Flavour Revolution – Maraschino Cherry

Spit Take

Maraschino Cherries lack a pit, which is a bit of a shame. As a youngster, I loved spitting cherry pits out the car window on road trips and that thrill would simply be missing with the Maraschino variety. While my spitting was pure pleasure, these incidents led to much harm for all involved:

Roberto Alomar – Baltimore Orioles

When Alomar was up for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the only real knock against him was the spitting incident that had long-tarnished his reputation. At the end of the 1996 season, Alomar was arguing with umpire John Hirschbeck, when he spit in the official’s face. Alomar claimed Hirschbeck had used a racial slur against him and went so far as to say the umpire was bitter over the death of one of his kids. The two eventually made peace, with Alomar doing charity work for ALD research, the illness that claimed Hirschbeck’s child and Hirschbeck fully endorsing Alomar’s Hall of Fame appointment.

Invisible Spitters

Keith Hernandez – Seinfeld

In one of the greatest scenes ever from the popular “show about nothing,” Kramer and Newman take the audience through their experience after a Mets baseball game, where they claim they were spit on by star player Keith Hernandez. Using visuals that resemble the famous Zapruder footage from the JFK assassination, it is deduced by Jerry that there must have been a second spitter, a la the second shooter conspiracy theory, which is part of the JFK murder folklore. Interestingly, actor Wayne Knight, who played Newman, appeared in a similar scene in the 1991 movie JFK.

Roger Waters – Pink Floyd

During a concert in Montreal (us Canadians cause all the world’s problems!) on July 6, 1977, in front of about 80,000 fans, Waters spit in the face of one audience member. What spurned the Pink Floyd frontman to do this, you ask? Well, concert goers were lighting firecrackers, throughout the band’s performance, particularly during quiet sections of the show. It has long been thought that the events of this concert inspired Waters to create his concept for The Wall, which brought the band a whole new level of fame. So, at least they turned a negative into a positive!

Llama-Selfie

Bret Hart – World Wrestling Entertainment

When Hart’s more than a decade long relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation and its owner Vince McMahon went sour in 1997, one of the lasting images from the acrimonious split – in which McMahon and other officials changed the planned ending of Hart’s championship title defense against challenger Shawn Michaels – was Hart launching a loogie at the face of McMahon and scoring a direct hit. The entire incident was dubbed the Montreal Screw Job (wow, a lot of spitting happens in Montreal) and it took many years before fences were mended between both sides.

Frank Rijkaard – Holland

There seems to be a lot of spitting in the football world. So much so, in fact, that there are Top 10 lists on the subject. The most infamous, likely due to happening at the 1990 World Cup (the sport’s biggest tournament and event) involved Frank Rijkaard of Holland spitting in the hair of Rudi Voller of West Germany, not once, but twice. Rijkaard also twisted the ear of Voller and stomped on his foot. That is one pissed off Dutch dude. Somehow, the result was both men getting ejected from the game. Rijkaard later apologized, but the German press had already given him the nickname ‘Llama’!

Flavour Revolution: Vida Verde

Vida Verde

  • Muddle Cucumber and Mint
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Cucumber Slice

Maraschino Cherries are the perfect topping on cocktails to ice cream sundaes and everything in between (even baked hams). In fact, these fruits are so good as the final touch, that if you have a few good things happen to you, a smaller, nicer occurrence, might be called the “cherry on top”! Just like when you’re having a decent day and you wrap things up by reading The Sip Advisor…

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There’s a lot going on with this cocktail and it’s all good! The drink is very refreshing thanks to the Cucumber-Mint combo and there’s both sweet and sour to be had. A very enjoyable sipping experience!

