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epa05541486 Employees work on at assembly line of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, during the introduction of Fiat Uno 2017 at a Fiat plant in Betim, MG, Brazil, 15 September 2016.  EPA/PAULO FONSECA

Fiat-Chrysler and Unifor reach tentative agreement

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2016

A last-minute tentative agreement has averted a threatened strike by 9,750 workers at Fiat-Chrysler’s operations in Ontario.

Unifor president Jerry Dias announced the four-year deal just minutes before a strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday night.

He said the deal, which followed what he called “one very difficult set of negotiations,” mirrors the one reached with General Motors on Sept. 20.


Related stories:

Unifor and Fiat-Chrysler to meet, after union’s GM success
GM workers ratify new agreement with auto giant
Five things to know about contract negotiations between Unifor and GM


That deal, since ratified by GM workers, includes a two per cent wage increase this year and another two per cent increase in September, 2019. There is also a $6,000 signing bonus plus lump sum bonuses of $2,000 in each of the next three years to most employees.

It also included improvements to benefits, hiring practices and a GM commitment to invest $554 million in its Canadian operations.

Dias said the agreement with Fiat-Chrysler includes a $325 million investment at an assembly plant in Brampton, Ont., and a pledge to upgrade an old paint shop at the facility.

“We were deeply concerned with the fact that the paint shop in our Brampton assembly plant that builds the 300s, the Chargers and the Challengers is over 30 years old,” said Dias.

“If you don’t have a paint shop … it creates incredible uncertainty.”

Dias also said the agreement also includes a measure to protect jobs at the automaker’s casting plant in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke that are threatened by the company’s discontinuation of the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart.

“That decision will lead, candidly, to the layoff of up to about 150, potentially 200 of our members,” said Dias.

“So what we have found is a solution to make sure that our members will not be laid off and will have employment opportunities in the Brampton assembly plant.

Dias said the automaker has committed to upgrades at the casting plant “to refurbish, to rebuild, to update the machinery, the equipment in order that we are prepared to solidify our strength as a die-cast operation.”

The union leader did not say how would be spent to achieve this end of the agreement.

Unifor said the Fiat-Chrysler workers will vote on the tentative agreement on Sunday, and if approved, the union said it would immediately hold talks with Ford — the last of the so-called Big Three automakers.

Fiat-Chrysler employs 9,750 workers in Brampton, Windsor and Etobicoke.

Blue Jays to face Indians as Cleveland sweeps the Red Sox

Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2016

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 10:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox waits for his at-bat in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game three of the American League Divison Series at Fenway Park on October 10, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The ball settled into the right fielder’s glove, the Cleveland Indians poured onto the diamond and the Fenway fans fell silent.

Then, slowly from the crowd rose a chant of “Pa-pi!”

Cleveland swept the Red Sox out of the post-season and sent David Ortiz into retirement on Monday night with a 4-3 victory that completed a three-game AL Division Series sweep. But even as the Indians frolicked on the field in their celebratory hats and T-shirts, Boston fans weren’t ready to let their beloved Big Papi go.

“I’m glad he didn’t get a hit to beat us,” manager Terry Francona said after leading the Indians to just the second post-season sweep in franchise history. ” thought it was an honour to be on the field, competing against him in his last game, because he’s truly one of the best. You could tell the way people were hanging around yelling his name and everything. He deserves every bit of that.”

Coco Crisp hit a two-run homer , closer Cody Allen got four outs and the Indians advanced the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2007. That year, they took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series against Boston before losing three in a row.

Cleveland also blew a 2-0 lead against Boston in the best-of-five round in 1999.

But this year there would be no fold.

Perhaps inspired by the Cavaliers’ NBA title – the city’s first pro sports championship since 1964 – the Indians shut down Ortiz and the most prolific offence in the league. Rookie Tyler Naquin delivered a two-run single and Josh Tomlin pitched five strong innings for the Indians, who will open the ALCS at home against Toronto on Friday.


Related stories:

Toronto Blue Jays sweep American League Division Series


Cleveland went 4-3 this year against the wild-card Blue Jays, who swept AL West champion Texas to reach the ALCS for the second straight year.

“Nobody in this clubhouse doubts what we’re what capable of,” reliever Andrew Miller said as music blared and corks popped in the visitors’ clubhouse. “I think we saw in our games in Cleveland how much support we have. It’s a special place to be. I think we have bigger things ahead of us, but it’s not going to be any easier.”

