he’ll come and find you and talk to you about it.

Don’t forget Gibbons led the Blue Jays to the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, the two happiest baseball seasons in Toronto in more than a generation when they happened. Only two other Blue Jays managers were able to accomplish that (Bobby Cox and Cito Gaston) so Gibbons has that piece of history.

Take the good with the bad because with Gibbons, there’s both. But the good outweighed the bad in recent years.


Until next time, folks…

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James McCarthy
After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better part of the last 10 years over two stints. I’m living the dream of everyone who said they would never get married and never have kids with the best wife you could ask for putting up with my crap for the past 11 years along with two daughters who are more beautiful than yours. Forever outnumbered when it comes to house choices, at least the dog has my back ... whenever I feed him. When you see sports happening, call the hotline at 867 766 8257.