May 30 – Jet Fuel

Franchise Faces

With the recent controversy over the Washington Redskins team name, that got me thinking long and hard (heh, long and hard!) about franchise monikers and where they came from. Today, I want to look at teams that share a common name. In that process, we’ll decide which team lays claim to the name based on factors such as years in existence, success, superstars, etc. Of course, teams that leave one city and relocate to another, playing under the same nickname, don’t count. This also applies to minor league teams that share their affiliates handle. So, on with the list:

#5: Cardinals – St. Louis (MLB), Arizona (NFL)

Bird species are a popular name for teams in all the major sports, but Cardinals is the only one that is shared by two franchises and this duel isn’t too hard to sort out. The St. Louis club has existed for over 130 years, known as the Cardinals since 1900. In their long history, they have won 11 World Series Titles, 19 National League Pennants, and 20 MVP awards. They even have 17 Hall of Fame players to their legacy. Arizona, on the other hand, has enjoyed far less success, although they were also established over 100 years ago, even playing for a time in St. Louis. Their only championships came long before the modern day NFL, in 1925 and 1947. Winner: St. Louis

Cardinals

#4: Oilers – Edmonton (NHL), Houston/Tennessee (NFL)

Currently, both teams are trying to work their way out of the basement of their respective leagues, but this battle isn’t close. The Oilers success in Edmonton in the mid-80’s, led the town to call itself the ‘City of Champions’! Hell, they struck more riches than a prospector, with signing the legendary Wayne Gretzky and drafting future Hall of Famers like Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, and Glenn Anderson. The NFL Oilers moved from Houston to Tennessee and don’t even exist anymore, dropping the moniker in favour of calling themselves the Titans. Winner: Edmonton

#3: Jets – Winnipeg (NHL), New York (NFL)

Both teams have tasted the heights of success, but have also suffered crushing defeats – let’s call them crash landings – during their existence. Heck, this is Winnipeg’s second go-around with an NHL franchise, the first time ending with the club’s departure to Phoenix, where they were renamed the Coyotes. But there were better times in the 1970’s, when Winnipeg dominated the World Hockey Association, winning three Avco Cups and showcasing ‘Mr. Hockey’ Gordie Howe. New York also enjoyed success in 1968-69, winning their lone Super Bowl and displaying their own superstar, quarterback Joe Namath. Winner: New York

Jets

#2: Rangers – New York (NHL), Texas (MLB)

The New York squad is a member of the Original 6 NHL clubs and that holds a lot of weight in hockey circles. That said, the Rangers are the team I hate the most thanks to the childhood disappointment of watching them defeat my Vancouver Canucks in the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. I have to be impartial, though, and acknowledge the storied history for New York, including four Stanley Cups. In Texas, the Rangers have existed since 1972, having moved from Washington. They have yet to win a World Series, losing back-to-back championship seasons in 2010 and 2011 (ironically, to the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, also on this list). Winner: New York

#1: Giants – San Francisco (MLB), New York (NFL)

Both franchises have won championships in recent years, but San Francisco has strung together three World Series titles in the last five years, earning the distinction of being a dynasty team. On top of that, the baseball club has a long history that transferred over with them, following the team’s move from New York in 1957, where they were the original Giants of the Big Apple. That’s not to take anything away from the football squad and their own storied existence, winning eight league championships, including four in the modern era. This was a tough race to decide, but history always wins out. Winner: San Francisco

Super Saturday Shot Day: Jet Fuel

Honourable mentions include the Kings (Los Angeles (NHL) and Sacramento (NBA)); the Lions (Detroit (NFL), B.C. (CFL)); and the Panthers (Carolina (NFL), Florida (NHL)). Surprisingly, no NBA teams made this list and only the Sacramento Kings share a nickname with another pro squad. It’s also interesting that three different New York teams share their name with another franchise.

April 18 – High Five

Playing Peeves

Earlier this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs got into trouble for not doing their typical salute to the crowd, following a win. They were accused of snubbing the audience that had recently gone so far as to throw jerseys on the ice, when disgusted with the team’s play. Really, it’s their fault for being Maple Leafs fans in the first place, but I digress. While I don’t have any issue with the salute, one way or the other, here are some other player traditions that should be outlawed:

#5: Staged Fights (NHL)

While this pet peeve bothers me less than others that did not make this list, I figured I’d be fair and try to include as many different sports as I could. I’m not the biggest advocate of fighting in hockey, but I do like the odd tilt, usually between two light/middleweights who are chucking knuckles for a reason. Staged fights between two super heavyweights, only fighting because that’s all they can provide to the game, is a waste of roster spots. With the demise of the hockey enforcer, this happens rarely in today’s NHL. You still see the occasional bout off the opening draw, but it’s usually based off of something that happened in the team’s last contest.

