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  Sun, July 11, 2004


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COMMENT
ARBITRATION / SIGNINGS
COLUMNISTS







Jays lacking star power
By STEVE SIMMONS, TORONTO SUN

DEFINITION OF mismatch: There will be eight New York Yankees playing for the American League in Tuesday's all-star classic in Houston. The Blue Jays will be represented by Yankees castoff, Ted Lilly.

THIS AND THAT

The price of giving up on your future apparently is $9 million US over three seasons. That's how much Mark Recchi will collect to not go to the playoffs with the Pittsburgh Penguins ... Yeah, I believe Rick Tocchet, who did most of the coaching in Colorado, left the Avalanche for family reasons. And I believe Andy van Hellemond left his job as NHL director of officiating to purse other opportunities. We all believe ... This time, John Elway comes up large off the field. He put the past and old feud behind him when he invited his longtime coach Dan Reeves to his Hall of Fame induction ... Clearly, tracking Richard Peddie is the entertainment in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment: How else do you explain his public position that he erred in not consulting Vince Carter before hiring a Raptors general manager. Just one question, Richard. Did you consult Mats Sundin before hiring John Ferguson? ... The Maple Leafs probably could have signed Glen Murray for about $1.5 million a year more than they ended up paying Gary Roberts. Murray, at 31, is six and a half years younger and more prolific a scorer than Roberts.

HEAR AND THERE

Lilly is not the most unlikely Blue Jays player to appear in an all-star game. One time, Alfredo Griffin was a last-minute addition to the American League team. Why? Because he happened to be at the game accompanying his friend, Damaso Garcia, when an AL player called in hurt ... Why Glen Grunwald no longer is running the Raptors: Within a year of each other, he let Rafer Alston and Carlos Arroyo -- two guys who would have signed for next to nothing -- get away for nothing. This week, the two NBA guards signed contracts totalling $46 million ... Autry Denson is the greatest running back named Denson to play for Montreal since Moses ... All these great books featuring the genius of J.P. Ricciardi somehow leave out the signings of veterans Pat Hentgen, Terry Adams, Justin Speier and Kerry Ligtenberg ... If Ricciardi wants to take a bow, let him take one for the acquisitions of Miguel Batista, Jason Frasor and the aforementioned all-star, Lilly. You're a great hitter if you're around .500 but not much of a general manager with that kind of average ... Hate him or hate him -- your choice -- the slaughter of the Ottawa Renegades on Friday night was Don Matthews at his nastiest and his best.

SCENE AND HEARD

Sure, the soccer win by Greece was a huge upset, but huge upsets are everywhere these days. How else do you explain the Florida Marlins and Anaheim Angels as World Series champions, the Detroit Pistons in the NBA and the Calgary Flames an unofficial goal away from the Stanley Cup? ... Sunday facts you can't live without: Minor league outfielder Luis Terrero, who was suspended for one game this week for kissing home plate after hitting a home run in the Pacific Coast League, has been called up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Terrero should be worth watching. Earlier this season, he was suspended 36 games by the PCL for throwing a ball at a fan ... Saw John McEnroe's talk show for the first and last time this week ... The way he's pouting in Boston, Nomar Garciaparra should change his first name to No More ... And all this time I thought the Olympic trials were held on tracks and in swimming pools, not in a U.S. courtroom ... If Vladimir Guerrero isn't the best player in baseball to watch, who is? ... The lesson is clear after power forward Carlos Boozer signed with the Utah Jazz after telling the Cleveland Cavaliers he wasn't going anywhere: Never believe a Boozer.

AND ANOTHER THING

My choice to carry the Canadian flag in the opening ceremonies in Athens is wrestler Daniel Igali. Healthy or not, no one embodies the Canadian Olympic spirit more ... This is how marginalized baseball's all-star game has become: It's being televised locally, not nationally, in Canada ... John Ferguson believes Mikael Telqvist is poised to become an NHL backup goalie. Based on what? ... Tom Renney is too nice a man to be caught trying to coach what is left of the New York Rangers ... Available in a video store near you: A computer game in which major league players in major league uniforms, fully licensed, punch and kick each other below the waist. How proud baseball must be ... Loved columnist Bob Verdi's line in Chicago about the drafting of defenceman Cam Barker: "He has a big whirlpool to fill." Which is where you could usually find Alexander Karpovtsev ... The Flames will miss Craig Conroy as much off the ice as they will on it ... Quick now: If Lance Armstrong isn't leading in the Tour de France, name the cyclists who are first, second and third? You can't ... Confirming his title as the slowest man in baseball, Anaheim catcher Bengie Molina hit into a 5-4-3 triple play the other night in Chicago. And the best part was, Molina wasn't even close to being safe at first base ... And hey, whatever became of Luis Tiant?