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MLB didn’t want to join Georgia legislature in turning back the clock on racial progress

This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Texas governor Greg Abbott had been slated to throw the ceremonial first pitch Monday afternoon in Arlington, before the Toronto Blue Jays faced the Texas Rangers in a game whose original claim to fame was crowd size.

Four weeks ago, after Abbott announced the end of all mandatory COVID-19 restrictions for every business in the state, the Rangers announced they planned to make every seat at GlobeLife Park available for their home opener against the Jays. The decision made that game the first major sports event in the U.S. with unrestricted attendance since the pandemic was declared last year.

That Texas added nearly 5,000 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Monday wasn’t the issue. The sellout crowd would serve as an assertion of freedom and fearlessness, and every American’s right to spread a deadly disease.

In the end 38,238 spectators showed up to watch the Jays’ 6-2 win.

Missing from that number: Abbott, who cancelled his appearance to signal his disgust at Major League Baseball’s recent decision to move its annual all-star game out of Atlanta.

That move, of course, was MLB’s response to a series of new voting laws in Georgia that are neutral on paper, but in practice will disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters. One provision outlaws providing food and water to people waiting in line to vote, even though recent elections have featured hours-long lineups at polling stations, with bottlenecks most common in black neighbourhoods.

WATCH | Georgia passes controversial voting law: 

The southeastern U.S. state legislature passed a bill introducing voter ID requirements, reducing ballot drop box locations and outlawing providing food and water to voters in lineups. Activists say the rules target Black and other racialized people. 6:02

You don’t have to read too far between the lines of the new election law to figure out that conflicts over voting rights will fall along racial lines. A New York Times analysis points out that new regulations would mean that Fulton County, where nearly 45 per cent of residents are Black, would go from 94 ballot drop boxes last year to just 23 for future elections. If you can foresee these new regulations teaming up to drag Black voters back to the 1950s, you’re not alone. Several critics, including U.S. president Joe Biden, have compared Georgia’s new law to the “Jim Crow” system of segregation that ruled the south for nearly a century.

Major League Baseball, which has its own well-documented history of segregation, decided it didn’t want to join Georgia legislature in turning back the clock on racial progress, and opted to move this summer’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta, triggering threats of retribution from a long list of conservative politicians.

The backlash is helpful, in that it highlights the hypocrisy undergirding the relationship between sports, business and politics. Abbott was happy to play ball, until MLB took a stand against a law tilting the electoral playing field in Republicans’ favour. Then, suddenly, the Rangers and Blue Jays weren’t worth his time.

‘Stay out of politics’

Sen. Mitch McConnell sent a stern message to MLB and other companies using their platforms and PR muscle to weigh in against the new voting law. “My warning to corporate America is to stay out of politics,” said McConnell, whose donor list includes UPS, FedEx, and General Electric, to reporters Monday.

But, he added, “I’m not talking about donations.”

Watching the backlash — Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republican lawmakers now want to strip MLB of its antitrust exemption — becomes even more fascinating when you keep in mind that extreme reactions are the variable, and decisions like the one MLB made last week are constant.

As ESPN writer and baseball historian Howard Bryant pointed out, integrated seating in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium was a precondition for the Braves moving to the city from Milwaukee before the 1966 season. Even if segregationists hated it, conservative politicians didn’t scramble to cancel Major League Baseball.

In 1990, the NFL told Arizona lawmakers that it would move the 1993 Super Bowl out of the state if it didn’t recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday. That decision failed to set off a chain reaction of Republican senators threatening to use the tax code to punish the league, but by 1992 Arizona recognized Dr. King’s birthday as a holiday, and the following year the Super Bowl came to Phoenix.

MLB’s decision, however, has triggered prominent right-wingers in a different way.

A month ago, republican politicians like Matt Gaetz, and infotainment outlets like Fox News, railed against “Cancel Culture,” arguing that making Mr. Potato Head gender neutral, or removing children’s books with racist images, were the political left’s attempt to erase cherished history.

By this week, Abbott had cancelled his date with the Blue Jays, while the #BoycottMLB campaign seeks to all but cancel America’s pastime. And it’s all happening three months after a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, hoping to consummate the ex-president’s quest to cancel the results of the 2020 presidential election.

But the numbers are the numbers. Biden won Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes, and the electoral college by 74. Vote numbers held steady after a series of recounts, and none of team Trump’s allegations of widespread voter fraud yielded credible evidence. Yet, the state legislature, bent on fixing problems that didn’t exist, overhauled voting laws, in the name of election integrity. It’s akin to MLB banning any pitch over 100 mph to crack down on sign stealing.

WATCH | Warnock, Ossoff score monumental senate wins in Georgia:

The Democrats have gained control of the U.S. Senate after winning two run-off races in Georgia. 2:00

Of course, the real motive, to extend the baseball analogy, was the Republican party’s 0-for-3 showing in the 2020 election cycle. Biden beat Trump for president, winning 73 per cent of the votes cast in Fulton County. Jon Ossoff defeated republican incumbent David Perdue for senate, and Raphael Warnock, with a high-profile boost from the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, topped former Dream owner Kelly Loeffler. Against that backdrop, the new law seems more like outlawing triple-digit velocity because you’re sick of striking out.

Those details also help clarify why MLB had to move its showcase event.

Race aside, you still have a law that advantages one party at the expense of its opponent. That’s an awful look for a league still in damage control mode after the Houston Astros cheating scandal, and trying to sell the idea of fair competition.

But race is central to the campaign to restrict voting access, and MLB is still reckoning with the long-term effects of its racist past, even as the percentage of Black big-leaguers hovers near historic lows. The league can’t align itself with any initiative that carries even a whiff of Jim Crow, and the new law carries a heavy scent of systemic racism.

And it’s all unfolding in a state where voters — who are also residents and potential customers — have sent an unambiguous message that they want the opposite of these new laws. So MLB did what businesses do all the time. They looked at the stats and listened to the numbers.

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The Masters is back in its right place — and a Canadian has a puncher’s chance

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

The Masters is back where it belongs

Golf’s most prestigious tournament was bumped to November last year because of the pandemic, and it wasn’t the same. Augusta National looked different, played different and just generally had a less-satisfying vibe in the fall — especially with no fans allowed on the course.

