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Costume caution: How political correctness is changing the face of Halloween

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

What do a bound-and-gagged Kim Kardashian, a creepy clown, and a Peeping Tom all have in common?

They are just a few examples of Halloween costumes and decorations that have been pulled from store shelves across North America after being deemed inappropriate for public consumption.

Controversial Halloween costumes are nothing new.

The sleepy town of Campbellford, Ont., woke up to a raging scandal in 2010 after a man dressed up in a KKK robe, complete with a hood and Confederate flag, for a Royal Canadian Legion Halloween party. He was leading another man in blackface by a rope tied in a noose around his neck.

The offensive costume won first prize.

A man dressed in a KKK robe, complete with hood and a Confederate flag on his back led another man in blackface around by a rope tied in a noose around his neck at the Halloween party in Campbellford, Ont., on Saturday October 30, 2010. A witness said the act was awarded top honours. So far it seems unlikely criminal charges will be laid, but the investigation is ongoing. A photo of the two showing the noose around the neck of the man in blackface was splashed across websites and TV broadcasts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

A man dressed in a KKK robe leads another man in blackface by a rope tied in a noose around at the Halloween party in Campbellford, Ont., on Oct. 30, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

But not all costumes deemed distasteful in 2016 are that blatant or bigoted.

In a climate of heightened political correctness, once-common costumes are now approached with caution.

The Peel District School Board has taken a strong stance on Halloween costumes, clearly outlining what’s considered unacceptable for students.

“In order to be inclusive and to model our character values, please do not dress in costumes that mimic the traditional attire of an ethnic, racial or gender group/identity,” the statement reads.

“This would include dressing in clothing of the opposite gender ‘in jest.’ Pretending to be a member of a group for ‘fun’ is evidence of cultural appropriation and sends the message that cultural attire is a ‘costume’ to be donned for entertainment purposes. Additionally, do not wear costumes that require you to assume a racialized minority or other marginalized identity. Assuming such an identity for entertainment purposes trivializes and disrespects the oppression of the group.”

So what kind of costumes could fall under those categories?

Mimic traditional attire of an ethnic, racial or gender group/identity:

  • Pocahontas
  • Transgender or transsexual person
  • Hasidic Jewish person

Clothing of the opposite gender “in jest”

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Donald Trump
  • Kim Kardashian

 

Not everyone is bowing to public pressure when it comes to costumes and political correctness. Popular chain store Spirit Halloween, which has two Toronto locations, says it won’t pull Indigenous-themed costumes (below) which are available at some stores and online.

nativecostume1

“While we respect the opinion of those who are opposed to the sale of any cultural or historical costumes, we are proud of our costume selection for men, women and children,” a company spokesperson told CityNews in a statement.

“We continue to offer this broad assortment of costumes in the future, while we maintain our commitment to our diverse customer base.”

So what do you think — has Halloween become too politically correct? Let us know in the comment section below or on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Blue Jays eliminated after Game 5 loss to Cleveland

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

Unheralded rookie Ryan Merritt, in only his second major league start, gave Cleveland the early pitching it needed and the Indians bullpen did the rest Wednesday, bundling the Toronto Blue Jays out of the playoffs with a 3-0 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp homered for Cleveland, which won the series 4-1.

The Indians head to the World Series, looking to erase memories of losses in 1954, 1995 and 1997. They won in 1920 and 1948. Only the Cubs (1908) have gone longer without winning the championship.

The Indians’ injury-ravaged starting rotation meant that manager Terry Francona had to hand the ball to Merritt, whose major league career consisted of one start, four appearances and 11 innings.

You wouldn’t have known it. The 24-year-old left-hander retired the first 10 Jays he faced before leaving with one out in the fifth after giving up just his second hit.

With Merritt looking cool on the mound in the 4 1/3 innings needed to get to Cleveland’s excellent bullpen, the Indians picked up solo runs in the first, third and fourth to pull ahead before a sellout crowd of 48,800 under the Rogers Centre roof.