hockey fights

#4: Slapping Helmets (NFL)

Given all the concussion concerns and lawsuits being launched by former players, it blows my mind when I see entire football squads viciously slapping each other on the helmet, in order to CELEBRATE a play. Talk about friendly fire! It almost makes you wish they went back to the days of smacking each other on the ass, as all that might do, is produce a bruise. I think every football player loses credibility in the whole concussion argument, given they’re likely seeing stars after successful plays, with injuries caused by their own teammates. Hmmm, perhaps the NFL should hire me onto their legal team!

#3: High-Fives After Each Free Throw Attempt (NBA)

Okay, so the fouled basketball player steps up to the free throw line, which basically means a take-your-time, unobstructed shot from a mere 15 meters away from the hoop and if he makes the shot, everyone on his team must give him a high-five… hell, they even high-five for a missed shot! There is some debate whether the exchange of pleasantries after each shot helps keep a player loose, or disrupts their technique or needed alterations for the follow-up shot. I think the whole process is ridiculous and I think some players do as well; given there have been instances of hoop stars mocking it.

free throw high fives

#2: Elaborate High-Five Routines (MLB)

What do you do when you’re sport is slower than watching paint dry and you have to play 162 games each season? Develop an elaborate high-five routine, of course! I don’t understand why sports highlight shows are so enamored with this trend and feature the choreographed hand-slapping and fist-bumping performance in their replay packages. Sometimes the act goes on for minutes at a time and yes, I guess that does make it more exciting than the game itself. You would never see this ridiculousness in faster-paced sports, because if a hockey player, for example, tried it, they would be body checked through the boards before they could finish!

#1: Complaints About Running Up the Score

I’ve largely only seen accusations of this in football circles, but the other major leagues will take measures to quell landslide victories. In hockey, you might see the winning team rest its scoring lines, in favour of checking players, while in baseball, bunting and stealing bases may be discouraged. Basketball games are usually too close to call and in football, teams may run shorter plays and not go for big scores. The problem with this is if I paid my hard earned money to go to a contest and my team was obliterating the opposition, why would I want that experience to stop? All fans want to see the stars of the sport do what they are paid millions to do: perform at the highest level, not take a game off.

Super Saturday Shot Day: High Five

High Five Shot

  • 0.3 Grand Marnier
  • 0.3 oz Rum
  • 0.3 oz Passion Fruit Liqueur
  • 0.3 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.3 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

I can’t believe how many of these items are based on high-fiving. Narrowly missing the list was female tennis players screaming and grunting their way through matches… although, it is kind of hot! Next up, the Sip Advisor should take a look at the greatest pet peeves I have towards sports fans. This would include such gems as dorks leaving a game before it’s over and the completely unnecessary wave.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but was easy to convert to a shooter, since all the ingredients were in equal portions already. It’s an incredibly fruity shot, so you know the flavours are going to be nice. The booze quotient could be upped a little so you know you’re drinking a shooter, but the taste is quite enjoyable as it is.

Barbados – Sweet Heat

Grapefruits of Wrath

It took some serious digging to figure out a second post topic for Barbados. Pop star Rihanna was an obvious choice, but the country didn’t offer a whole lot of other in-your-face options… until I discovered this little nugget: grapefruits (a hybrid crop) were first produced in Barbados in the 18th century. Let’s take a look at this subtropical citrus fruit and its impact on the world:

Grapefruit was first known as “forbidden fruit” after its discovery by Rev. Griffith Hughes in Barbados, circa 1750. It has since earned status as one of the ‘7 Wonders of Barbados,’ which also include a cave, a tree, a mill, a synagogue, a cannon, and some mansions. Apparently an eight item (coral reefs) has recently been added to the list, as well.

grapefruit too much effort

The fruit comes in a few varieties, including white, ruby red, pink, golden, and star ruby (the darkest of the hues). Grapefruit even has its own special spoon, complete with serrated teeth at either the tip of the device or on the sides, used to cut the flesh from the rind.

