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  • The Montreal Expos salute their fans at their final home game in 2004. (Phil Carpenter/Montreal Gazette)The Montreal Expos salute their fans at their final home game in 2004. (Phil Carpenter/Montreal Gazette)

    At Nationals Park in Washington D.C., you will see statues of Josh Gibson, the Hall of Fame Negro League star who played for the Washington-based Homestead Grays; of Walter Johnson, another Hall of Fame member, who pitched all 21 seasons of his baseball career for the Washington Senators in the early part of the 20th century; and of Frank Howard, a feared slugger, also for the Senators, in the late 1960s.

    Both versions of the Senators, the team that left Washington to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961 and the team that left Washington to become the Texas Rangers in 1972, are also saluted in a walkway on the opposite side of the ballpark to the statues.

    What you will not see at Nationals Park is any reference to the direct forebears of the Nationals: the Montreal Expos.

    That is what makes Jonah Keri’s book about the Expos, Up, Up, & Away (Random House Canada, $32), a welcome addition to a baseball fan’s shelf. Sure, the Expos had a dismal history — one playoff appearance in 35 years,

    Read More »from Nos Amours live on in new book about the Montreal Expos
  • Laval won its third Vanier in four seasons in November (The Canadian Press)

    Football is all about adjustments, and staging a Vanier Cup in a highly accessible major media market without giving the colossus Laval Rouge et Or an unfair home-field advantage seems like a good balancing act for Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

    The worst-kept secret in CIS appears to be out. Two weeks ago, word filtered out that the CFL's Montreal Alouettes will take the lead with organizing the 50th Vanier Cup this fall, which will be played on the same weekend as the Grey Cup in Vancouver. On Tuesday, the Alouettes announced they have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday about "an important announcement about Canadian university football" with Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, Als president and chief executive officer Mark Weightman and CIS CEO Pierre Lafontaine.

    Three guesses as to what that could be about. The first two don't count.

    Read More »from Montreal Vanier Cup to be announced Wednesday, tapping Quebec’s passion for CIS football
  • Top Canadian Milos Raonic will be expected to lead his nation when it meets Colombia in Canada Sept. 12-14 for the right to remain in the prestigious World Group. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

    The news came shortly after 6 a.m. EDT., from the ITF's offices in London.

    To remain in the Davis Cup World Group for 2015, Canada must defeat Colombia.

    Even better, they get to do it at home.

    The tie will be played Sept. 12-14, right after the U.S. Open final in New York. And the Canadians could have found themselves traveling to India, or Ukraine, or even Uzbekhistan. So this is a very good outcome.

    Later Monday morning, Tennis Canada provided this quote from captain Martin Laurendeau:

    “Our team has demonstrated over the past three years that we are indeed a World Group nation,. We have the entire summer to prepare and get everyone playing their best tennis so that we can take on Colombia in September and keep our place where we believe we belong – among the elite tennis countries in the world. We have been on the road for two straight ties now and it will be nice to be back at home where we can choose the conditions and play in front of a supportive crowd.”

    Colombia is hardly a pushover.

    It boasts two credible singles players in Santiago Giraldo and Alejandro Falla, and a very solid doubles team in Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

    Read More »from Canada gets home-court advantage for crucial Davis Cup World Group playoff tie
  • The road to the top of men's tennis is a bumpy one for Vancouver's Filip Peliwo. (CP/Graham Hughes)

    MONTREAL – When you’re the International Tennis Federation’s junior champion, when you win two junior Grand Slam titles in a year and reach the final in the other two, it would be natural to assume the next steps up the professional ladder will follow, well, naturally.

    And so, the difference between expectations and the brutally competitive reality of the ATP Tour has hit 20-year-old Filip Peliwo fairly hard.

    But a ray of hope struck the Vancouver native, No. 265 in the ATP Tour’s latest singles rankings, in Casablanca on Monday when he qualified for the first Tour-level main draw of his young career.

    Peliwo played the Rogers Cup last year in Montreal on a wild card. This one, he earned all on his own.

    “It was a good match, I did what I had to do to win. Obviously the serving (42 per cent first serves) wasn’t as good as I would have liked it to be, but always room to improve tomorrow,” Peliwo told Eh Game via telephone from Casablanca after his 6-1, 6-4 victory over 31-year-old Romanian Victor Crivoi. “I think that this week might be the start of a bit of an upswing,” he added.

    Peliwo will play 32-year-old Filippo Volandri of Italy, another hardened veteran, Monday.

    Read More »from For Vancouver’s Filip Peliwo, the road to the top of men’s tennis is bumpier than expected
  • Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws during the first inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, April 5, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Peter Power)

    There’s only one way Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey can really start to peel away the pain from the 2013 season – pitch like he did against the Yankees Saturday afternoon.

     “He had it working today. The other day in Tampa he wasn’t on, today he was on,” said manager John Gibbons after Toronto’s 4-0 win. “This was a big game for us, he stepped up.”

    It was a bounceback performance for Dickey after he struggled mightily in the season opening loss to the Rays. In that game he gave up six earned runs and walked six batters; on Saturday Dickey faced 25 batters over six and two-third innings and his command was sharp. With the exception of a sidearm knuckleball that got away and hit Fransisco Cervelli and a four-pitch walk to Derek Jeter, he was better able to locate the pitch that can be uncooperative by nature, which resulted in six strikeouts.