But everything we simultaneously love and love to make fun of about the Masters and the way it’s presented — the iconic holes, the impossible landscaping, the over-the-top reverence, the tinkling piano music — is all back in its traditional springtime slot. Well, almost all of it. Only a “limited” number of patrons (Augusta-speak for fans) are being granted entry, and the popular Wednesday Par 3 Contest was cancelled. Otherwise, though, it’ll be a pretty traditional Masters.

Here’s a look at some of the key players competing for the green jacket starting Thursday:

Dustin Johnson is the favourite. The 36-year-old American won his first green jacket (and second major title) in November by shooting the lowest score in Masters history — a 20-under 268. Sure, the course played softer in the fall and scores were down across the board. But Johnson produced a truly dominant performance, winning by five strokes. He’s currently the No. 1-ranked player in the world and the betting favourite to repeat as Masters champion. If he does, DJ will join Jack Nicklaus (1965, ’66), Nick Faldo (’89, ’90) and Tiger Woods (2001, ’02) as the only players to win back-to-back green jackets.

Bryson DeChambeau is the wild card. The most interesting man in golf is always worth watching because he’s the longest player on tour and the most aggressive. DeChambeau riled some of Augusta’s stuffed blazers last year when he said he was treating their hallowed par-72 course as a par-67. He wound up shooting only 2-under for the tournament — tied for 34th. But the 27-year-old American’s monster drives and willingness to try anything make him potentially golf’s most disruptive force since a young Tiger Woods.

Jordan Spieth is back. When he won the 2017 British Open shortly before his 24th birthday, it looked like Spieth was on his way to becoming one of the all-time greats. The 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion now owned the three most respected major titles and had already won 11 tournaments in just five years on the PGA Tour. But that victory at Royal Birkdale would turn out to be his last for nearly four years. The former world No. 1 even dropped as low as 92nd earlier this year. But something must have clicked because, since then, Spieth has five top-10 finishes in seven starts, and he snapped his victory drought Sunday by winning the Valero Texas Open. Suddenly, Spieth is a top-five betting favourite for the Masters, which he won in 2015 and has finished third or better in four times.

A Canadian has a puncher’s chance. Corey Conners is about a 90/1 longshot at the more respected online books. But he might have what it takes to become Canada’s first green jacket winner since Mike Weir in 2003. Somewhat ironically, considering its manicured beauty and the soft touch needed on its tricky greens, Augusta is a bomber’s track. It favours big hitters more than most courses. Conners isn’t super long, but the 29-year-old from Listowel, Ont., has been above average in driving distance over the last few years, and this season he ranks 10th in strokes gained off the tee — a stat that measures the overall quality of all tee shots. Other encouraging signs: Conners tied for 10th at last year’s Masters, and he’s playing really well right now. Over the last month, he finished third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and seventh at the high-end Players Championship. Conners is 43rd in the official world rankings — eight spots above Mackenzie Hughes, the only other Canadian with a legitimate hope of contending this week. But the more-astute Data Golf model puts him 16th. So don’t be surprised if Conners is in the hunt this weekend.


Bryson DeChambeau is capable of overpowering Augusta with his length off the tee and go-for-broke approach. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Quickly…

North Korea says it’s pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics over COVID-19 concerns. It’s always tough to get a handle on the dictatorship’s true motives, but a website run by North Korea’s sports ministry said the decision was made to protect athletes from a “world public health crisis caused by COVID-19.” The South Korean government expressed disappointment, saying it had hoped the Tokyo Games would be another opportunity to improve relations with its neighbour. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, athletes from the North and South marched into the opening ceremony together and the two countries entered a joint team in the women’s hockey tournament. Since then, their relationship has cooled. Read more about North Korea’s decision to skip the Olympics and the current state of its relations with South Korea here.

Baylor ruined Gonzaga’s perfect season. The Zags’ bid to become the first undefeated NCAA men’s basketball champion in 45 years crashed and burned last night with an 86-70 rout by Baylor in the tournament final. It was the lowest point total of the season for Gonzaga (31-1), which averaged an NCAA-best 91.6. Star freshman Jalen Suggs scored a team-high 22 points for Gonzaga after hitting that instantly iconic buzzer beater from just inside the halfcourt logo to win Saturday’s semifinal vs. UCLA. He’s expected to declare for this year’s NBA draft and be among the top picks. Read more about the sour end to Gonzaga’s season here.

The NHL’s Canadian division is dealing with its first big crisis. All the major COVID-19 outbreaks in the first couple of months of the season happened on U.S.-based teams. But with vaccinations now proceeding much faster in that country while Canada experiences a troubling rise in cases and hospitalizations, the tables have turned. Seventeen of the 22 players on the Vancouver Canucks’ active roster are now on the COVID-19 protocol list, meaning they’ve either tested positive or had close contact with someone who did. Four Vancouver games have already been postponed, and it appears the team will be out at least through the end of the week. This is throwing the North Division schedule out of whack, but NHL deputy commissioner insists the Canucks will be able to complete their full 56-game season. Read more about Vancouver’s situation here.

And finally…

This photo of a baseball crowd was taken yesterday, on planet Earth:


(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

If you’ve engaged with any Americans over the past few weeks — in real life, on social media, listening to a podcast, or wherever — you’ve probably been struck by the feeling that we’re living in two different worlds. On this side of the border, we’re doing virtual Easters, debating whether to keep our kids in school and hoping our parents and grandparents can get vaccinated soon. Down there, they’re posting second-dose selfies, going on trips and having family gatherings. But nothing illustrated the divide quite like yesterday’s Blue Jays-Rangers game at Whatever Corporate Name Field in Arlington, Tex. It was played in front of an announced sellout crowd of 38,238. Judging by the photo, that’s considerably higher than the number of people who took the mask “requirement” seriously. Read more about the jarring crowd and the game here.

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NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Beams Back Stunning Selfie

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NASA’s shiny new Perseverance rover has been stealing the spotlight lately, but Curiosity is still on Mars, too. This aging robot is still young and hip enough to take a selfie — hell, Curiosity pioneered the rover selfie. The latest snapshot features the rover posing in front of a large rock outcrop the team has dubbed “Mont Mercou,” after a French mountain. 