Each team managed six hits.

Indians reliever Andrew Miller, who anchored a fearsome Indians bullpen that the Jays couldn’t solve, was named the ALCS most valuable player.


Related stories:

Video: Blue Jays fan has sign confiscated entering Rogers Centre for Game 5


Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he was proud of his team and for contending in the ALCS for a second straight year following a 22-year playoff drought in Toronto.

“To stay on top or get close to the top, near the top, I mean, it takes a lot,” he said. “A lot of things have got to go your way, you’ve got to get some breaks. You’ve got to stay healthy for the most part. And you’ve got to be tough mentally. That’s what we’ve got. And we turned that around last year, got in, repeated that this year.

“I’m sure there will be some disappointments and grumbling and complaining about how you fell short again, but that’s not coming from me. Because I know what these guys did, and I think it’s a pretty good accomplishment. The key is we want to take that next step one of these days, hopefully it’s next year. But these guys, they did a hell of a job.”

Wednesday’s game was like all the other Cleveland wins. The Indians pitching was slightly better, the Cleveland hitting came at the right times and the defence was rock-solid. The Jays managed zero, one, two, five and zero runs against the Indians, who never trailed in Games 1, 2, 3 and 5.

“I know that I’m capable of doing a lot more,” said Jays slugger Jose Bautista. “They pitched great. It was tough. They seemed to make the right pitches at the right time and got us out and they never let us string base hits together and when we had men in scoring position they seemed to turn it up a notch and go to another level of execution. My hat’s off to them.”

Toronto, which hit 10 homers in the wild-card game and ALDS, managed just two against Cleveland although it came close to adding to that total several times Wednesday. The Indians found the fence six times against the Jays. Bryan Shaw (2-0), Miller and Cody Allen pitched the rest of the way for Cleveland. Miller continued his mastery over Toronto hitters, giving up a single to pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro in 2 2/3 otherwise perfect innings.

Allen pitched the ninth, the action slightly delayed by a shirtless fan who invaded the field before disappearing at the bottom of a scrum of security near second base.

The Indians closer gave up a leadoff double Bautista that got the crowd on its feet. He then struck out Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion and induced Troy Tulowitzki to foul out for his fifth save of the post-season.

The Indians rushed out of the dugout to celebrate in a moving ball of humanity by second base. The Rogers Centre crowd responded with chants of “Let’s Go Blue Jays.”

“We left it all out there. They played better than us,” Donaldson said. “I poured everything I had into it, you know. I love this game. I love to play this game. I have a passion to play this game, I have a passion to compete and I love playing with the teammates I have in this clubhouse.

“Whenever I look back in the mirror at the end of the day, you know, I don’t have any regrets because I did everything that I could.”

Toronto starter Marco Estrada pitched well but the Indians took advantage of his mistakes. He retired 10 of 11 before exiting, with the Crisp home run the only blot on his copy book during that stretch.

Estrada (0-2) gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in six innings.

Merritt, a 16th-round pick taken 488th overall in the 2011 draft, becomes only the second player in MLB history to make his post-season debut with only one regular season start, according to Elias Sports. Matt Moore did it for Tampa in the 2011 ALDS.

He gave up two singles with two strikeouts and no walks in a 49-pitch performance that featured 33 strikes.

“What I hoped would be that he would be himself. Because I thought that was a tall task just for that, under the circumstances,” Francona said of Merritt’s performance. “If he was just himself then you let the chips fall. And he threw strikes. He worked ahead, even with an 85-, 86-mile-an-hour fastball, you saw him beat their barrel a number of times.

“He didn’t let the noise get to him. He was phenomenal. And I’m sure when all is said and done a game like this will go light years in his development, in his maturity.”

The free-swinging Jays did not excel against slow fastballs this season. They batted .249 against fastballs less than 90 m.p.h, according to MLB.com. That was the fourth-lowest such average in the majors.

