Archive for January 2011

21-30… the next wave of personal Hall of Famers   Leave a comment

Ten more for Jason MacAskill’s Cooperstown… in no specific order, but all worthy candidates.  (Well, in MY mind, anyways.)  Again, remember that the number I post right after the fellow’s name is the number of votes that he did not get by the BBWAA; no one has ever been inducted unanimously into the real Hall.

Joe Morgan – 81 of 444.  Yep, most people today think he’s the greatest second baseman ever, based on his “total packageness” of defense, speed, power, and patience.  Back-to-back MVP awards help his case, too.  But back in 1990, one out of every five writers must have looked at his .271 batting average and thought, “Nope, too low…”

Steve Carlton – 20 of 456.  Lefty’s problem was that he wasn’t very friendly to the media.  He won 329 games, pitched over 5,200 innings, and struck out 4,136 batters – oh, he also won four Cy Young awards as the NL’s best pitcher.  In 1972, his Phillies won 59 games, and lost 97; Carlton won nearly half of them himself, going 27-10.

Mel Ott – 29 of 226.  I’m not sure why he stayed on the ballot for three years, but he did… he fell short in 1949 and 1950 before breaking through the next season.  The lifelong New York Giant clubbed over 500 home runs, and tallied a career .947 OPS.  Baseball-reference.com reports that, for all that power, he stood just 5’9″ and weighed around 170 pounds.

Jimmie Foxx – 47 of 226.  Went in the same year as Ott, and put up even more impressive batting records: 534 home runs, 1,922 runs batted in, a career .428 on-base percentage, and a career .609 slugging percentage.  Three MVP awards, multiple years on the Cooperstown ballot (1936, 1946-51!), and one of the best first basemen ever.

Rogers Hornsby – 51 of 233.  Five years on the BBWAA ballot.  I guess I had to be there to understand the lack of support for the St. Louis standout… for example, he had a lifetime batting average of .358.  He led the league in hitting six straight seasons, hitting .400 or better in three of them.  AND he had power, clubbing over 300 home runs.

Tom Seaver – 5 of 430.  Would you have ever guessed that Tom Terrific has the best voting percentage (98.8%) amongst the Hall of Famers?  Hard to argue with the numbers: 311 wins, a winning percentage of .603, a lifetime ERA of 2.86, over 3,600 strikeouts, three Cy Young awards (and five other top-five finishes)… but still, five guys thought he should wait to get in.  Or not get in period, which would be unfathomable.

Cal Ripken – 8 of 545.  He came close to catching Seaver’s “in percentage”, but fell short.  At least he didn’t have to wait his turn.  He started his streak of playing in 2.632 consecutive games on my birthday, and ended it sixteen years later.  He was a big shortstop (later moving to third base), standing 6’4″ and weighing over 200 pounds – rare for that era, or any era before it.

Carl Yastrzemski – 24 of 447.  Unlike Ripken, he took the odd day off – but only one other man got into more games than Yaz, who played in 3,308 of them.  He scored over 1,800 runs, and drove in over 1,800 runs as well.  He also won the Triple Crown in 1967, earning his only MVP award in the process.

Roberto Alomar – 58 of 581.  Made it this year on his second year on the ballot; many BBWAA writers left him off in 2010 out of spite.  He went to 12 consecutive All-Star games, and won ten Gold Gloves in a row at second base.  He could also hit and run, smashing 210 home runs and stealing 474 bags; he also walked over a thousand times.

Pete Rose – yep, him.  He’s not in Cooperstown.  He’s not even eligible for enshrinement… but it’s my Hall, and my Hall of Fame plaques would tell the whole story about the man.  For example, I’d make sure I mentioned that he holds the all-time records for hits, games, and plate appearances.  I’d mention that he had a lifetime batting average of .303, that he scored 2,165 runs, and he was a member of three World Series championship teams.  Of course, I’d also mention that he’s permanently ineligible to participate in the sport, as a result of gambling on baseball while he played for and managed the Cincinnati Reds.  He was caught in 1989, and despite widespread support for him, he’s still banned into the 21st century.  After all, my Cooperstown is not just a Hall of Fame, it is also a museum of professional baseball.  Recognizing all of his deeds, good and bad, would be good for the sport, and would not diminish the integrity of the men named thus far before him in any way.  It would also serve as a reminder to all – like the kids who’d see his plaque, for example – that the integrity of the game must be maintained.

