Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations











It's Monday Morning. (Well, at least that's what my calendar says) Here's what's happening....

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Mark Buerhle threw the 18th perfect game in Major League history last week, as the Chicago White Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 this past Thursday. I was sitting home, hanging out with Jimmy as usual when I thought: "The Rays are playing. I'd better turn on the TV. I tuned in in the top of the 7th and thought: "Ooh. I'd better watch this." I have long thought that Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen was just, well, a guy umpires enjoy ejecting. But, what a brilliant move he made, putting Dewayne Wise into centerfield in the ninth innng for defensive purposes. Wise flew to the wall in left center and robbed Gabe Kapler of a home run with a leaping, then juggling catch. It's an amazing catch anytime, but to preserve a perfect game? Wow! And from what I've seen and heard, Buerhle is one of the class guys in baseball, a guy who really seems to appreciate the game and is grateful to be a part of it. I say: Good for him! (BTW: In 2001, the year he broke into the big leagues, he threw two consecutive complete games. The first was a one-hitter against the Rays.)

Oh, it's amazing the coincidences that can occur, not just in life, but in baseball too. Eric Cooper was the home plate umpire on Thursday. He was the home plate umpire when Buerhle no-hit Texas on April 18th, 2007 and they both wear number 56. As the great Yankee announcer Mel Allen used to say: "How about that!"

The Rays seem to be in one of those 6-4 modes right now. But, they are hanging in in the A.L. East race. And it appears they may have found a closer in lefty J.P. Howell, who has been lights out from the bullpen recently. They might figure in the race yet come September.

And in case you haven't heard, quite a debate about a new stadium is raging around these parts. I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that said: "$500 million to move a stadium 16 blocks?" Heck, if they (the Rays and City of St. Petersburg) can do it that cheap, I say "Go for it!"

As my friend Rod Pedersen says in his blog's Monday Morning Goalie (this inspiration for this featuer here) this week: "Life goes on."

Yankees lead the AL East by 2 1/2 over Boston and 6 1/2 over Tampa Bay. Detroit leads the AL Central by 2 over the White Sox and 4 over Minnesota. In the AL West, the Angels are 3 1/2 in front of Texas and 7 1/2 ahead of Seattle. In the wild card race, Boston leads Texas by 2 games, Tampa Bay by 4 and Seattle by 6 1/2. Kansas City brings up the rear, 19 games back. (I wonder just how many people are listening to Royals baseball in Kearney, Nebraska these days?)

In the National League, Philadelphia leads the East by 6 1/2 over both Atlanta and Florida(Marlins-Rays World Series anyone?), the Cubs are now 1/2 game ahead of St. Louis in the Central, while the Dodgers lead Colorado by 8 in the West. In the Wild Card, Colorado leads San Francisco by 2 games and St. Louis by 2 1/2. Washington(First in war, first in peace and now last in the National League) is 24 games back.


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The Saskatchewan Roughriders built a 22 point lead Saturday, but lost to the Edmonton Eskimos 38-33. Edmonton may well have saved their season with the win. And while some in Rider Nation are thinking "We suck" right now, rest assured that your team, heck, OUR team! has plenty of season left and will be in the thick of the West pennant chase when all is said and done. Two biggies coming up on the road though, Calgary and BC. Those will be tough! Coach Miller will have the boys ready. Saturday though was kinda frustrating. While the Riders built the 22 point lead, the defense was flying, special teams was getting it done(Tad Kornegay stripping thye ball from punt returner Tristan Jackson was WAY cool!) and the crowd at Taylor Field was really into it. But Eskimo boss Richie Hall, who spent 20 years in Regina as a player and coach didn't panic and got his team back on track. Saskatchewan didn't blow the game, the Eskimos came back and took it.

Saskatchewan, Calgary and Edmonton are tied for first in the West, with BC 2 points back. Montreal, the CFL's last unbeaten team, sits atop the East, 4 points ahead of Hamilton and Toronto and 6 ahead of Winnipeg.


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My wife and I had lots of fun watching the Dunedin Blue Jays-Sarasota Reds Florida State League game Saturday. (I had to watch the 4th quarter of the Riders game after we came home.) Three home runs and a 6-2 Baby Jays win. Jimmy spent a lot of time talking to the fans around us and sitting on our laps. I enjoyed watching the umpires work, as I always do. But it made me feel closer to retirement than I've ever felt, watching them run like gazelles all over the field covering plays. If you go to a game sometime, whether it's big leagues or minor leagues, watch the umpires. It's poetry in motion out there the way they work, often with no apparent outward communication at all. Best of all, these two guys, A.J. Johnson on the plate and Matt Cunningham on the bases, got an 8 1/2 inning game over with in a blazing hour fifty-three! Great job guys!

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At Holy Trinity Episcopal in Clearwater, we said goodbye to the Allison family yesterday, as they leave for seminary in Wisconsin next Saturday. My wife Kim and I have known them for a very short time, but they have had a very profound effect on our lives with their kindness to us. Roy has become one of the best friends I have ever had, Marcia is Kim's supervisor at work and their daughter Heather is an absolute delight(Jimmy thinks she's pretty cool!). And, if you want to look at it this way, they are the "players to be named later" in the Wisconsin-Florida trade that brought us from the freezing cold Wisconsin winter, back to the Florida sunshine this past January, while the Allisons prepare to head to Wisconsin, as Roy follows the Lord's calling and enters seminary. Please support them with your prayers. The Allisons are tremendous people and will no doubt be very successful. We love you guys and miss you already! God's blessings on you Roy, Marcia and Heather!

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Why am I up just past 3:00am writing this week's entry? Well, it's because I had a very unpleaseant nightmare, related to something that happened during our time in Cocoa. (Some of you know what I'm talking about.) It's simply amazing how someone's actions can have such an effect on others. And when those actions are bad AND they are intentional, it magnifies things a great deal. Then, when someone you thought was your friend could have corrected a very nasty situation, but did nothing because of how it would have affected him and his business, well, that makes it even worse. I'm not sure this "friend" really understands what effect this had on our family, especially me. My "friend" and I have tried fixing our relationship, but it just doesn't seem like it's happening, you know? He should feel great shame by his inaction and what it did to me and my family, but I doubt he does.

We really did meet Satan during our time in Cocoa, in the form of the person (not my friend) who pulled the crap on us he did during our time there. But, we truly have met Jesus during our time here in Tampa Bay, in the form of several different people at Holy Trinity. Good (and God) is definately winning this battle!

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Oh, before I forget: I love my family!!!! Kim, Jimmy, Snoopy and Smoke are as absolutely as good as it gets. Ours was one of those classic boy and girl meet on an internet chat group for those owned by schnauzers stories. (You don't own schnauzers, they own you!) Life may not be perfect and it often times might be a struggle, but I consider myself a very lucky man. I am blessed with the greatest family in the history of family!

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Okay, the "heavy stuff" is over. Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Take us out to the ballgame!












My wife, bless her heart, takes great joy in doing stuff to make her family happy. The latest was tickets to the Saturday night Florida State League (Long season A) game between the Dunedin Blue Jays and the Sarasota Reds.











As you can see, Jimmy had lots of fun(except for when he fell out of his seat and bumped his widdle head -- He's okay though), especially when the Baby Jays took the lead on a first inning three-run homer. They hit three out, on their way to a 6-2 win.












This was loads of fun, and hopefully, we can check out some of the other FSL ballparks in our area, like Clearwater and Tampa.











Thanks to my lovely bride for such a fun evening! Also, thanks to the umpires, who got us and everyone else out of there in a crisp buck-fifty!!!!

Edmonton mounts improbable comeback to beat Riders












Down 22 points early in the second quarter and on the heels of two straight embarrassing losses, the Edmonton Eskimos scored 38 of the next 49 points to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 38-33 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina Saturday.

The Riders had the sell-out crowd of 30,945 on their feet early, as Tad Kornegay stole the ball on an Edmonton punt return. 3 plays later, Darian Durant flipped the ball in the left flat to Wes Cates, who scored from 4 yards out. Luca Congi kicked the convert, then Jamie Boreham got a single on the kickoff, putting Saskatchewan up 8-0 4:19 into the game. On the Eskimos next possession, Ricky Ray was intercepted by Lance Frazier, who ran it back 70 yards for the major score. Congi's convert put the Riders up 15-0, a lead they would increase early in the second quarter, as Durant capped an 11 play, 92 yard drive with an 18 yard touchdown run. Congi converted with just 1:55 gone in the second quarter, to give Saskatchewan a 22-0 lead.

Edmonton Coach Richie Hall, who spent 20 seasons in Regina as a player and coach before becoming the Head Coach of the Eskimos at the start of this season, rallied his team and turned things around. Noel Prefontaine kicked a 16 yard field goal, Calvin McCarty ran the ball 37 yards for a major score with Prefontaine converting. Congi got 3 back with a 27 yard field goal, before Prefontaine added a 42 yard field goal, cutting the Rider lead to 25-13 at the half.

Prefontaine made it 25-16 with a 34 yard field goal with 9:33 remaining in the third. Then, after forcing Saskatchewan to punt, Tristan Jackson scored on a 75 yard punt return. Prefontaine's convert cut the Rider lead to 25-20, with 8:05 to go in quarter number three. Calvin McCarty would then cap a 7 play, 47 yard drive with a 2 yard scoring plunge. Prefontaine converted again, putting Edmonton on top for the first time in the game, 30 to 25.

The Regina Boys would regain the lead in the 4th. After a Jason Clermont 33 yard reception ended the third quarter, Weston Dressler was interfered with in the end zone, giving Saskatchewan the ball, 1st and goal at the Eskimo 1. Chris Cazrka powered in from there on the first play of the fourth. The Riders went for two and failed, but got a second chance thanks to an Edmonton penalty. Durant was able to make the most of the opportunity, hitting Andy Fantuz in the left corner of the end zone, putting Saskatchewan back on top at 33-30, with just 49 seconds gone in the final period. The Riders forced the Eskimos into a 2-and-out, but were pinned deep in their own end after the punt. They failed to pick up a first down and elected to give up the safety touch, with Boreham running the ball out of the back of the end zone with 11:29 to go reducing their lead to one, at 33-32. Edmonton scored the winning points on the ensuing possession. They ran the kick back to their own 54, then scored eight plays later on an Arkee Whitlock 18 yard run. The Esks failed on the two-point conversion with just over eight minutes remaining, but held on from there for the 38-33 comeback win, clinching the win when Dressler couldn't hold a third down pass that would have given Saskatchewan a fresh set of downs with just over a minute to go.

Ricky Ray started slow but finished strong for Edmonton, completing 23 of 32 passes for 247 yards, while beining intercepted once. Calvin McCarty rushed 9 times for 76 yards with two majors, while Arkee Whitlock added 63 yards on 13 carries to go with his winning touchdown. Noel Prefontaine had a huge game, scoring 12 points on 3 field goals and 3 converts. For the Riders, Darian Durant was 20 of 36 passing for 238 yards and two touchdowns, one passing and one rushing. Wes Cates added a receiving touchdown, while Chris Czarka scored a rushing major and Lance Frazier scored on an interception return. Luca Congi had a fairly quiet day with a field goal and 3 converts for 6 points.

Edmonton, now 2-2 and in a three-way tie for first in the West with Calgary and Saskatchewan, hosts the 4-0 Montreal Alouettes on Thursday, July 30th. The Riders, who have now lost two straight after starting the season with two wins, travels to Calgary to meet the defending Grey Cup champion Stampeders on Saturday, August 1st. Kickoff is set for 9:00pm EDT. The live broadcast, with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri calling the plays, starts at 8:00pm EDT and can be heard at http://www.620ckrm.com/.

Riders host reeling Eskimos today












From http://www.riderville.com and The Canadian Press.


The Saskatchewan Roughriders are set to host another Western Division Rival this afternoon, as they host the Edmonton Eskimos.

Saskatchewan will look to improve their record to 3-1, and keep a hold on first place in the West, as they battle the 1-2 Eskimos.

The Riders won their first two games, but last week suffered their most embarassing home loss in many years, losing to Montreal 43-10. Darian Durant and Steven Jyles combined for 14 of 28 passing for 155 yards, and Wes Cates, appearing in his first game after off-season shoulder surgery, scored Saskatchewan's only touchdown on a four-yard run. Jamie Boreham punted 8 times for a 39.1 yard average for the Riders, who led 7-4 early in the second quarter. Tad Kornegay led the defense with 8 tackles and a forced fumble. The Green and White hurt themselves greatly last week with 6 turnovers, plus 7 penalties for 68 yards. "Our defense played lights out for a long time in the ballgame" said Riders Head Coach Ken Miller, "but we just didn't give them any help."

Edmonton, led by former Saskatchewan player and assistant coach Richie Hall, have allowed 762 passing yards and six touchdowns through the air in consecutive lopsided losses - a 50-16 drubbing in Montreal July 9th and a 40-22 defeat at home to the B.C. Lions July 16th. The 1-2 Eskimos have spent the past week looking for answers. Lack of defensive pressure up front, blown assignments and a secondary that's been one step behind opposing receivers too often, has been very damaging in the two losses.

The game will kick-off at 4:00 pm EDT at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, with a special tribute being paid to the 1989 Grey Cup Team at Halftime, as the Riders celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the championship team.

Edmonton leads the all-time series between the two teams with a record of 104-78-2, but the Riders have won 9 of the past 10 games played in Regina. The Eskimos beat Saskatchewan 45-12 in a pre-season game in Edmonton on June 12th.

Fans unable to make it to the game can catch all the action with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri, live on Rider Radio http://www.620ckrm.com beginning at 3:00pm EDT. You can also watch the game, live on TSN, as the Blackout has been lifted with Mosaic Stadium selling out for the second straight time. In the Tampa Bay area, catch the game on Bright House Sports Network Channel 47, beginning at 4:00pm EDT. It will be followed by the replay of last night's Toronto-Winnipeg game.

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!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Snoopy Boo!











Our eldest son, Snoopy Boo Meissner, is eight years old today! Snoopy has been with his Mommy since he was a little guy, and has been Daddy's schnauzer boy for the past four years. He is a wonderful boy, gets along great with his Chi-hua-hua brother Smoke and his human brother Jimmy and is a wonderful and greatly cherished member of our family.

Happy Birthday Snoopy Boo. We love you very much!




Snoopy and Mommy










Snoopy and Daddy










Snoopy and Smoke with Jimmy









Snoopy and Smoke

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Montreal blasts Riders to remain unbeaten









The Montreal Alouettes are the only unbeaten team left in the Canadian Football League, after thumping the Saskatchewan Roughriders 43-10 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Saturday.

