Ontario Sports News

Gordon’s 24 helps Rockets push Warriors to the brink

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 22:33

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15 people injured in Mississauga restaurant explosion

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 22:18

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Paramedics in Peel Region west of Toronto say 15 people have been injured in an explosion at a restaurant in Mississauga, Ont.

A spokesman for the paramedic service says three people were rushed to a trauma centre with critical injuries due to the blast.

The other 12 people suffered what he described as minor or superficial wounds.

There was also no word on what may have caused the explosion in the Bombay Bhel restaurant in a shopping plaza.

Police say they received a call about the explosion near Hurontario St. and Eglinton Ave. just after 10:30 p.m.

Letters to the Editor, May 25

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 22:01

HIGHLANDERS

Re “Officials cut case over Montreal bagpiper’s knife” (Postmedia Network, May 20): How ridiculous to read that a Montreal bagpiper was given a ticket for wearing a sgian-dubh at a McGill University convocation. The sgian-dubh (Scottish Gaelic for black knife and pronounced skee-an-doo) is the small knife worn in the sock when wearing the kilt. It was used by Highlanders for cutting food and for self-defence and is now mostly ceremonial except for the military. Whoever called the police should remember that McGill is named after a Scot. In addition, it was the Glengarry Highlanders based in Cornwall, Ont. that helped prevent an American invasion of Quebec during the War of 1812. I am sure many of those brave lads were wearing the sgian-dubh. Vive L’Ecosse indeed.

Ian MacKenzie

Toronto

(All law-enforcement agencies are overly sensitive these days)

JOKE IS ON US

Re “Sanctuary comes with a price” (Editorial, May 20): When is even one of our posturing politicians going to stop genuflecting to the Trudeau insanity and call this influx exactly what it is? These people are not “refugees” or “irregular immigrants” or any of the other leftie feel-good titles in current use. They are illegal aliens intent on taking advantage of Canada’s lax immigration and welfare systems. Many have lived in the U.S.A. for years or have used a visitor visa to pass through the U.S. and are under no danger or fear for their lives while in the U.S. They are neither destitute nor impoverished, but have the funds to arrive by bus or taxi at the border crossing points, replete with cellphones and mountains of luggage. When will we have a government which respects tax-paying Canadian citizens?

J. Hoke

Caledon East

(When we vote the Liberals out of office)

WILL IT END?

I am a so-called entitled white male retiree from a major auto maker. I’ve been in the workforce since I was 18 and have paid taxes for almost 50 years, so I think I’ve earned a say. Why should my taxes go to provide all the freebies everyone expects from the government today? If you want kids, have them, but don’t expect my taxes to pay their education, daycare, special programs, dental and drug coverage, etc., etc. Pay your own freight for a change! I and a lot like me have paid for years and get sweet nothing but we’re still paying for other people’s handouts. We worked and saved for what we wanted! I just wish governments would keep their slimy paws out of my pocket, I’ve paid enough!

Neil Anthony

Oshawa

(Sadly, you’re going to have to keep paying more until we have someone in office that finally says enough is enough)

GO, TRUMP!

Re “Trump’s ‘lies’ pale in comparison to nose-stretchers from the left” (Larry Elder, May 22): He is dead-on. The liberals will stop at nothing to paint the Conservatives as anything but a caring human being. President Donald J. Trump is a lot of things but he absolutely is not a racist. As a long-time proud Conservative, I say “right on!” (No pun intended!)

Tracy B. Gerhart

(Conservatives need to fight back against those stereotypes)

May 25, 2018

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 22:01

Andy Donato

TFC needs result vs. visiting Dallas ahead of road-heavy schedule

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 21:49

In a league where playoff seeds are often separated by as few as two or three games, early season points are just as crucial as points obtained later in the season.

Just eight points separated Western Conference winners Portland (53) and eighth-place Real Salt Lake (45) last October. In other words, a single win over the course of a 34-game season might have altered the entire complexion of last year’s Western Conference playoffs.

The Reds find themselves in a similar predicament ahead of Friday night’s crucial meeting with FC Dallas. The math tells us TFC will be in tough for a playoff spot after this summer’s World Cup — the consequence of an early-season Champions League run.

It’s going to be extremely difficult for TFC (10) to catch any of the East’s top four: New York (21), Columbus (24), New York City (24) an Atlanta United (25). It’s what made last week’s last-gasp win over visiting Orlando City so critical.

Without Ryan Telfer’s late heroics, the fifth-place Floridians would have departed BMO Field on 20 points, four wins ahead of Toronto FC as it prepares to play seven of nine away after Friday night’s game.

The Reds are in better shape than they were this time last week, but still might need to average 1.7 points per game if they’re to make a run at another MLS Cup. Keep in mind one club — Toronto FC — averaged more than 1.7 points per game last season.

Win Friday night and the gap between Toronto FC and the league’s playoff line will appear far more manageable ahead of trips to New York City, Sporting KC and Orlando, where the aforementioned East foes have lost just three times in 18 tries in 2018.

“We need to build on it,” coach Greg Vanney told reporters following last week’s win over Orlando. “We’re still sort of in the grind of it. We don’t have everybody out in training and doing their natural thing yet. We’re still fighting.
“The goal here is to do whatever we have to do (Friday) to work to get a result. That means working together as a group and covering each other and doing all of our jobs individually and being ready for anything we need.”

The Reds are still without Jozy Altidore (foot) and Drew Moor (quadriceps) and Justin Morrow (calf). They’re also preparing for life without goalkeeper Alex Bono, who’s expected to earn his first cap during the United States’ Monday friendly against Bolivia.

 

With experienced No. 2 Clint Irwin ready to assume duties against Dallas, a return to normalcy — something we saw during TFC’s Champions League run — seems far off.

“Every time he gets an opportunity he makes good with his opportunity,” Vanney said of Irwin ahead of his fourth start. “Clint was excellent (in his appearances this season).

“I’m glad he’s getting a game. He has earned it. I hope he does well. I suspect he will. He has always been very professional and shown his quality every time he gets his chance.”

Dallas will present a few more problems than Dom Dwyer-less Orlando City did seven days ago. Winger Roland Lamah has punished TFC in the past. Both he and ex-TFC striker Max Urruti have combined for 10 goals this season in front of playmaker Mauro Diaz, one of the league’s assist-leaders.

They’ve been stingy, too, conceding the second-fewest goals (11) in MLS.
Meanwhile, the Reds will lean on well-rested Sebastian Giovinco to produce in his return from a red card suspension.

