Bulls of the Week
It is a bullish time for the St. Louis Blues.
The NHL squad is on quite the roll. The Blues are not only hosting the NHL All-Star Game this weekend, they’re doing so seven months after winning the first Stanley Cup in the 53-year-old franchise’s history.
They have more points over the past 12-month period — since they began to make their move from the cellar of the league last January to championship form — than any team in the league and are top-three in NHL history in points over a one-year calendar period.
Add in the Blues’ hosting of the 2017 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Busch Stadium and it’s been quite the run for the St. Louis franchise: The premiere outdoor game, NHL All-Star Game and Stanley Cup — all in a three-year period.
Pascal Siakam continues to be a great story for the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors. Being named to the starting five for the Eastern Conference at the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend is yet another feather in the cap for the 25-year-old Cameroonian who has made the improbable rise to all-star status after being the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Yet there was no one in the business of sport whose stock rose higher than Larry Walker Jr. of Maple Ridge. That’s especially true when some — including himself — thought he might come up just short in a year where the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Derek Jeter, the former captain of the New York Yankees, in his first year of eligibility.
Walker’s numbers finally resonated with enough voters in his 10th and final year of eligibility. He scored 76.6 per cent of the ballots, making the cut that was 75 per cent.
Enough of the selectors finally saw past the altitude advantage Walker may have had over nine seasons at Coors Field in Denver, an argument that won the day for the first nine years of his eligibility.
Baseball statistician Ryan Spaeder pointed out how well Walker’s offensive contributions compared to first-year inductee Jeter, who also played in a hitter-friendly ballpark and on much better teams over the course of his career. There’s no doubting Jeter’s reputation as a leader and five World Series rings make him a surefire Hall of Famer.
The Canadian corollary is that the same goes for Walker, who didn’t win a championship or play in a heritage market for all but two years as a Cardinal in St. Louis. He merely boasted a career slash line of .313/.400/.565 that is more than Hall of Fame worthy, not to mention a National League MVP, three batting titles, five All-Star selections and seven Golden Gloves.
Bears of the Week
Antonio Brown had another bad week. This time it was burglary and battery charges that forced him to surrender at Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Thursday and appear in court Friday.
The incident pushed the troubled free-agent NFL star from the realm of civil lawsuits and into the red zone of criminal law.
Brown is more than a soap opera and drama king. He’s a vulnerable guy who appears to be operating without a compass. Here’s hoping he gets the help that could salvage a healthy future, if not a career as one of the most talented receivers in football.
Unfortunately, it appears things will get worse for Brown before they get better.
The Sport Market on TSN Radio rates and debates the bulls and bears of sport business. Join Tom Mayenknecht Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a behind-the-scenes look at the sport business stories that matter most to fans.
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