November 17, 2012
Stampeders take circus on the road
By ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: The circus has left town.
For your ongoing amusement, we direct your attention to BC Place, where the Calgary Stampeders will ...
Well, who knows what they’ll do next?
As a refresher, it’s been nearly eight years since a group of local businessmen saved the franchise from the grips of two California clowns named Feterik and Fateri.
As part of their comical act, owner Michael Feterik tried to pull a rabbit out of his hat by attempting to transform his son into a professional quarterback.
Frontman Fred Fateri entertained the masses by claiming to have performed tremendous feats of strength in the weight room, juggling several hundred pairs of (clown) shoes and dressing up in team sweats during practice, as if, one day, he’d be asked to join in.
The media had a field day with it all, reducing the team to punchline status thanks to the modern-day Glieberguys running it into the turf.
All that changed when the ultra-serious John Hufnagel came into town to add much-needed credibility to the Horsemen.
He did away with the choreographed touchdown dances and the daily soap-opera plaguing the club, ultimately leading the Stamps to an unlikely Grey Cup title his first year.
While the franchise has since continued the unfortunate tradition of choking in the playoffs, it has done so with an air of professionalism reintroduced by ol’ Huf.
And so, it was somewhat nostalgic for this aging chronicler to see things unravel the way they did the last week when Drew Tate and Nik Lewis took turns making front-page headlines for all the wrong reasons. A flippant Tate claimed he was “joking” about misremembering the first half last Sunday, before Lewis made an offensive O.J. Simpson joke on Twitter that drew a league fine and coach’s ire.
Both dug themselves in deeper when talking to reporters questioning their conduct, prompting the duo to later issue separate clarifications forced on them by the club.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the mountains sits a juggernaut B.C. Lions squad with few deficiencies, even fewer distractions, and a bone to pick with Lewis and anyone else in red and white who thinks their last meeting meant anything.
It’s hard to believe a banged-up team as preoccupied with its own pratfalls as the Stamps have been, can knock off the defending champs in their own barn.
If they can, using backup Kevin Glenn, the joke is on us.
Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world figuring a two-week break for Gary Bettman and his bunch sounds about right given all the great work they’ve done this year.
AROUND THE HORN
Here’s how bad things have been for former Masters winner Mike Weir: He has missed the cut in all 14 tourneys he entered this season, and has cashed a weekend cheque once in the last 26 events he’s played in over two years — a 70th-place finish worth US$12,524. He’s gone 29 tourneys without finishing under par ... For those of us terrible at math, what sort of payout comes from “making whole” on contracts that aren’t honoured after the entire season is lost? ... Jay Leno on the sorry state of his NBA team: “The Lakers are so bad they’re bringing Shaq back just for his free throws.” ... Don’t look now, but 21-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic is the top-ranked tennis player in North America at No. 13, one ahead of American John Isner ... For those holding out hope for a shortened NHL season, keep in mind the deal that saved a 48-game schedule in 1994/95 was inked Jan. 11 ... Just so you know, it took 60 homeless lads working eight-hour shifts over four days to clear the snow from McMahon Stadium’s stands prior to the West semifinal. Stadium assistant manager Don Phelps confirms they were fueled by Chicken on the Way and Tim Horton’s doughnuts ... Calgary-born Flames prospect Carter Bancks, of the surprisingly solid Abbotsford Heat, is a nephew of Stamps president Stan Schwartz ... Tip of the hat to Sportsnet’s FAN 960 afternoon host Bryn Griffiths, who has resigned effective next month when he will return to Edmonton.