Nothing pisses off the paying public more than starting something and not finishing it. See Alliance of American Football and baseball strike of ’94.
The players would get better leverage, no doubt, by starting the season and threatening to shut it all down before Grey Cup. But instead, they are considering the fans here and are choosing to take the high road in not disappointing us halfway through a season we would be invested into, emotionally.
The highly paid star players like Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly are showing solidarity with their underlings here and this dispute doesn’t help those 2 guys one lick. But to stand with their teammates in a moment like this should mean a lot to CFL players everywhere and deserves respect from fans across the country too.
2. JIM HOPSON HOF: I dealt with Jim regularly in my glory days of covering the Riders on a daily basis in the mid-2000’s. Never appreciated it at the time but looking back, I realize just how lucky the Riders were to have him as their leader. He truly led the turnaround from poor country cousins to “Canada’s Team”.
But most importantly, Jim loved people and probably still does.
I engaged in a very petty and childish personal conflict with a Rider staffer in those days and it stewed for a while until Jim sat down with my boss and both of them agreed that Brendan and the staffer were going to sort this out NOW or there would be consequences for both of us. The Rider employee and I buried the hatchet and actually worked pretty well together after that. I got to keep my job and made a new friend.
All because of Jim.
Such leadership, passion and people skills are sorely lacking from today’s world. Especially in pro sports.
3. JEFF KNOX JR: If he wants to come back to the Riders, why wouldn’t they sign him? You always get a little extra from the guys who grew up in your system with that pride in wearing your logo.
4. BETTER CALL SOL: The B.C. Lions release of former league Most Outstanding Player Solomon Elimimian reeks of union-busting. If this was all about moving on from a player past his prime and not undermining Sol’s heavy involvement with the CFLPA, the Leos would have waited until the labour dispute was resolved. It’s a cheap shot from management to a player who deserved better. So much better.
5. REGINA RED SOX DINNER WITH MATT STAIRS: Still over the moon about the Sox putting up with P.A. announcer Sean Kleisinger and I enough to interview 2008 World Series champion Matt Stairs at their annual Sports Dinner and Auction over the weekend. Matt told a lot of fat jokes about himself, tales of breaking Mark McGwire’s bats in Oakland and playing in Japan. Guy scratched out a 19-year career in the bigs as a pinch-hitter. It reminded me of the biggest problem with the game today: There will probably never be another Matt Stairs.
6. AWESOME AUGUST: Speaking of the Sox, I noticed the Medicine Hat Mavericks posted a banner raising photo online from last year’s championship win over Regina. The memory of then-manager Mitch MacDonald walking to the mound near the end of that blowout loss in the decisive 5th game of that series is a heart-breaking memory for any Regina baseball fan. The playoffs were incredible and the Mavs were the better team but that banner raising photo didn’t get any likes from this cat. #isitmayyet?
7. VLAD-MANIA: The one weekend in Brandon Drury’s MLB life where he deserved the spotlight, he gets overshadowed. Get used to it, kid. Happened when Brett Lawrie first got called up and they had his dad and sister on the broadcast. Just hope and pray this ends up a lot better for the Jays than the Lawrie thing did.
8. RAPTORS PLAYOFF RUN: Anyone still second-guessing Masai Ujiri’s Kawhi Leonard trade? #inmasaiwetrust
9. WHL FINALS: Swift Current won it last year and the Prince Albert Raiders will face the Vancouver Giants for the Western Hockey League’s biggest prize this time. Hopefully it goes better for P.A. then it did for Moose Jaw the last time a Saskatchewan team played Vancouver in the finals. I moved back to Saskatchewan in May of 2006 and my first assignment was to cover the Moose Jaw Warriors first ever (and so far, only) appearance in the finals where they would be swept by the Giants in the smelly little Crushed Can of Moose Jaw. This Raider team is a lot better than that Moose Jaw team and a Prince Albert celebration would be more proof that while the WHL means a lot to Saskatchewan, it’s not nearly as important to us as Saskatchewan is to the WHL.
10. WEEKLY WISDOM: Remember, doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)