As you enjoy your most recent reminder that winter in Saskatchewan is never really over (Lousy Smarch Weather), allow me to regale you with my sentimonies now that I've recovered enough to formulate thoughts and sentences beyond uggg and other such incomprehensible sounds. (Side note that level of communication would have allowed me to continue seamlessly blogging if I operated in Manitoba).
The big topic on the prairies this past week has been the transition plan to new Mosaic Stadium... this despite the ongoing provincial election campaign. If we are being truthful, the only way to bump election talk ahead of Rider talk would be for a party to promise that if you vote for them they would guarantee your choice of seats in the new stadium... or imply that the opposing party is planning on ruining your current seating arrangement.
The first details of the transition plan were released last week along with the prices for the new stadium. At this point details are fairly high level and until people actually start getting their new seat assignments are hard to say whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing. That said I have a couple initial observations on what has been released so far and both are relatively positive.
The first thought is that the new seat prices are less gaugey than I anticipated. It was a forgone conclusion that prices would increase in the new building and generally speaking they did but not by that much. They also kept the endzone seats pretty reasonable. Are the prices high for Saskatchewan and what we are sued to? Yeah. But in the grand scheme of pro sports and even the CFL, prices will still be pretty reasonable. Now I say that with 2 caveats. 1) Expect the increases in concessions costs to be way more gaugey. A $10 beer to wash down your $8 hot dog. 2) The Riders have opted for smaller but consistent increases over large one-time ones. So as they have every year (even the years where prices were "frozen" but the stadium improvement fee went up) prices will keep gradually increasing year over year. But that's just life.
The second thought is that the Riders seem to genuinely be doing their best to take care of the fans. Obviously there is no way they won't piss some people off. Its impossible to move over 25,000 people to a new seating configuration and not piss off somebody. But they genuinely seem to have done their homework and be taking steps to minimize that. From a fan perspective this may be the one positive of the Riders sucking so bad for the last season and a half. Had this transition occurred in the hay days of the "it doesn't matter what we do success and boat loads of money will come our way" Riders (2007-2010), I doubt they would have cared as much about the fans' "feelings" during this process. But the healthy dose of humility they were dealt last season may have reminded them about the importance of taking care of the people who have sustained this team over the years.
I will say that reserve the right to take back all the nice things I just said if the Riders give me a crappy seat assignment. Consider yourself warned Craig Reynolds.