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.

January 10 – Bay Breeze

Missed Connections

Whenever I write a blog for this project, I try to come up with a topic that at least slightly goes along with the drink I’m presenting. Some work better than others. Given that today I’m covering the Bay Breeze, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to talk about one of the most famous, breezy (if sometimes foggy) bays in the world, San Francisco, and my chance to thank a mysterious stranger.

san-francisco

This is my version of a Craigslist ‘Missed Connection’ post. For my honeymoon in September 2012, my wife and I went on a two-and-a-half week cruise through the Panama Canal. We started in our hometown of Vancouver and finished in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The first port of the sailing was San Francisco. We had previously stopped in San Francisco earlier in May 2012, before taking a short cruise from San Fran back to Vancouver

(Note: Yep, we’re 29 going on 50 with all our cruisin’, but until you’ve sat on your own cabin balcony, clad only in a robe, with drink in hand, don’t knock it.)

On that trip, we spent most of our short time there, exploring the famous piers, where we enjoyed fantastic seafood meals, scrumptious sourdough bread and delicious pints at Beer 39 (cleverly located on Pier 39). When we returned in September, our plan was to once again hit the piers, but this time, my wife wanted to do some wine tasting. I got my beer last time, so it was only fair to do wine for her on this stop.

(Note: We still hit Beer 39 for a flight of beers because I wear the pants in this relationship!)

(Note: I don’t, but I’ve made peace with that!)

Pier 39

It was a grayish day in the bay area, but nice enough that we were able to sit outside on the beautiful fern covered patio for our wine tasting at Wines of California Wine Bar, ironically with our cruise ship situated behind us in the distance. We took turns taking pictures of each other with the ship in the background, before a woman at the table next to us asked if we wanted one together.

(Note: I love the random people you meet while out on a drinking adventure… the salt of the earth, if you ask me.)

One thing led to another and we began chatting with her and her boyfriend. They had been dating a few months and as a 50th birthday present (although the dude looked like he should have been celebrating 40, instead) she had taken him on a surprise trip to San Francisco. We chatted about our honeymoon just starting, his 50th birthday bash, which tequila we should look out for in Mexico (our next stop was Cabo San Lucas and he was a bit of an expert, given his Mexican heritage and story about how much tequila they had at his party).

It was a great way to spend some of our stop and I even found a wine that I really enjoyed, Francis Coppola’s 2011 Diamond Collection-Emerald Label-Pinot Grigio, which was kind of a big deal because I’m not the biggest wine connoisseur.

(Note: Yes, that Francis Coppola – producer of Apocalypse Now, etc. and uncle of Nicholas Cage – in case you were wondering!)

The couple we were chatting with had to run for their tour of Alcatraz Island and so with a “happy honeymoon” they paid their bill and we said our goodbyes. My wife and I finished out wine flights and food and I began wondering why the waitress hadn’t approached us for a little bit. Perhaps she was just letting us enjoy our afternoon without interruption. When she finally came over to us, she revealed that the couple had covered our tab.

We were truly touched by the generosity of these complete strangers and it was an absolutely amazing way to begin our long-awaited vacation. We have vowed to pay this kindness forward when we are in a similar situation in the future and I look forward to doing so.

So, wherever they may be and I hope they one day read this, from the bottom of my heart (as well as my wife’s), I thank both of you for providing us with a wonderful example of how to do things right for your fellow human beings.

Now onto today’s drink…

Drink #10: Bay Breeze

Bay Breeze Drink

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • Top with half cranberry juice and half pineapple juice
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I wasn’t a huge fan of this drink. That’s not to say it was bad, but it just didn’t amaze me or anything. Pineapple Juice is far from one of my preferred mixers, so maybe that played a role.