Thursday, July 5, 2012

This And That

The more and more that I watch and cover the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the more and more I am convinced that the only way the entire fanbase of the football club will be happy is if the team is presented with the Grey Cup. Then again, I'm sure someone will find something to complain about if that happens.

I feel bad for president/CEO/Grand Poobah Jim Hopson who tries as he might just can't please everyone when it comes to the schedule. After hearing from a woman who is upset with the 5 o'clock start time this Sunday because it means a late night as she drives home, Hopson phoned the Sportscage (still the best two hour sports talk show in Saskatchewan and now I guess the only one) to tell us how problematic it is in trying to please everyone when it comes to scheduling home games. Hopson said there is no ideal time and he's right. People complain about Thursday and Friday night games because they have to take time off of work to get here. Saturday afternoons aren't any good because it hurts the retail sector and Saturday night spoils the weekend for those who wanted to do something else. Sunday afternoons might be good now, but when harvest starts it isn't and harvest time usually comes when the CFL is going up against the NFL and in recent years including this one, the CFL stays away on Sunday to let their powerful neighbour to the south have the spotlight. There is no solution.

Some have suggested TSN is to blame because as the sole broadcaster they dictate where games are going to be squeezed in to accomodate their programming. Fair enough, they are entitled to do so and TSN has done a fantastic job as the home of the CFL. However, TSN's Sunday afternoon programming consists of a Canadian Tire NASCAR series race followed by a MLS soccer game between Toronto and Philadelphia. Seeing that makes me wonder if kickoff could have been moved up a couple of hours. Obviously, TSN wants the Sunday night prime time audience which they will get even though the game involves two Western teams.

What is also baffling is what Rider fans are waiting for? I am shocked to see that so many tickets (over two thousand) are available for Sunday's game. I am sure there will be a good walk-up, but what are you waiting for? This team won its first game in convincing fashion and they looked damn good in doing so. That should be enough to bring people out shouldn't it. Hopefully at the end of Sunday, the Riders will be 2-0 and we can find something else to complain about until BC gets to town on the 14th.

Other thoughts.....

--It was great having Eric Tillman in the Cage on Thursday. I won't re-hash why Tillman isn't here anymore, but one has to wonder the way he treats veteran quarterbacks if Darian Durant would still be here. Tillman had no hesitation in sending Kerry Joseph to Toronto after his MOP season in 2007 and he traded Ricky Ray away before starting his 2nd year as Eskimos GM. Would Tillman have signed Durant to a contract extension the way Brendan Taman did or would Eric have tried to strike a deal with someone for Darian. We will never know.

--Interesting to hear this week that you can constantly pump someones tires, but they try to flatten yours when given the opportunity.

--Did anyone really think Steve Nash was going to play for the Raptors? That being said, I can't honestly say that I hope Nash gets a championship ring now because he is a member of the Lakers and as you know if you have read this blog, the one athlete I cannot stand these days is the one and only Kobe Bryant.

--I just can't decide if the Blue Jays are a playoff team or not. They certainly need to add a starting pitcher or two if they are going to make a serious run at it. They also have to hope that Ricky Romero gets his stuff together as well as he has been brutal all season long.

--FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal suggested this week that the Jays trade centerfielder Colby Rasmus to get a pitcher not just for this year but for years down the road. Uhhhhhhhhh no! I would think Rasmus would be a cornerstone for that team for a few years out in center field. There is plenty of minor league talent for the Jays to trade if they so desire and guys like Travis Snider, Eric Thames and perhaps Adam Lind can be dealt to get what is needed.

--I could see Zach Parise going to the Minnesota Wild in free agency, but not Ryan Suter too. Wild owner Craig Leipold sold the Nashville Predators for 193 million dollars many years ago and now he has two players that he will be paying 198 million. YIKES!!!

--Minnesota has become a playoff team with their moves this week and this Oiler fan is hoping this is the year Edmonton returns to the playoffs. Avalanche fans are hoping their team can get back into the Cup chase next year and so do Calgary fans. The question is what team takes a step back. I can't see it being Detroit or Vancouver....LA did get in as an 8 seed, but we all know they were better than that, San Jose isn't getting better anytime soon so perhaps its them....Phoenix could be a candidate as well and I guess Nashville has to be put into the boat as well. I would think Chicago is still a playoff team with Kane, Toews, Seabrook, Keith etc. etc.

--Lemme get this straight. The Dallas Stars didn't want Mike Modano anymore because of his age and then they go out this week and get the fossils known as Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr. Does this mean the Stars will go after Dominik Hasek?

--If you are an MMA fan, you must be on pins and needles waiting for Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen to step into the octagon. When Sonnen's days in the UFC are over, he needs to give the WWE a whirl. He is perfect for them.

