Bautista eyeing 50-50

Should Blue Jays Jose Bautista hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons, it will rank the rarest of...

Should Blue Jays Jose Bautista hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons, it will rank the rarest of baseball statistics outside the steroid era of inflated numbers. (Craig Robertson/QMI Agency)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

Before he twisted his ankle, Jose Bautista appeared on his way to yet another unexplainable but magnificent career standard.

Should Bautista hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons, it will rank the rarest of baseball statistics outside the steroid era of inflated numbers.

If you remove the artificially enhanced home run totals of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez, only two non-tainted hitters in the history of baseball, Babe Ruth and Ken Griffey Jr., have ever hit 50 in consecutive seasons. Ruth managed to do it twice, in 1920-21 and 1927-28. Griffey Jr. did it in 1997-98. And you could make an argument that McGwire’s 52-58 home run seasons in 1997-98 were far more plausible than the 70-65 he hit back-to-back after that.

With Bautista putting up with breathtaking numbers in a much-tested era — and should he be strong enough or healthy enough to hit 18 more home runs this season — his offensive numbers will rank with the greatest who ever played the game.

Mickey Mantle never went 50-50 back-to-back. Barry Bonds never did it. Willie Mays never did it. Bautista might get there.

THIS AND THAT

The free agent the Blue Jays should target, no matter the cost: Prince Fielder. Imagine a 3-4-5 in the Jays batting order with Bautista, Fielder and Adam Lind in some kind of succession. And it would be a homecoming of sorts for Fielder, who spent time around the Jays clubhouse as a long-haired pudgy kid following around his now estranged father, Cecil Fielder ... The Jays have won Brandon Morrow’s past six starts, with Morrow winning four of those games and his earned run average at 2.67. His previous six starts, the Jays won twice, Morrow won once and his ERA was 6.21 ... Poor Ricky Romero. The Jays have won just seven of his 19 starts but in those 12 losses, the team has only scored 24 runs. The buzz around — and it’s been there before — is that Rogers Communication is back in the hunt for the available shares of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. It’s about the fifth time in the past three years that talk has heated up but one of these days it just might happen ... I give up, why didn’t the Jays wear their powder blue 1980s uniforms on ’80s night? Isn’t that what these promotions are all about?

HEAR AND THERE

Half a season in and I still don’t know what John Farrell baseball is ... Let’s see now: Hines Ward gets in trouble, just before James Harrison opens his mouth and after Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger have their issues. Exactly when in time did the Pittsburgh Steelers become the 1980s Dallas Cowboys? .... Often, teams layoff employees or cut salaries during lockout time. But considering the profit numbers of MLSE, that shouldn’t be considered for the Raptors if the NBA season is shut down for any considerable period of time. The Raps may be small market on the court, but the company is big business off of it ... Didn’t see this anywhere, but this is the second straight year in which an undrafted player got elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Last year, Dino Ciccarelli. This year, Ed Belfour. And in recent years, lower draft picks such as Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull and Doug Gilmour have made the Hall ... Give the NFL credit for one thing: It knows how to do this lockout thing without interrupting the regular season. The NHL couldn’t do it and looks like the NBA won’t be able to get there either ... For the record, Tim Connolly was the 156th-leading scorer in the NHL last season. He was 66th, however, in power-play scoring, tied with Clarke MacArthur. The surprise on Connolly, though: Word is he’s an excellent penalty-killer.

SCENE AND HEARD

The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a share of first place, as they did on Saturday, it was July of 1997 and The Spice Girls were hot. Back then, Roger Clemens was on his way to winning the first of two Cy Young Awards with the Jays and Cito Gaston was on his way to being fired for the only time as their manager ... The Phoenix Coyotes may not have an owner or a goalie, but they do one of the deepest and most interesting coaching staffs in hockey with assistants Dave King, John Anderson and Jim Playfair, having all been NHL head coaches before joining Dave Tippett’s staff ... According to Bill Belichick, there is nothing wrong with the Blue Jays stealing signs. In fact, he encourages it ... If Royal St. George’s were across the street, I’d pay to golf somewhere else. It’s just too damn hard ... This may be the greatest idea of all-time: Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal exchanging ideas on TNT ... Some things in life defy explanation, such as Mike Tyson offering life advice and seeming genuine about it on Twitter ... About this Cleo Lemon improvement, never mind.

