Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: The Lamest of the Lame
Top 5 – Really Lame Team Names
5. New Westminster Salmonbellies (WLA) –
While not overly intimidating, simply calling yourselves the Salmon would likely have garnered significantly less mockery.
4. University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (NCAA) –
Now warriors on its own is a fairly good team name… but adding rainbow in front of it kinda takes away all the toughness associated with warrior (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
3. Jacksonville Tea Men (defunct NASL) –
Why am I not surprised that one of the more homosexual team names in this salute comes to us from the soccer world? Actually they where initially going to be named after the men who bag the tea but opted to replace “baggers” with “men” due to public pressure.
2. Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichoke (NJCAA) –
Wow. Just wow. Where did they ever come up with this load of crap? Did the school’s founding father engage in a vicious fight to the death with an artichoke? Have there been actual cases of gangs of artichokes attacking innocent bystanders? Is there an artichoke division in the local boxing circuit? I’d like to know what gave them the idea to go with the aggressive vegetable mascot.
Winner: Montgomery Biscuits (AA Baseball) –
They say truth is stranger than fiction and this team is no exception. So rather than come up with my own material on this team I will just relay some interesting tidbits about the team. During the game, instead of saying “Hey batter, batter, batter”, Montgomery fans say “Hey butter, butter, butter”. And during the game they shoot biscuits into the crowd with air cannons. What better way to celebrate Uncle-Daddy Day than to treat your uncle-daddy to an air born biscuit and some good old fashion biscuit-themed heckling. (Remind me again why people in the Deep South are allowed to breed…)
Dishonourable Mentions: Indiana State University Sycamores (NCAA), Roanoke Steam (defunct AF2) – You know things are bad when trees and vaporized water aren’t even lame enough to crack the top 5.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday Morning Sentimonies: Canada’s Crotch
Personally I’m more confused by the comments than offended. Obviously Kelly has a very different interpretation of the word “raided” than me because I don’t consider acquiring a brutal CB, a bunch of back-up lineman and an unproven receiver (that you had to give up your best O-linemen for) as “raided”. But that’s just me.
As for the “crotch” part of his comments, I do not take offense. Personally I’m quite proud of my crotch and in my experience…umm how shall I put this? … good things happen at the crotch. Also anatomically speaking, next to the crotch you generally find the anus… which I guess by Kelly’s figuring would be Manitoba (marking the first time I actually agree with him).
Maybe Kelly just mis-heard the guy who told him the capital of Saskatchewan is Regina.
Anywho, at least he didn’t call us Canada’s duodenum or ileocecal junction or common bile duct or something like that… because then I would have taken offense.
I hope these comments have the same effect as Troy Westwood’s infamous banjo comments because if that’s the case we are but 5 months away from the inaugural Crotch Bowl (you just might not want to drink out of the trophy).
Perhaps this next news item is a bit ill-timed after a story about crotches but anyway…
We finally have a plea entered in the Eric Tillman case. Last week a plea of not guilty was entered by Aaron Fox and a pre-trial conference was set for Jun 11. I love the efficiency of our justice system - 3 court appearances (totaling no more than 15 mins) over 3 months all for 2 words to be uttered and the case set aside for another 2 months. Can you imagine if lawyers were paid by the case as opposed to the hour?
Former Bomber GM Brendan Taman has publicly stated that he will not be waiting for the Riders anymore and will be pursuing other opportunities. Which may be the best news of the week. I am vehemently (good word) opposed to that man having any decision making power with respect to our roster.
The CFL Draft goes Saturday. If you’ve got nothing better to do (and let’s face it, if you’re reading this blog right now, you really don’t) join me for my Second Annual Live Draft Day Blogging. Follow along with the Prophet’s uncensored, unedited, largely incoherent commentary taking you from the 1st pick right up until I get distracted and start watching reruns of The Golden Girls. I sure will miss Bea Arthur.
CFL Ins and Outs (none of which I care enough to write anything about)
In: Dwayne Carpenter (re-signed), OL Jon Gott (2008 draft pick signing)
In: DB Mike McEachern, LB Marcus Richardson (free agent signing)
Out: Clarence Coleman (cut)
In: Travis Moore (hired as RB Coach/Offensive Assistant)
Out: WR Earnest Jackson, DE Adam Kania, DE Dominic Lewis (cut)
In: QB James Kilian, DL Montez Murphy
In: Darnell Terrell, DB Emanuel White, RB Ciatrick Fason, RB Arkee Whitlock (free agent signing)
Out: DB J.R. Larose, DB Wale Dada, RB AJ Harris (cut)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Fictitious Animals Round 2
Top 5 Made-Up Animals - Encore
5. Odessa Jackalopes (Central Hockey League) –
For those of you who aren’t up on your imaginary animals (shame on you) a Jackalope is basically a rabbit with antlers. This team makes this list purely because it reminds me of America’s Funniest People with Dave Coulier.
