Tuesday, 17 February 2015

State of…Winning the Lottery

It’s been a tough 2015 for Leafs fans.  The team has gone through their worst performance in franchise history – which is saying something for a team as old as the Leafs.  They have NEVER been worse than this recent stretch.  For those who lived through the 80’s you might find that hard to believe…but it’s true.

The one silver lining in all this is that as the team plummets in the standings, their odds in the Connor McDavid sweepstakes increases. A little over a month ago fans were wondering who the Leafs would face in the first round of the playoffs.  Now, those same fans are left wondering how high up the draft board they can move.

With just four teams below the Leafs in the standings they currently have an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery.  Here are the individual chances (%) of winning the draft lottery:

Finish 30th: 20% chance of getting the #1 overall pick
Finish 29th: 13.5% chance of getting the #1 overall pick
Finish 28th: 11.5% chance of getting the #1 overall pick
Finish 27th: 9.5% chance of getting the #1 overall pick
Finish 26th: 8.5% chance of getting the #1 overall pick

Right now, Buffalo, Edmonton, Arizona and Carolina (in order of worst to "best") are all behind the Leafs in the standings.   Thankfully they don’t have to finish last in order to win…it just helps.  So how badly would the Leafs have to play to really increase their chances?  below are three scenarios of how they can finish, and how badly each of the other four teams would have to play, in order for them to move up in the draft lottery.

The Leafs have 25 games remaining:

Scenario #1
  • Leafs finish 11-11-3 and finish with 76 total points
  • Carolina would need to secure 30 points to pass the Leafs and can secure that by playing at a 14-11-2 clip
  • Arizona, with two less games, would need to secure 30 points and play at a 14-8-2 clip
  • Edmonton would need 35 total points – a 16-5-3 record here out
  • Buffalo would need a whopping 41 points (more than they have to date) which can be accomplished by going 19-4-3

Scenario #2
  • Leafs finish their last 25 games by going 8-14-3 – achieving a total of 70 points
  • Carolina would need to win 11 games by going 11-14-2, giving them 71 points
  • Arizona would need to also win 11 games, but the requires going 11-11-2
  • Edmonton needs to secure 29 points – going 13-8-3 does it
  • Buffalo still needs to secure more points than they have all year by going 17-7-2

Scenario #3
  • The Leafs finish up the season continuing their cold streak and go 5-18-2 to finish the year at 63 points
  • To surpass 63 points Carolina would only need to go 7-17-3 the rest of the way – totally 64 points
  • Arizona would need to go 7-14-3 the rest of the way
  • To secure 64 points Edmonton would need to play at a nearly .500 pace, going 10-12-2
  • Buffalo would need to get very hot and finish up going 13-10-3

Suffice to say, it doesn’t look good for Toronto to finish 30th…but they do stand a better than average chance of moving further down in the standings.  When it comes to winning the first overall pick…to quote Jim Carrey:

Sunday, 19 October 2014

State of…Twin

It's crazy…but I think that the fictitious lead singer in the show Parenthood is also one of the top wingers in the NHL.  Or perhaps I've got that mixed up, and Patrick Sharp is also the lead singer of the band All-American Rejects. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

State of…"Values"

There's obviously a lot of thought that goes into a corporation's "Vision and Values".  It's really hard to capture a larger thought that incorporates everything your company stands for and boil it down into a single statement.   After a recent interaction with Wells Fargo I wanted to look up their "Vision and Values" to see how it matched up with my understanding of them.  Here is what I found:

"Everything we do is built on trust.  It doesn't happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one quarter.  It's earned relationship by relationship." - John G. Stumpft, Chairman and CEO

That sounds great, right? Who wouldn't want to have that kind of relationship with their bank? I certainly would.  Unfortunately, my relationship with Wells Fargo is…let's just say strained right now.   Let me paint you the picture to get a better understanding.

I've been banking with Wells Fargo for at least 12 years.  When I moved up from Georgia they were the first bank that I opened an account with.  At the time they were Wachovia, but essentially it's the same company.  For the past, let's say, 5 years I've been transferring money every two weeks into a joint account that I have with my wife at USAA.  They offer some nice financial incentives for their customers and since my wife is the one who handles most of our bill-paying it made sense to have one central bank to write checks.

