'Stirring the pot'

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Hamilton Tiger-Cats president Scott Mitchell has guaranteed that his team will beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers tonight at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Bombers defensive tackle Doug Brown is happy he doesn't play for the Ticats.

"He's trying to sell tickets. He doesn't play the game," Brown said yesterday. "I'm just glad we have a president (Lyle Bauer) whose guarantees I don't have to back up on the field.

"But at least ours has played football before. He knows what he's talking about."

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Mitchell, the son of former CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell, was drafted by the Bombers in 1994 after helping the University of Toronto Varsity Blues win the Vanier Cup in 1993, but he never made it out of Winnipeg's training camp.

Mitchell, in his first year with the Ticats, is obviously stirring the pot in an effort to keep Hamiltonians interested in the toothless Tabbies, who are 0-5 and entrenched firmly in the East Division basement for the fourth time in the last five years.

"It seems to me like he's trying to involve himself in the game," Brown said, "and I guess as someone who's never been able to make it as a professional football player, it's as close as he's going to be able to get."

The Bombers (3-1-1) are sitting atop the East going into tonight's contest (6:30 p.m., TSN/CJOB) and are on the Ticats' hit list after attempting a 53-yard field goal on the last play of their 36-18 win over Hamilton last Friday at Canad Inns Stadium.

Bombers head coach Doug Berry went for it because Winnipeg and Hamilton play four times this season. If they split the series and end up tied in the East, the tiebreaker becomes points for and against.

It's hot and humid enough as it is here in sweltering Steel City, but Winnipeg's attempt to run up the score last week has caused the thermometer to rise even more.

It even caused a rift between Berry and Hamilton coach Charlie Taaffe, who are good friends.

Berry left a message on Taaffe's cellphone earlier this week in an effort to mend fences. Taaffe said he planned to "kiss and make up" with Berry, but that doesn't mean he's forgotten about what happened.

"Doug and I are friends -- been friends for a long time -- and I certainly disagreed with his strategy there at the end," Taaffe said. "Nothing he can say is going to change how I feel about that. I'm sure he had his reasons for doing what we did, so we can agree to disagree or disagree without being disagreeable.

"... When's the last time Troy Westwood kicked a 52-yard field goal? Just take a knee, end the game, and get on with your business. That's me. That's my opinion.

"But it's over and done with, and we're not going to let that one incident destroy what's been a good, solid relationship over a number of years."

Berry feels the same way about the friendship.

"I definitely plan on talking with Charlie," he said. "It doesn't matter which one of us initiates the conversation.

"This is not a way for two friends to be getting at each other's heels. I look forward to having a conversation with him."


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