Top o’ the morning to you, Kyle Walters…
Well, that wasn’t too painful, was it?
Oh, sure, you watched some good people—Greg Ellingson, Rasheed Bailey, Dakota Prukop, Michael Couture, Casey Sayles—walk away in the initial thrust of Canadian Football League free agency, but I doubt you were inclined to take a leap off the Richardson Building because of it.
More to the point, Kyle, the bulk of your heavy lifting had already been done, so I’m guessing you’re satisfied with your handiwork in the grand scheme of things. You might even be feeling a bit smug, although I hope not because fat and sassy is never a good look on a general manager, especially one whose team was found wanting in its final assignment last November.
No doubt that loss still rankles, Kyle. I mean, your Winnipeg Blue Bombers had no business bowing to the Toronto Argos in the Grey Cup game, and I like to think a toe-stub like that tends to keep a GM’s head out of the clouds.
The thing is, while eight other Rouge Football GMs were in full-on Repatch, Repair and Reload Mode, you spent Valentine’s Day welcoming an old friend, Kenny Lawler, back to play catch with Zach Collaros, then you called it a day. No muss, no fuss and, as you informed news snoops, Winnipeg FC is still in “that winning mode.”
I’d certainly suggest your Bombers are the morning-line favorite, Kyle.
What’s not to like? The best QB in the three-downs game, Collaros, will be flinging the football to Lawler, Nic Demski, Dalton Shoen, Drew Wolitarsky and, surprisingly, Rasheed Bailey, who left coin on the table elsewhere to give it another whirl in blue and gold.
Look around you, Kyle. See anything on the western hemisphere of the CFL to match that bunch of pass-catchers? Zach will need five footballs to keep all those hands happy.
On the D-side of the pig’s hide, it’s business as usual, with the Twin Js—Jefferson and Jeffcoat—Adam Bighill, Jake Thomas, Winston Rose, and accomplices still in harness, and I doubt they’ve mellowed any. If anything, they’re apt to be playing with extra snarl, knowing they allowed a Grey Grail three-peat to get away in November.
That’s not to say your work is done, Kyle. There’s still the matter of place-kicking.
I think everyone from Hizzoner Gillingham to your paper boy knows you can’t go into the 2023 crusade relying on Marc Liegghio’s right leg. He kicks like Rob Gronkowski, and if you fixed an eyeball on Gronk’s gimmicky field goal attempt during last weekend’s Super Bowl hijinks you’ll know what I’m saying.
I don’t have to remind you that the Argos beat your Bombers by one point in the Grey Cup game, Kyle, which means the difference was one botched Liegghio convert. I could also point out that his potential winning FG vs. the Boatmen never got past the line of scrimmage. Yup, blocked. Oh, and need I remind you that he flubbed two point-after tries in the West Division final?
But, as I said, you know all about that stuff, Kyle, and I’m not here to rip open old wounds. I mean, reciting Liegghio’s failings would be too much like yanking the wings off a house fly. You know, easy pluckings.
Suffice to say, you know what you have to do.
In the meantime, Kyle, it’s about you. You’ve been at this GM gig for 10 years, and you transformed Team Rag Tag into Team EOL (Envy of League). You’ve earned two Grey Cup rings and missed out on a third when Liegghio stubbed his toe. And yet there are no just rewards. You’re working without a net, which is to say no contract extension, and you can shrug your shoulders and play the role of the good soldier by telling news snoops “it is what it is,” but that doesn’t make it right.
I assume CEO Wade Miller is set for life if he has no inclination to take on a different challenge, and he and the Board have taken care of head coach Mike O’Shea. So what do the deep thinkers have against you? Do you attend formal functions in bare feet? Do you not bathe? Bad breath? Hey, maybe you make arm pit farts in mixed company.
Whatever the case, Kyle, it’s wrong. You’ve done boffo work, including this year by keeping most of the key components in place, and I don’t want to hear about a salary cap on football operations.
Do they expect us to believe there isn’t enough coin for the GM? That you’ve priced yourself out of the market? Pish posh.
Winnipeg FC has become the flagship franchise in Rouge Football in large part due to your handiwork, Kyle. You’ve delivered the goods and now it’s time for them to do the same thing.
Until then, enjoy what’s left of your down time and, for gawd’s sake, get a kicker.
Some interesting troop movement during the first week of trading places in the CFL, notably just to the west of Good Ol’ Hometown, where QB Trevor Harris and pass-catcher Jake Wieneke arrived on the Flattest of Lands. I’m not convinced that makes the Saskatchewan Roughriders a better team, though. I mean, if they can lose in Montreal they can lose in Regina. But at least Gang Green got rid of a headache, Duke Williams.
Harris says his move to The Flattest of Lands is “a dream come true.” Come on, man. Who you trying to hoodwink? No one dreams of going to Regina. No one goes there unless they’ve lost a bet. Even Al Capone had the good sense to hide out in Moose Jaw.
Add the name Rob Vanstone to the growing list of longtime jock journos who’ve left the sinking ship Postmedia. Rob’s done at the Regina Leader-Post, and I’ll miss reading his stuff. But he hasn’t gone far. He’s now senior journalist and historian with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Montreal Larks are orphans again, which means teams that can’t afford a hit to the bottom line will take another hit to the bottom line. Unless, of course, commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the Lords of Rouge Football can find a new sugar daddy/mama lickety-split. Last time the Larks were dropped off in a basket at the league door, it cost the community-operated outfits in Winnipeg, Edmonton and on the Flattest of Lands a pretty penny to keep them in food, clothing, shelter and capable QBs. I can’t imagine anyone is interested in a redo. Get your butt in gear, Commish Randy.
