Break out the tinfoil hats. Contact the Tea Party. Get the guys who staged the moon landing in a studio on the phone. There's a conspiracy going on! The Toronto Argonauts are going the 100th Grey Cup Game. That's the Grey Cup game in Toronto. In a league that's desperately needed a profile in Toronto for two decades, the Argos have somehow found a path to the biggest game of the year. How convenient! After all, the CFL's need for the Argos to win was always greater than the need in a town infatuated by anything but Canadian football. The unloved Argos make gypsies look rooted.
And the matchup? The Argos weren't supposed to be in the ballpark with the mighty Alouettes and their impeccable QB Anthony Calvillo. The game was played with 50,102 Montreal fans screaming for the Als to advance to the Grey Cup game. The Als were healthy five-point faves over a team they'd beaten twice already in the regular season. Who could see that coming?
Finally, the Argos got their QB in Ricky Ray from the Edmonton Eskimos in a ridicuously one-sided trade last winter, effectively making ex-Edmonton GM Eric Tillman the Most Valuable Conspirator this season. What more proof do you need, Michael Moore? Argo Chad Owens said it all happened "for a reason". If that isn't conspiracy talk we don't know what is.
Except that the axiom goes, "You are what your record says you are". On this day, the record showed that Toronto coach Scott Milanovich's rag-tag bunch were the hoi-polloi and Montreal the mutts. That's all it takes some times. Plus, some help from the guy behind the grassy knoll.
The Calgary win over B.C in the Western Final was fortuitous, too. It saved the CFL from a week of ridicule over both teams being owned by the same man, David Braley. Why Big Jim Norris, who owned half the teams in the NHL Golden Era, would be doing cartwheels in his grave at the thought.
To those members of the Toronto chapter of the media Chamber of Commerce suggesting the successful Argo and the Marlie runs in playoff during the same year constitute the end of Toronto's fallow period in sports: Why didn't you add the success of Mayor Ford's high school team, too, while you scraped the bottom?
There are talks planned in the NHL lockout today. Those close to the acrimony... er, discussions, say don't get your hopes up too high. The sides are still in a snit with each other over some crucial point. We hear the NHL thinks Miller Lite is less filling. The NHPA thinks it tastes better.
For those who believe the opinions of eminent American journalists on this bun fight matter more than the scrawlings of their heated Canadian brethren, this cannot be good for Gary Bettman. It's one thing for Daily Grind to say the gig's up for Gary.
But when Bill Simmons and the ESPN world start dumping on the Commish, it's saying that the outcome is now just a matter of time. How the owners dump him is still in play. But Bettman is the goodbye guy.
SELIG FIDDLES WHILE MIAMI BURNS
Here's why MLB commissioner Bud Selig has moved at glacial speed to approve the Blue Jays/ Marlins trade. Toronto doesn't matter south of the border. With the talking heads of his broadcast partners at ESPN and FOX in high dudgeon, there's little downside to keel-hauling the Blue Jays awhile. How do we know they don't matter?
The Boston Red Sox took apart their roster this summer, trading a fistful of their core veterans to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a "pocketful of mumbles such are promises". Selig approved the deal faster than you can say Rubby De La Rosa (one of the spares sent back to Boston).
The Houston Astros have strip-mined their roster the past two years of what little talent it had without a peep from Buddy Boy.You can make a case that Miami got better value than did the Red Sox or Astros.
Letting Miami owner Jeffrey Loria get paint-balled for awhile by the American chattering classes is cheap theatrics for Selig. When the news cycle moves on to the next bete noire (a drug abuser signed by a Canadian team?) Selig will quietly give the Toronto/ Miami deal his benediction.
KICK ME, PLEASE
Two guys doing the Artie Fufkin these days have to be Terry Francona and John Farrell. You remember Fufkin as the hapless AR man in Spinal Tap who begged people to "Go ahead, kick my ass" when he made a spectacular mistake.
That has to be Francona and Farrell for choosing other managerial jobs before the Jays picked Miami's pocket for a potential contender. "They got who? Go ahead, kick me..."
DON'T DO IT
Another weekend of NFL coaches trying to "ice" kickers by calling a time out. Now ask yourself, which shot do you hit better, the first one or the do-over? Uh-huh, thought so.
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