Back in the summer of 1989, the city of Toronto and all of Canada was so excited about its brand new, retractable roof stadium.
So, what do you do to open a stadium with a retractable roof and hotel? You hold an Olympic-like opening ceremony that airs on CBC. After the first five minutes, you find yourself questioning if this is actually real.
The Skydome (now Rogers Centre. Thanks Corporate Canada), was Canada's pride and joy before Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole joined forces at TSN. The great, white North were out to celebrate the "engineering miracle," in an era when the cookie cutter stadium was going out of style.
North America's favorite TV dad, Alan Thicke, sang the opening number, as well as some opera. American actress Andrea Martin joined Thicke (possibly a subliminal message to get the Buffalo Bills to move to Toronto).
Of course, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Argonauts of the Canadian Football League would call it home, and nothing says baseball and football like dancing men in sports uniforms.
Interpretations of Raindrops Keep Pouring on My Head and Singing in the Rain were sung, and the guys ballet dancing in full pads was a sight to see. Thicke seemed to get a kick out of it as well. Never in my life have I ever seen athletes so giddy about no rain outs and having clean jerseys all the time.
This is the first 10 minutes of the ceremony. It is the one piece of evidence of what the 1980s, Alan Thicke and Canada were all about back in the day. A shame Robin Sparkles didn't come along until later.
There is nothing better than the start of football. Nothing gets it moving like high school football on Friday and college football on Saturday's.
Everyone is undefeated, in contention for a national title. August 31 is the first Saturday of the season and the best one.
Here are ten things to keep in mind while watching week 1 of college football this upcoming weekend.
As always, feel free to comment
10. Saturday's in the Fall are Awesome(r)
Saturday is the best day of the week. It's what you count down to on a Friday afternoon and is followed by the sad, sobering reality that is Sunday morning, letting you know that you're closer to being back at work.
Football is an excuse to get out of a lot of things, mainly those weekend chores you deal with from January to September.
Nothing is better than turning on that noon game and ending the day with a west coast game that ends around 1am.
9. American Athletic Conference
The conference is the remains of the picked carcass that used to be the Big East. The two best teams in the conference (Louisville, Rutgers) will be on the move to the ACC and Big Ten after a season in college football's newest combination of the MAC and Conference USA.
Due to their easy schedule, the Cardinals are a sleeper in the BCS and if they go undefeated and are one of only two teams to go without a loss, they might be placed in the National Championship against a powerhouse in the SEC (probably Alabama), which would give us another mismatch in the final title game in the pre-playoff era. Here's to the AAC, who still gets an automatic BCS Bowl bid.
8. The Expectations For Your Team are Very High
As a Notre Dame fan, there is always a personal optimism with me and the Irish. While the program has not met its expectations over the past two decades, they caught everyone by surprise and ran the table with a tough schedule, before being embarrassed by high-powered Alabama in the title game.
A national title appearance wasn't on the mind of many Irish fans to start the 2012 season, but they can always hold out hope, and that is what every college football fan does as the season opens up.
7. Your School is Ranked too Low.
We all do it. We see the preseason rankings and say "Really?! Why is my school ranked so low?!"
The rankings impact our daily lives during the fall. You will not be satisfied until your team is #1.
6. Your School's National Title Hopes Might Be Gone with 1 Loss
If you play a buttercup schedule and are not in a major conference (or Notre Dame), your national title hopes are done after losing one game. That is the shame of college football, but you will still get to watch your school make a couple million bucks playing in a bowl game in late December, early January.
5. Lee Corso's Hijinks
An elderly man wearing mascot heads, handling wild animals, guns and sometimes forgetting where he is? I'm sold.
You may not watch all of College Gameday, but you turn on ESPN around 11:50am to see Corso's featured pick and loveable hijinks much like how we turn on New Year's Rockin' Eve a minute before the ball drops.
4. Pittsburgh's Home Schedule is Great! (and Hard)
Living and working in Pittsburgh sports radio, the hype of Panther football is being met with optimism and caution as they begin a new endeavor in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
PITT will not start the season with an FCS school like last season (Youngstown State humiliated the Panthers at home to start 2012). Their first game will be Labor Day night at home against Florida State on national television, so you won't have to stream the game on ESPN 3 like most Pittsburgh games to start the season.
Their home schedule should move ticket sales. With other schools like Notre Dame, North Carolina, Miami (FL) and Virginia coming in, it's a big opportunity for the school to bring some big crowds to Heinz Field.
For example, Notre Dame fans (they are everywhere) living in Pittsburgh will not only buy the tickets for the game in November, but will buy full season tickets because of the great schedule.
Beyond putting people in the seats, it might be tough sledding for the Panthers to start their era in the ACC.
3. The Final Season of the BCS system
An Alabama-Louisville title game would be the best way to end another era of college football in which the best two teams are not playing for a championship every year. Soon we'll be yelling for the playoffs to expand from four to eight teams.
2. Louisville Could Play for the National Championship
Easy schedule, lousy conference and a possible Heisman candidate. This is Louisville's best chance to play for a national title. If everything falls into place for the Cardinals, they could play for a national title.