 

Rose

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Posted January 27, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Angus, and thoughts about today’s meeting   Leave a comment

Like I mentioned before, scientific research shows that your site gets more traffic if you post a picture of an adorable puppy.  Angus is close to six months old now, and I got a shot of him wearing his cold-weather sweater with my Blackberry.  I don’t think he’s particularly thrilled to wear this garment, but it helps keep him toasty.  Luckily enough for both of us, I had him out for a walk a little while ago without it on, the first time in over a month he’s been outside “naked”.  Thank you, Calgary chinook.

Angus_in_sweater

I had a sales/networking meeting with Laura this morning.  Laura used to work for me at the Calgary Cannons way back when; she was the best Cannoneer out there, and it’d probably be more accurate to say that she worked with me.  Flashforward a dozen years, and the teenager has gone on to bigger and brighter things.  As have, I suspect, the majority of the youngsters working at the ballpark back then.  They’re all grown up, with jobs and houses and spouses, oh my.

It was a nice visit, seeing how she has matured… and ideally, even if she doesn’t become a client, at least she can be part of my referral network.  I’m not sure what I can do for her in return – aside from help her invest some money – but if I ever do a favor for her, I’ll do my best.  Heck, she only lives a few minutes away.

If she wants me to help her move, though, I MIGHT have to draw the line.

Posted January 25, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Slow and steady wins the race… for both the housing market and Super Bowl contenders   Leave a comment

It’s been nearly a week since I got something down on virtual paper here.  It was a relatively busy week – BNI meetings, BBIs, other meetings… NFL conference championship games on my new TV… yes, stuff like that.

And a couple of odd games they were, at that.  I wanted a Packers-Steelers Super Bowl matchup, and I got it, but it wasn’t a lock.  I pity Jay Cutler for the next several weeks; he’s already been branded a quitter for not going back into the game yesterday, a game that the Bears’ third-string quarterback managed to keep close till the very end.  I’m glad the Steelers held off the Jets, too.  If the Jets had beaten the Colts, Patriots, AND Steelers just to get to the Super Bowl, I would have just given them the trophy.  Hope the game in two weeks (boo) is a good one.

I am working on a piece on financed units for our Red Deer project, but I want to make sure I get everything right before I post it here.  They’re very affordable, and an option one should consider if one understands what the process can do for them… I’ll have more later in the week.  In the meantime, I’m gonna link up yet another positive article about the housing market here in Calgary, which provides yet more evidence that we’re slowly but steadily working our way out of the economic swamp.  It doesn’t say we’ll be right back where we were in a few years – nor do I make that claim – but it does give us reason to be a tad more optimistic.

Here’s the link:  http://www.calgarysun.com/homesandcondos/news/2011/01/23/17001826.html

And here’s the article, in case you aren’t linking; the bold text is my doing:

CREB predicts steady growth

Resale market expected to rebound in 2011

By MYKE THOMAS, SUNMEDIA

 

The Calgary Real Estate Board — now officially known as CREB — held its annual forecast conference last week at the BMO Centre and the message is steady as she goes.

In what is predicted to be a reversal of activity last year, new CREB president Sano Stante said the board is looking for the Calgary resale market to resemble its old self this year.

What we’re getting back to is a more sustainable period of growth,” says Stante. “We’re starting to see the fundamentals coming back into the marketplace, bringing incremental growth, with most of the growth coming at the end of the year and we’re expecting sales will increase 20% from last year.

“Last year was a pronounced drop and now we’re getting back to normal.”

Last year, buyers jumped into the market early in order to beat the deadline for the introduction of more stringent mortgage qualification regulations, resulting in higher year-over-year sales activity through to about June, but then buyers abruptly moved to the sidelines and the year-over-year increases became year-over-year decreases.

At the end of the year, single-family sales were 16% lower than 2009, while condo sales were down 18% in Calgary Metro. In towns measured by CREB outside the city, sales were off 10% year-over-year.

