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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ford Signing Made Official By Riders


The Saskatchewan Roughriders today announced international running back Will Ford has joined the teams practice roster. 

 

Ford (5’11 – 195) is a three year CFL veteran after originally entering the league in 2012 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Last season the South Carolina State product was named an East Division All-Star after running for 594 yards and two touchdowns on 113 carries while adding seven receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown in 13 regular season games with the Bombers. The 27-year-old also had 45 kickoff returns for 1,047 yards and two touchdowns including a 100 yard long return. He was twice named CFL Special Teams Player of the Week following performances in week 11 and 15.   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dressler Talks About Chiefs Main Camp After Day 1


Kansas City Chiefs fans are starting to see in Weston Dressler what Rider fans saw for years. Dressler was interviewed by Kansas City media after day 1 of main camp today. You can take a look at what he had to say by clicking here

Something To "Mitch" About


A few days getting away from it all in the summer-time can be a great thing, but life goes on and so does work. Like the Riders, a brief vacation was taken and like the Riders, it will be back to work Tuesday for this blogger after some time in the good old US of A---in particular Minot.  Its been a long time since I've been to the city and it has grown immensely since the last time I was there. What did I miss while I was away


1. Hugh Charles comes and goes

    I'll be honest with you. I was surprised when the Riders went out and picked up Hugh Charles. When he was here the first time, he couldn't block, he had a problem hanging onto the football and he seemed like a "me" guy with the backflips--I remember one game where the Riders were getting blown out and late in the game he scored and then pushed some teammates away so he could backflip. Yes, Hugh ran for 86 yards in the first half of the loss to BC, but stats don't mean everything. He fumbled and he still showed he couldn't block. What surprised me was the outrage amongst some Rider fans towards Coach C and GM Brendan Taman. Did some think Hugh was the savior? I have had many a Rider fan ask me why Taman can't find a RB. Excuse me?? Taman found THEE running back last year in Kory Sheets---a guy who only got the job remember because Brandon West couldn't hang on to the football. He went out in the off-season and found both Keith Toston and Anthony Allen. It is not Taman's fault that neither man is playing. He gets the ingredients and Chamblin cooks the recipe.  Why Toston isn't playing is a mystery to me, but after last year, I think Coach C proved he knows a helluva lot more football than a lot of us do. "The Mad Scientist" has a plan and he isn't diverting from that plan.

2. Expectations

      A gentlemen told me as I was in the bank waiting to change some Canadian cash into American cash that the Riders wouldn't make the playoffs and would be lucky to win 5 games this year. I laughed at him and asked what his rationale was. He said the team wasn't as close to being talented as last year's team which I agreed with, but I reminded him we are only four weeks into a long season. I think as a fanbase our expectations may have been a little high. I still think this team despite its losses is a very good team, but injuries to Chris Getzlaf and rookie Chad Kilgore haven't helped.  Without Getzlaf in there, it means the loss of Dressler, Simon, Sheets and Getzlaf to that high powered offence. That will hurt anyone. Did anyone think Edmonton would be 4-0 to start the season. How about Winnipeg's great start. Who had Hamilton at 0-3 and Toronto at 1-2. Relax people. There is still a long ways to go. I think our expectations for this team were maybe a little too unrealistic---I'm starting to think that even though I still think this team wins the West again. Lets let this book play out for a few more weeks before we start playing CSI Regina and examine the corpse.

  3. CFL in the USA

       I didn't see every down of football this weekend and I would have liked to seen the first game back in Ottawa, but its great for Canadians like me to have the ability to watch the CFL while in the US. The Edmonton-Winnipeg and Hamilton-Calgary were both on ESPN2 and it was outstanding sitting in my hotel room watching that game after a day in the hot sun. I don't know how many are tuning in down in the states, but they have their own host for the proceedings and he does a good job in bringing the CFL to Americans. They even have a couple of commercials I haven't seen up here. This can only be a plus for the CFL as they try to make household names out of the Durants, Cornishs, Rays and Willy's.