1. An SEC Team Will Probably Win it All
Seven straight years of SEC schools winning the national championship shows two things. The first being the conferences supremacy. The other is the decline of diversity in college football. So, if you're school is outside of the SEC, lower your expectations of a national championship sooner than later.
It's incredible to think that Ryan Dempster made most of the baseball world feel sympathy for Alex Rodriguez, a stranger in an unholy land wherever he goes now, was in the unholiest of lands for a Yankee, as the Red Sox pitcher threw at him twice Sunday night, making contact on the second throw.
Sympathy for Alex Rodriguez? Doesn't that just make you a little sick to your stomach when you hear yourself saying that?
Two days after the game, Major League Baseball suspends Dempster five games for throwing at Rodriguez. Justice for A-Rod.
Justice for A-Rod? Justice for A-Rod?! What cruel world are we living in where sympathy and justice make us squirm in regards to the man we feel sympathy for and feel that justice was served in his favor?
Alex Rodriguez is public enemy number one in baseball. He is arrogant. He is appealing a 211 game suspension that will take months to get to a court. He and his associate were willing to leak information about his fellow ballplayers in the Biogenesis report, and he is here to stay for the rest of 2013.
Pitchers intentionally throwing at a hitter is never justified. Ryan Dempster was wrong, and is learning that as he is going to sit for five games, while Rodriguez will finish out the season with the Yankees.
Dempster's five game suspension is only a tiny fraction of what A-Rod faces pending his appeal. While his suspension will go by quickly, it doesn't exactly mean this type of incident may not happen again with Rodriguez at the plate.
Rodriguez turned his back on his fellow players, who are also union members. Ryan Dempster is a former union rep. Nobody can claim that this was a reason why he threw at A-Rod, but let's face it. Going against the union? Ratting out your fellow players so that you won't go down alone? How as a player can you stand and support a person who can't seem to function like a normal human being?
Watching the replay when Dempster plunked Rodriguez, you will notice that the only one on the Yankees bench who came to his defense was skipper Joe Girardi (which is normal in most cases).
The Red Sox bench somewhat cleared, but where were his fellow teammates? The high-fives and fist bumps are standard, like when he hit the home run later in the game, but there was no support behind Girardi as he charged out of the dugout to argue Dempster's throw. They knew it was intentional. Where were they?
Justice was served on one end. Dempster looks like he will go quietly with the supsension, while A-Rod will continue to walk around with a target on his back for the rest of the season, with another angry pitcher waiting in the wings who will try to plunk him in the least obvious way possible, reaching a point where Rodriguez becomes more of a distraction than an asset to the Yankees finishing with a decent, winning record.
There was justice for A-Rod in this case. But still, none for the rest of us...yet. It will come eventually. Until then, we're forced to watch his strut around in pinstripes until October.
Nobody likes a rat. Not the mob and definitely not Major League Baseball, the players or the fans.
The second "Weekly 10" deserves an "R" rating due to the the amount of potty mouths, bloodshed and beatdowns, all in an effort to make a reference to Alex Rodriguez and his associates allegedly leaking other players names in the Biogenesis report.
But seriously, watch the videos at your own risk. You see these movies on cable all the time. As always, feel free to comment. A "PG" "Weekly 10" is back next week.
10. NEVER RAT ON OTHER PLAYERS IN THE UNION
9. ANYONE CAN SMELL A RAT
8. WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU RAT
7. WHAT HAPPENS IN BASEBALL WHEN YOU'RE A RAT
6. WHAT A-ROD KIND OF DID
5. WHAT BASEBALL TRIED TO DO FOR A-ROD
4. WHAT A-ROD WAS WILLING TO OFFER
3. HOW EVERYBODY LOOKS AT A-ROD NOW
2. HOW A-ROD WOULD PREFER TO GO DOWN IN THIS APPEAL
1. IT'S LIKE WHAT DEMPSTER DID, BUT WITH A BAT
UPDATE: Dempster got five games for throwing at Alex Rodriguez. Justice for all?
Uh oh! Guess what day it is? Guess what day it is!
Yeah, it's humpday. It's also someones birthday today. If you're reading this and today (August 14) is your birthday, then Happy Birthday.
It's also the birthday of a certain quarterback that the higher-ups in Bristol write and circle on their calendars every year it seems.
Tim Tebow, the average backup quarterback of the New England Patriots,. turned 26 today, and you know that ESPN's NFL account (@ESPNNFL) just had to send their wishes to their biggest content filler.
Most people rolled their eyes or went crazy when they tweeted this. I can only guess that the employee who is hired to run the account got a memo or email from management, letting him or her know to let everyone know it was Tebow's birthday. As Doug Gottlieb said on "The Datrick Show" after he left the network for CBS said, you could never talk enough Tebow at ESPN.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports is openly honest about its love for the Heisman trophy winner who is a sub-par NFL quarterback, who lead the Broncos to an 8-8 record and a playoff birth, that lead to the AFC Divisional round, and then got cut and came to the big city,. New York, to play backup for the Jets. ESPN even camped out to do their version of "Hard Knocks" in Cortland with the team. As you know already, they were there for Tebow.