The Indians official Twitter account celebrated Merritt’s outing with a photo of the pitcher alongside one of actor Kit Harington from “Game of Thrones.” “Ryan Merritt=King in The North?” asked the tweet.

Merritt looked at ease in a 1-2-3 13-pitch first inning that saw his pitches range in speed from 69 to 86 miles per hour. He dispatched the home hitters in order again in the second and third, needing just 31 pitches to go through the entire Toronto order.

Donaldson finally provided some offence against Merritt with a one-out single in the fourth. That got the Cleveland bullpen up, as Francona got help ready. But Encarnacion, who thought he should have had a walk on the 3-1 pitch in the at-bat, hit into an inning-ending double play one delivery later.

Russell Martin got on with one out in the fifth on a bloop single that a sprinting Lonnie Chisenhall was unable to get to in right field. That ended Merritt’s exceptional afternoon.

Michael Saunders singled off Shaw to put men on first and second. But Shaw struck out the next two batters.

Bautista’s one-out single in the sixth drew Miller to the mound. “Miller Time!!!!!!” tweeted Cavaliers star LeBron James.

The ace left-hander got Donaldson to hit into a double play, unsuccessfully challenged by the Jays, to snuff out the threat. Three more outs quickly followed in the seventh.

Cleveland went ahead with two outs in the first on Mike Napoli’s double. Francisco Lindor, who singled to get thing going, was helped getting home by left-fielder Ezequiel Carrera fumbling the ball when it came off the fence. He was tagged with an error.

Santana made it 2-0 with a solo homer to right field in the third. The ball, which left his bat at 103 miles per hour, travelled 402 feet with Bautista essentially just turning around and watching it land in the seats.

With two outs in the fourth, Crisp sent an Estrada changeup 373 feet into the Indians bullpen to increase the lead.

Toronto’s Brett Cecil, Joe Biagini and Roberto Osuna delivered three innings of one-hit relief.

The Blue Jays, which started the day 6-1 in their last seven elimination games, is the first team since the 2004 Red Sox to force a Game 5 when trailing 0-3 in the series. Of the other teams that managed to do it, three lost in the fifth game and two were dispatched in six.

Merritt, whose last appearance was a win against Kansas City on Sept. 30, wasn’t on the Indians ALDS roster.

Bautista did his bit to pile on the pressure.

“Not having seen him is something that could go either way,” he said after Game 4. “But with our experience and our lineup I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are. So I like where we’re at.”

Merritt, his feet firmly planted, induced a groundout and flyout from Bautista.

Cleveland, which had the second-best record in the American League this season at 94-67, swept the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series.

The Jays delivered a roller-coaster ride this season, drawing 3.92 million to the Rogers Centre in the process.

Toronto slumped to a 3-9 start in September before rallying to finish the month at 11-16. The team had to claw its way into post-season and things looked bright after it dispatched the Orioles in the wild-card game and swept the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.

“it’s a very colourful team. A lot of big personalities,” Gibbons said. “It’s a fun group to be around. There’s not a lot of dull moments, I’ll put it that way. They show up every day to play, good or bad. There’s a lot of veterans on it who have been through it before. And they know how to take care of business.”

For the Jays, this season be an end of an era with Bautista and Encarnacion poised for free agency and a huge payday.

The 2016 Indians have proved to be a bargain, in major league baseball terms. Their 25-man opening day roster carried a combined payroll of US$96.3 million this season compared to $136.8 million for the Blue Jays. Toronto’s eight highest-paid players made more than the entire Cleveland 25-man roster.

The final presidential debate: ‘puppets’ and ‘nasty woman’

Lisa Lerer and Julie Pace, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Oct 20th, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump debates Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016. (Mark Ralston/Pool via AP)

Threatening a fundamental pillar of American democracy, Donald Trump refused to say Wednesday night that he will accept the results of next month’s election if he loses to Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee declared Trump’s resistance “horrifying.”