  4. Baseball's all-star game

      I knew baseball's all-star game would be a lovefest for Derek Jeter or Michael Jeter as a tweet from CBS news read (OOPS!!), but baseball should be embarrassed for what happened or what didn't happen at Minnesota's Target Field ( a stadium where I must watch baseball first-hand).  How the game could salute Jeter while ignoring Tony Gwynn was a grievous mistake. Gwynn was just as great an ambassador for the game as what Jeter is today and to not even mention his passing during the game or on the FOX telecast was a horrible, horrible mistake. Both tried covering their tracks by saying there were many who played the game who passed away over the course of the year that weren't mentioned as well. That couldn't have been done at some point? I would have much rather seen that than Erin Andrews looking all flabbergasted when Adam Wainwright told her he didn't groove a pitch into Jeter in the first inning and that comments he had made suggesting that were a joke.  As I said, both MLB and FOX should be ashamed of themselves for this slight.

5. Target Field

      While sitting at a Barnes and Noble in Minot, I started reading a book on Target Field and it said that after a referendum, a slight hike to the sales tax was made in Hennepin County for funds that went towards the construction of the stadium. I repeat "Why couldn't we do that in Regina?" Could we not have a slight hike in the PST or a small stadium tax for goods sold in the downtown core----after all we are revitalizing the downtown with this initiative aren't we. Do this for a year and see what type of money is there for the stadium and other projects to make our downtown better. I'm sorry, but downtown Regina is still not what this city wants it to be and it won't be for a long, long time for a variety of reasons. A variety of reasons I'm not getting into, but reasons I think the smart Reginan knows full too well about. If this can be done, why aren't we doing it or why didn't we do it?  Questions for another day I guess.

6.  British Open

        I realize he is the game, but I heard more about Tiger Woods at the British Open than I did about Rory McIlroy winning the thing and that's wrong. The Tiger luster is gone and its time to start focusing in on the Rorys, the Garcias, the Fowlers and the new group of young guns in this sport. I don't need to see every shot of a guy who barely made the cut and is stumbling his way around the course.

7.  Minot

   
 
I know many of you have been to Minot before, so I won't show you pic after pic after pic. Here's the lion at the zoo though.  She just has that "I want to rip your throat out look".  The Minot Zoo definitely doesn't compare to the Calgary Zoo, but they are still trying to recover from the flood of 2011 that had 20 percent of the town underwater. The Moose River goes right through the zoo so obviously they were hit hard. All the animals there had to be  moved elsewhere and this is really the first summer of a complete operation they have had since 2011. They had to be crossing their fingers after seeing what happened in Saskatchewan and Manitoba a few weeks ago, but it doesn't seem as if flooding will be a problem this time around.
 
A lot of you know what this place is...
 
 
Its the inside of Buffalo Wild Wings in Minot. With all apologies to Kevin and Jason at the Press Box and George at Four Seasons, why doesn't Regina have one of these??? What an outstanding place to watch the game or have some good eats. Those that remember the game QB1 will want to know its located here. People told me there was a Dressler jersey hanging up there. If its there, I didn't see it.
 
 
The North Dakota State Fair was on and the University of North Dakota athletics program---based in Grand Forks---did something I think the University of Regina should do in an attempt to get more people out to their games. They could even do this up in Saskatoon as well.
 
It was UND Day at the Fair on Saturday. Different athletes from the various programs were there to sign autographs, answer questions and all of those in attendance received a 50 percent off ticket to a UND hockey game at the magnificent Ralph Engelstad arena.  The U of R should do that and with kids flocking around, give them a chance to meet and talk to some Cougar athletes and give them the opportunity to see a volleyball, basketball, hockey or football game for a low price. If they drag Mom and Dad along which most will, it could create a better environment in the stands than what currently it has. Its just a thought.
 
 
The ND State Fair is just a little different than Buffalo Days. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Buffalo Days, but for someone who goes every year, there is that repetitiveness because you know this is there and this is here and that is there. When you are a stranger to the ND State Fair, you don't know what is around the next corner.
 
 
The one thing I will say about Minot is the customer service. People there bend over backwards to make sure your experience in their restaurant or shop is a good one which as I think we know is not  the case at all local businesses and watering holes.
 
