A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sports

[NEWS] Some links on the November 2015 Paris attacks (#parisattacks)

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  • Wikipedia’s page on the November 2015 Paris attacks is a good basic source of information, and further links.
  • Bloomberg had a collection of articles, one looking at how Parisians are coping the day after, another connecting this to France’s role fighting Islamist groups from West Africa to Syria.
  • CBC shared early social media footage.
  • Slate has terrible reports from the slaughter in the Bataclan theatre, which turns out to have been named after an amusing-sounding Offenbach operetta, Ba-ta-clan.
  • The Toronto Star noted how soccer fans at the Stade de France remained calm, even exiting singing “La Marseillaise”.
  • Vox, helpfully, notes that using these attacks to justify an exclusion of Syrian refugees overlooks that these are the people the refugees are fleeing.
  • The Atlantic‘s controversial article examining the roots of ISIS in Islam is a useful starting point, although this critical examination at Lawyers, Guns and Money is also worth noting.
  • MacLean’s shared reactions from around the world.
  • Wired reported on how the Facebook status updates of one Benjamin Cazenoves, trapped in the Bataclan, were widely shared, and also notes the wide use of the #porteouverte hashtag.
  • Quartz reports on the universal condemnation of the attacks throughout the Muslim world.
  • Esquire argues that the Middle Eastern oil states that funded ISIS should be held to task.
  • John Scalzi at Whatever makes the point that buying into ISIS’ rhetoric is a trap we must avoid.

[URBAN NOTE] “Bidding Farewell to the 2015 Blue Jays”

Torontoist’s Stacey May Fowles reflects, in the aftermath of the Blue Jays’ Game 6 defeat, on her fandom.

There was a moment in last night’s Game Six, during the seventh inning, when Blue Jays centerfielder Kevin Pillar offered his sleeve to teammate Ben Revere to wipe the blood from his arm. Revere, or “Benny” as Jays manager John Gibbons adorably called him during an in-game interview, had just miraculously launched himself into the air against the wall in left field, robbing Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez of what would have been game-changing double. Revere tore the skin on his arm in the process, and as Pillar casually gestured to offer to help the left fielder with his injury, I thought, “This is exactly why I love baseball.”

All of a sudden I realized that the real reason I love baseball is because it lets me see people be good to each other.

This is no small realization. I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out why exactly I care so much about this slow, silly, complicated game where men wear belts and literally run around in circles. I’ve tried to understand why it makes me feel all the intense feelings I do, why walking into a ballpark—any ballpark—has a unique capacity to clear out the buzzing in my head, to relieve me of anxiety, and to make me feel better about how truly terrible the world can be at times. I have thought about why I have so much affection for baseball because I feel like in some ways I owe it that consideration—this totally inexplicable thing that, at the risk of sounding extreme, came into my life and saved me. This thing that made so many things better when nothing else would.

And even though it felt devastating and unfair and not what Jays fans had all hoped for, I think last night’s eliminating loss to the Kansas City Royals finally gave me the very simple answer I needed. It finally made me understand. I really just want a place to see people be good to each other.

The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays were special. This is an undeniable fact, though trying to explain exactly why they’re special feels like an overwhelming task. Beyond their obvious athletic skills and achievements (I feel like I’ve seen Kevin Pillar fly a million times) there were dozens of tiny stories from these disparate men that filled our newsfeeds, that were passed around from fan to fan in the interest of attaching ourselves more and more to them with each passing day. There were surprising rookie ascents, solid veteran performances, and a trilingual journeyman first baseman who continually surprised. There were heart-warming sound bites of the appreciation they had for each other. There were even cute and colourful stories of popcorn in lockers, of team bathrobes and scooters, of affectionately assigned nicknames.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 26, 2015 at 4:44 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On finding myself an unexpected Toronto Blue Jays fan

As I type, Game 6 of the American League championship between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Kansas City Royals is playing. It’s the bottom of the 7th inning and the score is 2:1 in favour of the Royals. Will the Blue Jays do it? Will they make it to Game 7 with a chance to win? Might the team win the World Series? All is unresolved.

Everyone who reads this blog likely knows I’m not a sports fan. I’ve found myself amused to be nonetheless caught up in this. The hopes of a city, or even a country, for a winning sports team are contagious. (Since the Expos left for Washington a decade ago, the Blue Jays have been alone in Canada.) A World Series victory would bring some much-needed joy to my city and country, I think.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 24, 2015 at 2:37 am