4. Lincoln Saltdogs (Minor League Baseball) –
Next time you bite into a delicious Premium Plus salted cracker, take a second to remember the poor saltdog that was ground in smithereens to make it.
3. Grand Prairie AirHogs (Minor League Baseball) –
I’ll stop mocking this team… when pigs fly. (That may be the most relevant use I’ve ever gotten out of that expression). Anyone else immediately think of Pigs In Space when they saw this team?
2. Lakeland Flying Tigers (Minor League Baseball) –
It would take some pretty powerful drugs… or a big catapult… for me to ever witness a tiger in flight. (Note to self: look into acquiring catapult and tiger)
Winner: Charleston Lowgators (defunct NBA D-League) –
Dishonourable Mentions: Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Minor League Baseball)
Monday, April 20, 2009
Face of the Franchise
Monday Morning Sentimonies: Needs More Updation
How how about some updation on the Riders…
Last week the team announced the signing of DL Gabe Nyenhuis, WR Brandon Myles and WR Byron Ross. While I would love to get excited about these guys and research their playing history and what not, I will hold off until training camp before I put too much effort into learning about our new guys. Last year I got burned after putting a bunch of effort into writing about Matt Chatelaine, Amariah Farrow and Quentin Jones.
With these signings the team has 4 remaining spots left on the roster to fill their 75 man training camp roster (Canadian draft picks attending their first camp don't count towards the 75). Of those remaining spots, one is no doubt earmarked for a QB. Regardless, I doubt there will be much more in the way of signings until after the NFL draft… which thankfully is this weekend otherwise I may have to sink to new lows with the filler I’d be reduced to posting.
Season ticket sales have hit the 23,000 mark (including flex-packs and sponsorship). This is an amazing accomplishment for the team given that it wasn’t that long ago that you could barely give Rider tickets away, let alone convince someone to pay for them. All signs point to the sell-out streak continuing… which of course means that you expect to hear a lot of people publicly complaining about how they were unfairly deprived of a tickets… a Saskatchewan tradition since 2007.
Matt Dominguez says his knee is healed and he’s ready to play this season. Now where have I heard this before? Oh right we’ve heard it for each of the 37 previous times Dominguez has injured his knee. While MD is a standout guy, a leader in the locker room and an immensely talented receiver (when he’s not on crutches) who I would love to see back on the field for us… I will wait until I hear a medical professional validate his claims before I start believing.
Michael Bishop’s bid to go undefeated as a starter for the Corpus Christi Hammerheads didn’t pan out (shocking I know). Bishop was picked off twice in a loss to Abilene Ruff Riders… meaning it was the most proficient Bishop has ever been when it came to completing passes to Riders.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: Jason Goss (contract extension)
Goss was the Esks best DB last season but he’ll have to do even better this season in order to compensate for the offseason acquisitions (Malbrough and Gordon) with which he may share the field with this year.
In: OL Andrew Woodruff (free agent signing)
Not sure how the Als plan to maintain their culturally mandated ratio of players with French names if they keep signing guys with names like Woodruff.
In: Angus Reid (contract extension)
To clarify this has nothing to do with that company that does all those surveys and polls.
In: Derick Armstrong (contract extension), WR Justin Surrency, RB Yvenson Bernard (free agent signing)
Due to my aforementioned poor work ethic and utter laziness I have nothing to write about these players.
In: WR Frank Murphy, K Justin Medlock (free agent signing)
Out: WR Jeron Harvey, WR Abraham Morlu (cut)
Morlu (who you may remember is the Liberian sprinter) was signed by the Argos last month. At the time, I predicted that he wouldn’t amount to much as a football player. While I was right, I assumed the Argos would at least wait until he set foot on a football field before they came to the same conclusion. Maybe Bart Andrus isn’t as misguided as I first thought… then again Andrus was the one who signed him only to cut him a month later so maybe I was right all along.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Really?
Monday, April 13, 2009
Monday Morning Sentimonies: They’re Back
If you thought I was short on actual football material last week, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This week, CFL news is thinner than that sorry excuse for toilet paper you find in public bathrooms. Now if you’re a regular reader you know that when news gets thin its time for the return of Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts. Regular readers will also notice very little difference from my normal posts.