To advance, the Indians had to shut down the most prolific offence in the major leagues and weather the emotional farewell to Ortiz. The Red Sox designated hitter went 1 for 9 in the series, collecting a sacrifice fly in Game 3 before walking on four pitches in his final plate appearance.

Ortiz was lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth and left to a standing ovation.

But that wasn’t enough for the crowd of 39,530 – the largest at Fenway since at least World War II. Chanting “We’re not leaving!” and “Thank you, Pa-pi!” for more than 10 minutes while the Indians celebrated their victory, the crowd finally drew the beloved slugger back onto the field.

Wearing a red warmup and a scowl on his face, Ortiz lumbered out to the mound and tipped his cap in all directions, tapping his heart. Only when the camera zoomed in on him did it become apparent that the frown was not regret over an early post-season exit: Big Papi was crying.

“Tonight when I walked to the mound, I realized that it was over. It was pretty much probably the last time as a player to walk in front of a crowd,” Ortiz told reporters afterward. “And the emotion came back out again.”

After two minutes, Ortiz retired to the dugout and retired for good, ending to a career that brought three World Series titles to Boston and transformed the once-futile franchise into winners.

“I’m happy, not just for me, not just how my career went down, but for the organization, the step that we took, from going from last place to win the division this year,” he told reporters. “Even if things didn’t end up the way we were looking for … it’s like going from bad to good, from day to night.”

Making it their goal to send their beloved Big Papi out as a winner, the Red Sox managed to win the AL East – the second time in four seasons they went from worst to first.

Boston raised fans’ hopes with an 11-game winning streak in September but then lost eight of its last nine games, including the playoffs. After winning the first two games in the best-of-five AL Division Series, and then waiting an extra day because of Sunday’s rainout, the Indians it took a 2-0 lead off Clay Buchholz in the fourth inning on Naquin’s single.

Tomlin gave up Andrew Benintendi’s Green Monster-scraping RBI double in the fifth, which gave some life to the Fenway crowd.

But with one run in, one out, one on and the fans taunting the Indians starter – “Tom-lin! Tom-lin!” – he struck out Sandy Leon on a pitch in the dirt and then Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to first. In the sixth, Crisp hit a two-run homer over the left-field wall to make it 4-1.

Buchholz allowed two runs and six hits in four innings, joining David Price and Rick Porcello as post-season losers.

Tomlin allowed two runs on four in five-plus innings. Miller pitched two innings , Bryan Shaw got two outs and Allen came on to face Ortiz with two out and a man on first in the eighth.

After walking on four pitches , Ortiz stood on first and waved his arms at the mostly dormant crowd. The fans rose to cheer for him and stayed there as Hanley Ramirez singled to make it 4-3.

Now representing the tying run at second, Ortiz was lifted for pinch-runner Marco Hernandez, leaving the field to a raucous cheer. But even after coming out of the game, his work wasn’t done: With one foot on the top step of the dugout, he continued to cheer the team on.

Xander Bogaerts hit a hard line drive to second and Ortiz jumped onto the dirt, only to turn around and walk dejectedly back into the dugout when it was caught for the last out.

In the ninth, Jackie Bradley Jr. singled with two out and Dustin Pedroia drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Travis Shaw worked the count full before popping up to end it.

“I was cheering so bad,” Ortiz said. “Once I got out of the game I was screaming at my team to put me back in it. Make me wear this uniform one more day. Because I wasn’t ready to be over with the playoff.”

Bowmanville Zoo closing today after animal cruelty scandal

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2016

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After 97 years in operation and plenty of controversy, the Bowmanville Zoo is officially closing its doors Monday afternoon.

Last December, PETA posted a portion of an undercover video online, which showed the zoo’s co-owner, Michael Hackenberger allegedly whipping a tiger during a training session.

The OSPCA launched an investigation and Hackenberger was charged with five counts of animal cruelty.

After the controversy, attendance for the 2016 season dropped so significantly that Hackenberger and zoo staff were forced to make the decision to shut down.

Feelings were mixed about the zoo’s closure.

“They do a lot of education for children,” one visitor to the zoo said. “I think there are a lot of children who come here and enjoy learning.”

There were people outside the zoo on Monday protesting, saying the closure is a victory for animal rights.

