What a great weekend! I can now add a new entry to my top 10 list of biggest moments in my broadcasting career.
Former major league outfielder Jose Canseco was in town for the Regina Red Sox's 10th annual dinner and as president Gary Brotzel said in an e-mail to me on Sunday afternoon, it will be hard to top this one. No kidding! With Canseco and local Super Bowl hero Jon Ryan in attendance, the event was a huge success. CTV Regina's Lee Jones and I had the opportunity to deliver the question and answer session at the event and it was quite enlightening. Amongst the things Canseco said were
--He never got cheated at the plate
--He hated facing former Jays pitcher Duane Ward
--While he hit many homers, the homer that was hit off his head when he was a member of the Texas Rangers is probably the best blooper of all-time.
--He doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame despite his numbers
--There are a lot of misinformed people out there who vote for the Hall of Fame
--If he hadn't written "Juiced", someone else would have written a tell-all to expose baseball's steroid problem
--The longest homer he hit was over 600 feet, but Major League Baseball doesn't recognize it because of his performance enhancers
--He is in favour of instant replay
--He doesn't know his big his arms actually are
--He would love to have a job in the Majors one day teaching the game to kids
--The salaries today are out of control
--Taking performance enhancers today is stupid
--He hopes no major leaguer is on PED"s today
--As much as baseball has taken away from him, he still loves the game
AND MY FAVOURITE
--The Cubs will never win the World Series. (Yes, I asked him that).
As I said, it was an absolute thrill to be given the opportunity to speak with Canseco who as I told the crowd is getting screwed by Major League Baseball. I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame not just for his numbers, but for the fact that he was the guy who in a way ended the steroid era because of the book. We will never know how many of his 450 plus homers would have been homers had it not been for PED's, but the bottom line is the man could hit a baseball and he could hit it a long way. That's why he got to the majors and he wasn't on PED"s then.
If I had one regret on the night, it should have been a chance for me to get the crowd to salute Jon. I think this is the first time he has been at an event in Regina where he should have been properly saluted for being a Super Bowl winner. Many did congratulate him for his efforts last January, but a room-ful of applause would have been nice.
Bottom line ---thanks to Sharon Clarke and the Red Sox organization for allowing me the chance to speak to Canseco. I almost felt guilty after when Sharon presented me with a cap and some $$$$ for performing the duty.
After getting home from the Red Sox dinner, CTV had "Major League" on for the late night movie. I forgot just how funny that movie was. Its 25 years old. It truly is baseball's version of "Slapshot"!"
Kudos to Rod Pedersen for a tremendous job in covering Rider mini-camp. The Friday and Saturday "Sportscage" episodes from Florida were outstanding as it was once again proven why "Sportscage" is Saskatchewan's #1 sports show and the place where Rider fans go to get their information on their favourite football team and other sports. In reading his blog, it sounds like the star of the show might have been North Dakota State receiver Ryan Smith. Its a long ways until opening night, but it would be ironic if someone from North Dakota State replaced North Dakota's Weston Dressler. There's still a chance Greg Harden could be at camp too if he isn't taken by an NFL team at the draft or after. I have to think that will happen otherwise methinks Harden would have been in Florida. Others who seemed to impress were defensive back Rod Williams, receiver Brett Swain and quarterback Jon Jennings who is unsigned. I don't think it will be long till that changes. This team will be fine in 2014. They may not be as powerful because of off-season departures, but they will be in the mix as they look to defend their Grey Cup title.
I had some people back here ask me if Darian Durant was really sick or if this was some kind of power play when it comes to negotiations on a new contract and he didn't come to mini-camp because of that. Let me just say this. I would be shocked if Durant is trying to play games with the organization. I think he has far too much respect for Jim Hopson, Brendan Taman and Corey Chamblin to even consider playing that card. If he was sick, I take him at word for that. If you want to be a conspiracy theorist and think otherwise, go ahead, but I'm not buying what some were trying to sell.
It was WrestleMania Sunday and while it didn't live up to my expectations it was still an entertaining night with my wrestling buds watching the WWE's version of the Super Bowl. While the event could have been re-named "YES"tlemania because Daniel Bryan won the belt in the triple threat main event, WrestleMania 30 will go down as the night the streak came to an end. I think there was shock just about everywhere as Brock Lesnar got the 1-2-3 on the Undertaker preventing him from going 22-0. Jaws dropped in many places I think. It may have been the biggest event in WWE since the Bret Hart screwjob in Montreal in 1997. This is surely the end of the Undertaker when it comes to in-ring action, but when you think of the names he beat over the years, why would the streak come to an end at the hands of Brock Lesnar who as powerful as he is is not a main-tier superstar on the WWE roster. Other thoughts...
