Before the season started, I was given an idea for a blog topic from a friend of mine. The idea was to start a conversation of players I thought could be elite 2nd and 3rd options on championship teams but are currently a number one option on a meddling contender. Players like James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
The Western Conference is Top heavy with the likes of Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard. Not to mention, Lebron looking to make a run at his 5th NBA Title. The East in comparison may look easier to play in for some. But treadmill contenders like Boston, Miami, and Milwaukee have improved in the offseason and may provide a real threat.
Following the Nets blockbuster trade, the main point of comparison I am going to focus on now is James Harden’s impact as a second/third option compared to Giannis’ & Joel’s impact as a number 1 option.
The last time Harden was a 3rd option he would 6th man of the year in 2011-2012. We can expect a little more out of his stat lines as a number 3 with the Nets. I think we see him get about 15-20 shots a game on avg and put up around 25 points 8 rebound 8 Assists.
With KD and Kyrie showing out as an elite 1&2 punch early on this season. Harden is the talent that the roster needed to take it over the top. They have a chance to always have the best player on the floor. A championship in year one would be nice but should not be their only measure of success. The Nets have this core locked down for at least one more year before having to worry about resigning James Harden. That should give them more than enough time to iron out the normal wrinkle or 2 that occurs following massive roster shake ups. IF The Lakers & Nets do meet in the finals, I got The Nets in 7 games.
Below is a quick background of the Artists I have chosen to feature on my most recent playlist.
Jay Critch- Signed with Love – 11 songs 28 minutes
23-year-old upcoming artist out of Brooklynn. Jay Critch has been on the east coast rap scene for some years now. Currently he is signed under Interscope records via Rich the Kids Rich forever label imprint. If you enjoy Signed with love be sure to check out his 2018 album: Hood Favorite.
Songs on Playlist: Been That The Plan and Familiar
Stvsh – Unlocked ep. – 6 songs 16 minutes
Another young up and coming artist out of Brooklynn. Stvsh does a great job of blending 2 of the city’s most popular rapping styles. A combination of Brooklynn Trap and Melodic rap. The absences of any featured artists on this project allows for Stvsh’s unique style to shine. If you enjoy this short ep, then make sure to check out some of his other Projects; Commercial Crack & Live Fast Don’t Die Young.
Songs on the Playlist: Get Back, Coach Carter and Reel Em’ In
Pop Hunna – Mud baby – 10 songs 27 minutes
You may not know that name but if you follow Tik Tok or the NFL I am sure you have heard the hit single off this album. Adderall (Corvette Corvette) made popular by NFL wideout Juju Smith Schuster. Pop Hunna is a 20-year-old rapper out of Philadelphia, Pa and a man of many flows. If you enjoy Mud Baby be sure to check One Year Later. An album he released in January this year
Songs on the Playlist: Adderall remix, Nina and Take off remix
J Stone – Definition of pain -18 songs 57 minutes
This latest project from All money in rapper J stone is perfect for an hour-long gym or cardio session. Like the name implies you can hear the pain in every lyric. From losing his mom and brother at a very young age to being brought up by the Rollin 60s Crips in South Central, LA. If you enjoy his style of rapping be sure to check out his discography: Ground Zero and Definition of Loyalty.
Songs on the Playlist: All or Nothing, In the Air and Never Loved us
38 Spesh – Interstate 38 – 11 songs 31 minutes
One of the best storytellers in the rap game currently. 38 Spesh has flooded 2020, releasing 15 projects since the start of the year. With a unique voice and hard punchlines. If you enjoy boom bap rap but have not heard of 38. Do yourself a favor and check out the rest of his discography. Some of my favorite albums by him are: Stabbed & Shot and the 38 Laws of Powder.
Songs on the Playlist: Toll Booth, Stash Box and Under the table
Monster lines that came with an L
The Joker is his own worst enemy
Nba fantasy team owners would take this line night in and night out from Jokic if they could. 27 point 15 rebounds 14 ast and 3 blks. The only sore spot would be the 6 turnovers. The last of which led to the game winning tip in from the Kings Buddy Hield. The Nuggets came into this game as clear favorites and had the game in hand before it reached over time. In the extra frame on that last play, they were in a great position to win the game as well. The Joker’s partner in crime, Jamal Murray was nowhere to be found as he had fouled out of the game a couple possessions earlier. Jokic is a player to watch for the rest of the season. Known for starting slow. Maybe this quick turn around may help erase that from memory.
Do not Hate the Brodie but you might be able to blame him for this loss.
