The Toronto Blue Jays entered Friday’s play with a 5 1/2-game lead in the American League East and thus far everything they touch turns to gold.
The starting pitching staff rivals Detroit’s frontline hurlers and Mark Buehrle is a lofty 10-1, they have five guys with 10 or more home runs and the infield and outfield defence is air tight.
Let me give you an example of they can do no wrong. In the opening game of this week’s series with Detroit, light-hitting Anthony Gose opened the top of the ninth inning taking what looked like a third strike. He walked and the Jays pushed across the winning runs.
The Blue Jays are a legit contender and they have the best hitting team in the majors. Now it seems like somebody up there loves them.
They look eerily like last year’s Boston Red Sox and for a Yankees fan that’s not enjoyable. As for the Yankees, the 2014 edition may be the worst Yankees club since the days before Babe Ruth, and they have no shot at taking the East pennant. It’s between the Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles.
In New Brunswick Senior Baseball League play, the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders entertain first-place Fredericton Royals today at 2 p.m. at Memorial Field.
The Royals lead the league with a 6-1 record while the Islanders are second at 4-4, one of two clubs at the .500 mark along with the Moncton Mets
The Islanders are without slugging second baseman Dillon Doucette, who has played just one game and is soon to return from work in Newfoundland, and all-star shortstop Andrew Macdonald, who had knee surgery.
Thus far, Morgan MacLean (.385), Josh Kelly and Sean Corcoran (both at .300) and Dylan McKenna, with a home run and four RBIs are picking up some of the slack.
The pitching staff of Jordan Stevenson, Jake Beck, Brodie MacDonald (eight strikeouts in six innings) and Taylor Larkin have been solid, so let’s hope the strong form continues today. Let’s get out and support the Islanders today, it’s the best entertainment value in the province.
Hopefully, hockey is coming to an end.
The Los Angeles Kings entertain the New York Rangers tonight and I am certain the Kings will be up 2-0 when the Stanley Cup final switches back to Gotham for games three and four next week.
I expected the Blueshirts to get the jump on the Kings and probably win the opener and it almost happened. The Kings outplayed the Rangers and outshot the visitors 20-3 in the third period to force overtime. Let’s hope for a short series as the hockey season is far too long for the average fan.
The UPEI sports program suffered a terrible loss with the Wednesday night resignation of talented women’s basketball coach Greg Gould, who had rebuilt the program from zero.
Last year, the Panthers made it to the semifinals and with all the young women back and a talented transfer starter from St. F.X. in Anne Kiberd, who sat out last year, the future was very bright for the Panthers until Wednesday.
Former UPEI basketball booster president Lyall Huggan has outlined his frustration with the UPEI athletic department and his comments have created a firestorm at sports bars and watering holes throughout the city.
I know for a fact the young women who played for Greg last year want him back, and everything should be done towards that goal, even if it means an independent review.
And there’s more turmoil on our little gentle Island.
Former P.E.I. Rocket/Charlottetown Islanders vice-president Trent Birt, the man who saved the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise and convinced the Savard family to keep the team on the Island, was given the door last Friday. With attendance up some 25 per cent and the team in solid footing, one would have thought there would have been a job for Trent in the works. Instead, he got the pink slip.
Bill Carson is a name that may not be familiar with today’s hockey fans but back in the late 1960s he was a standout with the Maritime champion St. Dunstan’s Saints (now UPEI) of the Maritime intercollegiate league.
Carson was an all-star on the blue-line with guys like Alan Flood, Ralph McCully, Dennis Affleck, Hedges MacDonald, Paul MacWilliams and Vince Mulligan, among others. I believe he was added to local senior teams for Maritime playoffs when the university league ended.
Sadly, he passed away earlier this week in a Toronto hospital.
The golf season is in full swing. I was in Ontario last week but found out the cold and damp weather in the early bird two-ball tournament at Brudenell provided interesting results.
Marty Koughan, the ex-baseball great, and his playing partner Mark McKenna, who play out of Avondale, captured the trophy in a playoff against Joey Smith and Jeff MacEachern. Both teams finished with a combined -16, but Koughan sank a long putt to clinch the title for the boys from Vernon River.
Long-hitting Andrew MacMillan and Chris Chaisson finished third, a strong showing indeed highlighted by sharp putting from Andrew with the anchored putter (belly putter) and Chris with the conventional putter.
Folks are reminded of the UPEI men’s basketball team’s golf tournament at Avondale on Tuesday, June 24. Contact Tim Kendrick at 902-566-0562 or Panthers central at 902-566-0368.
The Paul Jelley memorial tournament is set for Sunday, July 13, at Glen Afton. Registration closes on June 30.
Live harness racing continues at Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park tonight at 6 p.m. with a 13-dash card.
The $2,400 feature goes in Race 11 and last week’s winner All Turain has been given Post 6 on the outside and that’s fair. From the rail out the others are Cambest Kisser, Touch of Lightning, Perfect Escape, Judge Jon and Rsonoflife.
The North American Cup eliminations go tonight at Mohawk with three divisions and noticeably the three-heat winners from last Saturday’s SomeBeachsomewhere stakes are split. He’s Watching, trained by Dave Menary and driven by Jody Jamieson, who posted the fastest win (1:49:3) last Saturday, has the rail in the third division.
J K Endofanera also has the rail in his division while Always B Miki has drawn Post 7 in the third elimination.
That was some mile by P.E.I.-owned State Treasurer last Friday night in winning the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. Owners Sally and Alan MacDonald from Souris were in attendance for the eye-popping performance.
The horse made a break leaving, sat last, yet circled the field three-deep at the head of the stretch to beat top horses like world-class Foiled Again, Apprentice Hanover, Bandolito and four others in 1:51:4.
Also at Western Fair last Friday, the Patrick Shepherd-trained Fortune Playboy (Mark MacDonald) won the $39,000 City of London race in 1:56.
At Mohawk last Saturday night, James MacDonald set a new Mohawk track record for three-year-old trot fillies as he went gate to wire with Muscle Babe (Muscle Mass) in 1:54.
Casey Gavin’s Silverhill Shadow was a solid third in his Beachsomewhere elimination and goes tonight in the North America Cup eliminations.
He’s in against He’s Watching, Doo Wop Hanover and Luck Be With You, but all he needs to advance to the final is a top-three finish.
California Chrome looks to become the first triple crown winner in almost 30 years today in the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of thoroughbred’s triple crown. Affirmed last won the triple in 1978.
Fred MacDonald's column appears
in The Guardian each Saturday. He can
be reached at email@example.com.