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New rule on double-play slides gives Rays win over Blue Jays

Mark Didtler, The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 6th, 2016

After a disputed defeat Tuesday night, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is certainly no fan of baseball’s new rule on breaking up double plays.

“Maybe we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow,” Gibbons said. “Maybe that’s what everybody’s looking for.”

The recent change took all of three days to undoubtedly swing the outcome of a game this season, giving Logan Forsythe and the Tampa Bay Rays a 3-2 victory over Toronto that left Gibbons fuming.

With the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion hit a grounder to third. After taking a throw from Evan Longoria for the force at second, Forsythe made an errant relay to first that appeared to allow the go-ahead run to score for Toronto.

Rays manager Kevin Cash asked for a replay review, claiming Jose Bautista violated the new “Chase Utley Rule” governing slides on potential double plays.

Replay umpires in New York ruled Bautista’s slide was not directly into the bag and it illegally hindered Forsythe. The call was changed to a game-ending double play that preserved Tampa Bay’s victory.

“It turned the game into a joke,” Gibbons said. “That’s flat embarrassing. That cost us a chance to win a major league game.”

The call was overturned after a delay of one minute, 30 seconds. An announcement in the press box explained that the replay umpire definitively determined the runner violated rule 6.01 (j), that the runner’s actions hindered and impeded the fielder. It was also determined that Bautista did not engage in a bona fide slide, as he did not attempt to remain on the base.

“I feel like I respect the rule, that it was an absolutely clean slide,” Bautista said. “And it’s just disappointing to lose a major league baseball game, with so much at stake every day here. We put a lot into the game since we were little kids and then to all of a sudden have everything taken away like that is just strange.”

Major League Baseball recently changed the rule on such slides, hoping to prevent a repeat of the takeout by Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley that broke the leg of New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during last year’s playoffs.

“It might be the first game that was a ‘W’ because of the double-play rule that’s in effect,” Forsythe said. “It was wild.”

“I felt something on the slide,” the second baseman added. “When I first saw him coming in, I thought he was going over the bag, but then I didn’t know if he kicked his foot out to try and catch a back foot. He kind of swung me around a little bit, the throw went a little left.”

Umpire crew chief Mike Everitt said to a pool reporter that he was told to limit his comments to what replay officials sent him. It was the same information announced in the press box.

“That’s it,” said Everitt, who declined to discuss the original call. “That’s what we got. It went to replay and that’s what it is.”

Forsythe hit an opposite-field, two-run homer in the eighth inning.

His drive off Brett Cecil (0-1) ended the reliever’s run of 38 straight appearances without allowing an earned run, dating to June 24. The left-hander’s stretch was tied with Craig Kimbrel (2011 with Atlanta) for the longest in the majors since earned runs became an official stat in 1912 in the National League and one year later in the American League.

Corey Dickerson homered for the Rays, who avoided their second 0-3 start (2011). Alex Colome (1-0) went the final two innings to get the win.

Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez, making his first start since June 5 and 12th overall, allowed one run, five hits and struck out eight over seven innings. He began 2015 in the rotation but went on the disabled list June 15 with a right lat strain. The right-hander moved into the bullpen after returning in July.

Bautista had been 0 for 13 against Jake Odorizzi before hitting a leadoff triple in the fourth. He scored when Odorizzi was charged with an error for a bad throw to the plate on Encarnacion’s grounder.

Encarnacion took second on the play and later scored to put Toronto up 2-0 on Michael Saunders’ single.

Odorizzi gave up two runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out 10 and walked two.

Dickerson pulled the Rays to 2-1 on his second homer this season in the fourth.

Steve Geltz got a fly ball from Encarnacion with the bases loaded to end the seventh.

CAA’s annual worst roads campaign begins

Erin Criger | posted Wednesday, Apr 6th, 2016

My vote is for Dufferin Street, and its potholes that can loosen fillings.

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is once again asking for Ontario’s input as it prepares its list of the worst roads in the province.

The annual poll is a sure sign of spring, with the results to be released next month.