AND ANOTHER THING

There is still no evidence that the record-breaking Anthony Calvillo to Eric Deslauriers pass was, in fact, a touchdown. Deslauriers caught the ball. He just didn’t get his feet in bounds in the end zone. It doesn’t taint the record, though, which would have come later in the game, anyways. It means only that the CFL got caught up in the moment ... And wasn’t that all that nice of Damon Allen to point out he has run for 100 touchdowns (68 more than Calvillo) in the conference call to talk about the record-breaking quarterback. Damon doesn’t let go of these records easily ... The sad thing about Friday’s football game: Calvillo barely threw the ball downfield and the Alouettes still crushed the Argos 40-17 ... David Ortiz of the Red Sox is appealing his four-game suspension for that amateurish punchup with Kevin Gregg. Apparently, Big Papi figures he has been punished enough for all those YouTube hits of him trying to look tough ... The Buck Showalter magic of a year ago didn’t last. The Baltimore Orioles, heading into Saturday’s schedule, had lost 14 of 15 games and owned the worst record in the American League ... Happy birthday to Adam Lind (28), Marc Savard (34), Bryan Trottier (55), Scott Norwood (51), Troy Ross (36), Matti Nykanen (48) and Connie Hawkins (69) ... And hey, whatever became of Marvin Harrison?

NFL FREE-AGENT FRENZY

In the next day or so, or whenever it becomes official that the NFL lockout is over, a football free-agent frenzy the likes of which we’ve never seen before, will ensue.

Among the players available, a veritable all-star team at wide receiver: Santonio Holmes, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards and Vincent Jackson.

And then there are the quarterbacks in play: Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Kolb (who will be traded), Donovan McNabb, Vince Young and maybe Carson Palmer.

The eventual signing period will be short and crazy; the off-season on fast forward, so to speak. After all the labour boredom of the off-season, this will be a buffet of non-stop news for football fans. And let the bidding begin.

SIMPLE MATH FOR LEAFS

It’s July, and already the question is prominent: Will this year’s version of the Maple Leafs be a playoff team, thus ending the seven-year drought?

To determine just where the Leafs stand, you have to begin with numbers. Of the 16 teams that made the playoffs this year, only one team, Montreal, scored fewer goals than the Leafs’ final total of 218. And of the 16 teams that competed for the Cup, not one of them gave up as many as the 251 goals the Leafs allowed last season.

And no playoff team allowed more goals against than number of goals scored for: The Leafs, though, allowed 33 more goals against than they scored. To get into the playoffs, this is where it has to begin.

The Leafs, a minus-33 team in goals for and against last year, must be a plus-team this year. They probably need to add 20 goals to their total of 218 and reduce goals against by somewhere between 30 and 40.

In Ron Wilson’s three seasons coaching the Leafs, the team has been minus-43, minus-53 and minus-33 in goals scored/against. To have any chance at a playoff spot, that has to drastically change.

CFL STATS COME ALIVE

In this age of online information, one of the real mysteries has been the lack of available Canadian Football League statistics.

Some from the past you could find. Some you couldn’t. The league, for reasons never properly explained, has not found a way to put together a comprehensive statistical breakdown of every player who has ever played in the CFL. But at least there is a website now that is trying to get there: If you’re looking for CFL numbers from days gone by, the place to look is cflapedia.com.

It won’t answer all your questions, but it will supply the career stats of Argos greats such as Dick Shatto, Mel Profit or Leon McQuay, or former Bombers QB Kenny Ploen, for those who care to go back that far.

If the stats of every minor hockey player are available online, and every NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL player who ever suited up, here’s hoping this CFL site will be as complete.


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