Will Ricky Williams' presence boost attendance?

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher in Blue Jays history, didn't sell tickets in Toronto.

Doug Flutie, the greatest quarterback in Argos history, didn't sell tickets in Toronto.

So why is there this grand assumption -- widely spread and intelligently argued -- that the mere appearance of Ricky Williams in an Argos uniform will bolster attendance dramatically?

If Williams should get the green light from the highly paranoid Miami Dolphins to play for the Argos -- which could happen any moment now -- his presence would be historical all on its own. He immediately would become the most accomplished National Football League star to ever play in the Canadian Football League in his prime.

That, by itself, should make him a draw: That should provide yet another reason to buy Argos tickets.

But we wonder, if back-to- back Cy Young Awards and back-to-back Grey Cups didn't turn Toronto on, will Ricky?

Time will tell.

THIS AND THAT

How long has it been since player agent Leigh Steinberg had dealings with the Argos? The most recent Argo he represented was Georgia offensive lineman Joel Parrish, way back in 1977 ... Williams, who played minor-league baseball in the Phillies organization, took in Friday's Blue Jays game. "He loves the city." Steinberg said. "How can you not love it?"... Kelly Chase had a nickname for Paul Maurice when he played for him with the Hartford Whalers. He called the young Maurice "Doogie Howser." ... He can't say it for obvious reasons, but if you are Lyle Overbay, aren't you relieved not to have to deal with Russ Adams' throws from shortstop any more? Tough to be a first baseman when you don't know where the ball is going ... At precisely what point in time did the Boston Bruins become as dysfunctional as the Chicago Blackhawks? ... A few good games from Carolina goalie Martin Gerber can build up his clout in the free agent market. Gerber was like a plummeting stock after being pulled against Montreal ... I'm not a horse racing guy, but, boy, was it difficult and emotional to watch Barbaro in the Preakness ... So long, John Avery. It wasn't all that nice knowing you.

HERE AND THERE

Let's see now: The Los Angeles Kings couldn't stand playing for Andy Murray . The Vancouver Canucks couldn't stand playing for Marc Crawford. So now that Crawford is coaching the Kings, isn't it only fair that Murray should end up as the new Canucks coach? ... Quincy Carter is just the latest NFL name to come to the CFL expecting life to be easy and finding out it isn't ... Two days in Toronto and, so far, baseball's most nefarious villain not named Barry Bonds -- A.J. Pierzynski -- hasn't done a thing to anger anybody ... Why Troy Glaus can take the occasional shift at shortstop: The Detroit Tigers won a World Series in 1968 with their centre fielder, Mickey Stanley, playing shortstop ... You can't help but admire the self-deprecating humour of Jays manager John Gibbons. When asked about his new shortstop the other night, Gibbons said: "People shouldn't get used to seeing Glaus at short. Of course, if it doesn't work out, don't get used to me, either."

SCENE AND HEARD

In other news: Janet Gretzky is denying she has anything to do with the great Italian soccer scandal ... Two of Bryan Colangelo's chief advisors are scouts Jim Kelly and Bob Zuffelato, who have overseen some of the great Raptors disasters of the past. Go figure ... You get the impression the Raptors would like to trade the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. But with Charlotte, Portland and Minnesota all hinting they'd like to trade their picks for established players, it may not be so easily attained ... Starting tomorrow, we get to find out if the Tigers are for real. Thirteen consecutive games against contending teams. No gimmes against the pitiful Royals ... The line drive Boomer Wells took on the mound Friday night had Roy Halladay's last season written all over it ... Lost in all the Ricky noise: The salary cap that was going to make life seem fair in CFL still hasn't been agreed to.

AND ANOTHER THING

What a disgraceful way to say goodbye to junior hockey: Vancouver captain, Mark Fistric, cross-checking Moncton goalie Josh Tordjman in the final seconds of the Memorial Cup semi-final ... And wondering: When did Patrick Roy turn in to such a boorish and immature instigator? ... Don't know what this means, but is it a coincidence that B.J. Ryan, Gregg Zaun, Reed Johnson and Eric Hinske were all selected in the 17th round of the baseball draft? The longest of Jays' longshots: Justin Speier, a 55th-round choice ... Under the heading of astonishing: After all that went on in a city of ruins, almost 55,000 season tickets have been sold for the New Orleans Saints this coming season ... Is PM Stephen Harper the new director of media relations for the Portland Trail Blazers? ... The Bonds reality show has been put on hiatus by ESPN. Ratings, apparently, peaked at 0.6 -- or NHL playoff numbers in the U.S. ... Neil Smith has a Stanley Cup ring. The newest GMs in the NHL -- Dean Lombardi, Ray Shero, Francois Giguere and Peter Chiarelli -- have jobs, but no championships to call their own. Smith probably would cash in his ring for another shot ... And hey, whatever became of Lou Angotti?


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