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Pricey bling at the Tour de France: Flashy fun or faux pas? – VeloNews

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The 2020 Tour de France has treated us early to some fantastic moments. And for some of the riders involved in those big successes, the fireworks have led to some pretty impressive bling: Alaphilippe’s $120,000 Richard Mille watch, and Kristoff’s $5,900 diamond-encrusted Scicon Aerowing sunglasses. It’s certainly not the first time riders have donned expensive luxuries, but the price tags on these particular embellishments are pretty striking. Does the Tour need more flash and flair?

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It does seem somewhat surprising that a sport so entrenched in tradition now plays host to sunglasses that cost more than my truck and a watch with a price tag that looks more like a pretty darn good salary. We as fans often revel in the photos of riders of yesteryear with wool jerseys, tubular tires wrapped around their shoulders, and cigarettes dangling from their mouths. The image of Alaphilippe donning a watch that could fetch a nice house in the suburbs (in the midwest somewhere, maybe) runs directly counter to that romanticized image of simplicity. The bling has gotten blingier.

Alexander Kristoff celebrates his overall leader’s yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 1st stage of the 107th edition of the Tour de France. Photo: Stuart Franklin via Getty Images

Of course, perhaps in 2020 we should expect, and possibly even welcome, such frivolous flair. Cycling has also suffered under that stifling traditionalism. A bit of bling and flair only helps to shrug off the sense of stiffness and stuffiness. The riders get to show off a bit of personality and flex some figurative muscle in the name of celebration and even intimidation. That makes for some additional, albeit subtle, dimension and fun to the racing.

And lest we forget, just about every rider now sits astride a bicycle that costs more than $10,000. Times change, technology changes; the prices of course will change with that. Bicycle racing is no doubt an exclusionary sport to some degree, boxing out a significant swath of the population simply by creating superbikes with price tags to match. It’s important to remember how much research and development goes into creating such bikes, which are intended for the top echelons of the sport. The riders are taking F1 cars to the race, not Ford Escorts.

Yet while the prices of the bicycles themselves may be justified to a degree, diamond-encrusted sunglasses and six-figure watches exist solely to send a status message: I am the best, and don’t you forget it. That notion has existed in the peloton for some time (Looking at you, Mr. Cipollini), usually in the form of custom shoes or other gear; but in 2020, among a sea of teams with custom yellow helmets, custom yellow bar tape, custom this and that, it’s no longer enough to simply choose a color scheme to stand out. Alaphilippe and Kristoff are both making statements here.

Whether cycling needs such statements, beyond what the riders do on the bike, is up for debate.

Alaphilippe’s watch adds nothing useful to his arsenal of gear. The watch itself is analog, does not feature any useful athletic measurement tools like heart rate, and generally, just appears to be a fancy-pants timepiece made with expensive components like titanium cogs. This watch is not about function in any way.

Kristoff didn’t appear to even wear his diamond-encrusted glasses while racing, because why in the world would he? After the podium ceremony, it appears the glasses went back in the case for who knows what purpose: charity? Posterity on Kristoff’s bookshelf? Sunglasses, while a vital piece of gear, have certainly been jettisoned on the side of the road in certain racing situations. The diamonds again add nothing performance-oriented to Kristoff’s arsenal. It’s all for show.

Perhaps that’s something cycling needs: a bit more show, especially in a pandemic-plagued year in which fans are eager for fireworks, flair, drama, and ultimately, something to debate on the internet.

So let’s do just that! What do you think? Is it a good thing that riders are bringing a bit of bling to the peloton and showing off their statuses as the elite? Or is the trend a gaudy one that only makes the peloton look elitist and exclusionary, thereby putting off fans? Let me know via email, Twitter, or Instagram.

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Kirk’s breakout game against Yankees comes at ideal time for Blue Jays – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO – Just last week, the Yankees swept the Blue Jays in a series so one-sided that manager Charlie Montoyo started fielding regular questions about a potential mercy rule in baseball. No team in baseball history has allowed as many home runs over a three-game span as the Blue Jays did in the Bronx, and the three losses that followed in Philadelphia were perhaps not shocking considering the team was, to borrow Travis Shaw’s words, still a little ‘shell shocked.’

Even on Monday afternoon, as the Blue Jays prepared for their final series of the season against the Yankees, Bo Bichette hesitated when asked about the rivalry between the two AL East teams.

“I don’t know if you could call it a rivalry,” Bichette said. “They beat us up pretty good. Hopefully, we can make it one soon, but I wouldn’t call it a rivalry when we lost three pretty bad games. But we’re going to come out here and try to show everybody that we can compete with them.”