So, for at least 5 years I've been transferring a large percent of each paycheck from my Wells Fargo account to our USAA account.  Each year I set up the automatic transfer for the upcoming year (based on any increases to my pay).  I won't use real numbers…but let's say that I've been transferring $1.50 per paycheck for the past two years, $1.35 the year before and $1.30 for the two years prior to that.

This year, when I attempted to  setup my account (as I do each year) I was told that the maximum transfer amount is $1.20.  It's now "bank policy" that one cannot transfer more than this amount on a given day, or $3 for a given month.  No matter that some months include three pay periods and would put me over that $3 total (3 x $1.50 = $4.50).  So not only can I not transfer the $1.50 that is required for us to pay our mortgage, electric, auto payments, etc., but I can't even make multiple transfers over the span of 30 days in order to cover our bills.

To make makers worse, the brainiacs at Wells Fargo have decided that to demonstrate their emphasis in "Trust" they will start implementing a $3 fee (that's a real number not made up) on each transaction.  So in order for me to continue what I've been doing for the past 5+ years I will now be charged a minimum of $6, and at times $9, per month.  That may not seem like a lot, but at $78 per year that would total up nearly $400 over the past 5 years.

When I called Wells Fargo today to confirm my understanding, I got an infuriating answer.  I outlined the above items and the lady I was speaking with said "Yes, that makes sense.".  What part of the above "makes sense"?  When I enquired about having the $3 transaction fee waived she simply said "there's nothing we can do to waive the recurring fee unfortunately".  She was kind enough to waive a single transaction fee (for my trouble), but moving forward there it was simply out of her hands.  I'm being screwed over by the same entity that has a mantra that trust is "earned relationship by relationship".

It was an inconvenience to make multiple transfers instead of it being automatic (to stay under the $1.25 cap) but I was prepared to ride it out.  It's been a fairly good relationship over the years…dare I say that I've had a neutral relationship to this point (which is likely pretty good compared to most peoples' relationship with their bank).  But when they informed me that I was also going to be dinged $3 per transaction that became too much.

I doubt that a massive bank like Wells Fargo will care about losing me as a customer, but the smallest

floods often start with a single crack.  So, starting today I will be informing our HR department that my direct deposit should now be directed to USAA moving forward.

Thanks for the good times Wells Fargo.  My trust may not have been gained with just one transaction, but you certainly lost it in one.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

State of…Gr8ness

I heard a very interesting discussion today on the Steve Dangle Podcast (no, not THAT discussion) - by  the way, if you're not listening to this podcast you should be - They were talking about the statistics of Alex Ovechkin and how his stats compare to the list of All-Time Goal Scorers.

Ovie currently sits at 411 goals (as of February 11, 2014) and is 83rd on the All-Time List. Later this season he should move up into the Top 70 (#70 is Yvan Cournoyer at 428).  At his present pace (40 goals in 55 games) he should hit around 58 goals (I'll assume he misses at least 2 games).  So that would mean another 18 goals THIS year…putting him at 429 for his career.

The discussion was surrounding the idea of whether or not Ovie the Gr8 could possibly catch Wayne Gretzky for the All-Time lead in goals (894).  Ovie is only 28 years old…so theoretically he could play for another 10 years (perhaps longer if he follows the lead of other greats like Jagr and Selanne).  It seemed ludicrous to think that anyone could possibly threaten the Great One's hold on top spot…but looking at Ovie's career stats and plotting a few future seasons, it does indeed look POSSIBLE.

Here's how it could breakdown:

2013-2014: 58 Goals (429 Total)
2014-2015: 60 Goals (489 Total)
2015-2016: 58 Goals (547 Total)
2016-2017: 56 Goals (603 Total)
2017-2018: 54 Goals (657 Total)
2018-2019: 49 Goals (706 Total)
2019-2020: 45 Goals (751 Total)
2020-2021: 44 Goals (795 Total)
2021-2022: 38 Goals (833 Total)
2022-2023: 33 Goals (866 Total)
2023-2024: 29 Goals (895 Total)

This would take Ovie to the ripe age of 38.  If he were to extend his career for another 1-2 years you'd have to expect that with his hands and vision he could still hit 20 goals per year…which would give him roughly 40 goals to play with over the next 10 years.  Is it unrealistic to expect him to hit 6 straight  (I include this year as it looks like he will top 50 this year) 50 goal campaigns after his 28th birthday…perhaps, but would you say it's impossible? No chance.

