Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: A Blast From The Past

The only thing really going on in the football world is we are awaiting the NFL draft... where all of the top college football players eagerly wait to see what team they won't get to play for this upcoming season. As a result, I have no football related sentimonies. (I'm sure your all shocked).

What I do have for you though is something I found at my Grandpa's while visiting over Easter. Like many kids I had a subscription to Disney Adventures Magazine. I happened to stumble across an old issue of that magazine that was kicking around the house. Normally I wouldn't have given it a second glance but this particular cover caught my eye.  Here's the cover:

It's amazing how something that wasn't given a second thought at the time now seems so ominously wrong and creepy. For those of you that are curious #8 on the list is that Michael Jackson is very ticklish. Poor Pinocchio never knew what he was getting himself into... the first clue things were going wrong should have been Jackson's overt encouraging of him to lie.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Update: When It Rains It Pours

After surviving for weeks on end on scattered crumbs of football news, this week I have been inundated with noteworthy items and actually will have some substance to a post beyond trying in vain to turn my obscure observations on a solitary event into a post. The plus side is that after weeks of turning relative crap into publicly published literary content, I’m now qualified for a career running political campaigns should my current job not pan out.  

The biggest news was of course the City’s unveiling of the Regina Revitalization plan. It’s a huge, billion dollar, multi-year plan to redevelop the CP rail yards and the current Mosaic stadium property. Phase 1 involves a complete redevelopment of the rail yards including hotels, restaurants, retail and condo properties which will all of course be anchored by a new stadium… ahem sorry a new… multipurpose facility. You see the city has explicitly kept any mention of the Riders to a bare minimum. Once the new stadi … err Multipurpose Facility is up and running, Taylor Field will be demolished and the land will be turned into a new residential neighbourhood. The end result will be stunning improvement to both sites and the city as a whole and will result in a dramatic increase in tax revenue from the properties, not to mention the economic impact of the construction and resulting commercial outlets. Bottom line this is an ambitious project by the city but the end result will be massive. The best part is the plan calls for 75% funding to come from the private sector.

The only thing I find kinda weird about this whole thing is how we go from needing $100 million from the federal government or the project is a no-go to a situation where only 25% funding is needed from governments in general for this to happen. Now its partly due to expanding the scope of the project… for the private sector there is minimal gains to be made on a stadium alone… but a large scale redevelopment of commercial and residential properties equals $$$$$ for them.

The other thing is that this is some very smart wording/marketing by the city. Clearly the private sector funding only a small % of the original proposal sounds awful compared to them funding 75% of the newest incarnation… that sounds awesome. But let’s not forget that the scope of the project has expanded from a $430 million stadium to over a billion dollar mega project. 25% of a billion-plus is a lot of money and I would guess that the bulk of that 25% will be going towards the stadium and the 75% private sector’s contribution will mostly be towards the commercial and residential development since that is their cash cow.  Like I said before… it’s all wordsmithing.  If they wanted to make this look even better they could tie in Harbour Landing under the “urban redevelopment” umbrella and the % of government funding would decrease even further even though the actual dollars needed would remain unchanged.

The Riders added 2 import receivers yesterday, Efrem Hill and Ernie Wheelright. By this point in the season I tend not to get too excited about signings since there is a very real possibility that they might not make it to main camp. The way I see it we are pretty set at receiver so if one of these new guys is good enough to unseat one of the current guys that’s just a bonus for us.

Personally I’m hoping Efrem Hill doesn’t make the team. Not because I have anything in particular against the guy… just because the name Efrem has forever been tarnished for me by the following scene from Family Guy.

I somehow doubt Mr. Hill would appreciate the nickname "Efrem the Retarded Rabbit" that is now permanently ingrained in my head for him.

