The Argos have been forced out of Rogers Centre on multiple occasions during the 2015 season due to conflicting stadium dates, including back-to-back "home" games in Weeks 17 and 18.
"Let's put it this way; they've played 13 of their 16 games on the road," Annunziata reported. "You want to encapsulate how weird of a situation this is. I'm all for quirkiness and the CFL is all about quirkiness. You got these great stories from the 1950's and 1960's. I mean someone almost drowned in the 1950's in the Mud Bowl. But this is anything but quirkiness.
"To have your home opener in Fort MacMurray, to have five games in the Rogers Centre only to be told 'Sorry we can't accomodate the Argonauts despite the lease. We have first right of refusal to kick you out' and don't give it a second thought. These are these corporate decisions that leave a bad taste in my mouth."
The frustation in Annunziata's voice was clearly evident and he's made his feelings known recently on social media which led to Monday's appearance in the SportsCage.
"I think it comes from me being a part of that locker room for so long and understanding the challenges involved with being a professional football player, notwithstanding the incredible amount of stress and anxiety thrust upon this Argo locker room," Annunziata continued. "I'm disappointed that the individual responsible for growing the brand, strengthening the brand, protecting the brand, by his deafening silence is allowing a 143-year old tradition in Toronto, one of the flagships of the CFL, to be marginalized and minimized.
"I'm talking about the Commissioner specifically and I have nothing against Jeffrey Orridge. He was brought in as a marketing guru to resurrect and to help strengthen the brand but he's done anything but that in Toronto."
I asked Sandy if he were Commissioner, how would he address the untenable situation?
"There's a way to address the situation," Annunziata said. "Maybe a strongly-worded letter saying you don't agree with the decision. There's a way to take the high road because let's face it; that's what the CFL has always done. It has always capitulated and been accomodating to the four other major sports properties in the City of Toronto. At some point you'd think the head of the CFL, the Commissioner, would stand up for the integrity and stand up for the collective rights of those 50 football players, those hard-working coaches and that skeleton crew they have running the Toronto front office.
"You'd think he'd be an ally in their frustration. Maybe a sounding board for them or a mouthpiece for them. There's ways to do it without totally alienating Rogers and that sports property. It sends a loud message if he comes out and speaks for the Argos and their staff that we don't like this decision. We're not going to sit idly by and take it. But just to not say anything, his silence speaks volumes that the Toronto Argonauts have been allowed to be treated this way by not only Rogers Centre but also Rogers as a corporation."
Despite their nomadic struggles, the Argonauts are tied for second-place in the CFL East at 9-6. I asked Sandy if the adversity has affected the football club, including Saturday's 27-15 loss to Calgary in Hamilton.
"You'll never get this out of (head coach) Scott Milanovich or anyone out of that locker room," Annunziata continued. "They're paid to win games so they'd never use these situations as an excuse and that's just a sign of professionalism. God bless everyone of those Toronto Argonauts who refuses to discuss it in the media because that's just not their job. That's up to people like me who don't have a stake in the game and I'll speak on behalf of those guys and say yeah, it does have an effect.
"To see Trevor Harris in the first half, it wasn't Trevor Harris. I don't know what Toronto Argonauts team showed up but it wasn't the Toronto Argonauts team we've seen work so efficiently through the adversity through two-thirds of the season. Am I gonna say it didn't have an effect? Well let me put it to you this way; Toronto's playing Calgary in Hamilton. That's just a very quirky situation and it's a very sterile environment that we saw Saturday night. 3401 fans? That's not typical."
The Argonauts "host" the Montreal Alouettes this Friday night at Hamilton's Tim Hortons Field.