Duron reminds me much more of his “Uncle Randy” Moss. It was Moss who wore out his welcome with his first 2 NFL teams - the Vikings and Raiders - despite his undeniable talent. Now Randy did just fine in his 3rd stop with the New England Patriots, breaking Jerry Rice’s single season record for touchdown catches when he hauled in 23 from Tom Brady in New England’s 16-0 season of 2007. Duron is in a tough spot but if Uncle Randy taught him anything, being a diva receiver is anything but a death sentence even for a player in his late 20’s.
2-WHY DURON KEEPS GETTING PUNTED: Pro sports is the ultimate meritocracy and talent will still overshadow just about anything else. Duron has enjoyed the spoils of his natural abilities inherited from his dad and the teachings gained from being raised by an NFL superstar. But at some point along the way, to be a pro, you have to learn to enjoy the grind. The grind of lifting weights in the offseason and running hills in working non-stop to perfect your craft.
As Rod and I discussed on the Sportscage Monday, I’m not so sure Duron has ever enjoyed the grind.
Most high draft picks who fail in the CFL, NFL, NHL, MLB or NBA do so because they never learn that habit of working round the clock to get to that mountain top. Duron’s natural abilities got him pretty far with this football thing. It’s possible his failure to “love the grind” has taken him as far as he’s going to go.
3-MANZIEL TO DURON HISTORY IN THE MAKING: If Carter does in fact join the Alouettes, it would surely be the first CFL broadcast in history to ever get better TV ratings in the United States than in Canada.
4-REGINA RED SOX READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP: Currie Field will be bumping for Game 3 of the Western Major Baseball League Finals Tuesday night. The Sox are facing elimination after dropping Games 1 and 2 in Medicine Hat. Regina’s pitching staff is running on fumes at this point and a 7 or 8 inning gem from their projected starter Kyle Wilson will be essential. I just hope to see 2,000 people in the park. 1,834 is the biggest crowd they’ve ever had.
5-HOW THE SOX GOT HERE: This rag-tag bunch lost 2 of its greatest hitters in Riley Hickerson and Colton Onstott along with 2 of their best relief pitchers in Ondrej Sebek and closer Sam Cottingham-Beard for one reason or another late in the season. They could have folded their tents and a late July 4-12 stretch gave every indication they would do just that. But by hook or by crook, the Sox are getting it done in the playoffs with contributions from unlikely sources. Centrefielder Brooks Stotler homered just twice all summer until the playoffs. He has 5 in the postseason! First baseman Erik Crossman didn’t homer once all season but has gone yard twice in this playoff run. Catcher Matt Deneau had 4 bombs in the regular season but 5 more in the playoffs.
You get the picture. No superstars. Just a crew of blue collar ballplayers playing for each other and coming up big in the clutch when they need it the most.
The most polarizing story of them all is 2nd baseman Adam De La Cruz who has not only cashed in 12 RBI’s in just 11 games during this Cinderella Run, but he’s also come onto the mound for a save or win in 4 of the Sox 6 playoff victories so far. An athlete that versatile is so rare nowadays and truly exemplifies what the team’s run has been all about. Doing whatever it takes whenever it takes.
6-WEYBURN ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID: Couldn’t help but bleed a little inside for Weyburn Beavers manager Phil Curtis and his brother/first base coach Cory Curtis after their devastating Game 5 East division loss to the Red Sox. Losing to a 10.5-game underdog stings and it especially hurts for a franchise trying to establish Beaver Fever in a small market where baseball has always been a distant 3rd behind the Riders and Weyburn Red Wings. I’ve always respected that organization and hope they get their kodak moment real soon.
7-NOT SURE WHO THE MORONS WERE….: ….who decided to have the Medicine Hat Mavericks wear red at home to the start the finals against the Regina Red Sox whose road uniforms happen to be….red(gulp). Didn’t make for the greatest viewing experience on YouTube.
8-CFL READY FOR FEMALE COMMENTATORS: Congratulations to the Ottawa Redblacks for honouring Jo-Anne Polak over the weekend who became pro football’s first ever female General Manager 30 years ago. It got me thinking of roles women could be playing in today’s CFL. TSN uses the same commentators over and over for its CFL broadcasts despite having a heavy stable of women in front of the camera for SportsCentre. Why not use some of them to do a CFL broadcast from the booth? Doris Burke is one of the best in the NBA. Why can’t it be done here?
9-BEST ARTIST FROM THE REGINA FOLK FESTIVAL OVER THE WEEKEND: Since I missed WALK OFF THE EARTH, I’m going to say Michael Franti. Always liked him. Bruce Cockburn reminds me too much of my parents generation for me to get too excited about.
10-BOOK/DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Just watch game 3 of the WMBL finals on the Regina Red Sox Facebook page and if it gets to game 4 Wednesday, we’ll have it for you on Access Communications channel and their Facebook page.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)