In true Russell Westbrook Fashion, he opened the 2020 season with a triple double. Doing so in only 3 quarters. Leading the Wizards to a 10-point lead over the 76ers heading into the 4th. But that is where the wheels fell off. The Wizards were outscored 40-24 in the quarter and ultimately ended up losing the game 113 to 107. Westbrook scored his last points with 4:02 left in the game. In what would be his last positive contribution to the Wizard winning efforts. With the game tied at 99 with 2:57 to go. The 76ers out scored the Wizards 14-9. For Westbrook and company although they were heavy underdogs coming into the game. I know this lost still stings as they had many chances to put this one away. This game has opened the door for Westbrook critics to push the stat padder narrative and after a lackluster closing effort like this I can not blame them.
Scary Terry stakes his claim to be the lead guard in Charlotte in a losing effort.
After coming out of the first quarter stuck 1 at 23-24, the Hornets allowed the Cavs to jump out to a 21-point lead at half. Losing the second Q 41-21. The Hornets completely controlled the pace of the game from that point on winning both the 3rd and 4th quarters by 8&6 points, respectively. If not for Terry’s 10 3 point makes and 42 points overall. This game would have gotten ugly fast. With Charlotte not making the playoffs last year and their only additions to their rotation being the 3rd overall Pick Lamelo Ball and former all-star Gordon Hayward. There is a clear battle for minutes, usage and shots at both the guard positions and as a result the small forward position as well. With 42-points, Scary Terry has marked his spot at the top of the ladder with Haywards 28 points and 120-million-dollar contract almost locked into second. Leaving the real battle to be had between 3rd year guard Devonte Graham and rookie Lamelo ball. Graham did not shoot the ball the best but was able to come away with a double-double (10 points & 10 Assists) in 37 minutes of action. Lamelo on the other hand was held scoreless but did come away with 2 stls that interestingly happened in the same sequence. A clear pecking order has started to form in Charlotte. Will be interesting to see if Lamelo and Graham can shake things up moving forward.
Monster Lines that came with a W
Brown Tatum and a bit of luck beat the Bucks.
The Celtics controlled the 2nd and 3rd quarters putting them in a spot to win late. Despite being out scored in the 4th 37-21. As a Bucks fan this one probably hurt to watch. Not only did Tatum take Giannis lunch money on the step back 3 to take the lead. When gifted a terrible foul by Tristan Thompson with .4 left. Giannis steps to the line and misses a free throw that would have sent the game to overtime. I doubt there will be many games this regular season where Giannas has 35 points 13 rebounds and 2 blks. Khris Middleton flirts with a triple double at 27 points 14 rebounds and 8 Assists. Then Jrue Holiday adds in 25 points and the Bucks go on to lose. The Celtics prized duo of Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown had other ideas. Scoring 63 points combined. With 30 points 7 rebounds 2 stls and a blk from Tatum. Then 33 points 5 rebounds 2stls and blk from brown. The Eastern Conference is going to be a bloodbath this season, with Kyrie and Hayward out of the picture in Boston it might be time for their 2 young stars to take that next step.
Will the Real Slim reaper please stand up!
Weathering the storm in the first half, Brandon Ingram came out like a man possessed to route the Toronto Raptors 113-99. Heading in the break stuck 7, B.I and company put on a shooting clinic and took Toronto to school. Being one rebound shy of a triple double, Ingram was a clear force to be reckoned with. Finding the open man with ease and their shooters; JJ reddick, Eric Bledsoe and Lonzo Ball made them most of it. To the tune of 11 assists for Brandon and a combined 14 made 3pts from those 3 alone. Matching the team total of the Raptors on 20 less attempts from deep. As good as the Raptors D has been under Nick Nurse. It is clear the team lives and dies by their perimeter shooting and perimeter D. Both leaving much to be desired in the second half. The Pelicans are loaded with talent and should be an interesting team to watch in a stacked Western Conference.
Trae being Trae.
Not much to say about this one as the game was over by halftime. Trae Young came out of the gates on fire. Scoring 37 points on 12 shots. Supplemented by him going a perfect 14 for 14 from the free throw line in 26 minutes. It is unfortunate that this game was not closer as we could have been in store for an all-time great performance. Having retooled in the offseason as well as at the trade deadline last season. the Eastern Conference should be on notice of this year’s Hawks!