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • 3 Quarks Daily hosts an essay by one Akim Reinhardt talking about the history of the Oglala Sioux.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly shares her personal credo.
  • Crooked Timber notes the various concerns of different societies in the past over migration.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper suggesting that O and B-class supergiants do not destroy their protoplanetary discs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the French development of hypersonic weapons.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers the question of infamy. To what extent should people responsible for horrors be studied?
  • Geocurrents maps some innovative Wikipedia maps of world religion.
  • Language Hat reports on new Chinese borrowings from Japanese.
  • Language Log notes the apparently strong preference for pinyin input in writing Chinese electronically.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money considers the complexity of colonialism in naming a sports team in Oregon the “Pioneers”.
  • Marginal Revolution describes how one Turkish economist disproved his father-in-law’s involvement in an alleged coup conspiracy.
  • The New APPS Blog looks at the philosophy job market.
  • Strange Maps shares some beautiful watercolour maps of the world’s divides.
  • Supernova Condensate points out how very small our civilization’s electronic footprint is.
  • Towleroad links to one defense of Danny Pintauro’s coming-out as HIV-positive.
  • Transit Toronto notes the threatened TTC lawsuit against Bombardier and notes the refurbishing of some older streetcars.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reports on why a Pennsylvania court refused to recognize a Saudi custody order on the grounds of its inconsistency with American public policy.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russia does not own the Russian language, looks at Armenia’s intake of Syrian refugees, suggests the Russian intervention in Syria is not supported by Russia’s neighbours, and looks at how Belarus is using Lithuanian and Latvian ports instead of Kaliningrad.

[URBAN NOTE] “The tragic tale of Toronto’s first big baseball star”

Spacing Toronto’s Adam Bunch shares the sad story of Toronto’s first big baseball star, Ned “Cannonbale” Crane.

The bases were loaded. It was the bottom of the eight. This was it: first place was on the line. Toronto and Newark headed into that Saturday afternoon battling for the lead in the International League — along with the team in Jersey City. With only a couple of weeks left in the 1887 season, every win was vitally important. And with only an inning left in their second game of the day, Toronto was losing to Newark by three runs.

That’s when Ned “Cannonball” Crane came to the plate. He was the ace of the Toronto pitching staff; a giant of a man: big and tall and impossibly strong. He once threw a ball more than 400 feet — a world record; impressive even by today’s standards — and he could throw a ball faster than anybody else could, either. He was one of the game’s first big power pitchers. He combined the blistering speed of his fastball with a “deceptive drop ball” that baffled opposing hitters. It was a deadly combination. He won 33 games for Toronto that year — more than any other pitcher has ever won on any Toronto team.

And he could hit, too. Crane was one of the best hitters in the whole league that year. His .428 average is still considered to be the best batting average by a pitcher in professional baseball history. (If he’d hit that in the Majors, it would put him sixth on the all-time list for any position.) On the days when Crane wasn’t pitching, he was in the outfield or at second base so they could keep his bat in the line-up.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 14, 2015 at 9:44 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On the Toronto Blue Jays championship run

The impact of the Toronto Blue Jays’ actually entering the Major League Baseball championships versus the Texas Rangers, more than two decades after the Blue Jays’ 1992 victory, has been huge. The idea of having a potentially victorious sports Has struck me almost as disorienting, a real novelty. Others … blogTO’s photo feature of the “Blue Jays Nest” at Toronto City Hall where fans watch the games together, or Transit Toronto on the TTC service disruptions wrought by the thousands going to see the game. That the Blue Jays have not done well–well, I point you to Bruce Arthur’s Toronto Star article written after the first loss. (One more to go?)

Toronto waited 22 years for this. Well, not this, exactly. There was a moment where the first Toronto Blue Jays playoff game in over two decades appeared to morph from disappointment to disaster, a grease fire that spreads to the drapes. Things went wrong. Then more things. The roof was closed, for some stupid reason, but it felt like it was caving in.

“It’s not the end of the world,” said catcher Russell Martin, in French, after a 5-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Division Series. “I can only speak for myself, but I’m ready for tomorrow already.”

Before anybody hyperventilates, this wasn’t fatal. It was just an awful way to play the first playoff baseball game in more than two decades in this town. That’s all.

“I know it’s there,” said ace David Price, who became the first pitcher in major-league history to lose his first six post-season starts, and admitted to some healthy, natural nerves. “I know it’s there. Hopefully (a win) comes in my next start. And if not, my next one, and my next one.”

There’s no guarantee Price will start another game for the Blue Jays, and that’s up to everyone else. Price just wasn’t very good: he hit three batters all season, and two on Thursday. He allowed home runs to the number eight and nine hitters in the Rangers lineup. He wasn’t an ace. It happens.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 10, 2015 at 11:55 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • blogTO reports on five of the smallest libraries in Toronto. Two of them are near me.
  • James Bow notes the odd recent Facebook slowdowns.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly notes there is no such thing as a low-skilled job.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes three recently-discovered hot Jupiters.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes geological evidence of ancient atmospheric oxygen in rocks 3.2 billion years ago and reports on the discovery of water ice on Pluto.
  • Geocurrents notes the lack of support for Catalonian separatism in Occitan-speaking Val d’Aran.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the kissing marine couple has married.
  • Language Log celebrated Korea’s Hangul Day yesterday.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes toxic masculinity in team sports.
  • The Planetary Society Blog considers the role of telerobotics in space exploration.
  • Towleroad notes the definitive arrival of marriage equality in Ireland.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia’s Syria gambit is failing, with implications for tensions among Russia’s Muslims, and notes Crimean Tatar institutions’ issues with the Russian state.

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