Much like the Jets season, "Tebow Mania" faded away again and Tebow was a sheep without a flock. That was until the Patriots signed him, and ESPN had their guy back in the public eye.
This is not the first time ESPN has had to remind us that today is the day of his birth.
Check out all the television coverage the network gave us on this amazing day in the history of mediocre pro quarterbacks from Deadspin.
This year, the celebration was not as bad as the overblown television coverage, with analysts taking time to wish him a "happy birthday."
With Fox Sports 1 launching on Saturday, the level of competition is growing for ESPN. A tweet like the one the network's NFL account sends out, it must make the management at FOX feel like it will be a cake walk.
Unless you are trolling all of us ESPN, stop it. Just stop it. I know the bosses got that Chris Matthews "tingling feeling up their leg" when Brady went down in camp today, but just let it go. It is getting sad.
Welcome to "The Weekly 10." Taking a look at one of the bigger events in sports and listing ten things from it every Monday.
9. That guy is still in the NFL?
8. Starters Get One Series
7. Hearing someone ask "Who's that Guy?" For Three Quarters
6. Jaguars and Dolphins Pay Homage to the XFL
5. Bernie Kosar Entertains The Masses (Mainly Cleveland)
4. E.J. Manuel: Rookie of the Year? (See #3)
3. Overreacting to Your Team Winning/Losing
2. Debating on whether or not you stay to watch the 4th string
1. Much like "Whose Line is it Anyway?" Points Don't Matter
Like It? Hate It? Have a suggestion? Leave a comment. Feelings are not easily hurt here.
Welcome to "Overreaction Sunday" everyone. The day when some fans, writers, analysts try to determine the outcome of a season with one preseason game.
Chances are you turned off KDKA's coverage by the start of the fourth quarter and flipped on the Pirates game, or left if you made a Saturday night out of the game and had enough by the time Landry Jones and Barron Batch collided in the south endzone on a botched handoff.
Here are some things I saw from last night's first dress rehearsal. There's more, but here are five.
1. No Le'Veon Bell
Nobody was thrilled when news came down that Le'Veon Bell was scratched with a left knee bruise.
Bell, who has had a great first two weeks of camp, was set to get snaps with the first offense and for most of the first half. Word came down close to game time that he would not be playing, it took some of the little excitement you try to find in a preseason game. Doesn't look severe, so Bell should be good to go next Monday against the Redskins.
2. Wheaton Fills the Bell Void
So, with no Le'Veon Bell, it gave some other rookies a chance to show not just the coaches, but also the fans what they could do. Markus Wheaton, out of Oregon State, showed some flash. Only had one reception for 8 yards and a rush for 10, but it's the preseason. Wheaton's going for the third wide receiver position, and many expect him to be a star player in the future.
3. Some Holes in the Defensive Backfield
Take your pick on who missed Victor Cruz on that play. William Gay, Ryan Clark or Troy Polamalu? Take your pick. Hopefully, Cortez Allen gets back soon and Shamarko Thomas, like Bell, could be a potential starter down the road in 2013. The defensive backfield has a lot of NFL experience, but a little youth doesn't hurt either.
4. Backups Didn't Perform Well
The players in camp campaigning for starting/backup roles or a taxi squad position did not do anything too impressive last night. Occasionally, you'll have that one guy who stands out to a position coach. Didn't see any of that during the game. Poor Landry Jones. First NFL snap, he collides with Barron Batch on the first snap in the endzone resulting in a safety.
A fumble recovery by first round pick Jarvis Jones sugarcoated the game a little bit. But Jones, being a rookie, fell on it instead of picking up and running free for a touchdown, or getting up after falling on it. Just a part of the learning curve. Jarvis can ask Plaxico Burress about that.
When the guys you expect to play a supporting role don't show progression in their game, it's concerning as a coach.
5. Mike Golic Jr. is No Mike Golic Sr.
People know his dad, and some fans have been asking "how's Mike Jr. doing in camp?" Analysts who are camping out in Latrobe will tell you that it hasn't been good for the undrafted lineman out of Notre Dame. Kept an eye on Golic Jr. during the PAT following the fumble recovery for a touchdown. Young Mike was put on skates and pancaked by the man across from him. That won't be fun when they sit down to watch film this week.
Safe and a little sad to say, Golic may not be around by the third preseason game (as a Notre Dame fan personally, it's tough for me to say that).
Some undrafted guys like Seneca Valley/West Virginia graduate Don Barclay, who came into Packers camp last season, made the 53 man roster and started the final four games when T.J. Lang went down, can make an impact. Golic is not one of them.
Overall, Tomlin and his team didn't walk out feeling like they built on what they had done in Latrobe the first two weeks of camp.
Fans are hopefully smart enough not to make much of one preseason game. It's back to basics at St. Vincent for another week.