To have this healthy of a career would also be a lofty achievement, but outside of one year where he only played in 72 games, Ovie has been relatively healthy.  That's not to say that he will continue to do so…but his history is all we have to go off.

Ovie already has one campaign of 60+ goals (2007-2008 he had 65 goals in 82 games) and five total seasons of more than 50 (again, including this year) in his first 9 years (keep in mind that one season was a shortened one, but his pace that year would have put him over 50 for the full season).  So putting up five 50+ goal campaigns in his next 10 years is not THAT unreasonable.  It would be a monumental feat…but not much more than what his first 8 years have been like.

What's most incredible is that this conversation is worth having.  Gordie How is second in All-Time Goals will 801.  That is 93 less than Gretzky.  That's essentially three really good seasons of goal scoring behind the leader.  So for Ovie to be in the conversation of potentially threatening the other Great One is impressive on its own.

Do I think that Ovie gets to the 895 number? No.  I bet he gets to the high 700's or very low 800's (which would be an outstanding career)….but if you've read my previous posts, I've misjudged Ovie before.  A motivated Ovie is a VERY scary player and if he starts to get a sniff of arguably the "greatest hockey player of all-time" that could be just the motivation that Ovie needs.  He seems like the kind of player who wants to leave his mark on the game…and what better way than to be called the Greatest Scorer of All Time!?

Either way…it's going to be fun next few years watching this.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

State of…Amenities

Before I get to my point, I had to mention that once again I find myself sitting at the Buffalo International Airport waiting on my US Airways flight.  This time, my first two flights have been cancelled, not due to incompetence but because of weather.  To date, US Airways has been wonderful and I continue to find that my last experience/post was out of character and not the norm. Keep it up US Airways!

So I stayed at a hotel last night.  It was a recognized brand name, and certainly in the upper echelon of “good” hotels.  It was not a luxury hotel by any means, but certainly one that you know you’ll be well taken care of.

When I got checked in and got into my room, I noticed the following sticky on the bed:

In case you can't read this, it says "Duvet covers & sheets are clean for your arrival".  

Does this really need to be stated?  When I check into a hotel I generally assume that the room has been cleaned and I've been given clean sheet and duvet.    Am I the crazy one here, or do you also assume this?  Have standards at other hotels dropped so low that "Clean Sheets!" are now a major selling point, much like "Free WiFI" (don't get me started on those dirt bag hotels that ask you PAY for internet)?  Will I find myself one day driving down the road looking for that hotel that I remember had clean sheets?

Could you imagine if this carried over into other industries?  Picture this:

You and your wife arrive at a fancy restaurant for your Anniversary.  The host seats you at a cozy table by the fire.  The server comes by and welcomes you and takes your drink order.  When they come back to tell you all about the specials they start by saying "It's my pleasure to serve you this evening, and I just wanted to let you know that your knife, fork, spoon and salad fork have all been cleaned prior to your arrival.".

Sounds ridiculous, right?  How is this any different than my clean sheet experience?  Do we not expect the same courtesy with sheets and covers at a hotel that we stay in?  Should we?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and I look forward to continuing to rant and ramble through this portal.


Friday, 12 October 2012

State of...Elitism (Flying the "friendly" skies)

My apologies in advance to the airline US Airways.  I have only had good experiences up to this point, and am probably just a little heated at an exchange that just happened a few minutes ago.

So I'm at the Buffalo Airport.   I flew in a few days ago and had some business meetings in the area.  Let me say this, I am a loyal Star Alliance member (Air Canada is my actual account).  Since I am based in the US most of my flights originate with US Airways (a Star Alliance member).  As such, I am able to collect points towards my Star Alliance / Air Canada account.

