Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rants from a raging Lions fan

The CFL season is already two weeks old and there's fans who want to paint the town rouge.

For starters, can someone please test the eyes of BC Lions pivot Buck Pierce? He apparently has developed Benedict Arnold Syndrome, completing more key passes to players on opposite teams than his own. White is not the new orange, unless the team boarded a plane to get to the game.

Other quick hits:

• Can someone please inform CNN, and more specifically Larry King, that Michael Jackson is dead? And that the rest of us have moved on to other matters? If we wanted to watch TMZ, we'd watch TMZ. News Flash: Other things are happening in the world.

• Surely we all saw the possible trade of Roy Halladay coming. And if the Jays can get a trade that helps them build for a better future, why shouldn't they become the new Montreal Expos? The Washington Nationals don't even have the talent to deal for prospects.

• Stephen Harper apologized, so why can't Barry Bonds?

• If someone had told me six months ago both the Calgary Stampeders and BC Lions would be 0-2, I would have checked them into a hospital. Now it makes sense. In BC's case, there were simply too many changes. What's Calgary's excuse?

• Today is free slurpee day at Manitoba 7-11s, thanks to the province's title of Slurpee Capital of the world. While Winnipeg gets most of the credit, Brandon actually consumes more of the beverage on a per capita basis. Does that make us more cool, or more likely to get a brain freeze?

• While Winnipeg is a warehouse town, where everyone loves a bargain, they also loved their Jets and would pay to see them again. When Winnipeg was in the NHL they had the loudest building in the league during the playoffs. Yes. Even louder than the old Chicago Stadium.

• Most popular phrase at the Bell Centre in 2009-10: "Programs! Get your programs!" Although with Bills 101 and 178, the hawkers may have to say the same thing in French at a decibel level two-thirds louder than English to comply with provincial law.

• As for those changes, the Canadiens may be on the right track. Kovalev could play like an all-star one day and skate like a no-star the next. Few can deny they've added scoring. Let's just hope the defence — the REAL problem with the club — also got dealt with.

• Do all-star games really serve a purpose? They may have at one point. Now, I'm not so sure. Outside of the home run contest, I don't watch it anymore.

• You know times are bad in newspapers when a Canwest chief executive looks at jumping to the Canadian Football League. Though if you paid for a stadium hot dog with stock options and still needed change, you may consider the jump a good deal.

• Do people curl in the summer? Why yes. They do in Bismarck, N.D.

• For those who thought Luke Schenn was pretty good, and he is, wait until Brayden Schenn gets to The Show.

• Anyone can call a good game when the Yankees and Red Sox are locked in a 1-1 pitcher's duel. Vin Scully can make a 16-2 game between the LA Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers sound like Shakespeare. And Dan Schulman is a ever closing second as far as I'm concerned.

• Now that I have watched Major League Baseball games in two domed stadiums, Olympic Stadium and the Metrodome, I think I'm ready to take on the challenge of watching one outdoors. Sadly the closest ones to me are more than 15 hours away or so in Chicago, 15 hours to Kansas City or 17 hours to Denver. St. Louis is 18 hours away.


AJ said...

I've heard wonderful reviews of Miller Park in Milwaukee and the Twins new outdoor ballpark should be ready next April. Outdoor ball stadiums are so much better than the indoor behemoths!

Keith Borkowsky said...

I saw the shell of the new Minneapolis park (as well as the U of M football stadium) last year and they should both provide good fan experiences. The new ball park is in an area of Minneapolis in need of revitalization (at least that's the impression I got), but will be in a better area of downtown than the Metrodome when the work is done. The last stop on the LRT line, when we went in May 2008, was a bit of a dingy neighbourhood, and that didn't go all the way to the Target Centre (as far as I recall).

Being closer to the Target Centre (Home of the NBA Timberwolves) there's more bars and restaurants so there will be more of a buzz on game day. I know I will visit the new Twins ball park some day, and will probably like it a lot. But I can't help but wonder what Wrigley would be like in person.

sager said...

Keith hit the nail on the head. A lot of all-seasons sports fans in Canada have never seen a major-league baseball game played outdoors or on natural grass, since Montreal had the Big Owe and Toronto has the concrete Cable Box (the Jays have tried to pretty up the place, but you can only do so much). One does wonder if the stadia had an effect on fan support.

Believe you me, it's a revelation to walk into an open-air major-league park and see the green grass in front of you. I remember getting to my seat in Comerica Park during a game there in '05 and feeling like Ned Beaty in Rudy, "This is the most beautiful site these eyes have seen."

Granted, the 'Tobans have the nicest minor-league park in Winnipeg and the nicest community baseball diamond I've ever seen had to be the one in Stonewall, Man. And aren't the Blue Bombers and Manitoba Bisons football team getting a new home?

(Now explain why there's those crazy stairs leading up to the doors at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.)

Keith Borkowsky said...

Brandon has what is likely the second-best park in Manitoba, behind CanWest, which is the best minor league park you will find that isn't used by a major league team during spring training. But it ain't the major leagues.

The Bombers and Bisons are supposed to be getting a new home at the University of Manitoba. However, much of the private cash was to come from David Asper, and we've seen how Canwest stock has fared lately. Asper said the money wasn't coming from Canwest, but from other sources of family income (real estate and the like). But I am starting to wonder if there's problems with the project, given I have heard very little about progress in the last couple of months.

Keith Borkowsky said...

As for the steps leading to Westman Place at the Keystone Centre, I guess they tried to save some heating costs by building berms around the building. That meant steep stairs and ramps. Given that the arena was a pretty innovative concept when it was built in the early 1970s, it's aged all right. Needs a reno (which it's getting). It's problem is that while it has 5,000 plus seats and meets Brandon's current needs, it's not big enough for major events. Where the Brier once could go to arenas in the 5,000 to 10,000 range, 10,000 has become the bare minimum (with a few exceptions where the patch can hold 3-6,000 people).