The unwritten rules of slo-pitch

Finally, a master list of  slo-pitch rules.  This is for hitters, fielders, pitchers, umpires and even spectators.  The world would be a rosy place if we could all just remember these 15 points.

Rules are in no particular order, except for #1 and #2 which are essential to a game being played in an efficient manner.

  1. Hitters – Always take the first-pitch.
  2. Pitchers – Always throw a first-pitch strike.
  3. Spitz are communal.  If you don’t want to share, leave them in your car.
  4. Umpires – Always call your own guy “out” on close plays.  It’s better for your buddy to bust YOUR chops over the call than some “Gary Go-Hard” getting in your face.
  5. Umpires – If it’s a “foul ball”, yell like your hair is on fire.  Don’t make any baserunners or fielders run for no reason.
  6. Spectators – Shag up those foul balls.  The extra steps add up on your fitbit.
  7. Umpires – If the pitch is a “strike”, make an audible noise so the outfielders can hear you.  If it’s a “ball”, silence is ok.
  8. Clean up your empties and garbage.
  9. Never throw behind the runner.
  10. Always hustle in and out of the dugout.
  11. Don’t try to hit up the middle.
  12. If you accidentally hit up the middle, apologize.
  13. If your 10th guy is a little late…start with 9 and take the auto-out.  Don’t stall.
  14. Clean up your bats from the on-deck circle.
  15. “Three Cheers” should be done with purpose.

10 Media tips from Jay Onrait

Jay Onrait is successful (duh).  The broad strokes of his resume are: 10+ years hosting SportsCentre on TSN, 4 years on FS1 (FOX Sports 1) in the US, and 2 best-selling books.  He’s set to return to TSN in September with Dan O’Toole….Canadians haven’t been this jazzed since the Golden Goal.

Jay was the keynote speaker at NAIT’s annual Media Broadcast day Saturday.  If you’re thinking about getting into the Media, here are the Top 10 Tips I took from his presentation:

  1.  Establish industry contacts early and put together a “demo” ASAP (read “What Color is your Parachute” for more on this)
  2. There is no replacement for face-to-face conversation when looking for a job.
  3. Embrace any city/town you land in.
  4. Find common ground with others to get over personality conflicts and always turn the other cheek.
  5. Remember:  you’ll always be working when your friends and family are not.  Get used to it.
  6. Don’t judge anything/anybody/anyplace until you get there and see/meet/experience it/them for yourself.
  7. Get used to hearing “no” a lot.  Lose your sensitivity to it, but never stop asking.
  8. Writing is STILL the most important skill in this industry.  Find a reason and an outlet to do it more.
  9. For that first job, be willing to move anywhere.  Your first job is the toughest one to get.
  10. As of now: your social media existence is different.  Be a professional because anything you say can and will be used against you.

New Music from Danko Jones

It’s coming tomorrow.  The new album from Danko Jones, “Wild Cat.”   Danko’s music can only be compared to the moment after the coolest dude in a grungy bar looks you square in the eye and says, “let’s do this” with a vibe on his face that’s 50% dangerous and 50% mysterious.

What is “this”?  Is “this” good?   That’s all you’re thinking.

I don’t know, man.  Maybe?  But that’s not the point.  The point is the feeling.  Every second of a  Danko Jones songs make me anxious for the next second.   JC’s bassline slinks like a stalker on “Lovercall”.  The drum intro mixed with the bassline on “Caramel City” is enough to raise the hair on the back of your…everything. Every song drips with anticipation.

And that’s not to mention the lyrics.  

Put yourself back in that grungy bar from the first paragraph.  The 50/50 dangerous/mysterious dude says to you (not your friend, not the guy standing next to you…YOU), “I’m into never stopping, I’m making no sense.  But I can never sit still I keep on riding.”  What do you think next?

  1. Oh, shit!  Call security!  This guy is mental!
  2. Cool!  I need to form a GANG with this dude!
  3. Is that the lyrics to “We Sweat Blood” by Danko Jones?

I know the answer is #3….but #2 is a much more accurate feeling to describe how those lyrics make me feel.

I’m blocking off my afternoon to listen to the new record, then I’m headed out on the town with a “let’s form a gang” mentality.