By far the most shocking story of the week was the news that BC returner Yonus Davis has been arrested in California on charges of drug trafficking. It’s not really surprising that an import player got himself in a little trouble down south over the offseason (especially someone Roy Shivers recruited). But to call Yonus Davis’ predicament “a little trouble” would be like calling World War 2 a minor disagreement between countries. Davis was allegedly in possession of 67 pounds of ecstasy! Now unless Davis was putting on a rave for elephants, its going to be tough to explain the need for that much ecstasy unless you happen to be a big time drug dealer.

Now given the meagre salaries most imports work for in the CFL its not uncommon for them to get other offseason jobs… however while some players are selling cars/houses, substituting as gym teachers or even working security, Davis opted instead for multi-million dollar drug trafficker. While that line of work is far more lucrative than the other options is does come with certain risks such as inability to play football again, fines, lengthy imprisonment and a sore anus.

Davis was an exciting player to watch so it would be a shame is his career was done but things are not looking good… 67 pounds!!!

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: QB Adam Tafralis (released)
Apparently Tafralis asked for his release because he was tired of being stuck at 3rd string and wants to go to a team where he’ll get to play. His options will be fairly limited though as outside of Winnipeg and possibly Edmonton no one is really looking for a 2nd string QB. If it’s playing time Tafralis wants, signing with Winnipeg should be his top priority.

In: LB JC Sheritt
Out: RB Chris Ciezki (retired)

In: LB James Yurichuk (contract extension)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

Football related news has been fairly sparse so you're stuck with the random thoughts from my meandering mind.

- Chunky Adams didn't last long on the unemployment line as he signed a 2 year deal with the Eskimos. While I'm glad a stand-up guy like Chunky has landed on his feet, the irony here is that Chunky was always very paranoid that Eric Tillman was trying to get rid of Shiv's guys (Chunky included) and now when Taman ends up ousting him, Tillman is the one to step up a sign Chunky. Football makes strange bedfellows... so does pain medication (too soon?)
- By far my favourite comment from the NHL playoffs so far is this mildly offensive comment from Glen Healy...

That's as far as my mind got today. With any luck by mid week I'll have a few more things to opine about.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Actual Sentimonies

My apologies for my complete and utter lack of effort on Monday. The good news for you is that there has been some actual news over the past few days.

The biggest is the news from Mayor Fiacco that an announcement will becoming in the next few weeks regarding a stadium. My guess is that it will be something along the lines of a new stadium at the rail yards (no roof) in conjunction with a complete redevelopment of the current Taylor Field land into a new residential neighbourhood.  There is a chance we might be able to squeeze some cash out of the federal government out of the deal.

Now I can hear you saying "I thought the feds said no money for us". Well that's partly true. What they said was no money for stadiums. but they might fund "urban redevelopment". In politics its all word-smithing these days. For example, the government would never fund a program to give guns to rednecks to shoot cats but they would if it were re-packaged as as providing employment opportunity to a socially disadvantaged group that recycles surplus military equipment, helps clean our inner city streets of vermin and provides supplies to help boost the Asian food industry.

Either way it should be a positive move for the city both in terms of football and in terms of large scale urban redevelopment.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: LB TJ Hill (contract extension)
Out: RB Brad Lester (cut)

In: WR Timohy Brown, WR Bobby Guillory, WR Damian Sherman (free agent signing)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thought of the Day

I was walking downtown today and Chris Best was walking toward me. I got around him with relative ease. I take that to mean that he's either a mediocre blocker or that I should be a pass rusher in the CFL.

** As you can tell I have no sentimonies today. Check back for some actual thoughts later in the week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Riders Exceed Cap

It’s beginning to become one of the signs of spring… an announcement form the CFL that the Riders have exceeded the Salary Cap and smattering of furor from fans across the league (including our own). For the 3rd time in 4 years the Riders have gone over the cap. This year it was by $26,677 (compared to $76,552 in ’07 and $87,147 in ’08). As with previous years we have been fined an equivalent amount.

