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Friday, August 19, 2016

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order:

 -- I don't know if the CFL wanted to pick a fight with the Rider Nation, but they have one on their hands now, and it isn't going away anytime soon. While some don't like what has happened with the team under Chris Jones, most are united in the fact that on the surface, CFL commissioner Jeffrey (just call me Jeff) Orridge is not a fan of the guys from the wheat province. I said last week in this column that I thought a witch-hunt was on when it came to the green-and-white after what Craig Reynolds did in the off-season, and there is nothing to me suggesting there isn't. By the sounds of what is being heard in the Rider locker room, they think there is as well.

Like it or not, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the engine that drives the CFL.  Attendance, merchandise, ratings, fan-base, etc. etc. etc.-----it is Riders all the way.  Yes, every other franchise in this league has a competitor in their market, but with all apologies to the Saskatchewan Rush, that isn't happening here and I don't see it happening here for quite a while.  Has anyone talked about the Rush since their championship season ended? We know the answer to that. Were people talking in the middle of the Rush season about a 3-15 Saskatchewan team and what the future held? Once again, we know the answer to that.

The CFL can sit there and write letters stating their disgust over thoughts about what is going on in this league, but the reality is a nerve has been touched in the league office. If they want to go to war, the Rider Nation is more than ready to foil up their knuckles and go to town. It's that good old Saskatchewan spirit isn't it?

-- Chris Jones casually mentioned during a scrum this week that the CFL is handing out way more fines than they have in years past. While I don't think its the case, I have to wonder if the CFL chequebook is starting to shrink. The league has had bad TV numbers over the past two years and they aren't anything to write home about this year either thanks to the Olympics and the Blue Jays. Did you know that while Olympic primetime is averaging over 3 million a night on CBC that the Stamps-Riders game only had an audience of 544-thousand with the Hamilton-BC game having a greater total. An all-Western game getting beat out by a Hamilton-BC game is almost unfathomable, but its happening. Yes, the Olympics end this weekend, but the Blue Jays season doesn't. Poor numbers equals a tougher time getting advertisers. You can deny it all you want, but the truth is the CFL is struggling with viewership and butts in the stadium. Whatcha goin to do Jeff?
-- I had a solid disussion about the Riders over a cold beverage at the Great Canadian Brewhouse this week with some fellow Rider fans.  They are all sold on Chris Jones and what he brings to the table-----as a coach. His resume is unparallelled with many Grey Cup rings as an assistant and a head coach. There is no doubt the guy knows what he is doing when it comes to coaching. However, it was brought up that as a general manager, he has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew. I don't know if that can be argued successfully when you are the GM of a 1-6 football team, but he has surrounded himself with a good team. No one realistically thought this would be a complete 180 by this team.  Jones and crew keep trying to improve this team day-by-day. If  they didn't, guys like Brandon Bridge, Gregory Alexandre, and Jeff Hecht would not be here.  He continues to try and improve the personnel on this football team.  Once they get on a roll, they will be a tough out and many in the CFL realize that.

-- As the Riders get set to walk into Hamilton on Saturday, I compare their situation to a parent watching their child hop on a bicycle once the training wheels are off. You are right there behind your son or daughter watching them do their thing with a hand on their back to guide them. You slowly take that hand away and watch them pedal off on their own---you hope that ride is smooth, but you cringe as that bike tips over. You dust off your kid and away you go again knowing that ride will be smooth. The training wheels are off, and the fanbase watches with anticipation hoping this is the week it all comes together. Don't be surprised if they fall, but don't be surprised if they pedal their way down the street with a smile on their face knowing it can be done.

-- John Chick is saying all the right things going into Saturday's game. but I am guessing the gentle giant has had this game circled on his calendar. He has already shown he has more gas in his tank than what Jones thought, and I think he would love nothing more than to show him that in person Saturday night.

-- The Regina Pats and Toronto Blue Jays are joining forces. On January 7, the Pats will wear special Blue Jays uniforms that will get auctioned off with proceeds going to the Jays Care Foundation.  It's too bad the Pats aren't playing Victoria that night!! (Think about it!) If the Pats get a goal to go up by 2 late in the 3rd, will the goal scorer do a "stick flip". More importantly, will Phil Andrews decide to do his thing from the broadcast booth with Buck Martinez like hair!!!