Hey, if Hollywood hunk Ryan Reynolds strikes out in his bid to become a minority owner of the Ottawa Senators, maybe he can pick up the tab for the Larks.
I don’t know about you, but I find it kind of weird watching Jennifer Jones curl without Dawn McEwen and Kaitlyn Lawes. It was strange enough when Jill Officer went MIA, but now it’s like the Golden Girls sans Sofia, Blanche and Dorothy. Hey, Jennifer has four fab, young playmates—Karlee Burgess, Mackenzie Zacharias, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenintine—but it’s going to take some getting used to as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts unfolds this week in Kamloops.
A few weeks back, Drab Slab sports editor Jason Bell was bragging on his paper’s curling coverage, writing, “I venture to say no media outlet in Canada makes it a priority to cover local curling like we do. We might just be the ONLY media outlet other than the wire service and national broadcaster scheduled to cover the bulk of the upcoming national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops, B.C., next month.” Really? Well, the Scotties slid from the hacks on Friday, and there was no story on it in the Freep. Today, all I could find was wire copy from Canadian Press, the same story that’s in the Winnipeg Sun. So enough with this “our stuff don’t stink” BS.
Just wondering: Is it my imagination, or is every national sports organization on Our Frozen Tundra corrupt? It sure as hell seems that way.
The way Soccer Canada has treated our national women’s side falls in the extreme range of disgraceful. I mean, bullying Christine Sinclair? Who does that? Next I suppose they’ll steal lunch money from panhandlers. Whatever our guys were given to prep for the men’s World Cup, that’s what the women deserve during its run-up to their World Cup later this year. It’s rather basic.
Oh, boy, the deep-thinkers at the Winnipeg Free Press have weighed in on the great Canadian futbol fight, and it’s a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.
“This dispute is not just about resources. It’s also about respect,” one of the geniuses writes. “Women’s sport has chronically been devalued and dismissed, and often ignored entirely. It would be a shame for the beautiful game to continue to be marred by such ugly gender inequalities.”
Excuse me? Say again? Ugly gender inequalities?
It is to laugh.
The editorialists at the Drab Slab might want to fix an eyeball on their own sports pages, where male/female coverage is equal like a bologna sandwich is a steak and lobster dinner.
On average last year, the Freep ran 358 articles per month exclusive to male sports, compared to 55 for females. Yup, 358-55. To date this month, it’s 221 male, 47 female. In today’s paper, there are two articles on local college men’s hoops on the sports front. Local women’s college hoops is a brief, buried in the back of the section.
Freep editorialists are correct in saying female sports “has chronically been devalued and dismissed, and often ignored entirely.” So do something about it or zip it.
Former National Hockey League bench puppeteer Marc Crawford is on the outs with the Swiss National League. His crime: Spewing anti-gay bile. Crawford now coaches ZSC Lions, and he had a major meltdown in the waning seconds of a game last week. Seems he didn’t approve the work of Finnish official Mikko Kaukokari, so he shouted something about the ref performing oral sex. It’s not the first time the bolts in Crawford’s neck have come undone, and I can only imagine what horrid things he says when the cameras and mics aren’t near him.
I fell asleep at halftime of last Sunday’s Super Bowl skirmish, so I missed the Rihanna gig. But I understand she did some crotch-grabbing. Makes me wonder how Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Miss Peggy Lee sang all those great songs without groping their nether regions.
Based on late night/early morning SportsCentre on TSN, the top story in the wide, wide world of sports on Saturday was…wait for it…the NBA slam dunk contest. Good grief.
I watched SportsCentre in the small hours of Saturday morning, and there was a five-minute segment on the Genesis Invitational golf tournament near the top of the show. Every breath of it was devoted to Tiger Woods. There was zero mention of Max Homa, who’d taken 11 fewer swings than Woods and whose name was atop the leaderboard. Matter of fact, all 59 golfers in front of Woods were ignored. Every ooh and ahh from the natterbugs was reserved for Woods. Same thing this morning. It was three minutes of Woods, and zero mention of leader Jon Rahm, who’s a mere 12 shots ahead. Sigh. I truly thought Woods would be a sidebar on the PGA Tour this year, not the lede. Silly me.
Did Woods really hand Justin Thomas a tampon after outdriving him on the ninth hole in the opening round of the Genesis Invitational? Yup, sure did. And the two pro golfers giggled like a couple of frat boys on a panty raid.
Others were less amused.
Sarah Stirk of Sky Sports described the prank as “crass” and “extremely disappointing.” She added: “It was seemingly done in jest. To me it was laddy, blokey behaviour, passing him the tampon effectively saying: ‘I’ve outdriven you, you’re driving the ball like a woman’.
“(That is) effectively the inference of the incident that happened and that to me says females, women, are inferior to men. Women should not be portrayed as being inferior to men in any walk of life and certainly on a sporting landscape.”
Here’s Christine Brennan of USA Today: “He employed basic misogyny to insult his good friend Thomas, a knee-slapper of a dig against female athletes: You hit the ball like a girl!”
Tiger told news snoops that the prank was nothing more than “fun and games. It was just friends having fun. We play pranks on one another all the time.”
My question: Did Woods go to the corner store and buy a box of tampons, or did he steal it from his 15-year-old daughter Sam’s stash?