“He’s had a great week,” Vanney said of the Atomic Ant. “He’s looking forward to getting back on the field and getting back out in front of our fans and getting himself some opportunities … He’s never one to shy away from wanting to score a goal.”

With Altidore out long-term, Giovinco — perhaps in search of a new contract he’s been after for months — will carry the heaviest burden as the Reds look to get within striking distance of the playoff line.

In a league where a handful of points separate sixth from seventh, games like Friday night’s are essential given TFC’s current place in the table.

CPL set to award Halifax a team

The Canadian Premier League is set to expand to The Maritimes.

League officials are in Halifax, N.S., to reveal the CPL’s newest club following team reveals in York Region, north of Toronto, and Calgary.

League commissioner David Clanachan and Halifax mayor Mike Savage will be on hand alongside hundreds of supporters.

If Friday’s event is similar to previous stops in Vaughan, Ont., and Calgary, the Halifax club’s officials team name and logo will be revealed.
Operated by Sports & Entertainment Atlantic, the team will play out of a new, 7,000-seat soccer stadium at Wanderers Ground.

The 8- to 10-team CPL kicks off next spring.

So far, York 9 and Calgary Cavalry FC are the only confirmed teams.

However, clubs in Winnipeg and Hamilton are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

Teams in B.C., Edmonton and Ottawa also have been rumoured.

Baseball Leafs’ late rally falls short in Kitchener

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 21:36

BY GENE PEREIRA
Special to Postmedia

The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered their first loss of the season after a late rally fell short in a 9-7 defeat to the host Kitchener Panthers in Intercounty Baseball League action on Thursday night at Jack Couch Park.

Trailing 8-0, Toronto (4-1) scored twice in the top of the seventh inning and then five more times in the eighth on the strength of a Justin Marra grand slam to cut the lead to 9-7, but Miguel Lahera retired the side in the ninth to record the save and help the Panthers (4-2) hang on.

Christian Hauck (2-0) went six shutout innings to pick up the win on the mound for Kitchener, giving up just four hits and four walks and striking out seven.

RJ Page (1-1) took the loss for Toronto in his first IBL start, giving up eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits and six walks, while striking out three in 5.1 innings.

The homer was Marra’s league-leading fourth of the season and his four RBI also puts him atop the league with 10 runs driven in. Mike Reeves also had a solid night at the plate for the Leafs, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Mike Gordner, Colin Gordner and Mike Andrulis each hit their first home runs of the season in the win for the Panthers.

The Leafs are back on the road Saturday afternoon when they take on the Burlington Herd, before closing out a busy week with a Sunday afternoon 2 p.m.contest against the Hamilton Cardinals at Christie Pits.

 

Nimmo reaches 5 times, Matz sharp as Mets beat Brewers

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 21:33

MILWAUKEE — Brandon Nimmo is making a strong case to remain in the New York Mets‘ everyday lineup.

Nimmo reached base five times, Steven Matz pitched six solid innings and the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 on Thursday night.

Nimmo raised his on-base percentage to .450, best in the majors among players with at least 100 plate appearances, with a career-high four hits and a walk. The 25-year-old outfielder had a triple and two doubles, and he has reached base eight consecutive times.

"I’m in a good place right now," Nimmo said. "I’m really glad I’ve been able to create some traffic for (Asdrubal Cabrera) behind me. He’s really been carrying this offence for a while now."

Nimmo has gotten consistent playing time as the leadoff hitter for the past two weeks, which he said has bolstered his performance.

"I’ve been getting into a really good rhythm," he said.

Nimmo’s performance earned praise from manager Mickey Callaway, who will have some tough decisions to make with the Mets outfield when Yoenis Cespedes returns from the disabled list.

"If you have a guy who can be as patient as he can be and walk and hit extra-base hits, that turns into a really valuable player," Callaway said.

Cabrera and Wilmer Flores each had two RBIs.

Matz (2-3) matched his longest outing of the season. Both of his victories this season have come against the NL Central-leading Brewers.

"I’m feeling more comfortable out there and am able to attack the zone a little bit more," Matz said.

Being injury free has been important, said Matz, who had surgery last August to reposition and decompress the ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow.

"I’m just very thankful that I’m healthy and get to work on stuff," Matz said.

The Mets got on the board first in the third when Nimmo tripled off starter Zach Davies (2-4) and scored on Flores’ sacrifice fly.

New York extended the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on Cabrera’s two-run double, which chased Davies, who was returning from a nearly month-long stint on the disabled list due to right rotator cuff inflammation. The Mets added another run in the inning on Flores’ run-scoring single off reliever Dan Jennings.

Davies gave up four runs and six hits in four innings. He struck out two and walked two in the shortest outing of his seven starts this season.

"The command wasn’t there pretty much all night," Davies said.

Devin Mesoraco drove in a run with a double in the seventh off Jorge Lopez to extend the margin to 5-0.

Matz gave up four hits while striking out two batters and walking two. He threw 94 pitches, one off his season high.

Relievers Paul Sewald and Jacob Rhame combined for three innings to complete the shutout.

The Brewers were held without a hit from the fifth inning until Hernan Perez’s lead-off single in the ninth.

FAMILIA SUPPORT

Callaway offered support for closer Jeurys Familia, who blew his fourth save of the season Wednesday in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins. "If you look at the numbers, he’s been our best reliever," Callaway said. "The year he had 51 saves, his numbers (this year) are way better than that. He’s having a career-year numbers-wise."

CLOSE CALL

With the bases loaded in the first inning, Mets’ catcher Mesoraco smacked a liner up the middle that nearly struck Davies in the head. He fell to the ground after deflecting the ball with his glove, then scrambled to his feet in time to throw Mesoraco out at first.

"He had the wherewithal to stay calm and make the play," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "It looked like a line drive right at his head."

GREEK FREAK

Milwaukee Bucks’ All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo attended the game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: OF Juan Lagares had surgery Wednesday in Manhattan to repair a complete tear of the left big toe plantar plate.

Brewers: Ryan Braun was re-instated from the disabled list and started in left field. He had a single in four at-bats. … 3B Travis Shaw got the night off to rest.

UP NEXT

Mets: Noah Syndergaard (4-1, 2.91 ERA) is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA in three career starts versus the Brewers. He struck out eight consecutive Milwaukee batters in an April 15 start.

