Biggest game for Argos is East final

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

Why not sell out?

Pinball Clemons was doing what he always does yesterday, challenging people to be better, challenging us to think more, only this time he had the wrong game and the wrong year with his pronouncement.

The big game is not in 2007. That may be the big gamble for the owners of the Argonauts, although considering how they seem to handle most mountains, it may not be that large a climb at all.

The big game is this Sunday. In a way, that's why the announcement that the 2007 Grey Cup is coming to Toronto was made yesterday. That's how big Sunday's game is. The Argos aren't certain about winning.

Because if they were certain, they don't make the announcement yesterday. They make it next week -- or better yet, they make it just after their second consecutive Grey Cup victory. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. And they don't want to do that and we don't want to do that.

Because this Sunday is all about possibilities. The continuation of this amazing team at this amazing time. A story that gets more unlikely with each passing day.

It's hard to write about the Argos these days and not come off like a paid political announcement. There is that much good news.

They have the most adorable coach in the history of professional sports, who just happens to be terrific at his job and even better at making everybody he has ever met in his life feel like the most important person on earth.

That's why this Sunday means something. Never mind Pinball challenging Toronto: How about Toronto giving something back to Pinball for a change?

A sellout of 44,700 people is a good way to start. The Argos already are figuring on a crowd of more than 40,000. The final 4,700 isn't much of a challenge but it remains a challenge nonetheless.

It's about time we gave something back to someone who is forever giving to us.

The 2007 Grey Cup is still two years away. If the Argos knew with certainty they would be champions two weeks from now, they wouldn't have made the announcement yesterday. They would have made it alongside their favourite trophy after returning from Vancouver in glory.

But there's no way of knowing if they'll win this Sunday and no way of knowing if they'll win the week after so if you're looking for momentum and a good news day to make a good news announcement, you do it yesterday -- even if it happens to coincide with the leadup to the East final game against Montreal.

Even if this is the game -- not one two years from now -- that everyone should be talking about.

If you listen enough to the loud talkers who forever are complaining about pro sports, the negatives always are the same. The athletes make too much money. The tickets are too expensive. The games aren't entertaining. Yada. Yada. Yada.

So here are our beloved Argonauts, not far removed from life support. With pro athletes who don't make much money, with tickets that aren't that expensive, with games that are entertaining. We are, for the record, once again out of excuses.

"What time is it?" Pinball likes to ask his team.

The answer comes back to him in unison and now it's fashionable: "It's Argos time."

It's time to pack what used to be called SkyDome. The last time there was an East final here, Doug Flutie was playing quarterback in Toronto and the crowd was announced at 32,085. That was eight years and three ownerships ago.

Or was it four?

And if we didn't do it for Flutie, then why not do it for Damon Allen, who just gets older and better and older and better and one of these years will win a Grey Cup, walk off the field and say, "That's it, I've had enough."

Maybe it's this year. Maybe this is Toronto's last real chance to see Damon Allen play. That has to be worth something.

That has to be worth a sellout.

Let's worry about 2007 in 2007 and let's take care of this Sunday first.


Photos