One last thing. I was getting set to call it a night and did one last channel check in the room. Just starting on what I think is called the Midco Sports Network was a one hour documentary on the rivalry between UND and North Dakota State. It featured mainly on the football and womens basketball programs. What a great show. I was hoping to see a little Scott Schultz and Weston Dressler in college action, but the documentary was done many years ago. Schultzie informed me the documentary ended in what would have been his first year there so obviously no Weston.
 
And yes, when you wear the /=S=/ in Minot, you hear many "Go RIDERS". I don't know if they are others from Saskatchewan or locals, but it still brings that touch of home.
 
 
That's about all I got. One more day of this brief little vacation and then its back to work tomorrow. See ya!

 



Monday, July 14, 2014

MLB At The Break


OK, Major League Baseball is way past the halfway mark with most teams having around 70 games to go before the season ends. However, Tuesday's all-star game is the unofficial halfway mark with the pennant drive moving at top speed when teams head back.  Here's my look at the first half winners and losers

BEST TEAM: Los Angeles Dodgers --The Oakland Athletics may have the most wins in the majors, but they aren't even as close to being as talented as the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw is having one of the best years a pitcher has ever had in the majors while Josh Beckett, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu give the Dodgers one of the best rotations that baseball has seen since the days of Smoltz, Avery, Glavine and Maddux in Atlanta.

WORST TEAM: This should perhaps be re-labeled as most disappointing team and that falls squarely on the shoulders of the Texas Rangers. They had won 90 games each of the previous four seasons to go along with two American League Championships. They now have the least wins out of any team in baseball. Its time for this team to start over again.

AMERICAN LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS
  •  Cy Young Award ---Felix Hernandez (Seattle)
                   King Felix is dominant. He is the best pitcher in the American League with a record of 11-2, an ERA of 2.12 and just 25 walks compared to 154 strikeouts

  •  Rookie of the Year --Jose Abreu (Chicago)
                      The Cuban defector has smacked 29 homers for the White Sox and is a legitimate bet to hit between 45-50 if he stays healthy. How can you not pick this guy!

  • MVP  --Robinson Cano (Seattle)
                     The Mariners have the best pitcher in the game and they have one of the top players in Cano as well. The decision to sign him as a free agent could pay off in a playoff spot for a Seattle team currently holding down a wild-card spot.  He doesn't have the power numbers that an Edwin Encarnacion (who might have had this had it not been for his injury) or Mike Trout has, but he is batting 339 and has come up with big hits time after time after time for the Mariners.

NATIONAL LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS

  • Cy Young Award  -- Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers)
                       The lefty has been lights out. His June saw him go on a scoreless streak of 41 innings. He has thrown a no-hitter. He has an ERA of under 2. There is no better player in the game than Kershaw right now

  • Rookie Of The Year -- Billy Hamilton (Cincinnati)
                  The word on Hamilton was if he could hit, he would be special. He has shown he can hit improving his average every month to the point it now sits at 285 with a surprising 5 homers. Hamilton will steal close to 70 bases this year and is a major reason why the Reds are trying to secure a wild-card spot in the National League if not a division title in the Central
  • MVP  --Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado)
                   The Rockies shortstop has just continues to get better and better. He is hitting 345 this season with 21 homers. His only problem is the team isn't doing well and voters will likely look at guys on playoff teams like Atlanta's Freddie Freeman or Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

American League Wild Card  --- Seattle and Kansas City  (This could change to the Blue Jays if they can get themselves a first class pitcher by the end of July)

American League Division Winners  --- Baltimore, Detroit and Oakland

National League Wild Card ---San Francisco and Pittsburgh
National League Division Winners --Washington, Cincinnati and the Dodgers

ALCS  ---Oakland vs Baltimore
NLCS  ---San Francisco  vs   Dodgers

World Series ---Dodgers over Oakland

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Something To "Mitch" About






Gainer is even waving his arms in frustration. What an exasperating night for the green and white. Where do ya start?

Hugh Charles ran for 86 yards, but he dropped a TD pass (and yes, he did not have control of that ball in the endzone) and he had a crucial fumble that led to BC's field goal at the end of the first half and was a real momentum killer. He also missed some blocks which was his downfall here his first time around. It was not a stellar debut.