Brewers: Junior Guerra (3-3, 2.98) is 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

Rockets hold on to beat Warriors, take 3-2 series lead

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 21:30

HOUSTON — Chris Paul’s grit and veteran leadership have pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink of elimination.

Now the Houston Rockets must wait to see if his injured leg is strong enough to help them take one last step to the NBA Finals.

Eric Gordon came off the bench to score 24 points and his steal on Golden State’s last possession secured a 98-94 victory Thursday night that gave the Rockets a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals. But the victory came with a cost, as Paul had to leave the game in the final minute with a right hamstring injury that could keep him out of Game 6.

"His spirits aren’t great," coach Mike D’Antoni said. "He wanted to be out there, and for sure he’s worried … we’ll see tomorrow how it goes."

Paul was receiving treatment after the game and did not speak to reporters.

The Rockets head to Oakland for Game 6 on Saturday night a win away from knocking off the defending champions and advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since winning back-to-back titles in 1994-95.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points for the Warriors, who lost in Game 5 of a playoff series for just the second time since 2015. Just like Cleveland in the East, a run of three straight trips to the championship round is on the verge of ending.

"We haven’t been in this position before … so it’s a chapter we need to figure out and finish the story," Stephen Curry said.

The Rockets won a second straight defensive struggle between the two potent offences, leaving the Warriors a loss from missing the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

Draymond Green made a 3-pointer with just over minute left to get Golden State within one. Harden, who was 0 for 11 on 3s, missed his last one with less than 30 seconds left, giving the Warriors the ball back.

Curry missed a floater and Trevor Ariza grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 10 seconds left. But he made just one of two free throws to give the Warriors another chance.

But Gordon came up with his steal when Green lost control in the lane and added two free throws with 2.4 seconds left to put it away.

Green was asked what was supposed to happen on the play.

"We was supposed to score," he said. "I lost the ball … not much more to it than that."

Harden scoffed at a reporter who questioned him about his struggles from long range in the last two games, where he’s gone a combined 3 for 22.

"Who cares," he said. "I’m just missing shots, but we’re winning."

Klay Thompson shook off a knee injury that had his status for this game in question to score 23 points and Curry added 22. A bruised left knee kept Andre Iguodala out for the second straight game, and Kevon Looney started in his place.

After losing Game 1 of the series, the Rockets made the best of home-court advantage this time, thrilling a sellout crowd that included Justin Timberlake, Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and rapper Travis Scott.

It’s Houston’s second straight win in the series after snapping Golden State’s NBA playoff-record, 16-game home winning streak with a 95-92 victory on Tuesday night.

Golden State led by one to start the fourth before Paul got going, scoring seven points to power a 10-5 run that gave the Rockets an 81-77 lead with about 9 1/2 minutes left.

Thompson made a 3-pointer after that and then officials reviewed Paul’s first basket of the quarter and ruled he got it off after the shot clock expired, leaving the Warriors ahead 80-79.

The Rockets were clinging to a one-point lead with about seven minutes left when Durant fouled Gordon on a 3-point attempt, losing one of his shoes in the process. Gordon made all three free throws to start a 7-2 spurt that extended the lead to 88-82 midway through the quarter.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Coach Steve Kerr was unsure Thursday if Iguodala would be able to return for Game 6. "He’s dying to play, but he’s not healthy enough," Kerr said. "We’ll just continue to take it day to day."… Curry made four free throws to tie Rick Barry for most free throws made in the playoffs in franchise history with 378. … Golden State had 18 turnovers.

Rockets: Clint Capela had 12 points and 14 rebounds for his seventh double-double this post-season. … Houston made 13 of 43 3-pointers, led by four from Gordon.

SANTA FE STRONG

The Rockets honoured the 10 people killed in last week’s school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, before the game, with the school’s choir singing the national anthem and team owner Tilman Fertitta wearing a "Santa Fe Strong" T-shirt, before Houston scored the game’s first six points in a first half where the team led by as many as 11.

Houston also wore rectangular patches on its jerseys that read: "Santa Fe HS," to remember those affected by the tragedy.

"We wanted to come out and give them light, put smiles on their faces (and) clear their minds a little bit," Harden said.

UP NEXT

After Game 6 on Saturday, the Rockets would host Game 7 on Monday if necessary.

Duffy stymies Rangers as Royals win their third straight

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 21:28

ARLINGTON, Texas — Danny Duffy didn’t need much help Thursday night. Still, he and catcher Salvador Perez got a nifty assist from Shin-Soo Choo’s face.

Duffy took a shutout into the eighth inning after Perez threw out a baserunner on a ball that hit Choo in the nose, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 for their season-best third straight victory.

Perez had four RBIs on a pair of two-run singles with two outs, first in the fifth and then the seventh innings. But the catcher’s caught stealing in the first inning was more memorable.

Duffy’s pitch in the dirt bounced off Perez and then hit Choo in the face, sending the left-handed hitter staggering out of the box. Perez scrambled to get the ball from in front of home plate, then threw out Delino DeShields trying to take second on the play.

"I saw the ball like right in front of me," Perez said. "I said, ‘Bro, I think you’re bleeding."’

Choo remained in the game and drew a walk in the plate appearance.

Duffy (2-6) allowed a run and four hits, struck out five and walked two in 7 2/3 innings in his longest outing of the season. The veteran left-hander entered the game with a 6.88 ERA this season and had allowed at least five earned runs in five of his previous 10 starts.

"It was nice to do something beneficial to the team," said Duffy, who said his slider might have been his best of the season.

"He needed it," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He was on the attack. He was throwing the ball in good spots and was ahead in the count."

Last season against Texas, Duffy allowed only one run in 15 2/3 innings. Both of Duffy’s 2017 appearances vs. Texas were 1-0 Rangers wins. He got one loss and one no-decision.

"I’ve been throwing baseballs professionally for almost 11 years now. You notice trends that you have success against people," Duffy said.

After DeShields led off Texas’ first inning with a single to right field, Duffy didn’t allow another hit until Choo singled in the seventh. Rougned Odor broke up the shutout bid with a two-out single in the eighth, ending Duffy’s night.

Texas’ offence struggled a night after matching a season high for runs in a 12-10 win over the New York Yankees.

"(Duffy) had a good start tonight," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "There’s not a whole lot other that you can say."

Rangers right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (0-1) gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He made his season debut for Texas after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day.

Ramon Torres had two hits and three runs in his first appearance of the season. He was a late lineup replacement for Alex Gordon, who had a sore hip and a stiff neck.

