So many people congratulated the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets for clinching “playoff births” on Thursday night that I checked the baby notices in Friday’s papers. . . . When the Jets put playoff tickets on sale, they were priced from $107.75 to $340 per game. Fans were lined up at various bank branches to apply for loans and lines of credit.
. . . You are free to wonder (a) if there are any hockey fans left in Atlanta, and (b) if there are, did they shed tears when both of their former teams clinched NHL playoff spots? . . .
“Rolls Royce is coming out with an SUV,” notes Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald. “Now the Porsche Cayenne will have some company in the Consumer Reports Blasphemy section.” . . . Dickson, again: “Taco Bell has made a menu change — the biscuit taco replaced the waffle taco. To Americans, this has more significance than a change on the U.S. Supreme Court.” . . .“There may be up to four new college bowl games next season,” Dickson reports, “meaning that two-thirds of FBS schools would make the postseason. ‘Bowl game participant’ now is only slightly more prestigious than ‘Kmart shopper’.” . . .
After the Chicago Cubs were beaten by the visiting St. Louis Cardinals in MLB’s season-opener last Sunday night, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen tweeted: “Sabermetrics: Cubs eliminated from playoffs.” . . . “Fans of the Chicago Cubs had to pee into cups as some restrooms at Wrigley Field weren’t available due to construction issues,” reports Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong. “Those who drank more than a couple of beer needed to use a relief pitcher.” . . . As Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post noted: “That’s a departure for Chicago Cubs fans; usually they just cry in their beer.” . . . “You have to forgive the Cubs’ bathroom problems,” claims Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent. “When Wrigley was built, humans had yet to develop bladders.” . . . Here’s RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com with his take on the situation: “Fans at Wrigley Field were peeing in cups because restrooms weren’t ready for Opening Day. Oh well, in the pantheon of Cubs failures, that’s just a drop in the bucket.” . . .
“In a recent ESPN.com survey of 103 PGA Tour regulars,” writes Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, “defending Masters champion Bubba Watson got 23 votes to top the list of golfers whom other players wouldn’t help in a fistfight. Watson obviously has done something to drive a wedge between himself and his peers. . . . That’s an interesting result. If a fight breaks out in a bar, don’t you want to be on the same side as the guy named Bubba?” . . . Brett Lawrie, the ex-Toronto Blue Jays third baseman who now is with the Oakland A’s, saw 12 pitches the other night and struck out four times. How much sleep do you think he got that night? . . . One night later, he had three hits and slept a whole lot better. . . .
“Charlie Sumner, the former Oakland Raiders defensive coach, passed Monday at age 84,” writes Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com, “reminding us of the best Sumner story ever – when he walked up the tunnel at the Coliseum after an exhibition game and unapologetically clocked then-49ers assistant Sam Wyche. Sometimes when you need to spark a rivalry, you need to say it with fists.” . . . Ratto, again: “Troy Polamalu is retiring after 12 years of playing lead battering ram for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here’s hoping his post-football career is as happy for him mentally as his time playing the game. That’s not necessarily the way to bet, but it’s a worthy aspiration.” . . .
MLB is working to speed up games and there have been suggestions that teams go back to using carts to ferry in pitchers from the bullpen. Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer doesn’t know if that is such a good idea, adding: “I’m willing to compromise and settle for a zip line, though.” . . . “The Yankees and Red Sox engaged in a 19-inning game that lasted over seven hours,” writes Littlejohn, “and this was with one foot in the batter’s box at all times.” . . . Former MLB pitcher John Smoltz remembers pitching in the wind at Wrigley Field. As he told the Detroit Free Press: “You know, when you walked outside and you saw the flag, you either had a sore arm or it was fun.” . . .
“Norwegian Cruise Lines has an ‘enhanced’ room service menu on some of their ships,” reports Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe. “And those menus will include a ‘convenience charge’ of up to $7.95 per order. ‘Convenience charge?!’ And many airlines are thinking, why didn’t we think of that?” . . . Here’s Hough, again: “Mercedes Benz is coming out with a pickup truck. The perfect vehicle for all those cowboy politicians who still want to pretend they can relate to the ‘common man’.” . . . Hough, one more time: “LeGarrette Blount, suspended three times at Oregon and arrested last year for marijuana possession, has now been suspended without pay for the first game of the 2015 NFL season for a ‘violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.’ This is clearly part of football’s strict ‘10 strikes and you’re out’ policy.” . . .
Kid Rock spoke with Rolling Stone and the subject was Tiger Woods, with whom he recently had hit a few balls: “Nice kid. A little bit of an Eminem and Axl Rose syndrome. Very reclusive, literal, and sometimes you feel a little bad for them. Sometimes they think the world’s against them. You gotta loosen up, man! People are gonna talk (smack). You just gotta enjoy it!” . . . If Tiger’s first three rounds at Augusta are any indication, it would seem that he was paying attention to Mr. Rock. . . .
“The Philadelphia Phillies are trotting out some gut-busting ballpark food of their own,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The Wayback Burgers Triple Triple features nine patties, nine slices of cheese and 2,200 calories — all within one bun. The Milwaukee Brewers, not to be outdone, are reportedly concocting the Kaminsky Dog. It’s a 7-foot frank.” . . . After it was revealed that Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana had drawn an 80-game suspension for PED use, Perry noted: “A cynic might say he’s got to change his evil ways.”
(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at gdrinnan.blogspot.ca and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)