Game No. 162 traditionally means very little for the Toronto Blue Jays.
This year is a rarity.
For just the fourth time in 45 seasons, the Blue Jays enter the final day of the regular season playing for what could be their playoff lives.
The powerful American League East is the biggest reason the Blue Jays are one of four teams fighting for two playoff spots on Sunday.
Here’s a look at the three other times the Blue Jays played in pivotal season finales.
Oct. 4, 1987 – Tigers 1, Blue Jays 0
Up by 3 ½ games on the Tigers with seven games left, the Blue Jays appeared to have a firm grip on the AL East for the second time in three years.
But the Tigers avoided a four-game sweep by the Blue Jays in the finale of a series in Toronto on Sept. 27, triggering a Toronto collapse.
It was the start of a season-ending seven-game losing streak for Toronto, capped by three losses in Detroit against the Tigers, who overtook Toronto to win the division.
With his Tigers leading Toronto by one game entering the finale, Frank Tanana gave up six hits for a complete-game shutout. Blue Jays left-hander Jimmy Key allowed just three hits in eight innings, but one of them was a second-inning home run by Larry Herndon.
Afterward, Key was asked if the Jays choked.
“That’s not right,” Key told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s horrible, terrible. When you win 96 games, there’s no choking. If that’s a choke, then what did the other 21 teams do.”
Oct. 3, 1990 – Orioles 3, Blue Jays 2
As is the case for the 2021 Blue Jays on Sunday, Toronto needed help 31 years ago to make the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.
The Jays didn’t get it.
The Boston Red Sox clinched the AL East with a 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park while the Blue Jays were still playing in Baltimore. Less than 10 minutes after Boston wrapped up its win, Toronto reliever Tom Henke gave up the game-winning homer with two out in the ninth.
“I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t go down when I saw we had no chance, but professionalism took over and I wanted to win,” Henke told The Associated Press. “I’m not going to hang my head. I did my best all year.”
Toronto lost six of its final eight games, including two of three to Boston in its penultimate series, giving the Red Sox the opening to capture the pennant.
Oct. 2, 2016 – Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 1
After losing four of five to kick off the final week of the schedule, the Blue Jays rebounded in the nick of time.
Toronto won its final two games of the year in Boston, clinching a playoff spot and home field in the AL wild-card game against Baltimore.
A Detroit loss earlier in the day ensured the Jays would be in the playoffs. But Toronto still needed to beat Boston to lock up home field. Starter Aaron Sanchez took a no-hitter into the seventh before Troy Tulowitzki broke an eighth-inning tie with a single. Roberto Osuna closed it out in the ninth.
“For it to come down to (Game No.) 162 and me being out there … there was a lot at stake in that game, and it was in my hands,” Sanchez said.
The Blue Jays went on to beat Baltimore in the wild card game on Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning at Rogers Centre. Toronto then swept Texas in the ALDS before falling to Cleveland in the ALCS.
Alouettes trade for QB Trevor Harris – CFL.ca
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes announced on Sunday that the team has acquired veteran quarterback Trevor Harris from the Edmonton Elks in exchange for American defensive end Antonio Simmons.
In six games this season, Harris completed 135 of 192 passes, collecting 1,568 yards, adding six majors.
Harris (six-foot-three, 212 pounds) is in his ninth season in the CFL after playing in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton. In 139 career games, he completed 1990 passes for 23,750 yards, adding 126 touchdown passes. The 35-year-old quarterback has hoisted the Grey Cup twice (2012, Toronto; 2016, Ottawa). The Waldo, OH native was selected on the East Division All-Star Team in 2016. The former Edinboro University Fighting Scots suited up for the Jacksonvile Jaguars in 2010 and the Buffalo Bills in 2011.
“Trevor is a veteran who knows the league well and what it takes to win”, said Montreal Alouettes General Manager Danny Maciocia. “We are pleased to have been able to complete this transaction. We are confident that Trevor will work well with our quarterbacks. We thank Antonio for his services and wish him well.”
In 23 career games with the Alouettes, Simmons made 52 defensive tackles, five quarterback sacks and forced a fumble.
Simmons is currently in his second CFL season and joins the Elks after originally signing with Montreal in May of 2019.
The Georgia Tech product played all 18 regular season games for the Als in 2019, recording 45 defensive tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble. In five games this season, Simmons has registered seven defensive tackles and two sacks.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Simmons played four years (2014-17) at Georgia Tech, collecting 83 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and seven quarterback sacks. He spent time in 2018 with both the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Flames D Andersson fined $5K for roughing Oilers F Yamamoto – TSN
Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson has been fined $5,000 for roughing Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto.
Andersson was fined the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the Players’ Association.
The money goes to the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Andersson was assessed minor penalties for both roughing and elbowing at 14:33 of the first period Saturday in Edmonton.
The Flames lost their season-opener 5-2 to the Oilers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2021.
Report: Maple Leafs to ease up on dress code restrictions for game days – Sportsnet.ca
The Toronto Maple Leafs are apparently planning to loosen up on dress code restrictions for players on game day.
Players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to and from the arena, as outlined in the CBA, however, teams can ease up on the mandate if they choose.
The Arizona Coyotes were the only team that opted to do so entering the season, but the Maple Leafs now plan to follow suit, according to Lance Hornby of The Toronto Sun.
The decision comes just a few days after ESPN published an article on Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, who has shown a flair for unique fashion while away from the arena, discussing his displeasure with the NHL’s strict dress code.
“I don’t mind wearing a suit, but it gets old pretty quick,” Matthews said. “I think it’d be fun to wear different things and be able to express yourself, similar to what the NBA does or even the NFL a little bit.”
The 24-year-old Matthews, who led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games last season, missed the first three games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery and is expected to make his 2021-22 debut Monday night against the New York Rangers on Sportsnet.
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