Realty One

Friday, June 3, 2016


SASKATOON -- Scruffy had problems sending his weekly column so I'll put one together for you rabid readers.  Here goes:

1 - It's an endless, fascinating debate as to how the Roughriders are going to be this year.  Hall of Famer Wayne Shaw said on Thursday that six wins would be a major improvement.  (And in all truth, he's right).  Meanwhile some CFL insiders think 9-9 is attainable, which should accompany a playoff berth and therefore a shot at the Grey Cup.

Remember this:  Chris Jones took a 4-14 Edmonton club to 12-6 in his first year with the Eskimos.  It's not unheard of.

2 - The comments from Saskatoon Star-Phoenix columnist Les McPherson from Tuesday's edition keep echoing in my head.  "These are strangers trying out for the Roughriders," he wrote.

For the most part, he's right.  But now's a good time to get on board with this team rather than later in the season when you'll run the risk of being labelled a "bandwagon jumper".  It's rewarding to see a team come together and say you were with them from Day 1.

McPherson further wrote, "You'd have to sit at a busy hospital maternity ward to find a place of greater promise than the Saskatchewan Roughriders' 2016 training camp."

3 - There's a tad bit of confusion about what's going to happen Saturday for the Roughriders' annual Green & White mock game.  For starters, it'll be held at SMF Field (formerly Gordie Howe Bowl).  Secondly, the gates will open at 4:00 pm (free admission) and the game will start at 5:00.  I'm scheduled to announce the game in-stadium, which is exciting and an honour.  You can expect the game to run for a couple of hours.  Afterwards, there will be an autograph session for fans.

The best news is that the forecast calls for sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius.  That's a welcome relief, since the Fan Day has been held in downpours for several years in the past.

4 - I don't know how it's going to play out this season, but the Roughriders are HUGE.  I've found myself standing beside some of them at the counter at the local Dairy Queen or at various spots on campus.  Chris Jones and John Murphy have assembled a crew of skyscrapers on this year's team.  It's not out of the ordinary for these players to be 6'5", 6'6" or 6'7".

5 - It would be great for CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge to do a cross-Canada tour of CFL training camps in this, his second season in charge.  Alas, we haven't heard much from the Commissioner lately.  In fact the Twitter account of the marketing whiz has been dormant since May 17.

6 - There have been no fights in this Roughrider training camp, which is a good sign.  However there was a skirmish - teetering on a brawl it seems - in Hamilton on Thursday at Ticats camp.  What's that a sign of?

7 - Chris Jones is not the highest-paid CFL management type in the CFL.  I'm told that honour belongs to Ticats boss Kent Austin.

8 - History could be made Saturday night in Saskatoon when the Saskatchewan Rush host the Buffalo Bandits in Game 2 of the NLL's best-of-three Champions Cup.  A Rush victory Saturday night will clinch the championship on home soil and I'm glad to have been able to purchase a pair of tickets.  This city will be on fire Saturday night if the Rush bring it home, and raise a banner to the SaskTel Centre rafters.

9 - Observers at training camp have been asking what's going on at other training camps.  From what I've read, they're marveling in Winnipeg at the work ethics of Weston Dressler and Ryan Smith.  (Nothing new there).  Meanwhile in Edmonton, Chris Getzlaf has been performing at top efficiency and both he and the Eskimos expect him to play a major role in their offense this season.

10 - I've been waiting six months to get exactly in this spot right here:  Focusing 100% on the Roughriders with only a casual interest in the NHL and NBA Playoffs and the goings-on of the Toronto Blue Jays.  However Thursday provided eyebrow-raising news out of the MLB when it was reported pending free agents Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are eyeing Boston as a potential landing spot next season.  However Sportsnet's Arash Madani told on Thursday's SportsCage that it's far too early for speculation on that matter.  Still, it would be hard to fathom those two in Red Sox uniforms.

Also, wish I'd known Leafs coach Mike Babcock was getting get an honourary degree at Thursday's U of S convocation ceremony. It was right across the street from my hotel at TCU Place. It sounds like he gave a moving address.