Last year, Dufferin was the worst road in Toronto, but the top Ontario ‘honours’ went to Algonquin Boulevard West (No. 1) and Algonquin Boulevard East (No. 2) in Timmins.

Polls are expected to open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Last year’s results can be seen below.

Ontario’s top 10 worst roads for 2015:

  1. Algonquin Boulevard West, Timmins
  2. Algonquin Boulevard East, Timmins
  3. Dufferin Street, Toronto
  4. Highway 144, Greater Sudbury
  5. Carling Avenue, Ottawa
  6. Radical Road, Port Dover
  7. Burlington Street East, Hamilton
  8. Riverside Drive, Timmins
  9. Dominion Road, Fort Erie
  10. Bayview Avenue, Toronto

Toronto’s top 5 worst roads for 2015:

  1. Dufferin Street
  2. Bayview Avenue
  3. Markham Road
  4. Kipling Avenue
  5. Lawrence Avenue East

Top 4 most ticketed spots in Toronto

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 6th, 2016

Parking in the the city is never easy. Plus, now that fines have increased tremendously in the past few weeks, you really won’t want to get stuck with a ticket.

 Find out where NOT to park in Toronto:



In case it might have been years since you took your driving test, here are some parking signs and their significance:


NO PARKING - Short term stopping ONLY

NO PARKING – Short term stopping ONLY

NO STANDING - Only allowed to let people in and out of your car quickly

NO STANDING – Only allowed to let people in and out of your car quickly

NO STOPPING - Don't even think about stopping!

NO STOPPING – Don’t even think about stopping!



Tow truck protest at Queen’s Park to snarl traffic into downtown

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

More than 1,000 tow trucks are set to converge upon Queen’s Park on Tuesday, tying up traffic to protest the province’s auto insurance law.

The protest will be similar to a 2014 demonstration over the same legislation, Bill 15, which MPPs passed back in November of that year. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

Ontario said the new auto insurance legislation will regulate the tow truck industry and reduce auto insurance rates by 15 per cent.

However, tow truck industry officials said the new rules, which limit the number of hours operators can work and require drivers to provide a list of charges to customers, will put more restrictions on drivers, affect their bottom line and may ultimately raise prices.

Under the new act, drivers are under the authority of the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration, which would limit their workdays to 13 hours, and a maximum of 60 hours a week. Drivers said this will limit their ability to serve customers and create longer response times, especially during the winter.

Starting at 7 a.m., tow trucks are expected to make their way from about eight different locations outside the downtown core using highways 400, 401, 403, 410, 427, the Gardiner Expressway, and the Don Valley Parkway.

Tow truck drivers are expected to arrive at the Ontario legislature around 9:30 a.m.

Police are warning the protest will disrupt the morning and afternoon rush hour commutes along local roads and highways and as the tow trucks make their way into downtown Toronto.

Tow truck drivers are expected to travel along two routes. One involves trucks heading south on the DVP, exiting at the Richmond Street East off-ramp, continuing along Richmond Street to University Avenue, then north on University Avenue and arriving at Queen’s Park Crescent.

With the second route, drivers will travel east on the Gardiner, to the York/Bay/Yonge Street off-ramp, head north on University Avenue and to Queen’s Park

Drivers involved in the protest will arrive at Queen’s Park from various staging routes around the GTA. They include:

  • Brock Road and Highway 401
  • Woodbine Avenue, north of Steeles Avenue East
  • Northeast corner of Keele Street and Wilson Avenue
  • Highway 7 and Highway 410
  • Dixie Road and Queen Elizabeth Way
  • Winston Churchill Boulevard and Argentia Road
  • Mavis Road and Highway 401
  • King City Side Road and Highway 400
  • Evergreen Brick Works at 550 Bayview Ave

The tow trucks, along with their drivers, are expected to surround Queen’s Park Crescent using three lanes, leaving the fourth one free for motorists and emergency vehicles.

They are expected to converge on the south lawn between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Donaldson homers as Blue Jays beat Rays 5-3

Fred Goodall, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders and Josh Thole homered to help R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Monday night.

