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Sports Then and Now


The Fairest Fairways: Top Tips for Golfing in Mont Tremblant

Posted on February 02, 2015 by John Harris
The golf courses at Mont Tremblant are among the most picturesque around.

The golf courses at Mont Tremblant are among the most picturesque around.

There are a lot of factors that play into a tourist’s decision-making process. Selecting a destination is based upon a number of factors, including ease of travel, local accommodations, attractions, and the local environment. When it comes to traveling in pursuit of sport, golf is one of the few sports that draws people to all corners of the globe for a mix of natural splendor and sporting challenge. If you’re contemplating a visit to Mont Tremblant, what tips do you need to plan the perfect golfing trip?

Mont Tremblant Golf Courses

A visit to Quebec is not complete without a day on the links at Mont Tremblant. The facility boasts two championship courses with spectacular plateaus, beautiful greens, and impressive views that challenge you to keep your focus on the game, and not on nature. Le Diable lives up to its name, with devilish surprises hidden at every turn. The course features long, narrow fairways which are bordered by dense forests. Massive red-sand bunkers await any wayward shot.

Le Géant offers a similar challenge to golfers, with impressive mountainside views of the vast Laurentian landscape. The course at Le Géant exists in perfect harmony with the dense forests and impressive mountain landscape surrounding it, challenging you to remain focused on your next shot rather than the scenery around you.

Accommodations

Golfers don’t cross international borders to sleep in tents before hitting the links. Before you spend four hours on the fairways and greens of Mont Tremblant, you’ll need a good night’s sleep. There are a variety of Tremblant rentals available that will wrap you in luxury, power up your game with good sleep, and help you relax after a day on your feet. Vacation rentals in Tremblant include amenities such as sledding for kids, skiing for your travel partners ice skating, and spa retreats to help soothe your muscles at the end of the day. Read the rest of this entry →

Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors are the NBA Midseason Leaders, But Will They Be Standing in June?

Posted on January 31, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the NBA turned upside down.

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have the NBA turned upside down.

At the halfway point of the 2014-2015 NBA season the league seems to be turned upside down.

The best records in the league are held by the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, two teams with marginal pedigrees.

The Warriors last hoisted the NBA championship trophy 40 years ago when Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes led the way.

The last championship won by the Hawks was in 1958 when the team was based in St. Louis and Bob Pettit was the quintessential NBA star.

Conversely, two teams with nearly half of the titles in NBA history between them, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, are out of contention and already looking at next season.

According to top sports betting sites listed at www.sportsbettingacumen.com, the Warriors and Hawks are now among the favorites to win the NBA title.

However, given that neither team has a great track record of playoff performance, it is hard to slot them in as the likely finalists just yet.

Even with a 36-8 mark to start the season and two legitimate stars in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, it will be tough for the Warriors to make it out of the tough Western Conference. With seven teams in the conference already with 30 victories, the Phoenix Suns close behind (28 wins) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-23) now healthy and likely to push for a spot in the playoffs. Read the rest of this entry →

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Spare the Grizzlies

Posted on January 31, 2015 by Peter Getty
Fresno Grizzlies

Fresno Grizzlies

The offseason is an important time for a baseball team. The winter is when a team’s farm system gets more attention than usual. For the Giants, that usually means there’s going to be some derision for their feeder teams. But is the Giants farm system really that bad?

Golden Gate Sports ran an article that puts the Giants farm system into better perspective. It’s easy to disregard the Fresno Grizzlies, our AAA team, which was 13 games behind last season – and hasn’t fared much better for years. The trouble is, this ‘ineffective’ farm system has produced some of the most valuable players of the Giants roster over the last 10 years!

Next time you hear a fan complaining about the Giant’s farm teams, remind them about the players who came up through that very system, leading to three World Series wins over five years.

Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval, both essential pieces of this year’s championship, were drafted by the Giants. Matt cain and Tim Lincecum, vital to the 2010 and 2012 teams, were too. And what would we have done without Travis Ishikawa’s World Series home run in 2014? Or Brian Wilson’s 2010 strikeout of Nelson Cruz? All these players played on farm teams for San Fran.

In fact, 13 of 25 players on this year’s World Series roster were drafted by San Fran. Two others had only ever pitched for the Giants. Similar numbers were true for 2012 and 2010. According to calculations made by Golden Gate Sports, a full 68% of the Giant’s full 40-man roster officially called San Francisco their first professional home.

This all points to the whole point of a farm system. I’d argue that they don’t exist to win minor league championships, but first and foremost to groom players for an eventual place on the major league team. After all, in the AAA’s Pacific Coast League, where the Grizzlie’s placed last in 2014, Reno had the best record. Reno is the feeder team for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who ranked last in the National League West, and dead last in the entire league.

So, which farm system is really working out?

Peter Getty’s love of sports began at the age of nine. Baseball first caught his attention when, growing up, he played catch with his dad, Gordon Peter Getty, the former CEO of Getty Oil.  During his youth, Peter participated in all the usual team sports–baseball, basketball, soccer and football. After coming to the realization that he was “awful” at all of them, he decided to be content with being a major sports fan by writing about them. Based in San Francisco, Peter stays current on all the Northern California teams, and has an excellent understanding of all professional sports. In addition to his posts on Sports Then and Now, you can also check out his own blog.

Super Bowl XLIX: Can Brady and the Patriots Deflate the Seahawks?

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Dean Hybl
Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are hoping or a repeat f Super Bowl XLVIII when they were the dominant team.