Mont Mercou is far from a mountain, but the Curiosity team felt it was geologically interesting enough to get a name. It’s about 20 feet (six meters) tall and fully visible behind the rover. That’s not all you can see in this photo — there’s a tiny drill hole just in front of Curiosity. NASA has dubbed this site “Nontron” after a village located near the real Mont Mercou in France. The team decided on the French nicknames for this region because Mars orbiters previously detected a clay mineral called nontronite, which is found in large quantities in the Nontron region. 

The Nontron sample has been loaded into the rover’s science instruments, making it the 30th sample analyzed by the rover during its more than 3,000 sols (over eight Earth years) on the red planet. That’s something Perseverance will be doing a lot of as it roams the red planet and stores samples for a later mission to return to Earth. 

Curiosity produced this selfie with a surprisingly large number of images taken on two different days. The background consists of 11 images taken with the Mastcam on sol 3,060, which you probably know as the rover’s “head.” The selfie portion of the image comes from 60 individual frames captured with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on sol 3,070. This camera is on the robotic arm, allowing it to move and capture images from different angles. When processing the frames into a single enormous photo, NASA can clip out the arm to make the image look like it was taken by someone standing next to the robot. There’s no one on Mars to take such photos, as far as we know. 

NASA also used the Mastcam to capture 32 images of Mont Mercou. The team processed that into a stereoscopic view — you can use the above anaglyph to see the outcropping in 3D, with appropriate eyewear. 

Curiosity is still setting records on Mars, and it shows no signs of stopping. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014, examining the planet’s stratification as it goes. Currently, Curiosity is in a region that transitions from clay-bearing geology to the sulfate-bearing unit. The mission has been extended indefinitely, so Curiosity will keep climbing as long as it’s able.

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Quebec City, Lévis, Gatineau head back into lockdown as COVID-19 variants spread

Quebec Premier François Legault says Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau will be essentially shut down for 10 days starting Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to curb the “exponential” rise of COVID-19 cases in these three cities.

Schools will be closed, and students will move to full-time online learning in those three cities.

Gyms, theatres, hairdressers and other non-essential businesses are also shutting down in the three cities, Legault said on Wednesday. Religious gatherings will be limited to 25 people, and there will also be an 8 p.m.– 5 a.m. curfew until at least April 12.

“The situation is critical. It is deteriorating in these three cities,” Legault said. “People have to remain at home unless they absolutely have to go to work.”

With Easter weekend on the way, Legault stressed the importance of staying home and not gathering because COVID-19 variants are on the rise throughout Quebec.

More than half of the cases of COVID-19 recorded in the province will be linked to variants by the beginning of April, according to modelling by Quebec’s public health institute. Public health officials have confirmed that a third wave is underway, and those who are unvaccinated in the 40 to 60 age range are at particularly high risk.

The variant first detected in the United Kingdom is the most prevalent in Quebec. Of the more than 7,400 cases linked to variants in the province, Montreal has the highest concentration, with about 3,000 so far. Quebec City is nearing 1,000 variant infections, and Outaouais is nearing 500.

“The alarm is sounding,” Legault said. “We cannot make any exceptions.”

Hospitalizations have not spiked in these three areas, he added, but they may soon.

“We must act quickly,” Legault said. “Everywhere in Quebec, we have to be more careful.”

Though schools will be closed, daycare services will be made available to those who work in essential services. Parents are expected to keep kids home if they can, and only use these services if they are leaving home to work.

WATCH | Legault explains the new lockdown measures:

Quebec Premier François Legault announced a return to strict restrictions for several cities in the province including Gatineau, which will close non-essential businesses and schools and return to an 8 p.m. curfew. 1:14

Legault is also announcing that four regions are moving from orange to red, in accordance with the province’s colour-coded alert system.

The Outaouais, Chaudière-Appalaches, Lower Saint-Lawrence and the Quebec City region will return to red zones.

Legault said it is time to crack down now and adjust as needed as more data is gathered. Montreal is not affected by the increased restrictions, but that may change as the situation evolves, he said.

Cities see spike in cases

Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau have been orange zones for more than two weeks, allowing restaurants to welcome diners and gyms to open. But bars remained closed, and indoor gatherings were still prohibited, with guests allowed only under specific circumstances.

With restrictions loosened, cases jumped. In the Quebec City area, 194 more cases were recorded on Wednesday, for a total of 990 active cases there.

“When we go from 50 to 200 cases per day, we are going to have an impact on hospitalizations,” Legault said.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said there may be 250 cases reported Thursday and that’s why the government can no longer wait. If hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients, other medical services will have to be delayed, he said.

Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s public health director, said the variants are spreading fast, and it is likely because people are ignoring public health rules.

“We have to intervene,” he said.

Travel to 3 cities only for essentials

Arruda said travel to Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau will not be restricted, but it is “highly recommended” that people avoid these zones because there is such a high rate of transmission. People should only go there for essential reasons, he said.

Earlier in the day, Quebec City’s public health director, Dr. André Dontigny, voiced his concern about the rise in cases and said the current measures weren’t sufficient. A local gym linked to nearly 70 infections was shut down. 

The gym’s management sent out a notice to patrons late last week encouraging anybody who attended the facility since March 14 to get tested as they may have contracted what is suspected to be a COVID-19 variant.

Dubé said the rate at which the disease spread at the gym shows just how extremely contagious COVID-19 variants are when people gather indoors. He said this outbreak should serve as a reminder to those thinking about ignoring public health restrictions and gathering over the holiday weekend or in the weeks to come.

In the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the number of active cases surpassed 2,000 over the weekend as the situation in Ontario worsened.

Legault scaled back public health restrictions in all but the Montreal region on March 8.

Since then, the curfew has been eased — from 8 to 9:30 p.m. — in the Montreal area, gyms were allowed to open and a few other rules were relaxed in the metropolitan area.

Specialist says restrictions should be tightened

Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist in Montreal, said tightening the restrictions in some of the harder-hit areas in Quebec is going to send an important message to the residents there — showing them that they need to avoid gathering indoors and close contact with others so as to prevent transmission.

“One of the things that has to be clear is that we are not out of the woods, and we are back in dangerous territory,” Kakkar said.

She suspects a false sense of security is spreading through the population as spring approaches, but, she said, people are forgetting that the pandemic is still very real.