My original flight today was scheduled for 6:30pm.  I was lucky enough to arrive at the airport early (I just missed getting on a 1:30 flight) and was very much hoping to get on the 3:35 flights in order to get home and see my wife and son.  By taking the later flight I would certainly not get to see them as I have to drive down to Maryland tonight...but if I arrived early I could get home for an hour or so and spend some quality time with my family.

So I check in and go directly to the gate.  The gate attendant was not there yet so I grabbed a seat and waited.  When she arrived I was first in line to inquire about getting on the earlier flight.  The attendant, a very nice lady (I've only ever had good experiences with the US Airways staff), said that she would put me first on standby but because of weight/balance issues she wasn't sure I would get on the flight.

So I waited for about an hour before the flight landed, and during that time a handful of later passengers also inquired about securing a spot on the earlier flight.  They were given the same story and their names were taken for standby.  After all the current passengers had boarded, the attendant got word that they could accept TWO more additional passengers.  Great news right?  I'd get home early and would get to see my wife and son.  WRONG.

Two people who had checked in and gotten on the standby list AFTER me were "preferred" US Airways customers.  They had Gold and Silver status and therefore they got to board the plain.  It did not matter that I had been there for two hours waiting and hoping to get on - their status trumped my dedication.

As I said, I'm a frequent traveller and have accrued nearly 100,000 air miles with Star Alliance (Gold status), but apparently I don't have the correct status with US Airways needed to bump people.  I completely understand the theory that you need to take care of the customers who take care of you.  In the sports world I would do the exact same thing (an individual ticket holder versus a Platinum Seat Holder would receive similar benefits).  But that doesn't mean that I'm not pissed that I was bumped because of these two other people who didn't have the wherewithal to arrive at the airport early.

Not sure if I need to get a US Airways account in order to receive this kind of loyalty, but with the amount of traveling I do it certainly didn't feel "right".  Actually, regardless of the amount of travel I do it didn't feel "right".  I arrived early and waited my turn and then these two jokers show up with a few minutes to spare and get right now.  It's this elitist crap that pisses me off.  I know, I'm hypocritical since I just said I understand and would likely do the same thing in that position...but it's still wrong.

Bottom line?  I should scrap the whole Star Alliance crap and just plan to fly WestJet more often.  They seem to have their priorities straight.

Thanks US Airways - now I don't get to see my wife and son until Sunday.  I hope you're happy with yourself.  I'm surely not.  Hey, at least I got screwed!


Monday, 1 October 2012

State of...Responsibility

Good Morning from thousands of feet in the air.  I'm on my way to LA and have some time to dedicate to a new post.  It's long overdue as this is something that has been eating at me for several months if not years.

I know that some of you may say "yeah, come talk to me in a few years when you've been a parent for longer than a cup of coffee"  but I'm going to say it anyways:  There are a lot of irresponsible parents out there.  Before I go on, my heart goes out to the parents who've had to watch as their kids get hurt (or worse) due to their stupidity - only to pass it off as someone else's "fault".

I don't want to use specifics as I don't want to rehash any bad memories for any parents out there...but here is an example of a situation that I heard about on TV over the past year.

Two kids (let's call them young adults) were in the process of taking their relationship to the next level and wanted to capture the moment for a lifetime.  These two young adults thought it would be neat to pose in an extremely dangerous (and stupid) manner.  Commonsense would dictate that one should NOT pose in such a manner, but they did.

I think you know where this is going.  Murphy's Law took over and one of the participating people got into some trouble and wound up dead.  It's horrible.  I feel terrible for the family who lost their sibling/daughter/parent/etc.

But here's the part that gets me.  The family is suing the city for not having a sign that specifically outlined that the dangerous activity was, in fact, dangerous.  Are you friggin' kidding me?  It is NOT the responsibility of McDonalds to let you know that the "hot coffee" is HOT. Just like it's not the city's responsibility to tell people that tightroping over a pool of alligators is dangerous (not what happened).

People - take responsibility for your own actions.  If you have children, teach them what is safe, what is dangerous, and what is common sense.  Don't rely on someone else to parent your kids - BE A PARENT!



Friday, 20 January 2012

State of...Heritage

So here's a topic that has been discussed at work (and at length) recently. To give you some background, I must digress briefly.

