Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
Summer is over! Where did it go? The kids are back in school and as you read this, the annual invasion from Manitoba will either soon be underway or has already started as Bomber fans--like Rider fans--make their last trek to this sacred place.
Next year, new memories will start at the new Mosaic Stadium. On Wednesday after the Sportscage, I was given a tour of the facility. WOW!! Thanks to the city of Regina's Nathan Morrison for taking us on a look-see of what will obviously become a regular visiting spot for this blogger. Words and pictures simply don't do this place justice. You need to see it for yourself to see just what it is like. I have been to many NFL and MLB parks and this is right up there with them if not nicer. This really puts Regina and Saskatchewan on the map. When you walk into this place, it has a big city feel. It's about time we could say that about Regina. That's not a knock on the other facilities either. This just has a big-time vibe to it and if you have been to stadiums south of the border or Rogers Centre in Toronto, you will know what I mean once you walk into the place.
Speaking of significant improvements......
This is what the pressbox looks like. Yes, many of you will likely never get into this area, so you don't care, but this will be my workplace starting in June 2017 with what is a great view. When I walked into this room, it was like being in the pressbox at Coors Field in Denver. Speaking of which, this is the spot where Rod Pedersen will call Rider games, and where Michael Ball and I will call Rams game from.
--Walking into that radio booth (or Pedersen Place as I am going to call it), I instantly shot back to when I had a tour of CenturyLink Field in Seattle. I should have taken a shot from the doorway, but the booth looks very similar to the booth where Steve Raible and Warren Moon call Seahawks games. No stone was left unturned when it came to how this place looks. In fact, I see a lot of C-Link Field in this venue. Hopefully, the Riders will have as much success as the new Mosaic as the Seahawks have had at C-Link over the past few seasons.
--Back to the CFL for a moment. We are at the halfway mark. I know considering what he has done this season this may not be a popular thought in Rider Nation, but is it safe to say Calgary's Bo Levi Mitchell is the MOP at this point? You can't put Zach Collaros into the equation yet, and Trevor Harris' injury derailed what started to be an MOP season. For what its worth, I think it is safe to say Naaman Roosevelt would be the Riders nominee for MOP.
--You can't go far without people asking for thoughts on Khalif Mitchell. Here's my take. I don't like what the guy stands for, and I'm not crazy about him being associated with the green-and-white. His past transgressions and idiocy are well known. If, and its a big if, he keeps his nose clean, he can be a big addition to this football team. Chances are he's not here by the end of September. Arash Madani indicated on Sportscage Thursday this may be the Riders way of letting the CFL know if you want to fight, you'll get one. I said a few weeks ago Rider Nation was ready for a fight with the league and it appears that fight is on. What'cha gonna do Jeff? He says if Mitchell strays off the path, it will be "immediate dismissal" time. Yeah, this from a league that took how long to have the appeal hearing for Duron Carter?
--The Regina Thunder will play the Winnipeg Rifles Saturday night. The game will go at Leibel Field. Yes, that facility is for Regina Minor Football, but this should be a magical night in the perfect environment for junior football. I will be doing the game on Access 7, and I think there will be a great crowd at Leibel to only enhance the game-day experience. I know this is likely a one-off and Thunder and Rams games will go at the new Mosaic and not Leibel, but this is the perfect venue for both and not the cavernous pro stadium. One can dream though! Get out there if you can, and carpool it or something because I'm guessing parking could be a problem!
--South of the border, what a terrible break for the Minnesota Vikings. A team some thought was ready to take the next step took a huge step backwards with the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury. There are QB's out there, but you have only a week and a half to learn the offence. Do you stay with Shaun Hill, do you sign a free agent or do you trade for a quarterback and if so, at what price. The Vikings are a run-first team with Adrian Peterson, and they have a solid defense, but I can't see them being better than a 500 team without Teddy. Packers fans dance with joy and Lions fans still wonder when their team will be relevant.
--The Toronto Raptors are coming to Western Canada. They will play Golden State in Vancouver and Denver in Calgary for pre-season games. The Raptors have been to Winnipeg, but once again it seems as if Saskatchewan isn't big enough. You can't tell me you couldn't fill Sask-Tel Centre or the Brandt Centre for an NBA pre-season game. There is enough of a basketball community in this province that would be hyped for a visit from the Raptors. BOOOOOO!!!
--Will Tim Tebow ever give up trying to pursue an athletic career? If baseball doesn't work, is hockey next? What about soccer? Let it go Tim, let it go!
--The University of Calgary beat the University of Manitoba 22-14 in the Canada West Football opener. It was refreshing to watch passes get thrown and see receiver and defender battle for the ball with no flags coming down. After all, shouldn't that be allowed to happen! Are you taking note Glen Johnson? Manitoba will be at Mosaic Stadium next Thursday night. The Rams open up against the Huskies tonight in Saskatoon. I don't know what the Rams will be like under new head coach Steve Bryce, but I can guarantee they are better at one key position. You shouldn't have to figure that one out.
--That's all I got. Have a great Labour Day weekend! GO RIDERS!