2020 has been a year like no other. For me, my daily routine has been overhauled almost 100%. Instead of spending anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple hours a day in a commute to and from work. I am now working from home. Affording me that time back to do with it as I will. Not everyone may have been as lucky but that is even more of a reason to try and carve out a plan that will allow you to focus on your health and wellness at least 3-7 hours a week at minimum. This post is more directed at the people that are reading this looking for motivation to start / re start this journey for themselves. If you are already well on your way you may find an app or 2 that adds to your current plan / wellness needs.
First App on the List here is DownDog, they specialize in Yoga and Meditation. Although they do offer Hit and Barre workout apps as well. With over 60 000 possible class arrangements it will take you quite some time before you wear out all this app has to offer. As of 12/21/2020, they have made their app free until February so if you wanted to see if the full year subscription would be a good add to your wellness regiment. Now would be the time to hop in. The Full year is kind of expensive when compared to the industry counterparts, but they do frequently offer sales. Currently subscription costs $79.99 for a year up front or $13.99 per month otherwise. If you enjoy yoga it is well worth the investment. If you are more of a beginner to yoga, there will be other options on this list than may fit your needs for a more reasonable price.
Next App I would recommend is the Charity Mile app that has the apps sponsors support a charity of your choice based on the KM and Miles your log. On iPhone, it automatically connects to the phone’s GPS and wellness apps. Working very similarly on android devices depending on the make and model. Also, you can manually sync the app to any other fitness tracking apps on your phone so that you can manually input indoor activities like treadmill running or riding on a stationary bike. You can also set up pledge programs and workplace competitions if you were looking to use the app on a larger scale for charitable contributions.
If you are looking for a gate way into your own fitness journey the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App is a good place to start. App is 100% free and provides workouts ranging from 7 minutes up to 21 minutes. All the programs are flexible and can be tailored to your current fitness level. Allowing you to like exercises. After you have used the app for a while you can create smart workouts based off your favorite moments. The app does have some limitations as some workouts may be solely focused on one side of the body. This app is not the best for long term fitness goals or for heavy body building but is a perfect gateway to upping your basic fitness level.
Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club
Like the J&J app, both the Nike Run Club (NRC) and the Nike Training Club (NTC) are completely free. The NRC normally has a premium area, but the company has made this feature free during COVID-19. The NTC also offers a wide range of healthy eating recipes as well as access to yoga & meditations lessons. Both apps sync with each other and most if not all fitness tracking accessories (Apple watch or Fitbit). Their interface is really user friendly and provides top quality instructional videos. Perfect for those that enjoy doing 30-day challenges or those trying to hold them self accountable while the gyms in your area are on lockdown
The last app on my list is Strava. The Perfect app for the competition junkie as Strava uses heat maps and location data to create leaderboards for popular routes in your area. Like the Nike training apps listed above, Strava allows you to sync with your fitness accessories and other fitness tracking apps (Charity Mile) effortlessly. Although some of the app’s best features, like Suffer Score and indoor training videos do require you to subscribe either a month at a time ($9.99 CAD) or annually ($83.88 CAD). One thing to be aware of, is that Strava does opt you into automatically sharing data from the moment you join. They do provide safety features that allow you to hide the starting point of your activities in a radius of your choice and allow you to hide your last name. Among many others but they do need to be turned on manually.
This year has been tough on a lot of people. For me, being active and focusing on my personal wellness journey has helped me deal with the mental health challenges more effectively when they do arise. I am hoping I can provide you with some resources to get you started on a journey of your own.
Signing off ,
This week’s album drops are controlled mostly by the underground scene of rap and hip hop. Before you jump out the roof at me and say the people I have listed are not underground. Please keep in mind Eminem also released Music to be Murdered to, B side. It is a Deluxe version of the album he released under the same name earlier this year. All these artists in comparison I would consider underground because they would not be widely known to people outside of their respective fan bases. I have not listened to Music to Be Murdered to, A Side but if you like Eminem’s style of rapping you should be able to find a project from this list you find just as enjoyable.
Mack Dizzle is coming out of the east side of Toronto with a 9 song 26-minute project called Thinking Out Loud. This album is filled with tons of old school R&B samples. This collection is perfect for the person looking to lock into some desk work or just clearing their mind. The most noticeable feature on the ep would have to be the new verse from fallen rapper Bvlly (Long Live Bvlly). This album feels like Mack Dizzle is paying Homage to the Friend he lost. You can feel the pain in the lyrics. The first track that stood out for me was Second Story Diaries where Mack breaks down the promises he made to Bvlly before he passed. Next was the song Covid-19 where he preaches safe practices to the boys that are still running the streets during the pandemic. Last song that stuck with me was the outro that had Bvlly Featured on the song. Like Mack goes into earlier in the Album. Bvlly was fresh off a meeting with Atlantic Records before he was murdered. Leads one to believe the age-old sentiment that Toronto people hate to see people make it out. The bonus track on the album, Outta Town Freestyle really left me wanting for more Mack Dizzle music and I am excited to see what this young man can contribute to Toronto Music in the future.