All three of the home runs were hit off Drew Smyly, with Donaldson connecting for a solo shot in the fifth inning, Saunders delivering a two-run homer in the fourth and Thole going deep on a third-inning drive that umpires initially ruled was a double after a fan interfered by catching the ball before it reached the stands.

The call was reversed after a replay review, erasing a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead.

Roberto Osuna, the fifth Blue Jays pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

Smyly, limited to 12 starts a year ago when he spent much of the season on the disabled list due to left shoulder tendinitis, allowed five runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander walked one and struck out five.

Donaldson hit .297 with 41 homers and 123 RBIs in 2015. The reigning AL MVP helped the Blue Jays win 93 games and advance to the AL Championship Series in their first playoff appearance since 1993.

Troy Tulowitzki had a sacrifice fly after homering during the Blue Jays’ 5-3 victory on opening day. Monday night’s game drew a crowd of 15,116 to Tropicana Field, a little less than half Sunday’s announced sellout of 31,042.


Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (back) pitched in a minor league game in Dunedin, Florida, and remains on schedule to pitch Sunday’s game in Toronto against Cleveland. … Manager John Gibbons said Thole will work most of Dickey’s starts because it will help regular C Russell Martin physically to avoid the stress of handling knuckleballs.


Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar made a nice running catch on pinch hitter Steve Pearce’s drive to left-centre, extending his glove fully before leaping to make the catch and falling headfirst into the wall.


The Blue Jays’ lineup featured six straight right-handed hitters at the top of the order against Smyly. Gibbons finished it with three lefties, even though the manager acknowledged constructing the lineup that way figured to make it easier for the Rays to set up their bullpen “with us going right-right-right.”


Rays ace Chris Archer is one four pitchers to strike out 12 or more batters on opening day and lose. He was the first do it since Bob Gibson fanned 12 for St. Louis against Montreal in 1975.


Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez, 7-6 with a 3.22 ERA in 2015, starts Tuesday in the third game of the four-game series between the AL East rivals. The Rays counter with RHP Jake Odorizzi, who was 9-9 with a 3.35 ERA last season.

Ontario elementary students to get five hours a week of math

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

Students in Ontario elementary schools will soon be required to have one full hour a day of math instructions.

Education Minister Liz Sandals says the province will spend $60 million to help students improve their test results in math, and some of the money will pay for professional development for teachers who specialize in the subject.

Related stories:

Ontario students struggling with math, test scores reveal

Ontario students get mixed results in literacy, math tests

Old school or new? Math teachers debate best methods as scores fall

The government wants each elementary school to have up to three lead teachers who have a special interest in math, so they can share their expertise with their colleagues.

Each lead math teacher will be released from regular classroom duties for five days for professional development, and some of the money announced by Sandals will help pay for supply teachers to replace them.

There will also be one additional professional development day on math for all teachers starting in the next school year. Sandals says jurisdictions that have better math scores than
Ontario spend four-to-six hours a week on mathematics, so the province’s new strategy will include 60-minutes a day, every day, on math.

“Many Ontario schools already do devote 60 minutes a day to math, but others devote significantly less,” she said.

“It varies quite dramatically, and I think that’s part of the issue.”

In standardized tests between 2009-10 to 2013-14, Ontario Grade 3 math results declined by four percentage points and Grade 6 results fell seven percentage points.

Man suing city for $2.5M, says iconic ‘Toronto’ sign was his idea

Diana Pereira and News staff | posted Tuesday, Apr 5th, 2016

A Toronto man is suing the city for stealing his idea for the iconic Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square – but the city says the existing sign bears no resemblance to the one he proposed.

Bruce Barrow, a branding consultant, said he came up with the idea for the sign and pitched it to the city in 2013 and 2014 in a confidential business proposal, but he didn’t receive acknowledgement or any compensation for the idea.

The city has responded by saying Barrow’s idea bears no resemblance to the city’s sign.