The predicted growth in the market, while small, is still healthy, but dependent on the key economic factors of affordability, particularly job creation and net migration.

In its summary for the year ahead, CREB said: “Affordability will be key to market expansion and price increases are not likely until the latter half of 2011, when inventories have eased and demand has recovered. With interest rates not expected to increase, there is little urgency for buyers to move into the market in the first half of the year.

“Nonetheless, 2011 will offer buyers unprecedented affordability, low interest rates and a large selection of inventory.

“(Another) key to market recovery in 2011 will be permanent job creation sufficient to stimulate in-migration. For the first time since 2008, oil patch employees are expecting bonuses and profit share at the end of March 2011, which may translate into a flurry of demand in the mid-priced homes.

“This confidence in the oil patch and improvements in the overall global economy may trigger sales of larger and higher-priced homes, prior to an overall rebound in more average-priced property.”

For the year ahead, CREB expects net migration to reach 10,000 people (measured April 2010 to April 2011) and 2% employment growth in Calgary.

Single-family home sales should be 14,5000 this year, a 20% increase over last year, while condo sales are expected to be 6,000 units, up 16% from last year.

The average single-family price is forecast to increase 4% to $480,000, while the average condo price is forecast to be $295,900, up 2%.

Outside the city, sales are expected to increase 14% to 4,000 homes, with an average price of $368,500.

In a nutshell — slow at the beginning, a little bit quicker at the end.

“The growth we had last year was not sustainable because of the factors involved,” says Stante.

“The growth we get now will be sustainable growth, growth we can grow on.”

Posted January 24, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

I just can’t talk about it…   Leave a comment

…Because I have a sore throat today.  My voice is shot; I sound like a rabid squirrel.  (I know this cannot be verified, ergo the analogy.)  So I won’t be working the phones that much today, though I do have one call that must be made.  Thus, another installment of my Hall of Fame series.  The next ten guys in my hall aren’t in any particular order, but they easily make the cut.  Like last time, I will also list the number of votes each man did NOT get, because for whatever reason, no one has been inducted into Cooperstown unanimously.

Rickey Henderson – 28 of 539.  That’s right, 28 members of the BBWAA didn’t think Rickey deserved to get in the first year he was eligible.  He is the all-time leader in runs and stolen bases.  He reached base more than 5,000 times.  Rickey was flashy, and Rickey was cocky, but Rickey is as sure a HOFer as there is.

Lou Gehrig – they bent the rules to get him in in 1939; he died two years later due to ALS.  However, he was first eligible in 1936, and garnered just 51 of 226 votes cast, four more than fellow HOFer Roger Bresnahan.  Ol’ Roger’s no Gehrig.  The Iron Horse played in 2,130 consecutive games, drove in 1,995 runs, and had a career on-base percentage of .447.

Ted Williams – 20 of 302.  Many consider him the greatest hitter ever.  But he was also one of the most hated players of his generation, perhaps accounting for the 20 missing votes.  He put up awe-inspiring numbers that might look even better had he not lost nearly five full seasons; Williams was a pilot during World War Two and the Korean War.

Yogi Berra – 57 of 396.  The Yankee catcher didn’t get in on HIS first try at Cooperstown, missing the cut in 1971.  Seven consecutive top-four MVP appearances, three MVPs won, and an All-Star almost every year he played.  The ten World Series rings he earned sure help his case, too.

Roberto Clemente – if some writers choose to penalize players for what they consider to be questionable character, shouldn’t some players be awarded for outstanding character, too?  Clemente, like Gehrig, was a special selection.  A few months after cracking his 3,000th hit, the Latin superstar died in a plane crash while delivering goods to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Mickey Mantle – 43 of 365.  Maybe they held the partying against him?  Or the injuries?  I don’t know, exactly.  He either won the American League MVP award, or was runner-up, six times.  The Mick slugged 536 home runs, drove in 1,509 runs, and scored 1,676 runs… and he had bad leg injuries his entire career.  What might have been…

Frank Robinson – 45 of 415.  When I first started following baseball, he was fourth all-time in home runs with 586 (he’s ninth now); like Hank Aaron, he never hit 50 or more in a single season.  Robinson won an MVP award in both leagues, won the Triple Crown in 1966, and was the first full-time African-American manager of an MLB club.

