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The sports buzz has a laser focus at a busy time of year


A handful of little things that have been rattling around the old noggin before we get into the last weekend before the grind of the season is upon us:

How all-consuming has this pennant race become?

Well, it’s three days until the Raptors start training camp and I have not had one question, comment, suggestion, complaint about what’s going to happen out in Vancouver and I can’t tell you how odd that is.

Generally, this is the time of year when everyone wants to know who’s going to start, what unknown camp invitee will become the flavour of the week, what kind of shape everyone’s in and what will be considered a success to the coming season.

Nada. Dead quiet. Crickets.

And I love it.

I love that there is something truly unique and exciting for fans to grasp on to, something real rather than the abstract of a coming season.

I think even people who had no interest whatsoever in baseball and would normally be concentrating on the Raptors and what they might or might not do have taken a step back.

It’ll be truly interesting to see what, if any, interest there is in the mundane workings of camp once it starts. So far, it’s been like a vacation for guys like me and, frankly, I haven’t minded a bit.

If the lack of focus on the basketball is somewhat surprising, the fact so few are obsessing about the pucks when they’re already playing pretend games is stunning to me.

And very cool; it shows how galvanizing and fun a winning team can be across the entire strata of a fan base. Have missed a lot in the last couple of decades.

Speaking of camp, what’s new in Vancouver? Have my normal haunts downtown but we’re at a new hotel, the Carmana Plaza and I have no idea what’s around there. Need a good stool with reliable wireless, good food, a solid selection of refreshing beverages and nice friendly barkeeps.

Got anything? Thanks.

This song has to be on the list of the best, right?

Totally under-rated TV show:

Madam Secretary.

A bit formulaic and sometimes just white noise but good in its own way for a network drama.

Plus. Tea Leoni. So there’s that.

Tune your dial update:

Because everyone’s gonna be busy covering the game, I supposed, they’ve gone down the pecking order to add yours truly to the McCown round table chinwag at the Dome this evening so those 5 p.m.-7 p.m. hours stuck in traffic will be a bit easier to take. Or something like that.

That takes puttering around on work out of the equation and I’m dead tomorrow since I’ll be in the stands for Price vs. Archer so if you’ve got mailbag questions, get ‘em in, would you?

Askdoug@thestar.ca is pretty much empty and I need your help. Thanks.

Remember the Rugby World Cup and me wondering last week why it doesn’t seem to capture nearly the imagination and attention from casual fans that the soccer World Cup does?

Well, do you think it has something to do with the schedule and lack of hype?

I know it’s still going full tilt – I saw the All Blacks do the Haka yesterday, I think it was – but in a week it seems to have gathered no momentum.

And I was all ready to become a big Japan fan after that shocking upset of South Africa but for the life of me, I can’t get behind something that takes so long to unfold.

A shame, really, since Canada’s in it and we generally rally behind the flag (we did for the women rugby team at its World Cup a year ago, if memory serves) at things like this.

How come we don’t?

Anyone want to catch me up on the debates? For some reason – mostly because they bore me – I haven’t seen one second of any of them.

Have I missed anything other than obfuscation, the odd mis-truth and perchance a misleading statement or six?

Did anyone sweat too much?

There are more than a few things wrong with the tweeter machine, chief among them the idiocy and evil and stupidity that’s afforded some anonymous dopes with nothing better to do with their lives that comment on stuff they know nothing about, as if people care.

But I do see its value as a tip sheet to news, as long as that news is legit and relevant and, you know, correct.

So, no, Tristan Thompson did not sign a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday to end one of the more fascinating NBA contract impasses of the last decade and his future – long and short term – is still cloudy with scant days left before training camp begins.

I don’t know what’s eventually going to become of this mess – a total guess would be him signing the qualifying offer and being an unrestricted free agent next summer – but we are headed for a resolution this weekend right up against the start of camp. How that plays out in any kind of chemistry way with the Cavs is going to be fun to watch: Will there be any resentment? How will he and his teammates handle it? How will David Blatt use him in such an important season in his career? How big a gamble is this going to be?

I can’t think of a similar situation of late and I don’t know that anyone can predict how it’s all going to play out on the court.

All I know is this:

He is not coming to Toronto now; it is going to take some major league financial and roster machinations to even fathom a legitimate shot at him next summer and can we all put that on the backburner until next July, please?

Thank you.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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