The early stages of the first quarter was a feeling out process for the two teams, with Montreal blocking a punt, then turning it back on a fumble two plays later. The Roughriders were unable to generate much of anything offensively and allowed a Damon Duval 40 yard field goal with 5:39 left in the quarter, to fall behind 3-0. Duval missed a long 61 yard field goal by inches a couple of minutes later, settling for the rouge(It is throwback week, after all) and a 4-0 lead with 2:32 to go in the first. Saskatchewan then quickly drove the ball into scoring position, aided by a pass interference call and a marvelous catch by Wes Cates at the Als 4. A pass interference call on 2nd down gave the Riders another crack at the end zone from the 2, but short-yardage quarterback Steven Jyles turned the ball over on a fumble at the 5, on the final play of the opening quarter.

Stevie Baggs made a big play to start the second, ripping the ball away from the Montreal runner, giving Saskatchewan the ball back at the Alouettes 4. Cates then took the pitch around left end to score untouched on the next play, with Luca Congi's convert putting the Riders up 7-4, just 57 seconds into the second quarter. Saskatchewan capitalized on a Stu Foord punt block, getting a single after Jamie Boreham's 44 yard punt rolled a yard into the end zone and out the side, giving the Riders an 8-4 lead with 9:57 remaining in the half. Quarterback Darian Durant fumbled the ball away at his own 20 on Saskatchewan's next possession and Montreal's quarterback Anthony Calvillo hit Kerry Carter for a 20 yard major score. Duval's convert with 6:20 left gave his team an 11-8 lead. The Als were back in business at the Riders 48, after Hugh Charles fumbled the ball away on the kickoff return. Montreal failed to move the ball however and Duval then pinned Saskatchewan back at their own 5 with a long punt. The Riders punted the ball back and with 2:10 to go, Duval gave the Als a 14-8 lead they would take into halftime, with a 30 yard field goal.

Saskatchewan, who won the toss and deferred to the second half, elected to kick off, which would give them the wind in the fourth quarter. Pinpoint passing by Calvillo moved the ball deep into Riders territory, before a fumble gave the ball back to the Green-and-White. Montreal held and got the ball back, capitalizing on a mysterious wave-off of a block in the back, with Cavillo tossing a 55 yard scoring strike to Kerry Watkins. Duval's convert made it 21-8 with 11:08 remaining in the third quarter. The lead moved to 22-8, as Weston Dressler conceded a single on the 69 yard kickoff. The Mosaic mood got gloomier five minutes later, as Avon Cobourne's 7 yard touchdown run capped a 7 play, 59 yard drive. Duval's convert and 85 yard kickoff single put the visitors up 30-8, with 5:44 left in the third.

Duval was the star of the fourth quarter, kicking a a 21 yard field goal 63 seconds in. After he conceded a safety touch with 10:19 remaining, he then added a 40 yard field goal with 8:22 left, to make it 36-10 Als, as the Mosaic Stadium crowd of 30,945 headed to the exits. Montreal got the ball back with 6:20 on the clock and nearly ran out the time, scoring on a Cobourne 5 yard plunge with 49 seconds left, capping an 11 play, 81 yard drive. Duval booted the convert and the Alouettes headed home with a resounding 43-10 win.

Anthony Calvillo led Montreal, with 24 of 34 passing for 281 yards and two touchdowns, to Kerry Watkins and Kerry Carter. Calvillo's two TD passes tied him with Roughriders great Ron Lancaster for second on the CFL's all-time list with 333. Damon Allen tops the list with 394. Avon Cobourne had a huge day rushing, with 25 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Damon Duval had the golden toe, with 4 field goals and 4 converts for 17 points. For Saskatchewan, Darian Durant was just 10 of 20 passing for 112 yards, no major scores and an interception. Steven Jyles saw some time under center in the closing minutes, completing 4 of 8 passes for 43 yards. Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler and Wes Cates caught 4 passes each, and Cates scored the Riders only touchdown of the day with his 4 yard rushing major early in the second quarter. Jamie Boreham had a busy day, punting 8 times for a 39.1 yard average, while Tad Kornegay had 8 tackles and a forced fumble. "Our defense played lights out for a long time in the ballgame" said Riders Head Coach Ken Miller, "but we just didn't give them any help."

The Alouettes dominated statistically, with 412 yards total offense to Saskatchewan's 195. Turnovers and penalties hurt the Riders too, as they turned the ball over 6 times and were flagged 7 times for 68 yards. Montreal had 4 turnovers, and were penalized 6 times for 70 yards.

The Alouettes, now 3-0 on the season, host the Hamilton Tiger Cats next Thursday, a team they beat 27-17 in the preseason. Saskatchewan slips to 2-1 on the year, ahead of a matchup ahead of the struggling Edmonton Eskimos next Saturday. Edmonton, who enters next week's game at 1-2 following Thursday's 40-22 loss to BC in Vancouver, topped the Riders 45-12 in the preseason. You can hear the game with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri on http://www.620ckrm.com/ beginning at 3:00p.m. EDT. Kickoff is set for 4:00p.m. EDT next Saturday.

Riders, Als battle for best record in week #3 CFL matchup









THE CANADIAN PRESS

MONTREAL -- It's far too early in the CFL season to be talking about a clash of the titans, but it's impossible to ignore that the league's last two undefeated teams will be going head-to-head when the Montreal Alouettes visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday. (3:00p.m. EDT on http://www.620ckrm.com)

Impossible, that is, unless you happen to play for either the Als or the Riders.

"That really hasn't been emphasized here," Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo said Thursday, just before the team left for Regina. "We want to go on the road and continue to have our success to win ball games. That's what we're talking about. We're not coming in here thinking we might be the only undefeated team left."

It's the same story in Regina, where the Riders simply want to defend their home turf against a tough Alouettes team.

"Creating that hype is up to you guys," veteran defensive halfback Eddie Davis told reporters this week. "It's just another home game for us. We want to make sure we put up a good effort and hopefully a winning effort in front of our fans."

Aside from the obvious matchup of 2-0 teams, Saturday's game will feature the league's two top scoring teams and two defences that have terrorized opponents so far this season.

The Roughriders lead the CFL in quarterback sacks and takeaways while the Alouettes are second in both categories and have allowed the fewest points in the league.

Saskatchewan defensive end Stevie Baggs is tied with Montreal defensive tackle Keron Williams for the league lead in sacks with three apiece.

Calvillo, however, isn't very concerned about what the Roughriders may throw at him.

"Most of their turnovers come from blitzes where there's been some sort of breakdown in the offensive blocking scheme," he said. "But for us, we've been well prepared and we just don't see that occurring, unless they bring something that we haven't seen on film."

Conversely, the Alouettes have been able to apply pressure this season relying almost exclusively on their defensive line. That has allowed second-year defensive co-ordinator Tim Burke the liberty to increase the Alouettes' use of man-to-man coverage and it has resulted in opponents completing only 54.9 per cent of their passes - tops in the league.

Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant presents a unique challenge to Burke and his defence. Durant's as much of a threat with his legs as he is with his arm, so the Alouettes front four has focused this week on maintaining rush lanes in an effort to keep him in the pocket.

"We've been able to play man (coverage) with a four-man rush a lot, which is the ideal world," Burke said. "If running becomes a problem we also have a blitz game we can go to that will fill up all the holes. But so far this year we haven't had to blitz very much."

