SPORTS with Patrick Townes
A game is a game. Madison Bumgarner of the Arizona Diamondbacks threw a complete game shutout and allowed no hits. Does that not sound weird to you? To limit the workload on players, baseball recently adopted a 7-inning game for double headers. The Inter County League has implemented this rule for years and it is a way to keep fans at the park all day. Of course, Major League Baseball empties the stadium in-between games. With rule changes such as this, there are certain rules and records that need to be established in the books. In this case, Major League Baseball does not count what Bumgarner did as an official no-hitter. Should it be? Absolutely.
The performance stands for a complete game and a win for his team. The rules were changed to shorten the games in a professional league, so simply put, the records should be accounted for. The game has changed so much over the years and in any sport, it is ever so difficult to compare performances from different eras. We keep hearing how important a win is in baseball. If a 7-inning game counts as a win that has the potential for a team to make or miss the playoffs, all the other performances and statistics should count as well. At the very least, a new record should be established for a 7-inning no-hitter. That is a middle ground that all should agree with. Of note, the Diamondbacks only gave up one hit during the double header against the Braves.
The Blue Jays are staying afloat in the American League East. The bullpen has proven to be a strong weapon so far out of the gate and Guerrero is hitting to his potential. Unfortunately for the team, defence is a different story. The errors will come back to haunt this club over an entire year if the sloppy play continues. It is very interesting how infield baseball players use very small gloves. Everyone likes to show their hands and to show how quick they can transfer from glove to hand. Unfortunately this means very little when you cannot catch the ball. If I was ever really struggling playing shortstop for example, I would switch to a larger glove until my confidence returned. The shift is a perfect example however that shows how stubborn major league players are and their unwillingness to change and adjust.
The Barrie Baycats and the InterCounty Baseball League are planning to play this season but it will depend on how many people have been vaccinated and the numbers of positive tests in the coming month or two.
On March 16th the Baycats announced that the season would start at the beginning of June and the capacity for home games would be 250 with season ticket holders having first chance to enter the stadium 15 minutes before game time. If the 250 limit was not met with season ticket holders at that time, single game tickets would be sold. The season with playoffs would run into late September. If the season was to be cancelled, season ticket holders would get a complete refund.
But on April 26, the league announced that they will not likely start in early June. They are committed to some kind of schedule in 2021 especially after losing the whole 2020 season. Again, this will depend on the vaccinated numbers, the government restrictions and the number of cases in the province. The teams are gate-driven to pay expenses so if there are no fans in the stands, the 2021 season will not happen.
We can only hope that we beat this terrible virus so we can get back to a “normal” life before we all go crazy!
Aboriginal Influence on Modern Sports
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a number of modern sports originated within the Aboriginal communities. Canadians call the sports their own, but should remember where they first saw them.
The snowshoe, toboggan, lacrosse stick and canoe were all adopted by early European settlers as the Coureurs Des Bois and Voyageurs brought them back from trading encounters.
The Aboriginal communities used the games as training for their youth. The skills learned translated into real life and survival. It also developed an understanding of their limitations of their skills, like how far they could throw or run.
Archery, spear throwing, racing on foot or canoe and wrestling were all activities that developed ability. Some playing fields were over a kilometer long and warriors played the games building their hunting and war stamina.
Aboriginals were playing many different ball games for centuries before the first non- aboriginal involvement. The National Lacrosse Association of Canada was formed in 1867, it was the Dominion of Canada’s first governing body of sport.
When the game made its first appearance in England in 1867, the sixteen-player team from Canada that played an exhibition game was made up mostly of Iroquois players and a few other natives.
Canada would go on to promote lacrosse as it’s official summer sport in 1994. Debate exists as to when we learned the game. In 1637 a Jesuit priest reported that he watched whole villages playing a game against each other called “crosse.”
Another theory was at the Jesuit mission close to Montreal the Mohawk played so much ball, it interfered with church attendance. When William George Beers wrote up the first rules in 1860 and changed the deerskin ball to one made of rubber, he became the father of modern-day lacrosse.
Forgetting about the elite level sports, how many Canadians use snowshoes, toboggans, canoes and kayaks as part of their daily lives? How many times have we seen stumbling snowshoes, flying toboggans, or flipped over canoes at local events.
I find it hard to imagine the Canadian landscape without these items, or these sports. Over time we would have probably developed them through need, at least snowshoes and canoes. Still we can be thankful the First Nations had already been there, learned that, and showed us the way. Thank you.
Rejean Giguere is a Northern Ontario author of six novels whose passion spills over into the sports world. Check out his website at www.rejeangiguere.com.
IBL continues to plan for 2021 Season
CAMBRIDGE – Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) Commissioner John Kastner issued the following statement on Thursday updating stakeholders and fans with the league’s Return-to-Play plans for the 2021 season:
“As more and more vaccines are being administered, hope springs eternal that the IBL will be back in some form this summer.”
The league hoped to start in June but that does not seem likely. But, with over 100,000 vaccines going into arms every day in Ontario we are confident that Intercounty baseball will be played this summer and we will be able to help communities rebound from over a year of restrictions.
The league has appointed Dr. Tim Rindlisbacher as the league’s Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Rindlisbacher is a Sports Medicine Physician who is currently the Chief Medical Officer of the Ontario Hockey Federation and Consultant to the NHLPA. His new position within the IBL will be to coordinate with the provincial government and member clubs to develop a return-to-play plan for the 2021 season.
As the IBL is a gate driven league, some member clubs require a modest percentage of capacity before they can start the regular season and it is our hope that with vaccinations and the following of health measures, that some clubs will be able to see at least a small percentage of fans at home games.
“Our league has crafted a number of contingencies and scenarios for the 2021 season,” said Kastner. “We currently have plans in place for July 1 and July 15 start dates and in each of those cases, we have modified season lengths and playoff scenarios.”
Everyone who is involved with and enjoys the IBL can help us and their communities. Please, when it is your turn, get vaccinated. And please follow your local public health guidelines on measures including wearing a mask and social distancing.
“To our stakeholders and fans, thank you for sticking with us through these tough times. Thank you to all the health care and frontline workers for all they are doing for us,” added Kastner. “Like everything right now there is a lot that is still up in the air but we have a plan, in fact, several plans, and all of those plans culminate with IBL baseball in 2021!”
The Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) is the top-level baseball league in Ontario, boasting ex-major league professional and elite NCAA college baseball players. The 2021 season will mark the IBL’s 102nd in operation. The IBL is one of the longest continually operated baseball leagues in the world and serves as a valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff. More than 40 IBL players have advanced to Major League Baseball or returned to the IBL following their MLB careers. The league is comprised of teams from Barrie, Brantford, Kitchener, London, Toronto, Guelph, Welland and Hamilton. For more information, visit www.theibl.ca.