Personally I could care less that we exceeded the cap by such a microscopic amount. Hell, I actually wonder if we were going to get fined, why we didn’t go over by another $70,000? I’m sure that kind of cash could have helped with recruitment and retention. As long as we aren’t losing draft picks I say spend away. It’s not like the team can’t afford the fine. 

Admittedly the optics of a team who campaigned for years for an enforceable cap being the worst offender is somewhat ironic and far from ideal but who cares? Some people are calling us cheaters but that’s not true. The rules say if you spend over the cap you get fined. We spent over the cap and paid are fine so therefore are following the rules. That’s like calling on offensive lineman a cheater for getting called for holding… he’s only really a cheater if he doesn’t get caught.

According to Brendan Taman, us being over had to do with a bunch of players reaching some incentives in their contracts that were not budgeted for. I can believe that. I mean who honestly would have thought that Fantuz would lead the league in receiving or that Durant would pass for 5500 yards or that Wes Cates would score 16 TDs? 

But of course it’s just not in my nature not to blame somebody and shower hate in their direction. And so I shall. I will naturally have to blame Taman. Admittedly I am not a big Taman fan but I do have to concede he’s done a decent job so far… with the exception of 2 moves that are directly related to us exceeding the cap. The first was paying Dorsey a 6 figure salary including a big fat signing bonus.  I never liked that deal from the beginning and it actually turned out worse than I ever could have imagined. 

The second was acquiring Prechae Rodriguez. Not only was Rodriguez an overrated pussy, he also came with a decent sized contract. So big in fact that Jason Clermont was asked to take a paycut so we could accommodate it on our payroll. Clermont should be elevated to near sainthood for accepting less money so that it could go to a no-talent sack of crap instead. Don’t ever let it be said that Clermont is not a stand-up guy. 

Besides knowing Clermont’s knack for realty he probably just made the money back from Rodriguez by helping him buy a condo… one that he probably had to help him sell again by midseason. 

If either of these moves doesn't happen, we likely stay under the cap. But as I said I don't really care as long as we don't lose draft picks... I just feel compelled to hate people. I have issues, I know.

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: OL Luke Fritz (cut)

In: Arland Bruce (contract extension)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Opining and Pontificating

I have nothing is particular to discuss today so I’ll just opine and pontificate on a number of thoughts that have popped into my head over the past few days

- With Kitwana and Omarr already having been ousted, the release of Chunky Adams means that Darian Durant and Sean Lucas are the lone remaining imports brought in under Roy Shivers. Shiv has only been gone 5 years but I guess it just goes to show you that that is a lifetime in professional football. 

- The contrast between the previous imports that Shiv had to jettison when he showed up and the ones that Taman now has to let go is like night and day though. I bet Shiv would have killed to be a position to cut guys like Chunky and Omarr in the early 2000s.
- Jim Hopson has been discussing the possibility of Regina putting a bid in for the 2013 Grey Cup. Personally I’m not sure it’s worth our time. BC and Toronto are up for the next 2 years. After that Winnipeg (and the new fancy new stadium they building) and Ottawa (whenever they get on the field) will definitely take priority over us. That means 2015 would be the soonest we could reasonably expect another cup. And by then Hamilton will have a renovated stadium they want to show off so it’s not like it’s a sure thing even then.

- Traditionally there are 2 things that the League has given priority for hosting Grey Cups based on. 1) As a reward for building a new stadium or renovating an existing which is a positive for the league (i.e. BC this year) or 2) To help bail out a cash strapped team (i.e. both times Regina got to host the event). Since we are about the farthest thing from cash strapped and have yet do anything with our aging facility we will have to accept our fate as being low on the priority list for Grey Cups… of course if this could all change rather quickly if we ever got around to making a decision on a new stadium. 