    “Part of it’s the pitch. You have to live and die with the pitch. It’s part of what makes it very difficult to do at the big-league level,

    Read More »from R.A. Dickey displays dominant side in Blue Jays' win over Yankees
  • Team Koe leaves The World Championship without a medal. (CP)

    There will be better days ahead for Kevin Koe. Just not with the team he took to Beijing.

    Moments after Canada's deflating, 7-5, World Championship bronze medal game loss to the Swiss on Sunday, the skip confirmed, during a post-game interview on TSN, that he would be moving on without mates Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft and Pat Simmons.

    “I think it’s fairly obvious, this is our last hurrah," Koe said.

    Obvious, yes, because the rumours of his team's break up had been swirling through the winter breezes most of the curling season, tempered slightly with a Brier win, but then all but confirmed when two other skips outed Koe's plans for next season.

    "We really wanted t go out with a win," continued Koe. "We’re great friends. I love playing with the guys, and, you know, I love ‘em all. To go out the way we did is disappointing but we’ve had a great run over the years."

    Ultimately, Koe, Simmons, Rycroft and Thiessen will have one more chance to go out with a bang as they are scheduled to

    Read More »from Canada bows out at the World Men’s Curling Championship. Kevin Koe confirms the end has come for his team
  • Coach Nick Saviano's words of wisdom didn't have enough of an effect Saturday on a tired Genie Bouchard (tennistv.com)

    In the first set of their semifinal at the Family Circle Cup Saturday, Montreal’s Genie Bouchard left opponent Andrea Petkovic absolutely no room to breathe.

    Her relentless attack was completely and utterly suffocating. And after breezing through that first set 6-1, there was every indication the 20-year-old Canadian would be on her way to the biggest final of her young career.

    Slowly but surely, though, the 26-year-old German found little spaces. She hit harder. She attacked a little more. She ran down one more ball. And even when she appeared to indicate to her coach halfway through the third set that her legs were gone, she found fresher legs.

    It was Bouchard, no doubt running on fumes both mentally and physically after a third taxing three-setter in three days, who ran out of answers as Petkovic prevailed 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 to end the Canadian’s great run in Charleston.

    Read More »from Andrea Petkovic dashes Eugenie Bouchard’s finals hopes at the Family Circle Cup
  • Masahiro Tanaka showed signs of brilliance in a win over the Blue Jays. (The Canadian Press)TORONTO — It was far from perfect but in his major-league debut Masahiro Tanaka showed the potential to be worth every penny the New York Yankees spent on him.

    The Japanese pitching phenom earned the win and spoiled the Toronto Blue Jays’ home opener with a solid, and sometimes dominant, performance in his first game in North America. The Yankees roughed up Blue Jays pitching and won 7-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 48,197.

    Blue Jays manager John Gibbons probably summed up Tanaka’s night best. “He’s the real deal.”

    Tanaka’s night did get off to a rough start though.

    Blue Jays leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera welcomed Tanaka to the major leagues with a solo home run to right field in the first inning.

    “It was my mistake and I think Cabrera took a really good swing,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. But he wasn’t rattled as he got Colby Rasmus to ground out and struck out Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.

    He hit another rough patch in the second when Dioner Navarro

    Read More »from Masahiro Tanaka starts slow but lives up to billing in major-league debut
  • Dustin McGowan's night lasted only 2.2 innings. (The Canadian Press)TORONTO — Dustin McGowan’s redemption story will have to wait for another day. The Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher made his first big-league start since September 2011 but it lasted less than three innings.

    The oft-injured, former prized prospect was roughed up early by the New York Yankees. He surrendered four runs on eight hits before being lifted with two outs in the third inning after throwing 72 pitches. The Yankees went on to win 7-3 in front of 48,197 in the Blue Jays’ home opener. The result wasn’t what he wanted, but being on the mound for the home opener was an accomplishment in itself.

    McGowan, 32, won 12 games in 2007, including a one-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, but spent part of the next six seasons on the disabled list with a serious right shoulder injury, and various foot and oblique injuries. The Blue Jays stuck with him and signed him to an extension in 2012. He appeared in 25 games in 2013, all in relief, then won the fifth spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation

    Read More »from Yankees spoil Dustin McGowan’s first big-league start since 2011, and Blue Jays’ home opener
  • Genie Bouchard goofs around in an on-court interview after her second consecutive win over a former No. 1 player Friday. (tennistv.com)As the third set wore on and the game clock approached two hours, Montreal's Genie Bouchard did well to remember the advice coach Nick Saviano was giving her during an on-court consultation.

    "Whatever you feel, you have enough to go three more sets, full speed. Show no weakness, no fatigue," Saviano said. "Remember, this gal is a good player. There's no guarantee you will win. Only guarantee you play each point the best you can."

    Saviano could see his charge during changeovers, holding an ice towel to her head and looking exhausted and more than a little overheated in the South Carolina heat, wind and humidity. But despite the conditions, Bouchard pulled off her second consecutive win over a former No. 1 player at the Family Circle Cup Friday, defeating No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to move into the semifinals.

    She'll face No. 14 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany Saturday.

    Read More »from Another day, another statement win for Montreal’s Genie Bouchard at the Family Circle Cup

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