Johnny Bench – 16 of 447.  He was as complete a catcher that has ever played.  Bench mashed 389 home runs, and won ten consecutive Gold Gloves – as soon as he entered the league, he was considered the best at his position.  A major cog in the Big Red Machine in the 1970s, and a two-time World Series champ.

George Brett – 9 of 497.  Maybe the best American League third baseman ever, he was drafted by the Royals right before Mike Schmidt went to the Phiilies.  It probably bears mentioning they were SECOND-round picks… Brett was a 13-time All-Star, and recorded 3,154 hits.  The best Royal of all-time.

Bob Feller – 10 of 160.  He won 266 games, all for the Cleveland Indians, and probably would have won a lot more if he hadn’t served during World War Two.  He lost about four seasons, yet he managed to lead the AL in wins six times, and strikeouts seven times.  “Rapid Robert” was, and still is, considered one of the hardest men to hit against.

Posted January 18, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

If you build it (in Red Deer), they will come   1 comment

Happy Monday, all.  I hope all is well, and you’re surviving the cold – assuming you’re in Alberta, of course.  This last week has been awful, and our dog is going stir-crazy, being trapped inside the house for a solid week now.  Maybe he’ll get to experience fresh air and sunshine in a couple of days.

If you’re interested in thoroughly entertaining, meaningful, spiritual musings… well, I don’t know how you found THIS blog… but I digress.  One of my friends, a woman I worked with a long time ago at the Calgary Cannons, puts down her thoughts to virtual paper here.  Karyn is a wonderful writer, and she makes my posts look like the ramblings of a drunken sailor transcribed by a deaf chimpanzee.  By all means, visit her blog – and if you’re in Three Hills, Alberta, visit her tea house, too.

My post today is another simple news article, published in the Red Deer Advocate here.  If you don’t feel like clicking, I’m going to copy it down below (and bold some of the text that caught my eye), but it’s another encouraging piece about the Red Deer housing market.  As this area ramps up for growth, it is a great sign of things to come.  Currently, the population of this city is approximately 90,000.  In 20 years, that population is projected to grow to about 150,000 – and if the Future Directions: Red Deer at 300,000 Growth Strategy document commissioned by the city in 2006 is to be believed, a population of 300,000 is not out of the question a scant few decades from now.  Owning land in this area – in the path of growth – is a tremendous investment opportunity.  I’m very glad Belterra has some for you.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Multi-family housing drives up construction starts

January 12, 2001 – Red Deer Advocate

A spike in work on multi-family housing projects made December the first month since May that Red Deer builders had more residential construction starts in 2010 than 2009.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported on Tuesday that work started on 39 multi-family units in the city last month, as compared with two last December. When combined with the 12 starts on single-detached homes in December 2010, the total reached 51, more than double the 24 housing starts in Red Deer a year earlier.

Despite a year-over-year drop in residential construction from May to November, Red Deer still finished 2010 with an 18 per cent increase in housing starts. The 2010 tally included 353 single-detached and 232 multi-family starts for a total of 585; in 2009 there were 333 single-detached and 164 multi-family starts, for a combined 497.

Among Alberta’s seven largest urban centres, the Edmonton census metropolitan area posted the greatest increase in housing starts from 2009 to 2010, at 58 per cent. The Calgary census metropolitan area was second, at 47 per cent, followed by Red Deer, and Medicine Hat at 16 per cent. Grande Prairie was down 14 per cent, Lethbridge fell 15 per cent and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo dropped 29 per cent.

Red Deer builders’ strong performance in December gave the city the highest year-over-year increase for that month — at 113 per cent— among Alberta’s bigger cities. Medicine Hat was second, at 53 per cent; followed by Grande Prairie, at 40 per cent; and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, at seven per cent. December housing starts in the Calgary census metropolitan area were down 26 per cent in 2010, in the Edmonton census metropolitan area they fell 31 per cent, and Lethbridge’s were 35 per cent lower.