- The Eskimos have signed Jamie “The Juggernaut” Boreham. I swear Eric Tillman only has one plan that he applies to whatever team he happens to be running. The key steps include forcing the star QB to take a big pay cut; systematically cutting any import who is over 30 and not working for league minimum; commit to starting a Canadian at corner and acquiring Donovan Alexander and Joel Lipinksi to handle the job; bring in Kavis Reed, Adarius Bowman and Jamie Boreham; and piss off Mo Lloyd for good measure.

- The opening of training camp in June seems a lifetime away.

- At the rate the weather is going this year, the Riders had better plan for snow during training camp.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Thoughts

As you no doubt know, today is April Fools Day. Now each year various news outlets and message board posters make up a bunch of ridiculously false stories in an attempt to get people in a frenzy. It’s surprising and somewhat saddening how often it still seems to work. I however realize that my devoted readers are above such shenanigans. 
I mean I could have posted headlines such as:
- Riders sign Jesus to Fill Void Left by Andy Fantuz
- Rider Prophet is endowed with an eleven inch penis
- James Johnson to be inducted into the Plaza of Honour along with Jim Daley and Jason French.

But clearly you would have seen right through these lies. I mean if Jesus were to play sports it would as a goaltender in the NHL since everyone knows Jesus Saves. Admittedly, the Rider Prophet’s manhood is not eleven inches… its 12 and a half but who’s counting? As for the last one, while I’m fairly certain that the hollowed ranks of the Plaza will not be sullied by Daley or French, it’s sadly very likely that there will come a day when James Johnson is honoured as being among the greatest Riders in the history of the franchise. Part of me will die that day. 

Anywho, now that the obligatory April Fools commentary is out of the way let’s turn our attention to the actual news... and by that I mean my Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts on what’s going on in the sporting world.

- The Riders have signed former Eskimo DL Dario Romero (2 year deal worth $80,000/season) to fill the void left behind by the departure of Chunky. At the ripe old age of 32, Romero is a short term solution but the price is right and he’s a proven force on the interior of the D-line. If it wasn’t clear before that Greg Marshall has a different philosophy about the D-line than Etch did, it sure is now. While Marshall is bringing in big guys like Curious George and Romero, Etch would likely have openly discussing converting Tad Kornegay and Weston Dressler to defensive tackle.

- A big trade went down this week as the Bombers shipped QB Steven Jyles to the Argos in exchange for a 1st round pick in 2011 and a 4th rounder in 2012. Now I realize that the Bombers are almost barren of Canadian talent and desperate to restock the shelves but it would seem to be an unwise move to trade away your only experienced back-up when your starter has never come close to completing a season. They are unwisely placing all their eggs in the Buck Pierce basket… and if history is any indicator the handle of that basket will likely break off when a slight breeze rolls in and the bottom will collapse during a routine stroll.

- As much as the Argos needed to do something to address their embarrassingly awful passing attack and as much as Jyles is an improvement over Cleo Lemon, its not like this is a miracle pill for the Argos either. For one, the Argos still have the least intimidating group of receivers in the CFL. Not to mention the fact that Jyles is coming off shoulder surgery and only recently began throwing again. Cleo Lemon had offseason hand surgery and still isn’t throwing the ball yet, meaning that Dalton Bell is currently their only healthy QB.

- There is a very real chance that there could be bidding war between these 2 teams for Michael Bishop by Labour Day.

- The March Madness finals are right around the corner… but as with most years my bracket has been thrown in the trash at this point so I really could care less. Well that’s not entirely true, I still have a chance to win some money if there is somehow a double disqualification in the Kentucky/UConn game. Sadly this marks the most successful Prophet bracket ever.

- After 347 pre season games, the Major League regular season finally opened this week. I can barely contain my excitement as we are only a mere 4825 games away from determining which overly rich team will be successful in buying a pennant this year. It’s a wonder this game doesn’t attract more fans with drama like that.
- Baseball has the steroids scandal, hockey has the whole headshot controversy, the NFL has a lockout… I never thought I’d see the day when the CFL was shining beacon of normality in the sporting world.