Realty One

Thursday, October 6, 2016


With TSN's Vic Rauter Wednesday night in Ottawa
1 - Hello from Ottawa!  Canada's Team touched down in the nation's capital around 7:45 pm ET Wednesday evening in advance of Friday's Week 16 showdown with the East Division-leading RedBlacks (5:00 pm ST, TSN, 620 CKRM).

The move caught some of us off-guard as the Riders generally travel to road games 24 hours prior but Head Coach & GM Chris Jones is pulling out all the stops to win games down the stretch.

"We actually looked real closely after the second loss out East," Jones said Wednesday.  "Because our two worst games all year actually came out East.  I just reminded them 15-20 minutes ago that our travel is different this time because we decided to go a day early.

"We'll try to see if an extra day's sleep helps and look at ourselves as coaches and see if there's something planning-wise that'll help our football team play better."

2 - Jones isn't kidding about his club's woes in the Eastern time zone.  Saskatchewan has been outscord 94-10 in their prior two trips to the East Division (41-3 in Montreal and 53-7 in Hamilton).  The move to come out two days before the Ottawa game should show everyone - especially the players - that Jones means business the rest of the day.

3 - It was a comforting feeling to read in the CFL's weekly Game Notes package that ALL nine teams are still in playoff contention in 2016 with five weeks to go.  It may be small consolation but more than any coach I've dealt with before, Jones has made it plain as day that he's undeterred by other scores around the league.  Corey Chamblin used the mantra "It's About Us" as well, but Jones seems even more intent on living by it.

4 - After this game in Ottawa, the Riders will stay down east for a week before their Week 17 game in Toronto on Saturday, October 15.  In between games, the Riders will practice in Ottawa before bussing to Toronto next Thursday.  They'll also utilize several team-building techniques including a trip to Parliament Hill.  I'd love to be in the vicinity if Chris Jones was to run into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau!

5 - That would correct a long-standing wrong by the way.  Why is it that in the USA the champions of the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB visit the President at the White House but the same great tradition isn't carried out in Canada?

Likely cost.  But again, I'd love to eavesdrop on a conversation between Jones and Trudeau.  At least the Grey Cup-winning coaching staff from 2015 will have a chance to visit the House of Commons.

6 - Back to Friday's Rider game at Ottawa.  The forecast calls for sunshine and 24 degrees Celsius at the 7:00 pm ET kickoff.  Oddsmaker Bodog has the hometown RedBlacks favoured by 6.5-points.

The warm weather here was a nice reprieve from the blizzard going on back home.  Upon de-planing, many Rider players were heard to say, "Ahhhhhhhh!" as they smiled and pulled off their warm outerwear.

And this of course will be a far different Roughrider club than the one which beat Ottawa 30-29 back in Week 5, on July 22 in Regina.  Mitchell Gale was the Rider starting quarterback that night before a crowd of 30, 172 at Taylor Field.  However this Friday Darian Durant will be behind centre for the Green, and receiver Jeff Fuller, defensive lineman Willie Jefferson and linebacker Henoc Muamba will make their Saskatchewan debuts.  All are All Star-calibre players.

7 - Who else is somewhat shocked that Henoc Muamba will play on Friday after only signing in Saskatchewan on Wednesday morning?  Carm Carteri is.

"I was surprised to tell you the truth," said the long-time Radio Radio colour commentator upon our arrival in Ottawa.  "But then you think about it, and this is a veteran football player that is probably going to see a lot of special teams.

"I don't think it's a big deal.  The big deal is that it happened so quick.  Does it surprise me?  Yes it does, but we're still not sure how much game time he'll see.  He'll probably be on all special teams because, like I say, he's a veteran, he knows what's going on, and I think he's going to help this team."

Like Fuller and Jefferson, Muamba was undeterred by the Riders' 3-10 record.  "This about the future," Muamba told reporters.  His contract is reportedly through the 2018 season.

8 - The social media line of the week came from Rider fan Wade Wyatt on Facebook: "The beer tosser from the Blue Jays wildcard game has been caught and given a swift punishment of lifetime season tickets to the Argos."

Slow cap.

9 - There aren't a ton of pressing issues facing the CFL's Board of Governors these days but I'm told by one league source that the most-serious is the Toronto Argonauts situation. That has the suits very concerned.  The BMO Field transition has been a flop and now the team seems to be imploding on the field down the stretch.