Barrow’s lawyers filed a statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court, seeking $1.75 million in damages and $750,000 for punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages.

Barrow came up with the idea in 2009, according to his lawyer, John Simpson.

The statement of claim alleges that his concept was a large-scale sign made up of free-standing, three-dimensional block upper-case letters spelling out TORONTO that could be illuminated at night.

“The city’s explanation to date, that by sheer coincidence it came up with exactly the same idea on its own and around the same time that Mr. Barrow shared it with them in confidence, just doesn’t hold water,” Simpson said in a statement in the claim.

Along with the city, Mayor John Tory and councillors Josh Colle and Michael Thompson are named in the suit.

The differences between Barrow’s proposal and the current sign are outlined in the statement of defence and in the chart here and below.

Toronto sign defence

“Toronto gets the credit for the sign,’ Thompson said.

In the city’s statement of defence, the sign was based on similar ones in Amsterdam, New York and Guadalajara.


Apparently Barrow met with Coun. Colle in 2013 and in 2014 to present the idea, making it clear that the idea was confidential. Barrow said that he was never told that the city was developing a branding concept similar to his via a third party.

See the presentation Barrow made to Josh Colle here and below.

City Brand

The current sign, based on an idea from a successful bidder on the city’s request for proposals, was circulated among members of the city’s economic development and culture committee three months before they met with Barrow, the city’s defence claim states.

The claim states that Barrow also met with Coun. Thomson, chair of the city’s economic development and culture committee, in 2014. Following the meeting, the claim states that Tory, who was running for mayor at the time, requested more information from Barrow.

Barrow sent the presentation to Tory in an email clearly marked “confidential.”

Tory’s campaign manager, Barry Avrich, apparently then wrote in an email that stated “Thanks for reaching out – agreed – good idea – best pitched once he wins – let’s keep in touch.”

According to the statement of claim, Barrow followed up with Coun. Thompson in Jan. 14, 2015 but did not receive a response.

The current sign was then unveiled in July 2015 during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Barrow did not get credit for any of it, the claim states.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with immeasurable value that was denied to the plaintiff as a result of the city’s misappropriation of his proprietary concept,” the statement of claim states.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Read the full statement of claim here or below. Read the full statement of defence here or below.

Forget April showers: GTA digging out from snow storm

CityNews | posted Monday, Apr 4th, 2016

A snow plow clearing a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

No, you’re not dreaming. Yes, it’s April, and a spring snow storm has blanketed the GTA.

The winter storm swept through the GTA and much of southern Ontario starting Sunday and into early Monday morning, causing dangerous driving conditions.

Plows clearing away snow on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Plows clearing away snow on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

A special weather statement was in effect for the GTA but ended around 7 a.m. Monday. As of 4 a.m., Pearson International Airport received 13 centimetres of snow, 680 NEWS meteorologist Harold Hosein said.

Hosein said the snow will end later Monday morning with some sunshine for the afternoon, and a high of -2 C. The City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert for Monday, triggering extra services for the homeless.

The storm led to some school bus cancellations outside of the Toronto area. Click here for a full list.

The storm caught many commuters off-guard. Ontario provincial police said they’ve received about 500 calls for collisions, including a pileup on Highway 400 north of Toronto involving as many as 40 vehicles.

The crash sent at least nine people to hospital with minor injuries, and blocked the lanes for hours.


In Toronto, police reported more than 100 crashes in the past 12 hours.

In one case, five people were taken to hospital for minor injuries a TTC bus crash on Highway 427 between Dundas and Bloor early Monday morning.

Plows have been out clearing the roadways, but drivers can expect slippery conditions on snow-packed streets.

Hector Moreno, manager of road operations for the city’s Transportation Services department, told CityNews salters have been out since 5 p.m. Sunday but fewer of them were out clearing the roads.

During the winter months, the city has 200 salters in its snow-clearing arsenal, but that number was scaled down to around 115-120 as of April 1.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016.  CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

 Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016.  CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

Snow clearing crews on a Toronto street on April 4, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bertram Dandy.

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