Happy Canada Day. I’m sure most of you don’t know or don’t care that it is Canada’s 141st birthday. I’m a Canadian, though, and I am sure that there are a few others out there who read this, or at least a few of you who wish you were Canadians (my healthcare is free). In honor of our big day, I thought I would do a quick refresher on all that my country brings to your sports. We don’t overwhelm with quantity, but there is a surprising amount of quality:
Half the players in the NHL are Canadians. Fourteen of the top 25 scorers in the league are Canucks. We own this league. It’s a shame that no one else cares about it.
To start, James Naismith, the inventor of the game, was a Canadian. That earns us a lot of points.
We don’t have a lot of players in the league right now. We had Rick Fox, but he’s gone now. Samuel Dalembert isn’t bad, and Jamaal Magloire was really good, an all-star even, until he started bouncing around from team to team without finding a home. By far our pride and joy, though, is Steve Nash. Everyone up here is a Phoenix fan.
Again, not huge on the quantity, but some impressive quality. We have a hall-of-famer – Ferguson Jenkins. One of our all-time greats, Larry Walker, is not long retired. Behind him are several decent players. Justin Morneau is an AL MVP. Jason Bay was the NL rookie of the year, and he would be a star if he wasn’t stuck in Pittsburgh. Eric Gagne used to be outstanding until he forgot how to pitch. We have sent you a bunch of solid arms – Erik Bedard, Jeff Francis, Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden, Adam Loewen. Russell Martin has won both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, and the way Joey Votto has started his career he could have several of each before he is done.
This isn’t nearly as impressive. Maybe that’s because we play with too few downs. Mike Vanderjagt, that idiot kicker, is one of ours. Steve Christie was ours, too. I guess we can kick. Jesse Palmer, the Bachelor himself, is a Canuck. So was Mark Rypien. A few other guys are or have recently been solid contributors – Nick Kaczur, Tom Nutten, Jerome Pathon. My personal favorite was running back Tim Biakabutuka, a Michigan star who struggled with injury but was an underappreciated pro. That’s pretty much it. Our only true superstar is an old-timer – hall of famer Bronko Nagurski.