Friday, 2 December 2016

Here’s to 40,000 hits and four years

After quite a bit of dormancy, this blog celebrated two milestones relatively closely. Not long after we hit 40,000 hits the blog celebrated its fourth anniversary on September 11.

Once more, it is a time to reflect and see what we have learned.

Something I have realized is that so many things are interconnected. Pop culture is not so much a linear list of people, places, and events but more of a web or matrix. As the content for this blog has unfolded, there are and more connections between posts. Here are just some examples:

• Scott Collie, from “Austin Collie: catching the ball, just like dad” played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who were featured in a post about their coach, “Al Bruno: Authoring a Grey Cup upset”.

• Actor Phillip McKeon, who played Tommy, the son of “Alice” in the sitcom of the same name, is the brother of actor Nancy McKeon, who played Jo, who was part of the post, “Alex Rocco: Jo’s dad on “The Facts of Life”.

There are many more, but these are two of the most recent examples.

It seems intuitive, but the more I post, the more hits the blog gets, and by extension the more comments. That stands to reason.

The silent majority
There may be a way, although I am not sure how, to find out the people who have signed up and get my latest post automatically e-mailed to them. I find it interesting there are at least three people who get automatic notifications, but I only know that because they have told me so. This, too, will bump up the number of hits.

Percolation and simmering
Perhaps the biggest realization of late has been that posts get better when I write them, and they sit before I post them. Invariably, I polish them up more after they sit a day or more, and they just make better reads. It’s like they need to percolate or simmer.

I have also come to realize that, as I just cruised past published post number 237, there is still a lot to write about. I do not believe I have come anywhere near close to exhausting the topics to write about. It is just the opposite actually. For instance, during the recent Summer Olympics, I had all sorts of ideas for posts of Olympic memories, which brings me to the next observation.


A lot of ideas for posts come from current events, and linking them to some memory of the 1980s. Lately, that has largely been the deaths of celebrities. I have every intention of writing a post, but there tends to be a large gap from when I start until I actually publish. That becomes obvious when, in the introduction I will write “last week” or “yesterday”, and a month or more has passed. That just speaks to the need to post more regularly. Although, I have been clearing some of the backlog of old posts started months, and in the rare case, years ago.

Parting thoughts
I think it is important to take time every so often to reflect. The best time is after reaching some milestone in number of posts, number of hits, or the next anniversary of the start of the blog. I have learned so much about writing, research, layout, and much more. I hope to continue on learning. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Blue Jays memories: Wishing for a wild card

In the 1980s, the Toronto Blue Jays
would have benefitted from the Wild Card.
With the Toronto Blue Jays winning the American League wild card game a few weeks ago over the Baltimore Orioles, it reminded me how different the team’s history would have been if there was a wild card game in the 1980s.

What Blue Jay fans, such as me, got tired of was being the second best team in baseball.

Coulda been a contender
The 1984 season saw the Blue Jays continuing their improvement as a baseball team, building on their first ever winning season in 1983. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had one of the best starts in the history of Major League Baseball. They went 35-5 out of the gate. It has often been said a pennant is not won or lost in the first months of the season, but this was the exception, as the Tigers led from wire to wire, from opening day to the final day of the season. They became the first team in history to do that. The Blue Jays became the first team in Major League history to be second from wire to wire, from opening day to closing day.

They would have been a wild card.

The next year, the 1985 season, the Blue Jays finally won the American League East title.

The 1987 season was one of the most exciting, closely fought of the decade, coming down to the final series of the season between Toronto and Detroit. Once more, the Blue Jays were unable to close the deal.

The Blue Jays then closed out the decade by winning the American League East.

Parting thoughts
Back in the 1980s, I watched baseball as closely from spring to fall, as I did hockey in the winter. There could not have been two more opposite playoff systems. In the National Hockey League, 16 out of 21 teams made the playoffs. Only five teams missed the playoffs. In Major League Baseball, just four teams made the playoffs, out of 26.

In that system, there was no room for second best. What was worse was my beloved Blue Jays played in the strongest division in baseball, often with a record that would have won one or more of the other divisions.

That’s why, after the baseball strike of 1994 led to realignment and the addition of the wild card, I rejoiced. At long last, the playoffs were opened up so a team, read here the Blue jays, who played in a tough division were no longer relegated to the off-season.

Thank God for the wild card.

Go Blue Jays!