Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations











It's Monday morning. Time to check out what's going on.

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The Montreal Alouettes showed they are the class of the early season CFL Saturday, with a 43-10 thrashing of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday in Regina. While the Riders defense was solid, they did have trouble containing Quarterback Anthony Calvillo. And the Saskatchewan offense(namely QB's Darian Durant and Steven Jyles) once again had trouble hanging onto the ball. Could QB of the future Graham Harell be the QB of the Now sooner than anyone expected? As Rider Radio Voice Rod Pedersen puts it, Harrell still has the learn the CFL game first. He's got to learn the Rider offense too. It's not like he'd crack the lineup in the next couple of weeks, or anything like that, but it's still a point to consider. A little less fumbleitis likely wouldn't have made a difference Saturday, but Jyles' fumble at the Montreal 2 killed any hopes of building some momentum for the Taylor Field squad. Riders host Edmonton next Saturday, with the CKRM broadcast beginning at 3:00pm EDT.

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In Canada, three things are certain: Death, taxes and the Hamilton TigerCats will suck. Well, that third "fact of life" is a bit less certain these days. Kevin Glenn, in relief of starter Quinton Porter, was 11 of 19 passing for 146 yards, 2 touchdown and 2 interceptions to lead Hamilton to it's second straight win, a 25-13 triumph over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The TiCats got receiving touchdowns from Dave Stala and Chris Davis, plus 13 points from kicker Nick Setta, who booted 3 field goals, 2 converts and 2 singles. Hamilton put up 19 second half points and held the Bombers to just 7, after being tied 6-6 at the half. Siddeeq Shabazz 30 yard interception was Winnipeg's only major score, while former Oregon State kicker Alexis Cerna booted 2 fieldgoals and a convert for 7 points.

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Maybe our friends to the North should now be saying: "Death, Taxes and the Toronto Argonauts suck." The Argos have now lost 16 of their last 21 games(They went 4-14 last season), following a 44-9 pounding at Calgary last Friday. In those 21 games, Toronto has scored just 472 points, while allowing 734. Quite a fall for the Double Blue, after 2007's 11-7-0 record was good enough to win the CFL East.

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Edmonton's Richie Hall might be on the hot seat early. The long-time Saskatchewan Roughriders player and assistant coach, who finally got his well deserved chance to be the head man in Edmonton this season, is 1-2, after the Eskimos lost 40-22 at home to the BC Lions last Thursday. Edmonton is off to a 1-2 start and fans of the CFL's best-known team in the States, probably won't stand for losing for long.

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Why all the interest in the CFL on an American-based blog? Well, why not? Quite frankly, if I had the choice between tickets to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I'd take the Riders every time. (Even my wife, a die-hard Bucs fan, has been heard around our house singing "Green is the Color" on Rider game days!) 12 men on the field, any number in motion towards the line of scrimmage, no fair catches and the famous "Rouge" for a kick that isn't run out of the endzone, make for a fun game. The CFL motto, "This Is OUR League" applies in the Meissner house, as well as across Canada. I found attempts by the Buffalo Bills to insert themselves as Toronto's team quite distressing. Now that those attempts are apparently over, fans of the CFL can breath a bit easier. Now, if the CFL can get a franchise going in Ottawa again(One has already been awarded to begin play next season, but is contingent on stadium improvements), plus another one out West(Saskatoon perhaps?), things will really get jumping up North.

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CFL standings through week #3:

In the West, Saskatchwan leads at 2-1 for 4 points(The CFL awards 2 points for a win, just like in hockey), followed by Calgary(the defending Grey Cup champs), BC and Edmonton, all at 1-2 for 2 points. In the East, Montreal(who lost in the 2008 Grey Cup to Calgary) is 3-0 for 6 ponts, followed by Hamilton at 2-1 for 4 points, then Winnipeg and Toronto, both 1-2 for 2 points. The season is 18 games long and the top three teams in each division make the playoffs.

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The Tampa Bay Rays swept the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. And the bullpen got the job done, which was good to see. If the Rays can't do that(beat the teams below them) on a consistant basis, then they have no business being as close as they are to first(4 1/2 back)in the AL East. And don't look now, but even though they are in third in the AL West, the Seattle Mariners are only 4 back. Could they be ready to make a move there as well? San Francisco(still my favorite team), is 7 1/2 back of the Trolley Dodgers in the NL West. Maybe someone could remind Barry Zito that he used to be a good pitcher in Oakland, before the Giants(so far have) wasted all that money on him. Still hard to believe that the Jints haven't won a World Series since leaving New York after the 1957 season. (They won their last World Series in 1954, the year before I was born.)

