The inside story of how the Blue Jays landed George Springer, against all odds

Ross Atkins learned the hard way how emotionally exhausting it can be to get your hopes up about an incoming ballplayer, before the ink is dry on the contract and a doctor has signed off on the physical.

Nothing is done until it’s done, the Blue Jays general manager knows now, having jumped the gun on smaller deals in the past.

And yet, he says he allowed himself to dream just a little before officially closing the biggest deal in Jays history with outfielder George Springer this past week: six years, $150 million (U.S.).

It was after Atkins had reached a verbal agreement with Springer’s agent Casey Close, and following a conversation with the centre-fielder himself while awaiting the results of the physical, that the GM started to imagine what the acquisition of the former Houston Astros star would mean for the organization, the city of Toronto and fans across Canada.

“That’s when I felt it was absolutely real and felt elated,” Atkins recalled hours after Springer was officially introduced Wednesday.

The front office had promised throughout the off-season that the Jays would be making a splash. That was part of the long-term blueprint ever since Atkins and Mark Shapiro, the club’s president and CEO, took over more than five years. They would spend when the young core is ready to win.

Despite the financial impact of the pandemic, the Jays continued to have the support they needed from owner Rogers Communications, Shapiro said. And Springer, perhaps the most valuable commodity on the free-agent market, was always a target. The reasons were clear to see:

  • Centre field had been an area of need since the days of Kevin Pillar’s prime.

  • Sign-stealing scandal aside, Springer’s former club, the Astros, rose to the top by building around a core of young position players, especially infielders, much like the Jays’ template.
  • Bench coach Dave Hudgens spent four years on the Houston staff working with Springer, including their championship season in 2017. Outfielders Teoscar Hernandez and Derek Fisher plus pitcher Trent Thornton also know Springer from their days with the Astros.

Conversations between Springer’s camp and the Jays began soon after the market opened on Nov. 1. But it was never going to be easy.

The big-market New York Mets, who made a splash of their own by trading for Cleveland all-star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco, were among the other teams interested and offered something the Jays couldn’t: the chance for Springer to play close to his home state of Connecticut, which was reportedly a priority for the outfielder.

There were also concerns that uncertainty around where the Jays would play in 2021, with Canada-U.S. border restrictions still in effect, might turn Springer off. That’s on top of the usual resistance of American-based players when it comes to playing in Canada.

But those issues never threatened to derail the deal, Springer said, in part because the Jays made a good first impression with him.

A conference call with Atkins, Shapiro and manager Charlie Montoyo gave the outfielder a clear idea of what the club had in mind, and left him believing the roster he would join is something special. Springer said later that the call felt comfortable, honest, and that the message he heard was consistent.

“All the conversations that I’ve had, not one person has said that they don’t want to win, that they don’t go out every day and play as hard as they possibly can,” said the newly signed Jay.

That first impression, Atkins says, was the product of hard work behind the scenes. Before that call, the front office spoke to as many people as they could track down who know Springer well — teammates, roommates and others.

Springer still shopped around, of course, and soon found out which teams were serious and which ones were kicking the tires. In the end, from the Jays’ side, the fact that those closest to the outfielder spoke so highly of him helped seal the deal.

“Then it just gives you a lot more conviction,” Atkins said.



The GM added that it’s the kind of signing that gets the attention of players and agents leaguewide, and can lead to more down the road.

Not long after the Springer deal, the Jays came to terms with top free-agent infielder Marcus Semien — whose one-year, $18-million deal became official Saturday. Veteran reliever Kirby Yates, who signed with the Jays hours before the first reports about Springer, says the club’s approach is exactly what a player wants to hear.

“I felt like they were definitely putting a strong effort,” Yates said of his negotiations, culminating in a one-year deal worth $5.5 million. “They were pretty aggressive with me … It’s just exciting to be a part of that, a team that’s trying to push really hard to go to the next level.”

