Nobody asked me, but ...

Robin
Robin Short
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They’re beating each other up at the World Cup of Rugby in New Zealand, where the Canadian roster features a pair of Newfoundlanders — Ciaran Hearn of C.B.S. and Frank Walsh of St. John’s. Hearn’s a starter, while Walsh was listed as a reserve in the opening game against Tonga. At the FIBA Americas Championship basketball tournament earlier this month in Argentina, where Canada tried — with little success — to qualify for the London Olympics, Carl English of the Cape Shore suited up for the overwhelmed Canadians. There are no Newfoundlanders on the national baseball team, a scattered one every now and again on the national junior hockey team, zilch on Canada’s soccer or volleyball teams, and certainly not a Newf to be seen on the national ski (downhill and cross-country), speed skating or sledding (bob, luge or skeleton) teams. Yet there are eight — eight! — Newfoundlanders either on or part of the national senior men’s softball team program. So, have we gotten that good at fastpitch, or is the game on the mainland regressed a tad? Just wondering ...

Keeping with fastpitch, there’s a chance St. John’s might go after the 2013 national senior men’s tournament, but given the current format of the Canadian championship, softball might want to think twice. The recent nationals in Owen Sound, Ont., like some sort of peewee house league tourney, had every team making the playoffs, essentially making the round-robin a series of exhibition games. Newfoundland sports fans aren’t stupid, and the casual fans — the diehards will be there game in, game out — won’t be duped into laying down a 20-spot for a game that doesn’t really mean a whole lot. So if, for example, Ontario elects to rest their top pitchers for the playoffs, and Newfoundland goes down in flames Friday night, what does that do to the gate over the weekend? And one more thing. How can ball players from B.C. play with New Brunswick, and Albertans with Ontario, and Ontario guys with Newfoundland, and Newfoundlanders with Ontario, and everyone else with P.E.I., and Softball Canada whistles dixie, dubbing the tournament the ‘nationals’? From this corner, the whole thing makes little sense ...

Heard Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, a dominant pitcher until injuries took over, on satellite radio the other day. Said his father wouldn’t let him throw a curveball until he was 14- or 15-years-old. Hope youngsters were listening ... Don’t think there’s not a fine buck to be made in the private hockey racket. I’m in the wrong business ... The Milwaukee Brewers are close to their first pennant since I-don’t-know-when, and Prince Fielder blabs for the first time about this being his last year in Milwaukee (he’s a free agent) and Francisco Rodriguez whines about not getting enough save opportunities. And you wonder why people are growing cynical of pro sports. Is it because a lot of the pros only care about the dough? ...

You’re Gary Bettman and you turn on the tube, only to see footage of Marc Savard with the Stanley Cup. And while you’re no doctor, you notice there’s something really wrong with the Bruin. And you know he will never play hockey again. And then you see Sidney Crosby, your league’s meal ticket, telling people he has no idea when he’ll resume playing. Oh sure, Sid reaffirms, I’ll be back. Sometime soon, hopefully. I’ll play again. I think. And if you’re Bettman, aren’t you wondering, ‘Whoa, something’s got to be done here.’ Aren’t you? Then why isn’t the NHL banning head shots? A hit to the head, 10 games. Second time occurrence? Twenty-five. Third time? Fifty-plus. Why isn’t the NHL protecting its own players? ...

 

Robin Short is The Telegram’s Sports Editor. He can be reached by email rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NHL, Milwaukee Brewers

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario, Newfoundland New Zealand Tonga Argentina Owen Sound New Brunswick Milwaukee

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