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!