Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Viking Revival

“Stay tuned for breaking news from the Minnesota Vikings today on Brett Favre’s possible return.”

That’s the message members of the media got today from Favre’s official website as he hopped on a long ship to Minneapolis with three teammates.

So it seems, it’s not over yet as most of us probably guessed back in early August when word of his retirement first started to surface. Such is life when it comes to Brett Favre though.

A report on FoxSports.com says Steve Hutchinson, Jared Allen and Ryan Longwell took a trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to meet with their 40-year-old quarterback and try to convince him to come back for one more year. The website says Favre told his teammates that he was back in – though the team hasn’t been informed as of Tuesday afternoon.

This whole thing is so silly.

As if anyone of us really thought Favre was going to retire after putting up some of the best numbers of his career and leading the Vikings to the NFC title game after putting up a 12-4 regular season record. I even parodied the yearly cat-and-mouse game with my own fake retirement last week, to prove a point.

ESPN reports that one year ago on Wednesday, Favre reported to camp. At least he’s consistent, right?

Here’s another question though – which summer “Decision” is worse, that of LeBron James or Brett Favre?

Kevin Hench of FoxSports believes Favre’s “death by a thousand cuts” is worse that James’ “swift decapitation,” and I think I’d have to agree. Why? Well, Favre has now done this to three teams and he’s been doing the “I might be back” thing since about 2002! First he waffled with Green Bay, he then called it quits on New York…now players are flying to his house to beg him to come back to Minnesota.

I think I know what’s at the heart of all this ‘waffling’ though – no quarterback wants to be remembered as the all-time leader in interceptions.

How will you remember Brett Favre? See? It’s all part of the plan!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: Forever Young?

A day later, and not much has changed on the Hamilton stadium front - the city still says it will try to convince its CFL team to join in on the project; the Tiger-Cats still say 'no way.'

There have been a few interesting developments in the aftermath of Hamilton city council's decision to go with the West Harbour site on both sides of the conflict though, despite neither side really budging.

For example, CFL commissioner Mark Cohon says he's backing owner Bob Young in the dispute, telling CBC Sports "We're talking about 141 years of history with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is not going to be resolved in one or two days."

"I look at this as the commissioner of the CFL, and having known Young for years, what Bob is trying to achieve is a long-term vision for the Tiger-Cats. He adopted a franchise that was essentially bankrupt. He's been the caretaker of that franchise and invested millions of his own dollars to help that franchise. The light at the end of the tunnel is a new stadium that will help him and help the fans for future generations."

Cohon went on to say this isn't about building a 15,000-seat stadium that'll only be used for two weeks - and that right there is likely one reason Young says the team couldn't be economically sustainable at West Harbour. That's half the number of seats at the team's current home, Ivor Wynne Stadium, which likely means half the revenue!

As for whether or not the team will relocate - Cohon said he wouldn't speculate, but would like to see both sides work things out in Hamilton.

Young spoke to the FAN 590 (via TSN), calling the decision a "massive mistake" that may "end the Ti-Cats in Hamilton." Meanwhile, team president Scott Mitchell responded "no, no and no again" when The Hamilton Spectator asked if there was a chance they would re-join negotiations on the stadium front.

"When you ask if we'll come back to the table, for what? Nothing has changed of any substance since their initial offer to us way back in February of a 15,000-seat stadium in the west harbour. At the end of the day, whether it's Bob Young or anybody else, no owner is going to own a team that they're convinced they're going to lose millions of dollars on. Nobody."

When asked what happens next, all Mitchell would talk about is winning football games.

On the city's side of things, there's some local flavour to what's going on with the Katz Group involved and being looked at as an "intriguing option," if the Ti-Cats don't want to talk (which seems to be the case).

The Spec says that earlier this summer the Katz Group begun the process of "negotiating a memorandum of agreement about attracting an NHL team, managing Copps Coliseum and possibly a west harbour stadium with both football and a pro soccer team."

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson says he kept in touch with the group through a local businessman and the city should listen to what they have to say.

"Anyone who wants to drop a $1-million cheque on the table is serious, I think. Business people don't throw that kind of money away. Clearly they have a plan, clearly they think they can execute, so absolutely we have to listen to them."

I find it very interesting that the CFL is siding with Young and the Ti-Cats here, especially after a 12-3 vote in favour of West Harbour.

That sends a strong message from the league to council that they might have 'got it wrong.' Whether those statements from Cohon change anything, I don't know, but it's certainly a feather in Bob Young's cap that the CFL is in his corner. How the city expects the Ti-Cats to be excited about a 15,000-seat stadium is beyond me, when they're prepared to front a bunch of money for the project.

You save a team that's the heart and soul of a community from going bankrupt and pump millions of your own dollars into getting the franchise back on solid footing, and this is the thanks you get?

As for the Katz Group's involvement, it seems like that's more a 'life after football' avenue for the city.

In order for the Tiger-Cats to stay in Hamilton, it looks like one side of the conflict is going to have to swallow some pride and give in to the other - which side will it be?

Kerrzy’s Notebook: Picking up the Tab(bie)

Unless the city of Hamilton or the owner of the Tiger-Cats has a sudden change of heart, Ottawa won’t be the only new team in the CFL in the coming years.

Hamilton city council voted 12-3 on Tuesday night to move forward with a stadium at the West Harbour site for the 2015 Pan Am Games, which would also be the future home of the Ti-Cats – though at this point, it might just be an empty barn.

On Monday, Ti-Cats owner Bob Young sent a letter to Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisdenberger telling him that they were withdrawing from stadium negotiations and walking away from the situation – and taking the millions of dollars he promised to inject into the project with him.