The Alouettes made two personnel decisions on defence that have paid huge dividends thus far. The first was moving safety Chip Cox to strong side linebacker to take the place of released veteran T.J. Hill, and Cox has responded by sharing the league lead in tackles with 14 in two games and also returning a fumble recovery 81 yards for a touchdown.

The other was what head coach Marc Trestman has called a "leap of faith," releasing veteran import middle linebacker Reggie Hunt and replacing him with Shea Emry of Richmond, B.C., a second-year player who led the Als in special teams tackles last season.

"I've still got to come out and prove myself everyday," said Emry, the seventh overall pick out of UBC in the 2008 draft. "I have a lot of learning to do and a lot of growing to do. When they take that leap of faith it feels good, but I have to go out and prove them right."

The Roughriders will have a new weapon at their disposal Saturday with which to attack the Alouettes. Running back Wes Cates, a 2008 CFL all-star who rushed for 1,229 yards last year, will make his season debut after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.

It's perhaps not the ideal moment for Cates to make his entry, as Montreal has only allowed 58 rushing yards per game.

"It doesn't matter who's running the ball, we thrive on stopping the run and getting after these guys," said Alouettes defensive end Anwar Stewart. "Get them in second and long and get after the quarterback, that's the plan."

Aside from seeing which team will remain atop the CFL, the rabid Mosaic Stadium fans may also see some history Saturday as Calvillo is only two touchdown passes shy of tying the late Ron Lancaster - by far the most prolific passer in Roughriders history - for second on the all-time list.

"I'm totally thankful for the things I've been able to accomplish with my teammates here, and Ron Lancaster was an icon in this league, especially in Saskatchewan where he put up all those great seasons," Calvillo said. "For me to be so close, it's very humbling."

Kickoff at Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium is set for 3:00p.m. EDT. Catch all the play0by-play action with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri on http://www.620ckrm.com beginning at 2:00p.m. EDT.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations











Okay, so I can't tell time, but the title stays as is. Here we go....

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 2-0, after a 46-36 win in Toronto last Saturday. What was really cool, was that I got to watch the game live and fiddled with the "rewind live TV" dealie and got the picture to match up with the CKRM radio audio. Fewer things are more fun than seeing the pictures of a game Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri are describing. It just reinforces how good they are.

Details of all the week's CFL action is to the right, and the recap of the Riders win is below.

Here's hoping that next Saturday's 3:00pm EDT showdown between Saskatchewan and Montreal, the CFL's last two unbeatens, and leaders of their respective divisions, will be available live here in the Tampa area. Now THAT would be REALLY cool!

Green is the color!

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Tampa Bay won the first four games of their just concluded 6-game homestand, but dropped the last two games to Oakland. Crowds were great the last two days, but continue to suck Bay water the rest of the week. I believe there is a definite concern there by ownership/management. Wanta hint? Improve your relationship with your customers. Case in point:

My wife and I have attended one game this season, a Saturday date against Cleveland. We were told that the only tickets still available, were in the $35 price range. My wife wanted a special day out for Jimmy and me, so we overspent our budget and took the plunge, a decision we would soon regret.

Our seats were down the rightfield line, past the Rays bullpen. They were, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the worst seats I have ever had for a baseball game at any level. The sitelines were lousy and then, halfway through the game, the Red Neckerson family came bounding in, greeting everyone like they were the long-lost Kings of the right-field corner. Last in the parade, was a man who weighed at least 400, maybe closer to 500 pounds. Now even I had trouble fitting into those narrow seats, the worst since I attended games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal in 2001. However, for this man, who also was sweating gallons, it was nearly impossible. And this gentleman, who could have rented advertising space on his shirt he was so big, was flopped halfway into the seat on either side of him, meaning he was sitting halfway into my wife's lap. We immediately left the area, my wife finding an empty seat several rows up, me in search of a customer service representative, or at least an usher. I missed a complete inning in my search, which yielded no results. I couldn't even pass through the way we came into the ballpark, because it had been blocked off for passage by those with credentials only. Oh, BTW: It was also very apparent, that there were in the neighborhood of 500 to 1,000 seats available in the upper deck(at $10 apiece), which was where we wanted to sit anyway. The seats were scattered all over and not at the top, where they would have to be sold as obstructed view seats because of the catwalks suspended from the ceiling. (That's why all those post-season games in '08 didn't look sold out.)

Well, we made the best of it and enjoyed the rest of the game. A day or two later, my wife wrote an email to the team, relating our poor experience. Approximately two months later, she has yet to receive a response.

You wonder how they can draw weeknight crowds of less than 20,000 on a regular basis, including for two of the three games with the Philadelphia Phillies, in what should have been a sold-out rematch of the '08 World Series? Well, it's because they have no clue on how to relate to their customers. Want my business? Show me you care. The Rays haven't and we're in no hurry to go back.

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Speaking of positive relations, my wife shared an email her boss sent out, thanking everyone who came in this past Saturday, to help out the company they work for and it's customers. There's a guy who truly gets it. Perhaps the Tampa Bay Rays should get in touch with this guy!

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Jimmy is doing well. He's becoming more talkative, continuously friendly and, as I discovered today, has sprouted his long-awaited fifth tooth, on the bottom right gum line. That would explain why he's been a bit cranky lately. Shortly after that, I discovered this:











He had crawled into our bedroom and into a pan of paint I hadn't disposed of, after painting our bedroom the other day. (Bad Daddy! No donuts!) Jimmy didn't like sitting in the sink while I scrubbed him with a soapy sponge, but he's okay. Didn't eat any paint or anything like that, so all is well. Gotta remember to clean up after myself and keep the baby gate closed! He will be 14 months old in two weeks.

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The weather, which was pretty lousy last week, is really nice today. Lots of sunshine, a pleaseant change from all the rain last week. Snoopy, our Miniature Schnauzer, enjoys it. But Smoke, our Chihuahua, really enjoys it. When it's this nice, I sometimes have trouble getting him to come back it. He's liking it a lot more than that miserable winter weather we had in Wisconsin!

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Since it's so nice, Jimmy and I are going out to enjoy it. Have a great week everyone.

GO RIDERS!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

30 point second quarter powers Riders past Toronto















The Saskatchewan Roughriders stepped out of a 10-point first quarter hole, exploding for 30 second quarter points, to defeat the Toronto Argonauts 46-36 in CFL action at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Argonauts scored on their opening possession, driving the ball 79 yards in 8 plays, aided by a pass interference call on the opening set of downs, and ending in a 30 yard scoring strike from Kerry Joseph to Reggie McNeal. Justin Medlock's convert put Toronto up 7-0 with 9:52 left in the opening quarter. The Riders attempted a 50-yard fieldgoal on their next possession, but Luca Congi's kick was blocked, and the Argos returned the ball to the Saskatchewan 38. Medlock, the rookie kicker from UCLA, thumped through a 23 yard fieldgoal with 6:29 left, "straighter than a preacher" as Rider radio voice Rod Pedersen put it, giving Toronto an early 10-0 lead. The Saskatchewan response was a 22 yard scoring strike from Darian Durant to Andy Fantuz on the next posession. Congi's convert cut the deficit to 10-7 with 4:07 left on the clock. The offenses continued to stretch the opposing defenses, as Medlock then kicked a 45 yard fieldgoal, putting the Argos up 13-7, with 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

Stevie Baggs got two points back for the Riders, tackling Joseph in the endzone for his CFL-best third sack of the season. The safety touch with 9:22 left in the first half, narrowed the Toronto lead to 13-9. Saskatchewan later forced a turnover at the Argos 30 and quickly converted, with Hugh Charles taking a Durant shovel pass and scoring untouched from 8 yards out. Congi's convert put the Roughriders up 16-13 with 4:32 to go in the opening half. Moments later, Sean Lucas recovered a fumble at the 4 yard line and after a Toronto offsides penalty moved the ball to the 2, Charles punched it in from there, with Congi adding the convert for a 23-13 Saskatchewan lead with 2:59 remaining in the half. The Riders weren't done there though. Durant hit a wide-open Weston Dressler with a 33 yard bomb down the right side with 48 seconds remaining, then Jerrell Freeman blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the endzone himself for a major score with 17 seconds left in the half. Congi hit both converts, giving Saskatchewan a 37-13 halftime lead.

