Growing up in a large Charlottetown family, you either cheered for the Brooklyn Dodgers (later the Los Angeles Dodgers) or the New York Yankees and the reasons were fairly obvious.
My mother, Pat, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and she loved “those bums ”, and my dad’s sister, Bernadine, lived at 412 West 110th Street and she sometimes prayed for those Yankees. Dad (Fiddler) also had a brother, Earl, in Boston, which accounts for my younger brother Sandy’s attraction to the Bosox. He could also have been influenced by Dr. Bobby Lund, who ran minor baseball in Charlottetown and who now spearheads the Red Sox Family on P.E.I.
Right now, those clubs are stumbling, as the Red Sox are out of the pennant race, the Dodgers are slumping, having lost four of their last five games going into Friday’s action, and the Yankees dropped two of three games to the injury-riddled Toronto Blue Jays, who, although dead-last in the American League East, may have the best bullpen in the majors.
Let’s take a quick look at where the three teams we have mentioned stood heading into the weekend.
In the National League West, the Dodgers trailed the San Francisco Giants by five games in the loss column and they’ve got a tough schedule ahead. The mega deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and the injured Carl Crawford to L.A. hasn’t worked out and it may not. I doubt they’ll catch the Giants for the pennant and I’d be surprised if they catch Atlanta, St, Louis or Pittsburgh for one of the wild-card spots.
That big trade with the Red Sox that brought over three huge contracts hasn’t helped the Dodgers in the short term and I’m doubtful if it will long term. When it comes to wasting money, the Dodgers don’t have to take a back seat to Tourism Charlottetown or Discover Charlottetown.
As for the Red Sox, they’re saddled with one of the most inept managers in the major leagues in Bobby Valentine (it’s a toss up with the Jays’ John Farrell) and there’s even talk of a swap of these two managers. Bosox slugger David Ortiz is hurt and will likely not be back. One good thing is they’ve cleaned house and started to rebuild, something other inept organizations should do.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are playoff bound but they’re banged up, showing some age and desperately trying to stay in front of a surging Baltimore club run by a real manager in Buck Showalter. Baltimore and Tampa Bay are only three games back of the boys from Gotham on the loss column, so it’s not over yet.
Wouldn’t it be something if Baltimore won the pennant or a wild card in the American League? It would be outright shocking if the cash-starved Oakland Athletics captured one of the AL wild-card spots.
The Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders of the New Brunswick Senior Baseball League opened their best-of-five first-round playoff series against Saint John Alpines Friday night at Memorial Field.
Today, the Islanders, 17-13 in the regular season, travel to Saint John (8-22) with the same two teams meeting Monday at 4 p.m. in Charlottetown. The Islanders have a solid offence in Andrew MacDonald, Dillon Doucette, Sean Corcoran and slugging first baseman Kyle Dougan, whose batting average is almost as high as his fielding average. This guy is a dangerous hitter and never gets cheated.
The Islanders have been surprisingly solid in pitching with Jacob Beck, Mike Thompson, Matt Dixon and young Jordan Stevenson, who has caught my attention.
Look for the Islanders to sweep Saint John.
In the Kings County Baseball League, the playoffs have begun and first-place Stratford 3 Points Machinery and Aerospace Athletics (try saying that after a few pops) ripped the Paderno Pirates 13-3 Wednesday night in Stratford. The Athletics have some thumpers in their lineup in Shawn MacDougall, Andrew MacNevin, Brad Larter, Randy Taylor and Marshall Ellis and they should go a long way in the playoffs.
The Athletics and the Pirates resume their series Sunday at 4 p.m. at Memorial Field.
Other Sunday games have the St. Teresa Peakes Tee Sluggers at the Peakes Bombers at 3 p.m., the Charlottetown Cannons taking on the Northside Brewers at 3 p.m. in Morell and the Sherwood Dodgers playing the Morell Chevies at 6:30 p.m.
In three games last week, Stratford’s Brad Larter went something like 12-for-12, a great streak in any league.
Around the tracks
Live harness racing continues tonight at Red Shores Charlottetown with another exciting 12- dash card beginning at 6 p.m.
The $2,200 feature goes in Race 11 and it includes top horses like Brief Bliss, Oakrock Almighty, War Cry Ranger, I D K, Eagle Luck and Carnivore
Simulcast racing from up-country is also available tonight at the CDP and there’s a terrific card from Woodbine, including the $1-million Metro Pace, where highly-touted Captaintreacherous meets division winners Apprentice Hanover and Odds On Equuleus.
The terrific card also includes the $600,000 She’s A Great Lady Stake and the Canadian Pacing Derby, featuring Betterthancheddar against Foiled Again, We Will See, Golden Receiver and six other entries.
Also on the card, there’s a $38,000 Preferred race where Gold Cup and Saucer winner Eighteen and runner-up Mystician will face a monster in three-year-old Thinking Out Loud. I usually don’t bet a sophomore against an aged horse but Thinking Out Loud is a beast.
Also tonight at The Red Mile, Mark MacDonald drives Bolt The Duer in Kentucky Sire Stake action.
Souris-owned State Treasurer was a rousing third last week in the Cane Pace elimination for MacDonald and trainer Dr. Ian Moore. State Treasurer goes Sunday in the final at Tioga against a tough field, which includes A Rocknroll Dance, the Meadowlands Pace winner and more recently the Battle of Brandywine winner in 1:48.1.
Last week I asked fans to keep in mind recognition next Old Home Week for Doug Hill and Mel Jenkins, the remaining founders of the Gold Cup and Saucer.
Recognition is also long overdue for veteran driver Garry MacDonald, who was the leading Old Home Week driver from 1985 to 1994.
Garry brought 30 to 40 horses to the CDP for Old Home Week from Saint John and Truro and made sure the horse population was sufficient for the big week. Garry had a terrific 2011-2012 week with something like eight wins in 12 drives and three with the Collins Wood-owned and Terry Affleck-trained Leave Me Go, who took a new record of 1:56 and change late in the week. Gary also won the Roach MacGregor Memorial in 1:53.4 with Punmonjum.
They were flying Thursday night at the CDP.
The last six miles on the card were in 1:59 or better, including Private Joke in the Open Mares 1:56.3) for trainer Earl Watts and co-owners Wade Peconi, Windemere Farms and John Howatt with talented John Holmes in the bike.
Also, sharp-looking sophomore R E’s Art raced in 1:56.1 for owner Shawn MacIsaac and trainer Jamie Smith.
At Mohawk on Thursday night, Danny McIsaac’s good trotter Catch A Dream took a new record of 1:54.1, while Ron MacLean’s two-year-old trotter Zorgwijk Nova won her $120,000 Champlain Stakes Division in 1:56:1 with Trevor Ritchie driving.
Fred MacDonald’s column appears in
The Guardian each Saturday. He can be
reached at email@example.com.