t crown, Rogers Centre is the place to

in Freiwillige Challenges 25.07.2019 04:05
von mary123 • 1.541 Beiträge

The A-League signings of Tim Cahill and, potentially, Michael Essien have cost Football Federation Australia almost a million dollars but chief David Gallop is delighted to spend the cash.Theres growing optimism at head office that season 12 of the A-League, which kicks off on October 7, will be a box office success.The arrival of Cahill, who gathers attention like no other A-League player, at Melbourne City is the primary reason.His crossover appeal delights league chiefs, as shown by his recent engagements with the fashion world or AFL club the Western Bulldogs.A further marketing spend - which was non-existent last year - will follow from FFA next month after the AFL and NRL grand finals.It will ask half-committed fans to find a team, pitching squarely at young families to fill seats at A-League matches.Gallop is also delighted at the growing list of high-profile Australian names that have signed up for the season ahead: Brett Holman, James Troisi, Rhys Williams and Bernie Ibini among them.Hed delight in Essien confirming his guest-player move to Melbourne Victory.Weve come to an arrangement with Victory - if they come to an arrangement with him - that were comfortable with, Gallop said.Its understood Essien is overseas considering the deal.If he agrees, Victory will put him through his paces in Melbourne before signing him to ensure his fitness for the A-League campaign.Gallop said Essien brought star power.A player like Essien can add to the halo around Tim because its another big global player that football fans will be excited about, he said.When you add that to the players that are coming back from overseas, then it starts to build the thesis that Ange (Postecoglou) has been espousing loudly lately.He watches a lot of football and he sees a lot of football that is not as good as the A-League.Should Essien sign, the $1 million pot of guest-player funding will be almost dry.But should Cahill and Essiens impact be felt as widely as FFA believes - including on important broadcast rights negotiations - the league could grow the pot next year.(An increase would be) hard for season 12 but were certainly going to look at it again for season 13, he said.Therell be a small amount (left over) but were open to discussions with other clubs.Its obviously pleasing that we allocated an amount of money and were getting to use it. 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Soukalova missed only one target and completed the 15-kilometre course in 40 minutes, 32.6 seconds for both victories in this seasons individual discipline. Darya Domracheva of Belarus was second, 34. TORONTO -- The first thing you notice is all the blue.It runs deeper than denim, richer than the label on a bottle of LaBatts. And its everywhere. Its on the jerseys and the T-shirts, which might as well be standard issue for everyone who walks through the gates. Its on the hats and sneakers, too. Its even in the hair.Wait, the hair?I do this quite a bit, said Malcolm DeYoung, a middle-aged man whose closely cropped locks are dyed sapphire, like a blueberry on top of his head-to-toe Toronto Blue Jays outfit. A lot of people are coming up asking me where were from and getting pictures. Its a lot of fun.DeYoung is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and he is roaming the 100-level concourse at Rogers Centre an hour before Sundays game between his beloved Blue Jays and the rival Boston Red Sox. The city is jam-packed on Sunday, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and other celebrity A-listers taking over King Street for the annual Toronto International Film Festival. And the best hockey players on the planet will soon come to town for the World Cup of Hockey.But the locals are most consumed by the outcome of a four-team fight for the American League East crown. The Blue Jays sold 46,953 tickets for Friday nights game against the Red Sox. On Saturday and Sunday, the announced attendance was 47,829 and 47,816, respectively. This season, the Jays have topped the 3 million mark for the first time since 1993, when they won the second of back-to-back World Series titles.Its all about baseball again in Toronto, eh?Indeed, the Blue Jays and Canada are going together like poutine and gravy. Fans here have fallen hard for bat-flipping slugger Jose Bautista, reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson, native son Russell Martin and the rest of a star-studded team that has recaptured the full attention of one of North Americas most cosmopolitan cities -- and an entire nation.If you notice the signs at the ballgame, theyre from Cape Breton and theyre from Alberta. Theyre from all over Canada, said Don Cherry, the 82-year-old former NHL coach and co-host of the popular Coachs Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada on CBC. Its not just Torontos team. Weve got the whole country to call from, and believe me, it is sure enthusiastic here. When you can bump the Maple Leafs to the third, fourth page, thats pretty good.National treasureIt wasnt always like this.Canada has had a major league team since 1969, the Montreal Expos inaugural season. The expansion Blue Jays came along eight years later, and at the peak of their popularity, from 1991 to 1993, they made three playoff appearances, won two World Series and sold an average of 4,029,264 tickets per year at SkyDome, the first stadium with a fully retractable roof, to say nothing of a 348-room hotel.But the players strike of 1994 killed the buzz. Over the next 20 years, the Jays had 10 losing seasons and didnt reach the postseason. Attendance plummeted. From 1995 through 2014, the team sold an average of 2,141,538 tickets per year, bottoming out at 1.495 million in 2010.What is it, then, about these Blue Jays that has sparked a renewed love affair between country and team? Why are fans suddenly turning out en masse, singing OK, Blue Jays in unison during the seventh-inning stretch, even flinging their blue caps onto the field after Donaldsons recent three-homer game, the baseball equivalent of hockeys hat trick?I think they really represent our country, said Wes Coleman, a volunteer firefighter from Kingston, Ontario. They always try to appeal to the Canadian people by various measures, like [playing at home] on Canada Day and stuff like that. Because its our only national team now, its something that we can all gather around as a country to really root for.Longtime former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston tapped into that national pride when he rejoined the organization in 2008. Beeston