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In the NL East, Philadelphia is first, with Atlanta 6 1/2 back. St. Louis is 2 ahead of the Cubs, 3 ahead of Milwaukee and 4 clear of Houston in the Central and Los Angeles leads the West by 7 1/2 over San Francisco and 8 over Colorado.

In the AL East, Boston leads the Yankees by a game and Tampa Bay by 4 1/2. Detroit leads the Central by 1 1/2 over the White Sox and 2 over Minnesota. And the AL West is paced by that other Los Angeles team, who are 3 up over Texas and 4 ahead of Seattle.

There just might be some pennant races this summer after all.

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How much for the game of golf did Tom Watson's weekend at the British Open do? I'd say, a lot. It was heartbreaking to see him miss that putt on 18 Sunday that would have won the tournament, then lose by 6 shots to Stewart Cink in the 4-hole playoff. Some people actually believe that if Watson could be competitive at age 59, that is a bad thing for the sport. I say, as did Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated, that it should be a really good thing. Like he said on the TV coverage, how many people in their 50s, who have given up the game, will now dust off their clubs and hit the links again? Anything that can get people off their couches and out in the (somewhat) freah air, can't be so bad, can it?

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And finally(WHEW!) in sports, fan-run message boards are fun to read. But why, oh why, do people in Kearney, Nebraska(well, people is an overstatment. It's more like 2 or 3) think that fan message boards are a good way for team management to keep track of what "the fans" feel? I think it would be safe to say(I use that message board as an example, because I spent two seasons there as the radio voice of the USHL's Tri-City Storm) that less than 1% of the fans of the team there participate of that message board. In no way, should a fan run, non team-affiliated(or otherwise sanctioned) message board EVER be considered as representative of a significant cross section of that team's fans.

At the Storm fan board (http://www.stormreport.net)they are begging for a team staff member, like returning head cheese Greg Shea, to become a regular participant. Well, how much of a no-win situation do you think that would put him in? A couple of years ago, I spent some time there on that board, and actually took quite a bit of abuse from a couple of very vocal blowhards, because I had the "cajoonies" to disagree with them on more than one point. You want team management to hear what you think? Then contact them directly. (If message boards were that important to fan/management communications, then why do teams list contact information on their official websites?)

Of course, some teams just don't get how important communication with their fans is. (Are you listening Tampa Bay Rays? Probably not.)

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Things at home are pretty cool. (Well, as long as the air conditioner keeps working!) Jimmy, who has been cruising furniture for quite awhile, is now taking to cruising door frames and the like. Walking isn't far off. He also had tooth #5 break through the lower right gum line. He's still a bit on the small side, but his Baby Doctor(Little, teeny doctor!) is pleased with his progress. So are Mommy and Daddy.

Snoopy had his eight birthday yesterday, and Smoke continues to find it a challenge to find an escape route from the backyard out into the neighborhood each time he goes outside. We sure do love out fur kids!

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The weather continues to be typical for Florida. Heavy rain, lots of thunder and lightning overnight, but now mostly clear, sunny, hot and humid. Here in Florida, we have four seasons: Hot, Really Hot, Unbearably Hot and Holy S#$@ this is crazy hot! While I'm not anxious to repeat the winter we experienced in Wisconsin in '08-'09, I do like the usual Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter up North more. Now, if any current (or future) USHL teams want to make me an offer my lovely bride and I can't refuse....

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I had the opportunity to speak on the phone with Dean Gorman yesterday. Dean is the former owner of both the Spokane Flyers and Kootenai Colts(who later became the Coeur d' Alene Lakers) of the Northern Pacific Hockey League. Dean is completely out of hockey now, is enjoying life and embarking on new challenges. I really enjoyed our chat. Dean is one classy guy!

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So, for those of you who have been around for awhile, where were you on this date in 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the Moon? I was home in Portland, Oregon, watching it all on TV, as a wide-eyed 14 year old. What a year 1969 was. Men walked on the Moon and the Mets won the World Series. My Mom lost her battle with Cancer in November of that year. Perhaps she thought, at that point, that she had seen it all?

Speaking of parents, with my Dad's passing last November 7th at age 88, my wife Kim and I have lost both our parents which, of course, means that Jimmy has no actual Grandparents(He has plenty of adopted Grandparents, plus adopted Aunts and Uncles and wonderful Godparents in Ric and Debbie Deane, so he's covered.). If you still have one or both parents(and/or Grandparents), cherish the time you spend with them, talk with them, take lots of pictures and tell them you love them as often as possible. That's an order!

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That's it for this week's entry. Have a great week everyone!

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