SCATTER: My random column on random thoughts

So the Blue Jays are alone in 1st in the AL East…

Troy Tulowitzki celebrates his 3-run home run against Tampa August 10, 2016

Troy Tulowitzki celebrates his 3-run home run against Tampa August 10, 2016

It only took 4 months but the Jays have opened a one-game lead on Baltimore thanks to taking 2 of 3 against Tampa (was lucky enough to take in last night’s 7-0 thumping) while the Orioles, who are now 9 games under .500 on the road (see my post last week) have lost the first 3 of 4 in Oakland this week.  With Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista on the DL, the next week is a critical one for this team as they hit the road to face the Yankees and Indians.  It’s important for the Jays to have a respectable road trip, something made more difficult with a weaker offensive lineup.  While you can argue Upton for Pillar is a wash,  the loss of Bautista reduces the intimidation factor for opposing pitchers, and you can’t replace that.  Speaking of pitchers, it’s surreal that JA Happ is the majors’ 1st 16 game winner.  With an ERA under 3, he’s now in the Cy Young Award conversation.  He was brought in to replace Mark Buehrle, but is pitching like 2015 David Price.

Why our women are doing so well at the Olympics…

The four medals Canadian women have won in Rio have surprised all observers. In fact, all six of our medals have been won by female athletes.  But it surprises me slightly that media types haven’t picked up on the fact that the reason behind our female success is a broader one than just funding, coaching or proper practice venues like the Pan-Am pool in Toronto.  This is culturally based.  Canada as much as any other country in the world treats female athletics near or on par with male-dominated sports.  Female athletes are encouraged and their level of competition respected by Canadians on the whole.  These, as much as anything, are factors that can only breed success, and we should, as a nation, be proud of that.

That said, here’s hoping the likes of Graham DeLaet, and Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil get our men on the board in the next few days.

Something has to give…

The Maple Leafs are close to the salary cap and if they sign Hobey Baker award winner Jimmy Vesey when he becomes a free agent Monday, a roster move is inevitable (see my previous post The Vesey Factor).  James Van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul have been linked in recent days to New Jersey and Anaheim by online rumour sources.  As my previous column stated, JVR certainly would generate the most return for the Leafs, and he and Vesey play the same position. Mike Babcock didn’t get to see a lot of JVR last year due to injury, but what he did see he had to like.  However, the cap rules, and he may be the easiest to move.  .

Toronto’s forgotten teams

While Blue Jays fever is in full flight, the co-tenants at BMo Field are having very respectable seasons themselves.  Toronto FC is just a point out of first in the MLS East, while the Argos are in the same boat (couldn’t resist the pun) in the CFL East.  As with the Blue Jays, the next month will be critical for FC and the Argos.  Contenders or pretenders?  Can FC overcome their history of failure and late collapses? Can the Argos win consistently without the injury-prone Ricky Ray? We’ll see very soon.