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Alex Pocrnick

Canada Exits Women’s World Cup — Plus, a Preview of What is to Come

After contributing my first article to the Herald’s sports section earlier this week, I wanted to change gears and provide a small sample of what to expect from future articles. Although hockey will always be my first and greatest love, I follow many sports with a keen interest and I’d love the opportunity to write about them all. When there is no single story worth writing an entire piece about – or when there’s a particularly eventful stretch in the sports calendar, such as this week – I’d like to provide readers with my take on multiple topics of interest. Let’s give it a try, shall we?KICKED OUT – CANADIAN WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ELIMINATED FROM WORLD CUPI was sincerely excited for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to begin, if only because the Canadian Women’s National Team, ranked 6th in the world, had a legitimate chance of progressing deep into the tournament. Unfortunately, Canada’s tournament chances vanished in abrupt fashion on Thursday, after an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of France. With no points from their first two games, the Canadian women have been mathematically eliminated from advancing out of Group A and into the quarterfinals.There was reason for optimism after Canada’s 2-1 loss to hosts and defending champions Germany in their opening match, a beautiful display of the women’s game that was played in front of 75,000 fans in Berlin. However, the plucky Canadian side that fought valiantly against the technically superior Germans was nowhere to be found on Thursday. Disorganized and sloppy from the first whistle, Canada was painfully exposed to a far more collected French squad throughout the contest, leaving Canadian manager Carolina Morace with far more questions than answers after a disappointing early exit.Admittedly, this is the most exposure I’ve had to the women’s game… Read More

How close are the Jays? Close enough to start spending

The most recent series of the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays season came to its completion Sunday night in Arlington, in the form of an impressive 3-0 Jays win against the Texas Rangers. Make no mistake, the Rangers are a serious threat to win the American League pennant again and make consecutive World Series appearances. With an expensive lineup that boasts the likes of Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, C.J. Wilson, Michael Young, and Ian Kinsler, the Rangers represent the type of elite ballclub that the Jays must compete with in order to become a contender themselves.Appropriately, the series also acted as a fantastic microcosm of where the Blue Jays find themselves in the current A.L. landscape. There was a blowout 12-2 loss that featured an embarrassing performance at the plate (aside from J.P. Arencibia’s pair of home runs, one of only two Jays on the night to register a hit) and perhaps the final start of Jo-Jo Reyes’ acrimonious tenure as a Blue Jay. There was also an exciting 5-4 loss that should have been a win, if not for another disastrous performance from the Toronto bullpen and a costly Corey Patterson fielding error late in the 9th. Finally, the 3-0 win showcased why Jose Bautista is the most complete player in baseball—both at the plate and in the field—while a resurgent Brett Cecil threw a complete game, 4-hit shutout. All in all, a lost series that should have been won, representative of a .500 ballclub (51-51 after Sunday night) that’s able to compete with the best in the A.L. on any given night, but not quite ready to do so consistently.The most difficult question any executive in charge of an up-and-coming team can ask himself is “how close is my team to actually contending?” In the case of upstart surprises… Read More