The Royals scored two unearned runs in the second inning after having no one on with two outs. Torres, who was recalled from Triple-A Omaha last Saturday, followed Ryan Goins’ single to centre that rolled past DeShields’ glove. Goins and Torres both scored on the three-base error.

Bibens-Dirkx filled the rotation spot left vacant when left-hander Matt Moore went on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a sore right knee.

THE OLDEST GETS OLDER

Rangers right-hander Bartolo Colon, the major leagues’ oldest active player, turned 45 on Thursday. His teammates honoured him with a cake before the game, and his face ended up in the cake during the celebration.

Royals closer Kelvin Herrera, from the Dominican Republic like Colon, said he had pictures of Colon on his bedroom walls when he was a teenager.

"He was my idol," Herrera said.

SHORT HOPS

To make room for Bibens-Dirkx on Texas’ 40-man roster, left-hander Brandon Mann was optioned to Round Rock. Mann appeared in three games, making his major league debut on May 13, after pitching 15 years in the minors and Japan.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: Gordon was injured making a diving catch during Wednesday’s win at St. Louis.

UP NEXT

Royals LHP Eric Skoglund (1-4) has lost three straight. He allowed six earned runs in five innings Sunday in the New York Yankees’ 10-1 win.

Rangers LHP Mike Minor (3-3), who spent last season as a Royals reliever, has also lost three straight. He gave up 14 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings in the three games.

Snell pitches 6 scoreless innings, Rays beat Red Sox

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 20:59

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Blake Snell had another strong outing against Boston — something that is becoming a regular occurrence for the Tampa Bay lefty.

Snell threw six scoreless innings, Wilson Ramos drove in two runs, and the Rays avoided a three-game sweep by beating the Red Sox 6-3 on Thursday night.

Snell (6-3) allowed three hits, walked two and struck out eight to improve to 2-0 in three starts against Boston this season. He gave up two runs and 11 hits in 19 innings.

"Blake, you know, looks good against them," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "Really, really good performance."

Snell gave up two runs in 7 1/3 innings in a 4-3 road victory over Boston April 27. He had a no-decision March 30, going 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s 1-0 win.

"Every start, I want to be aggressive," said Snell, who is 3-1 with an 0.86 ERA in five home starts.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and Rafael Devers had an RBI double off Matt Andriese in the ninth as Boston got within three runs. But, Alex Colome retired Sandy Leon on a two-out grounder with Devers on second to get his 11th save.

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello (6-2) lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs — four earned — and eight hits. He threw 92 pitches.

"Anytime I’ve struggled this year it’s been a result of falling behind hitters," Porcello said. "That’s what happened tonight. I got into some bad counts, and you get hurt by that."

Boston (34-16) dropped to 9-4 against the Rays this year.

The Rays took a 5-0 lead after two innings, helped by a pair of Boston miscues.

Denard Span scored the first of two runs during the first when Leon was charged with an error for dropping Porcello’s throw home on Ramos’ bases-loaded comebacker. Brad Miller added a sacrifice fly.

Ramos had a bases-loaded two-run single in the second that also saw Matt Duffy score a third run from first base when right fielder Mookie Betts picked up an error for an errant throw back to the infield.

Duffy put Tampa Bay up 6-0 on a third-inning RBI single.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: RHP Hector Velazquez (strained lower back) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and LHP Bobby Poyner was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Rays: OF Carlos Gomez (strained right hamstring) will play at extended spring training Friday and could return by Sunday.

DUSTIN’S DAY

2B Dustin Pedroia will be activated by the Red Sox on Friday after missing Boston’s first 50 games while recovering from knee surgery. Pedroia’s return will come exactly seven months after cartilage-restoration surgery on his left knee.

DISAPPEARING ACT

Span stayed in the game in the fourth after falling into the front-row seats in the left-field corner attempting to catch Moreland’s foul ball. He was briefly out of view behind the wall before getting up and returning to the playing field. "Going into the stands means a lot to me," Snell said of the outfielder’s effort. Span also went over the wall on a foul drive by Devers in the ninth. "I went 0 for 2," Span said with a laugh.

SHORT STAY

Rays sent SS prospect Willy Adames back to Triple-A Durham after filling in while INF Joey Wendle was on paternity leave. Adames homered off Boston ace Chris Sale in his big league debut Tuesday. "He looks the part," Cash said. "A lot to be excited about."

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-1) will go against Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (4-1) Friday night in the first of three games at Fenway Park.

Rays: Reliever Sergio Romo (1-0) is scheduled to start Friday night against Baltimore in the first of three "bullpen days." The right-hander is also slated to start the series finale Sunday.

