Fiddler's Facts: Blue Jays are back in action

Fred
Fred MacDonald
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The Toronto Blue Jays (49-47) opened the second half of their season Friday night at home against the Texas Rangers (38-57) and Jays fans are anticipating a winning streak to stay alive in the woeful American League East.

The trade deadline is the end of this month and while all of the East teams need help to stay in pennant contention, I just don’t see many trades happening. Tampa Bay’s outstanding pitcher David Price is thought to be available, but Tampa Bay, although tied for last with Boston in the East, thinks they can make up 10 games in this division and they could.

The Jays continue their series with Texas tonight and the Boston Red Sox visit for a three-game set on Monday. Texas is dead last in the West and out of the pennant race and the BoSox are struggling like the Jays, so the schedule presents a break for Toronto.

Texas management thought they were smart when they axed Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan last fall and within a year they went from World Series participant to the bottom of the league, much like the Red Sox. A lot of the blame rests with manager Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels. On Monday night, Boston manager John Farrell comes to Toronto, which means Blue Jays will get a chance to watch the three worst managers in baseball within a week. What a treat.

NBSBL

In local baseball news, the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders host Saint John Alpines today at 1 p.m. at Memorial Field in a New Brunswick Senior Baseball League twin bill. The Islanders strong pitching staff of Jordan Stevenson, Jake Beck, Taylor Larkin and hard-throwing Brody MacDonald has kept the Islanders at the .500 mark after 20 games.

Fredericton (11-6) holds down top spot with Chatham and the Moncton Mets next at 11-7. Charlottetown is 10-10 while Moncton Hub City (7-11) and Saint John Alpines (5-14) round out the senior circuit.

MacDonald, who may be the best left-hander in the league, will start the first game with Larkin likely to begin the second game.

Islanders’ catcher Morgan MacLean is pounding the apple at a .400 clip and should get support today from Sean Corcoran, Jeremy McKinnon and young standout Dylan McKenna.

Baseball fans are reminded of the Islanders’ golf tournament at Avondale on Tuesday at 1 p.m. It is their only fundraiser and your support at the games today at Memorial Field and Tuesday at Avondale is appreciated.

Minor baseball

The 10th annual Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald mosquito AAA baseball tournament will be staged July 25 to 27 at various Charlottetown diamonds.

A record 16 teams will be competing, including seven from the Island led by Charlottetown, which owns a 20-2 record and are coming off a big win in the Summerside tournament in June. Other Island teams are West Prince, Richmond, Summerside, Cornwall, Sherwood and Cardigan. Mark Arsenault handles the coaching duties for the Charlottetown team along with co-coaches Jeff Squires, Jason MacDonald and Kevin MacLean. Halifax heads a strong mainland contingent with other teams from Dartmouth, Tri-County, Bridgewater, Hammonds Plains, Fredericton, Riverview, Kennebecasis Valley Red Sox and Saint John. More on this tournament next week.

Golf

Dr. Bill Stanish and his Halifax team fired a team score of 61 and finished in a three-way tie for second at last Saturday’s annual Boys and Girls Club golf tournament at Belvedere golf course. The team of Neil MacFadyen, Terry Hamilton and Rodney Murray were picked to win but finished tied for second, three strokes back of the accountant team of Kevin Ladner, Vince Prosper and company.

Dr. Bill Scantlebury’s team, which included physiotherapist Colin Moore, failed to make the podium, so changes are coming for that team.

The annual East End golf tournament goes a week from today at the Avondale course.

Dr. Bob Lund, who is president of the local chapter of the Boston Red Sox fan club, and vice-president Michael O’Grady don’t have much to cheer about these days. But they do have something to smile about as the PWC re-union is set for 1 p.m. next Saturday at the Charlottetown Holland College, PWC gym.

Maybe Ann Love can talk some sense into Lund and O‘Grady.

Another ex-baseball great Marty Koughan and his partner Connor Lea were bounced from Avondale doubles club match play Wednesday by Wendell MacEachern and Roger MacLauchlan. Marty may need a new partner.

UPEI review

The highly anticipated review of the UPEI athletics department is in the hands of vice-president Jackie Podger so we will have to see what changes will be made.

There many players and Panther followers pulling for the return of women’s basketball coach Greg Gould. Also at UPEI, the men’s hockey team has added highly regarded Mark Carragher as an assistant coach. Mark is another young man from the Island, who has paid his dues and can be a great asset to any team. He is also the assistant coach for the Canada Games team where my man Luke Beck is head coach. Love to see Island youngsters moving up the coaching ladder.

Harness racing

The $25,000 Governor’s Plate goes tonight in Summerside and it should attract a big, big crowd to the Red Shores location. Governors Plate elimination race two winner All Turain has been scratched.

It’s wide open and any horse can win, including D G’s Camme, co-owned by Hal and Quentin Bevan, Tom Clark and Ron Matheson. This horse finished first in 1:55:1 but was placed back to second because of interference in his elimination race. He has the rail and that’s a big advantage.

Elimination race one winner Red Rock, owned by Don MacRae, Steven and Bryan MacRae and Melissa Trainor of Vernon Bridge, has post six in what is a crapshoot. Others include Astor (2), Modern Exhibit (3), Judge Jon (4), Machinthesand (5), Narragansett (7) and Ultimate Luck (8).

Tonight’s co-feature is the $9,200 Lobster Festival mares open final and it includes from the rail out: Keystone Nobility, Firstclassflight, Forallweknow, Silky Britches, Brodys Leona, Onehotvett, There Paid For, Dreaming and Stayoutofmyaffair.

The $603,000 Maple Leaf trot goes tonight at Mohawk Raceway, Campbellville, Ont., and Sebastian K, the talk of the harness racing world, will attempt to break the 1:50 barrier on Canadian soil. He has the rail in a field that has a lot of back class in Market Share, Intimidate, Archangel, Wishing Stone, Mister Herbie, Creatine, Undercover Strike, Flanagan Memory and Modern Family.

The Casey Gavin-owned and Dr. Ian Moore-trained Silverhill Shadow leaves from post three tonight at Mohawk in the $122,000 Canadian Breeders final for three-year-old colts. His toughest competition comes from Boomboomballykeel (Sylvan Filion) and Prince Clyde (James MacDonald).

The Canadian harness racing game and the U.S., too, will miss top driver Trevor Ritchie, who was especially great with trotters. Continuing neck and back problems have forced Trevor to call it a day. He is a master at conformation and will likely continue his work for Brittany Farms and buyer Myron Bell. All the best to Trevor, who is a licensed stock broker and a sharp guy off and on the track.

Foiled Again and Bolt the Duer head a field of nine in tonight’s $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield, Ohio.

Railbirds at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park caught a trotter going a big training trip this past week, last panel in 28 and change. Sources suggest it belongs to Don MacDougall, the Blue Jays man. Nice to see at least one Blue Jay is hot.

Fred MacDonald's column appears in

The Guardian each Saturday. He can

be reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

Organizations: Charlottetown Holland College, Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox Islanders Avondale Toronto Blue Jays Texas Rangers American League East New Brunswick Senior Baseball League Boys and Girls Club Canada Games

Geographic location: Texas, Tampa Bay, Charlottetown Toronto Fredericton Summerside Boston Moncton Hub Dartmouth Kennebecasis Valley Saint John Belvedere East End Red Rock Vernon Bridge Narragansett Maple Leaf Campbellville U.S. Lake Erie Ohio Charlottetown Driving Park

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