The Argos opened second half scoring 3:15 into the third quarter, as Medlock booted a 24-yard fieldgoal to cap a 7-play, 48 yard drive, cutting the deficit to 37-16. Toronto scored again with 2:28 remaining in the third on a one-yard scamper around right end by Jamal Robertson and a Medlock convert, trimming the Rider lead to 37-23 heading into the fourth quarter in front of 30,055 fans at the Rogers Centre.

Congi hit a 41 yard fieldgoal 33 seconds into the final frame, stunting the Argos momentum, then added a 38 yarder with 7:26 left, increasing the Saskatchewan lead to 43-23. Toronto responded with a Joseph to Tyler Scott 19 yard major score and Medlock convert with 2:49 remaining in regular time, bringing the Double Blue to within 13, at 43-30. Congi, who missed his first two fieldgoal attempts(one was blocked, the other hit an upright), hit another from 35 yards out with 1:03 remaining, putting the Riders up 46-30. The Argos scored on the last play of the game, as Joseph found Mike Bradwell over the middle with a 37 yard touchdown pass, but they failed on the two-point convert and Saskatchewan headed home with the 46-36 victory.

Darian Durant paced the Riders offense, going 18 of 28 passing for 205 yards passing, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Weston Dressler, Hugh Charles and Andy Fantuz hauled in touchdown catches, while Charles scored once on the ground, to go along with his 78 yards rushing on 15 carries. Tad Kornegay led the defence with 6 tackles. For Toronto, Kerry Joseph was 27 of 45 passing for 348 yards, 3 scores and 1 interception. Reggie McNeal had 5 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown, Tyler Scott and Mike Bradwell added touchdown catches, while Jamal Robertson carried the ball 10 times for 80 yards and a major score. The Argos outgained Saskatchewan on the day, 432 yards to 303, but turned the ball over 5 times to the Riders 2.

"We forced them into some errors," said Saskatchewan Head Coach Ken Miller following the game. "The thing that we don't always do is take advantage of those errors. But in that short span there of the second quarter, we forced the errors and were able to take advantage of them. That's a really agressive and I should say even a vicious sign of a really good football team." On his teams' ability to go on the road and beat a quality opponent, Miller said "I'm really proud of the guys and I'm really proud of that fact(that Saskatchewan was the only West Division team to win in week #2) that we were able to win on the road here in Toronto. You know, we haven't always played well here in the past, but we played well today."

The Riders take sole possession of the West lead with a 2-0 mark and return home for an early season battle for top of the CFL heap next Saturday with the Montreal Alouettes, also 2-0 and on top of the East. Kickoff at Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium is set for 1:00p.m. EDT. The live broadcast on http://www.620ckrm.com begins at 12:00p.m. EDT.

Riders meets Argos today in week #2 CFL battle













THE CANADIAN PRESS

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario -- Jamal Robertson ran for a league-high 134 yards last week but it's the Toronto Argonaut who had a single yard on the ground that worries Renaud Williams.



Containing and pressuring mobile quarterback Kerry Joseph will be top priorities for linebacker Williams and the Saskatchewan Roughriders when they face the Argos at Rogers Centre on Saturday (1:00 p.m. EDT on http://www.620ckrm.com/).

A solid ground attack anchored Toronto's season-opening 30-17 road win over Hamilton on Canada Day. The Argos rolled up 153 yards rushing with Robertson leading the way.

Joseph managed just one yard on one carry, but the seven-year veteran is always a threat to use his legs to either extend plays and buy time for his receivers or head upfield for big gains. And at six foot and 215 pounds, Joseph can be a load to bring down.

"Jamal is a good running back, a very good running back," Williams said. "Our main goal is to contain Kerry and make sure he doesn't keep plays alive with his legs.

"He is really good at that. He has been doing that ever since he was in the league. When he was with us, that was his MO."

Joseph was named the CFL's outstanding player in '07 while with Saskatchewan, passing for 4,002 yards and rushing for 737 yards and 13 TDs. It was that double threat that gave rival defensive co-ordinators fits and helped guide the Roughriders to a Grey Cup championship.

Joseph was expected to provide more of the same to Toronto after being acquired in a huge off-season trade with Saskatchewan. But Joseph never got into sync with the Argos - first platooning with Michael Bishop before being benched for two games later in the year - as the Double Blue lost its final eight contests to miss the CFL playoffs with a 4-14 record.

Argos head coach Bart Andrus, who is also the club's offensive co-ordinator, says defences having to expect the unexpected is what helps make Joseph so dangerous.

"The thing that impresses me maybe moreso with Kerry is as he pulls it down and goes to the line of scrimmage, he's continually looking for that receiver to drop it off to," Andrus said. "A guy that will do what he does can give you fits because he pulls it down and everyone re-directs to get to him, then he dumps it off and that really creates some explosive plays."

Canadian football is generally regarded as a passing game due to the three downs and longer, wider field. But Joseph said the ground attack is paramount for success, especially with a hard-running tailback like Robertson.

"You need the running game," he said. "It is a wide-open game up here but when you have a guy like Jamal he needs his touches.

"Sometimes the defence doesn't dictate that and we have to throw the ball. But he's going to be in the game and we're going to make sure he touches the ball and the guys up front love it too because they love to run block."

Saskatchewan's defence will certainly provide a challenge for Toronto. The Riders recorded nine sacks and eight turnovers in a 28-24 win over B.C. last week, heady stats indeed for a unit that had several question marks given the off-season loss of defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall, linebackers Anton McKenzie and Maurice Lloyd and defensive lineman Kitwana Jones.

But it was a total effort that keyed the defensive performance. While defensive linemen Stevie Baggs and Keith Shologan both had two sacks against B.C., they were among six players to get to the quarterback. And veteran defensive back Omarr Morgan also contributed two interceptions and a team-high six tackles.

Williams said the defence's performance against B.C. gave the unit a huge confidence boost.

"No one knew what to expect," he said. "But we still have a lot of guys who've been there and played together for a couple of years.

"I think we have one of the best secondaries in the league and a good defensive line. As the weeks go on, people are going to see how good our defensive line is and we're going to play harder."

Riders quarterback Darian Durant will get the start despite suffering a severely bruised right thumb against B.C. after hitting a helmet following through on a pass. Durant had the thumb taped Friday to keep the swelling down and said he's hopeful the injury won't hamper his ability to handle the football.

"I'll be fine," said Durant, who enters the game 5-0 as a starter with the Riders. "It's sore but so are other body parts.

"I should be fine."