Next Album on the list here is Sniper Gang artist out of Florida, Jack boy with his Project – Love Me While I am Here. LMWIH is loaded with a ton of industry features. Appearances from the likes of Tyga, Kodak Black, Juelz Santanna and 42 Dugg among many others. Jack Boy does a great job on this project of making sure we know that he has his own style independent of that of Kodak Black, his label boss. With most of the songs on this project being high tempo, it is perfect for playing in the car or while working out. In my opinion it is his best body of work to date. With the run time being 51 minutes and 18 songs deep, I can understand if you do not have the time to commit to the whole project. Especially if you are new to Jack boy as an artist. The standout tracks for me are Killin A Sport, Devil in my Head, Pressure Bust Pipes, Own My Masters, Hear me crying and No love. This album is a great balance between expressing his pain from growing up in and around the streets. To street anthems that celebrate the progress he has been able to make in the industry and for his family.
Up Next for me this week was Hood life Krisis vol 3 by up and comer J.I. The Prince of NY. Like his names suggest, J.I is out of New York and if you have not heard Vol 1 and 2 of these projects, I advise you to go back and listen to them. Like Vol 3 they are very concise projects. With vol 3 being 7 songs and 22 minutes long. Filled top to bottom with Bangers. Including homage to his Puerto Rican heritage with reggaeton song Suficiente. After listening to one or more songs by J.I you may think to yourself that his sound is very similar to A Boogie wit da Hoodie. Another popular melodic rapper out of the same city that made the style famous. Ironically, A Boogie is the only feature on this album as well, appearing on track 2, R&B Shit. For me, this album is perfect for a late-night car ride or if you need something to listen to while out for a run or on the treadmill. This collection is best consumed from top to bottom in one listen. If that is not your style or you simply do not have time. The tracks I would recommend you add to your playlists are Letter 2 u, What It’s Like and Calling out.
Finally, Crime Scenes by Ransom and Nicholas Craven is perfect for the real Rap fan. As Ransom lyrically dissects all 21 minutes of this 7-song project over heavy instrumentation. With 3 features from underground lyricist Stove God Cooks out of Syracuse, New York. Ransom has been a staple in the East Coast rap scene since the early 2000s and has kept his foot on the scene’s neck since. Combined with Canadian producer Nicholas Craven out of Montreal, Quebec. The perfect collection to put you in the zone before a big sporting event or just to help you get locked in for a big performance. If you like Gangster rap and drug dealing music this is the project for you. My favorite tracks off the album was a hard call as I love it all but if I had to choose, I would go with Good Times, 25th Hour, The Rite and A Most Violent Year. If you enjoy this project be sure to check out both Ransom and Nicholas Craven’s collections as they have been in the game a long time and have a wide selection of music to pull from.
If you listen to any of these projects and songs and find one you do enjoy, let me know and share this post with a friend!
As of last night, the word went out that the Cleveland Baseball team will change their name and logo going forward. In 2020 this has been something of a hot button issue finally. with the Washington football team doing the same earlier this year. Once their top sponsors and merchandise distributors said they would cut ties if no actions were taken. I want to use this moment to take a deep dive into the history of both franchises. In my opinion, what should have been an incentive to change the names years ago is a silver lining for the front offices and owners who have gas lit the public into believing that their franchises have little to no ties to racism or bigotry at all.
Washington Football Team
Not much to say here, around 1937 the team changed its name to the Redskins, but it was not until 1961 that the owner reluctantly integrated his team with players of colour. Including Native Americans. So how can you expect us to believe that the name change was done out of admiration vs contempt. Also, it was not until Walmart said they would stop selling their merch and Fedex said they would strip their branding and support. Among many other scandals with the Football team’s front office that they conceded to a name change in June of 2020.
Since the change the ownership has since said they will not update their name from the Washington football team due to popularity. It is almost a sick joke to the people that fought so hard for this name change to happen but were told that there was nothing wrong with it or that it would be too hard to rebrand the franchise and all of its holdings.
