Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--Jeez, a guy goes on holidays, gets out of Dodge and in the words of Bob Cole "EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING". Let us start with Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. What the hell is he doing? If he is trying to help the Riders sell tickets to Saturday's encounter at Mosaic Stadium he is likely succeeding. If he is trying to supplant Jon Cornish and Henry Burris as the most hated players to wander the visiting sidelines, he is succeeding. What I don't understand is why Bo Levi Mitchell is poking the bear. He has no reason to! The Stamps are coming off a 20 point beatdown of the Riders last week at MacMahon in which Calgary was the dominant team. They are a far better team than the green-and-white at this stage of the season. There is no reason for a team favoured to win Saturday night to bring this up, but he decided to open Pandoras Box and you know the rest of the story.
It is also my opinion the Calgary quarterback should be fined for his statements on this matter. If a player or a club criticizes officials, they are told to write a cheque to the league office. How is criticizing another organization not fine-worthy? If the league claims to have truly known about this and were investigating before the comments were made than Mr. Mitchell should be promptly writing a cheque to the CFL. Fine Bo Levi?? Not a chance, he will be seen as a hero now.
-I could be way off-base on this one, but here goes. It is no secret Riders head honcho Craig Reynolds upset the CFL apple cart by hiring Chris Jones and his staff away from the Eskimos with John Murphy following from Calgary. It was unprecedented, and in some cases, it was unwelcome. It would seem to me as if the league is doing whatever it can to find and throw dirt on the Riders while likely smiling ear-to-ear behind the scenes knowing the Rider record is not what Reynolds, Jones and company want it to be.
The Riders were obviously guilty with the ratio infraction. We have seen that. The fine of 15-thouand dollars was evidence of it. My question is "Who tracks this?" With all that is going on in a football game, you are telling me someone is sitting in the pressbox on each and every play tracking if the right amount of Canadians are on the field. That gets a huge "BS" from me. Someone "snitched" on the green and white. Don't tell me that other teams aren't guilty of doing the same thing because they are. I am sure if I had the time and energy to go through game film and look at every play, I would fine a majority of teams have done what the Riders did. Its the same as the "pre-practice" squad. As mentioned, every team in this league is "stashing" away players and don't tell me they're not. Every team in every league skirts the rules or finds loopholes to get that "competitive advantage".
It seems to me the Riders are under a huge microscope this year for what Reynolds achieved in the off-season. Reynolds did what the CFL didn't like, and he hired a guy that isn't exactly Mr. Friendly, and now the Riders are paying for it. Petty? I'll let you decide on that one. In the end though, if this ends up as a positive for the league with all teams "cleaning up" their act, it will be good for the league as a whole. Perhaps the suits need to look at how they can help alleviate this (1, 3 and 6 game lists) to make it workable instead of finding ways to ruin the game with these incessant reviews and challenges that are bringing the game down.
Some are now crying foul over the amount of the fine given to the green-and-white. As far as I'm concerned, the message is "This fine could have been worse and perhaps should have been worse, but it is evident all teams have some house-cleaning to do and if we find someone else doing this, we will act with much stiffer punishment.
One last thing on this topic ---A "Mitchell" getting ridiculed over events that transpire at Mosaic Stadium. Imagine that!
--Bravo to the Leader-Post's Rob Vanstone. In grading the Riders in the first third of the season, "the rumpled scribe" gave the Riders a D saying it was evident in the first six games they didn't have one. Well played Rob...well played indeed.
--Getting back to Jones, he wants "fans" going to practice to now sign in because after asking them not to give away secrets, they apparently did before the Ottawa game. With all due apologies to the fans who do go out and behave, the time has come to end the practice of fans being able to watch. You were asked to do something, and you did not comply. It should be game over as far as fans being able to watch the goings-on. Open it up for walkthrough day so people can get the autographs or moments they cherish with their football heroes, but other than that shut the doors and say sorry, but we tried to accomodate you and the wishes we conveyed to you failed.
