Baseball a washout in Canada

JIM HUNT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

Some Tuesday morning musings on some of the things that amuse, confuse and even amaze a fellow in the wonderful world of fun and games.

GOODBYE EXPOS

These are wonderful days in baseball with the pennant races heating up, Barry Bonds hitting homers and Ichiro Suzuki closing in on George Sisler's single-season record of 257 hits.

But if you live in Canada these are two pretty sad weeks. The Montreal Expos are coming to the end of the line. The Blue Jays will survive for another year but their future is far from rosy.

I was at the Expos' first game in April 1969. Montreal embraced the Expos that day. During the early years, baseball fans and writers went to Montreal for their big-league fix. No doubt if the Expos hadn't made it in Montreal, Toronto would not have got a major-league franchise.

The Expos started to go under when Charles Bronfman decided he'd had enough of the shenanigans of his fellow owners. When he pulled out in 1990, the team was on life support and it was only a matter of time till it went under.

The Blue Jays are heading for their worst season since the late 1970s, when they were an expansion team. They are a disaster on the field and at the box office. The big question is whether owner Ted Rogers will loosen the purse-strings for player salaries. If he doesn't the Blue Jays, too, could be headed for oblivion. If the Jays decide they can't afford Carlos Delgado, their one authentic superstar, it's a sign the team doesn't belong among the elite in baseball.

OTTAWA WOE

CFL East teams are having great seasons. Hamilton and Toronto have turned it around and Montreal is still playing to sellout crowds.

The exception is Ottawa. The Renegades are struggling on the field and at the gate. They are losing money and have to hope that being the host of the Grey Cup will bail them out financially. They're behaving more and more like the old Ottawa Rough Riders, who went down the tubes in 1996.

STAR POWER

Football is a game of quarterbacks. It was never more evident than yesterday as the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers met in the best game of the young NFL season. Peyton Manning won the shootout with Brett Favre, five touchdown passes to four. Could this be the same league where Atlanta beat the Arizona Cardinals 6-3?

I've had some critical things to say about the NFL, but games like the one in Indianapolis make a believer out of this cynic.

TEAMS SURE TO FOLD:

Neither NHL commissioner Gary Bettman nor players' union boss Bob Goodenow will admit it, but as many as 10 teams could fold as a result of the lockout.

I wonder if Goodenow will level with his players and admit they stand to lose a lot of jobs. They're paying a big price for stubbornly refusing to accept a salary cap. The public is on the side of the owners and that also should give Goodenow reason to worry.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

If it's any consolation to Mike Weir, no one else is beating Vijay Singh, either.These days Singh is in a class by himself. No one, not even Tiger Woods, is close to Singh who has set a record for money won -- $9,455,566 US-- on his way to being the golfer of the year on the PGATour ... The world is indeed getting smaller. They draw 200,000 for a Grand Prix race in Shanghai, while Serena Williams wins the Chinese Open tennis tournament in Beijing. China is becoming a big player on the world stage.


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