Although discovered in Barbados, the country doesn’t crack the Top 10 list for producers of the fruit. The United States grows over 1,500,000 metric tons of grapefruit each year, dwarfing their nearest competitors. Also cracking the list are China, South Africa, Mexico, Syria, Israel, Turkey, India, Argentina, and Cuba. Speaking of China, pomelos have been nicknamed Chinese Grapefruit and are very popular around Chinese New Year for their resemblance to the moon.

One of the leagues for Major League Baseball’s spring training has been dubbed the Grapefruit League and plays out of the Florida area, while the Cactus League takes place in Arizona. The Grapefruit League has existed since 1914.

grapefruit spoon

The consumption of grapefruit can play havoc with a number of medical drugs, either speeding up the effectiveness of the dose or even inhibiting some of the chemicals needed to be absorbed. The intensified potency of the medicine can be potentially life threatening. I’m no doctor, only playing one on TV, but I’d advise you little sippers to enjoy grapefruit cautiously if you are taking various meds and perhaps consult a physician to make sure it’s all good in the hood.

Even more negative publicity for the fruit came in a July 2007 study published in the British Journal of Cancer (I guess everything has an outlet for recording their own thoughts), which stated that eating grapefruit everyday increased the risk of breast cancer by almost a third. This of course was refuted by two subsequent studies proving once again that everything in existence both causes and reduces the threat of cancer.

Enough about the bad, let’s see some of grapefruit’s benefits. First, because it doesn’t mess with a person’s blood sugar, it’s a great snack for diabetics. The citrus treat can also help in burning fat and is perfect for those trying to drop some pounds. Grapefruit is also rich in fiber, which can leave the eater feeling fuller longer and help with cleaning out one’s system. Don’t forget about all the vitamins and minerals coursing through the grapefruit. They can help with your immune system and energy level.

grapefruit_evil orange

In the Seinfeld episode ‘The Wink,’ George Costanza takes a blast of grapefruit juice to the eye, which in usual Seinfeld style, sets off a series of unfortunate events for the people that surround the main characters of the show. First, Kramer misinterprets George’s winking for giving him permission to sell a signed birthday card from the New York Yankees, meant for a sick child. Later, George appears to be winking when questioned by his boss on the whereabouts of a co-worker. The boss assumes that George is covering for the co-worker, who is promptly fired with George getting the position, which means longer hours, more responsibility and not enough pay increase to make up for the changes.

Sticking with TV, in The Simpsons episode Das Bus (a parody of Lord of the Flies), the children become stranded on a deserted island after bus driver Otto gets grapefruit juice in his eyes and crashes, following an ill-advised bowling game by the kids, where Milhouse Van Houten rolls a grapefruit that gets stuck under the brake pedal. To this day, I still think Ralph Wiggum’s banana should have won the fruit race and I will be forever perplexed as to why he lost out.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit is also used in the film The Public Enemy, when James Cagney’s character Tom Powers, smacks a grapefruit into the face of his girlfriend Kitty (played by Mae Clarke). Director William Wellman added the controversial scene to the 1931 crime drama because his wife always ate grapefruit for breakfast and whenever the couple would get into arguments, he fantasized about pushing the fruit into her face to get a reaction out of her. Cagney has said that Clarke’s ex-husband enjoyed the act so much that he would buy tickets to multiple showings of the movie, entering shortly before the scene and leaving after.

There are a number of grapefruit sodas available out there, although they may not expressly be called grapefruit sodas and are instead described as citrus drinks. Brands like Fresca, Squirt, Wink (funny name, given the Seinfeld episode mentioned above), Citrus Blast, and San Pellegrino will help give you some fizz if that’s what you prefer. I’ve recently come to enjoy grapefruit soda, especially over juices, and that reminds me… we have a drink to get to!

