By JIM BENDER, STAFF REPORTER (Winnipeg Sun)
Bombers kicker Troy Westwood defended his hometown against slur by Hamilton press, but admits it helps get the competitive juices flowing. (C. Procaylo, Sun)
The insert in an edition of the Hamilton Spectator sports section last week was a slap in Winnipeg's face.
The 4-2 Blue Bombers were about to take on the 1-5 Tiger-Cats in a CFL contest and the two-page spread simply said: "I'd rather be 1-5 than from Winnipeg."
That, of course, was before the Bombers beat Hamilton 29-0, dropping the 'Cats to 1-6, but the insult was still fresh in many Bombers' minds as they prepared for Friday's re-match yesterday.
"Hamilton is just a flat-out ugly city," responded kicker Troy Westwood, a native Manitoban. "But I like playing there. It's a hard-working, blue-collar town and they take their football seriously.
"I like it when press do things like that, though, because it gets the juices going between cities and teams and it just adds to rivalries. We all know it's a joke. This is the Paris of the Prairies right here. It's all good."
You may recall that, because of Westwood's tongue-in-cheek insults of Saskatchewan Roughriders' fans, the Banjo Bowl was created.
And some Bombers did get a laugh out of the Spectator spread.
"I don't know if they've spent that much time in Winnipeg," said defensive end Tom Canada, who hails from California. "I mean, Hamilton makes Winnipeg look like Vegas.
"Hamilton's got its own beauty but Winnipeg's where it's at, in my opinion."
Defensive lineman Jon Oosterhuis concurred.
"They've got to try to find some humour over there," said the Fergus, Ont., native, who now makes his home here. "It was just one of those things. I thought it was kind of funny because I wouldn't be printing too much of that stuff. I was born and raised in southern Ontario and you think, 'Winnipeg,' and you don't have too high expectations of it. But when you come here and you live here for awhile, you realize it's a real nice place to stay. Compared to Hamilton, I really like my place here and I really like the places around here."
But former Ticat Chris Brazzell was incredulous.
"I heard them saying that in the crowd," he said. "They'd rather be 1-5 than be from Winnipeg? Hamilton probably has to be the dirtiest city of all the CFL teams so if they like that crap, that nasty city that I stayed in for a couple of months, well, Winnipeg, to me, is a far more better little place to live in than Hamilton."
Even Chris Cvetkovich, who was born in Hamilton, took umbrage with the anti-Winnipeg message.
"I love Winnipeg. I like playing here so let them say whatever they want, I'd rather be here than Hamilton, period," said the long-snapper.
The Riders hold "Burris Sucks" signs, Hamilton does this, yet Winnipeg fans are classless...
here's a quote from a Bomber Season Ticket holder...
Bombers fans have voiced their discontent over Hamilton's attack, finding humour in the burg it's come from.
"As someone who has visited Hamilton on many occasions, this is out of character for the people of that fine city," Bombers season ticket-holder John Morris said.
"That being said, I'd take living in Winnipeg under former coach Jeff Reinebold than ever living in Hamilton. Winnipeg is a far better city."