Thank you for stopping to visit My Local Pages. We Hope you enjoyed checking out this news article on Canada news titled “The inside story of how the Blue Jays landed George Springer, against all odds”. This news update is brought to you by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

#story #Blue #Jays #landed #George #Springer #odds

Source link

How an ex-Blue landed at Collingwood

Craig Davis was one of the first four-club players, representing Carlton, North Melbourne, Collingwood and Sydney during the 1970s and 80s.

He started with the Blues all the way back in 1973, kicking off with a bang by playing in the Grand Final in his debut season.

Davis would play 42 games in three seasons with the Blues before his career was momentarily cut short.

The full-forward, and father of ex-Collingwood and Sydney forward Nick, was close to suffering a brain haemorrhage when he received a knock in the 1976 pre-season.

He had previously copped a number of blows in a brawl with Essendon the season prior.

After overcoming the issue which forced him into premature retirement in ’76, he returned to the VFL scene with North Melbourne where he would play 10 more games in 1977 and 1978.

But the Kangaroos had a fairly handy forward line with names such as Malcolm Blight, Phil Baker and Brent Crosswell, which would force Davis out at Arden Street.

Next on the agenda was the Magpies who were coached by the late, great Tommy Hafey at the time. Although hesitant at first, Davis would eventually end up at Victoria Park.

“Tommy kept ringing me up,” he told SEN’s Bob and Andy.

“I’m going, ‘I hate Collingwood with a passion’. Sorry Collingwood, you’re my favourite club now!

“I said, ‘My mum won’t talk to me’.

“Tommy rang me 16 times so in the end I went and had a cup of tea with him at his place with Maureen and the rest is history.”

Davis kicked 88 goals in 26 games in his first season with the Pies in 1979, which coincidentally ended in a Grand Final defeat at the hands of the Blues.

He would go on to boot 251 goals in 102 games in the famous black and white stripes before finishing up with the Pies in 1983.

Remarkably, Davis came out of retirement as a 33-year-old in 1988 to play one season with the Swans having served as a development coach and a runner with the club prior.

Overall, Davis returned 360 goals from 163 games over 11 seasons.

Source link

How three-club Coleman landed at the Bulldogs

Glenn Coleman was somewhat of a football journeyman throughout his 13-year VFL/AFL career.

Coleman started out as a defender with Fitzroy back in 1980 before spending most of his time as a key forward and in the ruck for both Sydney and Footscray.

While his respective pathways to both the Lions and the Swans were straightforward and expected, Coleman admits he had no idea what was going on when the Bulldogs made contact prior to the 1990 season.

The man with a unique career arc, in that he played 60 games plus for each of the three clubs he represented, thought he was interviewing for a game at Williamstown when Terry Wheeler picked up the phone.

“I’ll be honest with you and you’ll probably think I’m stupid, but when I finished with the Swans I was not even thinking about football or what I was going to do,” he told SEN’s Bob and Andy.

“I never even thought about it and then I got a phone call from Terry Wheeler.

“There was a lot happening at that time with (Ross) Oakley and the Bulldogs (and the potential merger with Fitzroy) and I had no idea Terry Wheeler was the new coach.

“I was thinking that I knew he was at Williamstown. I’m thinking, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I want to go play for Williamstown’. It was after about 20 minutes into the conversation and I realised what he was talking about.

“I didn’t even know. Peter Jess was my manager and I didn’t even know he had put me in the draft. I had no idea because I just lost interest.

“So I got another four years without even putting too much into it.

“It’s a true story, it sounds ridiculous. I sort of stumbled through life a bit like that. It just worked out really well to finish off at such a great club.”

Coleman also revealed where the affectionate nickname ‘Galaxy’ came from.

It started during his days with the ‘Roys and had to do with his general laidback demeanour.

“Max Richardson, one of the elder statesmen, he came across from Collingwood to Fitzroy (in 1979),” he added.

“I was probably a bit vague in those days and thinking more about other things or what I was going to do on the weekend rather than concentrating on training.

“He called me Galaxy because he thought I was away with the stars. It sort of stuck form there.