The Hamilton Spectator quotes Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell as saying that Young’s offer to contribute as much as $55-million (for construction and parking spaces), along with $1.5-million in yearly operating costs, are now off the table.

That leaves the city with a big chunk of change to make up for, not to mention the fact that as of right now, there is no permanent tenant for the brand new stadium, which Young has hinted his team would never move to.

Why does Young hate the West Harbour? Here’s an excerpt from his letter explaining it:

“The West Harbour option which you personally have driven gives the Tiger-Cats no hope of running a sustainable business. Using “best practice” criteria, and confirmed by leading experts around North America, this proposed stadium would rank dead last in North America in terms of usability for its tenants. It imposes a logistical nightmare for fans, particularly the “regional fans” that Mr. Fenn describes as vital to our survival. As such, I cannot be part of a process that destines us to financial failure before the first shovel goes in the ground.”

Another thing that is rumored to have soured the relationship between Young and the city of Hamilton was the Katz Group declaring its interest about running a stadium and Copps Coliseum.

A friend of Young, businessman Ron Foxcroft, told the Hamilton newspaper "It was the city chasing the phony tooth fairy dream with the (Edmonton) Oilers that lit the fuse, that caused the relationship to explode."

The Ti-Cats had offered up even more money if they were to manage the stadium.

So, if not Hamilton – where will the team play?

To move the team, Young would have to apply for a transfer and convince the league’s board of directors that the team would work in a new market, which shouldn’t be too hard.

There are rumors that Quebec City could be a potential suitor for the franchise, though the stadium at Laval University would probably need to be expanded for such a move to happen. The Laval Rouge et Or are a CIS powerhouse with probably the best attendance of any football program in the country – you’d have to assume that would be seriously affected by the arrival of a CFL club.

The other main rumor out there has the team moving to Ottawa, where Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has a provisional CFL expansion franchise set to join the league in 2013. Jeff Hunt tells The Spec though that the company is “sticking with plans to stock a team through an expansion draft,” rather than relocation.

There’s also the possibility that the Tiger-Cats work things out with the city and they stay put, which would be the best thing for the city, but there are people who don’t think Young is bluffing.

“We will play out our days at Ivor Wynne,” says Young – but where will they end up in 2012?

What do you think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: My Last Blog

Hey everyone – I’d just like to take a moment to thank you all for reading my blog over the past year and a half; it’s been a lot of fun to write and I hope you enjoyed hearing my opinions on the various topics covered in my little corner of the web.

Unfortunately, this will be the last page of Kerrzy’s Notebook.

There comes a time in every man’s life where he has to look at his situation and be honest with himself – and for me, that time has come. I feel like I’ve given all I have to give and I’ve got to say, as I texted some of my co-workers earlier today, “This is it.”

It’s hard to leave…you think you’re prepared for it. I know there have been comments and issues out there lately about why I’m leaving – Whether or not iNews880 did enough. Whether or not Syd and Primeau tried to convince me to stay – none of those things have anything to do with me retiring; and that’s from the heart.

I know I can blog…but I don’t think I want to, and that’s really what it comes down to. I’ve got no regrets. I blogged one way – the only way I knew how.

You know, now that I think about it, maybe I’m not done yet. About a minute ago, I got to thinking – maybe I still have what it takes. As for those text messages someone brought up earlier, I think that story was fabricated. I don’t even have any of my coworkers cell numbers.

Why would I stop blogging? Sure I’m 25, but I still feel like I can contribute at a high level. I mean, my mind still works, I still strongly dislike referees and the last time I checked I’ve still got an opinion…I think.

To be honest with you, I haven’t made up my mind yet about whether or not I’ll blog again. After my last blog…you know, once you get done a blog you have to sort of take time to sit back and reflect; you really have to listen to your body. For me, it’s about family. But here’s what it really boils down to: as long as I can still come up with ideas for things to blog about, I’ll probably be back for at least another blog…

Is this the last you’ve heard from me?

In short - Yes. I mean no…well, maybe. But probably. It depends though. Although, I think I’ll write again, maybe even tomorrow. It really could go either way I guess. But I’ll probably make a decision soon.

I think.

Kerrzy's Notebook: Strange Brew

Sad news out of the Golden Baseball League as the St. George Roadrunners have been forced to close up shop for the remainder of the season…and you’ll never guess why.

The Deseret News (hat tip to Deadspin) reports that the Roadrunners simply ran out of money – and a lack of beer sales is part of the problem.

Bearing in mind what I’ve paid for a cold one at various sporting events in my day I’m not too surprised to hear the CEO of Hot Corner Baseball, the group that owns the team, say that beer sales work out to about 33% of the total revenue of a minor league baseball team.

"I know it was a controversial issue, but beer sales was critical to our success here, in terms of increasing attendance, increasing revenue, and as a factor in attracting necessary outside capital investment. It simply makes no sense to operate a minor league franchise without beer sales.”

Here’s the problem: in Utah it’s apparently illegal to sell booze on the grounds of any educational institution, as far as I can tell through my late-night limited research. The team shares its home stadium, Bruce Hurst Field, with the Dixie State College of Utah baseball team.

Joyce also blamed the decision to cease operations on poor attendance and lack of support from the local business community. According to the Deseret News piece, the failed business model of the fourth ownership group to try and run a team in St. George banked on attracting just one percent of the local population per game (1,300 fans).

So the Roadrunners finish up their season last in the GBL’s North Division and a distant last in terms of attendance. To put that in context, so far this season the Edmonton Capitals have more than doubled the attendance of the Roadrunners (63,615 to 31,753).

But what if the taps ran dry at Telus Field, Commonwealth Stadium or Rexall Place – would you still go?