These animals have been treated poorly,” another visitor said. “I’m here today because it’s a celebration that the zoo is finally closing due to public pressure.”

The first animals will be leaving the zoo on Tuesday.

It is unclear what will happen to the property.

Toronto Blue Jays sweep American League Division Series

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 11th, 2016

Toronto Blue Jays' players mob Russell Martin (bottom) after he drove in the winning run against the Texas Rangers during tenth inning game three American League Division Series action, in Toronto on Sunday, October 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – Josh Donaldson came home from second base on an errant double play attempt in the 10th inning to give the Toronto Blue Jays a dramatic 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers and a sweep of the American League Division Series on Sunday.

Donaldson opened the 10th with a double off hard-throwing Matt Bush and Edwin Encarnacion was intentionally walked, cranking up the noise in a sold-out Rogers Centre.

After Jose Bautista struck out, Russell Martin, in an eight-pitch at-bat, hit into what seemed to be an inning ending-double play. But Rougned Odor bounced the throw to first and a diving Donaldson beat Mitch Moreland’s desperate throw to home.

The Toronto dugout emptied. Texas challenged the play to no avail and the celebration was on.

The Jays will face either Boston or Cleveland in the AL Championship Series.

It was a wild ending to a white-knuckle ride of a game with Texas, the top seed in the American League, fighting tooth and nail to extend its season one more day. But the Jays were equally determined. In three of the four innings the Rangers scored before extra innings, Toronto answered with runs of its own.

The Rangers took an early 1-0 lead but refused to fold when the Jays pulled ahead. Texas came back from 3-1 and 5-2 deficits and briefly pulled ahead 6-5 in its half of the sixth. The Jays tied it in the bottom of the sixth on a passed ball with the bases loaded.

A steady stream of relievers for each side then put up a string of zeros.

Encarnacion and Martin homered for Toronto. Elvis Andrus and Odor homered for Texas, which had failed to reach the fences in the first two games of the best-of-five series.

Jays starter Aaron Sanchez exited with two outs in the sixth after his fourth walk of the game. The Toronto ace was not his normally crisp self, giving up six runs on three hits with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. His 92-pitch outing that featured 53 strikes.

Rangers starter Colby Lewis managed just six outs, giving up five runs on five hits with two strikeouts in a 42-pitch performance that opened the door to the Jays rather than slam it shut as Texas had hoped.

The 37-year-old Lewis, who was pitching on seven days rest, missed three months this season with a strained right lat muscle in the back of his right shoulder. He has given up eight homers in 20 1/3 innings since coming back.

Both bullpens gave up little in relief of their starters. Four Toronto relievers gave up just one hit between them through the 10th, retiring 13 in a row included six by closer Roberto Osuna. The Rangers bullpen limited Toronto to one unearned run through the ninth, with Bush striking out four in two innings.

The sellout crowd of 49,555 was up for it from the get-go under the roof, chanting “Let’s Go Blue Jays” before Sanchez threw his first pitch under the roof.

But eight of his 11 pitches were called balls and an opening five-pitch walk to Carlos Gomez came with a cost as he stole second and scored on a pair of groundouts. It was the Rangers’ first lead of the series.

The Jays answered quickly. One out after Ezequiel Carrera’s single, a big swing by Encarnacion sent his bat flying into the stands. One pitch later so did the ball, which left Encarnacion’s bat at 105 m.p.h and travelled 395 feet into the second deck in left field. Martin, notching his first hit of the post-season, added a 378-foot solo shot to left one out later for an early 3-1 lead.

Martin becomes the fourth player to hit a post-season home run with four different teams, joining Ron Gant, John Olerud and Reggie Sanders.

It was the Jays’ second multi-homer inning of the series. They had three in the fifth inning of Game 2.

Andrus ended the Rangers’ long ball drought with a 411-foot drive to left-centre on a 1-0 pitch to open the third.

Carrera singled to start the bottom of the third, coming home on Donaldson’s ground-rule double to right. That chased Lewis. Encarnacion then singled Donaldson home for a 5-2 lead.

One out after Sanchez walked the first batter of the fourth, Odor cut the lead to 5-4 with a two-run shot that travelled 419 feet deep to centre.

The Jays did not help their cause by hitting into inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth.