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are hoping or a repeat f Super Bowl XLVIII when they were the dominant team.

After a week in which we have learned more than we ever wanted to know about the air pressure of a football or Marshawn Lynch’s personality (or lack thereof), we are now closing in on the important topic of just which team will win Super Bowl XLIX.

If live betting trends are any indication, it will be a close game. The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were the early favorites, but as the game has drawn closer, the Patriots seem to be attractive to many folks who are laying down money on the game.

One reason the Patriots have become a hot pick is because they dominated the AFC Championship Game while the Seahawks needed a late comeback to earn their back-to-back Super Bowl appearance.

Regardless of whether you think the Patriots gained an advantage in the AFC Championship Game because of the pressure of the footballs, there is no disputing that the Patriots dominated the Colts to reach the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era.

The question now is whether they can claim their fourth victory or if they will fall for the third straight time in the biggest game of the year.

Pete Carroll and the Seahawks didn’t look like they would have a chance to repeat early in the season, or with 10 minutes left in the NFC Championship Game for that matter, but they fought their way back to the top and now have a chance to win back-to-back titles for only the ninth time in Super Bowl history and first time since the Patriots did it a decade ago.

As was the case a year ago when the Seahawks whipped the high-scoring Broncos as well as in each of the two Super Bowl losses the Patriots suffered at the hands of the Giants, the game will hinge on whether a talented offense can overcome a dominant defense. Read the rest of this entry →

Will Rob Manfred Make Baseball Better?

Posted on January 25, 2015 by Dean Hybl
On his first day as commissioner, Rob Manfred sent a letter to baseball fans outlining his immediate areas of focus.

On his first day as commissioner, Rob Manfred sent a letter to baseball fans outlining his immediate areas of focus.

Today is the beginning of a new era in Major League Baseball. After more than 20 years, Bud Selig has finally relinquished control of “America’s Pastime.” His replacement, Rob Manfred, will have a hard time being as bad for the game as Selig, so hopefully he will be a refreshing change for the sport and help return it to previous glory as one of America’s treasures.

Manfred’s first action was to write a letter to baseball fans telling them of his desire to grow the game among youth and within urban areas.

It is a nice thought, but based just on the language of his letter, I have a feeling he has a different strategy for how to achieve that growth than I do.

As a life-long baseball lover and the father of a nine-year-old son who enjoys baseball, but has many other sports, activities and technology tugging at his time and interest, here are three things that I think would help achieve his goal to strengthen the sport for generations to come.

1.Make Watching and Enjoying Baseball Affordable – I understand that baseball is a business and one of the goals is to make money, but as the middle class continues to struggle in a country where the gap between income levels is continuing to widen, all entertainment options must recognize that continuing to increase prices will ultimately reduce the number of people interested in their product. Last year my family spent a day in Baltimore that culminated with attending an Orioles game. The combined cost for tickets (we sat in the lower deck along the first baseline), parking, food and merchandise was quite hefty. For a one-time thing, it was something we could budget for and afford. However, going to a game would not be something we could afford on a regular basis. When the Orioles were contending in the early 1990s, tickets to games at Camden Yards were tough to find and the Birds often led the league in attendance. Though they have been successful again over the last three seasons, there seems to still be a lot of empty seats even for big games. I can’t help but believe that the fact that it is just really expensive to go to a game is one reason. I know even the new Yankee Stadium is rarely completely full and with tickets for their games higher than anywhere else you can understand why.

If Manfred wants the next generation of fans to continue attending games, then he better make sure that the game experience doesn’t become so expensive that their parents can’t afford to take them to games in person or to buy a hat, jersey and other merchandise without taking out a loan. I know that like the NFL, MLB is looking to continue increasing their revenue, but if going to major league games ever gets to the point that the only people attending are the wealthy and the inner-city poor who receive tickets through charity organizations supported by the team, it will not help grow the overall love for the game. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks

Posted on January 24, 2015 by Dean Hybl
"Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks has passed away at the age of 83.

“Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks has passed away at the age of 83.

The baseball world lost a legend with the passing Friday of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks at the age of 83.

Though “Mr. Cub” was most associated with the team for which he played his entire 19 year career, for fans outside of Chicago he is likely best remembered for his famous line “Let’s play two”, which epitomized his love for the game and acceptance as one of the superstars of the first full decade in which African-Americans played in the major leagues.

Since it has been 44 years since his retirement and 56 years since he was the dominant player, and back-to-back MVP winner, in baseball, it is easy to forget just how great a player Banks was.

After a stint in the U.S. Army and time with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League, his contract was sold to the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and he made his major league debut late that season. The lanky 6-foot-1, 180 pound shortstop moved into Wrigley Field for good in 1954. He finished second to Wally Moon (Hank Aaron was fourth) in the Rookie of the Year voting as he hit .275 with 19 home runs and 79 RBI.

Many like to point to Cal Ripken Jr. as the pioneer of the power hitting shortstops, but Banks was blasting long balls while anchoring the Chicago infield three decades before Ripken entered the league. He blasted 44 home runs in 1955 to set a new record for shortstops in a season, but eclipsed that mark in 1958 when he led the league with 47 home runs and 129 RBI to win his first MVP award.

He followed that up with another monster year in 1959 (45 HR, 143 RBI) to win his second straight MVP award. In 1960 he claimed his second home run title as he hit 41 home runs with 117 RBI. He also won the Gold Glove award for his fielding prowess at shortstop.

Though Banks was just 29 and would play for another decade, he would never again reach such illustrious power numbers. Read the rest of this entry →

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