Barbados: Sweet Heat

Sweet Heat Martini

  • 2 oz Mango Rum
  • Top with Wildberry Juice
  • Garnish with Strawberry Slices

Well, I hope you enjoyed hanging out with the Sip Advisor and learning about a fruit you never thought could produce nearly 1,000 words on information for it. Now go out and grab yourself a nice ripe grapefruit… so long as you have the necessary utensils and aren’t on any meds that may result in your death when combined with consumption!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I feel, given the subject, that I should have added some grapefruit juice or soda to the recipe, but that may be saved for another time behind the scenes. The recipe actually calls for Wild Berry Rum, but I went with Wildberry Juice to add a little mixer to the recipe. There is no heat to the drink, so I’m not sure where the name comes from, but it’s still a tasty martini.

Dominican Republic – Hot Mama

Batter Up

While baseball may have been invented in the United States and is the country’s national pastime, our next stop, the Dominican Republic, is the reigning World Baseball Classic champions (sweeping the tournament) and home to some of the greatest players to ply their craft in the major leagues. Here are some facts about the baseball greats that come from the D.R.:

Ozzie Virgil, Sr.

Along with being the first Dominican player to ever suit up in Major League Baseball on September 23, 1956, Virgil was also the first non-white man to play for the Detroit Tigers. After a career as a utility player (being able to fill a variety of field positions) spanning 1956-69, Virgil entered the coaching game for 19 seasons. The Osvaldo Virgil National Airport was opened in 2006, serving Virgil’s hometown of Monte Cristi.

1985 Topps Virgil

Anyone else notice that father and son’s first names are spelled differently!?

Juan Marichal

Marichal is currently the only Dominican player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is half of what is known as “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched,” as he compiled a 16-inning complete game shutout. Marichal is also remembered for an incident in which he beat catcher Johnny Roseboro over the head with his bat, causing a bench-clearing brawl. Marichal and Roseboro eventually became good friends, jointly autographing photos of the episode.

Robinson Cano

When the D.R. won the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Cano was named MVP of the tournament. His father also had a brief MLB career and he was named after Jackie Robinson, who broke the colour barrier in baseball in 1947. Known for his charity work, Cano has a pediatric rehabilitation ward named after him at the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Cano is one of the athletes to enlist rapper Jay-Z as his agent and it paid off with a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle.

Pedro Martinez

Martinez was twice denied perfect games (no hits or walks allowed) because of unusual circumstances. In 1995, he was 7⅓ innings deep when he threw a pitch that hit batter Reggie Sanders. The next season, Martinez took a perfect game into extra innings and was hit off in the bottom of the 10th, nullifying his perfect effort. All this, despite being undersized compared to his power pitcher contemporaries. At one time, Martinez signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher at $75 million over six years.

Pedro Martinez

Can’t forget the time Martinez threw 72-year-old Yankee base coach Don Zimmer to the ground… ah, he had it coming!

Julian Javier

Javier earned the nickname ‘The Phantom’ for his ability to evade runners trying to steal second base. I once tried to steal second base on Mrs. Sip and the results were similar. Showing a hot temper that seems to run through a number of Dominican stars, Javier was once suspended indefinitely for striking an umpire. The penalty was later cut to three days and a fine of $50 (justice served). Given his suspension occurred while playing in the Dominican League and not MLB, this is not entirely surprising.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano is credited with one of baseball’s rarest feats: striking out four batters in one inning… a marvelous feat given a team need only record three outs to end their defensive half of the inning. How it happens, is that when a batter reaches his third strike, if the ball is not caught by the catcher, the batter can then become a runner and reach base, so long as there is no runner already at first and he is not tagged or forced out. Only 67 pitchers have managed the feat over the long history of MLB.

David Ortiz

Big Papi, as he’s affectionately known, is keen on looking after young kids in need. In 2008, he released a charity wine dubbed Vintage Papi, which raised $150,000 for his David Ortiz Children’s Fund. Playing a majority of his career as a designated hitter (ie. not being relied upon to do any fielding) Ortiz holds the all-time record for homers by a DH. His popularity in Boston is off the charts and in 2013, Ortiz finished third in Boston’s mayoral race with 560 write-in votes.

Big Papi - Esther Rolle

For the Good Times fans out there!