Music Director Bootcamp

“How did you become a Music Director?” That is the question I answer most as a Radio Instructor at NAIT. And my answer is always the same, “you learn on the job.” I was lucky enough to work in environments that fostered and accommodated my learning and development; a rare luxury afforded to many media companies and offices these days. Today’s MD’s and PD’s are swamped –often managing multiple properties– so how does the next generation of Music Directors get started?

Music Director Bootcamp is a weekend course I’m developing with the help of NAIT’s Continuing Education Department and contacts at leading industry software companies including MusicMaster.

Students will learn the basics –and into the “next steps”– of selecting, scheduling, and managing a station’s music library and industry relationships. Is this the sort of course you, or somebody you manage, would benefit from? Do you have a suggestion to make the experience the best it can be? I’d love to hear from you.


The perverse economics of concert tickets

This is OLD. But in my opinion, still relevant. I HATE to say it…..I really do.

Dave Sawchuk

THIS IS AN OLD BLOG.  But it’s just as relevant today regarding the Tragically Hip as it was in 2013.  

Tickets to see Mumford and Sons in Edmonton went on sale Friday at 10:00 am. By 10:02 am they were sold out.  By 10:05 am dozens (or more) tickets showed up on craigslist/kijiji for as much as $500 a pair.  That’s about 3 and a half times the price they sold for.  Keep that figure in mind “three and a half times the price”

A brand new Ford Focus, right off the lot from sells for $17,649.  Check it out. does not sell Ford Focus’ for $5,045.00 (three and a half times less than the manufactures suggested price) because the market has determined that the value is higher.

Why can’t musicians figure this economic issue out?  They THINK they’re being righteous (and appearing non-capitalist) by selling their tickets at a…

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May 4 – Modern Rock Radio Picks

Review from last weeks picks: +/- is from the BDS Canada: Modern Rock 7-Day Rolling Chart and reflects total spins on the chart

  1. JR JR – Gone (-13)
  2. Finish Ticket – Color (not on chart)
  3. Struts – Kiss This (-5)
  4. Kaleo – Way Down We Go (+40)
  5. Bear Hands – 2 am (-20)
  6. Cage the Elephant – Trouble (+16)
  7. Struts – Kiss This  (so nice, I named it twice)
  8. Disturbed – The sound of Silence (+1)
  9. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck (+10)
  10. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – High Dive (not on chart)


This Weeks Picks

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – TBA (out tomorrow)
  2. Radiohead – Burn the Witch
  3.  Bishop Briggs – River
  4. Sheepdogs – Bad Lieutenant Canada-Maple-Leaf
  5. July Talk – Push + Pull canada-maple-leaf (1)
  6. Joywave – Destruction 
  7. Silversun Pickups – Circadian Rhythm (last dance) 
  8. Kongos – Take it from Me 
  9. Kurt Vile – Pretty Pimpin’
  10. Young the Giant – Something To Believe In

What are you adding this week??


April 27-Modern Rock Radio Picks

These 10 songs (in no particular order) are poised to explode at Modern Rock Radio in Canada before mid-May.  My research indicates these tracks are on the rise and could demand regular-rotation spins soon.

  1. JR JR – Gone
  2. Finish Ticket – Color
  3. Struts – Kiss This
  4. Kaleo – Way Down We Go
  5. Bear Hands – 2 am
  6. Cage the Elephant – Trouble
  7. Struts – Kiss This  (so nice, I named it twice)
  8. Disturbed – The sound of Silence (this is not a typo)
  9. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck
  10. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – High Dive

Being a Man and the New Tough

The ongoing process of “being a Man” is complex and confusing.  It’s important to look at where “being a man” came from in order to understand where Men are today; and why where they are today is dangerous.

Humble and Primitive Beginnings 

Men are taught when they are boys that being a man requires physical strength and a willingness to use it.  Wells don’t dig themselves, gents.  Wood doesn’t come self chopped, fellas.  Pickle jars lids are always snug, chaps.  Without the physical tools to perform certain tasks: we’d be dirty, thirsty, and cold in (the dark) eating sandwiches without a tangy, crunchy zip to them.  Physically, the manual for being a Man looks like this:

         How To – Be a Man.  A guide for boys.

     page 1.

