Sports report: Derby results, lacrosse, the Raptors, and other rants

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! Welcome to Sports News from Nowhere for a Sunday in which I have spent most of my day tuned to sports on TV and my iPad — mainly so I could get away from the Fort McMurray depressing news coverage going on everywhere else. 

So far I am succeeding in keeping my mind off of that news — but not totally. I have been tuning in the Wells Fargo golf championship, and this is that tournament in which shaggy-looking golfer Graham DeLaet has pledged to donate $500 for every birdie he makes to Fort McMurray relief. So you can’t escape the bad news no matter how hard you try.

Actually, the main reason I am tuning in the Wells Fargo golf is because the NASCAR race was last night in Kansas (won by Kyle Busch). Otherwise I would be tuning in to NASCAR right now. Anyway, on to news from the world of sports:

Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby yesterday and you will be happy to know I was able to watch the race. Unfortunately, I must be one of the few people in Saskatchewan who realized the race was on. 

Horse racing has really gone downhill in popularity, not just where I live but right across North America. I cannot pinpoint why this is, because it is still a riveting sport. I notice Northlands Park in Edmonton is the latest race track on its last legs, as this is its last season. But there is no doubt public tastes have moved on to other sports, and particularly to other forms of gambling. My guess is it’s really the casinos that are mainly responsible for driving horse racing into the ground: they’re far classier establishments and their odds are far better, anyway.

I am also sad to report that I must be among the minority of people in Saskatchewan who cares about the NBA playoffs. People here insist on not being excited, which is too bad, because the games in Round 2 have been great. The Toronto Raptors have gone to overtime twice against the Miami Heat and game three in Miami was also competitive, with the Raptors winning 95-91. I will say this about the Raptors: they insist on doing things the hard way. Their series with Indiana went the absolute limit, and this one is shaping up as similar, with game one going to OT thanks to a miracle Kyle Lowry shot from way out that somehow went in the basket and tied the game. Of course, the Raptors then lost in overtime. It figures.

Worse, they are getting banged up. The latest problem is that Jonas Valanciunas was injured in their win Saturday. He will miss the rest of this series. Ouch.

And the National Lacrosse League first round has just concluded and both first-round games went to overtime, with New England beating Georgia on Friday 14-13 and then Calgary upsetting Colorado last night 11-10. 

So you know what that means, folks: it is Calgary versus Saskatchewan for the NLL West title, and that series is going to be a war. I can’t believe there isn’t more coverage of this around here, because the one thing Saskatchewan fans love to do is hate on Calgary, regardless of the sport. Also, the Rush ought to have a captive audience now that the Melfort Mustangs are out of the Western Canada Cup. 

Now a final rant. You had all these sports going on with Canadian teams active in them, and you had Canadian teams playing in Major League Baseball and in MLS soccer yesterday. Yet when I tuned in the sportscasts of these Alberta and Saskatchewan radio stations yesterday, what did we get as the top story? 

That’s right, folks, the hockey scores — even though none of the NHL teams playing in the playoffs are from Canada. I’m sorry, but I really don’t give a damn anymore about what St. Louis or San Jose are doing, or any of these other American teams. And Canadians don’t care either, based on the TV ratings. I guess I’m mad because I tuned in to one of these radio stations, trying to find out who won the bleeping Raptors playoff game because I had missed the end of the game, and I had to listen to all this NHL junk instead. And then the sportscast didn’t even bother to mention the final score in the NBA game! I mean, if you want to put up the NHL scores, fine, but at least mention the other sports — particularly the ones with teams in Canada! All the other sports in Canada are getting shortchanged by our country’s media, folks. That is all I have to say.

That’s all for the moment: now, I’m going to switch the channel to tune in the end of this Tampa Bay-Islanders playoff game. (Tampa Bay Lightning: top sports story in Canada today, even though the place is closer to Cuba.)