Students enter the Pierre Laporte Secondary School in Montreal Monday as all high school grades return to classes full time. Montreal is unaffected by the new lockdown, but in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau schools will move to full-time remote learning. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Kakkar supports sending high school students back to school full time and says it is crucial because kids need social interaction for their mental health. 

“As pediatricians, we weigh the risk of infection versus not being in school, and that risk of not being in school has just been so detrimental to so many teens that I think it’s still worthwhile trying to keep kids in school,” Kakkar said.

However, she said, facilities and businesses associated with elective activities, such as gyms and restaurants, should remain closed mainly because of the variants of the disease, which are proving to be more contagious and dangerous.

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Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti Possibly Pushed Back Until May, Ampere in Short Supply

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The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti, previously thought to be launching in April, may not actually debut until mid-May. There have been various capacity predictions for the new cards — 20GB units were originally forecast — but the new report suggests the 3080 Ti will only be a 12GB card.

Rumors around the RTX 3080 Ti have been all over the place. The GPU is said to offer either 10,240 cores or 10,496, with either 936GB/s (older) or 864GB/s (newer) worth of memory bandwidth. The price has generally come in around $ 1,000, but that may not hold if GPU manufacturers raise prices on existing cards.

GPUs like the MSI RTX 3070 Gaming Trio have been difficult to find during the shortage.

This would be the fifth time the 3080 Ti has reportedly been delayed. Last year, there were rumors of poor yields on Nvidia parts at Samsung foundries. There were reports that things had improved in early December, but now manufacturers are saying their supplies of GPUs are increasingly limited. According to Asus’s CEO, they’re unable to buy enough GPUs from Nvidia to adequately meet demand.

“On the graphics card question, currently the main issue is the shortage of Nvidia (GPU) shipments, so there’s a supply constraint situation. Because we lack supplies, the prices are increasing,” said Asus Co-CEO SY Hsu. “Everyone is scrambling to obtain units… We currently speculate the yield from the upstream supplier hasn’t been smooth. That’s led to such a big shortage.”

GDDR6 was in short supply at the end of 2020, but there haven’t been any major updates on the situation since. The current RTX 3080 Ti should end up very near the RTX 3090 in performance, while the new RTX 3070 Ti keeps the same 8GB frame buffer as the RTX 3070 but adds GDDR6X support. All of this assumes rumors are accurate, and rumors around these Ti cards have been less accurate than most. MSI and Asus have separately stated they will likely increase prices as a result of the semiconductor shortages

There was some hope that the “Ti” versions of these cards might not be as useful for mining as current Ampere GPUs, but new reports suggest Nvidia’s mining limiter on the RTX 3060 can be bypassed using an HDMI dummy plug, even if you don’t have the unlocked driver that Nvidia released earlier this month.

Unless the company can come up with a better solution than that, the 3080 Ti and 3070 Ti will be just as in-demand as every other card right now. If these GPUs are built at TSMC they might increase absolute GPU availability, but launching more cards out of the same limited supply of silicon helps no one.

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‘People are talking about the same things they talked about back then’: COVID stirs up memories of polio

When Elizabeth Lounsbury was eight years old, she snuck out of the house to go swimming with her friends.

She had been taught to fear polio, a virus that paralyzed children every summer and paralyzed her southern Ontario hometown, where beaches and movie theatres were closed every August for “polio season.”

Lounsbury says she decided to just put her feet in the wading pool. 

“I was afraid to because I was afraid polio would get me. You kind of pictured it as a monster in your head,” she said.

Lounsbury tripped, fell into the pool and swallowed some water. The 77-year-old believes that’s how she contracted polio, which saw her wear braces most of her life and now has her getting around in a wheelchair.

“I never did tell my mother. She never knew,” she says.

Now living just outside of the small northern Ontario town of Hagar, Lounsbury has barely left her home in the past year of COVID-19. 

And to her it feels like a rerun of what happened in the 1950s with the emergence of an infectious disease followed by a mass vaccination campaign.

“People are talking about the same things they talked about back then,” she said. “Is it really safe? What are the side effects? Other people can’t wait to get it because they feel like they’ve been imprisoned in their own homes.”

To her it feels like “a repetition.

“And I suppose it will happen again. But I hope not in my lifetime.”


Elizabeth Lounsbury,77, of Hagar contracted polio when she was eight and sees a lot of parallels between COVID-19 and the lockdowns and vaccine rollout for polio in the 1950s. (Facebook)

In northern Ontario, the arrival of the polio vaccine in 1956 was trumpeted by newspapers in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

Concerns about polio vaccine

There were weeks of stories about the schedule for clinics and the vaccination rates, replacing the annual summer articles about the number of polio infections and the deaths in each district, with the names of victims published. 

But along with the polio vaccine, came concerns that public health officials would run out of vaccine, and questions about who was eligible to get it, which at the beginning was only children aged six months to six years.

There were also fears about side effects, especially after some bad batches in the United States sickened and even killed people, on top of worries about vaccine hesitancy, as only a fraction of the adult population in the north stepped forward to get the shot for what was widely seen as a children’s illness.


This Sudbury Star photo of liquid polio vaccinations in 1962 features a baby named Rita Brun, who is now a pharmacist preparing COVID-19 vaccines at a Toronto hospital. (The Sudbury Star)

The Sudbury Star photographed a baby named Rita Brun getting a spoonful of the pink liquid vaccine in 1962, which the health unit later moved away from out of fear it might be ineffective.

She is now a pharmacist packaging COVID-19 vaccines for a Toronto hospital, while her daughter treats coronavirus patients in an intensive care ward.

“It was interesting to reflect back on what it must have been like for my parents, as opposed to parents these days,” said Brun. 

“Maybe we know too much now.”

In some parts of the north, tuberculosis was seen as the larger threat and some old-timers remember local police posting signs on homes with people infected with scarlet fever and diphtheria in the early 20th century.

‘We’re so glad we weren’t involved in that’

Heather Mitchell grew up in Sudbury’s west end and remembers not being allowed to go to Bell Park in the summers out of fear of polio infection, but didn’t think much about the virus until she learned about it in theory during nursing school.

Then she and a classmate were cleaning out a storage room at the old general hospital and found a logbook where doctors and nurses discussed which polio patients should get treatment first. 