Among smaller centres with 10,000 or more people, Lacombe jumped from 55 housing starts in 2009 to 146 last year, thanks to an impressive 122 single-detached projects. Sylvan Lake’s 2010 construction tally was up 28 per cent, to 101 from 79.

CMHC said that December was the Canadian housing market’s worst month of 2010, with an annualized rate of 171,500 units a sharp drop from 198,200 in November. Most of the decrease was attributed to fewer multiple-family units, mostly in Ontario.

CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said he is forecasting about 174,000 new homes in 2011, with a worst-case scenario of 149,000.

“Soft landing is a nice way to describe it,” he said. “I don’t see a reasonable scenario where the housing market would crash.”

The U.S. market has yet to recover three years after its crash. Facing a glut of properties, starts in the U.S. have fallen to a fraction of pre-slump peaks. According to a new report Tuesday, prices are down 26 per cent from their 2006 highs — a slightly bigger drop in home values than occurred during the first five years of the Great Depression.

Dugan agreed that record-low interest rates helped Canada’s housing market rebound. And other fundamentals like growing employment, rising salaries, a growing population and a sound banking system remain in place.

Posted January 17, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

The first ten HoFers… for my Hall, that is   Leave a comment

This will be a quick, list-y blog as I head out the door to this week’s BNI meeting.  These ten guys aren’t necessarily THE best of all time, but they are sure-fire, no-doubt-about-it, worthy candidates for my Hall.  I’d like to think that if BBWAA writers voted today, they’d get 99% or more of the vote… but I’m not optimistic that would happen.  Some of those voters, I just don’t understand.

So without further ado…

Willie Mays – 23 of 432 voters back in the day DID NOT throw him a vote; I will use this as a “score” from now on to illustrate the lunacy of some writers.  Apparently, the 660 home runs, 1,903 runs batted in, 338 stolen bases, and multiple gold Gloves were merely accumulated, I don’t know.  As complete a player as there ever was.

Hank Aaron – 9 of 415.  The Hammer never hit 50 home runs in a season, but he retired with the all-time record of 755 in 1976.  It was eventually broken, but many still consider Aaron the king.  Another complete ballplayer, though not as fast as Mays.  Aaron still has the career RBI mark with 2,297.

Stan Musial – 23 of 340.  Three-time MVP of the National League and a lifelong Cardinal.  Amazingly consistant, he finished his career with a .331 batting average, and the exact same number of hits at home (1,185) as on the road.

Christy Mathewson – 21 of 226.  He won 373 games in 18 seasons, with a lifetime ERA of 2.13.  He didn’t strike a lot of guys out, though, but I’ll let that slide.  By all accounts, one of the most respected and respectable men that ever played.

Walter Johnson – 37 of 226.  The Big Train won 417 games, but fared worse than Mathewson in the first ballot.  He led the league in strikeouts twelve times, and as far as Washington Senators pitchers go, Stephen Strasburg has a long way to go to catch Johnson.

Mike Schmidt – 16 of 460.  The best third baseman of all-time?  I think so.  It must have been the low .267 batting average that cost him those 16 votes, because the .380 on-base percentage is very good.  And the 548 home runs and ten Gold Gloves aren’t too shabby, either.

Cy Young – 48 of 201.  Apparently, the writers weren’t impressed with him, as it took Young three tries before he got the call – and he barely cleared the 75% of votes necessary then.  Started his career in the 1800s, and racked up 511 wins, a pitching record that will never be touched.

Honus Wagner – 11 of 226.  One of the greatest shortshops of all-time.  3,420 hits, 1,733 runs batted in, a lifetime .328 hitter… and for those who use WAR (Wins Above Replacement) as a statistical tool, the Flying Dutchman led his league in WAR eleven times.

Jackie Robinson – 36 of 160.  He only played in the big leagues for ten years – but did so darn well – thus he falls short on several Hall of Fame predictive tools.  On the other hand, he IS pretty famous for being the first African-American to play major league baseball.  Extra credit for that, I say.

