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The Weekend Review

The Jays won 3 of 4 against the White Sox but with the AL-leading Cleveland Indians in town tonight you might want to tone down the excitement. The Jays won’t light up the Indians like they did the White Sox. A 4 game weekend series against the White Sox was something the Jays needed after spinning their tires for the past two weeks. The Jays have dominated the White Sox since practically 2006 and no less than 3 out of 4 would have been acceptable. They took care of business, but the lasting feeling was something still wasn’t right. The bullpen blew another late lead, the injuries keep piling up, and Carlos Villanueva reverted to the 28 career start Villanueva we all know.

The Jays need to win the first game of this series (for Jo-Jo Reyes’ sake) and hit more consistently. Jose Bautista is starting to cool off just a bit. It was always going to be impossible for him to keep up his torrid pace, so someone needs to protect him during any sort of mini-slump. I’m not saying he’s in a slump or struggling at all it’s just that he has practically been the Jays offense for the first two months this season and any dip in his production will send the Jays dipping as well. But, with Adam Lind still far away and Travis Snider wasting away in the minors, who will step up for the Jays? Perhaps surprisingly Juan Rivera has and might continue to while he rides a career-high 11 game hit streak.

Check out this article on the best stadiums in the MLB and make of it what you will. I, for one, did not make much of it. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/29/ranking-baseballs-best-ballparks/

The view from the Green Monster

Speaking of ball parks, I visited Boston this weekend and got a chance to visit Fenway Park. Fenway is a gorgeous stadium with tons of interesting eccentricities. The picture above was taken from the seats above the Green Monster and let me tell you it is a long way up.

When the discussion of best cities to play in inevitably pops up in conversation Boston is always somewhere in the top 5. After visiting the city I finally get why. Forget top 5 and put it at number 1. It’s a beautiful city in the mold of an old European one with a storied history and passionate fan base. It’s not overwhelmingly big, but it still gives you the sense that it’s a legit place to be. And with the recent success of the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, and now Bruins it leaves a bitterly disappointed Torontonian like myself very envious.

Toronto FC’s Champions League hopes were spared by lightning a few nights ago, but nothing would stop the Philadelphia Union from crushing them 6-2 on Saturday. Five years in and Toronto FC is comfortably placing themselves at the top of MLSE’s inept franchises. It’s going to be another long season with another “rebuild” in the future.

What’s one thing Toronto FC and Manchester United have in common? They were both humiliated on Saturday. While United fought hard and went into half-time level at 1-1 there was always the sense that Barcelona had a few more gears to hit. Barcelona has this way of ever so slightly raising the temperature, the intensity, the pressure and by the 54th minute had snatched their opportunity. Lionel Messi scored another brilliant goal, his 12th in the competition, and Barcelona never looked back.

The talk after the game was about Messi and the dominance of this Barcelona team. Messi will arguably go down as one of the greatest players ever and this Barcelona team is more technically gifted than perhaps any team in history. However, the thing that makes both of those statements possible is the often overlooked Xavi Hernandez. He doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves but he is the heart of Barcelona.

Again I ask you guys: What’s the storyline for a Vancouver-Boston series besides the long drought of winning?

The Mavericks and Heat series starts tomorrow and it’s prediction time. Mavericks in 6.

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