Similar to COVID-19, there were concerns in the 1950s about side effects from the polio vaccine, complaints about shortages and trouble convincing hesitant adults to get the shot. (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick P342-1143)

“To see these discussions, whether a housewife was more likely a candidate for it than a school teacher, that kind of rocks you. Having to make that decision. Having to live with that decision,” says Mitchell, who went on to be a public health nurse. 

“We both thought, ‘Oh my goodness, we’re so glad we weren’t involved in that.'”

Maurren Moustgaard was 12 when she went to that same Sudbury hospital to get her tonsils out and saw the unforgettable sight of a young polio patient in the iron lung, the early version of the ventilators being used today.

She joined the health unit in 1969 and worked in vaccinations most of her career. Including in 1978, when she was called back from holidays to meet a surge in demand for polio shots, after an outbreak in southern Ontario.


Polio patients seeing visitors outdoors at a polio clinic in New Brunswick in 1942. (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick P384-58)

Sudbury newspapers ran photos of long lineups and had stories about a public frustrated with a lack of vaccines. Moustgaard says most were parents who had not been keeping up with their polio shots, just 20 years after it was first discovered. 

“Something has to happen to jolt people’s memories,” she said of that time. 

After she was infected with polio, Elizabeth Lounsbury was still vaccinated against two other strains of the virus.

But given her complicated health challenges, she isn’t sure she wants to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“I am afraid of it. And I wonder if the vaccine is safe,” she said. 

“And I guess I won’t know until the time comes for me to go in.”

Morning North9:31COVID-19 has stirred up memories of the polio epidemic in the northeast

The rollout of the COVID vaccine is reminding some of the last time there was an urgent drive to stop a feared virus. Although largely forgotten, the polio vaccine had a similarly bumpy road getting into northern Ontario arms back in the 1950s. The CBC’s Erik White offered the details. 9:31

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Carrot or stick? U.S. governors try to get teachers back into schools

California is dangling a multibillion dollar carrot in an effort to lure its teachers back into the classroom, while Oregon’s governor on Friday said all K-12 public schools will soon be required to provide in-person leaning; marking the latest efforts by U.S. states to get schools back to normal amid the pandemic.  

Gov. Kate Brown said she is issuing an executive order that all such schools must provide universal access to in-person learning by the month’s end for students up to Grade 5 and by mid-April for older students.

The state’s coronavirus case numbers have fallen sharply in recent weeks and Oregon put teachers ahead of older residents in the line for the COVID-19 vaccine — a decision that angered many people 65 and up. As teachers get vaccinated, Brown has been under tremendous pressure from parents and local elected officials in many counties to reopen schools.

Many teachers’ unions nationally have balked at a return to in-person learning, putting them at odds with Democratic governors like Brown in some states.

In neighbouring Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee has implored educators to return to the classroom, but most students there are in online classes and the Seattle teachers’ union is defying a district plan to return special education students to schools.

In Chicago, the teachers’ union agreed last month to return to class with expanded access to vaccinations and metrics that will lead to school closures again if case numbers spike.

WATCH | Why are kids staying home longer if schools aren’t high-risk settings?

Two infectious disease physicians answer viewer questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including why many children are being kept at home if schools aren’t considered high-risk settings and why teachers haven’t been prioritized for vaccines. 7:01

‘The science is very, very clear’

Under the Oregon order, students in K-5 must have an in-person learning option by March 29. Students in Grade 6 through 12 must have one by April 19. Students who prefer to remain in online class will also have the option.

State education officials have until March 19 to revise their guidelines for in-person instruction to help districts facilitate the return, Brown said.

“The science is very, very clear: with proper safety measures in place, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to a classroom learning environment,” Brown said in a statement, after visiting a Portland school.

Data tallied by the state Department of Education show about 20 per cent of Oregon’s public schools are already operating with full-time on-site learning, mostly in rural areas with fewer students in eastern and central parts of the state. Another 23 per cent are offering hybrid learning and 56 per cent currently have almost all distance learning, with limited in-person instruction for students with extra needs.

Rylee Ahnen, spokesperson for the Oregon Education Association, said in a statement that teachers support returning to the classroom if it can be done safely

“We hear, understand, and share the frustration expressed by many in our communities about the uncertainty this pandemic has caused for our public education system,” he said.

California law aims to put kids in class

Meanwhile, California’s public schools can tap into $ 6.6-billion US in a plan Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday to try to pressure districts to reopen classrooms by the end of March.

However, after nearly a year of distance learning for most K-12 students during the coronavirus pandemic, parents in the country’s most populated state say they are frustrated and losing hope their children will see the inside of a classroom this year.

“Is this money going to be a motivator? I don’t know,” said Dan Lee, a father in San Francisco, a city that sued its own school district to reopen classrooms. “We throw money at them, we sue them, we shame them. They still haven’t moved.”

WATCH | What’s working in schools against COVID and what’s not?

Two infectious disease specialists answer questions about COVID-19 and what’s been done to keep schools safe, whether the protocols are working or if the restrictions have gone too far. 5:56

The law does not require school districts to resume in-person instruction. Instead, the state is dangling $ 2 billion US before cash-strapped school boards, offering them a share only if they start offering in-person instruction by month’s end. The rest of the money would go toward helping students catch up.

“This is the right time to safely reopen for in-person instruction,” said Newsom, who faces a likely recall election this year, fuelled by anger over his handling of the pandemic.

The new law has attracted bipartisan support and scorn in equal measure, with the Democratic governor and lawmakers saying it marked an important step forward but was far from perfect.

Teachers from some of the biggest districts have come out against it, saying schools can’t reopen until infection rates drop and enough educators have been vaccinated.

Among them is the powerful United Teachers of Los Angeles, whose members were voting Friday to reject what they called an unsafe return for the second-largest district in the country.

This week, the union slammed the reopening plan as “a recipe for propagating structural racism” by benefiting wealthier areas with lower infection rates.

“If you condition funding on the reopening of schools, that money will only go to white and wealthier and healthier school communities,” union leader Cecily Myart-Cruz said in a statement.

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Boxing star Claressa Shields is back for a historic card — and she’s fighting a Canadian

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

A Canadian is fighting one of the best boxers in the world

American Claressa Shields rose to stardom at the 2012 Olympics, where she won middleweight gold at the age of 17. She repeated as Olympic champ in 2016 and also won a pair of middleweight titles at the boxing world championships during her stellar amateur career.

