Jake Gold, the popular Canadian Idol judge, is a fun-loving chap who is well-liked in the music industry and by most who know him, but he’s an intense competitor on the ball diamond and has bruised many a batter who has faced him in Toronto men’s leagues over the years.
In fact, Gold hit or came close to hitting so many batters in his senior league with his fastball (which really is fast) a couple of seasons ago that he was actually banned from pitching in it last year.
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Gold didn’t appreciate that but played in the league as an infielder, anyway. For the coming season, however, Gold would prefer that the ban be lifted and, sources tell me, he may actually hire a lawyer to ensure he gets to pitch again. If that’s true — and I couldn’t reach Jake yesterday for confirmation — it’d be an interesting, precedent-setting case.
• Bob Ackles started his career in professional football as a water boy for the B.C. Lions and, half a century later, he is the club's president. He ranks as the only executive to have served in the CFL, NFL and defunct XFL. He played minor hockey with John Ferguson Sr. and is a close friend of NFL luminary Jimmy Johnson. All of which intrigues me, but it’ll be interesting to see if anyone else cares about him enough to buy his memoirs. Ackles has decided to tell his life story in a book that’ll come out in September. It’ll be called, appropriately enough, The Water Boy.
•The NBA is planning to follow in the footsteps of the NHL next season by instituting a rule that will penalize players who dive. In the NBA, mind you, it’s called flopping instead of diving, but you get the idea. NBA executives plan to give referees the option of calling a technical foul on players who flop in attempts to draw charging calls. Coaches are complaining about floppers, suggesting their embellishments and theatrics have worked far too often this season. The player accused of flopping most is Anderson Varejao, a centre with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s drawn a league-high 60 charges or so this season and NBA insiders figure he exaggerated contact on more than half.
•Martin Biron, Buffalo’s goaltender until recently traded to Philadelphia, is trying to recruit his good buddy, Daniel Briere, to the Flyers for next season. Briere’s contract with the Sabres is expiring and the crafty forward will be one of the most coveted free agents on the market.
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