Bombers in a bad way

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:46 AM ET

The Banjo Bowl is tomorrow and our inclination would normally be to comment on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, their recent four-game losing streak, their humiliating loss at the hands of the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week and their pressing need for a victory tomorrow before all is lost.

But we already have a column in another part of the paper (see Home Turf) on that subject. So for now we'll ignore the fact that the Bombers are a loss away from a potential disaster -- they have two games against Calgary, two against Montreal and one against B.C. remaining and could be 5-12 in no time flat -- are on the verge of becoming whipping boys for the lowly Riders and have a tenuous grip on what should be a gimme playoff spot.

Instead, how about some thoughts to ponder, while wondering which will come first: a) Tiger Woods loses a golf tournament; b) Michelle Wie wins a golf tournament; c) Charles Barkley becomes governor of Alabama; d)Paris Hilton joins Mensa.

POETIC JUSTICE: The Atlanta Braves and Edmonton Eskimos are two teams that have a lot in common. They are both about to miss the playoffs after making the post-season for the better part of a generation and both have politically incorrect names. Coincidence or long overdue comeuppance? ... Somebody explain to me how it's possible, that in this day and age of cheque-book championships, the Florida Marlins are contenders for the National League wild-card playoff spot. The Marlins have a payroll under $15 million (the New York Yankees are over $200 million) and an average player age of 25. They have won two World Series, have been dismantled twice and are about as popular as tropical storms in Miami. And yet, using a bunch of kids and a few over-the-hill castoffs, they were 70-70 entering last night's games, despite going 11-31 in the first six weeks of the season. They had a no-hitter this week from Anibal Sanchez and are laden with some of the finest rookie pitchers in baseball. The future is once again bright. They are the absolute antithesis of the theory that you have to spend big bucks -- as the Toronto Blue Jays would suggest -- to be successful in baseball and the model franchise for those of us who like to see the little guy win.

IRON IN THE FIRE: Mike Keenan has plenty of defenders around the NHL, who don't like the way he was shown the door by the Florida Panthers. But don't worry about poor Iron Mike. He's used to this stuff and is likely already at the top of the NHL recycling heap as we speak. Besides, anybody who trades Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi deserves to be out of a job ... Heard Danica Patrick singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Wrigley Field the other day. Or was it screeching tires? ... A lot of people were picking the Pittsburgh Steelers to be a bust this season, but they looked pretty good on Thursday, even without Ben Toothlessberger. We were going to review the spelling of that name, but Nick Saban was a little late throwing the challenge flag ... Ryan Howard is putting together what might be the most economical MVP season in history. The Phillies slugger had 54 home runs heading into last night's games and makes just $355,000 in salary this season. That's a total of $6,574 per homer. Sounds like a pretty good ratio, until you realize that Alex Rodriguez is getting $838,709 per homer this season. And by the way, A-Rod's salary is $11,000,000 more than the entire Florida Marlins ... Finally, we truly believe Charles Barkley will one day become governor of Alabama. And George Bush will play in the NBA.

---

QUICK HITS: Let's start off with Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with a personal question to former USC quarterback Matt Leinart, who got a female Southern California basketball player pregnant: "What part of 'Trojan' did you not understand?" ... From Dan Daly of the Washington Times: "Guess we know now why Matt Leinart missed the first two weeks of the Cardinals' camp. Contract dispute? Hah! How about Lamaze classes?" ... Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel on Tiger Woods and his wife Elin having dogs named Yogi and Taz: "Personally, I would have named them Phil and Sergio. Sergio, roll over and play dead! No, Phil, you can't have another liver snack!" ... Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post on Mike Tyson recently proclaiming that boxing has left a bad taste in his mouth: "Yeah -- it's called Evander Holyfield." ... Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the U.S. Open tennis tournament: "Has Andre Agassi stopped blubbering yet?" ... David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with some sure signs that NFL season has begun: "1) The next four events on the PGA Tour are the Bell Canadian Open, the 84 Lumber Classic, the Valero Texas Open and the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. 2) You actually want to hear Hank Williams Jr. sing. 3) Regular attendees of your church's 11 a.m. Sunday service are asking what time the early service begins." ... Syndicated columnist Norman Chad, on the No. 1 priority for the Arizona Cardinals: "Memo to the O-line: Protect your QB. (Kurt) Warner's body is a bit brittle; at this point in his career, he could pull a groin putting on his pants. If a blitzing linebacker so much as taps him on the shoulder to ask him the time of day, you have failed in your duty. I don't even want to see a house fly buzzing within 35 yards of his face mask. Understood?" ... Another from Dan Daly: "Elsewhere in pro football, the Eagles struck a deal with the Saints for receiver Donte Stallworth, who figures to be a vast improvement over Mark Wahlberg." ... Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg, on NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace getting in an accident when a woman chatting on a cellphone T-boned his SUV: "Rusty is fine, but if a race-car champion can't avoid a yammering soccer-mom driver, what chance do the rest of us have?" ... Phoenix Coyotes forward Jeremy Roenick on his team getting left off NBC's broadcast schedule this year: "Just having Wayne Gretzky as our owner, that's enough to get at least one of our games on. I mean, come on, throw a dog a bone." ... English golfer Nick Dougherty on getting beaten by a stroke by 16-year-old Michelle Wie - who shot an unimpressive 78 in the opening round at the European Masters: "My mother could have beaten me today." ... Former major leaguer John Kruk, telling Playboy magazine about losing weight: "Dieting is like getting a fancy present and then eating the box." ... Finally, colourful and outspoken Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson, explaining to Maxim magazine that Carson Palmer is the one person in the world who can shut him up: "All he has to do is not throw me the ball."


Videos

Photos