The good ship Argo is badly listing

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

When they lost their only two pre-season games, the Argos said it was nothing.

And when they lost two of their first three regular-season games, they again said it was nothing.

Now, here are the Argos, six games in to the Canadian Football League season, looking more lost than ever. Looking inept and ill-prepared. Beaten up by injuries and by themselves.

This isn't nothing anymore.

And if they say it is, the only people they are fooling are themselves.

This now is an Argos team in tatters.

This is a team crying for some kind of change.

This is a team with style but not substance: Only the equally pathetic play of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Edmonton Eskimos saves Toronto from absolute desperation.

On Thursday, it's Montreal and the unbeaten Alouettes. Almost no time to properly prepare, let alone recover.

Almost no time to clean up this mess.

THIS AND THAT

Floyd Landis said the truth will come out about his positive drug test from the Tour de Farce. Funny ... Rafael Palmeiro, Ben Johnson, all Bulgarian weightlifters, Kostas Kenteris and Jose Theodore said precisely the same thing ... Wade Belak got a contract extension beyond next season. Anyone know why? ... Best reason not to vote for Mark McGwire when he comes up for Hall of Fame consideration next year: We're not here to talk about the past ... Yes, Ricky Williams is a nice, polite, well-read gentleman, but at 500 grand in a league that pays next to nothing, he has been a terrible buy for all kinds of reasons by the Argos ... It's commendable the Leafs have gotten rid of Ed Belfour, Aki Berg, Alex Khavanov, Luke Richardson, Tie Domi, Eric Lindros, Jason Allison and Pat Quinn -- at least two and maybe three who are going to the Hall of Fame. But how much better does Mike Peca, Pavel Kubina, Hal Gill, Andrew Raycroft and Paul Maurice really make them? It's not like a team lacking speed and creativity got any.

HERE AND THERE

Just wondering: Are Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Reed Johnson the most complete outfield in baseball? All of them, for the record, are players J.P. Ricciardi inherited from a Gord Ash regime that apparently didn't have any prospects ... One concern with Rios, coming back from staph infection: Does he go back to being the all-star Rios of this season or the frustrating Rios of the past? After two games back, we're not sure ... Yep, that Greg Marshall firing sure has turned the Hamilton Tiger-Cats around ... Rather than fine Scott Schultz for hit helmet-to-helmet hit on Spergon Wynn, shouldn't the CFL have fined Wynn for not strapping up his helmet properly? ... How big has B.J. Ryan been for the Jays? Not only has he saved 25 games, but in all three of his blown saves, the Jays have come back to win ... True story. When B.C. Lions running back Joe Smith started dating his wife-to-be she didn't believe his name was Joe Smith. He had to pull out his driver's licence to prove his identity ... In Pittsburgh, Ray Shero, son of Fred, is the general manager and his assistant is Chuck Fletcher, son of Cliff.

SCENE AND HEARD

For the record, Vitaly Visnevski, who was awarded $1.5 million US in NHL arbitration, isn't nearly the player that Lubomir Visnovsky is ... Barry Bonds, broken body and all, hasn't made an error in the outfield this season ... The Giants starting outfield of Bonds, Steve Finley and Moises Alou are the first of a kind. All three starters are over 40 ... The baseball trade deadline will remain meaningless until baseball changes its post-trade deadline waiver rules of moving players around ... It's impossible to be completely impressed with what hot GM Bryan Colangelo has done with the Raptors until this worldly group actually gets on the court and plays somebody. In fairness, not a lot of NBA champions have been built with the best of Italy, Israel, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania and Raleigh, N.C. ... What's with auto racers having first names as last names? Like Paul Tracy, Jeff Gordon, Greg Ray. We could go on.

AND ANOTHER THING

The Miami Dolphins sent flowers to Ricky Williams after he broke his arm. When asked if his first pro coach, Mike Ditka, would have sent flowers, Williams nodded his head in disagreement. "He would have sent a cigar." ... How soon before the heat turns up on Grey Cup winning coach, Danny Maciocia, whose Edmonton Eskimos look lost this season? ... David Fingold, whose son is the lead investor in the group that looks to purchase Pittsburgh Penguins, first tried to bring the NBA to Toronto when the league expanded in the late 1980s ... With John McDonald starting at shortstop, the Jays lack a right-handed bat to pinch hit for him late in games. Can you say Shea Hillenbrand? .. Is it just me, or do you miss Harold Hosein doing the weather on television? ... Too bad you missed the Donovan Bailey Roast, with proceeds going to Right To Play. It was friendly, touching and full of laughs ... Has anybody seen or heard from Neil Smith since he was unceremoniously gassed from the menagerie that is the New York Islanders? ... People in the wrestling business can't get away from the wrestling business. Vince McMahon's son married a ring announcer and his daughter married a wrestler ... And hey, whatever became of Dave Knechtel?


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