Who says the Toronto Maple Leafs are not playing this spring?
The Leafs open their 48th Intercounty League baseball season Sunday against the Guelph Royals at 2 p.m. at Christie Pits.
“It’s great baseball and it’s great fun,” says Maple Leafs owner Jack Dominico.
And no bank loan needed. It’s free.
If you can’t make it for Mother’s Day, there will be 17 more opportunities — and hopefully playoffs, too.
Nothing against the pro sports teams because I love them and their fans. But these guys don’t make any money to play and don’t get taxpayers’ help for stadiums or practice facilities.
The baseball Leafs are the epitome of a grass roots team.
The generosity of Canadians is greater than the flames at Fort McMurray.
“We are at $11 million donated,” says Chiran Livera of the Canadian Red Cross.
With governments matching donations, there’s lots of money to help.
“The money is already (being used to assist),” Livera says of the humanitarian effort.
The fundraising costs, he adds, are less than 5% and, yes, all the money will be dedicated to Fort McMurray.
“This is a specific appeal for the Alberta fire,” says Toronto’s Livera, who has been with the Red Cross for 14 years and participated in the Haitian earthquake and Asian tsunami responses.
Right now, the Red Cross is dealing with “relief assistance” which Livera says means “food, water, shelter, medical.”
Livera promises volunteers are there for the long haul.
“Just like the situation in Slave Lake or the floods of Calgary, we are still involved.”
Currently “we are in the emergency phase” and at this point, “we don’t know what the recovery phase will look like.”
Whatever it does, Livera promises, the Red Cross will be there “working with government and other agencies.”
The Salvation Army has also “deployed six community response units.”
The Red Cross response is flexible and being assessed by “what people are in need of.” If they need cash for groceries or a hotel room, it can be done. If they need gas or clothing or a sleeping bag, the Red Cross provides kits.
There are also evacuation centres being set up. “Sheltering solutions is a major focus,” says Livera.
Lennox Lewis is known for his hard right and his soft heart.
The former world heavyweight champion is a true champ and proved it when he walked into St. Michael’s hospital to cheer up a fellow pugilist.
Mexican boxer Guillermo Herrera, 32, was hospitalized when he burst a blood vessel in his head during a boxing match in a Shaw Festival fight at the Royal York Hotel on April 12.
“I don’t remember what happened,” Guillermo told my colleague Maryam Shah. “He knocked me down in the eighth round ... I told my trainer I was feeling really dizzy. I sat down on the floor and fainted.”
The next thing he remembers? “I woke up in the hospital.”
He took the fight with a $3,200 purse “because my 13-year-old is having his first communion party.”
To help cover costs money has been raised online and through support from the Shaw Festival. Toronto sports and entertainment promoter Andrew Lopez says people can help out on:
Lennox chipped in but also delivered some boxing gloves for his two boys.
The best news is the boys will see him again. Guillermo flew home to Michoacan, Mexico Thursday and his $400-a-month vegetable market job.
“I’m just amazed by the generosity of Canadians,” Guillermo told Maryam. “It really bring tears to my eyes.”
There’s lots he can’t remember but he won’t soon forget the day Lennox Lewis hit him — not with a punch but some kindness.
Aida had a secret.
During the Second World War, she had two sons in the Bergen Belsen death camp where the idea of a future was merely a dream.
They sadly became separated and remained that way for more than six decades.
My director friend, Myles Shane, told me of a documentary — called Aida’s Secrets, made by Alon and Shaul Schwarz — which is playing at 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the Tiff Lightbox 3 as part of the Hot Docs Festival.
This story moves from Germany to Poland to Israel, Montreal and to Toronto. It’s the true account of Izak Szewelewick and Shep Shell who did not know they were brothers.
They did reunite but how they may have been conceived is one of the many difficult realities faced by survivors of the Holocaust.
And a new twist has emerged.
There’s a third brother — they believe in Toronto.
More secrets to be revealed.
Have a super, warm weekend everybody.