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HOT CORNER: This year’s Western Capitals and 1994 Montreal Expos now have something in common

Joe MacIntyre
Joe MacIntyre - Contributed
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

It looked like it was going to be a season to remember, but it now looks like a season to forget.

The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals had their best-ever regular season in terms of winning and were the No. 2-ranked junior A team in Canada. The team had high playoff expectations after winning 42 of 52 regular-season games.
Those expectations included a trip to the Centennial Cup national championship in Manitoba in May. There was little doubt that this team had a very good chance of not only making it to Manitoba but doing very well and having a good chance of winning it all.
What could have been, and maybe should have been, all came to a screeching halt with the cancellation of all Hockey Canada-sanctioned events across the country because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Caps hosted the 2013 Canadian championship and lost in the national final. Some thought that this year’s team may have been a little better, with a little more depth, than the 2013 team. That is why this season's ending is so tough to accept with all the work put forth by so many within the organization to build a championship-calibre team.
As I have stated here before, the Caps’ Pat McIver is one of the best general managers in junior hockey and he has that competitive edge that is not matched by many. He always seems to have the Caps contending and this year's team was probably the best he ever assembled since taking the reins of the Caps for the 2010-11 season.
Baseball fans will remember 1994 when the Montreal Expos had the best record in Major League Baseball (MLB) and were favoured to win the World Series, but a players’ strike in August ended that season.
It was like a punch in the gut then and that is how many feel about the conclusion of this season for the Caps. Both teams had unusual circumstances deny them an opportunity to pursue a championship.
With his optimistic outlook, McIver feels the Caps, despite losing some key players, will be right back in contention once again next year. That will not come as a surprise to anyone.
Take a bow Caps, you all had one heck of a season despite an ending that seems so unfair and tough to accept.

Great coaching

Congratulations go out to Rob McCormack of Richmond on winning both Sport P.E.I. and Baseball P.E.I. coach of the year honours. He also won the Baseball Canada elite coach of the year as he led Team P.E.I. to a bronze medal at last year's Ray Carter Cup national bantam championship. That was only the third medal ever won by a P.E.I. baseball team at a national championship.
McCormack had a couple of very good assistant coaches with him in Blair Creelman and Joe McInnis. There is a wealth of baseball knowledge and experience with all three coaches. I, for one, am not surprised by their success last summer.

McCormack also coached the Summerside Chevys to the provincial championship at the same level. Baseball P.E.I. executive director Randy Byrne called McCormack a model coach.
It is great to see real good baseball people like McCormack, Creelman and McInnis giving back to baseball and helping our youth experience and play the game the way it is meant to be played.

Baseball

MLB was supposed to open their regular season in the coming week, but that is not going to happen with the sporting world on pause with the Coronavirus. It will be tough if the season is cancelled completely, which is a very real possibility.
One would think that to have a meaningful season that teams would need to play at least half of their 162-game season. The season would need to start by at least late July to play 80 or more games and finish in time to have a post-season.
If the season does get played, the Boston Red Sox will be without pitching ace Chris Sale, who is the latest to require Tommy John surgery. One cannot be surprised with Sale and the effort he puts into pitching. There wouldn't be many pitchers in the game whose arms have the wear and tear like that of Sale.
Fifteen months, or longer, is the usual healing time for Tommy John surgery.
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Derek Holland was tracked for the number of pitches he threw from 2009 until now and the number was over 24,000. No wonder arms break down through time.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus has turned the sporting world upside down, but it hardly seems that important with the spread of the nasty virus that is taking many lives around the world. We are in tough times and need to continue to listen to the experts.
The chief public health officer for P.E.I., Dr. Heather Morrison, says the best way for us to come together is to stay apart. We need to do our part to help get this virus under control.
Try to remain positive and have a safe week!

Joe MacIntyre is a local life insurance broker. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to joemacintyre18@gmail.com.

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