Durant finished 18-of-32 passing for 313 yards but also had three interceptions. And last year in his only start against Toronto, he suffered three broken ribs.

But Durant said Saskatchewan has to do a better job of protecting the football against Toronto.

"In this league, you can't win if you're turning the ball over especially if you're taking points off the board," he said. "There were a couple times (against B.C.) we were in field goal range and we had a turnover here and there.

"I feel like if we do that then it puts more pressure on their offence to score points."

NOTES - Matt O'Meara, who re-signed with Saskatchewan this week after being released by Winnipeg during training camp, will start at right tackle Saturday. O'Meara, 26, of Milton, Ont., began his CFL career with the Riders, who selected him third overall in the 2005 Canadian college draft out of McMaster.

Kickoff at the Rogers Centre is set for 1:00p.m. EDT. The broadcast, beginning at 12:00p.m. EDT can be heard on http://www.620ckrm.com/ with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri calling all the plays.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Greg Shea returns to helm of Tri-City Storm












From the Kearney Hub

A familiar face is returning to lead the Tri-City Storm hockey team's front office.

Greg Shea, who served as vice president of operations for the Storm from 1999 to 2008, is leaving his job as president of the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce and will return to the team.Shea, 42, has accepted a job offer from owner Kirk Brooks to work as president of both the Viaero Event Center and Tri-City Storm. Shea will begin his duties on Aug. 1. He left the Storm 1½ years ago to take the chamber job.

"I wasn't looking to get back into the game, but the opportunity to return and be part of the revitalization of the facility and team was very attractive," Shea said. "Deep down, after being in the sports business for so many years, I realized I missed the fast pace, excitement and high-energy environment that comes with the business."

In addition to overseeing the hockey team's day-to-day operations, Shea will be in charge of the 5,000-seat ice rink and entertainment facility that hosts many concerts, other shows and events throughout the year. He will be in charge of all staff.

General Manager Geof Cook will remain with the Event Center, but his responsibilities will change to allow him to focus on booking acts, Shea said.

Brooks said hiring Shea is a key move in taking the team and facility to new levels of success.

"Greg and I share the same aggressive goals in developing both entities," said Brooks, who purchased the hockey team and Event Center in April. "I love Greg's attitude. He's not going to settle for second-best, and he's going to treat the public they way you are supposed to. There's just a lot to like about him and his abilities."Brooks especially is excited about Shea's 17 years of experience in the sports entertainment business. "Nothing makes up for experience," Brooks said. "Greg will bring a level of professionalism and knowledge that's been missing. He is highly thought of in the community, and he knows his way around this business and what it takes to be successful.

"Shea said his new position best fits his career aspirations.

"This was a gut-wrenching decision because I have really enjoyed the role I served with the chamber," he said. "It was great to have been engaged in such progressive and forward-thinking conversations that impacted Kearney's business community.

"It's tough to walk away from that, but this is a career move I feel comfortable with. In the big picture, I just didn't see myself at the chamber 10 or 15 years down the road."

Shea's hiring could be the first of some additional staffing changes at the Event Center, Brooks and Shea said.

"I'm going to rely heavily on the people who already make up the organizational chart," Shea said. "Some roles and responsibilities might change, and we'll be looking at adding some staff, but nobody's role is going to be minimized by my arrival. I'm going to set people up so they can focus on their strengths and be in a position to succeed."

PROFILE: Greg Shea

Greg Shea started his career in sports management when he worked in broadcasting and media relations from 1989-1995 for the Omaha Racers semipro basketball team.

In 1995, he joined the Omaha Lancers hockey club, where he had positions of director of player relations, merchandising manager and assistant general manager.

A Kearney native and 1989 graduate of Kearney State College, Shea was the Tri-City Storm's first general manager and vice president of operations. Working alongside owner Ted Baer, he was instrumental in bringing the team to Kearney from Minnesota in 1999.

Under Shea's leadership, the Storm consistently was among attendance leaders in the United States Hockey League. The team played to sellout crowds 93 straight home games from 2000 to 2003.

The franchise also won the Anderson Cup in 2003-2004 and was named the league's organization of the year twice in its first six seasons. Shea and his staff also were recognized in 2005 as the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year. Beyond team sports, Shea has served in sports administrative roles as a volunteer, including at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

©Kearney Hub 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday afternoon Meissnervations











Oops....Is it Monday already? Well, here goes.

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders built a big lead Friday, then held on to beat the B.C. Lions 28-24 in the 2009 CFL opener for both teams. I listened to the game Friday night, then watched it on Saturday. Lots of turnovers for both teams, pretty sloppy football. Big hero for the Riders was Omarr Morgan, who had two interceptions and a fumble recovery(As I learned watching the game, in Canadian football, all you have to do is touch, or otherwise make a play on a loose ball before it goes out of bounds, and the ball then belongs to your team). The Saskatchewan defense, a question mark before the game, was flying all over the field throughout the contest. Next up in an afternoon contest this Saturday at Toronto, which beat Hamilton 30-17 last Wednesday. Remember former Seattle Seahawks defensive back Kerry Joseph? Well, he is thriving as Toronto's quarterback. Kickoff is 3:00pm EDT on Saturday. Listen on http://www.620ckrm.com.

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I've got to stop talking about the Tampa Bay Rays. Twice now, I've wondered if they were finally making their push to the top of the A.L. East. Well, after a 7-game win streak, they've now lost 4 straight. Me and my big mouth. They're off tonight, then play at Toronto tomorrow.

Speaking of the Rays, whetever happened to their alleged interest in Pedro Martinez? News now is that Phillies scouts will be in the Dominican to look him over. Couldn't hurt, the way they're going this season, even though they are currently first in the NL East.

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Baseball leaders:

AL East: Boston by one over New York, six over Tampa Bay.
AL Central: Detroit by two over Minnesota, two-and-a-half over Chicago.
AL West: Los Angeles and Texas tied for first, three-and-a-half ahead of Seattle and eleven in front of Oakland.

NL East: Philadelphia one over Florida, four ahead of Atlanta and New York.
NL Central: St. Louis one ahead of Milwaukee, two-and-a-half ahead of Chicago and three ahead of Cincinnati.
NL West: Los Angeles seven and-a-half ahead of San Francisco.

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Lots of movement of free agents in both the NBA and NHL, although I guess NBA teams can't officially announce free agent signings until Wednesday. Hedo Turkoglu left an NBA finalist(Orlando), supposedly rejected an offer from Portland and apparently is headed to Toronto. Who says it ain't about the money? Biggest splash in the NHL, is Marian Hossa signing a 12 year deal with Chicago. Hossa's NHL world tour, all in search of wanting to spend some quiet time with Stanley, will apparently be in Chicago for awhile. But, it's not about the money, right?

Whatever.

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Oh, did you see that Shaq was traded from Phoenix to Cleveland? Whoopdee-doo. Cavs think they can muscle their way to a title. Again....Whatever. First order of business: Changing the color scheme of those blank jerseys Shaq wears in those Icy Hot commercials. But, as long as he brings Cleveland that long elusive NBA title, who cares if O'Neal rips their locker room wide open?

NBA Basketball....Tall guys who can't skate.

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Crew was over at the house today, installing a new shower enclosure in the laundry room. Apparently, the old one was ruined, because former tenants kept a large sized dog in it. Jeez, talk about whatever.

Jimmy charmed everyone(as usual) and one of the handymen and I got to talk some hockey. That always makes it a good day.