Manny Ramírez

Manny Being Manny” was a term used to describe the power hitter’s erratic behavior, including: missing games while suffering from pharyngitis (which just sounds phony), but being spotted in a bar; getting into altercations with his own teammates; disappearing from the field in the middle of a game for a bathroom break; and pushing a 64-year-old traveling secretary when he was unable to fulfill Ramirez’s request for tickets. On the flip side, Ramirez was a clutch slugger and holds the record for most home runs in the playoffs with 29.

Albert Pujols

Try saying his last name without laughing… go ahead, I dare you! Anyway, Pujols (pronounced Poo-Holes… I know, too easy) became an American citizen in 2007, following a perfect score on his citizenship test. Despite this, he has repeatedly tried to aid the people of the D.R. by bringing medical supplies, as well as doctors and dentists to the country to help its poor. His foundation’s annual golf tournament is played to raise money to send dentists to the Dominican.

Albert-Pujols

In case y’all needed proof!

Jose Bautista

The two-time home run champion holds the dubious distinction of being on five different MLB rosters in one season. In 2004, Bautista made his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was then claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and later purchased by the Kansas City Royals. The Royals traded Bautista to the New York Mets, who sent him back to Pittsburgh in another trade. I hope he never got too cozy.

Sammy Sosa

Sosa is best remembered for his 1998 duel with Mark McGwire, as both men attempted to break the home run record of 61 in a season. Sadly, both Sosa and McGwire have since been tainted by baseball’s steroid era and their achievements that memorable season have been tarnished. Coincidentally, Sosa hit his 600th homerun (one of only five players to do so) off Jason Marquis, who was wearing Sosa’s #21 jersey with the team he had the most success with, the Chicago Cubs.

Dominican Republic: Hot Mama

Hot Mama Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Lemon and Orange Wedges
  • 2 oz Mamajuana
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Chili Chocolate Syrup
  • Pinch of Brown Sugar
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

The Dominican Republic is second behind only the U.S. for having the most number of players in Major League Baseball. Perhaps one day, they’ll surpass the States in this regard and the Baseball Hall of Fame will have to be more to Santo Domingo or Punta Cana for easier tourist access.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
While this drink was good, the Orange Juice hid most of the ingredients. After the first taste, Mrs. Sip and I agreed to douse the cocktail with some more Mamajuana, as well as Chili Chocolate Syrup. The drink probably gets some bonus points thanks to how beautiful it looks with the orange-red blend of colouring.

United States – Suffering Bastard

Sports Supporters

See what I did there… I made a jock joke! Anyhoo, there is some debate over which sport is the most popular in the United States. Is it their national pastime baseball or has it been surpassed by the football juggernaut? Also fighting for market share and expendable income is a host of other competitions. One thing is for certain, the US, compared with other countries, has a greater variety of sports options for its citizens. Why else do you think the country needs all those ESPN channels!? With all that athletic competition, there is sure to be some big time events. Here are some interesting facts on each of the country’s championship crowning spectacles:

Super Bowl – NFL

What can you say about the Super Bowl that hasn’t already been said. The event is so mammoth that it is second only to soccer’s Champions League final as the most viewed annual sporting event. We’ve all heard the astronomical amounts companies pay for commercial time during the Super Bowl, but did you know that non-sponsor advertisers can’t use the word Super Bowl in their spots? Instead, they’re forced to use more generic terms like “the big game”. In 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell suggested a Super Bowl could be played at Wembley Stadium in London. This would mark the big game’s (I want to stay clear of trouble with the NFL… they could send a 400-pound lineman after me) first foray outside the United States, if it were to ever occur. College football also has a strong fan following and Bowl Games, such as the Rose Bowl are hugely successful events. The Army vs. Navy annual meeting is also a display of extreme fanaticism and patriotism.