While nothing has been said, it would be great if the Blue Jays sent a few players to the game for an autograph session. I don't think you could rationally expect to see someone like Josh Donaldson in attendance, but a Kevin Pillar appearance or a Russell Martin appearance would be cool for Regina hockey fans who love their Jays. Of course, if all goes well, the World Series trophy won't be with them seeing the Cubs will finally have their paws on it.

-- The Ryan Lochte story just re-defines bizarre. WTF dude? The talking heads on ESPN Radio are wondering if Lochte should go back to Brazil to apologize. It makes me think of the Simpsons episode where Bart had to go to Australia to say I'm sorry.  Simpsons fans know how that episode ended. I don't think Lochte will be heading  back anytime soon.

-- It looks like Canada will break the 20 medal plateau in Rio. I think that's a pretty solid performance. Some medal hopefuls disappointed, others came through and some came out of nowhere to win a medal. Some are wondering if the "Own the Podium" program is working. I say don't fix what isn't broken, By the way, there isn't a lot better than seeing one of our athletes on the podium with a gold medal around their neck while O'Canada plays. I can't even imagine what that feeling would be like.

-- McGregor-Diaz 2 right after the Riders game. Yeah, I'm OK with that. That card should be a great one Saturday night.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, more whining from Green Rider nation.
If the team doesn't like being fined, then don't break the rules.

Anonymous said...

It would be karma if Chick sacked and injured Durant. Hoping it doesn't happen, but well, you know.....

Anonymous said...

Where does one find CFL TV audience numbers?

Anonymous said...

I agree with John Lynch, the Riders cannot win in Hamilton as the humidity and air quality is a killer for our players used to the fresh prairie air.

Anonymous said...

Great read Scruffy. You are the best thing in sports.

-Bitchell Mlair

tskware said...

I expected a complete 180 turn-around by Labour Day and anyone that didn't had set their expectations too low. This is the CFL and one season turn-arounds happen all the time.

Anonymous said...

What do the Texas Rangers and Victoria Royals have in common?

Anonymous said...

Point 2 says riders are "driving" the league, while point 3 states ham/BC had better ratings then ssk/cgy.

Who gets fined should have nothing to do with who leads the ratings, merchandise, attendance. The rules are for everyone. I swear Riders fans are starting to sound like Patriots fans with the things they are saying, Its embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Riders win in Hamilton, and big! This BS about too many hats usually come s from bald guys. Huffnagel did for years, Buono did it for years, Barker did for years, Austin has done it for years and the list goes on. It's no big thing. Jones never promised a Grey Cup this year but he will have many before he's done. Time for the trolls to go back under their bridge.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the Pats/Jays/Victoria thing.

Anonymous said...

The Saskatchewan maple leafs. The richest team that no one wants to play for. All these tears are going to cause floods.

Anonymous said...

It would be better if the Pats were playing the Kitchener "Rangers" on Blue Jays night!

Ridernation rules said...

We are not whining about the fine!!! It's the way it was handled and what was said about the Riders by Orridge that ppl are upset up!! Plus I'm sure your team isn't perfect Mr. Anonymous (or Ms)

Anonymous said...

You don't piss in the wind, and you don't get Rider Nation angry! Well said Scruffy!

willy said...

HEADLINE NEWS JUST IN::: Riders and fans still are not WHINED OUT about the Fines they have received in the past. Although all the fines were deserved the howling and crying continues and if Hamilton beats them on Saturday there will be more and more Whining.
Get over it ! Think of the Positives that we have had in Rider Nation and quit believing that we should or would ever lose another football game.
We truly are rebuilding this team and with all the changes and injuries that we have taken on , what do you really expect ?
Lets just take it one game at a time and see what happens. It really cannot be that Bad when we are still filling the stands and have the highest attendance record in the CFL.
This is SASKATCHEWAN. We are the RIDERS. So lets just stay together and things will start happening in a positive way in the near future.
Meanwhile....GO RIDER GO !.

RWAH said...

just a note the Pats/Blue Jaw game is Friday January 6th not the 7th

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