“Some would say that nothing has changed, but I think I’ve improved a little bit.”

Coleman’s career wrapped up while with the Dogs in 1993. He tallied 194 games (64 with Fitzroy, 69 with Sydney and 61 with Footscray) and booted a total of 115 goals.

Source link

How Brisbane landed Joe Daniher

Brisbane CEO Greg Swann has explained how the club went about completing the signing of Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher.

Daniher joined the Lions as a restricted free agent with the Bombers receiving pick No.7 as compensation after deciding not to match the bid.

“He’s fitted in really well. He’s loving his time in Brisbane at the moment,” Swann told SEN’s Dwayne’s World.

“We certainly had a discussion when the deal didn’t go through with Sydney last year and we thought that’s something we’ll need to monitor.

“If the concept was that he wants to go and wants to get into a non-footy state … then we should be putting our hand up.

“We registered our interest early doors. We were certainly pleased when he got back out and started to play because you always have that doubt about whether this injury will ever get fixed or go away.

“We had some discussions with his management and followed it through from there.”

Swann is confident that Daniher’s injury woes are behind him with the forward playing just 15 games in the last three seasons due to a persistent groin problem.

“We think he’s over his major issues, our guys here have a fantastic record at getting guys onto the park – we’ve seen that with Lincoln McCarthy and Grant Birchall,” Swann said.

“We were really comfortable in the end that we could get him and hopefully get him back to full fitness and playing as good a footy as he did before he got injured.

“That was the process we went through, and we’re really pleased to have him.”

Brisbane also acquired Geelong midfielder Nakia Cockatoo during the trade and free agency period.

Source link

How the Queensland Reds landed the signature of Michael Lynagh’s son, Tom

“We were pretty keen to move on it,” Cordingley said. “You need as many good No.10s in your program as possible.

“We had done some background on him and knew he was a fair player. The [highlights] package that was there was just a part of the [due] diligence we did around him.

“We have Australian coaches in the current system that have some experience over there in England that knew Tom and we were pretty keen to progress.”

The 17-year-old – who is still a student at London’s Epsom College – has signed a deal that will keep him at Ballymore until the end of 2023.

Cordingley was careful to compare Tom to his father, but revealed the kind of talent Reds fans can expect to see in the 2022 Super Rugby season.

“He’ll create his own path, but he appears to have a real point of difference around his speed and his acceleration, which is fundamental for inside back roles,” Cordingley said.

“He appears to have a fair bit of strength based on his size and we are impressed with his all-round kicking game, as well.”

Given that skill set sounds ideal for the southern hemisphere style of play, the Italian born, English raised playmaker was eager to make the move to the team where his father played more than 100 games.

“He’s a very quietly spoken kid, but he thought his game suited southern hemisphere rugby,” Cordingley said.

“He liked what he saw in Test matches played between the Wallabies and All Blacks and thought that was more suited to his physical ability and skill set.


“He’s backing himself in, which is great, and he’s a quietly confident young man. We’re excited to be getting him on board.”

The Reds plan to have one of Lynagh or fellow teen Taj Annan – who has also signed until the end of 2023 – take the reins at No.10 when James O’Connor decides to move on.

“We’re signing him for a reason,” Cordingley said. “We think he’s capable of being able to deliver for the Reds and hopefully for the Wallabies down the track.

“We made it really clear – which was good – that we want James O’Connor to stay through to the next World Cup. But that doesn’t stop Tom from putting his hand up.

“He’s keen to work in the same squad as James, learn from James and, at the appropriate time, he will get a crack.”

Sport newsletter

Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Sport


Source link

Navajo Nation officials say satellite fell from sky, landed in Dennehotso

Source link

The two superstars St Kilda nearly landed in the mid 2000s before their prime

Former St Kilda assistant coach Matt Rendell has detailed two huge near misses that could have greatly improved the side during their 2009-2010 Grand Final run.

Rendell, who worked with the club under Grant Thomas, has revealed the club came incredibly close to trading for West Coast ruckman Dean Cox.