Trump has spent the days leading up to third and final presidential debate warning voters that the election will be “rigged.” Asked whether he would accept the outcome if Clinton emerges victorious, he said, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”

That contradicted pledges by his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, as well as his daughter, Ivanka.

Wednesday’s contest quickly shifted from a calm, policy-focused faceoff into a bitter and deeply personal confrontation. Trump repeatedly called Clinton a “nasty woman,” while the Democrat panned him as “unfit” to be commander in chief.

Clinton, who began the debate with a lead in nearly all battleground states, forcefully accused Trump of favouring Russia’s leader over American military and intelligence experts after the Republican nominee pointedly refused to accept the U.S. government’s assertion that Moscow has sought to meddle in the U.S. election.

She charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin was backing Trump because “he’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States.”

Trump denied any relationship with Putin and said he would condemn any foreign interference in the election. But he notably declined to back the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was involved in the hacking of Democratic organizations. The Clinton campaign has said the FBI also is investigating Russia’s involvement in the hacking of a top adviser’s emails.

The 90-minute contest in Las Vegas came just under three weeks before Election Day and with early voting underway in more than 30 states. Trump has struggled to expand his support beyond his most loyal backers and must reshape the race in its closing days if he hopes to defeat Clinton.

The candidates clashed repeatedly over their drastically different visions for the nation’s future. Trump backed Supreme Court justices who would overturn the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling, while Clinton vowed to appoint justices that would uphold the decision legalizing abortion, saying, “We have come too far to have that turned back now.”

The businessman entered the final debate facing a string of sexual assault accusations from women who came forward after he denied in the previous contest that he had kissed or groped women without their consent. That Trump denial followed the release of a video of in which he’s heard bragging about exactly that.

Trump denied the accusations anew Wednesday night, saying the women coming forward “either want fame or her campaign did it.”

Clinton said Trump “thinks belittling women makes him bigger. He goes after their dignity, their self-worth.” She avoided answering a question about her husband’s infidelities.

While Trump once again asserted that no one respects women more than he does, he called Clinton “such a nasty woman,” leavingpolitical pundits of both parties expressing shock at the snipe. Many on social media and cable news identifying it as one of the Republican nominee’s worst moments of the debate.

Clinton had been talking about her proposal to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Her plan, she noted, would raise taxes on the wealthy, including her and Trump. And then she added of the billionaire, who in the 1990s took nearly a $1 billion write-off for business losses: “Assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.”

As she continued talking Trump interjected, “Such a nasty woman.” He raised his right hand to point his finger and shook his head, letting his mouth drop open in apparent disgust.

Clinton let the comment roll off her and continued pressing her case.

Trump pressed Clinton on immigration, accusing her of wanting an “open borders” policy, a characterization she vigorously disputes. The Republican, who has called for building a wall the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, said that under a Clinton presidency, “People are going to pour into our country.”

Clashing on trade, Trump said Clinton had misrepresented her position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, noting that she had originally called it the “gold standard” of trade agreements. Clinton shot back that once the deal was finished, it didn’t meet her standards. “I’ll be against it when I’m president,” she said.

On foreign policy, Clinton reasserted her opposition to sending a large-scale U.S. troop presence to the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State. She’s backed a no-fly zone in Syria, which would mark an expansion of the current U.S. strategy.

For Trump, the debate marked one of his final chances to reshape a race that appears to be slipping away from him. Clinton’s campaign is confidently expanding into traditionally Republican states, while Trump’s narrow electoral path is shrinking.

Clinton has struggled throughout the campaign to overcome persistent questions about her honesty and trustworthiness. In the campaign’s closing weeks, she’s begun appealing to Americans to overcome the deep divisions that have been exacerbated by the heated campaign, saying on stage Wednesday that she intended to be a president for those who vote for her and those who do not.

Clinton faced debate questions for the first time about revelations in her top adviser’s hacked emails that show her striking a different tone in private than in public regarding Wall Street banks and trade. She quickly turned the discussion to Russia’s potential role in stealing the emails.