--Randy Orton's back can't be feeling good after he landed on a monitor during that spot where the Spanish announce table got destroyed. That looked to have hurt a lot
--The first 15 minutes with Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and "The Rock" was cool, but did we really need to advertise Hogan as the host when he virtually did nothing at the event. Did anyone notice he referred to the Superdome as the Silverdome? Cmon brutha!!
--Was it just me or was Stephanie McMahon looking fantastic! Great legs!
--We saw the beginning of what is going to be a major push for Antonio Cesaro. He will go into next year's WM as either a belt-holder or someone with an opportunity to win one. If he won the 30 man battle royal at WM, can we consider him the favourite for the Royal Rumble?
--I've had enough of AJ Lee as womens champ
--I was waiting for a CM Punk appearance
--With Undertaker losing, Bryan simply had to win. The WWE couldn't afford to have the "Yes" movement go away upset after Taker went down.
--Was that Hedley doing the Randy Orton intro before his match?
--The guy in the stands with the IRS costume was outstanding. Meanwhile, the guy with the Blue Blazer sign needed to have a DDT performed on him.
--Monday Night RAW should be great.
Its my understanding Jake "The Snake" Roberts had a very heartfelt emotional speech at his Hall of Fame induction. They say "The Wrestler" was loosely based on his life. Its a speech I am hoping WWE puts out there so I can see it. Speaking of which, I did not know you could get the much-ballyhooed WWE Network in Canada until Sunday. Why?
Their playoff format was a little quirky and heavily debated, but people in Yorkton and Melville likely couldn't care. Those two places can just shut down for a while as the Terriers and Millionaires will play for the title in what without a doubt will be the biggest chapter of the Highway 10 rivalry. This would be like the Pats and Warriors playing in the Eastern Conference finals. While its great for Yorkton-Melville, is it great for the league as a whole when the final is being played within a 50 mile radius of one another. Does it shut the entire league out? I can see where some would say Yes, but who cares. The Millionaires and Terriers will wage what I'm sure will be an epic series and if that has people in places like Kindersley and La Ronge losing interest in the final then that's their problem. The same if Moose Jaw and Regina met in an Eastern Conference WHL final. The league would likely get very little press outside of the two Sasky centres, but would we care around here. NOPE!!! Good luck to both. Trent Cassan and Jamie Fiesel are both great coaches and it will be a great final.
Are the Montreal Canadiens going to be the only Canadian team to make the Stanley Cup playoffs? That's sad if you ask me.
If the Leafs don't make it, I sense a lot of changes in the off-season. A lot! One of them will likely involve James Reimer, but the question I have is with Jonathan Bernier's tendencies to get hurt, how many games can Toronto depend on him for. Reimer is an adequate backup and Toronto may want to re-think any thoughts of dealing him.
If the Flames had played all season the way they have since the Olympic break ended, they would be a playoff team. That's hard for this Oilers fan to admit.
If the Oilers were to win the lottery or pick #2, chances are they would trade the pick instead of taking either Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett seeing they are forwards and Edmonton has enough of those. Would they take Aaron Ekblad and if not, what would you give Edmonton for that pick. The lottery will be extremely interesting.
While I'm not a Yankees fan, I will cherish every opportunity to see Derek Jeter do his thing one last time this season.
Its only one week into the season, but I like what the Seattle Mariners are bringing to the table.
A top 20 finish for Graham DeLaet in Houston as he takes home another paycheque of almost 80-grand. Next up is the Masters. I can't wait to see how the Weyburn product performs as he becomes the first Saskatchewan player on the PGA Tour to tee it up at perhaps the world's most famous layout. Some have suggested that honour belongs to Yorkton's Arden Knoll, but the answer is no. While Knoll played at the US Open, he never received an invite to play at Augusta.
I admit it,...I'm in a man in my 40's that likes the Pitbull-Kesha song. The video is even better. Where exactly is that honkytonk bar and what's the cover charge?
Congrats to my good friend Rob Vanstone for a successful Raise a Reader program. Even though this schmuck wasn't thinking by getting him some Jose Canseco memorabilia that would have sold for a pretty penny or two, Rob managed to collect a record 57-hundred (likely would have been 6-grand if I'd had have been thinkin RV) for Raise a Reader. Well done and well done to the people who helped out.
This is how Richard Sherman is signing autographs now. LOVE IT!!!!!
That's all I got. Have yourself a great week!