Cox had been a regular player for the Eagles to that point, but was only starting to become the dominant ruckman he would be in following years, stuck in a tandem with Michael Gardiner.

Rendell believes St Kilda would have landed Cox at the end of the 2004 season, had Gardiner not suffered an injury that handed the future six-time All-Australian a prominent role for West Coast.

“When I was at St Kilda, I thought we were a certainty to get Dean Cox,” Rendell told AFL Trade Radio.

“Michael Gardiner was their number one ruckman at West Coast and Cox was the backup and not getting much game time.

“Then Gardiner did his PCL and we interviewed Cox at the end of the year and he said ‘I’m really happy to come to St Kilda, I’ve just got to find out where I sit with West Coast’.

“And West Coast told him ‘you’re the number one now, Gardiner’s going to be out for most of the year’, so we lost Dean Cox.

“And Gardiner ended up coming in the end!”

Gardiner would end up being the one to join St Kilda for their run on the top of the ladder, while Cox became a key cog in West Coast’s back to back Grand Final appearances in 2005 and 2006.

Rendell also revealed St Kilda was close to signing Geelong star Cameron Mooney, who was one of their key adversaries during that same 2009-2010 stretch.

“We nearly had Cam Mooney as well from Geelong very early before they were at their best it was well before 2007 obviously,” he said.

“We nearly had Mooney we thought we had him over the line.”

Source link

US election 2020: Final Trump vs Biden debate was more civil than the first – but both landed firm blows | US News

Phew! We actually got to hear some substance.

After their first debate was dominated by rancour and interruptions, this time Joe Biden and Donald Trump were far more focused and restrained.

They were deftly assisted by a moderator who asked considered but thoughtful questions, who was firm without being rude and who respectfully followed up with fact checks when they were needed.

But the debate wasn’t short on attack lines and we saw two candidates deliver starkly different closing arguments on reshaping the immigration system, two divergent prognoses on coronavirus and polar opposite views on climate change.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Biden clashes with Trump over COVID-19 shutdowns

On COVID-19, Trump promised it was “going away”. Biden by contrast, called for much more stringent federal action to prepare for a “dark winter”.

Predictable takes, but there was one surprise – the president for the first time saying “I take full responsibility” for the impact of the virus. He did also blame China immediately after.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Trump, Biden…and Abraham Lincoln

On immigration and race, Mr Trump appeared to land some blows, reminding the audience that it was the Obama administration that built cages to house immigrant children and Joe Biden himself who voted for the controversial Crime Bill in 1994 that saw many black men imprisoned for unduly lengthy sentences.

More from Us Election 2020

That could well resonate with black male voters who have long felt alienated by the political class and have haunting memories of that period in US history.

Trump’s opponent was able to return fire, if not quite as overtly, highlighting “institutional racism” and making clear children separated from their parents were not, as the president argued, “well taken care of”. They were in fact effectively made orphans with many still waiting to be reunited.

:: Subscribe to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

What was most memorable and perhaps most effective, was Mr Trump casting Biden as a creature of “the swamp”, brandishing the unproven allegations about Mr Biden’s son, Hunter, to accuse his rival of personally taking money from foreign interests.

An investigation by Senate Republicans found no evidence that Mr Biden, the former vice president, engaged in wrongdoing over his son’s business dealings. But Trump clearly believes the story is his best chance of undermining Biden in these final days.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mic cuts and praise for debate moderator

The president put in a strong performance, at times appearing to have the upper hand. That may help to win over some in the wildly small group of undecided voters.

But the polls would suggest he needed a knock-out blow and it didn’t quite feel like that.

He has closed the margins in key states in recent days and he won in 2016 without ‘winning’ the debates.

But the battle lines are more fixed than they were then and reshaping them with just one debate alone seems unlikely.

Source link

How Florent Idalecio slipped through the cracks in Sydney and landed at Newcastle United

Indalecio, 23, is on a lengthy trial with the club and is poised to sign an official contract in the coming days, having already gone viral with a stunning bicycle-kick goal in a training session that has set the ‘Toon Army’ abuzz.