I am Canadian. I was born in Edmonton before moving to Toronto for the first 20 years of my life. During that time, I was able to secure a US passport because my father was born and raised in the United States. He is, or at least was, "American". So from the time I was 21 I've had two passports (and therefore Citizenships?). I've always considered myself a Canadian first however since I was born there.

So here's the discussion topic. Am I an "American Canadian" or a "Canadian American". Without question I consider myself one and not the other. People at work swear that I'm wrong and without question consider me the other. Who's right? So we went to Wikipedia. Wikipedia has this to say: A Canadian American is someone who was born or someone who grew up in Canada then moved to the United States.

So by Wikipedia's definition I am a "Canadian American". But is that correct? I'm pretty sure that it is, in fact, INcorrect. Hear me out...

If I was black and born in the US/Canada, I would be considered an "African American/Canadian". The nation I was born in would be second, and my background (or heritage) would be first. I don't think the term "American/Canadian African" would be accurate...just as I don't think the term "Canadian American" is accurate.

So I asked my brit friend, Bev. He was born in England but has lived in the United States for many years. Without giving away my feelings, he said he considered himself an American Brit rather than a British American. His exact words were "Definitely an American Brit".

I'm open to other ideas (even though you'd be wrong)...but once it's been determined that I'm right, the second question is...why do Americans think that it should be the other way around? Or is it in our very nature to automatically assume that our citizenship (in our heart) should be second (aka most important)?

It's this crap that keeps me up at night.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

State of...Christmas Memories

So I recently took a stab at some creative writing. It's always been something that I've wanted to try and it seemed like a good time to start. I submitted a piece that was well received, but it was too time sensitive and I was asked to try again.

Well, I just found out that my second article got picked up. Yay me! I've included a snippet below as a teaser and hope that you will follow the link to the whole article. I hope you enjoy!

Memories of a Childhood Christmas

How My Holiday Memories Will Shape My Child's Experiences

This is my favorite time of year: Thanksgiving is over and everyone has turned his or her focus to Christmas. People are busy decorating their homes with lights, snow globes, and reindeer. It is the time of year when entire cities decorate their downtown area with images of Santa and lampposts are ablaze with multicolored lights. The spirit is strong indeed, but not as strong as my memories of childhood Christmas.

I grew up in a large family in the northeast. We were eight strong on most nights and a full house was all but guaranteed around the Christmas season. We celebrated in the traditional manner: tree, tinsel, ornaments, stockings, lights, Nativity scene, ginger bread house and 24/7 Christmas carols. This, I like to think, is where our traditional experiences end.

Here is the link to the full article: http://bit.ly/uiS3hY

Thanks for checking it out! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!!


Thursday, 20 October 2011

State of...Qualifications

Just a quick random thought...

What qualifies as an "Egg Salad Sandwich"? I would normally think that diced egg, mayo, onions, lettuce, and maybe chives? But what if there was just diced egg and mayo? Is that technically egg SALAD even though there is no real "salad" component? Should that just be considered an Egg Sandwich?

Does it depend on how the egg is cooked? If it's a fried egg with the mayo on the bun, is that not the same? Or does it need to be hard boiled and diced to qualify as an Egg Salad sandwich? If so, why does a regular salad with diced hard boiled eggs not constitute an Egg Salad?

And really, who thinks up this crap? Oh yeah...me.


State of...Fatherhood

Lots going on at work, lots going on in life. Now that I have a few hours sitting on a train from Toronto to Windsor I thought that I should put down a few thoughts to blog.

In case I haven't told you, my wife and I are expecting our first child in late January (obviously not pictured above). Thank you! We pulled the goalie and my little swimmers did the rest. Swimming genes must run in the family. Below are the real pictures of our little Jedi (that bottom one with the hoodie on he/she DOES look like a Jedi).

So we are now just a few months away from our next Life Changing event. Friends with kids tell me to 'get my sleep now', 'get a routine', 'breast feed', 'don't breast feed'....it's all very informative to hear people's own experiences...am I'm sure I will be no different in several months time giving out free advice to others in my shoes.

