Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
Good morning Rider Nation! The sun came up this morning, but the sour attitude remains after another defeat in Calgary. The final score was 35-15 in a game that was close at the half and close at the end of three quarters, but the Stampeders are who you thought they were and so were the Riders, Calgary did what they had to defensively to stop the Riders in the 2nd half while Saskatchewan did nothing to stop Calgary.
That defense is slowly learning, but at this point, that learning process needs to be accelerated. Plays need to be made, turnovers need to be generated. Bo Levi Mitchell simply did what he wanted to, especially in the 4th quarter and that was the story, Yes, you can sit there and say the Riders didn't finish drives if you want, but at the end of the day, whenever Bo Levi wanted to move the ball he did. It could have been a lot worse had it not been for some drops.
In the meantime, we just have to endure this and wonder when this defence will get on the same page. As I said, it was just too easy for Mitchell and company. Once that changes, the wins will come, When will it change though? That is the million dollar question. Yes, its frustrating, but all you can do is stay patient and for some, that is too big of a request to make.
--I wouldn't have wanted to be in Winnipeg Wednesday night. What a disaster the Ti-Cats-Bombers game ended up being. Its no fault of the CFL though as they did the right thing in delaying the game for two and a half hours because of a storm that hit the Manitoba capital. It was a disaster though because of that storm. Starting a CFL game at 930 local time was certainly not what the league or TSN wanted, but in my mind it had to be done. What else do ya do? A tip of the hat goes to all the Bomber fans who stuck that one out, and I am guessing a majority did so because it was Milt Stegall night. (SIDE NOTE: When showing all of Milt's highlights, why wasn't their film of the congenial Stegall waving the cameras away at the end of 07 Grey Cup. He was pretty cocky that week, and he ended up getting silenced. Oh well). I don't know what made me laugh more during the delay. Was it Andre Proulx conducting the coin toss in the hallway between the dressing rooms, Andy Fantuz coming out to speak to the panel or Ken Lazaruk wearing a Mickey Mouse tie when interviewed by Matt Dunigan and Rod Black.
What does the league do in that situation? As was mentioned on the TSN broadcast, games were postponed due to 9/11, but that was an entire week of play and not one game. Would they have played it Thursday morning? Could they have played it Friday night? I have no idea what goes into that, and I'm guessing the discussions between the league and the two teams were feverish as they decided what to do. I remember the night the lights went out at Mosaic Stadium when the Eskimos and Riders were playing, Then GM Eric Tillman was running around like a chicken with his head cut off adamant the game would be finished ---no matter what time it ended. The league wasn't so sure and had brought up the topic of finishing the game when the two teams met in Edmonton later that year. That resulted in a big hard NO from Rider staff. In the end, the Riders won in a game where Tillman proudly waved the Rider flag on the sidelines in one of the marquee moments of that 07 season.
--Question asked to me via text on Wednesday night during the delay. Why is the CFL playing a Wednesday night game in Winnipeg. I could not answer the question.
--While the CFL panel gives picks for their fantasy football game, shouldn't they also give out Draftpicks selections. Then again, Draftkings is for some reason not advertising on CFL games. Is that a TSN thing, a CFL thing or a Draftkings thing?
--Is it safe to say barring injury we have seen the last of Drew Willy in Winnipeg?
--I hope for the sake of Canadian quarterbacks that Brandon Bridge finds another CFL home. However, I remain skeptical on that.
--The Winnipeg Sun's Kirk Penton says at the one-third mark of the CFL season, you would have a helluva team made of players on the injured list. Penton notes guys like Ricky Ray, Zach Collaros, Tyrell Sutton, Weston Dressler, SJ Green, Brendon Labatte, Craig Butler, John Ojo and Eric Norwood would be a tough group to go up against. By the way, I don't know what Dressler's ailment is, but if the Bombers don't take him off the six game list, he will not be playing against the Riders on Labour Day at Mosaic. There are many in Rider Nation who weren't going to be comfortable seeing Dressler in Bomber colours at Mosaic, but they were ready to salute him for his years of service.
Penton also brings up this nugget of info which is extremely interesting,....The league is putting an asterisk beside the average game time in its weekly stats package and when you check beneath the box to see what the asterisk means it says this: “Excludes times for extended player safety care, overtime duration and other delays.”
That’s funny, because last year the asterisk excluded only overtime games.
The CFL just doesn't want to admit the problems they have, and instead hope the almighty asterisk will fix all, This just in....it won't. The CFL fan is smarter than the average bear ya know!
--I don't know why I didn't think of this a long time ago, but is there any thought of a statue outside the new Mosaic Stadium of Ronnie handing the ball off to George? Such a thing would become iconic in these parts I would think.
--Someone needs to tell me how the hell Jays GM Ross Atkins managed to trade Drew Hutchison to Pittsburgh for Francisco Liriano and two of the Pirates top prospects. That is larceny! There are guys in the WMBL who may have more of a baseball future than Hutchison IMO. Did Atkins try and get Andrew McCutchen for R-A Dickey while he was at it. While Atkins should be praised for that move, his handling of the Aaron Sanchez situation is one in which he deserves all the criticism he is getting. Everyone in baseball can see putting Sanchez in the bullpen and taking him out of the rotation is just stupid. Sanchez is having a Cy Young type of year. As Sportscage Baseball Insider Craig Slater ( not a Jays fan) said this week. "Liriano is a definite upgrade over Sanchez at top of rotation---said no one ever. After the players voiced their disgust over the move, Atkins relented and said they would go with a six man rotation. Teams don't win with six man rotations and it screws everyone up. Happ, Sanchez, Liriano, Dickey, Estrada and Stroman. There is one guy there who doesn't belong. Do I have to go any further?
--The Regina Red Sox season came to an inauspicious end Wednesday at the hands of the Yorkton Cardinals as they completed a first round sweep. Regina baseball fans came around at the end of the season and a couple of more home dates would have been nice, but that's not happening. The work Gary Brotzel, Bernie Eiswirth and others in the organization do to try and keep this team front and centre for two months is amazing.
--I realize roadwork on Victoria Avenue was needed, but when is it going to stop? It is nightmarish and rather adventurous trying to get to and from. As for the Ring Road, don't get me started.
--The Summer Olympics start in Rio today and with the exception of how Humboldt's Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Weyburn's Graham DeLaet do, I have absolutely zero interest. Sadly, I don't think I am the only one with that stance. I am encouraged over the fact baseball and softball are coming back to the Olympics though.
--That's all I got, Have a great weekend!