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For one night, at least, the Blue Jays did just that, beating the Yankees 11-5 in a game that included a few encouraging developments beyond the result itself. Most importantly, the win gives the Blue Jays a 28-26 record and lowers their magic number to three with six games to play. There are no guarantees, as last week’s skid shows, but the Blue Jays’ chances of reaching the playoffs remain in the 98 per cent range, according to FanGraphs.

Of course, not all wins are created equal, and in this case, how the Blue Jays won is also important. Alejandro Kirk, the 21-year-old catcher who had never played above Class A until this month, has now exceeded any realistic expectations the Blue Jays could have had when they made the surprise decision to promote him nine days ago. He became the youngest catcher in franchise history to homer and finished the night with four hits.

“It felt great,” Kirk said through interpreter Hector Lebron. “The satisfaction that I felt. When you make contact and sometimes you don’t even feel the ball hit the barrel. It was just unbelievable. I can’t describe it.”

Added Montoyo: “His approach at the plate has been amazing.”

If and when the Blue Jays reach the point that they’re building a playoff roster, Kirk must now be on it. And to be sure they make the most of his discerning eye, consistently hard contact and sneaky power, the Blue Jays might even want to roster a third catcher like Reese McGuire. In theory, that would enable Montoyo to use Kirk’s bat off the bench without worrying that he’ll be caught short-handed later in the game.

Meanwhile, Matt Shoemaker pitched well in his return from the injured list, going three innings against a Yankees lineup that offers little room for error. Despite missing a month with a lat strain, the right-hander was throwing harder than usual with a fastball that topped out at 95.9 m.p.h. over the course of 54 total pitches.

“I didn’t even know I hit that until some of the guys told me,” Shoemaker said. “My body’s in good shape, and maybe velocity ticks up as a result.”

Radar gun readings aside, Shoemaker felt strong during and after his start. Already, he’s looking forward to his next chance to pitch.

“It felt phenomenal,” he said. “When you’re out there on the mound, it’s where you belong. It’s so exciting. I’m so thankful to be back.”

This season, Dan picks an issue, trend, news item or story from around MLB, and digs in on it with a guest. And he does it five times a week for about 15 minutes a day. Enough time to inform and entertain, but also get fans back to all the sports going on.

His command eluded him at times, and two second-inning walks helped the Yankees score their first run of the game, but some rust is understandable after an extended absence. Holding New York to one run over three innings has to be considered a success for Shoemaker, who suddenly looks like an option to start a playoff game.

On paper, his next start would be Saturday and the one after that would be a week from Thursday when Game 3 of the wild card round would take place if necessary. At this point it’s still too early to make final calls on who pitches when, but if nothing else Shoemaker belongs in that conversation.

“If we can stretch him out enough, he’ll be in the conversation for sure,” Montoyo said. “You can count on that.”

In contrast to those positives, the Blue Jays’ bullpen looks weaker now than it has in weeks (and did even before Wilmer Font’s rough ninth-inning appearance). The club announced Monday that closer Ken Giles will undergo Tommy John surgery, officially removing him from the equation. Even beyond Giles, Rafael Dolis remains day to day with right knee discomfort and Julian Merryweather was placed on the injured list with right elbow tendinitis.

Considering Merryweather was starting to look like a valuable multi-inning reliever, his absence will hurt down the stretch and potentially into the playoffs. Perhaps Nate Pearson, who was up to 97-98 m.p.h. in a 25-pitch live batting practice session Monday, can fill that role but there are just six days remaining in the regular season and as Shoemaker’s start shows, there’s value in working through some things before the playoffs begin.

Either way, this isn’t the first time the Blue Jays have had to adapt on the fly. Many times, their momentum slowed before the Yankees stopped it completely last week. And yet here the Blue Jays are, firmly in playoff position with less than a week remaining in the season.

“Internally, we’re not surprised at all. We’re where we expected to be. Maybe even a little bit under,” Bichette said. “We’re excited to get going this last week and hopefully clinch.”

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Two-time Stanley Cup winner Bob Nevin dies at 82 – ESPN

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Bob Nevin, a fan favorite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82.

The NHL said he died early Monday but did not give a cause.

Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, totaling 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.

“His honest, two-way play and leadership earned him the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike,” the Rangers said on Twitter.