Since turning pro in late 2016, Shields has won all 10 of her fights and captured titles in three different weight classes. In addition to being the current undisputed middleweight (160 pounds) champ, the 25-year-old also holds the WBC and WBO women’s light middleweight (154 pounds) belts. ESPN and The Ring magazine both rate her as the second-best pound-for-pound women’s boxer in the world.

On Friday night in her hometown of Flint, Mich., Shields will step into the ring for the first time in 14 months. Her opponent is a Canadian, 34-year-old Marie-Eve Dicaire, who’s 17-0 as a pro and currently holds the IBF light middleweight title. The bout will unify the two fighters’ various light middleweight belts, and the vacant WBA and The Ring titles are up for grabs too.

Shields is also putting herself out there. She and her manager personally put together Friday night’s card, which is being billed as the first-ever all-female pay-per-view boxing event. The Shields-Dicaire main event is the first women’s bout to headline a boxing pay-per-view since Laila Ali (Muhammad Ali’s daughter) fought Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (Joe Frazier’s daughter) in 2001.

As this story by ESPN’s Michael Rothstein explains, Shields decided to go the DIY route after growing increasingly frustrated with her broadcast partner Showtime. She felt the cable network wasn’t offering her the same opportunities as some of its big-name male boxers.

At the same time, she noticed that mixed martial arts does a better job of showcasing its women’s stars (case in point: the co-main event on this Saturday’s UFC 259 card is a women’s featherweight title bout between star champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Megan Anderson). So Shields is becoming a two-sport athlete. She recently signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League that will see her do two MMA bouts this year, and she’s also planning to fight twice in the boxing ring. The bout everyone would like to see is Shields vs. Ireland’s Katie Taylor — the reigning undisputed lightweight champion and the consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound women’s boxer in the world. It’s a bit tricky, though, because Shields would have to drop down in weight quite a bit to make the fight.

As for Dicaire’s chances of ruining Shields’ big night with an upset, well, they don’t look great. The Canadian is a good fighter (The Ring rates her No. 2 in the world behind Shields in the light middleweight division) and her 17-0 record looks impressive. But she’s never fought outside of her home province of Quebec, and now she’s going right into the backyard of an opponent who’s nine years younger and more talented.

As CBC Sports’ resident fight expert Cole Shelton (follow him on Twitter here) noted when we talked about this matchup, outpointing Shields over 10 rounds is a tall order for Dicaire. So a surprise knockout is probably the best path to victory for the Canadian. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have that kind of stopping power. All 17 of her pro fights have gone the distance. As a result, the current betting odds imply Dicaire has only about a 13 per cent chance of beating Shields. But, win, lose or draw, simply getting the opportunity to fight in the main event of this historic card — and getting to do so against one of the world’s very best — is a big deal for Dicaire and for Canadian boxing.


Canada’s Marie-Eve Dicaire is rated the No. 2 women’s light middleweight in the world. (Mathieu Belanger/Getty Images)

Quickly…

The Raptors will be very shorthanded tonight. Five Toronto players — starters Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby; reserves Patrick McCaw and Malachi Flynn — plus head coach Nick Nurse and five of his assistants will miss tonight’s game vs. Detroit as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols. This is just the latest of the Raptors’ coronavirus-related issues, which started last week when Siakam, Nurse and five coaching assistants missed Friday’s game against Houston. Sunday’s game against Chicago was postponed, and Tuesday’s game vs. Detroit was postponed until tonight due to what the league said was “positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within the Raptors organization.” Mercifully, tomorrow night’s game in Boston is Toronto’s last before the all-star break, which lasts a full week. Read more about the Raptors’ problems here.

And finally…

Trivia question: which NHL team holds the record for most goals scored in a game?

Gotta be one of the ’80s Oilers squads, right? Maybe Lemieux’s early-’90s Penguins? Or the legendary ’76-77 Habs?

No, it’s actually the 1919-20 Canadiens, who on this date 101 years ago beat the Quebec Bulldogs 16-3 to set a single-game goals record that has never been matched (hat tip to CBC News’ Morning Brief newsletter for that factoid). Forward Newsy Lalonde and defenceman Harry Cameron each scored four times, and forwards Odie Cleghorn and Didier Pitre also had hat tricks. The legendary Georges Vezina was in net for the Canadiens that night. Quebec star Joe Malone, who about a month earlier had scored seven goals in a game to set an NHL record that still stands, was held to only one goal.

It might surprise you to hear that 1919-20 was the highest-scoring season in NHL history in terms of average goals per game. Montreal also scored 14 and 12 in separate contests that year, and teams averaged 4.79 goals per game (for comparison, last season it was 3.02). It also might surprise you to hear that, to this day, the four highest-scoring seasons in NHL history are still the first four — 1917-18 through 1920-21.

Coming up from CBC Sports

Snowboard cross: Watch the first of two sets of men’s and women’s World Cup races in Georgia on Thursday from 2-3:30 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app. The second set goes Friday at the same time. Canada’s Eliot Grondin is second in the men’s season standings with only one World Cup stop left after this one.

Nordic ski world championships: Watch the women’s cross-country 4×5-km relay Thursday at 7:15 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

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Biden’s trade pick says she’s focused on helping U.S. workers, holding back China

Two days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden met to set a new tone for Canada-U.S. relations, the Biden administration official whose decisions may affect Canada’s economy the most sat for three hours of questioning at her confirmation hearing before the Senate finance committee Thursday.

Some cabinet confirmations become partisan wrestling matches. By the end of her appearance, the confirmation of Katherine Tai as the next United States Trade Representative felt more like a collective laying on of hands.

The chair, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, called her a “superb choice.” All ranking Democrats and Republicans from not only the Senate but also the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee applauded the depth of her skills and experience with a long list of complimentary adjectives.

Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts, appearing as a guest Democratic chair of the House committee, told senators he considers Tai to be like family after her seven years as legal counsel for his committee. Tai played a critical role in crafting and negotiating bipartisan support for endgame revisions that ensured Congressional approval of the revised North American trade agreement by delivering more environmental and labour protections.

“There is one issue that all of us in this room agree upon: enforcement, enforcement, enforcement of these trade agreements,” Neal said, praising Tai’s “understated grit.” Biden’s pick was endorsed by leaders from the environmental, business and labour communities, Neal said.