Babe Ruth – 11 of 226.  Obviously, some writers took the character and integrity clauses to heart when they didn’t vote for him… so I better take that under consideration as well.  Hmmm… well, I’m willing to overlook that, primarily because he was arguably the best player ever.  If the 714 home runs don’t convince you, maybe the 94-46 pitching record (2.28 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) he earned will.  Who knows, he might have been a Hall of Fame pitcher, too!

Posted January 13, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Book report – what’s on my shelf   1 comment

Until recently, for the past few years, I took the C-train to work (and back) everyday.  The ride wasn’t particularly pleasant; I rarely got a seat, in the summer it was stiflingly hot, and in the winter I was often treated to mechanical delays.  Ah, good times.  I’m glad I live in a city WITH public transit, but like most, I just wish there was a way to make it better.

The one thing that made it tolerable – because it was such a long ride from downtown to my “home stop” – was the fact that it gave me lots of time to read.  I like to read.  I have a bookshelf full of novels by Clive Cussler, Stephen Coonts, Robert Ludlum, and others.  I have a variety of baseball books written by Bill James, Rob Neyer, and other compilations.  I have autobiographies – or biographies – for Gary Carter, Marcus Allen, Mick Foley, and more.  And that’s not even mentioning the 5,000-plus comic books on the THREE large bookcases behind me.  Those took a long, long time to collect.

So the downside of not taking the train anymore is the fact that I spend less time reading.  On the train, I could crank out about 70 pages a day – if I started a novel on Monday, I’d be well on my way to finishing it by the end of the week.  Now, I’m hoping this doesn’t sound like I have a terrible time managing my time – but aren’t we all just a bit busy these days?  Work and meals and kids and stuff at home, they all add up.  I have a few books piling up that I have to get to – in fact, I think I’ll force myself to read them all before I go out and get even one more book.  That’s a start, right?

Here’s my to-read list, in no particular order:

  • Crescent Dawn, by Clive Cussler – actually, this is a priority.  It’s my mother’s birthday present, and that ship sailed about a week ago.
  • The Last Oracle, by James Rollins
  • Charon’s Landing, by Jack du Brul
  • The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
  • Deep Black: Sea of Terror, by Stephen Coonts and William Keith
  • The Bullpen Gospels, by Dirk Hayhurst

I think that’s it.  Gotta finish Crescent Dawn, about 60% left to go.  Maybe I’ll find the time tonight.

Bullpen

Posted January 11, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

What do my BNI chapter members do?   Leave a comment

I almost have the first ten guys for my Cooperstown; when I’m sure, I’ll write them down.

This is another BNI post.  As I get ready for some BBIs, I thought I’d share the types of businesses that my fellow BNI Optimum members are in, so that, should you need them, I can help you out.

  • Dentist
  • Telecommunications systems
  • Business coach
  • Corporate gifts
  • Print advertising
  • Equipment leasing
  • Web design
  • Legal services
  • Accounting
  • Group benefits consultant
  • Real estate sales representative
  • Computer repair
  • Acupuncture
  • Automotive mechanical service
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning
  • Travel agent
  • Hypnotherapist
  • Real estate rentals
  • Personalized greeting card service
  • Mortgage agent
  • Life/health/disability insurance
  • Chiropractor
  • Property and casualty insurance
  • Document services and shredding
  • Bookkeeping
  • Residential cleaning
  • Chef
  • Financial planner
  • Promotional products

BNI’s motto: Givers Gain!

Posted January 10, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

My Hall   Leave a comment

I was inspired by this.

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/01/06/the-willie-mays-hall-of-fame/

Yes, more baseball stuff.  More Hall of Fame stuff.  Don’t worry, it won’t be one long piece… more like a bunch of little ones, spread out over a number of posts.  The link above is a satirical attempt by Joe Posnanski – who is quickly becoming one of my favorite baseball writers – to reduce the number of players enshrined in Cooperstown to a number that absolutely EVERYONE can agree on.  To make it a place where no one would question the credentials of any player excellent enough to be in it.  By process of elimination, Posnanski gets it down to one.  Williw Mays.  And even then, he isn’t sure HE belongs.

