First off the tailgate:
As we approached the Toronto fans tailgate party we recieved some scrupulous looks from those already in attendance.
This quickly changed when members of the "00"'s (Double zero's) who welcomed my wife and our two friends with open arms. My Ticat colours definitely stood out when I saw a couple for other friendly colours. It was Tigger, Cossack and Ticatfan.
When we began talking the "00"'s welcomed us with the traditional "I'd rather be an Argo then a _________'n Tiger Cat. To which I replied, "Thank you for the warm welcome folks here's to a good game!" This met with a resounding "Cheers"!
Converstations ranged from what to expect from who, to how fair weather fans are generally the ones who cause the most trouble at games. Where as the season ticket holders generally see visiting fans as fellow CFL fans and that their ticket money helps the team.
Note: The "00" braised tender loin was done to perfection and tasted great.
Onto the game
The walk over met us with a significant crowd at the Rogers Centre, with only looks but no negative comments.
The Steelback Street party was a busy place with a Lick's burger and a pop for only $5 (a good deal really).
Into the Rogers Center. The Rogers Centre has been totally renovated, from removing obstructed seats to increasing counter service resulting in a short wait for beer or pop and eats. The popcorn and pizza were fresh and beer while expensive for compared to IWS was resonable for Toronto.
Game intro's where sharp with Argo players announcing themselves (via pre-taping) on the jumbo-tron as they ran on to the field. Ticat's were tastefully and professionally introduced.
The Rogers Centre turf is now laden with advertising and it is clear that corporate advertising is way up as you can see it through the stadiium and on the jumbo-tron. The place looks sharp.
As expected with the preseason thier was an ever revolving rotation of players on both sides. Some to the stand-outs for me was Jason Mass's poise at times, Kevin Eakin's incredible over all athletic ability and stand out performance, to me Jason's our now and Kevin's our future. "The Little Ball of Hate" punched the ball in when he needed to and I am sure he and Corey will be our go to guys in the backfield as Corey impressed with his tenacity, skill and aggressive play
The defense was obviously poised and ready to make a statement, there would be no embarrassment this game. They put constant pressure on the Argo's resulting in alot of tipped balls, stuffed runs and missed catches. Great job guys.
Rickie for 4 days practice obviously was on a explorative mission, when he was called upon to test his ability he attacked his routes. But I think he misjudged his opponesnts ability. It seemed to me he thought with our wider field he could out run the outside and was shut down with minimal gains.
I liked how the Argo's responed to Thiesman's comments. The Assoicated Press article described it best:
"Fans got a rise out of a vignette in the second that made fun of former Toronto quarterback Joe Theismann's condemnation of the club's signing Williams.
On Tuesday, Theismann called the move a "feeble excuse" by Toronto to sell tickets, lashed out at Williams and said he was ashamed to have worn the club's old A emblem on his helmet.
During a stoppage in play Friday, a video ran on the Jumbotron showing Theismann wearing a helmet with the A emblem. Suddenly, a giant pencil appeared and rubbed out the A, after which the worlds "Happy Now Joe" appeared, again drawing solid applause."[/b]
On the field.
After the game we made our way onto the Rogers Center field. The Argo's allow the fans to go on the field after the game and meet and talk with the players. I walked over and spoke to Chad Folks , who my friend knows from work. Chad is a Child and Youth Workers soon to be a school teacher...he's always a class act.
I also spoke the Crouch the Argo's back up qb. I asked him how he liked playing on the bigger field. He said he liked it but playing at game speed really opened his eyes as to how truely unique and exciting CFL football is.
The result, enjoyable football for the preseason.
We made our way over to Joe Badali's after the game. Where we sat with Lori Bursey (president of the Friends of the Argo's) and several Argo fans who I am close friends with during the Toronto Rock Lacrosse season.
While there Noel Prefontane joined us for a lengthy conversation, we talked about seeing the same team twice and then opening the season with him. Noel was saying that it's frustrating because most of the plays must remain very simplistic in nature on both sides in order to not give anything away on game film and that the week before regular season all of the CFL teams must learn a litany of new plays before the first game of the season. I agree and a more diversified preseason schedule would help the teams better assess the players ability's. It's safe the to say the Argo's and Ticats we see in the preseason will not be the Argo's and Ticats we see on June 17 in Toronto to kick off the season. They will be better.
From all indications I really feel this is going to be and exciting season across the CFL. Let the games begin!
My two cents! How about yours!