Saturday, August 3, 2019
This and That
--Welcome to Saturday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. They may be one-day late, but as always, they come in no particular order
--It's Cody's show now and the new hero in Riderville saw his love affair with the fans deepen immensely Thursday night. In a game that looked as if the home side would give it away despite outplaying their opponents for much of the contest, Cody Fajardo cemented the fact that he is the new gunslinger in town with his last second heroics.
Playing on an ankle that he thought he had broken, he calmly came out and led his team down the field for a last-second game winning touchdown drive to give the Riders their first "quality" win of the 2019 season as they beat the 5-1 Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Say what you will about the 27-year-old from Nevada-Reno, but he doesn't let the moment get in his way. The adrenalin had to be pumping as he took the field for that last drive knowing a touchdown was needed to win. He showed no nerves and drove the final nail into the coffin himself as he outraced two defenders to the pylon to get the game-winning points. Money!
As mentioned after the Collaros trade, the onus is now on the organization to extend Fajardo as he is no longer a one-year project. The future is the present when it comes to the quarterback situation. The question now is what would YOU offer Fajardo? Would three years at $300,000 be too much? It's a question that will be debated around Riderville and the CFL until name is on said extension. I would say 200,000 to 250,000 would be fine with bonuses attached----plenty of bonuses. One has to think the conversations have started with Fajardo and his agent. If not, why?
--Still with Fajardo. I think we all saw or heard about his corndog comment after the game. You can't tell me you couldn't get a food truck outside the stadium or have a vendor inside the stadium selling "Cody's Corndogs" for $5 with some of that money going to Kidsport or another charity. How about Fajardo's Fajitas? How about both! They would sell!!
--Has the Rider "D" returned? They certainly took it to BC in the win at BC Place allowing the Lions to gain less than 100 yards and they were stifling for the most part Thursday night. Head Coach Craig Dickenson said the unit had to get used to playing with one another even though there were a lot of returnees. I don't necessarily buy all of that, but if they weren't on the same page in the first four games, they are now. I think next week's game in Montreal will be a dandy.
--With Winnipeg losing in Toronto (OOPS!!), it not only begs the question about whether or not the parade is still on at Portage and Main as some were suggesting a few short weeks ago, but it begs the question about parity in the West. There isn't a lot separating the Bombers, Stamps, Eskimos and Riders. The Western Division showdowns are going to mean a lot again this year. Is it Labour Day yet?
--An announced crowd of over 29,000 came to Thursday night's game. A Tweet from a CFL Fan in Quebec questioned the CFL's idea of a doubleheader saying the first game starts too early in the West, there is an overlap no one wants and the late game is too late for those in the East. It's a valid point. There are others around these parts who don't like Thursday Night Football with the big reason being travel. I understand that, but Rider fans have to realize, it is not about them, it is about the league. The CFL and TSN are doing what they can to make Thursday Night Football a thing and from talking to TSN people, numbers would show it is catching on. In fact, the numbers for some Thursday night games are better than some Friday or Saturday night games.
Just because you don't like it doesn't mean the league should abandon the idea. The Riders don't like Thursday night games for many reasons, but when the CFL says all teams are hosting one Thursday night game, you have to abide by the rules. It may not be ideal here, but it is in other markets. Things that are ideal here may not be great in other markets. It is a problem for the CFL, but you can't please everyone. That being said, a Thursday night doubleheader on a long weekend is ridiculous. A 7 o'clock start on Thursday would have been ideal. A game on Monday would have been great as well.
I understand the league's rationale of not wanting to play Sunday because of the NFL. Numbers show it is not conducive to go up against the monster that is American Football so the CFL has stepped aside. I liked the Saturday tripleheaders last year and I would like to see more of that moving forward. Games at noon, 330 and 7 Saskatchewan time would work for me. Would it work for you? Is a Friday night doubleheader at 5 and 7:30 any different than a Thursday night one with the exception of we don't have to get up the next morning to work? You can't please everyone so you're going to have to live with it. Sad, but true.
--I will confess I thought when the schedule came out that Thursday night would be a gong show at Evraz Place with football and the QCX on. Craig Reynolds and his team along with REAL's Tim Reid and his team did an outstanding job in collaborating to get it done. It worked as a single-day attendance record was shattered on Thursday so expect this again next year.
I understand there were some parking problems, but I got there early and had none. It was a great night for all by the looks of it with those who were inside the stadium having a great time on a hot night. Well done to everyone involved.
--Jeremy O'Day got it right with the trade of Zach Collaros. Collaros couldn't step back in as Riders quarterback after what Cody Fajardo has done. Fajardo has done more in a third of a season than Collaros did during his Rider career. The signal that this team is now Cody's had to be sent and when Jim Popp came calling, O'Day was quick to say adios to someone who had become an albatross due to his repeated trips to the injury list.
What can Toronto possibly gain by this? Collaros is not the magic tonic needed to get this team out of what they are. Isn't it better to groom Bethel McLeod-Thompson and Dakota Prukop than let Collaros go back on the field where chances are he gets hurt again----hey they do play Hamilton two more times this year so go finish what you started Simoni Lawrence! This deal makes no sense for the Argonauts, but it is one the Riders were likely more than willing to make. Let's also be true to ourselves. As Rob Vanstone aptly pointed out, Collaros was never given the opportunity here because of injury---injuries that started in the first pre-season game he played in when he was folded up by two Calgary Stampeders. It just went downhill from there. We will never know what type of impact Collaros could have had in Rider green.
--If the Toronto Blue Jays are contending for an American League East title in the year 2021 than one won't blame GM Ross Atkins if he has a grin from ear-to-ear. One has to wonder if Atkins will be around by that time though. While the return for Marcus Stroman was alright, many are questioning why you would trade three players for a triple A centerfielder who isn't that good and has struggled at the major league level. Joe Biagini for Derek Fisher would have been great, but Aaron Sanchez and a top prospect? Sanchez's trade level is low, but why not let him try to raise that stock in the final two months and then make a better deal. In the field, the future has arrived, but this team needs pitching and a lot of it. They have no real ace and one has to think it will be that way for a while. The early return on Atkins is a huge fail when it comes to deadline day. He told Arash Madani there is a plan. I don't know if Arash believed it and I don't know if fans hearing it believed it. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that team. I'll just go back to wondering why the Cubs have no bullpen and if what they did can get them out of that hole. I remain skeptical.
--If the Houston Astros don't win the World Series, they only have themselves to blame. What a rotation they have now assembled.
--Some Oilers fans ( not this one) are losing their mind because new New Jersey Devil Nikita Gusev is going to wear 97. Who cares?!!! If Gusev wants to wear the same number as Connor McDavid, you go for it kid. If someone wants to wear 87, you do it. There is no monopoly on the number.
--Are we really going to have a debate as to whether or not Chris Kunitz is the best hockey player to come out of Regina. Yes, Ryan Getzlaf and Jordan Eberle might have better numbers, but you can't compare the resumes. Congrats to Chris on a great career!
--Charlotte Flair vs Trish Stratus at Summerslam??!! Yes please!
--That's all I got. Enjoy the August long weekend!