Canadians have become soccer nuts.
More than a million tickets now have been sold for the under-20 World Cup games in this country.
“What we are seeing here,” admitted event chairman Jack Warner, “is beyond our wildest expectations.”
• Sports violence is big on Rogers Sportsnet these days, but at least one of the network’s anchors abhors it.
Mike Toth revealed on radio yesterday that, since his son’s birth, he can hardly stomach what he is compelled to describe so frequently on the air.
“If they banned boxing tomorrow, it wouldn’t bother me at all,” said Toth, who also revealed his distaste for hockey fights and martial arts, both of which receive an excessive amount of air time on Sportsnet.
• Troy Westwood, Winnipeg’s long-time kicker, was ghastly during the Blue Bombers’ tie against the Eskimos in Edmonton last Thursday and is in serious jeopardy of being replaced … Quarterback Anthony Calvillo won’t be replaced — not yet, anyway — but he raised eyebrows with an atrocious performance Friday in Montreal’s loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, throwing three interceptions and failing to lead the Alouettes to a touchdown … The Tiger-Cats also couldn’t score a TD against the Calgary Stampeders in their Saturday tilt. Look for rookie Timmy Chang to supplant Jason Maas as Hamilton’s No. 1 QB … And, yes, the Argonauts tried to trade QB Damon Allen and found no takers. So he’s been demoted to No. 3 in Toronto.
• Not sure if the Minnesota Twins’ Justin Morneau, a B.C. native, is still the top Canadian player in the major leagues. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Russ Martin, an Ontarian, may be that guy now … The real reason Mike Hargrove resigned as Seattle’s manager: Differences with Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki … The vulgar tank top Alex Rodriguez’s wife wore to Yankee Stadium the other day said: “F-ck you.” But at whom was the message aimed? The New York media? New York fans? Her husband?
• The New York Rangers stole the NHL’s free-agent show by signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez but I’m thinking the Pittsburgh Penguins might have put the finishing touches to a Stanley Cup roster by adding veterans Peter Sykora and Darryl Sydor … Ryan Smyth insists he wouldn’t have signed with Colorado without the sales pitch he heard from Avalanche star Joe Sakic … Ex-Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi got a two-year, $8-million deal from the Ducks, thanks to Anaheim general manager Brian Burke, his ex-Vancouver GM. And, somewhere, Bertuzzi’s unforgettable victim, Steve Moore, must be sick to his stomach. And he’s not alone.