MacCaskill magic

Way back home follows the incredibly talented Danny MacCaskill on a journey from Edinburgh back to his hometown Dunvegan, in the Isle of Skye.

Utter brilliance at 0.33!

Advertisements

Henke in the Hall

Tom Henke, the longtime Blue Jays closer who led the American League in saves in 1987, was one of three elected Monday to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys, Ontario; and deservedly so as he was one of the best players the Jays ever had and one of my faves since i started following baseball in 1989.

Nicknamed “The Terminator” because of his ability and success as a closer, he was one of the most dominant and feared closers during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

On the mound, Henke was easily recognizable by the large-rimmed glasses he wore at a time when many players began using contact lenses. He may have looked geeky but at a height of 6′ 5″, he cast an imposing figure and dominated batters with his hard fastball and his forkball for the strikeout. Henke struck out 9.8 batters per 9 innings pitched over his career.

Henke spent eight seasons with the Blue Jays, recording 217 of his career 311 saves from 1985-92. He was an All-Star in 1987, when he led the AL with 34 saves. He is the Blue Jays’ all-time career saves leader, well ahead of Duane Ward (121) and Billy Koch (100), and he is second in games played with 446, six fewer than Ward.

Henke also pitched for the Rangers and Cardinals during his tenure in the Majors. Overall, the two-time All Star compiled a 41-42 record to go with a 2.67 ERA.

Waving goodbye to Wells

Last week, Blue Jays veteran Vernon Wells (one of my fave Blue Jays) spoke with fondness about the only major-league franchise he has played for and how he was looking forward to an increased leadership role with the Blue Jays heading into the upcoming season.

Wells may still get that opportunity, but it will be with the Los Angeles Angels, the team he now finds himself playing for after a stunning trade Friday night.

The American League club agreed to send the former all-star centre fielder to the Angels in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. Just four days after acquiring catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli from the Angels, the Blue Jays completed a trade on Tuesday to send him to the Rangers in exchange for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco and cash. Heading to Toronto, the 31-year-old Francisco gives the Blue Jays another proven option in the back end of the bullpen. Last season, the right-hander owned a 3.76 ERA, and also brings closing experience, having saved 25 games for the Rangers in 2009. In six seasons in the Majors, Francisco has recorded 32 saves and posted a 3.75 ERA.

The trade removes a large millstone from around the neck of Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays organization. Wells is still owed $86-million (U.S.) on a seven-year, $126-million package he inked after the 2006 season – a lucrative deal many argue makes him the most overpaid position player in the majors.

Although he rebounded to hit 31 home runs last season, and was named an all-star, Wells has been unable to duplicate the offensive prowess he displayed in 2006, when he ripped 32 homers, with a .303 average and 106 runs batted in.

He also won his third Gold Glove award for his defensive prowess that year and was rewarded in the off-season by former manager J.P. Ricciardi with a huge pay increase.

Since then, Wells has struggled off and on with injuries and his bat was often inconsistent for long stretches. Even his defensive play in centre, once his calling card, has declined noticeably.

Wells waived his no-trade clause to allow the trade to go through. He is scheduled to make $23-million this season, and $21-million in each of the final three years of his contract, making him the highest-paid player in Angels history. It is not yet certain if the Blue Jays have agreed to pick up a portion of Wells contract to get the deal done, but a team source said that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The trade will also clear much-needed salary space Anthopoulos can now use to sign slugging outfielder Jose Bautista to a multiyear deal and avoid arbitration.

As for Rivera, he is coming off a dismal season, batting .252 in 124 games, and displaying little range in the outfield. However, the 32-year-old is entering the final year of his contract (that will pay him $5.25-million in 2011), so he has plenty to play for.

It is anticipated that speed merchant Rajai Davis, whom the Blue Jays obtained in an off-season trade with the Oakland Athletics, will take over for Wells in centre.

Book em Danno!

A fave tv show of mine growing up was the legendary Hawaii Five O (im not that old, they were re-runs!).

Now Hawaii Five 0 has been resurrected in a new guise and the reviews have been excellent with Scott Caan getting a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Danno.

It starts here in NZ next week and im excited already!

New Wine at Waikanae

Over the Wellington anniversary weekend Ingrid and i headed to Waikanae for the New Wine Conferenece titled ‘This Is Our God’.

Not only did we have a great catch up with Tim and Kaye who we were staying with but it was also a great time to catch up with a variety of old friends who were there too.

Beth Croft the Worship Director of Soul Survivor led worship and Mike Pilavachi spoke excellently on intercession. Lloyd Rankin did a wonderful series of mesages on mercy and grace and David Parker of Desert Vineyard spoke on ‘He does all things well’.

In addition, it was wonderful to see our friends Doug and Sophie get basptised in a chilly swimming pool in the middle of a torrential downpour on the Sunday afternoon.

Overall, it was a refreshing and uplifting time andone fo the best conferences i have been to anywhere!