Nevin, one of the first NHL players to wear contact lenses, was part of one of hockey’s more surreal moments. During a 1962 game with Toronto in Chicago, he lost a lens. Time was called, and players and officials dropped to their knees to scour the ice, looking for the wayward lens. It never turned up.

He played his first full NHL season in 1960-61, scoring 21 goals as a rookie and finishing runner-up to Maple Leafs teammate Dave Keon in the Calder Trophy voting.

Nevin helped the Maple Leafs win Stanley Cup titles in 1962 and 1963 before being dealt to the Rangers along with Arnie Brown, Bill Collins, Dick Duff and Rod Seiling in a blockbuster trade that sent star winger Andy Bathgate and forward Don McKenney to Toronto.

While Bathgate helped the Maple Leafs win another championship in 1964, Nevin became an important part of the Rangers, serving as captain of the team from 1965 to 1971.

He helped the underachieving club end a four-year playoff drought in 1967. He led the Rangers to their first series win in 21 years in 1971, when New York beat the Leafs 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

Nevin was dealt to the North Stars before the 1971-72 season and spent two seasons in Minnesota before joining Los Angeles. His career was rejuvenated in his three seasons with the Kings. He had his highest-scoring campaign in his next-to-last NHL season — 31 goals and 41 assists with Los Angeles in 1974-75.

Nevin joined the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers for the 1976-77 season but broke a collarbone 13 games into the season and retired.

Nevin was from South Porcupine, Ontario, and came to the Maple Leafs via junior hockey’s Toronto Marlboros. He lived in the Toronto area after his 19-year career.

“Bob was ever-present at Leafs games and within the alumni community,” the Maple Leafs said on Twitter.

Survivors include his wife, Linda.

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Former Leaf, Rangers captain Nevin dead at 82 – TSN

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TORONTO — Bob Nevin, a fan favourite who won two Stanley Cups with the Toronto Maple Leafs before a successful run as captain of the New York Rangers, has died. He was 82.

Nevin died early Monday, according to the NHL. No cause of death was given.

Nevin played 1,128 NHL games with Toronto, New York, Minnesota and Los Angeles, putting up 726 points (307 goals, 419 assists) while compiling just 211 penalty minutes.

The Maple Leafs, Rangers, Kings were among the organizations offering condolences on social media.

“The Rangers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Nevin,” the team posted on Twitter. “A captain and fan favourite during his tenure with NYR, his honest, two-way play and leadership earned him the respect and admiration of teammates and fans alike. Our thoughts are with Bob’s wife, Linda, and his family.”

Nevin, from South Porcupine, Ont., came to the Maple Leafs via junior hockey’s Toronto Marlboros, where he played four seasons and helped the team to a Memorial Cup title in 1956.

He played his first full NHL season in 1960-61, scoring 21 goals as a rookie and finishing runner-up to Maple Leafs teammate Dave Keon in the Calder Trophy voting.

Nevin helped the Leafs win Stanley Cup titles in 1962 and 1963 before being dealt to the Rangers along with Arnie Brown, Bill Collins, Dick Duff and Rod Seiling in a blockbuster trade that sent star winger Andy Bathgate and forward Don McKenney to Toronto.

While Bathgate helped the Maple Leafs win another championship in 1964, Nevin became an important part of the Rangers, serving as captain of the team from 1965 to 1971.

He helped the underachieving club end a four-year playoff drought in 1967, and led the Rangers to their first series win in 21 years in 1971, when New York beat the Leafs 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

The 2009 book “100 Ranger Greats” listed Nevin at No. 51.

Nevin was dealt to the North Stars before the 1971-72 season and spent two seasons in Minnesota before joining Los Angeles.

His career was rejuvenated in his three seasons with the Kings. He had his highest-scoring campaign in his penultimate NHL season, putting up 31 goals and 41 assists with Los Angeles in 1974-75.

Nevin joined the World Hockey Association’s Edmonton Oilers for the 1976-77 season, but suffered a broken collarbone 13 game into the campaign and retired.

Nevin, who the Maple Leafs had at No. 64 on their list of 100 all-time players released for their 2016 centennial season, lived in the Toronto area after his 19-year playing career.

“Bob was ever-present at Leafs games and within the Alumni community,” the Maple Leafs said in a Twitter post. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Bob’s wife Linda.”

Nevin, one of the first NHL players to wear contact lenses, was part of one of hockey’s more surreal moments when he lost a lens during Toronto’s 1962 game against the Blackhawks in Chicago. Time was called, and players and officials dropped to their knees to scour the ice looking for the wayward lens. It never turned up.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.

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