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.

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September 12 – Furry Purple Squirrel

Mascot Mess

Teams largely have mascots to engage young fans and as a merchandising opportunity. I don’t know why college teams have mascots, as well, but I guess alcohol and people dressed as animals is always a winning combination. Each major league (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL) is guilty of poorly chosen characters. Here are some of the worst mascots in the wide world of sports:

Carlton the Bear – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

How in the hell is a bear the mascot for this team? Did they just want to be able to sell oodles of merchandise using a cute teddy bear? The team’s mascot should really be a dude dressed up in a leaf costume and they could do this performance introduction, where the leaf blows through the sky and lands flat on the ground, only to be crushed by passersby. Just like the team itself… symmetry, my friends, symmetry. Leafs suck, btw.

Carlton the Bear

Heh, golfing… just like the Maple Leafs every spring!

Raymond – Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

There’s just no zip to this name and the character is even worse, described as a seadog and wearing large sneakers and a backwards ball cap. Raymond is really just a slacker, complete with unkempt facial hair. Why couldn’t the mascot be a sting ray, with the tag line “I killed Steve Irwin, so don’t mess with us!” Now that would be bad ass.

Bear – Utah Jazz (NBA)

They couldn’t even give their mascot a decent nickname? The marketing department sat around and just settled with Bear? I’d be more impressed with Bear if he occasionally picked up a musical instrument and belted out some jazz scat tunes. Then again, the Jazz name doesn’t even work in Utah and is only a carryover from the franchise’s New Orleans origins. Ridiculous all around.

Rowdy – Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

Rowdy looks like Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph… except he appears a little more Broke Back Mountain than the team would probably want. The Cowboys legacy as a rough and tumble team doesn’t hold up so well when Rowdy is paired with that lineage. He has to be the creepiest looking cowboy I’ve ever seen, making the blood of Clint Eastwood boil to extreme levels.

Rowdy Cowboy

Spartacat – Ottawa Senators (NHL)

I don’t get the orange hair. Doesn’t the Senators organization know that the world hates gingers!? Not myself, I find them to be loveable folks, but I am a rare breed. Readers know of my love for cats, but this one just doesn’t sit right. The name is okay too, but I just don’t see the necessity for that orange hippie hair. Call me crazy (and I’m sure you have), but I just can’t get past that.

Screech – Washington Nationals (MLB)

How awesome would it be if the Washington Nationals mascot wasn’t a anthropomorphic bald eagle, but was, in fact, Screech from Saved by the Bell!? Other than that minor note, I really don’t have any problem with Screech. He falls in line with the team name and the city the franchise plays out of. I probably should have left him off the list… but that Saved by the Bell thing still bugs me.

Hip Hop the Rabbit – Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

Sure, basketball teams need to cater to the hip hop market and fans of the music genre, but this is really taking things a little too far. Hip Hop looks like a “gangsta” Trix Rabbit on roids, who instead of searching aimlessly for the beloved cereal, performs slam dunks off trampolines to pass the time. Let’s just hope Hip Hop doesn’t become a casualty of the East-West Rap Feud.

Hip Hop the Rabbit

Stinger – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

How anyone could consider an insect cute and cuddly is a question I’ll never be able to answer. Still, this pest was able to find work with the Columbus Blue Jackets, despite being a yellow jacket bug. That mixed with the teams blue colours, has turned him green, just to confuse people even more. I foresee a large swatter and a satisfying splat in Stinger’s future!

Sparky the Dragon – New York Islanders (NHL)

Why a dragon is the mascot for this team is perplexing. Sure, the owner, Charles Wang (heh… wang) is of Asian descent, but is that enough to justify this move? Not to mention he simply transferred the character over from his former Arena Football League franchise and you have the makings of a mascot conspiracy. We must form a task force to get to the bottom of this!

Dinger – Colorado Rockies (MLB)

The Colorado Rockies entered Major League Baseball around the time that Barney the Dinosaur was huge for many youngsters. I guess they decided to capitalize on that marketing craze when conceptualizing Dinger. Apparently, making Dinger a Triceratops was based on reports of dinosaur fossils being discovered as the franchise built its Coors Field stadium. I have to say that I do like the name Dinger, though.

Dinger the Dinosaur

Bernie Brewer – Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

This mascot has to be the closest thing to resemble a 1970’s porn star in the sporting world, complete with a full, bushy, handlebar moustache. I bet under that jersey is a chest full of wild, curly hair and if we keep travelling downwards, a Ron Jeremy-esque member. The Brewer probably drinks a ton, too, and may be the best candidate on this list to party with!

Youppi – Montreal Canadiens (NHL)

The only thing worse than a bad mascot is a bad mascot that was meant for another team. When the Montreal Expos were relocated to become the Washington Nationals, Youppi became a free agent, quickly snapped up by the Canadiens. I do have to give credit to Youppi for being the first mascot ever kicked out of a Major League Baseball game, which occurred in 1989 following LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complaining to umps about the mascot’s behaviour.