Sanchez seemed to have found his groove by striking out the side in the fifth. But a two-out walk and single in the sixth ended his night and cost the Jays. Moreland brought both base-runners home for a 6-5 lead with a double off reliever Joe Biagini’s second delivery with a ball deep to centre that a diving Kevin Pillar just missed.

Toronto countered in its half of the sixth by loading the bases with one out on Troy Tulowitzki’s single, pinch hitter Melvin Upton’s double and Pillar’s intentional walk. Reliever Keone Kela, the third pitcher used in the inning, induced Darwin Barney to pop up in foul territory but Tulowitzki scored on a pass ball to tie it at 6-6 before right-fielder Nomar Mazara made a fine catch in right to end the threat.

Toronto won on better pitching and more timely hitting. The Jays hit .563 (9-for-16) with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.
Coming into the game, Toronto had outhomered Texas 6-0 in the series with six different Jays swinging for the fences. Martin made it seven Sunday. Twelve of Toronto’s 22 runs in the series came via the long ball.

The Jays ranked third in the AL this season with 221 homers, six more than the fifth-ranked Rangers.

The Rangers finished the regular season at 95-67. Only the Chicago Cubs (103-58) had a better record in the majors.

The first two games of the series were a mirror images of last year’s ALDS, when Texas came to Toronto and won twice only to lose the next three.
But the Rangers could not pick themselves off the floor like the Jays had done a year ago.

“The last two games, they’ve been way better than us,” Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre said prior to the Game 3. “Pitched better, hit better and even played better defence so we have to clean up our game and find away to be more consistent, the way we were in the regular season.”

History was on Toronto’s side.

Of the 72 previous teams to go up 2-0 in a best-of-five playoff series, 43 went on to sweep. Only nine lost the series. Only three times have teams rallied from an 0-2 deficit after losing the first two games at home: the 2001 Yankees (against Oakland), the 2012 Giants (Cincinnati) and the 2015 Jays (Texas).

The Rangers came into the game 0-3 in playoff series in which they went down 0-2. But they led the major this season with 49 come-from-behind wins.

Second baseman Devon Travis (knee) was in the lineup Sunday but wasn’t healthy enough to start. Darwin Barney was at second base for the second game in a row.

Prior to the game, the Jays announced enhanced security and “alcohol management measures” would be in place at the stadium. That included all beer in cups in the wake of a can-throwing incident in Game 2 that led to a fan being charged with mischief.

What you need to know this Thanksgiving long weekend

SAMANTHA KNIGHT AND PATRICIA D'CUNHA | posted Friday, Oct 7th, 2016

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Maple leaf cookies on pumpkin pie. GETTY IMAGES/Tom Merton

What are you thankful for this year? That will be on mostly everyone’s mind this weekend as families and friends gather around the table to give thanks and share a meal together.

For those who are spending Thanksgiving weekend enjoying the comfortable weather (highs in the mid-teens are expected), there are several events across the city.

Keep in mind that there is a subway closure on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) all weekend and a late opening on Line 4 (Sheppard-Yonge) on Sunday.

As always, be sure you check out our list of what’s open and closed over the long weekend.

Events

Pumpkinfest Toronto
If you’re looking for some family fun this Thanksgiving weekend, Pumpkinfest Toronto is your one-stop shop.

Guests of all ages can enjoy the Pumpkin Express train, traditional farmers market, baked goods sale and a princess meet-and-greet. There are also plenty of prizes to be won in the bull riding, costume, pumpkin carving and “Little Miss Pumpkin Fest Toronto” contests. The autumn-themed fun runs all weekend long from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Pumpkin patch. GETTY IMAGES/Paul Keleher

 

Toronto Zoo Panda Party
There’s a lot to celebrate and be thankful for this weekend at the Toronto Zoo. Along with Thanksgiving, Canada’s giant panda cubs, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, are celebrating their first birthday.

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Panda cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue play in an enclosure at the Toronto Zoo on March 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The three-day party includes panda-themed activities, photo opportunities, giveaways, interpretive stations, panda mascots, and more. The pandas were born to mother Er Shun on Oct. 13 last year. The Toronto Zoo says the female panda, Jia Yueyue, tends to be more independent, while Jia Panpan is quite an instigator, often play-wrestling with his sister.

The celebration runs in the Front Entrance Courtyard and Panda Interpretive Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday through Monday.

Harvest Brunch at Casa Loma
Need a break from all the cooking this Thanksgiving weekend? Let Casa Loma do the work for you.

