Thursday, September 1, 2011

This And That

--I've met George Reed many times before, but it is always a thrill when you get to talk football with him and that's what I was doing Tuesday in the Sportscage. George was in with Rod and myself to hawk his new book "George Reed, His Life and Times". He will be doing a book signing at the Northgate Mall Rider Store on Saturday afternoon. I believe he said its from 130-330, but perhaps phone the Northgate outlet to make sure. He also said he may drop by the main Rider store at Mosaic.

--George and Ronnie provided me with perhaps one of my biggest thrills when I worked at CJME. We were doing the sports show from a Winnipeg hotel and it was just me by my lonesome on this night. TSN was presenting the top 50 players in CFL history on this Friday night at a hotel about six blocks away. There was no way I could get to it, but I had spoken with TSN reps about getting someone on and they assured me it wouldn't be a problem. The first hour of the show went by and I had seen nothing. As the 2nd hour started, the doors swung open and in walked Andrea Goldstein from TSN. She said she couldn't get me one of the top players, but she got me two people who would be considered top players in Saskatchewan. I looked behind her to see George and Ronnie Lancaster come walking in. The 2nd hour of the show was spent talking to these two men. I didn't want to take a commercial break and I didn't want to say good night. When the show was over, they sat there and held court. It was great. The only thing that pissed me off is that no one made a copy of it at the station so I had no way to forever capture the moment.

--Speaking of great Riders, it saddens me when I see someone wearing jersey number 18 and 81. The Riders gave new receiver Scott McHenry number 18 and the oft-injured Aaron Fairooz is 81. Those numbers should be retired in my books. Some have said the same should go for 80 which is true as well. I just hope the Riders don't give up number 60 to someone because Geno needs his number to be retired. I know the day will come when Ray Elgaard and Jeff Fairholm get their sweaters retired, but I just don't like seeing someone else wearing the numbers of the all-time greats.

--Not to sound crass about the terrible death of Wade Belak, but it seemed to me last night that Sportsnet paid way too much attention to this ---at least more than the deaths of Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard. Is it because Belak once wore the beloved Maple Leafs sweater? I hope that isn't the case. I also hope we stop hearing about these stories. This has definitely been a summer to forget for the NHL and for the Saskatchewan hockey community as we have lost three good men. Something needs to be done. How many more are out there that we don't know about and may tragically find out about soon.

--Congratulations to TSN's Sara Orlesky. The Winnipeg girl is moving home. Sara is going to continue working sidelines for CFL broadcasts, but she is also heading up the TSN Winnipeg bureau and will be a major component on Jets games. I remember the day they announced that Winnipeg was coming back to the NHL and TSN had Sara parked at "The Forks" for the announcement. The wind was blowing, but the girl had the biggest smile going because she knew how big this was and she was just as excited as anyone to see Winnipeg come back into the the NHL.

--Congratulations to my good friend Bryn Griffiths. The first ever voice of the Moose Jaw Warriors is making the move from Edmonton to Calgary to do the drive show on the FAN 960. I have a deep amount of respect for Bryn and would have loved to had the opportunity to work side by side with him. As those in Moose Jaw, he's a good man and a straight shooter.

--What's your favourite Labour Day Classic memory. As I said on the Cage yesterday, I think mine would be the Rocky Butler game. I also remember very well the Kerry Joseph TD in the last seconds in 2007. I hope there's another memory coming on Sunday.

--His feelings might change after Sunday's game, but I don't know if there is anyone happier than Ken Miller right now. He just seems to have a little more excitement in his voice and its not hard to see that the players have responded to his return. Will that translate into a win on Sunday?  We'll see.

--For what its worth, I have no problem with "Swaggerville". I also have no problem with the Eskimos billboard that they have put up in Calgary to promote their LDC. Its called marketing the game people which is what we want don't we?

--Did you hear former Bombers coach Mike Kelly on the Sportscage yesterday?  When his interview was over, I openly suggested if Kelly's name would be considered as a replacement for Miller IF he decides to step down as HC at the end of the season as I think he will. A lot of texters seemed to say no to HC, but yes to OC. Rod also asked how we can be sure that Ken won't be around next year to coach. Those questions can be answered at a later date.

--Regina's crime stats are at a 10 year low which is good news. However, I don't ever consider and never have considered Regina to be dealing with a major crime problem. Yes, there was the car theft crisis, but that has seemingly been dealt with. I guess when I haven't really been a victim of crime I can say that, but I just find Regina to be very secure and safe and I've felt that way throughout my many years in this city (yes, I am a born and bred Reginan if you didn't know).

--If Blockbuster stores are closing down, where are we to get videos from now? I don't like that decision.

--I'll watch the season premiere of "Two and A Half Men" just to see the end of the Charlie Harper era, but I don't know if I'll watch after that. I'm  not a big Ashton Kutcher fan.

--There don't seem to be any shows on the fall TV lineup that interest me.

--US College Football starts tonight and the NFL starts one week from tonight. Add this to the CFL and the CIS and football once again takes centre stage. There is nothing wrong with that.

--Fantasy Football draft #3 of 4 happens tonight. I'm not complaining though.


Anonymous said...

Mike Kelly is too bombastic to be a head coach. but he would make a great OC.

Agree with you on 18 and 81, the fact its a waste of skin like Fairooz who owns 81 hurts even more.

How many other athletes are out there with problems we don't know about. Its not just hockey and football as we found out with Mike Flanagan last week.

Good read!


Keith said...

I look forward to hearing your own thoughts after you have read George's book.