- It was announced last week that this upcoming season the CFL would be celebrating the 60’s with retro games throughout the year complete with retro uniforms (yes, more jerseys for you to shell out for). I have always maintained that it’s not a true retro game unless the players wear those leather helmets and replace their shoulder pads with frozen steaks, apparently the league doesn’t agree with me on this one.
- Whether you’re for or against it, you might as well come to terms with the fact that Saskatchewan will be getting a new stadium… and it will be domed. If you don’t like the idea of a dome then I challenge you to submit a business plan to Brad Wall that could make a multi-million dollar tax payer investment that is only used 10 times a year profitable. (If you do manage to come up with one please pass it by me first so I can review your work to ensure it is of the highest quality… prior to stealing the idea and passing it off as my own).
- Michael Bishop has resurfaced… but before you start panicking and planning Tonya Harding-style attacks… I should tell you that he resurfaced in the Indoor Football League. He’ll be playing for the Corpus Christi Hammerheads. My sincerest apologies to the fans in Corpus Christi (assuming they have any). The good news here is that the IFL gets zero TV coverage so the embarrassment you are about to endure won’t be publicly viewable.
- What a disappointing weekend for Canadian sports. Our women lost the hockey World Championships to the US and then Kevin Martin goes out and chokes on his final shot to lose to Scotland. I guess things could be worse. We could have been one of those countries whose highest aspiration for this year’s curling championships was a 9th place finish to sneak into next year’s Olympics. Good for you China!
CFL Ins and Outs
In: Sherko Haji-Rasouli, Ryan Phillips, Lavar Glover (contract extensions), DB Jon Guice, OL Andrew Jones WR Dereck Faulkner, WR Jason Jones, WR Eric McCain (free agent signing)
I think BC has now extended every starter on their roster this offseason. In addition to the 3 names above, the list of extensions signed this year includes Miles, Glatt, Hunt, Wilson, Pierce, Banks, Marsh, Jimenez, both Jacksons, Simon, and McCallum. I guess Buono intends to take next offseason off.
In: LB Tim Goodwell, DL Alex Morrow, WR David Ball, WR Airese Currie, WR LaShaun Ward (free agent signing)
What an odd collection of first names. Airese? LaShaun? David? I mean what were their parents thinking?
In: DE Ben Ishola, DE David McMillan (free agent signing)
I thought about trying to write something about these two but then realized I don’t really care much about the Argonauts… and I’m guessing neither do you.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Rider Prophet Salutes Bad Team Names: Are you sure?
Top 5 - Maybe You Should Have Gone With An Animal
5. Columbia Crew (MLS) – I can’t believe this is soccer’s first appearance in a series dedicated to all that is mockable in the sporting world. Actually most soccer teams have avoided this salute because they tend to just go with FC (unimaginative, yes. mockable, no). But Columbia (in their infinite wisdom) decided to buck the trend and use their imagination (though I use the term extremely loosely in this case). Though it defies logic, in trying to set themselves apart from the FCs of the world, they actually managed to come up with an even less imaginative team name. Though I guess we should expect nothing less from soccer players.4. Greensville Groove (defunct NBA D-League) – You deserve to be a defunct franchise if groove is the best you can come up with. Maybe they got complacent.
3. Tri-Cities Fever (AF2) – The only cure for this bad name is more cowbell.
2. Bakersfield Jam (NBA D-League) – If I didn’t know this was a basketball team I would assume it was a product my mom would buy at the supermarket. Any sports team that can cross-promote itself with something I put on my morning toast deserves my mockery.
Winner: Roanoke Dazzle (defunct NBA D-League) –
Acceptable uses for the term Dazzle include children’s dolls, strippers and female gladiators. Not sports teams.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Monday Morning Sentimonies: Not Much Going On
- Football is still 2 months away
- The NHL playoffs haven’t started yet
- Baseball just started up again (not that anyone cares) meaning the countdown is on until the Blue Jays are officially eliminated form postseason contention sometime next month (roughly 6,412 games into the regular season)
- If you’re like most people, the NCAA tournament hasn’t mattered for weeks now since the Final Four you picked were all eliminated by the 2nd round.
- And even though we are doing well, Men’s World Curling Championships are barely worth watching since it's just Kevin Martin and co. utterly embarrassing the amateur curlers the rest of the world has sent. I’m waiting for Johnny Mo to start wearing a blindfold just to try and make things somewhat challenging for himself.
