Mariano: thinks Blue Jays will top his Sox

Fire up the tiki torch and pass the Doritos. The 26th edition of Survivor premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and Global. The 90-minute episode will introduce 20 castaways, 10 past favourites and 10 new “fans.”
I spoke with ultimate Survivor champion Boston Rob Mariano earlier this week for a piece I wrote for the Toronto Star. The story is in Wednesday’s paper.
The four-time player flew up  to Toronto Tuesday night to appear on Global’s Morning Show. He’ll co-host the 9-10 a.m. hour Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Mariano told me he has been on both Breakfast Television and Canada AM on previous trips to T.O.
Mariano is 37 and he and his wife Amber, the Survivor lovebirds who each won the million dollar prize, now have three young children. “Now I really know the true meaning of the term Survivor!” Mariano jokes. The couple live in Florida and just got back from a ski trip in Whistler so they must still have some of that Survivor money. Besides the two million, Mariano was also voted $100,000 one time as a phone-in fan favourite.
What I never knew was how much hockey Mariano played growing up in the Boston area. His high school team would make annual trips to Montreal where they played in a tournament. Mariano says they usually got their butts kicked in Quebec.

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He didn’t make the team at Boston University but that was a pretty good squad, defeating Michigan State one year to become national champs.
The hockey skills clearly gave Mariano an advantage on Survivor: knowing when to drop ’em and fight back right away, knowing when to take a players number and get them later. Only thing he never did on air was pull another castaways sweater over their head and then punch them in the face.
Ever the charm dog, Mariano chatted about the new and improved Toronto Blue Jays and conceded that they should best his beloved Boston Red Sox this season.
Among the players on Survivor Caramoan are three Mariano faced when he finally won the game on his fourth try (in the “Redemption Island” edition). The one who jumps out is that looney toon Phillip Sheppard, he of the droopy pink undies. The dude claimed to be a secret agent but was really just seriously nuts.Andrea Boehlke and Francesca Hogi are also back from Redemption, and Russell Hantz little nephew Brandon is also back for more face time.
I’ll be recapping every damn episode once again for The tribe has spoken.

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