Drink #255: Furry Purple Squirrel

Sept 12

  • Rim glass with Grape Candy Powder
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum (I used Malibu)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I must admit, I left off the many amateur sport mascots that could have filled three of these lists. Olympic mascots have always been ridiculous too. Just to keep things simple, I only focused on professional team mascots. Did I miss any? Leave a message after the beep. BEEEEEEEP!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting recipe that includes floating the Coconut Rum on top of the drink right before serving. I picked this cocktail because it somewhat went with the topic of today’s post and because the blend of ingredients intrigued me. My Grape Candy Powder rim worked out better than others. I still don’t understand why every drink that purports itself to be purple never turns out that way and remains blue. Maybe I’m not using enough Grenadine, but then again, I don’t want to use a ton of Grenadine.

September 10 – Homeward Bound

Welcome Back

Some players just don’t look right in jerseys that differ from the one they’ve worn for years. In most of the big leagues, athletes can sign one-day contracts so that they may retire as a member of the team that made their career. Other times, a trade brings that star back into the fold. Then, there’s always returning from retirement. Here is some of the greatest returns home in sports history.

Trevor Linden – Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

Trevor Linden, captain of the Vancouver Canucks was traded to the New York Islanders in 1998. After bouncing around to a couple other teams, the Canucks reacquired the heart and soul leader of their last championship appearance team. In Linden’s first game back (which I attended with the Sip Family), he notched a couple points and was named the second star of the game, allowing fans to dedicate all their energy specifically to one of the team’s most legendary figures. A few years later, Linden left the game the right way, serenaded by the fans who adored him for so many years, and making a final trip around the ice surface that hosted so many memories for all involved.

Doug Gilmour – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Growing up, for some bizarre reason that I may never be able to explain, I was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Please collect your jaws from the floor… sadly, it’s true. My favourite player was Doug Gilmour, a gritty and talented player, who nearly led the team to their first Stanley Cup since 1967. Gilmour was traded to New Jersey in 1997, but would return to the Leafs at the 2003 trade deadline, causing fans to rejoice. Sadly, in just his second shift back with the team, he collided knee-on-knee with Calgary’s Dave Lowry and was done for the season, later calling it a career that summer.

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Entertainment

In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan’s symbiotic relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation launched both entities into the stratosphere. Working together, Hogan became one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time, while the WWF became the first promotion to enjoy national mainstream exposure and success. Hogan left the company in 1993 to perform in World Championship Wrestling and didn’t return to the soon-to-be-renamed WWE until 2002. He originally returned as a bad guy, but fans would not have any of that, cheering for Hogan to once again become the “Real American” character most had grown up with. They got their wish and fans feverishly ate up the nostalgia act.

Ken Griffey, Jr. – Seattle Mariners (MLB)

Ken Griffey, Jr. grew up in the Seattle Mariners organization, debuting in 1989 and even playing alongside his father, Ken Griffey, Sr. Griffey became the face of the franchise and even the entire league, adorning video games, posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise. The slugger was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, as he wished to play closer to home and be more involved in the lives of his children. Griffey’s numbers declined following the trade, but petitions were signed by Seattle fans to bring him back. Finally, in 2009, Griffey returned to the Mariners. His second tenure had its issues, like Griffey being accused of napping in the clubhouse during games, but he was honoured into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2013.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (NBA)

After winning three straight NBA titles in the early 90’s, there was nothing left for Michael Jordan to accomplish. When his father was murdered that summer, Jordan retired from basketball and decided to try his hand at professional baseball, hoping to realize his father’s dream of him playing in the Majors. When his baseball dream fizzled out, it was back to the hard court and the Bulls for Jordan. Another three NBA Championships followed before Jordan left the game again in 1999. His last return to basketball was with the Washington Wizards, a team he had part-ownership with and had been President of Basketball Operations.

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Like Jordan, Mario Lemieux kept returning to the game he loved after time away from the rink proved he still had too much passion for the sport to watch from the sidelines. Super Mario returned from cancer and a retirement to put up all-star level numbers and pad his legacy as one of the game’s greatest players. While he never won another Stanley Cup, he was an integral member of Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics and also saved the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise as owner of the team, ushering in the Sidney Crosby era.

Drink #253: Homeward Bound

Sept 10

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

What was your favourite return home? As above, it can be an athlete, an actor, or hell, it could be Ron Jeremy’s long-awaited return to the world of pornography!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a simple, but very enjoyable cocktail. I love the name about as much as I adore Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and the moment I saw this recipe advertised at a local bar, I knew I’d be making it when I went home. The caramel-flavour of the Spiced Rum works nicely with the tart Lemonade and makes for one fine drink!