It is an excerpt from The buzzer, CBC Sports daily newspaper. Stay up to date on what’s happening in the game by signing up here.
Baseball Hall of Fame voters have initiated a shutdown, but wait until next year
For the first time since 2013, no one waived the 75% bar required for elections. This was not unexpected. Only three people – Kurt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens – were close enough to the threshold for a realistic shot, and the election tends to outstrip a candidate’s chances. In fact, their support has dropped in real results by several points. Schilling was nominated in 71% of the vote, and Bond and Clemens nearly 62%.
As we said in the newspaper yesterday, Bonds and Clemens are undeniably the Hall of Fame if you just look at their figures. They are two of the greatest players ever. But both have been linked to the use of steroids, disqualifying some voters under Hall’s so-called “section”.
Schilling’s resume, while not as solid as Bonds and Clemens, probably also deserves the Hall of Fame. But he has rejected many voters with his Trumpian social media platform. After yesterday’s results came out, Schilling shared a letter he sent to the court asking for the ballot to be removed. He said he waits until he joins the Giants committee, which consists of former players, instead deciding their fate by baseball writers who run the main vote. “I will not allow a group of scammers lying about my life to lie for another year,” he said via Twitter.
Schilling has a tenth and final year eligibility for the 2022 writers vote. Even if he gets his wish and is fired, be prepared for a hot tsunami around this time of next year. Bond and Clemens will also face their final chance in the election, and two other superstars with paid connections will be eligible for the first time: Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.
Maybe it would be really good for baseball. The game can use any type of advertisement at this point. But in January next year, many people will be angry on both sides.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers are issuing a manual detailing how the Olympic Games will take place this summer. They are releasing plans after last week’s report from a British tabloid that Japanese officials quietly admitted that the Games would not be held. Apparently, all Olympic-affiliated organizations have denied the report, but doubts remain as to how 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and more than tens of thousands could be brought during a global epidemic without medical and moral devastation. The launch of the IOC Living Document, which will be updated as conditions unfold in Japan and worldwide, will take place next Thursday, exactly one year after the start of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Read more here Morgan Campbell’s opinion on why you can trust the Tokyo Games (hint: $).
Israel already vaccinates its Olympic athletes, followed by Denmark. The country is depicted as a vaccine success story, and today its National Olympic Committee said that half of Israeli athletes have already received the vaccine in the summer to compete in the Tokyo Games. We’re not talking much about success here – Israel sent 47 athletes to the last Summer Olympics in 2016 – but it’s an aggressive approach compared to other countries. For example, Canada and Britain argued that athletes should leave behind the most vulnerable citizens. Soren Simonsen, head of the Danish National Mission, said that “about 150 athletes and 200 officials” will receive the vaccine. Meanwhile, the Olympic Committees of Hungary and Belgium have called for their athletes to be vaccinated as soon as possible. The IOC has struck a balance, saying it encourages athletes to vaccinate, but will not mandate participation in Tokyo. IOC President Thomas Bach said today that his organization is “not in favor of athletes who leave the line”. Learn more about different countries’ approaches to athlete vaccination.
Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has resigned. The team said it was for “personal reasons” and that “the search for a new CEO would begin immediately”. So it seems that this came as a surprise to him. Rutherford, 71, said in a statement that it “seemed like the right time to go”. We are two weeks into the NHL season. Learn more about Rutherford’s surprise move here.
Canada’s only professional women’s hockey team recorded its first win. The expanding Toronto Six defeated the Boston Pride 2–1 yesterday in the National Women’s Hockey League bubble in Boston Placid, NY. The NWHL is playing a short season and the playoffs take place in the two weeks that begin on Saturday. Each of the six teams plays seven regular season games, with the top four entering the semi-finals of the Isobel Cup. Toronto (1-1-1) ranks third. Learn more about Six’s first win here.
And remember when…
Mario Lemieux was sidelined for cancer and still won the scoring title?
In 1992–93, the Penguins superstars scored a serious run to record Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points in a single season. Lemieux scored a stunning 104 in his first 40 matches. But then came the sad and surprising news that the most unstoppable physical strength in hockey history was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
Some feared the worst, but Lemieux attacked the cancer as if he were a head-to-head advocate. After missing on March 23 and undergoing his final radiation therapy on March 2, Lemieux was so eager to return to the Penguins roster that he rented a plane for that night’s game in Philadelphia. The comeback was so remarkable that it also warmed the withering hearts of sports lovers in Philadelphia, who gave Lemieux a standing ovation before the national anthem.
Pittsburgh lost 5-4, but Lemieux scored a goal and added an assist to kick off one of the prettiest runs in history. In his last 20 matches (again, after battling cancer!), Lemieux racked up 56 points (2.8 per game) against Pat LaFontaine to erase a 12-point deficit and beat him by 12 points for the title.
For a different perspective on this legend, see Rob Pizzo’s latest episode. I was on the net ever since… Video series. This represents Dominic Roussel, the Flyers’ goalkeeper who allowed Lemieux to score his 40th goal of the season on that magical night in Philadelphia. He shares his memories of the return leg and explains what it was like to try to stop perhaps the most talented player in hockey history. Watch the video here:
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