Top 10 Tuesday – Supporting The Underdogs, Going By The Numbers.

Well it’s been a little slow around here for a couple of weeks thanks to me taking some time off!

It’s been eventful since I’ve been gone. The Riders picked up their first win of the Chris Jones era on Friday night, the Toronto Blue Jays stumbled a bit coming out of the All-Star Break, they reached the halfway point of the Wyant Group Raceway, and Team Canada won gold at the World Junior Football Championships in China.

With all of that being said here is my take from the World of Sports and a look inside the Toronto sports scene after spending some quality time in the ‘Big Smoke.’ So in no particular order here’s today’s Top 10 List:

10 – How about this first? For the first time in Toronto sports history the Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Blue Jays played a home game at the same time. Since moving to separate facilities this off-season this was the first time that it has happened and the numbers are not pretty for the Argos. The Boatmen drew 16,048 fans or 59% of BMO Fields capacity while the Jays across downtown brought in 41,483. SO of the total paying sports customers in Toronto on a Monday night 72% chose MLB over the CFL. Further inside the numbers the Blue Jays over the weekend drew 138,000 fans not including Monday’s draw. I’m just sayin’

9 – Doing the Argos no favors are the CFL schedule makers, who by the way are the Argos owners (TSN who factor in big time in broadcast timing). The Argos after opening BMO went not only out on the road but also away from Toronto for two straight games as they stayed in Western Canada between games in Regina and Vancouver (Hard to create buzz about the team when they are not around). In addition, the league scheduled home games for the Boatmen on a Wednesday, Thursday and Monday (thus far this season) which are not exactly big nights to draw fans. Now the Argos will point to the weather being so nice that people didn’t want to sit in a stadium on a summer night. That’s hog wash as the 138,000 fans for Blue Jays baseball on the weekend sat through Humidex factors of 42+ degrees. Not to mention sitting in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day and not in the evening or under the shades of BMO.

8 – One more on the Argos and it is not just a hill to climb it’s a mountain for the team to become relevant again in T.O! Example, when being showed around Rogers Centre last week the transformation of stadium from baseball to football was explained. At the end of the presentation the 20 something employee was asked where the football team now plays since leaving the stadium. SHE HAD NO IDEA IF THE TEAM WAS STILL IN THE CITY!!!!!

7 – More alarming for the CFL has to be the health of quarterbacks. Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Montreal, and Ottawa have all played at least a game without their starting Quarterback with Toronto likely to join the list next week. What’s more scary is that the league seems to have passed the job of protecting the pivots to the coaches who’s favorite challenge this season seems to be, Roughing The Quarterback. (What should be a black and white call) What can be done? What about a 20 yard penalty for Roughing the Quarterback and a cumulative system where repeat offenders are punished? (For example four penalties equals a game suspension, with the penalties resetting every five weeks.)

6 – Last one on the CFL and can anyone explain to me why Duron Carter is on the field? His one game suspension for running into Ottawa Head Coach Rick Campbell in week two is being appealed. So instead of hearing the appeal during Montreal’s Bye week (week 3) it is not expected to be dealt with until mid-August after week 8! Heck did he have questionable Senate expenses too? Why is this taking so long?

5 – To Riderville where a win is a win is a win right? That has to be the mentality after the Green and White upset the previously-undefeated Ottawa REDBLACKS. Some detractors are pointing to Quarterback Trevor Harris’ injury as being the determining factor in the win. It may very well have been but the Riders were also without Darian Durant if you want to take that road. End of the day a wise man once told me that you don’t critique wins. SO WE SHOULDN’T.

4 – Trouble part one. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers need a savior in Matt Nichols! The Bombers seemingly put all of their eggs in the basket of QB Drew Willy who despite a new receiving corp. hasn’t been able to get the offence rolling. Nichols gets the start this week and the Bombers are desperate for some results.

3 – Trouble part two. The Edmonton Eskimos, who the Bombers play this week at Commonwealth, haven’t got it together either. They are a botched Rider approach away from being 1-and-3 to start the season. The Eskimo defence seems confused while the offence is pressing. Let’s see who shows up this week.

2 – To baseball and get ready for the boom in Toronto. The buzz around Jays is the team getting set to deal Jose Bautista for pitching help. I’m not sure what they would get for the 36-year-old but there seems to be a swell of support for the move. Let’s just hope that the Jays don’t lay an egg like they did in the Ben Revere for Drew Storen trade.

1 – Why are we rushing to judge? Last one today comes from reading message boards and taking calls on the radio where folks are calling for a complete ban of Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics. I emphatically am against doping in sports and totally support the findings of the Canadian report into the Russian doping scandal and cover-up in Sochi. That being said should all athletes be punished? What if in 1988 after Ben Johnson was found to have used steroids the Canadian hockey team was banned from competing at the 1992 games in Albertville? A blanket ban, while getting the message across to those overseeing athletics, is placing guilt on all athletes regardless of whether they are clean or not. Taking away any athlete’s opportunity that has dedicated their life to their discipline without individual evidence of any wrong doing on their part is wrong. That’s why more support should be given to the IOC decision, even if it is a bit of a cop out allowing individual sporting federations to determine whether or not the Russians compete in their events.