Top Ten Tuesday: Focusing On The Numbers

The Saskatchewan Roughriders kicked-off their 2016 season on Thursday night, the Toronto Blue Jays played a marathon game on the weekend, and Team Canada is going strong in China that and more on the way with my top ten musings from the week that was.

So buckle-up in no particular order here we go:

10 – The Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped their opening game of the season, 30-17 to Toronto. Some of the descriptors from the game were; Disappointing, predictable and not as bad as it could have been. In all honesty the Riders were a handful of plays away from a different outcome. The one sure thing to come from the contest is the fact that the group assembled by Chris Jones et all is fast, focused and fierce. This is going to be a fun team to watch when they come together.

9 – Credit where it is due! Lost in the loss to Toronto was the return of Quarterback Darian Durant to the field from his Achilles injury a year ago. In his first game action in a year the Rider pivot only went 31-48, for 310 yards 1TD and rushed for 15 yards. Not to mention catching his own pass for 3 yards. Not bad for a guy who only had one quarter of pre-season action to get up to game speed.

7 – Cudos to the Riders for sticking to their guns this week, Part 1: First overall pick Josiah St. John was on the field after signing with the club late last week. The Riders took a hard-line stance on the number one pick sticking to their salary structure. Good on the Riders now St. John can show his worth on the field.

6 – Sticking to their guns, Part 2: I am a firm believer in the motto if you are not with us, you are against us. Shawn Lemon fell into that category after becoming disgruntled with the Riders systems and his lack of playing time. Despite being a highly-sought-after free-agent by Chris Jones and the Riders football operations staff, before the problem could sprout into a distraction the team dealt with the player and moved forward. It helps that the team was able to find more than apt replacements that had passed Lemon on the depth chart, though.

5 – The Moment of Truth. Getting back to the Lemon trade and one of the pieces coming from Toronto to the Green and White is offensive lineman Matt Sewell, who instead of reporting to the team is supposedly contemplating retirement. Sewell is being condemned on fan boards for not living up to his contract and accepting the trade. However, this is where reality has to sink in. Sewell is not making millions of dollars and to up-root all that he has in Toronto in-season takes a lot of logistics personally and professionally. Sewell has a Master’s Degree in business and is from the Toronto area. If the logistics outweigh the opportunity then he has every right to retire and move on!

4 – Only in the CFL. Well this one falls entirely into that category. Alouette Receiver Duron Carter has been suspended one game for making contact with Ottawa REDBLACKs Head Coach Rick Campbell in last week’s game in Montreal. Most analysts seem to agree that the suspension is warranted but in another only in the CFL moment the league also decided that Campbell should be fined for not getting out of the way. So both are to blame? One more than the other?

SO which side are you on? In light of the Campbell-Carter collision in last week I wonder if the CFL finally will do something about the sideline configuration that I first pointed out three seasons ago? In Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton the teams share a common sideline. Firstly, you are asking for disaster. Secondly, if you look at these stadiums all but Montreal are new so why wouldn’t the CFL mandate opposite sideline benches? Then again they haven’t mandated standard field size (hello BMO Field).

3 – The CFL isn’t alone in head scratchers this week. Vic Carapazza’s umpiring on Canada left something to be desired, to say the least. His inconsistent strike zone tarnished what will be remembered as a 19-inning classic between Toronto and Cleveland. Will MLB do anything to improve his call? Not likely as according to some there is no discipline that MLB can impose aside from removing play-off opportunities.

2 – Leader of the pack. The one thing to note from the debacle at Rogers Centre on Friday was that even though the strike zone was inconsistent for both teams only one had players, and a manager, ejected. To me that speaks to character, complacency and leadership and it starts with the skipper.

1 – Leader of the pack the sequel. I realize that when the manager gets tossed he “technically,” isn’t in charge of the team but the Jays decision to use position players to pitch the 18th and 19th innings as opposed to burning a starting pitcher was a head scratcher. Basically the Jays conceded the game. Compounding that was the fact that Ryan Goins, who pitched a scoreless 18th, injured his arm and is now on the 15 day DL. You could not have anticipated the outcome but you sure could have guarded against it.

BONUS: Speaking of pitchers. Yesterday was a banner day for baseball in the province as Regina’s Dustin Molleken made his big league debut with Detroit becoming just the 9th from our province to make it to the big league. I am sure that his Dad, Doug, and Uncle Lorne are bursting at the seams with pride. As they should be!