I was talking to another friend who is expecting their first. They are about 6 weeks behind where we are but going through similar experiences. We talked about names; how that name will be with our child for the rest of their lives (unless they play NFL football and they can change it to a spanish number, or become a singer who wants to change a bad name for a symbol). FOR. THE. REST. OF. THEIR. LIVES. Think about that for a second. I've lived with a unique name, through good and bad (mostly good)...but now the pressure is squarely on us. We will determine if that child gets ridiculed for the rest of their life. What if choose poorly? Beth would be a nice name for a girl...but her name would sound like a hotel chain. What about something nice like Savannah? Do you think that she would be born wearing stripper clothes or wait until she was 15? And boys names are no easier. Don't want to be too 'normal' but at the same time, I don't want him getting beaten up. And more importantly, how does it sounds as a hockey name?

We are currently going through the 'babying' of our house. Not baby proofing yet...just babying. That means getting the nursery painted...which means getting the guest bedroom done (so we can move the den/nursery items into the guest room), and also getting the basement done (so we can move the den/nursery items into the basement- and start my/our ManCave). Only then can we begin to work on the nursery.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Not in the least. I enjoy fixing up the house. I enjoy planning for our baby to be brought home. I really enjoy planning for the ManCave. I'm just saying that it's a lot of work - and trust me, I know it's not about to get any easier when the little munchkin comes home. Maybe I SHOULD be getting my sleep now while I still can?!

I was told once that when a couple has their first child they lose contact with 80% of their friends. #IHaveNoStatsToBackThisUp (thanks John Stewart) but that sounds terrible. I look at my closest friends and know/hope that this doesn't happen to me. But I fear that the old 'that won't happen to me/us' phrase gets thrown around too much. So I urge my friends to stay in touch. I can only imagine that the 80% number is mostly due to the couple having the child. Unless our friends hate our baby, I can't see how that would be any different. It's up to us to try and maintain that friendship through the insanity of babyhood. But I want you all to know that I don't want to lose touch with you (except those who know who you are)...so let's not let it happen. Okay?

I'm sure that the next six months will have a LOT of family time. Lot's of mothers and fathers, mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law. I thank my lucky stars that I have good ones of each. I feel sorry for those people who have issues with the "monster-in-law". That must make things ten times worse on everyone. I need to remember to treat them all nicely - they are all potential babysitters!!!

Okay, that's about all I have. My station is coming up. Life is good. Wife is good. Work is good. I really have nothing to complain about right now. Disgusting isn't it?!


Sunday, 12 June 2011

State of...Guilty Pleasures

My old swim coach used to tell me that excuses are like buttholes....we all have 'em and they all stink. Well, guilty pleasures are very similar. We all have 'em...and likely probably stink. Here's my most recent one...


I'm not proud of it, but it is what it is. Yes, it's actually a two-fold guilty pleasure...not only is this song so damn catchy, but it's a clip from the new show "The Voice".

I'd actually not ever heard this song before the Xenia version. I didn't know it was originally a Jessie J song (featuring B.O.B.). So I sought out the first version (thanks Sirius) and was able to check it out. It's a little more polished and probably a bit more 'catchy' but the voice just isn't the same as the less heralded Xenia. She's got a very different kind of accent in her voice that forces me to listen to it.

I've got plenty more guilty pleasures, but I think I've done enough by sharing these two right now. Maybe this will become a multiple part series....maybe not.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

State of...Giddiness

Guess what came in the mail yesterday?!?! My JP Arencibia signed baseball bat!!!

I need to give a huge shout out to my friend CC for making this happen. Without her I'm highly doubtful that my request would ever have reached the proper people. Thanks Caron!

So a few hours after my State of...Disappointment post I got an email from CC asking if she could pass along the blog post to her friend at the Blue Jays organization. Well, sure enough...within 24 hours I had an email from the Jays saying that my request had not fallen on deaf ears and that JP had definitely not forgotten and would have the bat sent right away.

I don't really care how it happened or why...I'm just so excited that I finally received my JP Arencibia signed bat! How cool is that?! In fact, you should check it out here:

Pretty sweet right?