ON DECK: Blue Jays at Phillies

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 20:17
STARTING PITCHERS FRIDAY, 7:05 p.m. RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-0, 0.93 ERA)  vs. RHP Zach Eflin (1-0, 1.56 ERA) Series kickoff features two hurlers with a combined four starts this season. How Gaviglio fares after a terrific, but heartbreaking, first start for the Jays last Saturday against the A’s, will be important to the team’s immediate pitching plans. SATURDAY, 4:05 p.m. LHP Jaime Garcia (2-3, 6.28 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (6-2, 2.37 ERA)
Based on cold, hard stats alone, this is a potential gimme for the Phils who send out their co-ace against the Garcia, who comes off the DL and sends the originally scheduled starter, Joe Biagini, to the bullpen. SUNDAY, 1:35 p.m. LHP J.A. Happ (6-3, 3.97 ERA)  vs. RHP Nick Pivetta (4-2, 3.23 ERA) The best pitching matchup of the series. Happ has regained his dominant early-season form after a couple of speedbumps in early May, as has Pivetta with just one earned run allowed in his past three starts. THREE STORYLINES 1. RAGS-TO-RICHES TALE After five years of pulling up the rear in the NL East, the Phillies are suddenly, and somewhat unexpectedly, relevant again, sitting in second place in the topsy-turvy division, nine games above .500 and only a half-game behind the equally surprising Atlanta Braves for first place after taking two of three from them earlier this week. The Phils also own the league’s best home record at 18-7. Can they keep this up? 2. CLINGING TO THEIR WILD-CARDS Winning the AL East is, as expected, pretty much out of the picture and the Blue Jays’ recent slide has dropped them to the fringe of the chase for the second wild-card position. Even with two-thirds of the season still to play, getting swept in Philadelphia would be a sizeable blow, especially with the Red Sox up next on the docket. 3. REMEMBER ME? In three years as a young Jays starter, Drew Hutchison never found the consistency needed to ultimately stick in the rotation. But after being traded to Pittsburgh in 2016 and spending 2017 in the minors, he seems to have found a home in the Phillies bullpen. Before being tagged for five earned runs in three innings by the Cards last Friday, he had worked to a 2.76 ERA over nine appearances. He’s never pitched against Toronto. STACKING UP (MLB rankings, Thursday’s games not included) Toronto Stat Philadelphia 233 (6th) Runs 214 (13th) 64 (4th) HR 52 (19th) 21 (21st) SB 23 (17th) .231 (25th) BA .238 (20th) .312 (21st) OBP .324 (8th) 5.26 (25th) SP ERA 3.27 (4th) 3.57 (10th) RP ERA 3.56 (9th) PLAYERS TO WATCH 2B Devon Travis, Blue Jays With what he brings to the table when healthy, the dynamic young infielder will have to be a key ingredient in any attempts the Jays have at hanging around the wild-card race. Recalled earlier this week, it’s time for him to ditch the one-step-forward two-steps-back career arc and make the impact he’s capable of. His home run on Wednesday was a large stride forward in that respect. LF Rhys Hoskins, Phillies This will be the first time the Phillies’ young outfield slugger has faced the Blue Jays, who are probably getting him at a good time. The big Californian hasn’t been able to replicate his prodigious rookie-season power numbers of 2017 when he shared the spotlight with Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, slugging 18 homers in just 171 at-bats following his Aug 10 callup. This year, facing far fewer fastballs than he did in his first go-around in the majors, he is batting just .239, he has only six dingers and two in the past month, but is capable of taking it deep at any time. COLOMBY’S CLAIRVOYANCE Unless the Phillies come down with a hangover after their big series against the Braves, their huge edge in starting pitching should produce two wins, and possibly all three if J.A. Happ isn’t sharp. WAR BOARD  Wins Above Replacement Leaders (yesterday’s games not included) BLUE JAYS 1. OF Kevin Pillar 1.2 2. C Luke Maile 1.2 3. IF Yangervis Solarte 0.7 4. OF Curtis Granderson 0.6 5. OF Teoscar Hernandez 0.6 PHILLIES 1. CF Odubel Herrera 2.1 2. 2B Cesar Hernandez 1.7 3. LF Rhys Hoskins 0.9 4. C Jorge Alfaro 0.4 5. 3B Maikel Franco 0.4 MLB LEADERS 1. Mookie Betts BOS 4.0 2. Mike Trout LAA 3.6 3. Jose Ramirez CLE 3.4 4. Francisco Lindor CLE 2.9 5. Brandon Belt SF 2.6 FanGraphs WAR explained: 1-2 season WAR, role player; 2-3 WAR, solid starter; 3-4 WAR, good player; 4-5 WAR, all-star; 5-6 WAR, superstar; 6+ WAR, MVP.

Criticism of Whitecaps super-sub Brek Shea has been overstated

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:44

Every Thursday/Friday, Sportsnet.ca will chat with Sportsnet 650 radio commentator Dan Riccio about the big stories and issues surrounding the Vancouver Whitecaps.

SN: What did you make of Vancouver’s comeback in last week’s 2-2 draw away to FC Dallas?
RICCIO: The Whitecaps were very lucky to walk away with a point in Texas. You could replay that match 100 times over at 2-0 down, and the Whitecaps likely wouldn’t complete the miraculous comeback again. Now, good on them for continuing to fight and not just play out the string, but this isn’t sustainable. They’ve now allowed the first goal in nine of the 13 matches they’ve played this season. In those games, they have just one victory. It isn’t hard to figure out why this Vancouver team is struggling to collect wins and valuable points. 

A few weeks ago you called Anthony Blondell the Whitecaps’ “X-Factor,” but also said you’d like to see more from him. What have you made of the Venezuelan’s play since then?
Unfortunately, the return of Kei Kamara to full fitness has diminished Anthony Blondell’s role and opportunities. He’s been an intriguing option in attack, but it is difficult to see how coach Carl Robinson fits both Blondell and Kamara on the field together. Robbo has no reason to try and force it, since Blondell couldn’t convert the many scoring chances he had while getting the bulk of the playing time. The lack of polish in his game has continued to haunt him, and until he cleans that up it will be an issue. 

What does Jake Nerwinski have to do to win back the job as Vancouver’s starting right fullback?
It’s a bit surprising that Jake has had less playing time of late. He’s largely been the same player he was last season when he earned a spot into the squad and almost reached 2000 minutes as a rookie, which doesn’t happen often in this league. Sean Franklin hasn’t been the answer for the Whitecaps at right back, so it really is only a matter of time until Jake finds his way back into the starting 11. This should be a good lesson for a young player who may just need a reminder that his spot in the eleven isn’t guaranteed. 

Brek Shea is someone who comes in for a lot of criticism from fans and media. Is that fair? What, if anything, does he bring to the table for the Whitecaps?
Brek is always going to be a polarizing figure where ever he plays. It’s reached a boiling point here in Vancouver because he is one of the club’s two designated players. How many teams in MLS have a DP that doesn’t regularly start? He is being utilized as a super-sub despite being one of the highest paid players on the team, but he has looked decent this year as the Whitecaps’ second leading scorer. For that reason alone, I think the criticism has been overstated. 

What things will you be looking for in Saturday’s home game against the New England Revolution?
It will be Kendall Waston’s final match before leaving for the World Cup, which will leave an already struggling defence shorthanded for the coming weeks. It isn’t a must-win for the ‘Caps by any stretch of the imagination, but you can tell the players are starting to feel the pressure of having just two wins in their last 11 MLS matches. I expect to see a desperate performance from Vancouver on Saturday because a win will go a long way to shoring up their confidence as they head into the summer months.  

Be sure to listen to Dan Riccio on a daily basis on Sportsnet 650. You can also follow Dan Riccio on Twitter

Astros’ Morton stays unbeaten with win over Indians

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:38

CLEVELAND — Charlie Morton remained unbeaten this season with six solid innings, Alex Bregman and Jake Marisnick hit three-run homers and the Houston Astros defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-2 on Thursday night.

Morton (7-0) allowed two runs and five hits while extending his career-best winning streak to 10 games. The right-hander, who moved into a tie for the AL lead in wins, hasn’t lost since Sept. 9, 2017 against Oakland. He walked three and struck out five.