In 1914 then owner Charles Somers put forward the idea to change the teams name from the Cleveland Naps. Following the departure of their First super star Napoleon Lajoie. After much discussion they locked in on the team name “Indians” in what they would call homage to the Cleveland Spiders who played in the city from 1898 -1899 and were given that nickname by fans due to having Native American player Louis Sockalexis,, who some say may have been the first Native American player to play in major league baseball. Although there are many conflicting reports. In the present day they will try to sell you on this idea but news publications from that day make no references to Sockalexis for the name change but rather say many derogatory statements about him and others of the same bloodline.
Fast forward to 1948 just months after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier. Cleveland became the second team to integrate a black player on their team, Larry Doby. Also, they became the first team to add a second in Negro League super star Satchel Paige. Making him the oldest rookie in MLB history at 46. At the time many thought this may have been done in a public stunt as Cleveland was able to draw around 70-78k fans at home following these changes. Not to mention that the team went on to Win the World Series that year. Becoming the first team to win with a black player on its roster, The last such in the team’s history. Almost 10 years before Jackie Robinson was able to win with the Dodgers.
In 2014 ,Major league baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he has never heard of any negative complaints about the logo , almost ignoring the court case that happened Right before he took the position in 1998. That had a group of Native American Protesters protest the name and logo of the team during the 1997 world series. Team Officials even went as far to say that their protest had nothing to do with the issues of the logo & team name and complained that they damaged a tree in the area the protest took place and had them arrested.
Regardless of all that is mentioned above, people that grew up sports fans of these teams are committed to these teams beyond their racist past because they love the sport and or the players that the team employees. The market to make a ton of money off these re brands have always been there. In moments that will follow this announcement, do not allow racist baseball historians to dilute this moment in history by saying we are removing black history from baseball with this name change. Because that is simply not true.
Many people have fought for this change and I am glad it is finally happening.
IF you are a big fan of either rapper, the title probably drew you here to see what the hell I am talking about. Some of the main issues I had with both albums is that Jack Harlow’s Album was 2 short and way 2 slow for the type of songs I enjoy from him (Tyler Herro). On the Flip Side for the Cudi Album within 9 songs of the 20-song album. I had a hard time staying focused because it felt like he was just humming on every track. Like the problem people like Da baby have where their patented sound may be a little over played for some.
While I am not here to sway your opinions. I am here to put you onto some projects you may not have listened to or found on your own. Let me know what you think or if you plan on adding any of these songs to your playlists.
The first album that I really enjoyed this week is by Toronto Artist Pressa. Gardiner Expressway is his first album of 2020. Pressa uses the 18-minute run time of the album as a street diary. With a lot of pure rapping and not many hooks. Noticeable features on the Album include New York drill rapper Sheff G, Viral Brooklyn artist Flip Dinero and Kodak Black’s right-hand man Jack boy. If you are not interested in playing the whole album, I would make sure you check out these 3 tracks. In my opinion they are the standouts from the project: Out the Mud, Head Tap and Dracula.
Second Album that hit the spot for me this week was Merlot by Maxwell Hunter. Its 7 songs and about 24 minutes in total run time. MaxWell takes a classic R&B approach and lays out his heart break and how he copes from moving on from one of the loves of his life. This album is so heavy with instrumentation, with 2 songs being almost all instruments and no vocals. When he is singing, he floats over the piano and saxophone like not many others. My go to songs from this project must be Got to know, Cynthia, Lush and Velvet Days.
The next album I really enjoyed is ZayStreet by Young Scooter and Zaytoven. The Atlanta Natives teamed up to bring the Streets 12 new anthems running about 38 minutes in total. This project is loaded from top to bottom with industry features. So, if you are into Atlanta Trap music, there has to be at least one song that you will love off this project. Appearances from the likes of 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Future and Chief Keef just to name a few. If you are familiar with Futures Catalog at all this album gives me Astronaut Status 1 Feels. Due to all the melodic, auto tune sounding rapping over heavy trap beats. This album is a bit longer than the 2 listed above so if you were looking for a couple bangers to add to your Serato look no further than Black Migo , Trap slow, Pound Packing , Pressure and Beat Cry.
This album may be my favorite of the week. The Album being Vory by Vory. The project is 15 songs and runs 41 minutes long. I would classify this as an alternative R&B album since he does rap quite a bit. Although most of the album is him singing over Heavy Trap drums. This project was a real coming of age for Vory as he expresses his regrets for how a mutually toxic relationship ended and reflects on the things he should have done differently. There is only one noticeable feature on this album coming from Meek Mill on Ain’t it Funny. The songs that I think are a must listen to off this project are his side, Bad guy, cc interlude, Harder than pain and Lil Benny.