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Isn't it amazing, how many well-known people have passed away recently? Makes ya wonder who's next, doesn't it? The two most high-profile cases, those of Michael Jackson and Steve McNair will not only be in the media and therefore the public consciousness for quite a long time into the future, but both stories will likely grow much weirder as the days, weeks and months go by. A lot of M.J.'s weirdness we've already heard about. But, what's coming out about McNair since his apparent murder is shocking a lot of people. Goes to show that perhaps we all should be a bit more careful whom we choose as our heroes.

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Well, that's about it for now. Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

So, what to do with my Saturday....












....Well, there's take a nap, watch my wife paint the trim in our living room and then get excitedly happy when I learned that my local cable provider, Bright House Networks, is showing last nights CFL game between Saskatchewan and B.C. (See game story below) I wish the game was shown live, but a one-day delay of Riders football is better than not seeing it at all.

HOWEVER....BHSN's backup talking head, some young person who appears to have been in broadcasting for about 15 minutes(I cringe everytime she comes on) said, in a sports minute obviously taped a day ago(at least)that it was a done deal(citing ESPN as their source) that Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu had agreed to a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, a full day after Turkoglu had told Portland thanks but no thanks. And the banner on their website, trumpeting the return of CFL football to their air, spells the Riders home province "Saskaychewan." (Hey BHSN....there's a new thing out called SPELL CHECK!!!!) Oh well. All I care about is that BHSN is showing Riders football tonight!

Thank you eh!

Oh, BTW: Happy Birthday America! I would have sent a card, but the post office was closed today.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Riders hold on for opening night win over Leos









Defense ruled the day, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders built a big early lead, then held on to defeat the B.C. Lions 28-24 in the first game of the 2009 CFL regular season for both teams.

The first quarter opened with back-to-back turnovers, first by Saskatchewan, then by the Lions. The Riders then survived a fumble deep in B.C. territory, allowing quarterback Darian Durant to scramble 10 yards for a major score on the very next play. Luca Congi's convert put Saskatchewan on top 7-0 with 8:56 remaining in the opening quarter. The ensuing kickoff by Jamie Boreham kickoff resulted in a single, giving the Green-and-White an 8-0 lead. The Leos got points back late in the first, as Ryan Phillips returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown. Regina native Paul McCallum's convert brought B.C. to within one at 8-7, with 4:46 left in the first. The Riders started their next possession at their own 31 and five plays later, a 37-yard fieldgoal by Congi with 2:47 to go, put Saskatchewan up 11-7.

A Lions defensive stop on 3rd and inches on the final play of the opening quarter, gave B.C. the ball at the Riders' 48 to start the second, but McCallum missed a 48-yard fieldgoal attempt, bouncing the ball off the right upright. After a change of possessions, an Omarr Morgan interception and return set up Hugh Charles for a 2-yard touchdown run, with the Congi convert putting Saskatchewan up 18-7 with 10:16 left on the first-half clock. The flying Riders defense rushed McCallum hard on the next Leos possession, forcing him to drop the snap on a punt. Stu Foord picked up the loose ball and scooted 12 yards for the major score. The Congi convert with 8:43 left pushed the Saskatchewan lead to 25-7. Emmanuel Arceneaux caught a 23-yard touchdown pass on the next B.C. possession, with McCallum's convert with 2:18 left in the first half, bringing the Lions to within 11 points, at 25-14.


The third quarter was a direct contrast to the seemingly frenetic pace of the first half. Neither team had much luck offensively, as both squards cranked up the "D." Javier Glatt of B.C. intercepted a Durant pass, setting up the Lions deep in Rider territory. Buck Pierce ran it in from 6 yards out, but the two-point convert attempt failed with 1:39 remaining, leaving the Saskatchewan lead at 25-20 heading into the final quarter.

The lead shrunk to 25-21 as B.C's McCallum added a 38-yard punt single to open the 4th, but went back up to 7 at 28-21 with 8:12 left in regulation time, as Congi booted a 22 yard fieldgoal for the Riders. The Lions blocked a Boreham punt and recovered at the Saskatchewan 32 with 2:27 left, giving them an opportunity to tie the game. B.C. misfired on two straight plays, forcing them to settle for a 37-yard McCallum fieldgoal with 1:57 to go, to cut the lead to 28-24. The Lions kicked deep, then threw a late hit out-of-bounds, giving the Riders the ball at their own 25. Two plays gained only 9 yards, forcing Saskatchewan to punt the ball back to B.C. with 1:25 on the clock. Boreham's punt sailed over the returner's head and the Leos started their final possession at their own 25 with 1:13 remaining. B.C. got one first down, but then Stevie Baggs sacked Pierce for an 11-yard loss. An incomplete pass forced the Lions into a 3rd and 21 play, which they converted into a first down at the Riders' 54 with 34 seconds remaining. A tipped pass fell incomplete with 22 seconds left, then the Mosaic Stadium crown of 30,062 let out a huge sigh, as a wide-open Greg Heatherington dropped what could have been the winning score. B.C. inserted back-up quarterback Jarious Jackson for the final play, in a desperate attempt to get the ball to the endzone from near midfield. However, James Patrick made the clinching interception and Saskatchewan held on for the 28-24 opening night win.

Darian Durant was 18 of 32 passing for 313 yards with three interceptions thrown for the Riders, which got rushing touchdowns from Durant and Hugh Charles, plus two fieldgoals and three converts from Luca Congi. Weston Dressler had a big night receiving, grabbing 7 balls for 154 yards. Buck Pierce was 17 of 33 passing for 186 yards, a passing and a rushing touchdown and 2 interceptions for the Lions, who got a receiving touchdown from Emmanuel Arceneaux. Saskatchewan finished the night with 314 yards of total offense, while B.C. had 217 yards.

Rider notes:

The craziest play of opening night came in the final minute of the first half. B.C. blocked a Jamie Boreham punt, but the Lions fumbled it back on the return, with Boreham making the recovery himself at his own 22. Omarr Morgan had three takeaways, two interceptions and a fumble recovery and also had six tackles. The fumble recovery set up Congi's fieldgoal halfway through the 4th quarter. The defenses were very active throughout the night, as Saskatchewan forced 7 turnovers, while the Lions took the ball away 8 times. The Riders are now 5-0-0 all-time with Durant as starting quarterback and 6-0-0 all-time in July under Head Coach Ken Miller.

Up next:

Saskatchewan travels to Toronto on Saturday, July 11th to face the Argonauts, who won 30-17 at Hamilton this past Wednesday. Kickoff from the Rogers Centre on http://www.620ckrm.com is set for 1:00p.m. EDT.

Riders open CFL season against Lions tonight









THE CANADIAN PRESS

REGINA - Ricky Foley has some big shoes to fill this season.

The fourth-year veteran will start at defensive end Friday when the B.C. Lions travel to Mosaic Stadium to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders (9 p.m. EDT on http://www.620ckrm.com) in the CFL season opener for both clubs.

But the former York Lions star has the unenviable task of replacing Cameron Wake, the league's top defensive player the last two years who recorded a combined 39 sacks before signing in the off-season with the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

"I don't want to necessarily say that we want Ricky to replace Cam Wake," said Wally Buono, the Lions head coach and GM. "I think we want Ricky to play the position the way it's supposed to be played at the level of excellence that it's going to be.

