Mike Babcock is through his first exhibition season as the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished the show-me schedule with five straight losses. As Steve Simmons wrote in the Toronto Sun: “Do you get the feeling Randy Carlyle and Ron Wilson are watching the Leafs from afar and thinking: ‘Been there, done that, never got paid like that.’?” . . . Does anyone who is behind the wheel of a pickup truck drive within 10 kilometres per hour of the speed limit? . . . “The Hot New Thing every quarterback has to have: eye discipline,” Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. “How do QBs develop that? I don’t know. Take their wives to the beach?” . . .
Headline at SportsPickle.com: Jonathan Papelbon arrested after strangling man with 17 grocery items in ‘15 items or less’ line. . . . “Who knew,” asks Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “that Papelbon-Harper would turn out to be far more riveting than Mayweather-Pacquiao?” . . . “Paul Pierce, about to start his 18th season in the NBA, says he will probably retire if the Clippers win the championship,” Hough notes.“So wonder where Pierce hopes to play in 2016-17?” . . .
Here’s Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press: “Employees wear red at Tiger Woods' new Jupiter, Fla., restaurant on Sunday so they can be like him. Then, shouldn't they get weekends off?” . . . Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is injured again and, as Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen points out, he “is threatening Evel Knievel's Guinness world record for most broken bones.” . . . Baseball fan Frank Vignuli went to Yankee Stadium the other night and ended up paying $22 for two beer in commemorative cups. As he told the New York Post: “I know why they’re commemorative, because I’ll never forget that I paid $22 for two Bud Lights.” . . .
“At the United Nations, in a heated clash with Vladimir Putin,” reports Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent, “President Obama assured the Russian president that there would be no American boots on the ground in the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse.” . . . In Cleveland, there were reports that some Browns were upset that Johnny Manziel isn’t starting over Josh McCown, who apparently said he “had to ask someone what TMZ was.” As Littlejohn notes, McCown “thought it was some place in Korea.” . . . With a court’s decision having been reversed, U.S. national women’s soccer team goalkeeper Hope Solo again is facing domestic abuse charges. Littlejohn reports that “she also has been signed to play the Ashley Judd character in a remake of Double Jeopardy.” . . .
You may have heard of the guy who burglarized a home near Kamloops and was found sitting on a couch watching TV and eating a meal he had prepared. He also fed the cats, shaved, showered and took some meat out of the freezer to thaw. As Richmond, B.C. blogger TC Chong reports: “Police were called because he didn’t take out the garbage.” . . . Conan O’Brien took note of that goof with this: “A man in Canada has pled guilty to trespassing into a home, doing laundry, and feeding the owner’s cats. The man is being described by authorities as ‘marriage material.’” . . .
Is it safe to say that baseball’s playoff-clinching celebrations have jumped the shark? . . . If you don’t think so, consider that the New York Mets are selling the empty champagne bottles, and the corks, used in their NL East-clinching celebration. . . . The NHL season hasn’t even started yet and already I am seeing stuff on social media about Connor McDavid being “possibly better than (Sidney) Crosby.” Just thinking out loud here, but perhaps we should wait until, say, Nov. 1 before anointing McDavid as the new king. . . . “How high are expectations in Edmonton for the NHL’s No. 1 draft pick?” asks RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “This season local McDonald’s outlets will be called McDavid’s.” . . . Currie, again: “An extra point try in a Texas high-school football game caromed off a referee’s head and through the uprights. Who was the ref, Jose Canseco?” . . .
If you are planning on visiting the Kamloops area, here are a couple of driving tips: (1) On twinned highways, the left lane belongs to visitors from Alberta; (2) Be careful going around curves because B.C. drives love to hug the double-yellow line. . . . You’re welcome. . . . “Commencing tomorrow,” writes Ron Judd of the Seattle Times, “America will bomb Syria on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Russia will bomb Syria on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Sundays are reserved for worship/reloading. Please adjust your Outlook reminders accordingly.” . . .
How potent is the Toronto Blue Jays’ offence? According to comedy writer Alan Ray: “They’ve put up more crooked numbers than a Volkswagen emissions tester.” . . . Here’s Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com after another injury to a prominent member of the Chicago Bulls: “Derrick Rose is having surgery to correct a . . . oh, what difference does it make at this point? Broken bones actually leap into his body, and we will read this sentence forever.” . . . “The Texas Longhorns got penalized 16 times for 128 yards in last Saturday’s 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Or as Horns rivals gleefully call it, the yellow woes of Texas.”
(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter.com/gdrinnan. Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)