Tai accompanied Neal on a critical trip to Ottawa in November 2019 to persuade Canada to agree to amend the new NAFTA so it could get through Congress. The Trudeau government had thought its negotiations with the Trump administration were over.

Canada’s ambassador in Washington, Kirsten Hillman, came to know Tai well as Canada’s lead negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. She said she remembers having lunch with her that day and their “vibrant conversation” with the assembled politicians about how international trade can benefit domestic workers — a focus the Biden administration now embraces.


Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the United States. (Power & Politics)

“I think that’s just telling on where some of the priorities may well lie,” Hillman told CBC News earlier this winter. “She has specific expertise in that area.”

Fortunately for the Trudeau government, Tai’s vision for “expanding the winner’s circle” of beneficiaries of international trade lines up with the beliefs of Canadian Liberals like Chrystia Freeland who have spoken about making deals work for small businesses and middle class workers — not just corporations.

Winning with win-wins

During Thursday’s hearing, Tai said she wants to move away from negotiations that pit one sector’s workers against another.

It’s a sharp contrast with the zero-sum style of the Trump administration, which was more focused on scoring targeted political wins than mutually-beneficial gains.

We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time.– USTR nominee Katherine Tai

While that could come as a relief for trading partners like Canada, Tai’s hearing also revealed several priorities to watch carefully.

For example, will Tai continue Robert Lighthizer’s push to “re-shore” as many commodities in as many supply chains as possible, to repatriate jobs for American workers?

“There’s been a lot of disruption and consternation that have accompanied some of those policies,” she said — without specifically calling out Trump administration tactics like using national security grounds to slap tariffs on foreign steel. “I’d want to accomplish similar goals in a more effective, process-driven manner.”

And what about the critical product shortages the U.S. is facing, especially during the pandemic?

President Biden signed an executive order this week to strengthen U.S. supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors.

“A lot of the assumptions that we have based our trade programs on [have] maximized efficiency without regard for the requirement for resilience,” Tai said.

Rethinking the China strategy

Between 2011-14, Tai was the USTR’s chief counsel for trade enforcement with China. 

On Thursday, she told senators the U.S. needs a “strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its state-directed economics.” The government must have “a united front of U.S. allies,” she added.

“China is simultaneously a rival, a partner and an outsized player whose cooperation we’ll also need to address certain global challenges,” she said. “We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time.”

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, himself a former USTR during the George W. Bush administration, pushed her to explain how the U.S. could compete with the “techno-nationalist” approach China takes on semiconductors — which he said are subsidized by up to 40 per cent, allowing the Communist regime to dominate the global market.

“We can’t compete by doing the things China does, so we have to figure out how we can compete by marshalling all the tools and resources that we have in the U.S. government,” Tai said.

Later she described how the Chinese state is able to conduct its economy “almost like a conductor with an orchestra,” while Americans trust the “invisible hand” of the free market. The U.S. government may need to revisit this, she said, “knowing the strategy and the ambition that we are up against.”

‘Laser-focused’ on Huawei

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who also sits on the Senate intelligence committee, urged Tai to form a “coalition of the willing” to compete with the Chinese “authoritarian capitalism” model that’s enabled the rise of tech giants like Huawei.

Trade negotiations have to protect the security of digital infrastructure, he said, and the U.S. should consider asking trading partners to prohibit certain Chinese technologies. 

“If we keep Huawei out of American domestic markets but it gets the rest of the world, we’re not going to be successful,” Warner said.


Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) looks on as then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delivers the annual financial stability report to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Tai agreed with him, and said the U.S. government should be “laser-focused” on this, and not just in trade negotiations.

To counter China’s influence, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper asked whether it would be a “fool’s errand” to rejoin partners like Canada in the Pacific Rim trading bloc — which was renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S. left it in 2017.

Tai said the thinking behind the CPTPP remains a “solid equation” but the world in 2021 is “very different in important ways” to the climate in 2016, when Congress failed to approve the TPP.

Carper also asked how trade policy is affected by the Biden administration’s renewed multilateral approach to climate change.

“The rest of the world is coming up with its own climate solutions, and that means that as other countries and economies begin to regulate in this area, climate and trade policies become a part of our competitive landscape,” she said.

‘Digging in’ on dairy

Tai also promised to work closely with senators who raised issues about commodities important to their states — and Canada. But the veteran trade diplomat didn’t tip her hand too much on what Canada should expect.

Idaho’s Mike Crapo was assured she’ll work on “longstanding issues” in softwood lumber. 

She told Iowa’s Chuck Grassley she’s aware of the “very clear promises” Canada made on dairy as part of concluding the NAFTA negotiations, and how important they were to win the support of some senators.

Some of these Canada-U.S. issues “date back to the beginning of time,” she said, adding she was looking forward to “digging in” on the enforcement process her predecessor began in December.

Several senators pushed for more attention to America’s beef, of which Tai said she was a “very happy consumer.” 

South Dakota Sen. John Thune expressed frustration with the World Trade Organization’s ruling against the cattle industry’s protectionist country-of-origin labelling (COOL) rules, prompting a commitment from Tai to work with livestock producers on a new labelling system that could survive a WTO challenge.

One of the toughest questioners Thursday proved to be former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the lack of transparency in past trade negotiations and told Tai her administration needs to “take a hard line.” Warren called for limiting the influence of corporations and industries on advisory committees and releasing more negotiating drafts so the public understands what’s being done on their behalf.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Wyden asked Tai to send her ideas for improving the transparency of trade processes to the committee’s bipartisan leadership within 30 days.

Throughout the hearing, senators described Tai’s confirmation as “historic.” She’s the first woman of colour and first Asian-American (her parents emigrated from Taiwan) to serve as USTR.

Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey asked if she’d commit to working on women’s economic empowerment and participation in trade laws.

She answered with just one word: “Yes.”

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The Blue Jays are back and looking like a contender

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Spring* is here

*OK, not actually. Most of Canada is still in winter’s grip. But there are signs it’s loosening. One of those comes to us from Dunedin, Fla., where the Toronto Blue Jays are now holding full-squad spring training workouts. Seems like a good time for a quick catchup on the Jays as they prepare for opening day on April 1 at Yankee Stadium:

They won’t be back in Canada for a while.