restored Canadas red maple leaf to the teams logo, which had changed so much that it became unrecognizable. He expanded the Blue Jays winter caravan -- a promotional tour the team takes in the offseason -- to make stops from coast to coast and moved the clubs short-season Single-A affiliate to Vancouver. It helped, too, that Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and fellow ex-Blue Jays stars Duane Ward, Lloyd Moseby and Devon White started youth baseball clinics across the country.I did the caravan last year and we were in Vancouver, and that was one of those times where I was like, Man, there are fans everywhere in Canada, said Martin, the veteran catcher who grew up in Montreal and speaks fluent French. Were all the way across the country and people are lining up to take pictures with us. Thats what made me realize, yeah, its true, all of Canada is watching us. This is nuts.But it wasnt until last summer that Canada really got hooked. The Jays record was 50-51 and seemingly headed for another third-place finish on July 28, 2015, when then-general manager Alex Anthopoulos, a Montreal native, pulled off a blockbuster trade for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Two days later, another stunner: Anthopoulos acquired ace lefty David Price.The Blue Jays were for real. Finally.It wasnt like 92 or 93. This was a whole new feeling, Beeston said. We started to win, and all of a sudden we were cclimbing from fourth to third, third to second, second to first.dddddddddddd There was a love affair with the Blue Jays that showed not only with the box office but showed in television ratings, radio ratings, merchandising, everything else.The Jays finished on a 43-18 roll, won the AL East by six games, and packed Rogers Centre with earsplitting crowds.I always look back to one of my personal experiences in September against the Yankees. I struck out the side, and I mean, my heart was vibrating, said lefty reliever Brett Cecil, Torontos first-round draft pick in 2007 and the teams longest-tenured player. It was unbelievably loud.The decibel level reached unprecedented heights in the epic, 53-minute seventh inning of do-or-die Game 5 in an AL Division Series showdown. Bautista punctuated a four-run rally with a three-run homer -- and heaved his bat like a javelin -- to vanquish the Texas Rangers.I was sitting next to Price when he hit it, Cecil said. We both stood up and put our hands on the rail, and you could feel the vibration in the padding of our rails in front of our dugout. Youre not going to find that in too many places.Said Beeston: That was baseball at its best. That had everything that you wanted. It was just a fun game, and I think it created a lot of new baseball fans. And its just carried over to this year.Hockey mentalityAs fans march through the gates at Rogers Centre before Sundays 1:07 p.m. game against the Red Sox, their T-shirts and jerseys represent a virtual roll call of the Blue Jays roster: DONALDSON 20 ... BAUTISTA 19 ... ENCARNACION 10 ... MARTIN 55 ... TULOWITZKI 2 ... PILLAR 11 ... STROMAN 6 ... OSUNA 54 ... DICKEY 43 ... TRAVIS 29.A favorite player? All of em, DeYoung says.Cherry made his choice clear last year when he went on television and stumped for Donaldson to be voted in as the ALs starting third baseman for the All-Star Game. Guess who led all players with more than 14 million votes?Donaldson, he plays like a hockey player. I love him, said Cherry, who threw a ceremonial first pitch to his hero on Canada Day last year. When he strikes out, its not, Ho-hum, another day at the office, as he walks back. If you remember, he [recently] smashed his bat in two after he struck out and [manager John] Gibbons got on him. But thats the way he is. Hes not phony.In the upper deck, Section 521, Maureen Konnyu greets a family of four with a cheerful Welcome to the Blue Jays! An usher at Rogers Centre since 2002, Konnyu shows fans to their seats with a hospitality all her own.You dont have to show me your ticket anymore, she says, because now were friends.The Jays bring everybody together, said William Marquis, who came all the way from Calgary to watch the game with Coleman, his fellow firefighter. I think maybe were a little bit more polite [than fans in the U.S.].Dont tell umpire Dale Scott, whose misinterpretation of a rule led to an overturned call in the aforementioned seventh-inning insanity of Game 5 last year and prompted fans to pelt the field with a hail storm of garbage and debris. Things got so unruly, as Beeston says, at Rogers Centre that Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted out an appeal for calm.Red Sox manager John Farrell has also been on the receiving end of fan nastiness. After managing the Blue Jays to a 154-170 record in 2011 and 12, Farrell bolted with one season left on his contract for what he termed his dream job in Boston. And upon returning to Toronto in 2013, he was booed mercilessly.Its not an easy place to go in and play, particularly with the way [the Blue Jays] have been going, Farrell said. The crowd, they welcome me every time Im back. Its kind of a hostile place.Said Beeston: Traditionally, maybe were a little quieter, a little more reserved, and in some respects, not as angry as some cities. On the other hand, were getting that way.Mostly, though, support for the Blue Jays is a matter of nationalist pride. Hockey always will be Canadas pastime, but there are seven NHL teams based in the country. The Canadian Football League has nine teams from Vancouver to Montreal.When it comes to baseball, there is only one choice. So with two weeks left in the season and the Blue Jays vying with the Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and upstart New York Yankees for the AL East crown, Rogers Centre is the place to be, and blue is the national color.How much blue can you see? Beeston said. I mean, when you come here for a game, you see blue wherever you go.Fans might turn another type of blue if Bautista and Encarnacion depart via free agency after the season. That possibility has given extra meaning to a marketing slogan that is posted all around the ballpark: History Is Now.Theyre not going to lose them both, DeYoung said. Theyre going to lose one after this year, but theyre not going to lose both.And if they do?Well, DeYoung still wont change his hair back to its natural color.I know the fan base will still be here. Were coming back, DeYoung said. How many teams in the States has 30 million fans? Not one team in the States has 30 million fans.The Americans have been trying to take our hockey. Were going to take their baseball. ' ' '

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