Super Bowl

World Series – MLB

It’s kind of ironic that the World Series is contested by a league that contains one Canadian team among 29 American squads. Even the Little League World Series (hosted every year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania) is more world-inclusive than the big leagues. The Fall Classic has inspired a fair share of American history, from the fixed championship series of 1919 to the earthquake-interrupted contest in 1989. And then, there’s 1994. Despite playing close to a full regular season, the World Series wasn’t contested in 1994 due to the player’s strike. The Montreal Expos were the top team at the time of the labour dispute and could have continued Canada’s string of World Series wins (the Toronto Blue Jays having won in 1992 and 1993). After the 2004 season, the Expos were relocated to Washington, D.C. to become the Nationals. Coincidence or anti-Canadian conspiracy? Let the theories begin…

March Madness – NCAA

I don’t think any other country gets as pumped for collegiate sports than the US. This tournament makes stars out of teenagers and for some, is the only reason they still support their alma mater. The NCAA’s annual event to crown a national basketball champion is bigger than the professional level NBA Championship Finals. Fans pick their brackets and battle for bragging rights (and cash money, yo) as they watch their choices run through the gauntlet. Upsets are perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tournament. In 1985, Villanova went from #8 seed to National Champion, while Florida Gulf Coast was the lowest ranked team ever (#15) to advance to the Sweet 16. In fact, all four #1 seeds making the Final Four has only happened once, in 2008. Since 1947, the winning team has cut down and claimed the court nets as a trophy for their triumphant victory, with the head coach cutting the final strand.

The Masters/US Open/PGA Championship – PGA

Thanks in large part to Tiger Woods, golf has grown in popularity the last couple decades. Three of the four events that make up golf’s Grand Slam are contested in the United States (the other being the British Open, usually played in Scotland). Of them, The Masters is the most prolific of the bunch, played each season at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Winners, along with receiving oodles of prize money, get the privilege of wearing the infamous green jacket that club members wear when on the course, as their win makes them an honourary member. The jacket is meant to remain at Augusta National, but when Gary Player won in 1961, amid all the celebrating, he took it home with him to South Africa. Masters winners earn a lifetime invitation to play in the tournament and an automatic inclusion into the three other majors, Players Championship, and PGA Tour for the next five years.

Point of Golf

US Open – PTA

I bet some reader’s don’t recognize the PTA other than standing for the Parent-Teacher Advisory. Well, in this case, we’re talking about the Professional Tennis Association. Played out of New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (good lord that’s a mouthful) each summer since 1881, the US Open is one of four grand slams for the PTA (the others including the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon in London). In 1973, the US Open became the first of tennis’s grand slam events to award equal prize money to both the male and female champion. Keeping with the trend of innovation, the US Open was the first to host play at night with the use of floodlights in 1975. While the Serena Williams has enjoyed recent success at the tournament, winning each of the last two years, the last American to win on the men’s side was Andy Roddick in 2003.

Triple Crown – Horse Racing

A common trend that makes these events so epically huge is their gambling potential and that is perhaps most prevalent with the Triple Crown of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby (described as the most exciting two minutes in sports), the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, make up this trio of popular sprints. Coming live from Louisville, Kentucky; Baltimore, Maryland, and Elmont, New York; respectively, the Triple Crown has existed since 1875, but there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed took the photo finish at each historic track. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is the only person to win the Triple Crown with different horses, as Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but in between, Timber Country won the Preakness Stakes. Many other countries also have their own version of the Triple Crown.

Sprint Cup Series – NASCAR

Racing around an oval for hundreds of laps is so huge in the US right now that some could argue it’s the most popular sport in the country. While some believe fans are simply waiting for a wreck to happen, true pundits point out that there is a beauty in the strategy of auto racing. Either way, this series of races comes with a strong viewing audience, as well as sold out attendance at the tracks. The pinnacle of the NASCAR season is the Daytona 500, which was first run in 1959 and has opened the Cup Series since 1982. Named because of its 500-mile length. The 2.5 mile track needs to be rounded 200 times to complete the race. Sadly, racing legend Dale Earnhardt died at the track on the final lap of the 2001 race. Only three years earlier, Earnhardt finally won the famous competition, after years of mechanical issues, crashes, and being passed for the lead late in races.

United States: Suffering Bastard

Suffering Bastard Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lime Wedges

I can’t help but notice the US has a bit of an obsessions with balls (base, foot, basket, etc.). Not to tease, but at least us Canadians are only preoccupied by pucks! A number of other events could have made this list, including the X-Games, WrestleMania, the Indianapolis 500, and even the All-American Soap Box Derby.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I enjoyed every element of this drink, even the Angostura Bitters, which I find often don’t factor in enough to register any opinion of them. I have to ask: Is there anything Ginger Ale can’t do? The answer is a simple no. I was really looking forward to pairing Bourbon with Gin and am ecstatic that it all worked out so well!

