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Nationals overcome the odds to win historic World Series

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The Washington Nationals made history in more ways than one last week.
The Nats won the first World Series in franchise history and they did it in a way no one has ever won before in any of the four major North American sports.
For the first time ever, the road team won every game in a best-of-seven series. And, except for game one, the games weren’t really close by the time the final out was made.
So much for home field advantage.
Now comes a busy offseason with free agency, as well as award season.
The finalists for MLB’s major awards will be announced this week, with the awards handed out next week.
And free agents can sign with any team as of yesterday. But, because there is no salary cap, there is no urgency for teams to sign player, so don’t expect the kind of frenzy you see with the NHL.
The Toronto Blue Jays only have two free agents, first baseman Justin Smoak and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, who struggled when he wasn’t on the DL.
Smoak could be brought back for his veteran presence despite struggling at the plate last year. He is also one of the best defensive first basemen in the Majors, as evidenced by his being a Gold Glove finalist.
While Rowdy Tellez (how can you not love a name like that?) has shown signs of potential, he has yet to prove he can handle the rigours of a full season in the bigs, especially at the plate.
The Jays’ biggest need is starting pitching and there are some big names on the market this offseason.
Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasbourg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Baumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dallas Keuchel are all available for the right price. The question is, are the Jays willing to spend the kind of money it would take to land one of these arms?
Another question is would any of these hurlers be willing to sign with a team likely to continue experiencing growing pains as its young core keeps learning at the big league level.
Toronto is likely two or three years away from contending. With that in mind, it may be in the team’s best interest to pass on the superstars who will probably sign for huge dollars and look at the next tier of hurlers who would be more affordable, while still giving the Jays a chance to win.
Let the fun begin.
• • •
Until a couple of weeks ago, I had never heard of the Nissan Kickoff Project, which recognizes high school football players across the country.
This year, 69 players were selected to the Nissan All-Canadian TITAN team and will play a game in Calgary, Grey Cup weekend.
Dauphin’s Phoenix Lautt and Sydney Schenn of the Moosomin Generals are the only two players from the Rural Manitoba Football League to be chosen for this game.
Although the itinerary has yet to be announced, it promises to be an exciting weekend for the young athletes, who will also get the watch the Grey Cup game live.
Congrats to all students selected.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER