Top Ten Tuesday: April 19

Well it’s that time of the week again. Time to empty my brain of random thoughts from the week that was in the world of sports. So here we go in no particular order.

10 – Mike Reilly has become the highest paid player in the CFL. His contract extension with the Eskimos will see him reportedly double his salary to $500,000 a year in both 2017 and 2018. When I spoke with a CFL Hall of Famer about Reilly his thoughts on the Edmonton Quarterback was that Reilly needing to prove that he can stay on the field. “That’s how you become great… by staying on the field!”

9 – Who should be the top paid player in the CFL? For years the argument could be made for dominant Canadian Lineman. Now I think you have to go with a Quarterback and if I was to pick one across the league right now for the highest base salary that would be Bo Levi Mitchell in Calgary.

8 – An interesting dynamic is developing in Edmonton with the Eskimos signing free-agent Quarterback Thomas DeMarco. The move, obviously, makes sense on a number of levels: He played for new Head Coach Jason Maas in Ottawa, the Eskies are in need of a veteran presence behind Reilly after trading Matt Nichols to Winnipeg last year, AND there is still a ton of upside on DeMarco. With all that being said let’s not forget that it was DeMarco that beat out Reilly for the number two job in B.C. which saw the Lions ship Reilly to Edmonton.

7 – More football and there was a great article in the Star Phoenix today with Saskatoon Hilltops Head Coach Tom Sargent discussing the Prairie Football Conference’s Inter-Lock schedule. Reading between the lines you can tell that the Toppers Bench Boss is a tad skeptical about the plan and can obviously see the resulting schedule inequity where the Hilltops will be the only team in the conference, “that will play the National runner-ups.” As I mentioned last week if a team misses a home play-off game or play-off spot with the limited linking of the PFC and BCFC schedules there could be some serious financial ramifications.

6 – Meanwhile the University of Saskatchewan Huskies are gearing up for their spring camp that is 15 days away. The traditional start to the camp, the Dogs Breakfast is going to be very intriguing with the Riders new Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones and former CFL pivot Kerry Joseph among the speakers, along with the CFL on TSN panel. Tickets are still available. Get yours by clicking here.

5 – On a different field the Toronto Blue Jays bats are slowly waking from their winter hibernation. One jump start seems to have come for Kevin Pillar who was moved from the lead-off spot to the number eight hole where he has been perfect. That roster shuffle, though, has forced Michael Saunders to the top of the batting order which is a downgrade. So the Jays seem to be having trouble finding a lead-off bat. Too bad the team didn’t have the foresight to hold onto Ben Revere who had a great on base percentage, was an energy guy and seemed to make things happen at the top of the line-up before the Jays big bats came to the dish.

4 – How about the Saskatchewan Rush? Saskatoon’s only professional sports franchise sold out a second straight game for fan appreciation night as they closed out their regular season home schedule with a win over the Colorado Mammoth Saturday. You have to hand it to the team that has taken Saskatoon by storm as their 15,000+ on Saturday night was another huge achievement for the franchise.

3 – So what does the success of a professional sports team do for grass roots? Baseball numbers for young players is way up in the city mirroring the Jays success (need to get rid of the bat flips on the playground though… lol… thanks Jose Bautista). Lacrosse registration has also soared in the city growing exponentially thanks to the Saskatchewan Rush. Heck my seven year old, thanks to a well-placed elastic band, has turned his fishing net into a lacrosse stick.

2 – What little I have seen of the NHL play-offs still has me scratching my head. The coach’s review takes way to long. I understand the desire to get the call right. But the time it takes to do that is really hurting the sport.

1 – Lastly, Jackie Robinson Day was observed by major league baseball last week and what a great tradition! However, Robinson may not have been the best athlete in his home. Look up his older brother Mac! Mac won silver in the 200 metre race at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. His accomplishment, however, may have been overlooked thanks to the gold medal winner Jesse Owens.