--If you are on Twitter, you can follow me at @mblairregina, but if you want to follow someone who is absolute gold during the CFL season, follow Fake Arash Madani by going to @fakearashmadani. He takes no prisoners! Rider fans, you can also follow @bittergainer as he doesn't hold anything back either.

--When the new stadium goes in, it will take up a lot of the exhibition grounds. The question is how much and what becomes of the Queen City Ex and its layout. Will the midway stay where it currently is, will Kiddieland stay where it is. I like the layout that the fair has now, but one has to think a lot of things will be going out of there and the layout will be changing bigtime. We'll find out the answers to these and other questions over the next few months.

--The Regina Red Sox are a WMBL best 21-6 on the season. You might want to mark next Wednesday and Thursday on your calendar when they take on the Okotoks Dawgs at Currie Field in a rematch of last year's championship final. It could be a preview of this years as well. Those are two nights of ball you won't want to miss.

--Olli Jokinen is getting nine and a half million over the next two years from the Jets? I was hoping Olli would stay with the Flames and be put on a line with rookie Sven Bartschi. He could then look into a camera and say "I am Olli, he is Sven". (If you don't watch the Flinstones, you have no idea what I am getting at.)

--That's it. Have a good Friday!


Anonymous said...

The only reason it's a 5 o'clock game instead of 2 o'clock is prime time in Toronto.

Anonymous said...

Don't know about what might have happened to the Riders in 2011 had Tillman still been here, but I can guarantee he would never have hired Greg Marshall and we wouldn't have gone 5-13.

Anonymous said...

Is TSN basically telling Rider fans that an MLS soccer game and a Canadian stock car race is more important than the football game thus making us go at 5 instead of a better time like 2? I could understand if NASCAR, PGA or NHL was the reason for the late start, but MLS and Canadian stock car racing? Thumbs down to TSN.

Keith (not Calhoun) said...

While it is true that Saskatchewan now only has one two hour sports talk show (The excellent Sports Cage), it is worth noting that Regina does have another excellent one hour sports talk show called "Game Day" on CJTR Community Radio. I find that the sports talk by the hosts, especially regarding the Riders, the CFL and the NFL, to be of of a very high caliber. The Riders are one of its sponsers.

Anonymous said...

i will ask again how much did u pay for your ticket Blair for sundays rider game

truenorthern said...

Every time/day has drawbacks but 5:00 PM sunday is by far the worst time for the majority to actually attend the game. It's even a lousy time to watch it for everyone but Toronto viewers, who I do not believe will be watching anyway!

Keith said...

Awesome! The improved website looks real good Mitch.

truenorthern said...

re. 5:00PM Sunday start.
Why would the 'Riders want to make it harder for fans to get to games?

Midweek and late Sunday game times are a problem, always have been.

Friday, sat, and sunday afternoon are no problem, never have been.

I don't get it.
We rely on the gate, not the TV contract, always have, always will.

Anonymous said...

TSN is not saying MLS and stock car is more important than CFL - in fact, they are saying the opposite. 5:00 pm here is 7:00 pm ET which in TV-land is "primetime". By broadcasting the game in primetime they are trying to reach the biggest audience possible, please their advertisers and maybe even reach some new fans. Why do you think the Grey Cup game kicks off at 7:00 ET every year. Do you know what time Monday Night Football kicks off in the east? 9:00 p.m. local. Do you know what time the Euro 2012 games kicked off? 9:45 p.m. local. Does it keep fans away? HEll no. And if you're a Rider fan does it really matter what time kickoff is? I know it might be inconvenient for some people, but really there's no time that's going to please everyone so just put your green gear on, show up and make noise!

Anonymous said...

As someone said on the Cage yesterday, you tell me what time they are playing and I will be there. I understand the plight for those who are more than two hours away, but the majority of this team's fanbase is within two hours of Regina. If you are whining about what time the game is on, you are part of the problem and not the solution. Be a fan and not a whiner!

Chris G

Anonymous said...

I hate that some creep in a suit in Toronto can decide that 8 or 10 thousand people will still be driving home well past midnight on Sunday night. I think we should seperate from those Eastern SOBs.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you Chris.

Anonymous said...

Sadly Preston,those "Eastern SOBs" are the one in charge of the TV contract, and without the TV money the CFL would be DEAD or at least a pale shadow of its current form.

It's the golden rule - he who has the gold, makes the rules.

Bitter Gainer said...

Thanks for the plug, Big Sexy! If it wasn't for you, my little ol' Twitter account would still be littered with tumbleweeds and people would still be unaware of the seedy side of life as an exploited mutant rodent/football mascot.