How does the game change if Eron Riley hangs on to that ball early in the 4th quarter with the Riders down 6. Is it safe to say that was the turning point? We don't know if the Riders put the ball in the endzone on that drive, but if they do, do they win that game? I would say yes.

The Riders only took 9 penalties, but they were costly penalties. They were penalties that kept BC drives alive including the one that put the final nail in the coffin when they took a field goal off the board only to score a couple of plays later.

Not every defence will make every tackle, but one has to admit it seems as if this defence has forgotten how to wrap up a guy the last couple of weeks.

The lone solace is this is Week 3 and I think a lot of this team as Coach Chamblin has suggested are new to this league and are taking baby steps. Its starting to remind me a lot of the 2012 season when there were a lot of new guys here. I didn't think that would be as big a problem this year because of the veterans left despite the off-season losses, but perhaps I was wrong. I still think there is enough talent on this team for this squad to be right there when the season ends and that end is a long ways away. No one won the Grey Cup after three weeks. No one!!

I wonder if the people of Winnipeg and Edmonton realize you don't win after three weeks. Its funny to hear the crowing coming from those places especially Winnipeg where you would think they would have learned after the Swaggerville disaster. I guess not. If you ask me, the Eskimos are the better 3-0 team. It shouldn't be that surprising to see this team playing well because of the close games they couldn't finish last year, I still think Edmonton gets into the playoffs through the West. I'm still not sold on the Bombers.

Not a big Stampeders fan, but they sent a message to everyone with their beating of the Argos in Toronto. Without Jon Cornish and Nik Lewis, they dominated the Argos one week after they dominated the Riders. It is clear that three weeks in, the Stampeders are the best team in the CFL Once again though, you don't win the Cup after three years.

David Price was dominant in beating the Blue Jays again on Sunday. Price is 15-2 career against the Blue Jays. I can't help but wonder if Alex Anthopoulos noticed the performance Price gave. Can he swing a deal at the all-star break to get this guy in a Jays uniform. If he does, the team can still make the playoffs, If he doesn't or get a pitcher very soon, kiss the season goodbye. It is slipping away from them one day at a time while upper management sits idly by.

Speaking of the Jays, did anyone catch this Munenori Kawasaki interview with Barry Davis on Saturday. It is gold!!!

Watching the futures game on Sunday from Target Field just reinforced the Cubs are slowly getting to a form of respectabilty and slowly getting to the point where they can contend again. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are going to be stars and from what I've seen of Arismendy Alcantra, that kid can play. Its starting to come together. Can I put a timeline of 2016 and 2017 on it.

Kyle Lowry's return to the Raptors will mean this team will stay relevant. The Raptors had to keep their face of the franchise. The future looks bright for one team that calls the ACC home.

The World Cup is over for another four years with Germany holding the crown ending what was a tremendous display of the sport---a sport that continues to grow globally and a sport that is getting better and better TV numbers across North America. I would love to see Canada in the 2018 event, but sadly I can't see that happening. Expect to see a lot of womens soccer over the next year though as Canada will be hosting the 2015 Womens World Cup. I wish part of that tournament was coming to Regina, but alas it won't  happen. I would have loved to have seen that.

Would soccer be better if they eliminated the offside rule? Would it create cherry-pickers? Could we say there is no offside inside the 30 yard line. I think that would generate a little more offense. There were more goals in this World Cup than any other, but scoreless draws don't do the game a lot of good especially when it comes in a final. I think the world would have been buzzing over a 3-2 game between Germany and Argentina instead of 1-0 game where the only goal was scored in extra time.


I've said it once and I'll say it a million times. There is no better entertainment for your dollar than a Regina Red Sox game at Currie Field. Conditions were perfect for their Sunday night tilt against the Lethbridge Bulls. The Bulls won the game, but that didn't diminish from what was an outstanding night at the park. I know there will never be consistent crowds of 1000 and over, but it would sure be great if more people came to games. Regina is a baseball town, but the Red Sox struggle to get over 600 fans a game until playoffs. I think this city is big enough to get more than that out. Its not like the team doesn't try to get you out as Bernie Eiswirth and Gary Brotzel work hard to get that dollar. If you haven't been, go check it out.