One story I found insightful in the book was George's experience working the night shift in Superstore in Calgary, not long before he came back to Regina. I think the story touches on one key reason I feel the Riders are so deeply woven into the fabric of our province culturally. It is the fact that they are a pro sports team not comprised of super rich athletes as in the NFL. Those of us who are blue collar or middle class can easily be supportive towards the group of hard working men who make up the Riders over the years and at present - in good times and bad.

Anonymous said...

Fairholm? Are you kidding me? No way! Its not even debatable. Elgaard/narcisse/Jurasin should all have their numbers retired. But fairholm? I'm not sure if you are qualified to be reporting on the Riders. I think you credability just went out they window. Your understanding of the way pro sports teams retire numbers is very questionable. And why don't they retire RE,DN and BJ numbers? Why hasn't the media in regina ever asked. Are you even considered part of the media?

Anonymous said...

My favourite Labour Day memory was getting seats about three rows behind the Bombers bench in 06. I ragged on Stegall all afternoon and at the end of the game, he grabbed a football autographed it and gave it to me saying he made the experience that much better.


Anonymous said...

George's book is a beauty Mitch. Did he give you a copy?

Anonymous said...

The only good things about Winnipeg are Orlesky and Jennifer Jones.

Clay said...

Of course Fairholm's #18 should be retired.
I remember walking up to Sara O. and flirting with her at the '06 Grey Cup in Wpg back when she worked at The Score network. What a sweet heart she was.

Anonymous said...

Im in a fantasy league and and its a keeper league. You can keep one guy from the yr before who was drafted from the third round on. I have first pick who should I take first. Adrian Petersen or Chris Johnson) who just signed today. Arian Foster is someone's keeper. Out of those 2 or someone else ya have in mind? Stammer

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who is talking Fairholm:

I would like to congratulate you. It must be tough to type when you can't see the keyboard because your head is stuffed so far up your ass. I would retire Fairholm's # in an instant.

Anonymous said...

You really worked with some idiots at CJME didn't you.

Anonymous said...

I've never considered Regina to be a crime city. Its a great city to be in because there aren't many violent crimes happening. Look at Edmonton's murder rate this year. I'd rather be here than there.


Anonymous said...

Retired #'s;

I remember watching (TV) Ron Atchison's final game as a Rider. I could have sworn that amongst all of the banter that night they were going to retire his # but there is still guy's wearing #41. Atch played 17 years or something like that, Fairholm half a dozen. Get your priorities straight, before you retire Fairholm's number Atch's 41 better be hanging from a place of honour.


Anonymous said...

I'm all in favour of retiring Fairholm's number and Atchison's two. I find it strange that the team retires numbers of players that tragically left us, but don't for some who deserve it. 18,41,80 and 81 along with 5 should be retired in my books.

Keith said...

The retirement by the Sask Riders to retire the four sweaters of the men who died in the plane crash returning from a CFL all-star game in 1956 was and is very much in order. Only a complete idiot would question this.

Anonymous said...

What about 44? How about 60? And I'll bet someone suggests 88. I also remember when a young receiver named Vernon Vaughn died I think of leukemia. He was a Rider and was buried in his uniform. I believe his number was 77. It's quite a can of worms. The four from the plane wreck and Ronnie and George is fine with me. When someone starts talking of retiring #18 I'm totally against that unless 41, 44 and 60 are ahead of 18, and doesn't that kind of dilute the honour to the original six?


Anonymous said...

I'm not old enough to remember Ron Atchison so I can't comment, but my dad says he was the best ever player to wear the "S". If he is considered that iconic, I wonder too why his number hasn't been retired.

I agree with you Mitch on 18 and 81. Its not right seeing those numbers on someone else's body. The same could be said for Narco. Do you think they would ever consider retiring Suitors number.


Anonymous said...

Jeff Fairholm only played six seasons for the Riders and was runner up for the Outstanding Canadian. If his number is retired there's a hell of a lot more that should be. The current Riders would be wearing three digit uniforms.

Josh Lewis said...

Belak's death is getting so much attention because it was a lot more shocking than the other two. He seemed to be loving life. Had his post-NHL career set up nicely. He's the last player you'd ever expect to commit suicide.

Anonymous said...

Fairholm was here for six seasons and requested a trade to Toronto. To retire his number in his honour would be a total scham.

Anonymous said...

Gord could have got you the raw logger feed if you had asked, no?

Draft #4 is the only one that matters.

KC at ninety one three

Anonymous said...

We honour outstanding players at the Plaza of Honour not by more retiring sweaters. Yes it is strange to see someone wearing Austin's #5 or Elgaards #81 or all the other numbers but really what is the difference? I believe retiring number must really be something special like Lancaster, Reed or the All-Star Players that died in the plane crash.

Lee-Anne said...

Who is Aaron Fairooz and why is he still here? What a waste of a PR spot. Cetoute was let go, Fairooz should be next. Sara Orlesky isn't that great guys! Jennifer Hedger is #1 to me, although I don't make a habit of looking at women. Hedger is a pro, she's knowledgable and she has a great voice for a female sports-caster. Martine Guillard is great too. I also like Stacey Dales from the NFL Network, even though she is Burke Dales' sister.

Lee-Anne said...

Does anybody else notice that Stevie Baggs is now an "average" DE? He only had 1 good year and that is when he was with the Riders and Chick was on the other end taking on all the double-teams! Thanks to Chick, Baggs got big money from Hamilton, but I'm glad the Riders didn't pay him the big money. Without Chick he is "ok" at best. How many sacks this year Stevie?