July 22, 2011: Big bopper DH is a rare sight these days


Story first appeared July 22, 2011 in the Toronto Star. MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER On the first Sunday in July, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind traded places to cool down Phillies star pitcher Cliff Lee. Though he’s the team’s everyday first baseman, Lind took over as the designated hitter that day, and singled off Lee … Continue reading

July 21, 2011: The catcher: Baseball’s most demanding and least appreciated job


This story first appeared July 21, 2011 in the Toronto Star. MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER PHILADELPHIA—When John Buck flexes his left thumb you can hear the joints crack. It makes the same sound bubble-wrap does when you squeeze the tiny air pockets until they burst. And when the Florida Marlins catcher keeps the digit bent, … Continue reading

July 19, 2011: Training, and science, help Verlander defy power pitcher’s odds


This story first appeared July 19, 2011 in the Toronto Star. Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter DETROIT—For eight innings, Justin Verlander had the Seattle Mariners groping. The Tigers ace didn’t even bring his best fastball that June evening, but he didn’t need it — few Seattle batters could make solid contact with his 98 m.p.h. heater. … Continue reading

July 1, 2011: Doc Operating Better Than Ever


Story originally appeared July 1, 2011 in the Toronto Star. MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER PHILADELPHIA—With two runners on base and a 2-2 count to Florida Marlins catcher John Buck, Phillies ace Roy (Doc) Halladay toes the rubber, winds up and unleashes the pitch he’s been refining since the Jays traded him in December 2009. The … Continue reading

All Balls Don’t Bounce: My Departure Explained


Tuesday morning I stood on a crowded subway car as the train pulled into Royal York station. Behind me, sliding doors. Beyond them, the platform. As the train stopped and the doors eased open a man nudged past me to exit the car, pausing for a second to stare me down. “You’re Morgan Campbell!” he … Continue reading

April 29, 2011: Gary Goodridge and the High Cost of Living Dangerously


MORGAN CAMPBELL SPORTS REPORTER BARRIE—When Gary (Big Daddy) Goodridge strides into his living room, the hands that once delivered punches now cradle pill bottles. Fifteen years ago, Goodridge won his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut by knocking his opponent cold with one elbow strike. The other seven were pure adrenaline. That fight made the Barrie resident … Continue reading

April 29, 2011: There’s more to MMA training than toil and sweat


Proper recovery, right attitude as important as gym for top fighters Morgan Campbell Sports Reporter After a hard week of training, Claude (The Prince) Patrick is sore all over. Beat up and a little burnt out, he’s due for a tune-up and on this Friday in February he ducks into a converted bungalow in southeast … Continue reading

April 28, 2011: Mastering martial arts skills foundation of fighting success


Morgan Campbell Toronto Star Wednesday is pro day at Elite Training Centre in Mississauga, and the action on the mats intensifies each time the buzzer sounds. Five weeks from this February afternoon, Joel Powell will win the first sanctioned mixed martial arts bout in Ontario; right now, he’s at the far end of the room … Continue reading

April 27, 2011: An MMA Fighter’s Daily Grind


A ragged group of Muay Thai students shuffles across the floor at Elite Training Centre in Mississauga, throwing one-twos as their instructor shouts commands. The kick-boxers are hobbyists but the guy in the nearby ring is a pro, warming up for his third workout of the day. As the students take on imaginary opponents, 30-year-old Claude (The … Continue reading

About this weekend: Three thoughts


1. THE UFC NEEDS A NEW SUPERSTAR — STAT Saturday night kickboxing ace Alistair Overeem toppled Brock Lesnar with a series of shots to the midsection, but minutes after the bout, when the WWE star-turned UFC cash cow announced his retirement from the Octagon, the folks running the world’s fastest-growing sports league probably felt like … Continue reading

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