Morton fell behind after Michael Brantley’s two-run single in the third, but his offence gave him plenty of support. Houston scored three runs in the fifth and added five in the sixth to put the game away.

Mike Clevinger (3-2) opened with four scoreless innings, but couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Bregman capped the inning with his fifth homer over the 19-foot high wall in left field that put Houston ahead. He added an RBI double in the sixth.

Marisnick, recalled from the minors Wednesday, homered to straightaway centre in the sixth off Neil Ramirez. Marisnick was sent to Triple-A Frenso on May 15 and was called up when outfielder Josh Reddick went on the 10-day disabled list with a leg infection. Marisnick, batting .141 going into the game, also singled in the fifth but was picked off first by Clevinger.

Houston’s go-ahead rally came with two outs in the fifth. Clevinger hit Tony Kemp on an 0-2 pitch and George Springer drew a four-pitch walk. Pitching coach Carl Willis visited Clevinger, but Bregman then jumped on a hanging breaking pitch and Houston had the lead.

Clevinger allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander was pulled with two on in the sixth, but pinch-hitter Max Stassi’s single off Tyler Olson drove in a run before Marisnick homered.

The defending World Series champions have won four straight and taken three of four from Cleveland this season

Brantley singled up the middle in the third to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead. Roberto Perez led off with a single and took third on Francisco Lindor’s double. Brantley is second in the AL in batting and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He began the season on the disabled list following ankle surgery in October.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: OF Derek Fisher (gastrointestinal discomfort), who has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 19, could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.

Indians: Cleveland has four outfielders on the 10-day DL. Lonnie Chisenhall (strained right calf) will continue his minor league rehab assignment Friday. He’s played two games at Triple-A Columbus. … Bradley Zimmer (left rib contusion) is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. … Brandon Guyer (strained neck) could join a minor league team soon before being activated. … Tyler Naquin (strained left hamstring) has resumed baseball activities.

UP NEXT

LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-6, 3.43 ERA) takes on RHP Corey Kluber (7-2, 2.36 ERA) in a rematch of their May 19 game in Houston. Kluber became the first AL pitcher to reach seven wins this season in Cleveland’s 5-4 victory while Keuchel got the loss, allowing four runs in five innings.

EDITORIAL: Horwarth’s refusal to defend poppy shameful

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:19

Many Canadians have family members who served and died during the world wars of the last century.

Many have family members who serve now, often in difficult and dangerous conflicts around the globe.

Our soldiers served in the last century to defend the life, liberty and existence of the free nations of the world. They served because evil threatened the world and had to be met with force.

Today’s soldiers serve to preserve the peace so dearly bought with the lives of that previous generation, because the world continues to be plagued by those willing to resort to violence, oppression and atrocity.

Every November 11, we honour those who lost their lives in the service of peace and the poppy has become our symbol of gratitude and respect, one Canadians proudly wear on Remembrance Day.

Veterans Bill Mogavero,who served in Korea (front) and John Hall, who served in the Second World War, salute during the singing of Canada’s national anthem at the launch of Toronto Royal Canadian Legion’s annual TTC Poppy Campaign in Toronto, Ont. on Friday Oct. 27, 2017.

NDP candidate Laura Kaminker, a self-described “Marxist” running in Mississauga Centre, said in a 2014 blog post she refuses to wear the “fake poppy” and described Remembrance Day as “war glorification.”

“I just wear my peace button on my jacket as always and wait for the collective brainwashing to blow over,” Kaminker wrote

She also criticized sports teams who honour our armed forces at games and she appears to be a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, suggesting there’s “no proof that bin Laden or Al Qaeda had anything to do with the attacks.”

“All of you fixating on this one event, the whole world expected to stand in hushed silence because a bad thing happened to Americans,” she wrote while objecting to the commemoration of the attack.

 

NDP candidate Laura Kaminker – Mississauga Centre – ONDP handout

Kaminker’s views are despicable.

They reflect a narrow, ideological and repulsive perspective embraced by some in the radical left. No one hates war more than soldiers. She should try talking to a few veterans.

Shamefully, NDP leader Andrea Horwath dismissed Kaminker’s repugnant views by saying “many people have many diverse opinions and we value free speech.”

Kaminker is entitled to her opinion. That’s what our soldiers, past and current, went to war for, and died to defend.

But her objectionable opinions make her a lousy candidate for public office.

So far, she hasn’t apologized for her posts. Neither has Horwath.

In fact, Horwath told the CBC she hasn’t even spoken with Kaminker about them.

Lest we forget? The NDP already has.

WARMINGTON: Poppygate continues with NDP leader Remembrance Day photo

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:19

Is attending a Remembrance Day ceremony enough?

Is wearing a poppy enough?

Is giving the ceremony your full attention mandatory?

These are the kinds of questions being asked in light of a gotcha-style picture sent into the Toronto Sun showing NDP Leader Andrea Horwath at a Remembrance Day service, appearing to be concentrating on her phone instead of the sombre service, which included a moment of silence.

The picture probably wouldn’t have been sent in if she had taken a stronger stance to admonish her Mississauga Centre candidate Laura Kaminker’s precious blogs where she called people who wear poppies brainwashed.

But this “poppygate” thing keeps on going as people start to look closer at the high flying NDP and the candidates they offer in this election.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath appearing to be distracted by her phone during an undated Remembrance Day event.

This picture does not offer a location or a year, so it’s difficult to know the context.

In a statement Thursday evening, NDP spokesman Andrew Schwab said that Horwath has “a profound respect for women and men that have served in Canada’s armed forces, and a deep gratitude for the sacrifices those soldiers have made to serve the country” and that she’s proud to wear a poppy.

“She also recognizes that the people who have served the country have done so to protect Canadians’ freedom of speech, and while she doesn’t support the comments made by the candidate in Mississauga Centre, she recognizes her right to say it,” added Schwab.

What she has not done is called out Kaminker for her fringe, insulting views that she is entitled to have, but others are entitled to call out.

That said, there are people who feel working a smartphone during the service is also not appropriate and rude.

Laura Kaminker, NDP candidate for Mississauga Centre. YouTube

“That lady should not be on her phone,” said Scott Smith, the 17-year-old who wore his poppy to school Wednesday in a quiet protest.

“My dad always turns off his phone during a Remembrance Day ceremony. To show respect.”