All this leaves me trying to turn the 2 or 3 tiny snippets of CFL news into a post that’s worth reading. As you’ll see, I only moderately succeeded in this venture. But you've made it this far so you might as well hang in there now.
The big Rider news was of course the signing of rookie Jonathan St. Pierre. We drafted St. Pierre last year in the 2nd round with a pick we acquired from Edmonton in the Jyles/Perry trade. He was considered to be one of the top college prospects at centre this year. However, odds were slim of him being selected in the NFL draft so he opted to sign with the Riders rather than try and catch on as a free agent in the NFL.
A big part of that decision likely had to do with the contract the Riders offered. It is a 3 years plus an option deal that is reportedly one of the biggest contracts ever offered to a Canadian rookie. The contract is structured so that St-Pierre gets a $10,000 signing bonus and a $48,000 salary this year. The salary will increase each season and by the final year of the deal he will be making around $70,000. While it’s more money upfront than normal, if he develops into the next Jeremy O’Day as the coaches are hoping, $70K could end up being a steal of a deal 2-3 years down the road.
In other CFL news, the plan to build a new stadium in Winnipeg has been made official. The new 30,000 person stadium is slated to open in 2011. As per the deal, David Aspers becomes the new team owner and will also acquire the old Canadinns Stadium site in return for investing $100 million into the new stadium. While this is great news for the Blue Bombers and the CFL as a whole, one thing doesn’t sit right with me… the price tag. The stadium is apparently going to cost only $140 million. That’s surprising given that we’ve been told a new stadium here would run in the $250 – 350 million range. What are they building this thing out of? Lego? Recycled concrete? Shredded Chinese newspaper and expired glue? Then again, I guess you can cut some corners in construction when your structure only has to be strong enough to support the weight of 37 fans. Unless the residents of Saskatchewan have been blatantly lied to, I see this project having only 2 possible endings… 1 – it will end up being way over budget due to “rising construction costs” or 2 – a catastrophic structural collapse killing all of the aforementioned 37 Bomber fans (not that that would be a huge loss to society).
Of course this news has re-ignited debate over a new stadium for Saskatchewan. While I do think we will eventually get one, Manitoba had one big advantage over us when it came to making a new stadium a reality… a big private investor. Given that we currently lack one of those, our best bet is to follow the model Springfield used when they opened Duff Beer Krusty Burger Buzz Cola Costington's Department Store Kwik-E-Mart Stupid Flanders Park and amass a bunch a smaller private investors. The Saskatchewan equivalent could be the Wisers Whiskey Milkyway Empire Hotel Hillbilly Vac Shack Rider Prophet Media Source Adult Video Stupid Michael Bishop Stadium.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: OL Todd Londot, OL Dan Oliphant (free agent signing)
Anyone else get a chuckle out of an O-lineman whose name sounds a lot like elephant?
In: DB Jerald Brown
Brown is another “superstar” of the AFL who ventured north looking for a pay cheque when the AFL went on hiatus… expect him to accomplish nothing up here and return to the AFL next season when they start back up to resume his “superstar” career.
Out: RB Rodney Kinlaw (cut)
At first I thought the hiring of Mike Kelley would be a great move by the Bombers, then he willingly acquired James Johnson and I started having my doubts. Then he claimed that he would not cut Kevin Glenn rather than pay his bonus and my doubt increased. Then he started replacing his all-star linemen with the Riders back-ups and my skepticism was pretty much cemented. Now he releases Kinlaw who he just signed back in February. His work thus far reminds me a lot of his previous boss Danny Maciocia… and we all know how well that one is going for the Eskimos.
In: Baron Miles (contract extension)
Miles was rumoured to be on the chopping block back in January so I’m guessing this extension constitutes a pay cut, despite the fact that he has been one of the top safeties over the past few seasons. Wally Buono is about as willing to spend big on aging veterans as the Riders are.
In: DE Fernand Kashama (free agent signing)
His brother already plays for the Stamps… in other news I put next to zero effort in writing something interesting about this move.
In: Anthony Malbrough (trade with Winnipeg)
Out: RB Damien Anderson (cut)
Edmonton’s secondary wasn’t that good to begin with and this offseason they’ve added Scott Gordon and Anthony Malbrough… that’s atrocious. This will be the ultimate test for Richie Hall’s coaching abilities… though I guess to be fair the Gordon/James Johnson combo Hall previously had to deal with was no better.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Most Complicated Trade In History
Yesterday the Riders were involved in a 3-way trade and if you’re like most people you’re still trying to decipher exactly what happened. I’ll do my best to break it down for you.