Anonymous said...

On board with the Roughriders since the day they turfed the Hopson, Taman, O'Day, Chamblin regime. That was a great day ! Thank you Mr. Reynolds !

Go Saskatchewan Roughriders !

Anonymous said...

It's too bad they can't start the game earlier on Saturday. A lot of people that are going to the Rush game aren't going to the Riders since they are close together. I am trying for both but will be leaving the Rider game early

Anonymous said...

Point #4 is the true reason why Dressler was let go. Doesn't fit Jones philosophy for relievers. Point 9 is one of the many reasons why he shoudnt have been.

Anonymous said...

Dressler was getting older, injured and wasn't worth the dough Taman gave him for a contract. We tried trading him at that salary level. Nobody bit. End of story. Embrace this team and the new regime. The past is the past

Anonymous said...

Rod any word yet on the St. John controversy? Darrel Davis did a real hatchet job on the Riders management for not signing him before the draft. I didn't even know that was allowed, signing someone before they are drafted. What a gongshow. Jones et al have a history of winning and I'm not ready to throw them under the bus because of this situation. Shit happens.

Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stepping up and giving your readers a good Friday read Rod.

Anonymous said...

I'm on board and I'm excited. It will be interesting times. A roller coaster ride and I'm excited to be a part of it.

Anonymous said...

Been to a few practices. They are good however running game inconsistent. Passing game doesn't look sharp.
Babcock was promoted through the local media. Sometimes in Rome you gotta do ...There were plenty of seats available as he is not as big of a draw for university grads. The tired locker room talk of try, dream, believe, and have passion doesn't work as well on the educated crowd. He was a poor choice and the publicity the university was hoping to generate didn't happen. Convocation is not the Dogs B'fast.
The Rush are capturing the hearts of the young in Saskatoon. This may impact the Riders down the road as the Rider fan base is aging and as one stadium is closing and another opening they seem to be developing an entitled fan base made up of these old men and women. How can the riders not see a potential conflict between intrasquad and national lacrosse championship forcing some families to chose? Once the kids learn this choice they may not be so motivated to drive 3 hours to Regina for a game. By then not to worry 10 years is a long time from now.

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes! The long lost Friday Rodservations column. I would read a monthly "Rodservations" column over a weekly Scruffy's this n that anyday! Not a knock on Scruffy, just truly missed the good old columns from Rod. I know you are evolving into much bigger than broadcaster of the riders and blogger but it's a nice change to get back to where the blog started.

PS: The JSJ saga is getting old. I don't know why he feels so entitled to be the highest paid rookie ever. I don't see the hype. Take a rookie contract and prove your worth like everybody else before you! I'm firmly behind Murphy and Jones on this decision. The team is bigger than one Rookie!


Anonymous said...

Both you and Shaw are completely off your rockers. A 5 or 6 win season would most certainly not be good or acceptable. Last year's record is not an excuse for not being competitive this year.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Riders are very aware of what the Rush are doing and the potential impact. They are probably not ready to push the panic button. Given Saskatoon's history with semi pro teams and receiving a gift wrapped champion this year,time will tell. Riders fan base is based on a mix of old and new fans. Fan base will support the team just like they have for the past 100 years.

Jeff B said...

Mark me down as one Rider fan who will miss the scrimmage on Saturday in favour of attending the Rush game. It pains me to do so, but truth is, I've seen many practices in the past and have a whole season of Riders ahead of me. In the past this event was always earlier in the afternoon. Maybe a scheduling conflict pushed it out. Oh well, perfect storm in Saskatoon this weekend. Many choices.

Anonymous said...


TSN's Jennifer Hedger apologizes for excluding CFL in Toronto championship.

If you're going to talk about a city-wide "championship drought," you have to be very careful how you define that. TSN's Jennifer Hedger wasn't so careful on SportsCentre Friday, saying "The city of Toronto is hungry for a championship, hasn't had one in a professional sports league since 1993 when the Toronto Blue Jays won." The CFL's Toronto Argonauts are very much a professional team in a professional league, and they've actually won four championships since then, lifting the Grey Cup in 1996, 1997, 2004 and 2012.