"Cam Wake was a unique athlete. I think to compare, I don't think is fair to Cam or to anybody that plays the position. Ricky has done a fine job but he's going to be given an opportunity that he's worked awfully hard for and obviously we're going to get (rookie) Gary Butler in there too, and I think between the two of them they will be productive."

Wake had a whopping 23 sacks to anchor a Lions' pass rush that recorded a CFL-high 68 last season. But he was far from being a one-man show as defensive tackle Aaron Hunt was second in the CFL with 11 sacks, one more than defensive end Brent Johnson, who was the CFL's top Canadian in 2005-'06 as well as its best defensive player in 2006.

Both Johnson and Hunt return to the Lions this season.

The six-foot-two, 245-pound Foley, a native of Courtice, Ont., was the Lions first-round selection, fourth overall, in the 2006 CFL Canadian college draft. He has registered 21 defensive tackles and eight sacks, along with 45 tackles on special teams, during his three seasons with B.C.

Foley said being consistent will be his top priority this season.

"I never got that much playing time during the pre-season games so I'm looking forward to getting a full game in on Friday," Foley said. "Just be consistent and don't let anything overwhelm you.

"If you have a not so good play, just let it go and get ready for the next snap."

Foley scored his first career CFL touchdown Aug. 8, 2008 in a game against Edmonton, recovering a blocked punt and rumbling 30 yards for the score.

Foley did crack B.C.'s defensive rotation in 2007, recording 12 tackles and four sacks.

Not having to deal with Wake will certainly be a load off the Roughriders' offensive line, which will be minus veteran guard Gene Makowsky (knee). Third-year player Chris Best, a six-foot-five, 301-pound lineman Saskatchewan selected in the first round (fourth overall) in the '05 Canadian college draft, will replace the 36-year-old Makowsky.

"He (Best) has been in our system here for a couple of years and has shown us flashes that he can get the job done," said Riders sophomore head coach Ken Miller. "I think it (having been in Riders' system) means a lot to him.

"To have familiarity with our plays just makes it a little bit more comfortable."

Miller downplayed the significance of Wake's absence, saying he's more interested in preparing for the four players who will make up the Lions' defensive front.

"Actually, I haven't thought about that too much because the people they have are plenty good," Miller said. "It's not who we play, it's how we play.

"That's how we go into it. We won't have two guys paying attention to him but we really didn't do that all the time when he was there, either. His replacement is a quality player."

The Riders will also be without tailback Wes Cates (shoulder) and fullback Neal Hughes (right leg). Still, Miller is thankful that his team will play its season opener at home before a rabid Mosaic Stadium gathering.

"Absolutely," Miller said. "Our fans are the greatest and playing here is an awesome opportunity. It's a great way to start the season."

The contest will also feature two players facing their former team.

Linebacker Anton McKenzie signed as a free agent with B.C. this off-season after spending the first three years of his CFL career with Saskatchewan. And slotback Jason Clermont will make his Roughriders debut after being released following the '08 campaign by the Lions after seven seasons there.

McKenzie said he's looking forward to returning to Regina.

"It's going to be great to go back there and play against my old teammates, old coaches and the fans and the city," he said. "It's going to be a great time."

Tonight's game can be heard at http://www.620ckrm.com with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri calling the plays. Kickoff is set for 9:00p.m. EDT.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Monday Morning Meissnervations, three days late











This week's report is a bit late, because we moved over the weekend/first of the week. Not a huge move, just from one house to the one next door, but enough to disrupt the routine. So, three days late, here's what's happening.

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video
It has been raining like crazy in Tampa the last couple of days. It has me busy looking for hammer, nails and lumber, to start building my ark. This scene was from this morning.

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Jimmy's personality continues to develope. Now, he waves nearly every time he sees me, waves bye-bye to Mommy when she goes to work in the morning and this morning, while we were out front talking to the mailman, I swear Jimmy started waving to one of our palm trees. That's my boy!

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Cable tv/phone/internet was installed in our new house on Monday. There are issues with the digital phone service, as the modem we were given doesn't pick up the proper updates each afternoon, so we've lost phone service three or four times already. A new modem arriving this afternoon should solve that problem. Everything else works great though. And this is our first time having a DVR. This is really cool. Now we won't have to miss Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy anymore!

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The Tampa Bay Rays beat Toronto 4-1 last night, for their 7th straight win. This may be the push upward in the AL East we've all been waiting for. We'll see.

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The Canadian Football League regular season starts tonight with two games: Toronto at Hamilton and Montreal at Calgary. Toronto might hover around the .500 mark this season, while Hamilton could struggle once again. The Montreal at Calgary game should be pretty entertaining, in a first-week rematch between last season's Grey Cup finalists. If you have the CFL games available on your TV, I would suggest checking this one out. It could be a real good game.

Winnipeg is at Edmonton on Thursday and on Friday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders(Not only Canada's team, but the team at my house too...thanks for the flag Cindy!) host their most bitter rivals, the BC Lions. Kickoff on Friday is set for 9:00pm EDT on http://www.620ckrm.com with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri calling the action. Rod's blog, http://www.rodpedersen.blogspot.com has the best Riders coverage around. Check it out and tell him I said hi.

Happy Canada Day Rod. I'll be waiting for those Happy 4th of July wishes in return from you!

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The Super Gas two (or so) blocks from our house has held steady at $2.62 for unleaded for over a week now, while other stations around the area have actually lowered prices a few cents recently. A bit unusual heading into the 4th of July weekend. Certainly way better than last year at this time. But, I still remembering seeing the sign at the Super Gas reading $2.03 for unleaded not all that long(two months maybe?) ago.

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I umpired my first summer league baseball game last Saturday, two freshman-level teams in the Winning Inning Academy League. It was a lot of fun. Not a great game, but players worked hard and my partner was solid. It's always good to get back on the field. Now I feel safe in telling the guy who gave me some AAU games a while back to go stuff his indicator!

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I watched most of the first round of the NHL Draft last Saturday. Wow, is a draft in any pro sports league some of the most boring TV, or what? The coolest thing, was when Montreal picked Omaha Lancers forward Louis LeBlanc in the first round. It's the first time in 10 or 11 years that the Canadiens have picked a Montreal native, which sent the crowd into it's biggest frenzy of the night. And, as the cameras swept the stands where LeBlance, his family and supporters were sitting, there, with perhaps the biggest look of excitement on his face in the entire crowd, was Lancers coach Bliss Littler. I had the opportunity to work with Bliss for two years with the Billings Bulls and two years with the Tri-City Storm. He's a fine coach and as solid a person as there is in hockey. Those who know him and consider him a friend, are indeed fortunate. Congratulations Bliss. You can be proud, not only of your accomplishments in hockey, but in life as well. I'm proud to know you.

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That's it for now. There's a lot of noise coming from the other room, so I'd better go see what Jimmy is up to. Have a great day. And don't forget to listen to the Riders skin the Leos on Friday!

Oh Baby Vision

How to watch the videos on Oh Baby Vision

In the upper left hand corner, there's three horizontal lines. Click that once or twice and it'll bring up thumbnails of all the movies. Click on the one you want to watch and it'll start. It may play the next one automatically, or you may have to click the little box to bring the thumbnails back up.



Now with the addition of more videos, just use the scroll bar on the right to choose the one you want to watch.



I hope you like 'em

My CRC Connections

Jimmy's Eighth Birthday!

Countdown to Beaver Football

Countdown To Saskatchewan Roughriders Football

Countdown to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football

Countdown to Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey