•January 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The WordPress.com Blog

If you feel like it’s a chore to keep up with all your favorite blogs, you can now read posts from all the blogs you follow (even the ones that aren’t on WordPress.com!) in one convenient place on the WordPress.com home page:

Your reader displays all the posts across all the blogs you follow in the order they were published, with the most recent content appearing at the top. You’ll see an excerpt of the introduction to each post, the first image in the post, and thumbnails of any other images that the post contains.

You can even like and reblog WordPress.com content directly from the reader (we’re working on bringing reblogs back to the toolbar!) using the icons in the top right corner of each post:

Whether you’re at the computer or using the WordPress app on an Android or iOS mobile device, having all the posts from the…

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Baseball’s “All-Star Game” becoming midsummer misnomer

•July 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

With the all-star break over as games get under way tonight, Major League Baseball has to ask itself: What is the point of the All-Star Game?

The midsummer classic has evolved into a midsummer misnomer. It certainly isn’t “all stars” – unless you consider Tyler Clippard, Gaby Sanchez and Matt Joyce household names. And it barely feels like a game at some points.

How did it become OK for the All-Star Game starter to throw ONE inning?

Plays such as Jose Bautista’s diving catch or Jordan Walden’s heads-up play fielding a bunt notwithstanding, it seems like there’s more of the Little League throwing that was on display in the ninth inning. Or Cliff Lee not covering first base. Or wondering who came in for Cliff Lee. Wait, it was Tyler Clippard? And it’s still the fourth inning? Who is Tyler Clippard? Oh, he’s a “set-up man.” It’s bad enough the rosters are already bloated with closers who have racked up cheap saves, now we’re seeing guys like Clippard and David Robertson making the team based on a nice-looking ERA over a small sample size. Then not even being used in their “role” while superior (and much more valuable) starters are still on the bench. And by the time the average fan has figured out who that guy is, the broadcasters might have finished announcing the other substitutes in what ESPN’s Buster Olney cleverly termed a “parade of cameos.”

So what is the point? Is it meant to attract non-baseball fans? The bloated rosters full of first-timers and marginal “stars” hardly do that. Is it a reward to hardcore fans? Hard to believe, since it’s about as far from a purist’s version of baseball as you can get. So is it just a nice way for the host team to cash in and the league to pull down some extra TV revenue? Or is it baseball’s version of Everyone Gets a Trophy Day, with 84 players (counting injury replacements) bestowed the title “all-star”.

The broadcast highlighted Stan Musial’s 12th-inning home run in 1955 as the best all-star moment of all time. A moment like that could never happen today. Musial had four at-bats in that game. Only one player even got three in 2011, while lesser names such as Matt Wieters, Michael Cuddyer, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence were involved in the late-game plays. Several players in the 1955 classic played the whole game, including Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Al Kaline. And six pitchers went at least three innings, with both teams combining to use just 10. In 2011, the 10th pitcher came in in the top of the sixth. Even in recent years we’ve seen magic moments like the Randy Johnson – John Kruk showdown or Moises Alou’s game-winner. It seems like the potential for magic has been replaced by scripted appearances.

Roy Halladay was throwing a perfect game and taken out after just two innings. It probably wouldn’t have happened, but baseball is built on the beautiful expectation you could see something unexpected in any given game. Being told before the inning is over that a pitcher will be removed no matter what takes away the possibilities that make a game with no clock so great. It ceases to be a game.

Maybe a better term is “showcase” or “extravaganza” or “Above Average Player Special Event Featuring Players Who Have Enjoyed Statistically Fortunate First Halves.” Something that allows baseball to have a spectacle without still terming it “all-star” or a “game.” Since the – shudder – tie of 2002, baseball’s solution has been to make it even more of a gong show with expanded rosters rather than the novel idea of actually playing it – at least a little bit – like a real game. Despite the “this time it counts” line, the game has come to mean less while MLB keeps trying to say it means more.

Procrasti-Nate-ing

•March 31, 2011 • 2 Comments

Wow, so I just kind of trailed off there.

Yeah…yeah, I did kind of trail off, there, didn’t I? Heh.

And now all I’ve got is dated Simpsons quotes. Geez I must really be losing it.

You stop blogging for a few months, you resort to plagiarizing Chief Wiggum. Let this be a lesson kids.

Anyway, I felt the need to write a post. Some post. Any post! (Oh man now I’m resorting to exclamation points.)

My lack of blogging is actually somewhat positive. I haven’t been consumed by 30-hour World of Warcraft marathons, become addicted to prescription painkillers, or walked into the Alaskan wilderness with a bag of rice and pair of rubber boots.

In fact, my fledgling online presence has actually led to some pretty big things for me. You know, the kind where they actually pay you to write stuff. Mostly about hockey games, which is an incredible blessing.

Using the skills to pay the bills has consumed most of my writing time, which is why I’ve been AWOL from my own blog. My boss at this blog is a cheapskate.

Here’s the Coles Notes on where else you can find my writing:

-I spent the first half of the hockey season blogging for the fine folks at Yahoo! Sports Canada, for the Buzzing the Net! Junior Hockey Blog. Under the leadership of editor Steve McAllister, I got to work with some great folks, including Sunaya Sapurji and Neate Sager, who I covered the World Junior Hockey Championship with in Buffalo.

-After World Juniors, I jumped on an opportunity to handle communications and marketing for the No. 1 major junior hockey team in Canada, the Saint John Sea Dogs. My predecessor took a job with the Detroit Red Wings, leaving an opening that needed to be jumped into right away. And if anyone likes jumping into things right away, it’s me. That means you can find most of what I’ve been writing lately here. Now my stuff appears on CBC.ca, Canadian Press and all sorts of other media outlets. The best part? Not only do I not get paid, I also don’t get a byline – yay propaganda! (There’s that exclamation point again)

-All kidding aside, the opportunity to work for the Sea Dogs has been awesome. I get to see how a hockey team really works, and it’s a first-class organization. I’ve also gotten to lend a hand to the bid to host the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup. We’re hoping to hear good news next week, when the host city is announced.

-Other than that, I’m continuing to freelance here and there. Lately I’ve been spinning a few yarns for the Saint John 225 City Stories project, check it out. Plus I’m still doing a Monday morning radio gig on CBC Radio. Since I’m limited in what I can say about junior hockey right now, I’m trying to branch out and diversify, so I have some other projects (baseball, golf, etc.) in the works, including a book idea I’m not ready to go public with yet. (I don’t want to be “that guy”)

The writing business is full of disappointment and hearing the word “no” from others and “why?” from your own internal dialogue. But enough about me.

2010 in review

•January 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 32 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 40 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was June 8th with 819 views. The most popular post that day was Another setback for Kabanov.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were hfboards.com, gdrinnan.blogspot.com, facebook.com, ow.ly, and qmjhleast.proboards.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for keep your stick on the ice, kirill kabanov, joannie rochette, hockey fans, and gerard gallant.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Another setback for Kabanov June 2010
7 comments

2

Kabanov sent home… again April 2010
4 comments

3

QMJHL Third-round Predictions April 2010
2 comments

4

Why I love U.S. college hockey March 2010
1 comment

5

Love the game, hate the shootout March 2010
3 comments

The latest on Kirill Kabanov

•October 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By Nathan White

I had a chance to sit down with New York Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov of the Moncton Wildcats the other day and talk about his outlook on the season. Last year’s roller-coaster ride featured more downs than ups, but he’s putting it behind him, kind of like an ex-girlfriend.

Check out my posts on Kabanov at Yahoo! Sports.

It’s official – I’m a Yahoo! (blogger)

•October 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

By Nathan White

This should come as no surprise to those who know me well, but my name has finally been – officially – associated with the word “Yahoo!”

I recently began my gig as a blogger/columnist for the growing site, as they increase their focus on Canadian junior hockey, a topic which takes up way more of my brain than is probably healthy for the average person.

Here’s my latest post rounding up the weekend’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League news, including an interview with Patrick Roy.

Another post I did last week on the Saint John Sea Dogs slick Slovakian Tomas Jurco went viral and helped get the 2011 NHL draft prospect featured on TSN, along with 100,000+ hits on YouTube.

This season I’ll also be a regular on CBC radio (91.3 FM in Saint John) on Monday mornings, and possibly more as the season goes on.

With these two regular gigs to go along with my other freelance work, and my communications work with local non-profits, I may not be posting here quite as often.

Thanks for all your support!

Another setback for Kabanov

•June 8, 2010 • 8 Comments

By Nathan White

Well, so much for Russian NHL draft prospect Kirill Kabanov cleaning up his act.

Top agent J.P. Barry of CAA, who had been helping Kabanov rehabilitate his image in recent weeks, told The Hockey News that he won’t be representing the player any longer.
After a tumultuous season that has seen the talented forward sent home from two teams while his draft stock plummeted, Kabanov is facing another high-profile parting. Hooking up with Barry had brought some stability to Kabanov’s situation, and he’d been admitting his mistakes in recent stories in the Globe and Mail and NHL.com

Barry is arguably the most respected agent in the hockey world, and Kabanov had done well in attaching his name to Barry’s. I believed it would be enough to get Kabanov back into the first round, as teams would be willing to forget all the rumors that have circulated about him being a strange character who doesn’t fit into the team concept.

This development totally changes things. If Kabanov can’t get along with a junior team, a national team, and a top agent, what NHL team is going to risk the valuable asset of a high draft pick to make him their problem?

 
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