2. BOB IRVING’S TWEETS: The guy is an absolute Rockstar on twitter. Most of the older generation of broadcasters seem to prefer doing most of their best work on the traditional AM dial. Not the voice of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. But it’s also where Bob got it wrong over the weekend:
“I’ve always been in support of CFL players making more money—I just hope that in this current CBA negotiation they realize that despite the current relative economic stability, CFL teams are either losing gobs of money, barely breaking even or making modest profit (Sask. Aside)”
That’s the same kind of baloney MLB owners told the players in the days of labour unrest in Major League Baseball. If the owners want to cry poor, then they need to open up their books, which they refused to do during the last round of CBA negotiating. And if there are a few teams hoarding the money (Saskatchewan), than they should be called upon to cough up a few dollars for players to earn better health benefits via revenue sharing.
It’s great that Bob cares so much about the teams and the fans. He’s had the great privilege of making a living around this great game for nearly 50 years. But that doesn’t make his concerns any more important than the guys down on the field who are THE PRODUCT kicking the crap out of each other just so Bob and the fans can be entertained.
3. GOOD CALL TO GET SOL: I can think of just so many examples of great linebackers at the end of their careers being discarded, only to feel snubbed and find another last gasp someplace else. Matt Millen did it with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, Greg Battle did it here in Saskatchewan and Solomon Elimimian can do it, also.
4. JON RYAN: No problem with the signing, except I’m not sure this is an upgrade over Josh Bartel. And besides, some of those washed up NFL kickers/punters don’t really pan out anyways. See Mike Vanderjagt with the Argos post-NFL career. The whole thing just seems gimmicky to me. And like seriously, are the Riders really going to sell any extra tickets because of Jon Ryan?
5. RICKY RAY: I still think he can change his mind after missing training camp if he really wants to. But when Ricky Ray says he’s finished, I believe him. Truth be told, Frito Ray has looked very frail as he’s reached his late 30’s. He deserves credit for being man enough to walk away. For the CFL’s sake, I hope he sticks around the league. And for his sake, I hope his coaching career (if he has one) goes a lot better than Anthony Calvillo’s has so far.
6. JUNE JONES: The XFL has hired 2 head coaches who were either fired (Marc Trestman) or demoted (June Jones) by the CFL in the last few months. It’s great news for a few reasons. This shows that our game is NOT inferior and also opens up opportunities for younger, unknown and maybe even Canadian coaches to take their place. These big-name ex-NFL head coaches haven’t made the CFL any better. In fact, they have taken jobs that should go to experienced CFL assistants who’ve been working their way through the trenches for years. And besides, the league shouldn’t be overpaying for overrated coaches when it needs money to pay its own players better then it does right now.
7. ARENCIBIA IN SWIFT CURRENT: Spent the weekend in, as legendary Swift Current broadcaster Ryan Switzer would say, “Beautiful sense-making Swift Current, Saskatchewan”. Switzer, along with ex-Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia and Ricky Romero knocked it out of the park at the Swift Current 57s annual fundraising banquet. The Yorkton Cardinals really ought to copy whatever the 57s are doing because Swift Current (about the same size as Yorkton) gives that ball club some pretty amazing support. Arencibia opened up about the mental health struggles which ended his career early and was asked if he’s patched things up with Gregg Zaun yet from their feud in the media a few years ago.
“HELL NO!” says J.P.
I’m thinking that getting those 2 in a room together would make for a really entertaining sports dinner somewhere in Saskatchewan in the near future.
8. BEST PART OF RAPTORS WIN: Matt Devlin’s call of Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer, “GASOL FROM REGINA!” Somebody should ask Gasol if he knows where Regina is. Actually, someone should ask Matty Devlin if he knows where Regina is.
9. WHL FINALS: The Prince Albert Raiders are kings of the Western Hockey League after last night’s game 7 overtime win over the Vancouver Giants. I listened to the incredible finish on the Giants radio network with former Battlefords North Star broadcaster Dan O’Connor and the legendary Bill Wilms. Wilms even referred to Raiders game-winning goal scorer Dante Hannoun as a “pain in the ass” to the Giants. It’s a big win for small town Saskatchewan to beat Vancouver just a year after Swift Current won the dub’s biggest prize. It will be nice to have a team to cheer for in the Memorial Cup next week. Pretty embarrassing for the WHL to NOT have a quality TV broadcast for its championship in a year when the SJHL did!
10. WEEKLY WISDOM: In the words of Regina Red Sox GM Bernie Eiswirth, “When you treat it big league, it becomes big league.”
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)