Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--Is this the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? This shot was taken by one of the cameras watching the construction of the new Mosaic Stadium and was posted on the Regina Revitalization Initiative Twitter account last week. If it wasn't for those rain drops, this would be a tremendous shot.
--Its game-day Friday as the Saskatchewan Roughriders are in Edmonton tonight to face the Eskimos as Chris Jones makes his regular season return to the Alberta capital where I am sure the Eskimos faithful will not welcome him back in kind fashion. On paper, the Eskimos should win this game, and I expect them to do that, but I also expect the Riders to give the defending Grey Cup champs a great game. I obviously have no idea what Jones has up his sleeve for his old mates, but I am guessing if Mike Reilly gets knocked on his wallet a few times, the green-and-white will have a shot. I'm also guessing that while the Eskimos want to pin one on their old coach, guys like Kendial Lawrence, Otha Foster and Shawmaud Chambers want to pin one on their old team as well. I'm expecting a good one!
--Speaking of Chambers, I loved the "There will be more Rider fans than Eskimo ones at Commonwealth" comment he gave this week. Talk about taking the focus off of Chris Jones and putting it on himself. That simple comment got the Eskimo fanbase off their rocker. It doesn't take a lot to get them off their game it would seem.
--If you watch WWE, you have seen a tag team known as Enzo Amore and Big Cass make their presence known in recent weeks. The 7 foot tall Big Cass calls out his opponents saying they are "SAWFT". He might also be talking about Matt Sewell. The old saying is "When the going gets tough, the tough get going". For Sewell, it might be when the going gets tough, I just quit. The offensive lineman acquired in the Shawn Lemon trade doesn't want to come to Saskatchewan and has retired. Does he not like the Prairies? Is he afraid of walking down the Dewdney strip? Did he see what the Riders o-line looks like and said to himself, this isn't worth the fight? Whatever it is, it doesn't look good on Sewell as far as I'm concerned. He was faced with some adversity and quit. I don't know if the Riders can get something else from Toronto in this deal or not, but I don't really care. Unless we hear otherwise, it seems to me as if Sewell, much like Shawn Lemon had a character we don't really need in Riderville. I am hoping Rider fans see that---or at least the majority of them.
--I will comment on all the CFL games in Monday's column, but I have to bring up play in Thursday's BC-Toronto game. In the 4th quarter, Ricky Ray was sacked by three Lions, but a very questionable roughing the passer call was made. Replays showed nothing to indicate that such a penalty had taken place, but even after Wally Buono challenged it, the call stood much to the disbelief of TSN's Glen Suitor and others who watched. If what was seen was roughing the passer, you can simply put a flag on the QB from now on. It was also a call that head referee Dave Foxcroft should have had to answer to after the game, but we know that will never happen because it doesn't in any league. Getting an explanation from Foxcroft as to why that call was made might not make the situation better, but perhaps CFL fans would understand what goes into the decision. One can only wonder if Glen Johnson would dare to give us an explanation on that play and tell CFL fans if it was right or wrong.
--Why does the CFL play games on Thursday night and Friday night when there is no competition, but when NCAA and NFL football start, they will go head-to-head against them. I don't understand. Do they?
--The sports world is humming over the fact Kevin Durant has left the Oklahoma City Thunder---one of the few teams in the NBA that could compete with the Golden State Warriors to join Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and crew. Golden State will arguably trot out the best starting 5 in NBA history as they try to duplicate their 73-9 regular season and add one more win to their playoff total from this past season. I can't decide if this is good or bad for the league as a whole. The good is the interest in this team will be immense as fans tune in to watch them whenever they get a chance---especially when they are battling the Thunder. The bad is they could make a mockery of the NBA if they roll through as expected. It will make for compelling theatre. Some have asked if the Warriors starting 5 could beat the USA team that will compete at Rio. Seeing Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are on that team, I will say no, but take those three off and it would be a great tilt.
--An elderly lady got my attention at the downtown Tim Hortons this week telling me I am so negative when it comes to the Riders, that she is no longer listening to my show and I should act as professional as Rod Pedersen does on his show. I informed the old gal I worked with Rod at CKRM. To make a long story short, she thought I was someone who worked for another sports show in this town. All I could do was laugh as I walked back to CKRM headquarters. I really should have bought her coffee for her though for making me chuckle.
-- Congratulations to Dustin Molleken for finally throwing a major league pitch.
It happened Monday night in Cleveland as the 31 year old Reginan came out of the bullpen to throw for the Detroit Tigers against the Indians. Luckily for many of us, the game was on TSN2 so many got to see the performance and they enjoyed it. I spoke with Dusty the day after and he was still tremendously excited saying that run out to the mound was one he will never forget and that he stood there and looked from foul pole to foul pole with legs that felt like jello before realizing "I'm here". What a moment! Many baseball people in Saskatchewan are proud of Molleken and why not! He also becomes the 2nd Regina Pats alumni to have played a game for the WHL club and played in major league baseball joining former Milwaukee outfielder Nyjer Morgan, Many told me on Twitter after I had sent that fact out not to forget about Larry Walker. The former Expo and Rockies great did attend a Pats camp before being released, but he never played a game.
--Congratulations to former Pats defenceman Chris Schlenker. The 31 year old, who was named the WHL's top official in just his 3rd year, has been hired by the NHL. He isn't the only member of the stripes with a Saskatchewan tie to get promoted. Lumsden's Peter McDougall is also going to the show after working in the ECHL and AHL.
--I am guessing Jon Jones will never step into a UFC octagon again. As much as I like what Jones does in the octagon, the guy is a tire-fire outside of it. He is the Johnny Manziel of mixed martial arts. Does anyone really believe he isn't guilty of the doping infraction he has been accused of? Does anyone come up with something else than the "I don't know how something got into my system" excuse. I can't imagine how many shades of red Dana White went through when he found out UFC 200 had been blown up just hours before it were to happen. That being said, how cool will it be to hear Brock Lesnar get introduced being from Saskatchewan. If you haven't seen it, this is what his UFC bio looks like on the website.
That's all I got. Have a great weekend and GO RIDERS!