One Rider player - a former Argo - says a lot of the leadership the Argos have boasted over the past number of years has been slowly gutted and they're now seeing the effects.  The decision to let quarterback Trevor Harris go in free agency has backfired, and they're left scrambling.

The 2016 Grey Cup in Toronto is also an elephant in the room, and I'm told Toronto Grey Cup staff are calling former Grey Cup ticket-buyers and imploring them to buy seats.  However with several tickets being in the $500-$800 range, the sellers are getting their fair share of hang-ups.

And now if they slash Grey Cup ticket prices, the host committee will upset those who already paid full price.  What a conundrum.

10 - Some blog readers have bemoaned my weekly writings of declining CFL TV ratings (wondering what that has to do with the game), but the fact is it's a HUGE issue in the CFL.  It's a big topic in the States as well, as the NFL is seeing double-digit percentage reductions in their viewership.

The culprits?  Pundits are pointing to the #BoycottNFL online campaigns relating to the national anthem protests, and also the cord-cutting generation eating into TV ratings at an alarming rate.  The most recent edition of Forbes magazine published an extensive expose on the crisis this week.

What's the answer?  That's what has football executives scratching their heads all over the continent.

11 - Of course you're planning on watching Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday with the Blue Jays at Texas.  But don't forget it's an early start at 2:38 Sask Time.  Yeah, like you, I've caught Blue Jays Fever and hung on every pitch of the wildcard game on Tuesday night.

It's sort if like curling: pitch by pitch is like rock after rock, only with 50,000 screaming fans at Rogers Centre.

These Blue Jays have character. People seem to want to trash them and say they're unlikeable but what's not to like about Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin?  Bautista can give off an arrogant vibe, but he's clutch.

I never understood those who say they only watch hockey and football come playoff time, but I'm just as guilty of that when it comes to baseball.

And what a shame that the "beer-thrower" at Rogers Centre Tuesday night got just as much - or more - pub than Edwin Encarnacion who slugged the game-winning 3-run homerun in the 11th inning.

Have they caught the guy yet?

*UPDATE: Reports Thursday morning suggest Ken Pagan, a Toronto Sun employee, has been identified by Toronto Police as the suspect. He has turned himself in, although denied any wrong-doing.

12 - A hot discussion on the team flight to Ottawa: Who's going to be the top team in the NHL this season?  I hadn't given it much thought but I suggested the usual suspects: Chicago, L.A., Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.  The better question is who will be the surprise teams?  Winnipeg's been real strong in the preseason and you know Calgary and Edmonton will be better.  However we get the most coverage of those clubs since we're in the Bermuda Triangle of the NHL here in Saskatchewan.  Maybe I've been subjected to too much of their propaganda.

Regardless, it was interesting to see Connor McDavid named captain of the Oilers on Wednesday. Did anyone see that coming? But you have to know Todd McLellan knows the pulse of his team and that the kid is ready.

13 - Sometimes I feel guilty subjecting my Facebook Friends to so much Rider propaganda however I noticed on Wednesday that my timeline is full of people posting videos of their cat snoring or doing 22 push-ups.  Those are great causes too!  Mine cause just happens to be the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  The social media assault will continue.

14 - Another week, another Top 10 ranking for the Regina Pats in the Canadian Hockey League.  In Wednesday's rankings the 3-0-1 Pats were ranked 8th.  The 6-0-0 Prince George Cougars are #1 in the nation while the 1-1-1 Brandon Wheat Kings are 5th.  The Pats are home to the Kootenay Ice Friday at 7:00 pm on CKRM2 (

15 - Two Thursday pet peeves:  The new fancy lingo they've come up with to describe our favourite sports.  1) "Play-in Games" to describe the MLB wildcard contests (borrowed from NCAA's March Madness) and, 2) "Best-on-Best" as it relates to international hockey competition, and the World Cup of Hockey.  What an insult to those who represent their countries at the World Hockey Championships and Spengler Cup!

I'm also not a fan of junior hockey types who refer to 18-year olds as "99's" or 19-year olds as "98's".  I'm not even sure I got that right!  So confusing.



Anonymous said...