First we made a trade with Winnipeg:
Neg Rights to RB Tyler Roehl
5th Round Pick in ‘09
5th Round Pick in 2010 or 2012
The option of: Swapping 1st round picks with Winnipeg in 2010, or Swapping in 2011 or 2 future 2nd round picks.
Neg Rights to QB Brian Johnson
6th Round Pick in 2010
5th Round Pick in 2012
We then turned around and cut a deal with Hamilton:
2nd Round Pick in 2009 (9th Overall)
5th Round Pick in 2009
I also think that somewhere in the deal we get Hamilton’s waterboy and the rights to Mike Kelley’s first born son.
So essentially this trade boils down to giving up Bowman and Morin-Roberge for Rempel and a 2nd Round pick then a whole bunch of minor draft picks, some neg rights and a Canadian CB we signed only 2 weeks ago. Oh Brady Browne we hardly knew ye… check that… we didn’t know ye at all.
Aside from it being ridiculously complicated, I like this trade. We end up with a highly touted young Canadian OL (who happens to be another Saskatchewan boy), a high draft pick (guess my workload just doubled for my live draft day blogging) and the right to swap 1st rounders with the Bombers (who suck). And all we had to give up was an unproven import receiver and an even more unproven back-up lineman. That’s a victory in my books.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Bowman is a talented receiver and he may end up having a big year but we are fairly deep at receiver and a promising young Canadian lineman is a way better investment than a promising young American receiver.
As for the other teams involved… I think Hamilton made out pretty good. True, they had to give up a promising young Canadian and a top 10 draft pick but they got a proven starter at tackle that should have an immediate impact on the team. Last year they were forced to start Charles Thomas at tackle, now they can start a 2-time all-star and former Outstanding Lineman nominee… that’s a resounding success no matter how you look at it.
Winnipeg however didn’t do very well in my opinion. They traded away an all-star tackle for an unproven receiver and a back-up lineman. My only explanation is that Mike Kelley must have assumed that Jean-Francois Morin-Roberge was two linemen, not just one with a beast of a name. It would not surprise me in the least to see Bowman light it up next year, he has all the talent in the world, just no idea how to translate that into actually catching the ball. However, with Armstrong, Bryant and Edwards it’s not like the Bombers were in dire need of an American receiver and what they are doing to their O-line is mind boggling.
So far this offseason they have lost two all-star linemen (Goodspeed and Gauthier) and the most promising young centre in the league (Picard) and their replacement strategy appears to be acquire all the lineman not good enough to start in Saskatchewan (January, Morley, and now Frenchy McFour Names). If you look at the offseason overall the Bombers have severely downgraded their O-line and all they have to show for it is a receiver who can’t catch. I sincerely hope LeFors is a good scrambler.
Given all the neg rights and future draft picks, we’ll likely have to wait another decade to see how this trade pans out but on the surface this looks like a really good trade by the Riders.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Riders Exceed Cap… Again
Truth be told this news is about as surprising as the Maple Leafs missing the playoffs given how our 2008 season went. I mean when you break it down that’s only about $10 per injury. Okay maybe that's exaggerating a bit but given that there were times last season when our injury list was almost as long as our active roster it’s not like this is a big shocker. Given that the team is still experiencing record high revenues it’s not like this causes any real harm.
As with last year the important thing is that we didn’t exceed by more than $100K and that we don’t have to forfeit any draft picks… not that we have any to forfeit in the first place. I wonder if the league rules cover what to do if a team exceeds the cap by more than $100K but has already traded away all their picks. Part of me actually wanted us to exceed the cap by $100K just to see what the league would do? I mean seriously what are they going to do? Confiscate Mike Stadnyk?
We can all rest assured that our precious 3rd round pick is safe (at least until we decide to trade it so the coaches can take draft day off).
One thing that does scare me though is the trend I see appearing. In ’07 Tillman went on a massive salary paring mission and we ended up exceeding the cap due to an unprecedented amount of injuries. In ’08 Tillman was even more cap-conscience and built in some room under the cap to handle injuries but we endured an even more unprecedented amount of injuries and exceeded the cap by even more. At this rate the only result I can see is either a natural disaster or the bubonic plague resulting in our entire team being wiped out and us having to start from scratch at mid-season (don’t say I didn’t warn you).