As I was leaving Harvard headquarters on Friday morning, there was a commotion in our front lobby. A certain trophy I think you are too familiar with had come to our building. Many of my co-workers were getting their picture with the Grey Cup and many said I had better get one before leaving thus I did. I am between former Rider Marcus "Chunky" Adams and former Montreal kicker Damon Duval.
Like it or not, Duval has a big part in Riders history as it was his field goal in 2009 that broke the collective heart of Rider Nation as his field goal after time had expired gave the Alouettes the Grey Cup in the infamous and all too painful 13th man episode. A friend of mine wondered aloud how Duval could walk the streets in this town after what had happened without getting catcalls and god knows what else. He said he should be one of the most hated players right up there alongside Henry Burris. Why? Duval could have been paraded down the Green Mile because HE MISSED what should have been the final play of the game. Imagine how his life changed because of the 13th man. He went from not being the CFL's version of Scott Norwood to being a hero. He made good on his second chance. He can't be villified in Rider Nation for that.
Saturday night, ESPN Classic played the 2013 Grey Cup. I didn't know it was on, but I was riveted to the television from the time I knew it was. As Darian Durant dropped back late in the 4th quarter and threw a perfect pass to Weston Dressler, I got goosebumps and it continued all the way until the end of the game. What a night! The only thing that bothered me as I watched it was knowing Dressler was no longer catching passes for the green and white. I understand what happened, but just because I understand it doesn't mean I have to like it. His release and the subsequent signing of Clarence Denmark has me like many others going if you are going to sign Denmark, why didn't you just keep Dressler? Who's kidding who, seeing Dressler in Bomber Blue when Winnipeg unveiled its new jersey made me a little nauseous. As the 2013 Grey Cup ended, there was a shot of Geroy Simon and I had to wonder if BC fans were feeling at that time like I and many of Rider Nation do of Dressler wearing another jersey. I'm guessing they were.
With the Denmark signing and the signing of Eric Norwood, can we just say we gave up Dressler and John Chick for Denmark and Norwood and move on now?
Whoa, whoa, whoa! What am I doing inside the ropes at a High Impact Wrestling card? With regular ring announcer Mike McGuire unavailable for the start of Friday's show, I was summoned from the crowd to handle the duties for a variety of reasons. Lets just put it at that and say I escaped with no harm being done whatsoever. #success.
Let the debate begin again!
The Texas Rangers waited until their last chance to let Jose Bautista know they didn't like what he did last October with the "batflip" in the deciding game of their playoff series. Many said going into their series in Toronto that the Rangers would probably wait until the rematch in Arlington so Bautista would get plunked in front of the Texas fan base. He did, but as Sportsnet's Jays analyst Gregg Zaun correctly said, Bautista did not want to let it die and went in hard at 2nd base sparking a huge fight. Zaun's take on the whole situation was absolutely correct as far as I am concerned. You can be on whatever side of the batflip debate you want to be, but the Rangers felt he showed them up in last year's playoffs and wanted to let him know it wasn't appreciated. Bautista then did what he had to and once the fight had been cleared up, Toronto pitcher Jesse Chavez did what he had to by hitting Prince Fielder. It is called old-time baseball. It means suspensions and a lot of them especially for Rougned Odor who is the one who clocked Jose, but it was something that started last October and kept simmering until Sunday. While the two teams don't play again in the regular season, it may not be over yet. As Zaun also correctly stated, this is an incident that can bring a team that has not met expectations in the first six weeks to come together. Let's see how this Toronto team plays after this game moving forward. Give credit to Jose too....he showed he can take a punch better than Fabricio Werdum did on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 198.
The sad thing for the Toronto Raptors is they didn't even get their 15 minutes to celebrate a Game 7 win before the Bautista thing happened. The clock was ticking down to zero at Air Canada Centre when the fireworks started in Arlington. This Raptors team must just drive their tremendous fan-base up the wall with their inconsistent play. They were sooooooo bad Friday night in Game 6, but soooooo good on Sunday. There is seemingly no happy medium with that bunch. I don't know if they have a shot against Cleveland, especially if Jonas Valacianuas is not in the lineup, but who knows. I honestly thought they would go down to the Heat on Sunday. It was the franchise's biggest win and it was maybe the biggest thing for Canadian basketball since Steve Nash won the MVP award.
The St. Louis Blues had the most Canadian born players on their team when playoff rosters were submitted,. They want Canada to adopt them as Canada's team the rest of the way. There are three former Moose Jaw Warriors on the Blues (Brouwer, Edmondson and Brodziak) so they are definitely Moose Jaw's team and maybe Saskatchewan's team--hey they could have been in Saskatoon. I'm down with that for the rest of the playoffs. That and I can only imagine what it would be like for Scottie Upshall to bring the Stanley Cup to Fort McMurray in what would be a great story.
That's all I got. Have a great week!