OK Craven fans, who put on the better show? Was it Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley or Keith Urban. My people are saying it was Dierks, Urban and then Bryan and Bryan put on one helluva performance Friday night.

Someone needs to explain to me this IPhone Commercial with "Go You Chicken Fat Go". That song is right up there with "Last Saskatchewan Pirate" when it comes to most irritating. Actually, I think I would rather hear LSP than hear Go you Chicken Fat Go echoing through the speakers at Mosaic.

I am going to go out on a limb and say the Tampa Bay Lightning will be one of the NHL's final four next season.

Can't wait for the season finale of "24" tonight. Who is in the flag-draped casket? They can't kill off Audrey! Will Jack be back? GOD I hope so!

**LATE ADDITION**  Quote of the weekend. A CBC story this morning talks about the amount of debit cards, wallets, phones, etc. etc turned in at Craven and how people should stop by the information booth before leaving if they lost something. Ryan Geni is a worker at the booth and says Although people do come out here and lose their dignity, they also do lose some other things like their phones, their keys and their wallets," said Geni.  People losing their dignity at Craven????!!!!  NOOOOOOOO!!!!!  

This blogger is on holidays until the 22nd and this blogger is getting outta here with the destination being the good old US of A. Later!






Sounds From The Rider Room

Here is what Sam Hurl, Darian Durant and Coach Chamblin were saying after last nite's 26-13 loss to the Lions...









Thursday, July 10, 2014

This And That


The weekly assortment of thoughts running through my muddled brain in no particular order

  • Its Saturday night football at Mosaic and I can't wait. It is going to be a great night weather-wise and it should be a good game between two Western Division rivals. Here's hopin the old girl will be rockin and that the Rider Nation comes out in full force. Yeah, I'm guessing a lot of you will be in Craven and no, I don't know why the Riders have a home game going up against the Jamboree, but I'm still thinkin we can squeeze 30-thousand into Mosaic for a great night of Riders football

  • OUCH!!!  That's all you can say if a fan of Brazilian soccer. Who's kidding who, the Germans turned the host team into sauerkraut with a 7-1 win in the semi-finals. That would be similar to Hamilton coming in here last November and winning the Grey Cup 56-6.

  • As soon as Dwight Anderson got traded, everyone started to wonder what he had done in Toronto to precipitate this move. Would the same reaction had been had if it were Tearrius George, Weldon Brown or Dominic Picard?

  • Moms should tell their kids that yellow or green beans are yellow or green fries.

  • There's no worse sound than the "poof" on the barbecue meaning you are out of propane midway through cooking something.

  • For as long as I live, I will never, ever understand the allure of taking the old camper and parking it at Wal-Mart for the night.

  • The American Hockey League is tweaking its overtime rule. The overtime has been expanded to 7 minutes. The first four minutes are played four on four with the final three minutes being three on three. I like that idea!

  • What is happening with baseball pitchers and arm injuries. There are wayyyyy too many guys having Tommy John surgery and now Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka has an arm problem. This wasn't happening in the 70's or the 80's the way it is now and I would think bodies are more conditioned and looked after now.

  • Someone needs to explain to me the rationale of Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. Perhaps Anthopooulos needs to explain his rationale to upper management. This team is in desperate need of a number one starting pitcher or a 2nd baseman. What does Anthopoulos do??? He goes out and gets outfielder Nolan Reimold off waivers. Reimold is alright, but I think Anthony Gose was doing alright in Colby Rasmus' absence. That move was a strange one to me and one that will not get the Blue Jays back atop the American League East. Anthopoulos is slowly letting this season get away from him.


  • Its National Free Slurpee Day at your 7-11 on which strangely enough is July 11. Who doesn't love the slurpee!! With it being sunny and in the mid 20s today, I'm thinkin a few of the delicious icy drinks will be consumed.

  • Jean shorts can be a wonderful thing if you know what I mean guys------and somehow I think you do!!

  • How much longer until the new NFL season starts??


Have a great weekend!!  GO RIDERS!!!