Love how it is mentioned that all teams are still in the play-off picture...truthfully yes no one is out totally but if you think the riders win 5 straight and the eskies lose all four remaining games then there is problems. Also Toronto and Montreal are in very big question also for holding the West from the wild card...they need to win at least 2 games and hope the eskies lose the most part of there games...this week the riders and montreal are both eliminated from the play-offs

Anonymous said...

Pedersen thinks Saskatchewan is still in the running for the Playoffs like he believes the Patsies will win the Memorial Cup. He should get off Cloud Nine and have some Real Dreams.

Anonymous said...

#9...transition to BMO Field would probably NOT have been a "flop" for the Argos had they not been screwed around by the scheduling of their games, IMO. Who is accountable for that??

JackD83 said...

Canada's team is in Texas right now Not Ottawa.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jake..Give your head a shake. Canada's Team is in Ottawa..Trust me.

If Jones does run into to Trudeau, He should ask him why he taxed us for breathing? know the Carbon Tax. What a Crock!

Victor Isted said...

The CFL & TSN should have a fan forum early in the off season. One should be held in each teams stadium. This way the fans can give some input on things like scheduling, marketing.

What do we need to do to get butts in seats in the stadiums. Get people watching the games and be excited about them. Have games on the TV in bars & lounges.

Ticket prices need to be looked at. I would rather see a full stadium with ticket prices around the $50 Mark then a half full stadium paying around $100. More people mean more concessions.

Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

I see that the Atlanta Falcons have broken NFL player workout rules and are being penalized. Of note, there GM used to work for the Riders many years ago.

RWAH said...

Yes you did get that wrong. 19 year old players were born in 1997 and 18 year old players in 1998

Anonymous said...

No, Toronto's team is there. Team Canada is not in the MLB playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Canada's team is far from the Riders...not a baseball fan so much but the blue jay fans probably double your rider trust me instead of a rider fan talking about his own team.

Anonymous said...

Whatever! Oh yeah, also who cares. Just go to the games. Go Raiders!

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping someone puts one in bat flip boys ear.

Anonymous said...

Regarding 18 and 19 year olds, that will probably go away once the 18-year-old become "00's" ie "zeros".

Anonymous said...

Roddy, thank you for bringing so many geniuses together on one forum. They are all so smart and witty too. Thank you

The Pats will win the mem cup. Deal with it

Pon Jaddock

Anonymous said...

Heh heh!! Gòod one!

Anonymous said...

Grey Cup ticket pricing has gone crazy. I'll pony up the odd time when it comes to town, but my days of travelling for it are over. 15 years ago I could get a seat for $140 and a hotel room for $90 a night. These days the prices are almost 3x as much. No thanks.

The funny thing is that the CFL brags about how accessible it is, but that all goes out the window at Grey Cup. Yet the high rollers and expense account crowd isn't exactly rushing to scoop up the tickets either. Maybe taking a few bucks less revenue and not having to endure all the bad publicity that comes from a non-sellout might be smarter in the long run?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Rod are you and Carm going to be able to score some Blue Jays tickets for the ALDS from Zaun or Madani for the games in Toronto? Or are you guys not staying over like the Riders?

Anonymous said...

Funny what you read on here . Canada's team is the Riders or the Blue Jays but what I read on here Daily is that Canada's team is the Regina Patsies. Now who's right ?

Anonymous said...

So I am a Rider Fan living in the Greater Toronto Area and I received a call from the Argos yesterday as I buy tickets every year and the offered to up grade my tickets for next weeks game for a fee to get closer and in TV Veiw for the game. They were trying to bundle the last 2 Argos Games with GC tickets. Oh well won't be going to GC unless Riders are there and that remains to be seen I'm optimistic but not crazy! GO RIDERS, BLUE JAYS and WINNIPEG JETS!!!

Anthony Morano said...

It was a good game, I went to see this match. I bought the tickets Very easy to use website, moreover, gives good bonuses when you purchase more than five tickets. Also is valid discount program for regular customers.

Unknown said...

I pulled the plug on cable on 1st June, both ,my brothers did the same over a year ago. That's three homes of Rider/CFL fans that can no longer watch games. I sent a question to TSN and the CFL asking why they can't make streaming the games easier...never got an answer. So, for the first time in 50 years, I have NOT watched a single CFL game. Lose me for SEASON, maybe gone for life.