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Casa Loma in Toronto. Photo via Wikipedia/Creative Commons/Maria Carmen.

 

The city’s famous castle is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Brunch, where guests can experience the splendour and elegance of the space. Reservations are required and the meal costs $60 for adults and $45 for children aged 13 and under. After brunch, guests are encouraged to explore the castle grounds at their leisure.

Halloween Haunt
If you’re up for a scare this Thanksgiving weekend, Halloween Haunt has once again transformed Canada’s Wonderland.

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A paranormal presence near a window. GETTY IMAGES

 

The heart-thumping event promises to be more terrifying than ever with 20 haunted attractions, including the return of Zombies 4D Interactive Dark Ride.

There are also mazes, scare zones, live shows and 700 monsters prowling the park. You can check it out this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 7 p.m. to midnight. Remember to keep the costumes at home. Canada’s Wonderland says guests wearing costumes or face paint will not be permitted.

Torontoberfest
Brewers Backyard will be hosting its final event of the year this long weekend. Torontoberfest is returning to the Evergreen Brick Works on Monday.

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Stock image of beer. LEHTIKUVA/Jussi Nukari

 

 

The Oktober-fest themed celebration will feature a lineup of Ontario craft brewers, including Beau’s, Granite, Muddy York, Junction and Big Rig. If you’re looking for some food to enjoy, WVRST will also be on hand, serving up delicious sausages, along with Delight Bite and Sugar Mamma’s. Torontoberfest runs from noon until 5 p.m.

 

What’s open and closed

Open

  • TTC will run on holiday service
  • GO will run on a Sunday schedule
  • Tourist attractions: Art Gallery of Ontario, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo
  • Several malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Pacific Mall (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.), Square One (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), The Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills Mall (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Hillcrest Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

 

Closed

  • All LCBO and Beer stores will be closed
  • Most grocery stores (select ones are open but call ahead)
    Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre
    Government offices, municipal buildings, and banks
  • All Toronto Public Library branches are closed on Sunday and Monday
  • No mail delivery

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Fall colours can be seen in foliage on the Canadore Trails in North Bay, Ont., on Oct. 12, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Wendy McCann

 

TTC and road closures

Partial shutdown on Line 1
TTC workers will be hard at work this weekend making the subway system better for all of its riders – something to be very thankful for. But the work comes at a cost.

Subways won’t be running between St. George and Pape stations on Line 2 due to bridge work on the Prince Edward Viaduct on all three days.

On Sunday, subway service will start at 2 p.m. on Line 4 between Sheppard-Yonge and Don Mills stations due to signal upgrades. Shuttle buses will be running in both cases.

Road closures for construction
The intersection of Bay and Richmond streets will be closed from 6 a.m. on Thursday to Tuesday at 6 a.m. for TTC track replacement work, road reconstruction and sidewalk repairs.

Estrada superb as Blue Jays thump Texas in ALDS opener

NEIL DAVIDSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 7th, 2016

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It was a beat down but this time the bad blood stayed under the surface.

Toronto rocked Cole Hamels for five runs in the third inning and a near flawless Marco Estrada delivered 8 1/3 stellar innings as the Blue Jays thumped the Texas Rangers 10-1 Thursday to win Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Jose Bautista, Public Enemy No. 1 in Texas, slammed a three-run homer in the ninth inning off reliever Jake Diekman to rub salt in the wound. No bat-flip this time. He put his weapon down gently after the blast to left field, where the fan who caught the ball whipped it back into play.

The Jays slugger was happy to keep the focus on baseball rather than rehash Toronto’s recent Hatfield-and-McCoy-like feuding with the Rangers.

“I wanted to avoid all the questions about the whole ordeal because we’re baseball players, not UFC fighters, and we came here to play ballgames,” Bautista said. “That’s why I wanted everybody to kind of focus on that in our clubhouse. And we did and we played a pretty good game today and hopefully we continue to do that.”

It was Bautista’s fourth home run in his last eight post-season at-bats. He is tied with Joe Carter for most playoff homers by a Blue Jay with six.

Toronto came close to its first complete game of the season – and the first of Estrada’s career. But Elvis Andrus tripled to open the bottom of the ninth and scored on a Shin-Soo Choo’s groundout. Manager John Gibbons then brought in Ryan Tepera to close the door.