Underscoring the deep discord between Trump and Clinton, the candidates did not shake hands at the beginning or end of the debate.

Clinton, Trump set for last debate as ugly race nears finish

Julie Pace, The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

For Trump, the debate is perhaps his last opportunity to turn around a race that appears to be slipping away from him. His predatory comments about women and a flood of sexual assault accusations have deepened his unpopularity with women and limited his pathways to victory. His supporters remain intensely loyal, but there are few signs he’s attracting the new backers he desperately needs.

Clinton takes the stage facing challenges of her own. While the electoral map currently leans in her favour, the Democrat is facing a new round of questions about her authenticity and trustworthiness, concerns that have trailed her throughout the campaign. The hacking of her top campaign adviser’s emails revealed a candidate that is averse to apologizing, can strike a different tone in private than in public, and makes some decisions only after painstaking political deliberations.

The last in a trio of presidential debates, Wednesday’s contest in Las Vegas comes just under three weeks from Election Day and with early voting already underway in several key battleground states.

Trump has leaned on an increasingly brazen strategy in the campaign’s closing weeks, including peddling charges that the election will be rigged, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud in U.S. presidential contests. He’s also charged that Clinton attacked and intimidated women involved with her husband’s affairs, bringing three women who accused former President Bill Clinton of unwanted sexual contact and even rape to sit in the audience for the second debate. The former president has never been charged with crimes related to the encounters, though he did settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Trump is bringing President Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, as his debate guest. Clinton is bringing billionaire and frequent Trump critic Mark Cuban and Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, one of the former secretary of state’s highest-profile Republican backers.

Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the Democratic nominee “will be ready for whatever scorched-earth tactics (Trump) tries” in Wednesday’s debate.

Republicans desperately hope Trump can close the campaign by focusing on Clinton’s weaknesses, a strategy some privately concede may not be enough at this point for him to win, but could help GOP Senate candidates salvage their races.

The businessman has shown flashes of renewed focus in recent days, including highlighting a senior State Department official’s request that the FBI help reduce the classification of an email from Clinton’s private server. It was to be part of a bargain that would have allowed the FBI to deploy more agents in foreign countries, though it was not immediately clear whether the State Department official or someone at the FBI first raised that prospect.

Campaigning Tuesday in Colorado, Trump called the matter “felony corruption” and worse than the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.

Clinton, who has meticulously prepared for the three debates at the expense of time in battleground states, visibly rattled Trump in their first showdown by using his own controversial comments about women and minorities against him. The businessman was on the defence at the start of the second debate – which came days after the release of a video in which he brags about kissing and grabbing women – but ended on stronger footing, hammering Clinton for being a creature of Washington who won’t be able to bring about change.

Trump denied in the second debate that he had made the kind of unwanted sexual advances he is heard describing on the video. His denial prompted some of the women who have since publicly accused him of assault to come forward.

The Republican has acquiesced to some advisers who pressed for him to do more serious preparations after the first debate. Still, he’s continued to eschew the mock debates and multiday prep sessions that he’s criticizing Clinton for.

“She’s been doing this for 30 years and now she has to do debate prep for five days,” Trump said. “You know what the debate prep is? It’s resting. It’s lying down and going to sleep.”

Moderator Chris Wallace – the first Fox News journalist to moderate a debate – has said he plans to ask the candidates about debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the Supreme Court, foreign hot spots and their fitness to be president. He aims to spend 15 minutes on each topic.

AP writer Jill Colvin in Colorado Springs, Colorado, contributed to this report.

Blue Jays stave off elimination with Game 4 win over Indians

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2016

Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) and catcher Russell Martin (55) celebrate their victory over the Cleveland Indians in game four American League Championship Series baseball action in Toronto on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Aaron Sanchez pitched six strong innings and the Toronto bats finally woke up as the Blue Jays staved off playoff elimination Tuesday with a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

Four Toronto pitchers limited the Indians to two hits.