I’m not a “small-Hall guy”… I think I’m more a medium-Hall type of guy.  But if, IF, they ever decided to take plaques outta the place, even players that not only make you scratch your head, but downright confound and frustrate you, I’d be against it.  The Hall of Fame is a prestigous honor to be sure, if you’re a player.  But if you’re a fan, it’s also a museum of ALL things baseball.  Its heroes, yes, but also its moments, its games, and its history.

Nonetheless, I’m going to try to get it down to an even 100 players.  It’ll be scientific, yes, but not strictly based on new-fangled statistics.  I’m not just going to pick the top 100 WAR guys, for example.  I think I’ll go ten at a time… any suggestions – for addition or subtraction – are invited.

Posted January 9, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Friday findings   Leave a comment

Greetings, all.  I found a couple of articles today that help make my case for investment in Red Deer stronger than ever… at least, in my opinion.  I’ll publish both in full, along with a link to each story.  In both instances, they discuss the near future for Alberta, specifically pertaining to the oil economy.  It makes our investment into central Alberta look pretty good right now, and that’s why Belterra specifically chose Red Deer as a city to invest in.  Ideally, I’m able to communicate that message to an even larger audience over the next few months!

Here are those articles; if either source wants me to take them down, I will gladly do so.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Report+predicts+180B+oilsands+spending/4073630/story.html

Report predicts 180B in oilsands spending

Dina O’Meara, Calgary Herald – January 7, 2011

CALGARY – Investment in Alberta’s oilsands is set to reach a whopping $180 billion over the next decade, peaking at 20 per cent more than was spent during the height of the last boom, according to Peters & Co.

Strong and sustained oil prices in the $75 to $90 US per barrel range and increased interest from deep-pocketed foreign investors such as state-owned PetroChina and France’s Total are leading the charge in renewed interest in the resource, the Calgary-based investment house said.

“The increased level of transactions can be attributed to robust economics and the scarce availability of a large scale resource with low political risk,” said the report, released late Wednesday.

“Ultimately, the oilsands will continue to be attractive for entities wanting to amass large oil resource in an economically and politically safe environment, as Canada arguably has a strong combination of these attributes relative to other jurisdictions.”

Oilsands production has jumped to about 1.5 million barrels per day of bitumen and upgraded crude, from 1.2 million barrels in 2008, when a dramatic decline in oil prices put many projects on hold. Investment in the oilsands plunged almost 40 per cent during the 2008-09 freeze, but is slated to return with a vengeance.

Total capital spending in the oilsands industry will hit a high of $22 billion in 2014 as thermal, mining and upgrading projects break ground, Peters & Co. forecast.

Other analysts anticipate even larger investments, with BMO Capital Markets forecasting $20-billion worth of investment in the oilsands this year.

The financial house estimates investment in Alberta’s oilsands will peak at $29.9 billion by 2015.

“The peak keeps getting pushing out, but there could be a new peak, assuming we get the continued strength in oil prices,” analyst Mike Mazar said.

Oil prices gained 28 per cent during the last quarter of 2010, closing Thursday at $88.26 US per barrel.

Service and pipeline companies also have benefited from the rising activity levels in the oilsands, welcoming the influx of cash while at the same time anticipating increased competition for workers.

“If you get up into the $18-$20 billion spend rate that we saw in 2007-2008, it’ll get pretty tight again,” said Guy Cocquyt, with Flint Energy Services.

The oilsands services and maintenance heavyweight is gearing up for another big push in late 2011 and early 2012 after wrapping up several major projects with Shell Canada and Statoil Canada in July, Cocquyt said.

On the gathering side, Inter Pipeline Income Fund is looking to capitalize on its recent multibillion-dollar investments in oilsands infrastructure.

The company added approximately one million barrels per day capacity to its network of northern pipe, said spokesman Tony Mate.

“There’s a wave of capital that’s going to be required for all the projects to be developed, and that hinges on the price of oil,” Mate said. “It would put some cost pressure on if they all came to bear, but we are in good shape to handle what we think will come down the pike.”

Uncertainty over looming environmental legislation around greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and tailings remediation could inflate costs and cause regulatory delays, said Peters and Co.

“Environmental costs, particularly with respect to tailings from mining operations, are significant and will require spending,” the report said.