“Two outs away from finishing it. Unfortunately I couldn’t,” said Estrada, who failed to convince Gibbons to keep him in. “But who cares, we won. That’s all that matters.”

Estrada (1-0) gave up one run in 8 1/3 innings on four hits with six strikeouts in a 98-pitch performance with 72 strikes. He becomes the third Jay in playoff history to record a start of eight-plus innings while giving up one run or less (Dave Stieb, 1985, and David Cone, 1992).

In contrast, Hamels allowed a playoff career-high seven runs in the shortest outing of the 2008 World Series MVP’s post-season career.

While Bautista relishes the big stage, Estrada says he treats it like any other game.

“I don’t change anything. I just think of it as another regular-season game. Why am I going to add extra pressure on myself?”

Estrada is like baseball’s answer to Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Both are single-minded.

“Essentially it comes down to the same thing – stopping pucks,” Price said in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.

Estrada can relate.

“Basically I just try to pound the zone. I look at Russ’s glove and I try to hit it as many times as possible,” he said, referencing catcher Russell Martin.

Gibbons, meanwhile, savoured a game where the drama came early not late.

“In reality we were due to break out ? Can’t say we necessarily relaxed, but it was kind of nice to have a game where you have a little breathing room, because we haven’t had too many of those lately.”

Toronto’s performance had many rushing to the record books.

ESPN Stats says the Jays are just the third team in post-season history to win Game 1 of a best-of-five series by at least nine runs on the road (joining the 2002 Cardinals and 2011 Rays). It also notes that teams up 1-0 in a best-of-five MLB post-season series win the series 70 per cent of the time, although it didn’t work for Texas last year against Toronto.

It was 32 degrees under the sun at first pitch before a sellout crowd of 47,434 that had little to cheer about at Globe Life Park.

The Jays sent nine men to the plate in the third, scoring all five runs – all with two outs. Troy Tulowitzki did the bulk of the damage with a three-run triple.

Melvin Upton Jr. hit a solo homer in a two-run fourth for Toronto. Josh Donaldson, who had two singles, two doubles and a walk on the day, drove in a run in each of the third and fourth. His four hits tied a club post-season mark.

While Hamels (0-1) wobbled in 3 1/3 innings, Estrada was rock-steady, retiring 15 of the first 16 batters he faced. The only Ranger to get on during that stretch was Adrian Beltre, on a second-inning infield hit that saw first baseman Edwin Encarnacion make the play only to find no one was covering first.

Estrada retired 12 straight after Beltre before Andrus singled to open the Texas half of the sixth. Andrus was promptly caught stealing as Choo struck out – it was that kind of day for the Rangers.

The 33-year-old right-hander faced just one batter over the minimum over eight innings, helping ease the load of a Toronto bullpen that was looking to rest closer Roberto Osuna and his sore shoulder.

Toronto outhit Texas 13-4.

Thursday’s game marked the first meeting of the teams since a wild game on May 15 in Texas. Baseball gave way to payback as Bautista was hit by a pitch and then clocked in the face by a Rougned Odor right hook when the second baseman objected to the Jays slugger’s hard slide. The ensuing brawl resulted in discipline against 14 players and staff.

The Rangers were still seething at Bautista’s three-run homer, complete with bat-flip, which served as the coup de grace in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS.

Bautista, who drew boos throughout the day, started his payback Thursday by helping the scoreboard keep ticking in the third.

The lone blemish on Hamels’ line in the first two innings was an early walk to Donaldson. But the bottom fell out in the third.

Ezequiel Carrera walked with one out, went to second on a wild pitch and came home one out later on a Donaldson screamer that went off Beltre’s glove at third and into right field. Donaldson, whose slide into second on the play survived a Texas challenge, went to third on an Encarnacion hit that deflected off Hamels’ glove.

Bautista’s RBI single, after an eight-pitch at-bat, made it 2-0. A Martin walk loaded the bases before Tulowitzki cleared them with a triple that centre-fielder Ian Desmond lost near the wall. The ball left Tulowitzki’s bat at 102 m.p.h. and travelled 395 feet.

It was Tulowitzki’s first post-season triple – and the first by a Blue Jay in 23 years (Paul Molitor, October 1993).

Hamels, who is making US$23.5 million this season, needed 42 pitches to get out of the inning. Estrada threw a total of 44 in his first four innings.

It was Hamels’ first start against Toronto since last season’s playoffs. The 32-year-old left-hander had never beaten the Blue Jays (0-4 in his career including the post-season).

Texas finished as the top seed in the AL with a 95-67 record that included a franchise-record 53 home wins. Toronto had to beat Baltimore in the wild-card game after ending up the fourth seed at 89-73.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he does not expect any fallout from the one-sided loss.

“Given how our club has played all year long, and we’ve been in these type of situations before, look, we’ve come back and played well after these type of games. And with the veteran group that we have in there, I don’t worry about the collateral damage in a game like this. Obviously we would have liked to have a played a lot more competitively. But the other thing that you’ve got to look at, too, is Estrada threw a heck of a game.”

Neither team will have much time to reflect on it, given Game 2 starts at noon local time.

Hamilton man charged in beer-tossing incident at Jays game

News staff and Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Oct 7th, 2016

The man police say threw a beer can at a Baltimore outfielder during Tuesday’s dramatic wild-card game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Orioles has been charged.

Ken Pagan, 41, of Hamilton, turned himself into police on Thursday evening and was charged with mischief. He will appear in an Old City Hall court on Nov. 24.

Outside 52 Division, where Pagan was booked and charged, his attorney told reporters he would not have anything to say until his court date next month.

“We’re a little bit concerned because of all the trial by social media that he’s had to endure,” said Tyler Smith of HicksAdams LLP, “But right now, the presumption of innocence applies to him.”

In a statement to CityNews, Postmedia — formerly Sun Media — confirmed that Pagan is an employee with the news organization and that they are “conducting an internal investigation but have reached no conclusions at this time.” They also described him as “an award-winning journalist and passionate baseball player.”

Pagan originally said the police had their story wrong, and pointed out he had been drinking from a plastic cup.

In response to the incident, the Blue Jays said they will be increasing security and banning the person responsible from the Rogers Centre.

“The safety of our fans, staff, players and visiting teams is paramount,” the Jays said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’re cooperating with the authorities to identify the individual involved, and the individual responsible is not welcome back to the stadium.

We will also enact heightened security measures and alcohol policies that will ensure the fan experience and safety of everybody involved.”

The Blue Jays also apologized to the Orioles and Major League Baseball for what it called an “embarrassing incident.”

“On the heels of one of the most competitive and exhilarating baseball games in our club’s history, it is extremely unfortunate that the irresponsible actions of one individual would detract from the game on the field.”

Major League Baseball said it too was “extremely disappointed.”

“Any fan who resorts to dangerous actions like last night’s – in Toronto or elsewhere – will be subject to arrest,” it said. “We ask all fans to alert stadium operations employees if they witness any form of unacceptable behaviour from fellow spectators.”

The incident – which triggered a frenzy online and in the stands – saw the beer can narrowly miss Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim as he made a catch during the seventh inning. In the confusion that followed, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he and Kim were taunted with racial slurs.

Major League Baseball has spoken with the Toronto Blue Jays about banning beer cans at Rogers Centre.

“I don’t think there is another ballpark where beer is served in cans,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We’ve worked really hard to make sure … that alcohol is served and consumed in a responsible way in all of our ballparks. I think that one of the reasons last night attracted so much attention is it’s an unusual – rare may be a better word – event in one of our ballparks.”

The entire episode was swiftly condemned on multiple fronts and sparked a flurry of crowd-sourced sleuthing to find the tall-can tosser.

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the culprit a “loon-ball” on local radio but noted that the person was just one among about 50,000 fans at the game played at the Rogers Centre.

A number of baseball fans also took to Twitter to express their outrage, and distance themselves from what many called “inexcusable” behaviour. Some fans even broke down broadcast footage from the game online, attempting to identify the culprit, while the Toronto Sun newspaper put up a $1,000 reward to “catch the beer tosser.”

With files from the Associated Press

Florida feels full fury of Hurricane Matthew

The Associated Press | posted Friday, Oct 7th, 2016

Hurricane Matthew’s howling wind and driving rain pummeled Florida early Friday, starting what’s expected to be a ruinous, days-long battering of the Southeast coast. The strongest winds of 120 mph were just offshore, but Matthew’s wrath still menaced more than 500 miles of coastline.

Two million people were warned to flee inland as the most powerful storm to threaten the Atlantic coast in more than a decade charged toward Florida. Matthew left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.