The last album I have from you is from one of my new finds of 2020. Real bad Boldy is by Boldly James, a lyrical rapper from Atlanta, Georgia. Produced by Real Bad Man, a collective out of Los Angeles known for making street wear and fire beats. Conversely from the trap album I listed above that is out of Georgia. Boldly is really rapping. Similarly, to Pressa he uses the 10 song, 30-minute run time album to reflect on old times and let people know he is the man in the streets now. Real Bad Man provides unique production combining tons of guitar, drums and horns creating a sound that reflects well to the Coast they are from. This project is loaded with underground features. The most noticeable being Stove God Cooks on Thousand Pills. That song is included with some of the other standouts on this project: Failed Attempt, Held me Down, Street Shit and Champion. If you enjoyed this Tape from Boldy be sure to check out The Price of Tea in China that dropped earlier in 2020.
That is all I got for yall this week, if you enjoyed any of my selections tune back into my blog next week for some more undercover finds.
With the Federal government announcing the first round of COVID-19 Vaccines should be available for the most at-risk populations. I would like to take stock at how Canada, and the province of Ontario have done in their response to the. I will be looking at 3 main things: The current state of the Job market, The Travel restrictions for Canadians and the current state of the long-term care home crisis.
Cerb should be converted to a Universal Basic Income type payment.
First, a major indicator I will be looking at is the Stalling Job market. According to stats can. Employment numbers were on the rise in November at a rate of .3% for the nation and .5% for the Province of Ontario. This is compared to the avg rate of 2.7 % growth from May to September. This Stall can be explained when you consider the effect of the new public health measures put in place in many parts of the Country. Specifically, Toronto and Manitoba. Although there has been some promising growth in Construction, transportation, and warehousing. With the Province of Ontario adding 28000 jobs to those sectors in Nov.
Many young adults that had their Student debt frozen by the government, have had to start repaying again as of September 1.While being un-able to get in contact with the National loan center due to call volume (Link) Not to mention that due to the unclear messages presented to Canadians about the eligibility requirements of Cerb. Canadians are now being asked to repay that loan in full by the last day of 2020. Resulting in up to $14,000 for some heading into the holidays. Many of these people may still be without work. Leading to many left wing socialist groups calling for recovery assistance in the form of a Universal Basic Income. More info found here
I would walk 500 miles
With all the imposing of local restrictions done by the provincial government of Ontario, you would think that Travel outside of the province, let alone country would be up for debate. In Atlantic Canada you could not travel into any of those provinces without applying to get in first. As for the rest of Canada the federal government has advised against nonessential out of province travel. But if in instance you do find yourself out of province you have been asked to quarantine for 14 days upon your return. The same can be said for traveling outside of Canada altogether. If the lack of Travel is really getting you down feel free to check out this link of Countries accepting Canadians and their terms upon entry. Just keep in mind the price and availability of travel insurance are dependent on the co-vid numbers in the country you are traveling to. Also, you will still be required to quarantine on your arrival back to Canada. The Question must be asked why the airlines are able to stay operating while many small and medium sized businesses are fighting for their lives?
Long term care is still in shambles and the Ontario government is profiting from it.
Much has transpired in the world of Long term care homes since I wrote. CALLING FOR LEADERSHIP – OUR LONG TERM CARE IS IN CRISIS But not much has changed. As can be seen by the lack of action at both the Federal and Provincial levels of governments.
Just taking a look at the live updated statistics from the government of Ontario’s website outlining the devastating impact the COVID-19 has had on the long term care homes of the province. Premier Ford has continually hesitated to act when condemning for pay long term care homes that do not comply with the provinces COVID-19 regulations. Provincial long term care minster Dr. Merrilee has gone further to say that she would like to pass the buck to local health officials in terms of restrictions for the long-term care homes in their jurisdictions. The Same can be said of Justin Trudeau and the Federal government.
In response to the NDP’s outcry for more trained workers and more hours of care per person in long term care. The Ford Government created a new job title that allows Long term Care homes to bring on temporary un-trained workers (Resident support aides) at minimum wage to help. When the call was for more trained professionals and a pay raise to better reflect the important work, they are doing.
The Minster of Long-Term Care in Ontario has done little to nothing in terms of leadership. Combined with the fact that the Ford Government has received $30,000 from For Pay Long term care lobbyists. Ontario has far more for pay homes than any other Province or Territory in the country. To make matters worse all of those lobbyists have worked or been connected to the Ford Government in one way or another. The purpose of these lobbyist positions is to help keep the public interest in mind and to be advocates of the Long-term care workers and Residents. When in all reality that has been the exact opposite of what is currently happening.