That is amazing since TSN provides exclusive CFL coverage, does it not?????

Anonymous said...

Yup, mark me down for the Rush game, though I am also hoping to catch the start of the Green vs White. Despite this single/partial conflict, I don't see how the Rush are a threat to the Riders at all. Maybe only due to some lost revenue from people who can only afford one jersey from any sport, but both play fewer than 10 regular season home games, in separate cities and opposite seasons.

And while this may be a "gift-wrapped champion", that's not why I go. I go because every game, win or lose, is an event that can't be missed. It's just a great time.

Hound Dog

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add this:

It's a great time. So come join us!!

And I'll see you for one or two home games in Regina!

Hound Dog

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh a scrimmage. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

I do embrace the team and the regime. I don'tembrace the release of Dressler. He's got at least 5 good years left in him and he is a heart and soul team leader. So far, my only complaint about the new regime is that they sugar-coated why they released him and exaggerated their willingness to negotiate with him. He didn't fit their mould, so they axed him.

Anonymous said...

hahaha Jen Hedger is my favorite for a reason! she hit the nail on the head. no pro sports team from Toronto has won anything since 93. CFL fans wake up. and I said on here before, the Rush will change the landscape and more and more fans will choose that over your semi-pro football team. imagine those marketing bafoons at the rush hosting a play=off game that coincides with a rider scrimmage.....blasphemy! best kook shows in the world, rider nation take a bow.
TSN take a bow too, well played.

Anonymous said...

For all the nitpickers, read #3
Rod does know how to spell the word 'honour'

It's not him that misnamed the Plaza, that falls on the board many years ago.

I also an 100% behind the team and have been ever since Craig Reynolds lowered the boom on Taman and company.

If DD stays healthy, 9-9 is a lock.


Anonymous said...

The second this so called Saskatoon love in with the RUSH starts to see a losing team. It will be all over but the crying. Saskatoon is a City that backs their Blades when they are winning then dumps them the second they start losing. The RUSH will be exactly the same. Any imbecile that thinks a 1 year team that uses the name Saskatchewan is going to oust a 100 year team in this province has an IQ of about 3

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon is positioned to replace the Riders as Saskatchewan's team ... LMAO I guess it's time to move RoughRider training camp back to Regina. Our 100 year old little semi pro football team doesn't stand a chance against the NLL Rush.

Anonymous said...

It takes a special kind of stupid to think the Rush will "change the landscape". And whomever said that the crowd at Rider games is "old" takes being clueless to a whole new level. The Riders have 0 problem with popularity among kids in this province. Any pro team would be thrilled to have the Riders' level of popularity amongst young people in their own organizations.

It's very nice that the Rush is working out for you. Has absolutely nothing on the Riders.

Anonymous said...

Who are the Rush?

Anonymous said...

Interesting Sports Cage this afternoon, not sure who did the bang on impersonation of the "Saskatoon Whiner" you nailed it. Great to have Les Lazaruk on the show, he's a straight shooter when talking about the new arena discussion and Saskatoons inferiority complex. Only way a new arena happens is if the City of Saskatoon can pan handle enough Federal and Provincial money to build it.

Anonymous said...

Rush? We talking about the old farts that are in the rock’n roll hall of fame?

Anonymous said...

Actually RUSH is the feeling a few Saskatonians get when they think they have a pro sports team. When in fact Lacross is such a niche sport that 90% of the planet has never heard of it.
It may have grown quickly in Saskatoon having a Championship Edmonton team move on over. As soon as this team starts to loose so will the atmosphere and support. It's not a phenom it's only a small city that needed something to cheer for with positive results. If the few loudmouths would just leave it alone. Maybe it could grow without and prejudice because of ridiculous statements by the slow and uninformed.

Daryl Pratt said...

Oh how I've missed the FRIDAY Rodservations !!! Lol thanks for the great read Rod.