“This storm’s a monster,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned as Matthew started lashing the state. “I’m going to pray for everybody’s safety.”

The number of homes and businesses without power jumped by the hour as the storm edged closer to the coast. More than 270,000 were in the dark by early Friday.

The winds picked up along Vero Beach, midway between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral, stripping away palm fronds, ripping awnings and blowing sand that stung the face. Waves crashed on the beach, and rain came in short bursts.

As it moved north Thursday evening, Matthew stayed about 100 miles or more off South Florida, sparing the 4.4 million people in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas from its most punishing effects.

As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, the hurricane’s western eyewall was approaching Cape Canaveral, according to the National Hurricane Center. Matthew was centred about 40 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral and moving north-northwest around 13 mph.

But even though the eye was still off-shore, Florida was already seeing strong winds. The Hurricane Center said sustained winds of 46 mph and a gust of 70 mph were reported in Melbourne early Friday.

After Florida, forecasters said Matthew would probably hug the coast of Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend before veering out to sea — perhaps even looping back toward Florida in the middle of next week as a tropical storm.

Millions of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were told to evacuate their homes, and interstate highways were turned into one-way routes to speed the exodus. Florida alone accounted for about 1.5 million of those told to clear out.

“The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida,” the governor warned.

The hurricane had been a potentially catastrophic Category 4 storm, but weakened slightly early Friday to a Category 3. Forecasters said it could dump up to 15 inches of rain in some spots and cause a storm surge of 9 feet or more.

They said the major threat to the Southeast would not be the winds — which newer buildings can withstand — but the massive surge of seawater that could wash over coastal communities along a 500-mile stretch from South Florida to the Charleston, South Carolina, area.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, freeing up federal money and personnel to protect lives and property.

The Fort Lauderdale airport shut down, and the Orlando airport planned to do so as well. The Palm Beach International Airport reported a wind gust of 50 mph with the centre of the storm 70 miles offshore, the National Hurricane Center said. Airlines cancelled more than 3,000 flights Thursday and Friday, many of them in or out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Amtrak suspended train service between Miami and New York, and cruise lines rerouted ships to avoid the storm, which in some cases will mean more days at sea.

Orlando’s world-famous theme parks — Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld — all closed.

“I never get time off. I’m a little sad,” tourist Amber Klinkel, 25, of Battle Creek, Michigan, lamented at Universal.

Patients were transferred from two Florida waterfront hospitals and a nursing home near Daytona Beach to safer locations.

Thousands of people hunkered down in schools converted to shelters, and inland hotels in places such as Charlotte, North Carolina, reported brisk business.

At the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, NASA no longer has to worry about rolling space shuttles back from the launch pad to the hangar because of hurricanes, since the shuttle fleet is now retired. But the spaceflight company SpaceX was concerned about the storm’s effect on its leased seaside pad.

The last Category 3 storm or higher to hit the U.S. was Wilma in October 2005. It sliced across Florida with 120 mph winds, killing five people and causing an estimated $21 billion in damage.

The co-ordinator for Haiti’s Interior Ministry in the area hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew said the confirmed death toll in that southwestern zone was 283. Emmanuel Pierre told The Associated Press late Thursday that he expects the toll to rise as authorities reach remote places that were left isolated by the storm.

Bodies have started to appear as waters recede in some areas two days after Matthew smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes.

In the Bahamas, authorities reported many downed trees and power lines but no immediate deaths.

With hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 60 miles, Matthew could wreak havoc along the U.S. coast even if its centre stayed offshore.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal ordered an evacuation of the entire Georgia coast, covering more than a half-million people. It was the first hurricane evacuation along the Georgia coast since 1999, when the state narrowly escaped Floyd.

“We have a house that sits right here on the water and we kind of said goodbye to it thinking that, you know, the house … might not be here when we get back,” said Jennifer Banker, a resident of Georgia’s dangerously exposed St. Simons Island. “You know, we pray a lot and trust God to provide.”

Some coastal residents in Georgia and beyond decided to take their chances and stay.

Darcy O’Connor, a restaurant owner who lives in a rowhouse in Savannah, Georgia, a historic city of many beautifully maintained homes from the 18th and 19th century, said she and most of her neighbours were sticking around.

O’Connor noted that her home, built in 1883, has weathered hurricanes before: “Half the windows, if you look, still have the original glass. So that tells you something.”

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