At least two other clubs in England are believed to be ready to swoop if Newcastle manager Steve Bruce decides against making an offer – although after they extended his initial stay by two weeks, the signs are very positive.

Idalecio had just about given up his hopes of a career in football when he moved to Sydney last year, after a succession of false-starts and injuries with clubs in France and the US.

Talent has never been an issue for the fleet-footed attacking midfielder – he was a former youth player with Ligue 1 outfit Saint-Étienne but was kicked out of their academy at age 15 due to behavioural issues.

Florent Indalecio in tourist mode in Sydney.Credit:Instagram

Fraser Park’s captain Alexis Wenzel – another Frenchman – found out about his football background through his brother, who was staying in the same CBD hotel as Idalecio, and invited him to train with the NPL4 club in Marrickville. No promises, just a tryout.

“A lot of people say ‘I played at this level’ and when you see them play, they’re not good enough,” said Wenzel.

But with almost his first touch of the ball, everyone could tell Idalecio had something special.

“He was a bit rusty because he hadn’t played proper football in about a year, a year and a half,” Fraser Park coach Alex Araujo said.

“But you could see his quality, straight away. He just needed the time to get back into the groove of things. I honestly thought in the second half of the season, he’d be scoring at least a goal a game for us as a 10. He was that good.”

Idalecio had previously trialled with NPL1 clubs, including Sydney Olympic, but none could offer him a deal because they’d already filled their two foreign player spots. There are no such restrictions in NPL4 – but there are also no A-League clubs scouting for potential signings at that level, which explains how he slipped through the cracks.

In the next few days, we will know if he is going to make it or not. And most likely he will. It’s a bit crazy. But it’s big.

Fraser Park FC captain Alexis Wenzel

Wenzel recalls Idalecio working 12-hour days on a construction site before rocking up to training, totally exhausted but still able to put on an absolute clinic.

“It’s funny because every training he was telling me, ‘my back is so sore’,” he said.

“He didn’t travel much in Australia, he didn’t do much, he only focused on working. I was living in Woollomoloo, he was living in the city. I was giving him rides on my scooter to training every training.

“I’d ask him, ‘mate, how was your day?’. He said ‘oh you know, working.’ ‘How was your weekend?’ ‘Working.’

“When you look at him [play], it’s just so easy. The way he takes the ball, when he passes, when he crosses – it just looks so easy. All the squad liked him because he gave everything on the pitch. He was so motivated. He wasn’t playing for fun.”

Newcastle United star Allan Saint-Maximin, who played academy football with Florent Idalecio, helped secure a trial stint for the ex-Fraser Park player.

Newcastle United star Allan Saint-Maximin, who played academy football with Florent Idalecio, helped secure a trial stint for the ex-Fraser Park player.Credit:AP

Idalecio played just two official games for Fraser Park before the pandemic hit and halted the NPL4 season. Unsure what to do with his life, his good friend and former Saint-Étienne academy teammate Allan Saint-Maximin – who now plays for Newcastle United – suggested he fly to England, stay with him at his £10,000-per-week mansion and see if he could set him up with a trial.


“I definitely believe we only saw 20 per cent of Flo. Obviously Saint-Maximin knew how good he was, right?” Wenzel said.

“Two weeks after [he signed for Fraser Park], he told us ‘my really close mate is Allan Saint-Maximin.’ I said, ‘wow, that’s crazy.’

“At training he was FaceTiming Saint-Maximin in the locker room with all the players from our squad. Because I was the only other French in the team, it was the three of us talking French in the locker room.

“Honestly, I can only wish him the very best – firstly because he deserves it, and secondly it will be a nice story as well for someone to go from NPL4 to the Premier League.

“In the next few days, we will know if he is going to make it or not. And most likely he will. It’s a bit crazy. But it’s big. You can only be happy for him.”

Most Viewed in Sport


Source link