If you're on twitter and not following JP Arencibia you should definitely check him out. He can be followed at @jparencibia9. He is definitely one of those athletes who interacts really well (and regularly) with his fans. It's a nice refreshing change from the days when athletes would charge for their autograph. Again with my naivety but it seems that some athletes just 'get it'.

Keep up the great work JP and the entire Blue Jays organization. You guys are doing a great job and I will continue to support as best as I can. See you in Baltimore in a week!


Monday, 23 May 2011

State of...Fandemonium?

I need to give credit where credit is due....this is pretty cool (http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/27694626/29494935):

I didn't realize that the Tampa Bay Lightning had this many fans. At least, I didn't realize this until I took a look at the recent box score from the playoff game.

The game on Saturday drew a 107.4% capacity crowd - or 21,216. Damn! I can't stand to think of the Bolts winning a second Cup before I get to see my Buds hoist the mug...but this does make me feel a bit better about their recent success.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

State of...Disappointment!

Those of you who know me know my MLB loyalties lie with one team...the Toronto Blue Jays. Having grown up in Toronto I cheered on the team long before they had any success. It wasn't until the mid 80's that they really gave us something to cheer about - remember the 'Drive of '85??? Barfield, Moseby, and Bell made up one of the most feared outfields in all of baseball!

I've stayed true to my loyalties and have cheered on my Blue Jays ever since...and they've rewarded me with not one, but TWO World Championships! Not only that, but now that I live near Philadelphia they've given me a lifetime of bragging rights in the area - thank you Mitch Williams!!! I swear, he should have gotten the MVP that year! Who cares if I have to bask in the glow of the early 1990's?!

Last year I was watching feverishly when the Jays called up the much hyped catching prospect JP Arencibia. This was our future catcher with unlimited potential. In his first major league game he did not disappoint. He swatted a 2-run homer on the FIRST PITCH he faced at the major league level! He would finish the game going 4-5 with two homers and a triple shy of the cycle! What a debut!

So when JP made his twitter debut I was obviously a follower. And I wasn't the only one! He's now up to nearly 22,000 followers. Maybe low compared to other superstar celebrities, but well on his way! He tweets with the best of athletes! So when JP offered a signed bat for some fun trivia I knew I had my work cut out for me. I've included the interaction below - but suffice to say, I was able to answer his question correctly (see "Winner, winner, chicken dinner..."). I was getting an JP Arencibia signed bat! How COOL!!! Sure I'm a grown man (arguably), but I still get giddy when I win something that I'm really excited about.

Well, that was nearly 5 months ago and guess what....no autographed bat, yet. I did receive a direct message on 12/28 from JP that stated "
ill send it to u when i go home im currently on vacation....". I know he's a rich celebrity, but surely he's back from vacation now, right? Of course he is - he's the Jays nearly-everyday catcher! I saw him on TV just the other day.

I've tweeted him back a few times seeing if he's had a chance to look into this...but have yet to receive a response. I'm sure it's just an oversight as he is incredibly busy with the season. But you'd think he could take the time to fulfill on his own contest, right???

My plan is to put the bat up in my office at work - presenting it proudly as a symbol of my decades of loyalty to the Toronto Blue Jays. It has a place next to my Roy Halladay bobble-head and my Ernie Whitt signed baseball.

Below are the tweets from JP Arencibia leading up to my victory. If you scroll down to the bottom you can read them in chronological order as you scroll upwards. I remain firm in my belief that he will eventually hold true to his word. He seems to really love the interaction he's allowed with twitter and I do think that enjoyment is honest.

Look, is a signed bat the be-all, end-all? Of course not. It would be cool to have and would definitely be something that I would cherish forever. I'm sure I could find a similar item on ebay for a reasonable price...but that's not the point. I guess my point is...it's nice to see an athlete able to interact with the fans in a positive manner rather than the mindless trash we see with other celebrities. Maybe I'm naive but I do like to see the best in everyone. And sports is no different. Right now I'm that little kid standing outside the locker room waiting for the star player to come out and sign his baseball because he said he'd do it after the game. He said he'd be here...so here I stand.

I will post an update when I have one. Hopefully I'll have good news to report soon. I'll even post a picture of the winning item, if and when I receive it.


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