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Everyone needs to get through this with their vices, right? Right.

Take Olive Veronisi, for example. The 93-year-old is housebound at her home in Pennsylvania and wanted beer. She wanted beer so badly that she held up a sign saying ‘I need more beer!’ while holding up a can of Coors Light. Molson Coors answered Olive’s plea for help by dropping off 150 cans of Coors Light to her front door on April 13. Well done, Molson Coors, and hope you enjoy the beer, Olive. She’s just given us all a great idea, right?

Anyway …

Actual baseball actually happened

Yes, gang, it’s true: Belarusian soccer isn’t the only game in town anymore when it comes to professional sports.

The Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan opened its 2020 season on April 11 with the Chinatrust Brothers taking on the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions. With a name like that, I can get behind them no problem. Anyway, the game took place behind closed doors because of the Covid-19 scare and that’s how every game this season will be played.

Here’s Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium, home of the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. The league is underway with its 2020 season, albeit behind closed doors with robots and mannequins providing the in-game entertainment.
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Plenty of firsts in that big game, including Kai-Wan Cheng of the Lions becoming the first player to hit a home run in any sort of professional baseball game in 2020 when he went deep in the second inning so congrats to you, sir. Tzu-Hsien Chan tied the game with a solo blast of his own in the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1.

Some super defence as well as Lions catcher Chung-Yu Chen caught Wei-Ta Su of the Brothers straying too far off of first base in the sixth inning and pulled off one of my favourite plays in sports: the backpick. That’s where the catcher snaps a throw down to first base to get a napping baserunner and is the opposite of a pickoff.

In the end, the game went into bonus baseball with the Lions coming out on top, 4-1, in 11 innings in a game which took more than four hours to play. To put that into Major League Baseball terms, the same amount of time it takes the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to play six innings of regulation baseball.

Even though there were no fans to speak of, there was an atmosphere as robots were playing on drums and making some sort of noise to at least give the impression of a pulse.

So there you have it. Slowly, but surely, we are getting some action in place and there’s now a second option for you if Belarusian soccer isn’t your thing. Guess who’s a 7-Eleven Lions fan now?

Gone too soon

We all heard about the death of Colby Cave of the Edmonton Oilers earlier this month. He succumbed after losing a battle with a brain bleed at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on April 13 and if he was going to survive it, he would have the best chance at the best hospital in the country, hands down.

Alas, he didn’t. But the hockey community is like no other, just like we saw with the outpouring of support for Humboldt, Sask., two years ago after that horrific bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos. Cave was from Saskatchewan – North Battleford, to be exact – and his hometown rallied around the family with a tremendous show of support.

Cave’s family returned home and waiting for them was a line of cars, estimated to be around 15-km long on Highway 16 leading into North Battleford, and almost everyone had a jersey, sign or piece of art in support of the now-late Oiler.

But in every sad story comes a bit of good as the Oilers have created the Colby Cave Memorial Fund, which will raise money for community programs with an emphasis on mental health and providing access to less-fortunate children who want to play sports. I can get behind that because every child deserves a chance to play anything they want.

And finally …

Good Idea: WWE continuing with its regular programming during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bad Idea: WWE being labelled an “essential service” by the Florida state governor.

WWE has garnered a reputation of being the quickest of all sport/entertainment organizations to get back to business after a tragedy. Kind of like the Waffle House of showbiz, if you will.

The company is still operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is great because we all need some sort of release from the stress being put on us all because of this. But isn’t it interesting that WWE has been declared an essential service by Ron DeSantis, the governor of the state of Florida? You see, because crowds can’t attend WWE live events, the company is doing its shows at the WWE Performance Centre, its training ground, in Orlando, Florida.

Those shows include Monday Night Raw, Friday Night Smackdown, NXT and 205 Live plus any and all pay-per-views. WrestleMania was done in Orlando after the original plans for Tampa Bay, Florida, were scrapped. Because of no crowd – rumoured to be between 60,000 to 70,000 – and no merchandise sales and no income of any kind off of its annual showpiece spectacle, the company reportedly lost in the neighbourhood of $22 million.

Now, so long as everyone associated with the company tests negative for the virus and everyone associated with the company stays together under the same roof, there shouldn’t be any worries about Covid-19. As for the essential service designation, I’m not so sure. I like watching professional wrestling but there’s more important and essential services out there.

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...

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