--As far as I know Saturday's game at Mosaic Stadium will be played and there will be no problems with the paint on the field. Last Sunday's NFL Hall of Fame game will go down as one of the biggest embarassments in the history of the league. Did someone get fired for that? How on earth do you let that happen? Is Benjamin Moore the new sponsor of the game? I simply couldn't believe what I was seeing. The guy from the HOF who announced to the crowd there would be no game because of their ineptitude looked like he would rather be caught doing the walk of shame after leaving Roseanne Arnold's. Speaking of which, do you know she is coming to Casino Regina next month?
--Kudos to the Riders organization for the signing of Brandon Bridge. I am for all Canadian quarterbacks playing this game as you know and while he may just be the 3rd stringer, he is still in the game. The move also makes the Riders better at the position and that is what you want isn't it?
--The stars of the 80's will be at Mosaic Saturday. That includes Dave Ridgway, Glen Suitor and Bob Poley. Could we get a re-enactment of "The Kick"? If we do, the echoes that will come out of that stadium will be immense as the heart of the Rider Nation will swell by about four sizes. The picture of that field goal to give the Riders the 89 cup is an iconic one and I am sure many who root for the /=S=/ have that picture somewhere. I had the poster which was autographed by both Ridgway and Suitor, but it somehow got lost in a move. It may be in a box somewhere, but I have no clue where it is.
--Are you watching the Olympics feverishly, moderately or not at all? Put me in that middle category with the exception of Thursday night as I was riveted to the swimming and the gold medal swim by the star of these games so far for this country and perhaps the games itself..16 year old Penny Oleksiak. Did anyone know who this girl was a week ago? I didn't.
Her "What I Did This Summer" essay will be a spectacular read. Like everyone else in the world, I did see the French gymnast break his leg and yes, I squawked mightily when seeing it. YUCK! I didn't see the weightlifter break his arm though. I don't think I want to see that one.
--The Regina Pats are putting a bid in for the 2018 Memorial Cup. With the 100th anniversary of the Pats coming and the organization having ties to the military as the Memorial Cup has, this would seem like a no-brainer to me. If Regina gets it, you know this city will do a top-notch job in hosting it.
--Still with the Pats, I was saddened to hear of the passing of long-time scorekeeper Gary Renner. Anyone who dealt with the Pats during their time at the old Exhibition Stadium or the Agridome knew who Gary was, and he was still a fixture after he retired. I believe the Pats honored
Gary and timekeeper Bill White a couple of seasons back as "builders" in what was a classy move by the organization as not many hockey teams salute timekeepers and scorekeepers. The players those two have seen up close both wearing Pats jerseys and unis of the other teams are far too many to mention.
--Another year of the Queen City Ex has come and gone. It is starting to get to the point where you need to make a mortgage payment if you are going to try and win a stuffed animal (and a small one at that) for your child. 5 bucks for a water game??! By the way, where was "Skee-Ball" this year? I will say this though. I may be in the moral minority, but organizers can keep the nightly concerts in the Brandt Centre instead of Confederation Park. Its much more comfortable sitting inside the Brandt Centre than being in the park. That's my two cents on that matter.
--Alex Rodriguez plays his last MLB game today as he will ride off in the sunset once the Yankees game tonight is over. Is he going to the Hall of Fame? He will once Barry Bonds and Pete Rose get in. If there was ever a guy who didn't need performance enhancers, it was A-Rod. If he stays clean, he probably goes down as one of the best players in the game.
--Who wasn't shocked to see the Patrick Roy announcement out of Denver? Something obviously wasn't right there and while both are playing nice, it is evident something went off the tracks in a big hurry. I can't help but think Las Vegas may have found their first head coach. Could Bob Hartley re-surface in Colorado?
--Football starts in earnest this weekend as the Rams begin training camp while the Thunder start their season against the Edmonton Huskies at Mosaic Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Rams will be a lot better this season than last under new coach Steve Bryce and you know Scott McAulay will have the Thunder ready for another run at both the Hilltops and a Canadian junior title.
--That's all I got. Have a great weekend. GO RIDERS!!