The Take away
At every turn and every opportunity both the Ontario provincial Government and the Federal Government have failed to keep the best interest of their constituencies in mind when making policy choices. While on the flip side the leaders on the far left have been advocating for the average and hard-working Canadians and Ontarians. Please Keep that in mind the next time an election comes around and these very same politicians start making campaign promises. Please remember who chose big business over the common Canadian. Do not forget that the leaders of the NDP and Green Parties will continue to fight for you even if you do not support them. The same can not always be said about the Conservative parties & Liberal parties of Ontario and Canada.
With the Blue Jays Playing the COVID-19 shortened season at their AAA facilities in Buffalo, and the team exploring the idea of a major renovation with a target budget of around 250-400 Million dollars. It makes sense that the conversation has now shifted to think about the idea of creating a smaller baseball specific stadium with all the workings of a state-of-the-art MLB facility. The current idea that is proposed is to rebuild the new stadium on the site of the old one. While turning the extra space into commercial and residential real estate. According to media sources , The team plans to partner with Brookfield Asset management, which according to their website is an “ alternative asset manager with over $575 billion in assets. “
Although their plan is to complete this project with private funding. That could change quickly. With real interest being focused on the firms and the contractors that would win the tenders for supplies, equipment and workers. Do they leverage people locally vs province wide vs Nationwide? Does the Construction and subsequent demolition get completed on time? What effect will all this construction have on traffic in the downtown core as a whole? Will there be a bid for stadium rights, or will it be done by private invite only again? Also, with Toronto in the midst of an affordable housing crisis while a record number of condos and rental units remain empty. Is it really a good idea to create more luxury and high price real estate in the City? With the stadium name rights market back in prime spot. Will they sell the naming rights to the new stadium or name it after Ted Rogers again. As a 20-year naming rights deal could help pay for the construction almost in full. Before getting too deep into those questions, lets take a trip through the history of the Jays home stadiums for context.
The “Mistake by the Lake”
The site of the Blue Jays First stadium, the CNE grounds was originally used in 1879. By the time the Jays moved in by 1977, the stadium had burnt down and had been rebuilt 3 times. Costing about 15 million paid by the City and the province for the latest upgrade to make the stadium up to MLB standards. Housing 54k for baseball. Granted most of those seats were only offered for playoff games and teams with larger draws. Due to them being around 850 feet from home plate. The stadium had tons of problems protecting both the players and fans from the elements. So much so that during the Blue Jays Home opener on April 4th, 1977, they had to borrow Zambonis’ from the Toronto Maple Leafs to clear the field of snow.
Due to the position of the stadium, with it being so close to Lake Ontario. Coupled with the amount of food waste left after games, it made the grounds a prime site for seagulls. Fast forward to 1983 where Yankees player David Wright was arrested for killing a seagull by mistake when he threw a ball to a ball boy and it hit a Seagull in the head. The nail in the coffin for Exhibition stadium was a year earlier during the 70th Grey cup. Fans were forced to watch the game from the concourse and to make matters worse the washrooms started to overflow. The game was watched on TV by over 7 million Canadians. A Canadian broadcast record at the time. Leading to the people of Toronto to take to the streets the following day. Demanding a dome be built to avoid situations like this. In 1983 Premier Davis set up a committee with the purpose of putting a dome of the site of the Exhibition Stadium. In 1984, 7 acres of land at the foot of the CN tower was donated for a dome to be built and in 1986 the ground was broken on the “SkyDome”. Exhibition Stadium was destroyed in 1999, only a decade after the opening of SkyDome.
The construction of the SkyDome took about 2.5 years from 1986-1989 completed by Dominion Bridge Company out of Quebec And Ellis Don out of London. To the price tag of $570 million Canadian. Which present day is equal to about 1 billion dollars! This time the construction was paid for by a combination of private and public funding. Both the City of Toronto and the province contributed 30 million each. As well as 5 million a piece from the Labatt’s,Molson, and Carling O’Keefe breweries and the Blue Jays. Lastly 26 other private Canadian companies by invite only bought into the project at the same price tag. For their contribution they received a SkyBox with 4 parking spaces on a ten-year contract. As well as a 99-year exclusion option on stadium advertising.