Roll up your sleeves (if you’re wearing any at all) and get after it!  Push, pull, heave, trench, sweat, swear and muscle at the task until it’s done.

page 2.

(I imagine this being comic strips and maybe an article on lawn maintenance)

Mentally, the process of being a man is much less straightforward and it has changed drastically.  100 years ago (give or take), a man had to view every other man as a threat.  And rightfully so!   If another man wanted what was yours (your house, land, horses, etc.) he challenged you to a duel for it.  The only thing worse than drawing second, and losing that challenge, was refusing it altogether.  Think about that:  showing weakness was a fate worse than DEATH.

Men had to constantly be on guard and keep their emotions in check in order to live to see another sunrise.  Some men still believe this world-view is completely necessary. And this is where our problem begins.  Newsflash: you will not be dueling another man over a clam-shell of mixed greens anytime soon.  Despite this fact, men still act like every other man is just looking for an opportunity to pounce!  This defensive outlook has seeped into how Men maintain their health.  The reality is: the single largest danger facing men today is themselves.

The New Tough

The hard part of embodying what it is to be a Man these days is overcoming the preconceived notions, fabricated conditions and outdated traditional rituals that we are led to believe we cannot or should not change.  Despite the fact that in the last 100+ years, everything has changed.  Men don’t hunt in loincloths anymore, they go to Safeway.

The New Tough is recognizing this change.  It means showing emotion and being a Human; not just a Man.  It is being confident enough to see a doctor because living is more important than what a lesser man thinks of you.  It also means being sympathetic toward that lesser mans and helping him see the stigma.  A man recognizes he can be hurt both physically and mentally (heck , even Superman has kryptonite and a soft-spot for the human race…and nobody questions his toughness).  “The New Tough” is being man enough to recognizing that the world has changed and that to keep our physical and mental health in check we need to change with it.

Movember Launch 2015

Movember Launch 2015



Free Agent IN/OF/P: Dave Sawchuk

Dave Sawchuk

**Reliable IN/OF/P on the #YEG Slo-Pitch Free Agent Market**

Scouting Report

Dave Sawchuk is a strong defender with a good arm and high “Baseball IQ.”  In addition to being able to play every defensive position at a high level, he can also be counted on in a pinch to throw a few innings.  Don’t expect much on the hill though; just strikes and plenty of good-natured banter.

His real strength is consistency.  “Sawchuk is the kind of ball player that shows up every week with a 6-pack”, says former teammate Len Wangen.  “He’s just slow.  Really slow.  I mean, how is a guy that tall so slow?” added Wangen, unprompted.  While Sawchuk has never been clocked in the 40 yard dash, many top scouts think he’d be average with a tail wind.

His consistency isn’t limited to just showing up with libations.  Dave is a singles hitter from the right…

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Northlands: October 6, 1990

My favourite Northlands moment came on Saturday October 6, 1990.  It was my first Oiler game.  The home-building company my father worked for had season tickets.  He must have had a good month, because that Saturday night was the home opener.

The Oilers had just won their 5th Stanley Cup, and during the pre-game ceremony team officials rolled the trophy in question onto the ice.  Even from high in the stands, The Cup looked massive and sparkled like a ten-foot diamond on a Christmas tree.

The home team was announced and Mark Messier was given the loudest ovation.  There was a smoke-machine (!) and what would now pass as the appropriate lighting production for a 6 year old’s birthday party. Hey, it was 1990!

Then it happened.  Just as the visiting Winnipeg Jets were announced, something I had never witnessed in person before began to happen.

Grown men started boo’ing.  Children began jeering.  Women were cussing.  It was the most unruly thing I had ever seen or heard as an 11 year-old!  Confused, and perhaps caught in the moment, I began to boo too!  “Boooooooooooo!”, I hollered.  I managed only one “mini-boo” before my Mother let me know that it was not polite and I was to stop immediately!  I’m guessing she was thinking, “Phil Housley, Thomas Steen and Ed Olczyk seem to be decent guys.  My child should not be calling them down at work.”

I don’t remember a single goal in the 3-3 tie (but I do remember going to Boston Pizza for dinner, delicious).  Thanks for the memory and the lesson in sportsmanship, Mom!