The Jays still face three more do-or-die games, two in Cleveland, if they are to survive the best-of-seven series, and history is against them. Since the introduction of the best-of-seven format in 1985, only one of 31 teams have rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win the ALCS (Boston, 2004).

On the plus side for Toronto, the injury-riddled Cleveland starting rotation is not deep. Game 5 goes Wednesday with Marco Estrada against Indians rookie Ryan Merritt.

After scoring just three runs in the first three games, the Toronto offence got out of first gear in a game that was a mirror image of the previous three. This time Toronto outpitched Cleveland and got the timely hits.

Josh Donaldson homered for Toronto and Edwin Encarnacion drove in a pair of runs before a sellout of 49,142 under the roof at the Rogers Centre that finally had something to cheer about.

Donaldson also delivered some stellar defence.

Toronto, which totalled 17 hits in the first three games, outhit Cleveland 9-2.

The loss snapped the Indians’ nine-game win streak dating back to the regular season and Cleveland’s franchise-record run of six straight post-season victories.

The Jays, leading for the first time in the series, picked up solo runs in the third and fourth, two more in the seventh and one in the eighth to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Sanchez (1-0), inducing a string of Cleveland groundouts, gave up just one hit in his first four innings before yielding a run in the fifth when he threw 25 pitches.

The 24-year-old right-hander, whose arm has been closely monitored in his first year as a starter after pitching in the bullpen, was well rested having last pitched Oct. 9 — his first career post-season start.

He gave up one run on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in a 95-pitch performance that featured 54 strikes.

Brett Cecil, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna delivered equally solid work in relief. The loud crowd was on its feet as Osuna mowed the Indians down in order in the ninth with nine strikes in 10 pitches.

Kluber, the 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner, was pitching on three days rest for the first time in 135 career starts. He lasted five innings, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in an 89-pitch outing that included 59 strikes.

Given he is down as the Indians Game 7 pitcher, if needed, manager Terry Francona was loath to work him longer than necessary.

It was tight opening with little conceded. Cleveland got a man on third with one out in the third but Sanchez escaped thanks to a pair of ground balls.

After two strikeouts by Kluber in bottom of the third, Donaldson hammered a 2-2 ball 402 feet to left-centre field. That ended Kluber’s franchise-record streak of 16 scoreless post-season innings. Encarnacion almost immediately added to the total with a 374-foot fly ball caught by a jumping Lonnie Chisenhall in right field.

Kluber (2-1) issued back-to-back walks to open the Jays’ half of the fourth. One strikeout later, Ezequiel Carrera’s bloop single to centre scored Troy Tulowitzki for a 2-0 lead. Kluber struck out two more to end the inning but the damage was done.

A one-out walk to Coco Crisp proved costly for the Jays in the fifth when, one out later, No. 9 hitter Roberto Perez doubled him home to cut the lead to 2-1. A glittering fielding play by Donaldson, snaring a rocket that left Carlos Santana’s bat at 102 m.p.h., snuffed out the threat and the third baseman left the field pumping his first.

Donaldson also made a nice catch in foul territory in the sixth, twisting his body to see the ball.

Tulowitzki greeted reliever Dan Otero in the Jays’ half of the inning with a 352-foot single off the right-field wall that just missed going over. A fielder’s choice and single had men on first and second with Carrera coming close to cashing them in with a 358-foot fly ball, but the Jays could not bring them home.

Toronto loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh on a Ryan Goins single, a Bryan Shaw throwing error that put Jose Bautista on and intentional walk to Donaldson. With the crowd chanting “Eddie, Eddie,” Encarnacion obliged with a two-run single to make it 4-1.

Carrera tripled and came home on Kevin Pillar’s sacrifice fly in the eighth, a play that featured a marvellous diving catch by Brandon Guyer.

Toronto came into the do-or-die game in desperate need of offence. In the first three games of the series, the Jays hit .177 and struck out 34 times. Toronto had left 19 men on base and was hitting 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“They’ve been making some big pitches,” manager John Gibbons, speaking prior to the game, said of the Indians. “For the most part, we’ve been doing the same thing. They’re just capitalized more than we have. The home runs, beating us at our own game.”

“They’re rolling right now, that’s for sure,” he added.

Toronto finally managed to put up a roadblock Tuesday.

Cleveland’s pitching staff boasted a playoff-best 1.67 ERA going into the game. Toronto was No. 2 at 2.81.

The Jays’ power failure had been noticeable. Toronto came into the series leading all playoff teams with 10 home runs. But the Indians had four homers to the Jays’ one in the first three games.

Tuesday’s loss notwithstanding, the Indians remain a tough nut to crack.

How resilient are the Indians? Cleveland media reported that Francona lost the veneer off a tooth right before Game 3. He went to a dentist at 1 a.m. and had it restored to its rightful place.

Wednesday night road closures

Toronto police are closing, or partially closing, roads around the Rogers Centre for Wednesday’s game.

  • Blue Jays Way will have a partial road closure, for southbound traffic, from Front Street West to Navy Wharf
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a partial road closure, for eastbound traffic, from Spadina Avenue to Rees Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for eastbound traffic, from Rees Street to Lower Simcoe Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for westbound traffic, from Lower Simcoe Street to Navy Wharf
  • Rees Street will have a full road closure, for northbound traffic, from Lakeshore Boulevard to Bremner Boulevard

EmojiHealth app aims to get youth talking about their health

Nicole Martin | posted Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2016

New app get youth talking health

Two teens have created a new app aimed at getting young people to have open conversations about health and wellness using the language most comfortable to teens: texting.

The whole idea behind EmojiHealth is to get teens talking about health and wellness and topics that are often difficult to discuss, like mental health.

One of the founders, 17-year-old Alexandra Philp Reeves, says the app includes features like personalized reminders to take medication and tracker messages to make sure the teen is staying active. But she says the key to this app is that it speaks the language of the user.

“By using emojis, making it highly visual, and kind of trying to have the information come from the voice of a young person, we really think that we’re able to more identify with and be more in the real life of a teen,” she said.

So, having an app like this raises the question — Has therapy moved from the psychiatrist’s couch to the smartphone? Is this an effective way to promote open dialogue amongst young people?

Clinical psychologist Dr. Oren Amitay says it’s a great tool to help promote conversation, but removing human contact may not be as healthy as you think.

“Anything that can stimulate conversation and make people feel more comfortable talking about their issues is a good thing … but it creates a distance,” he said.

“When I’m talking to someone face to face emotions are being evoked, oxytocin’s being released… Through text messaging, you don’t get that… It’s not healthy, but people feel comfortable with it.”

Alexandra says the app’s mission is to engage and empower young people to manage their own wellness and simply to help people.

Blue Jays fans remain optimistic after team wins to avoid sweep by Indian

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2016

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18:  Jason Grilli #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game four of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 18, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Toronto Blue Jays fans remain cautiously optimistic after the team kept its playoff run alive in a do-or-die game Tuesday.

Die-hard fan Mike Calderon says the Blue Jays can still win the series after their 5-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

It is the first win for the Blue Jays against Cleveland, but they still trail the Indians three games to one in the best-of-seven series.


Related stories:

Blue Jays stave off elimination with Game 4 win over Indians
Video: Toronto transit showing love for the Blue Jays
Man who allegedly tossed beer at Blue Jays game no longer employed at Postmedia


“We can win three more games easy,” Calderon said. “It can’t be that rare to come back after being down 3-0, right?”

Calderon is wrong. The Boston Red Sox are the only team in Major League Baseball history to come back from a 3-0 deficit. That is out of 34 chances.

That win came in 2004 in a memorable ALCS win against the New York Yankees, after which the Red Sox went on to win the World Series. Boston’s manager for that series was Terry Francona, who is now in Cleveland’s dugout, managing the Indians.

But Blue Jays fans didn’t want that statistic thrown in their faces after the win.