The Jays announced last week that, due to ongoing health/travel restrictions, they’ll remain in Dunedin for at least their first two homestands of the regular season. That means they’ll be playing out of their spring-training stadium until May 14 at the earliest.

Team president Mark Shapiro said the Jays want to return to Toronto “as soon as it is safe to do so.” But there’s no timetable for the move and it’ll probably depend on the Canadian government easing its restrictions on cross-border travel. So there’s a good chance the Jays remain in Florida (or at least in the United States) past mid-May. Once the summer heat/humidity/thunderstorms bear down on central Florida, the Jays could head north to Buffalo, where they played their home games last season.

There are some new faces in camp.

The big one is centre-fielder George Springer, who was lured from Houston with the richest contract ($ 150 million US over six years) in Blue Jays history. Springer, 31, was one of the top free agents on the market. He won the World Series MVP award in 2017, averaged 31 home runs in the last four full seasons and homered at even higher rate in pandemic-shortened 2020.

Toronto also signed Marcus Semien to be its new second baseman. He played shortstop for Oakland, where he hit 39 home runs in 2019 and finished third in the American League MVP vote. Semien was awful at the plate last year, but the Jays gave him a one-year, $ 18-million deal that should motivate him to rebound.

Toronto took a similar approach to trying to upgrade its pitching behind ace Hyun-jin Ryu, rolling the dice on one-year deals with several players. Those include lefty starter Steven Matz, who’s coming off an atrocious season for the Mets, and potential closer Kirby Yates, who led the majors with 41 saves in 2019 for San Diego but had his 2020 ruined by an elbow injury.

But it’s the “old” faces who will make or break this team.

Quotation marks around “old” because we’re talking about the Jays’ young core. Shortstop Bo Bichette, who turns 23 next week, hopes to bounce back after a knee injury cost him a month last season and sapped him of his power once he returned. Twenty-five-year-old Swiss Army knife Cavan Biggio will probably spend more time at third base with Semien taking over at second. Corner outfielders Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Teoscar Hernández are both coming off excellent seasons and are still on the right side of 30. Twenty-one-year-old catcher Alejandro Kirk showed promise last year, and 24-year-old pitcher Nate Pearson could be a godsend for the thin rotation if he taps into his potential.

But all eyes, again, will be on Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The almost-22-year-old slugger has shown flashes, but he still hasn’t lived up the hype accompanying his arrival in the majors two years ago. Guerrero appears to be in much better shape this year (with the requisite Instagram workout pics to prove it) but the pressure is on him to start producing like the all-star everyone figured he’d be.

The Jays can build on last year.

Their surprise playoff appearance was more a product of the shortened season and expanded post-season field than the actual quality of the roster. But Toronto is a good, young team that made some solid additions and should challenge for a spot in the back-to-normal playoffs.

It’ll be tough to top the Yankees in the AL East, but here’s a warm thought to help you through the last few weeks of winter: Fangraphs’ respected projection system has Toronto finishing second in the division at 88-74 — ahead of the improving Red Sox and declining AL-champion Rays. According to the model, that would tie the Jays for the second-best record in the AL and would land them a wild-card playoff spot for the second year in a row.


Shortstop Bo Bichette looks to bounce back after a knee injury sidelined him for a month last season. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press)

Quickly…

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is heating up. It’s the final day of the opening round, and only eight teams will advance to the championship pool, which starts tomorrow. Defending champion Kerri Einarson’s Team Canada (7-0) will be there, and so will Ontario’s Rachel Homan (6-1). They’d already clinched spots heading into their Pool A showdown at 3:30 p.m. ET, which is a rematch of last year’s final. Pool B was more crowded at the top, with Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson, six-time champ Jennifer Jones of Manitoba and Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges tied at 5-2 after the morning draw. The wild-card team skipped by Chelsea Carey was just behind at 5-3. Read more about today’s results here. Watch last night’s episode of That Curling Show, which featured a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Brad Gushue’s Olympic gold medal, here. And watch tonight’s show live at 7:30 p.m. ET on the CBC Olympics Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

Oklahoma City’s Canadians had a big night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 42 points and Lu Dort hit the game-winning three at the buzzer in the Thunder’s 102-99 victory over San Antonio last night. Dort finished with 16 points and is now averaging 12.6 on the season — up nearly six points from his rookie year. Gilgeous-Alexander is seizing the opportunity to be OKC’s go-to guy after the Thunder traded away future hall-of-famer Chris Paul in the off-season. The third-year guard is averaging 33 points over his last three games and now ranks 20th in NBA scoring at 23.5 per game. He’s also averaging 6.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

The Canadian women’s soccer team ended its comeback tournament on a sour note. Playing for the first time since the pandemic hit nearly a year ago, Canada scored only one goal and won only one of its three matches at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando. After an encouraging 1-0 loss to the juggernaut United States, Canada beat Argentina 1-0 before getting blanked 2-0 by Brazil yesterday. Seven key Canadian players were absent from the mini-tournament, so it’s hard to draw any conclusions about the team’s chances of winning a third consecutive Olympic medal this summer. We might learn more when Canada plays its next match, an away friendly vs. No. 6-ranked England, on April 13. Read more about Canada’s performance at the SheBelieves Cup here.

The Canadian Elite Basketball League will tip off its third season in June. The start was pushed back from mid-May and the number of games cut from 20 to 14 for each team in hopes that fans will be allowed in arenas when the season opens. Last summer, the seven-team CEBL became one of the first North American leagues to return after the pandemic shutdown when it played a month-long tournament in St. Catharines, Ont., to crown a 2020 champion. This year, seven consecutive Saturday games will be broadcast on the CBC TV network, starting with the June 5 season opener between defending champion Edmonton and Fraser Valley. Games will also be streamed live on CBC Gem, CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app. Read more about the CEBL’s 2021 season here.

Coming up from CBC Sports

Alpine skiing: Watch a World Cup women’s downhill race in Italy live Friday at 5:45 a.m. ET here.

CBC Sports U: Anyone pursuing a career in sports media might want to check out this free, interactive virtual summit on March 3. CBC Sports is bringing together some well-known sports-media personalities to give students an inside look at their experiences and an opportunity to ask questions. Get more details and sign up here.

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