From the start of this project many questions were raised. No public tender was held for supplies or equipment. Also, the 26 contracts handed out to companies like CIBC and TSN were not put up for bid. Leaving money on the table. At the time of its creation it was the first stadium with a retractable motorized roof and a 300 plus room hotel. With 70 rooms that overlooked the playing field. When the Dome first opened a couple was caught on the jumbotron fornicating during the baseball game. Days later a man was caught masturbating during a game in full view of the fans. As he thought the windows were one-way windows. Last such instance happened in 1996. Also, SkyDome was also the last stadium built for both Baseball and Football. As well as hosting regular season games for every major sport outside of the NHL.
By 1998, Labatt who at the time owned 49% of the stadium filed for bankruptcy and in 1999 the Sportsco International Lp bought the Stadium out of Bankruptcy Protection for 80 million. The Hotel attachment was sold to Renaissance for 31 million. 5 years later, Blue Jays Parent company, Rogers communications acquired the Dome for about 25 million. Roughly 4% of the construction costs. 3 Months Later the Name of the dome was Changed to the Rogers Center. In addition to the name Change. Rogers heavily invested in the upgrade of the Dome. As well as a new Field Turf. The building was home to both the Toronto Blue Jays and Argos but in 2016. The Argos relocated to Bmo Fields. With the hope that the Rogers Center would install a natural grass playing field. As of 2020, the Blue Jays are 1 of 2 teams to have never played a home game on natural grass.
Like the plan to build the SkyDome on the CNE grounds in 1984. This idea of tearing down the Rogers Center to rebuild it on the same site will be short lived. If they do come to terms with building one a new site. They would be able to build and demolish the old stadium simultaneously. With the possibility they could even play in the Rogers Center or in the ballpark in Buffalo. Until the new building is ready. Depending on where COVID-19 is this spring and if there is a AAA baseball season.
I know this is a long shot, but Durham would be the best spot if not only for a temporary place to play. Out of the President’s Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark. But to Move the Blue Jays home permanently to Durham. Either on the same grounds as mentioned above or in an area in and around the new Pickering Casino that was just built. Granted either choice would cause a major increase in local traffic. Something many Ajax and Pickering residents may be against. With upgrades just finished at both Ajax and Pickering GO train stations I think it can be achieved logistically from a fan standpoint. When the SkyDome First opened, The TTC allowed game tickets to be treated as a metro pass for that day. Something similar could be done in this situation as well.
But it cannot go without saying that 2 stadiums that were funded by local Torontonians and Ontarians. Have failed to last more than 25 years. When during their inception they were touted as state of the art in their design and execution. Buildings like Old Yankee Stadium and Fenway park can stay functioning well into 70 plus years of use. Although those stadiums are more of the exception than the rule. With the idea of another billion dollars being thrown into a construction project. I would hope that this time, wherever the Stadium is built , that it lasts for at least 40-50 years before it becomes so behind the times it hinders the franchises ability to sign players and to throw concerts in their own building.
Signing it off ,
Heading into the dark winter months with a pending lock-down in toe for many areas around Canada and around the world. Whether you are looking to break personal lifting records or just working out the sake of basic physical and mental health. Here is a list of 5 solid items that add instant value and are relatively cost effective. These items can be a great addition to your home gym collection.Especially if you have the space for one at home. Even if you do not , all these items can be easily transported and used in public outdoor spaces.
Over the 2 weeks it took me to publish this. The price of the first item on the list went from $40 to over $100. Get in at the ground floor with the rest of the list before the rest of the industry catches up
- Battle Ropes –
- Great for Cardio and Endurance training.
- Can be used in the warm-up and The cool-down phases of resistance lifts.
- Indoor and outdoor use
- The target price is 40-60$ for 30 feet in length and 1.5 inches in diameter.
- Currently back ordered so the price is in the $100s
- Sample Exercises
- Gymnastic rings –
- Can be used for push, pull and leg exercises.
- Great for improving Bodyweight strength.
- Easy to set up at home or in public.
- Target Price is 35-55$
- Sample Exercises
- Agility Ladder and cones
- Sand Bags
- Great and cost-effective substitute for kettlebells and traditional weights.
- Wide range of workouts available
- Sample Exercises
- Target Price $40-$60
- Speed Bands
- Great for adding extra resistance to simple body weight movements.
- Cost effective ( Target Price $20-$35)
- Easy to use
- Sample Exercises
With the 5 items listed above you can create a work out plan that challenges even some of the more seasoned athletes.Even if it is just 1-2 items off this list. If you need help with creating or finding a workout centered around 1 or more of these items let me know. I have tons of E books and programs in my archives.