“I don’t care about history,” said Jerry Brown, who admitted his optimism may stem from several beers he “crushed” during the game.

“Listen, we got the offence going now and we can ride that train all the way to the Series.”

Until Tuesday’s win, the team had only scored three runs in three games.

Melissa Rodriguez sounded like a veteran ballplayer, spouting cliches as she walked out to the unusually hot, humid air outside Rogers Centre.

“Say what you will about the history, but we’ve got a chance,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sam Peterson was more realistic as he evaluated his beloved Jays, saying they’ll never win this series.

“I’m a man of science and the numbers probably don’t lie,” he said. “We’re done, but it was a pretty good run. There’s always next year and all that garbage.”

Game 4 Tuesday night, with Jays on brink of playoff exit

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 18th, 2016

The Cleveland Indians celebrate after their 4-2 win against the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series in Toronto, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Mike Napoli homered and drove in two runs and Cleveland survived a bizarre, bloody pitching cameo by Indians starter Trevor Bauer to defeat Toronto 4-2 Monday night, burying the Blue Jays in an 0-3 hole in the American League Championship Series.

It was more of the same for the Jays, their bats rendered near useless by Cleveland pitching. Toronto has scored just three runs in three games against the Indians, who have done just enough offensively to win.

Star reliever Andrew Miller, who had struck out 10 of the 12 Jays he faced in the first two games, came on with four outs remaining. He got a strikeout to end the eighth but gave up a single to pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro to open the ninth.

Miller struck out Kevin Pillar and Melvin Upton Jr. and Darwin Barney grounded out to extinguish the rally.

Napoli, who came in the game mired in an 0-for-25 drought against right-handers, homered and doubled. Jason Kipnis also had a solo homer for the Indians.

Michael Saunders homered for Toronto, which is now in do-or-die mode for the rest of the best-of-seven series. Both teams had seven hits.

Cleveland pulled ahead 4-2 with two runs in the sixth. The Jays have yet to lead in the series.

Bauer, playing with 10 stitches in his right pitching pinky after a freak drone repair accident last Thursday, lasted just two outs and 21 pitches. Blood was dripping from his unbandaged finger like a faucet and his uniform was stained with crimson drops when umpire Brian Gorman walked out to the mound and summoned Indians manager Terry Francona for a pitcher who wasn’t leaking red.

Even before the game, Bauer’s finger looked like someone had taken a razor-sharp ice-cream scoop to it. But the 25-year-old seemed unfazed, using his right hand to flex a whippy exercise bar outside the Indians dugout.

Bauer had a strikeout, walk, flyout and walk before making his bloody exit. He only managed nine strikes.

Dan Otero came on in relief, the first of six Cleveland relievers. Bryan Shaw (1-0) got the win.

The Indians have won nine straight dating back to the end of the regular season while extending their franchise-record post-season streak to six victories.

Toronto used four pitchers in relief of starter Marcus Stroman (0-1). Closer Roberto Osuna had men on first and second with one out in the ninth but pitched out of it.

Game 4 goes Tuesday with Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez against Indians ace Corey Kluber, pitching on three days rest. Francona had planned to go with rookie Ryan Merritt if Bauer had managed to pitch deep into Tuesday’s game.

Road Closures

Toronto police are closing several roads around the Rogers Centre for Tuesday’s game, which will lead to traffic tie-ups all around the downtown. Anyone who doesn’t need to be in the area is asked to avoid it. Police are also asking fans to use transit or carpool to get to the game.

  • The southbound lanes of Blue Jays Way will be closed from Front Street West to Navy Wharf
  • The eastbound lanes of Bremner Boulevard will be closed from Spadina Avenue to Rees Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for eastbound traffic, from Rees Street to Lower Simcoe Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for westbound traffic, from Lower Simcoe Street to Navy Wharf
  • Rees Street will have a full road closure, for northbound traffic, from Lakeshore Boulevard to Bremner Boulevard
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