However, new federal Environment Minister Peter Kent quickly responded to industry concerns, saying Thursday that Ottawa would not compromise the nation’s economic recovery by hindering development of the multibillion-dollar resource.

Kent, who was given the environment portfolio on Tuesday, characterized Alberta’s oilsands as “ethical” and providing an economic boom for the country in a prior interview with the Herald.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government set out a goal to cut national greenhouse gas emission levels 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2010, a target too modest for environmentalists.

 

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Optimism+Alberta+oilpatch+2010+ends+strong+seen+three+years/
4044448/story.html

Optimism riding high in Alberta oilpatch

Dan Healing, Calgary Herald – January 3, 2011

Nearly 12,000 oil and gas wells have been drilled in Western Canada in 2010, the second-weakest number of the past decade, but still representing a 30 per cent rebound over 2009.

Oil and gas activity is expected to continue to grow this year, observers say, a bellwether of better economic times especially for rural Alberta, where many of the thousands of oilpatch workers reside and where dozens of oilfield services companies buy meals and rent hotel rooms.

“We’re starting to see a lot more optimism in the community not only from 2010 but going forward into 2011,” said Mayor Moe Hamdon of Drayton Valley, a centre of unconventional oil development this year.

“And 2012 is projected to be the largest year ever as far as activity in the oilfield in the Drayton Valley area.”

A database compiled by the Daily Oil Bulletin shows the year-to-date Canadian well count was 11,853 as of Dec. 22, slightly ahead of an adjusted 2010 forecast of 11,587 by the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors. It predicts 11,811 in 2011.

In 2009, according to the CAODC, the number of wells completed in Western Canada reached 9,342, less than half the 20,700 in 2008.

The record high was 22,100 in 2006.

“The year 2010 didn’t start off that good, we still had the lag effect from 2009,” said Murray Mullen, chairman and chief executive of oilfield and transportation services company Mullen Group, on Thursday.

“But it’s ended up pretty strong, probably as strong as we’ve seen for two or three years so the trend is pretty good. That’s good for service companies, oil companies and the employment side.”

Companies are hiring again after thousands of workers were laid off in 2008 and 2009.

“When drilling activity stopped and oilsands activity stopped, we were down 1,100 people,” said Mullen.

“We’re back on the hiring now but it’s not as easy to hire 1,100 people, unfortunately, as it was to let them go.”

New technology is creating opportunity in the oilpatch.

“Where the big increase is coming is on the horizontal drilling,” said Doug Ramsay, president and CEO of Calfrac Well Services of Calgary.

“We’ve seen the percentage of wells move up like in the U.S., from 30 to 40 per cent, 40 to 50 per cent.

“What that does for companies like mine is put more and more focus on the completion side of the services business.”

Calfrac, too, laid off staff during the downturn but it has hired back far more to handle the explosion in demand for its pressure pumping services, the means by which low permeability rock formations deep underground are “fractured” to allow better production of oil and gas.

“This could be the busiest ever, since I started this company, on the fracturing and the deep workover coil tubing services that we have,” said Ramsay.

Calfrac is looking to add at least 150 workers to its 1,000 staff in Canada, he said. It needs people ranging from engineers to truck drivers.

Before cutting back, Calfrac had reached a peak of about 700 employees in Canada.

Drilling a well involves four steps — getting a licence, “spudding” (when drilling begins), rig release and completion (when the well is connected to a gathering system).

Spokesman Bob Curran of the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board said that year-to-date, as of Wednesday, 14,000 new Alberta well licences had been issued, a 32 per cent increase over 10,600 in 2009.

He said it’s a safe bet that most of the licences are for wells targeting oil — despite dropping below $90 US per barrel Thursday, U.S. crude oil futures are still up about 13 per cent from the 2009 yearend price.

Natural gas, meanwhile, is down 22 per cent.

According to the Daily Oil Bulletin, about 58 per cent of the wells drilled through to the end of November were targeting crude oil or bitumen.

That makes it likely that 2010 will be the first year since 1997 that more oil than gas wells have been drilled in Canada.

Posted January 7, 2011 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized