As the cricket World Cup gets under way in the New Year, you may be surprised to learn that Canada has a team competing in the competition. In truth, the Canadian national team is not taking part in the main event that starts in Australia and New Zealand from February 14th. Instead, they will be competing in Namibia in a second-tier programme that runs between January 17th and 24th.
As a nation with strong historical ties to the UK, Canada is relatively unusual in having largely turned its back on the traditional English sports of soccer, cricket and rugby. All three are played - there is even a strong Canadian team competing in the rugby union World Cup this spring - but they enjoy nothing like the same prominence as they do in places such as Australia, New Zealand South Africa, and - in the case of cricket especially - India.
Globally, those events attract huge TV audiences and both are expected to provide a bonanza for bookmakers such as Bet365 as millions of pounds, dollars, Rupees and Lakh are predicted to be staked on the outcome of the games.
The historical development of different nations' sporting cultures is itself a fascinating area for study, but with the US such a hugely influential neighbour, Canada was always going to struggle to go its own way. The fact that cricket and rugby do enjoy a minority status shows how variegated and how complex the whole picture actually is. We cannot say that games such as cricket do not exist in Canada, rather, they are simply not as popular or as prominent as others - especially baseball and gridiron football.
In recent years developments in the world of cricket have been drawing on the expertise and coaching insights of baseball. There is insufficient space here to chart the similarities and subtle distinctions that mark out the two sports, but a common interest in catching, throwing and hitting a ball put them - if you will excuse the expression - in the same sporting ball park.
With a certain old-world arrogance, it took the cricketing nations a long time to realise that there was anything that baseball could teach them. But as sports science has become ever more refined, and as sports marketing has likewise been promoted to an acknowledged area of expertise, it turns out that there is plenty that baseball has to offer.
In sporting terms the most evident crossover has been in the way that cricketers train and carry out their fielding. This was once seen as a largely incidental part of the game, but as the example of baseball has demonstrated for years, a good fielding side can regularly punch above their weight. Cricket drills are now straight out of the baseball coaching manual, and catching mitts are a must-have accessory for any cricket coach worthy of the name.
The cricket World Cup will see fielders returning the ball with a high, over-the-shoulder throw that keeps the ball’s trajectory low and flat - a pattern that was barely used in cricket 30 years ago. The lower, flatter trajectory returns the ball quicker and more accurately. That is every bit as important in cricket as it is in baseball.
More fundamentally, the evolution of a concentrated, quick-fire version of so-called Twenty20 cricket has seen the game move towards the concentrated level of excitement enjoyed by baseball crowds rather than the more constrained - not to say boring - pace of traditional cricket matches that could go on for five days without reaching a result.
At all points, the signs are that the tide is moving from baseball to cricket. Even the clothes the athletes wear are less like traditional English ‘whites’ and more like a colourful baseball outfit. The overlaps between baseball and cricket are greater than you might think - and they are getting broader all the time.
So Giancarlo Stanton has smashed all records and is reputedly worth a cool $325 million thanks to his (unlucky for some…) 13 year deal with the Miami Marlins.
In theory, this keeps the 25-year-old Stanton at Miami until he’s pushing 40. The deal is the biggest single one ever in the whole history not just of our sport – but of all sports. However, the $292 million decade-long deal for first baseman Miguel Cabrera by the Detroit Tigers is a little bigger on an annualised basis.
So is any player really worth anything like this kind of money - and does Stanton really make that much difference?
As for the first question, this kind of debate has been raging in all major sports over the past 40 years or more, and the simple answer is “yes” on a commercial basis – about which more in a moment. As for the game-play on the field, well when you consider that the Marlins odds for the World Series were immediately slashed by major bookies all around the world including Skybet, 32 Red, Bet365 and others, you can soon see what the market thinks. Having said that, The Marlins are still longshots at 40-1 and there’s surely better value elsewhere.
Right in our own back yard, for example, the Indians can be had for as big a price as 28-1, which looks like an interesting value bet. The Indians are said to be confident that 31-year-old Brandon Moss will come back quickly from his post-season hip surgery – and Moss can make all the difference of course.
All in all, that 28-1 looks like an interesting punt and it could be even more interesting if you could get ion it for free with the aforementioned 32 Red as this site is also a casino with big welcome bonuses for new players of a free $32 for each $20 deposited. You can visit the 32red casino here to see what we mean – and if you’re fortunate enough, you should have enough free cash left-over to transfer to the sports book for a free fun punt ion the Indians or whoever else you think could land the World Series.
Whatever happens, it looks highly unlikely to be the Miami Marlins lining up inthe Series next October with or without Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins just don’t look to have sufficient strength in depth to mount a serious challenge to the likes of favorites, the LA Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers and St Louis Cardinals (in the order by the way).
At the same time, Stanton is, without doubt, one heck of a player. Stanton has knocked up 154 home runs in his five Major League seasons to date – and that’s an average that has been increasing more of late as the youngster becomes a man. Consider also that Stanton missed 17 games towards the end of last season after he was hit full in the face by a baseball, but he stillhit 37 home runs –running up the highest score in the National League.
So given stats like these and the endless commercial spin-offs, yes, Stanton is worth the money if he continues to knock them out of the park.
It looked like the got it right. finally, after Lebron left without looking back, after several awful years at the bottom of the league, it actually looked like, as many experts expected, that the Cavs can pull it off and start gaining some respectability in the NBA, they had it all working again, and than.. it stopped.
After the decision by Lebron, the Cavs drafted Kyrie Irving, a wonderful talented super star in the making point guard. Irving, singlehandedly, helped the Cavs fight again, show some promising moves and looked like, with an addition of couple of pieces, on their up again to the promise land.
All of that was about to get much better, when the Cavs had the first pick in the draft again in a span of 3 years, and the sky is the limit with that much power. But, is it ? Luck, apparently has also a big roll in life as we all know, but what happened with the first pick is nothing shorter than incredible.
The Cavs selected Anthony Bennett, over handful of other talented players, a promising young Canadian who was suppose to ad size and strength and upgrade the team significantly, but that didn't really happen. Hopefully, he will get better, but so far, half way through the season, it looks like the Cavs blew it big time, as Bennett is having a really hard time adjusting to the NBA and he is now viewed as a big flop.
Not only that, now, there are some rumors from reliable source, that the Cavs best player Irving, is not so happy in Ohio, and he might want to leave, just as Lebron did, as he wishes to play in a competitive team who is actually moving forward, not backward.
The Cavs has a good organization, but the must sort all of these issues, and do it quickly. They have to produce some results, and show they can compete at a high level soon, otherwise, they will stay at the bottom of the association for years to come.
With the 2014 baseball season drawing to a close at the end of October, now is the perfect time to look back at another superb season for the Cleveland Indians. The team, who celebrated its 114th season as a franchise, finished the year ranked 3rd place in the Central Division. The Indians solid performance this year has led popular betting site bet365 to put them at a respectable 22/1 to win the MBL World series next year. However, before we get too preoccupied debating the Indians chances for next year’s series, lets enjoy reminiscing about this year’s stars and successes before concerning ourselves with next years.
The 2013-2014 offseason brought a few changes to the Indians lineup. Relief pitcher Joe Smith announced on November 23rd that he would be leaving the Indians for a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Less than two weeks later, pitcher Scott Kazmir was confirmed to have agreed on a $24 million-dollar contract to play with Oakland Athletics for two-years. To compensate for these departures, the Indians welcomed two new arrivals. Former Texas Rangers outfielder David Murphy signed a two-year contract, with a club option for a third, on November 25th and the addition of new designated hitter Jason Giambire was announced earlier the same month. The team, who has won two World Series Championships in 1920 and 1947, began their season on March 31st with a game against Oakland Athletics, held at the Indians's home of Progressive Stadium – formally known as Jacobs Field. The Indians, who train at Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona, blasted their way to a 2-0 win for a fantastic start to the season. The remainder of the Indians’ season saw the team compile a 54.9 winning percentage with 85 games won and 77 lost. This overall winning percentage consisted of a 44-33 record at home and a 37-44 away. The Indians closed the season with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, in their 17th season of Major League Baseball, played at home.
The undeniable star of the Indians stellar 2014 campaign was pitcher Corey Kluber. The 28 year-old American, who played college baseball at Stetson University, complied an impressive 18-9 record and 2.44 ERA this season. His winning record tying him with Detroit Tigers's Max Scherzer and Los Angeles Angels's Jered Weaver for the AL lead and his incredible ERA ranking him third-best for the season. Moreover, Kluber's striking out of 269 batters in nearly 236 innings was the 2nd best showing in the major leagues with this record only being tightly beaten by the Detroit Tigers's David Price's 271. These achievements, prompted by consistent and high performances all season, meant that the Birmingham, Alabama native was awarded the AL Cy Young Award, narrowly beating longstanding Seattle Mariners player Felix Hernandez in the vote. In addition to these impressive season records, Kluber also had some other notable achievements this year. On April 25th Kluber became the first Indians pitcher to throw a complete game of 11+ strikeouts, 0 earned runs and 0 walks since Len Barkers legendary perfect game in 1981. In May Kluber became the first Indians pitcher since Dennis Eckersley to record over 60 strike outs in a single month. Although, this should not suggest that Kluber was the only Indians pitcher to make history this year with 24 year-old Danny Salazar becoming the first modern era pitcher to get 10 strikeouts before the end of the fourth innings of a game.