Realty One

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


1. STRIKE-TIMING WRONG FOR CFLPA: They’re not wrong for playing hard-ball, but the CFL Players Association is going about it all wrong.

Don’t begrudge them for all this strike-talk. This is long overdue. This day of reckoning has been in brewing for some time.

But to strike at the start of the season? When the players haven’t cashed a game-cheque in 6 months? To save the owners the price of training camp when they aren’t bringing any revenue in anyways? Why the rush?

Makes no sense.

The swift, tactical move would be to stealthily await the season to begin, build a few exciting storylines for the first 5 or 6 weeks, and then ramp up the strike talk closer to Labour Day. An October picket deadline would be devastating to the league governors eager to cash in on Grey Cup revenues.

That’s how you build leverage. That’s how the players won the baseball strike of ’94 and killed the price of mustard crops in Saskatchewan. (The 2 were directly linked. Look it up.)

Striking at the start of the season has never worked and will never work for the players. Precisely why Gary Bettman locks the NHL players out before training camp anytime they don’t have a deal signed. The CFLPA is playing right into the owners hands.

2. CFL CAN’T SURVIVE WITHOUT MONTREAL: If you think the Canadian Football League can live without Montreal, think again. I grew up watching a CFL without the Alouettes and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Without the league’s 2nd biggest TV market, broadcast revenues disappeared and the league got desperate in searching for owners and American franchises to keep everything moving.

We cannot go back to that.

3. RIDERS SHOULD SIGN MARQUISE: Couldn’t figure out how Roughrider quarterback Marquise Williams slid from Chris Jones’s penthouse to his outhouse, seemingly overnight. He (Marquise) looked great in rallying the Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio Commanders to a late-game victory over the Salt Lake Stallions just a few weeks ago. Zach Collaros is hardly a sure thing at quarterback and with apologies to Cody Fajardo, the Riders could still use a plan B.

4. CFL NEEDS THE MARITIMES: 2.5 million people occupy that part of Canada, most of whom don’t have any local pro sports viewing options and most of whom live within a 3 hour drive of Halifax. And mostly people who aren’t currently contributing to TSN’s CFL TV ratings. That would most certainly change with their own rooting interest. This is a no-brainer. The league shouldn’t be merely welcoming Halifax. They NEED Halifax!

5. SASKATCHEWAN SPORTS TALK RADIO: Luc Mullinder is a good analyst and I love Mitchell Blair like an uncle but when Luc starts ranting and Mitch shouts over him, the Sports Cage becomes unlistenable. Bring on D.T.!

6. REGINA RED SOX HALL OF FAMERS: In case you missed it, Red Sox founders Sharon Clarke, Bernie Eiswirth and Gary Brotzel were all named to the class of 2019 for the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame. The Red Sox give the Regina sports fan the greatest bang for its buck—BAR NONE—all summer long. They are Regina’s example of a small town team run by tireless volunteers holding it all together. The Red Sox, and the Western Canadian Baseball League for that matter, remain western Canada’s best kept secret.

To Sharon, Bernie and Gary, we should all be so lucky to have them on our side, brightening our summers each year. That will be a great documentary told on a local sports website near you one day soon.

7. REGINA RED SOX WOULD BUILD GREAT RIVALRIES WITH: Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Red Deer. If Edmonton is buying in, why wouldn’t those places get into it too?

8. SASKATCHEWAN RATTLERS: Excited to see pro basketball in Saskatoon starting up again in May. I recall being wowed by the Saskatchewan Hawks of the old International Basketball Association of the early 2000’s playing in front of a few hundred people inside the cavernous confines of Saskatchewan Place (now SaskTel Centre). I wish them luck but until they find a suitable downtown location, I worry that ship is doomed to failure. Again.

9. RAPTORS SHOULD COME TO SASKATOON: Ever notice that the Blue Jays are Canada’s team while the Raptors are still only Toronto’s team? That could change if MLSE pretended to care about its base outside of Toronto. An annual preseason game in cities like Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Halifax, ETC would cost the Raps pennies and make a big difference in engaging the rest of Canada like the Blue Jays did with exhibition games in Regina in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

10. P.A. RAIDERS NEED TO WIN THE MEMORIAL CUP BECAUSE: There just isn’t a damn thing to do in Prince Albert. They need SOMETHING to get excited about!

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)


Anonymous said...

Can't survive without Montreal???...lmao...what a joke

Anonymous said...

Why did Riders let Williams go? Give the kid a chance as I think he can play. Perhaps he winds himself back up north again!

Anonymous said...

The supposed know it all once again shows himself to be a complete and total idiot.

The Raptors have played a series of pre-season games across Canada for the past number of years.

It's OK though McGuire, don't let fact get in the way of one of your ridiculous takes.

Anonymous said...

I too miss Rod on the Sports Cage. Here's to hoping that Mr. Taylor will return the show to its former glory!

Anonymous said...

For once I agree with everything you said, Brendan. Anon 1. TV needs revenue, businesses place ads to get to the widest possible markets. That's why, with apologies to all Rider fans, Regina will NEVER be as important to the league as the big cities like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver with populations in the millions, not 200,000 like Regina. You may not like it & you can puff up your chest all you want about the Riders. They're a great story, have great fans but they DON'T run the league. Never have, never will. No ad revenue, no big TV contract, no league.

Anonymous said...

Ain't no players from the AAFL coming soon to the CFL as "most have been deemed assets" under US bankruptcy law. Majority tied up with legal binding contracts to that defunct league. (* A few free agents available.) It's now up to the courts to determine how those assets will be disposed.

Reggie the Hammer.

Anonymous said...

You're right about nothing to do in Prince Albert. That's why I read your column every week.

Anonymous said...

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie needs to change that awful amateur league logo immediately. Change the terminology of Nationals back to Canadian, Canadian Status-CS. Internationals back to American Import-AI. while addressing his comedic comedy hour global players as Global International-GI. Nothing complicated about this minor first hand business.

Reggie the Hammer.

Jeff said...

I wonder if the Rattlers would consider playing out of the new University arena. Seating would obviously be constrained to what - approx. 2500? Not sure. Now maybe they will be able to sell out the lower bowl of SaskTel Centre which would be comparable to Blades (4000-6000). If that isn't sustainable, I would rather see them play in front of a full arena with less people. Mind you, Lee Genier is part of this group and he will be looking to prove lightning strikes twice (IE Rush sellouts).

Anonymous said...

Unless rattlers give away tickets expect crowds of 2,000.

Jeff said...

And I feel that's probably accurate (2000 fans). Hence, play at Merlis Belscher and create a real atmosphere in that place.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rod!