December 30 – Iron Man Cocktail

We’re Going Streaking

As tomorrow marks the conclusion of the 365-day cocktail project, my efforts will be included with some of the greatest streaks known the world over. In fact, it’s probably the greatest compilation ever put together in human existence… and you little sippers were all a part of history. Here are some other notable runs.

Cal Ripken, Jr. – 2,632 Consecutive MLB games

While baseball lacks so many of the physical demands of other sports (hell, players spend more than half the game simply standing around and do so little that they can sometimes play two contests in one day), Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2,632 straight games is still an amazing achievement. The streak started on May 30, 1982 and ended on Sept. 20, 1998, as the shortstop wanted to wrap it up on his own terms and avoid any controversy that may follow in the twilight of his career.

Cal-Ripken

Doug Jarvis – 964 Consecutive NHL games

To play that many successive games in one of the most physical sports on the planet is quite the impressive feat. When that streak spans your entire professional career (from 1975 to 1987), while winning four Stanley Cups, as well as the Selke Trophy (NHL’s top defensive forward) and Bill Masterton Trophy (awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) that makes the record that much sweeter.

Brett Favre – 297 Consecutive NFL Quarterback Starts

Given how rough and tumble professional football can be, it’s astonishing that Brett Favre was able to start 297 games in a row, all while sending pictures of his junk via cell phone to select female members of team staff. Okay, so some of Favre’s shine rubbed off (perhaps bad word choice) near the end of his career, but you can’t take away the guy’s grit and passion.

Joe Dimaggio – 56-Game Hit Streak

It has been written before that the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a fastball. While I vehemently disagree with that assertion, I do agree that there are unique skills required to be a pro ball player and Joe Dimaggio’s streak is pretty impressive because of this. Perhaps more notable, the dude married Marilyn Monroe… not too shabby!

Joe Dimaggio

Lance Armstrong – 7-Consecutive Tour de France Victories

While Lance Armstrong’s streak of victories has since been tainted by his steroid scandal, the man competed in a world rife with cheating and he still managed to win seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong’s celebrity also boosted funding for cancer treatments, so regardless of his name being sullied, he still did some great things for the world.

Wayne Gretzky – 51 Consecutive Game Point Streak

Wayne Gretzky is the most prolific scorer in NHL history, putting up so many records that will never be touched. Among those, is his 51-game point scoring streak in 1983-84. The Great One averaged 3 points per game during that run and had he sat out the rest of the season after the stretch was ended, he would have still won the scoring title by 27 points!

Byron Nelson – 11 Consecutive PGA Tour Wins

Today, you’re likely to see a different leader atop the PGA Tour each week. To win 11 straight in today’s golfing world is totally unfathomable. Not ever Tiger Woods in his prime came anywhere near touching that mark. Nelson won 18 of 30 tournaments in 1945 and 52 throughout his PGA career. He also added 12 wins on other professional circuits.

A.C. Green – 1,192 Consecutive NBA Games

I think I’m more impressed with the fact the deeply religious man waited until the age of 38 to finally lose his virginity. Now THAT’S an iron man streak! Green’s foundation promotes abstinence before marriage and he was finally wed in 2002, following his playing career, which lasted from 1985-2001, including three NBA Championships.

Drink #364: Iron Man Cocktail

Iron Man Cocktail Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 Shot of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine

So, what’s next for The Sip Advisor? You’ll have to stay tuned for a big announcement on New Year’s Day. The excitement is palpable, isn’t it!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This recipe comes courtesy of The Drunken Moogle site and while it is meant for the comic and movie character Iron Man, I think it applies here, as well. Simply place the shot of Orange Juice into the Amaretto/Grenadine Mix and slam the whole concoction back. The drink is sweet, so if you have a tooth for that, you’re in luck. Most will want to have a more tart taste mixed in, so this cocktail doesn’t work for all.