It’s good advice. Not just for the NDP leader who could, next month, be Ontario’s premier but for everybody.

Maybe out of all of this, what will happen is there will be more effort to take seriously the remembrance of our fallen and to those all of those who volunteered to fight for the freedoms we so enjoy.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

NBA Playoffs Live: Warriors vs. Rockets

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:58

Follow this game live here.

Kyle Busch captures pole at Charlotte; Harvick starts last

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:31

CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch is hoping his third career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway will help end a dubious drought at a track that has frustrated him for years.

Kevin Harvick is probably just anxious to get back on the track.

Busch took the pole Thursday night for the Coca-Cola-Cola 600 on Sunday, while NASCAR Cup Series points leader Harvick will begin in the rear. Busch has never won a Cup points race in his previous 28 starts at Charlotte, although he did win an All-Star race here.

"We have had some really good runs here in the past, but we just haven’t been able to close the deal," Busch said, referring to his 11 top-five finishes.

Busch won his 30th career pole for NASCAR’s longest race by turning a lap of 191.836 mph at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Joey Logano will start alongside Busch on the front row.

But the big surprise was Harvick, who never got on the track after failing pre-race inspection three times. Car chief Robert Smith was ejected, and Harvick will have to sit out the first 30 minutes of practice Saturday.

Harvick has been dominant this season, winning five Cup races — including the last two — and the $1 million exhibition All-Star race Saturday.

Logano joked that with everyone chasing Harvick "it sure don’t hurt" that he has to start at the back of the field.

But he doesn’t expect that to last for long.

"Are we taking bets on how long it will take him to get up there," Logano said. "Where is the new betting thing? Is that what we’re doing now."

GIBBS CARS DOMINATE: Busch won’t have to look too far back in his rear view mirror to find his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates. All four of Gibbs’ Toyotas finished in the top 10 with Denny Hamlin qualifying third, Erik Jones fourth and Daniel Suarez 10th.

Suarez looked strong again after finishing second in the All-Star race here Saturday night.

"That was a tough one," Suarez said. "When you finish fourth, fifth, third, you know you get it. You go to the next one excited, but when you finish second, that close, it hurts a little bit. But that’s part of racing. You have to learn from that and move to the next one."

TRUEX STRUGGLES: Martin Truex Jr. failed to make the final round of qualifying and will start 15th, which is a bit of a surprise.

Truex has two wins in the last four races at the track, including one of the most dominant performances in NASCAR history in leading 392 of the 400 laps to win the 2016 Coca-Cola 600. Truex has five top-five finishes in the last six races at Charlotte.

Truex led a race best 233 laps in last year’s 600 only to finish third in a fuel mileage race won the Austin Dillon.

"No front tire grip," Truex said of his night.

BUMPY ROAD: Logano called Charlotte Motor Speedway the bumpiest course that drivers face all year, saying it is "brutal" in the driver’s seat.

"It’s like driving down a cobblestone road," Logano said. "It bounces your head around a lot."

DILLON’S DAY: Austin Dillon won the last year’s race on fuel mileage. He only led two laps all night.

Dillon, who won the Daytona 500 earlier this year, will start 12th. Dillon said he thinks he has a top-5 car and can repeat.

"Yeah, really pumped about the effort that we put in to these Coke 600 cars," Dillon said. "It paid off, obviously. … At least we’ve got a direction and we will keep working hard to get there."

WARMINGTON: Witness places NDP candidate at female oil wrestling match

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:24

The Facebook pictures show he was there.

A woman in one of the pictures with him says he was there.

But when it comes to having been the featured celebrity attraction at an “exotic sports entertainment show,” involved oil, wrestling and women, the one time boxing champion turned NDP candidate for Kitchener South-Hespeler, Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool, took a dive.

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool and Anthony Peric at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool and Anthony Peric at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool and Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

  • Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool - Kitchener South-Hespeler - ONDP ahead of the 2018 Ontario General Election. Handout/Ontario NDP/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Vanderpool, the NDP candidate for Kitchener South-Hespeler, told the Toronto Sun he didn’t know anything about the Female Oil Wrestling Federation or its 2013 event at the Capers Sports bar in Kitchener that his boxing gym reportedly sponsored.

“There must be another one,” the boxing icon told the Toronto’s Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy Wednesday, adding he’s “not sure what (the Female Oil Wrestling Federation) was.”

Another Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool?

Then on Thursday, The Whip threw in the towel.

“When first contacted, he didn’t immediately recognize which event was being referred to (it was 5 years ago),” an NDP spokesman told the Sun. “As you know, he was a professional boxer and event promoter for many years. Costumes are a part of the industry for men and women.”

Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool was certainly a great boxer, but this night in 2013 wasn’t about boxing or costumes, it was about a bevy of oiled-up babes wrestling in bikinis for an appreciative male audience. And Vanderpool made an impression with the lady wrestlers.

SLICK CANDIDATE
Fitz “The Whip” Vanderpool — running for virtue-signalling anti-misogyny, pro-women NDP — promoted Female Oil Wrestling Federation@SueAnnLevy: https://t.co/I5uORTa8OG#onpoli #OnElxn pic.twitter.com/VpeDyfeaBX

— Jonathan Kingstone (@TorSunCity) May 24, 2018

“He was definitely there, said Aliscia Costantini, a one-time model and actress and FOWF wrestler too.

She knows this because not only did she talk with him but she got a picture with him.

“I didn’t know he was famous,” she joked, further teasing, “had I known he was famous I may have paid more attention to him.”

She recalls he and his friends and group of female participants “back in the kitchen” where “they were hitting on all the girls.”

Costantini called it “harmless” and “not all rapey, or anything.”

NDP Candidate Fitzroy Vanderpool and Aliscia Costantini at FOWF Entertainment event at Capers in Kitchener in 2013. (FOWF Entertainment/Facebook/Toronto Sun)

But “I remember thinking I should get out of this kitchen, because I wasn’t feeling comfortable.”

That said, nothing untoward apparently happened. And for the open-minded there’s nothing wrong with the boxer with a 26-7 record and six belts promoting such an event.

What could be wrong was him not owning up to it.

Still, it’s interesting that the politically correct NDP, who virtue signal constantly and set politically correct standards most have a difficult time meeting, have fielded a candidate who apparently participated at an event featuring oiled up women grappling in a ring while being ogled by beer-swilling men.

It’s not about oil wrestling. It’s about hypocrisy.

At #NDP rally in Brampton for @AndreaHorwath with Mark and Aleah #inspirehope pic.twitter.com/JOEkj0wjTx

— Fitz Vanderpool (@FitzroyTheWhip) May 21, 2018

For Costantini it’s about honesty.

“He lied,” she said. “But all politicians lie.”

Meanwhile, Vanderpool also found himself backpedaling on another front when the Liberals accused NDP leader Andrea Horwath of secretly running a “social conservative” candidate in the riding.

“Kitchener South-Hespeler candidate Fitz Vanderpool doesn’t support same-sex marriage,” said the Liberal release. “During his last run for public office, the former boxer was endorsed by Jack Fonseca of the Campaign Life coalition for his support of the “traditional” definition of marriage.”

Vanderpool did respond in that case, by denying he opposes same-sex marriage.

“I regret that I was unclear in 2006 about my position on equal marriage rights. I apologize unreservedly. I want to be very clear now – I completely support marriage equality for everyone, including same-sex couples,” he said in a statement.

Politics is a bare-knuckle game. And the former champ just got tagged.

jwarmington@postmedia.com

Raptors’ DeRozan named to All-NBA second team — but will he or others be back?

Toronto Sun - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 18:02

It won’t erase the stink of another early, one-sided exit at the hands of LeBron James, but DeMar DeRozan received a big honour on Thursday afternoon, being named to the All-NBA second team.

Only Vince Carter (2001) and Chris Bosh (2007) had previously earned second-team recognition while members of the Raptors. DeRozan (2017) and Kyle Lowry (2016) previously were named to the third team. DeRozan and Carter (third-team, 2000) are now the only Raptors to make multiple All-NBA squads.

DeRozan averaged 23 points (11th in the league), a career-best 5.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 80 regular-season games last season.

“Being recognized among an elite group of my peers is always rewarding,” DeRozan said in a release.

“Knowing where I started and the work I’ve put in each year to improve makes this even more humbling. Thanks to my teammates and the Raptors organization for all their support.”

DeRozan edged two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry, who had an injury-plagued year, by a single point.

Both MVP favourite James Harden and the best player in the league, LeBron James, were unanimous first-team selections. James set a record with his 12th selection to the top group. Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant joined them.

Giannias Antetokounmpo, 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook, Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge also made the second team with DeRozan.

Curry, Victor Oladipo, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Paul George comprised the third team. Chris Paul just missed the cut, earning 54 points, the same as George, but not nearly as many as fellow guards Curry and Oladipo. Lowry earned three third-team votes.

DeRozan started his second consecutive all-star game and made his fourth appearance overall. He was named Eastern Conference player of the week five times and January’s player of the month.

More than that, he reworked his game and adapted as the Raptors offence made a 180-degree turn from an isolation-driven, DeRozan and Lowry dominated force, to a diverse, unpredictable attack that still ranked as one of the most efficient in the league.

The teams were selected by a global panel of media members, with points awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.

Even with this selection, there are no guarantees DeRozan, the longest-serving Raptor after having been drafted ninth overall in 2009 by Bryan Colangelo, is back with the team next season.

Masai Ujiri fired Dwane Casey and is not expected to limit his shakeup to only one move. Of course there’s a better chance DeRozan does return, but Toronto will explore all options, per multiple league sources.

DeRozan, Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas will likely garner the most interest on the market, though Ujiri could look to cut salary in the form of top disappointment Serge Ibaka or Norman Powell, who is about to see his salary take a leap as his extension kicks in.

LOOKING NORTH OF BORDER?

Back in the fall of 2011, Colangelo added Ed Stefanski to be his right-hand man in Toronto’s front office, in large part to replace Ujiri.

Less than two years later, Ujiri sent Stefanski packing days after succeeding Colangelo as the team’s president and general manager. The NBA’s circle of life never stops and now Stefanski is heading up Detroit’s search for a new president of basketball operations in a senior role.

Stefanski was hired on Thursday amidst talk that Detroit has some level of interest in Casey to be its new head coach. However, Casey is still owed $6 million from the Raptors and sources told Postmedia prior to the Stefanski addition that a fit there would be unlikely.

The Pistons recently fired Stan Van Gundy, who had served as team president and head coach for four seasons.

ROOKIE PICKS WEIRD AGAIN

It’s always easy to quibble with the all-rookie selections and that’s the case once again this year.

Snubbing OG Anunoby, a starter on a 59-win team with tremendous plus/minus and on-off-court splits, isn’t a stunner. His per-game averages look pedestrian at first glance. But he guarded the best opposing wing player most nights and hit his three-pointers at a high rate.

Mississauga’s Dillon Brooks was one of the only good stories in a dismal year for Memphis, becoming a starter who put up solid offensive numbers while also spending a lot of time himself guarding top opponents.

Phoenix forward Josh Jackson got 45 points, but just a single first-team nod. His squad finished the year a dismal 6-35, even though he was solid after Jan. 1 after a hideous first few months in the NBA.

Miami’s Bam Adebayo had one fewer point than Jackson, but no first-team votes, while Anunoby had 25 points, including two first-team votes, Brooks 14, with one first-team nod.

Lonzo Ball and Dennis Smith Jr. also got more votes than their play warranted.

AROUND THE RIM

Four of the five-best plus/minus numbers by a rookie over the past 20 years came this year. Ben Simmons had the top mark, followed by Donovan Mitchell, while Jayson Tatum and Anunoby were just behind Andrei Kirilenko’s mark from 2001-02 … The Raptors do not have a draft pick this year, but are in the process of working out players who might go undrafted or loom as potential Raptors 905 players … Entering this post-season there have been 32 conference finals tied 2-2. The Game 5 winner went on to triumph in the series 28 times … No player from the East has made an All-NBA first team since Joakim Noah in 2013-14. How’s that for competitive balance? And the first two picks of the draft (and four of the first five) went to teams from the West.

Warriors’ Iguodala to miss Game 5 against Rockets

SportsNets - Thu, 05/24/2018 - 17:49

HOUSTON — Golden State WarriorsAndre Iguodala will miss Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

It will be the second straight game Iguodala has missed after he bruised his left knee in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.

Houston got a 95-92 win in Game 4 on Tuesday to even the series at 2-2 heading in Thursday’s game.

While Golden State will be without Iguodala, the Warriors will have Klay Thompson. Thompson had been listed as questionable leading up to the game because of a strained left knee. But coach Steve Kerr says that Thompson will play.