‘Facebook’ predicts future of sports

Memo to Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ president Lyle Bauer: If you want to know if all that booing after your team’s embarrassing 55-10 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the annual Banjo Bowl a few weeks back reflects the true sentiment of the Bomber fan base, look no further than that pesky social networking site, “Facebook.”
A quick search of Mike Kelly produces numerous groups dedicated to the Bombers’ rookie head coach—and none are of the kind variety.
One group with a self-explanatory title, “Fire Mike Kelly,” boasts more than 4,000 members and nearly 1,000 wall posts dedicated to the cause.
Several other groups are committed to the same party platform. Another group listed even went a step further, producing a particularly straight-forward title: “Fire Mike Kelly (Or Duct Tape His Mouth Shut).”
And then we have the “Don’t Fire Mike Kelly” group, which has 53 members.
A bit of a discrepancy in manpower between the two factions, wouldn’t you say?
If you want to keep fans in the seats (and save your own hide while you’re at it), maybe it’s time to cut the hot-headed coach loose, Mr. Bauer.
Forget a crystal ball, just log on to Facebook and be enlightened. Please.
And if that’s not convincing enough, Mr. Bauer, here’s a laundry list worth of proof. During a rare media scrum where he didn’t tear a strip off a reporter, Kelly actually produced this particular gem: “If you Google me, I’ve been successful elsewhere.”
Seriously? I’d rather Facebook you, but I digress. . . .
According to the Winnipeg Sun, Kelly’s one other head coaching gig, at Valdosta State University in the late-90s, ended with his firing after a post-game shouting match with the athletic director and some fans.
He went 15-16 in three seasons as the head coach for that Division II school.
Not too impressive.
And despite his missteps there, he’s clearly learned from his mistakes here . . . right?
First, star receiver Derick Armstrong’s refusal to play after being reduced to a backup role—and subsequent public comments about being disrespected—led to his dismissal.
Then Kelly banned callers to his radio show who weren’t towing the party line.
In Week 3, “SpyGate” (which saw a Bombers’ scout kicked out of Hamilton Ticats’ practice for diagramming plays) was all the rage—topped only by Kelly’s repeated “non-issue, being handled internally” comments in the media scrum that followed.
Kelly’s guy before the season began, quarterback Stefan LeFors, later was forced to take a $60,000 pay cut when it was deemed he was no longer capable of being a starter (Kelly was his only believer anyway).
The Pacman Jones soap opera (we are signing him or wait, no, we aren’t signing him) that followed was just the icing on the cake.
Not often does a 3-8 football team make the kind of national headlines the Bombers have produced on a weekly basis, but it must be fun from a journalist’s perspective in that city. There’s no shortage of newspaper copy to go around, to be sure.
Maybe the saddest part of this whole mess is the fact the playoffs are still within reach, considering the Toronto Argonauts are equally as bad at 3-8.
Only in the CFL. . . .
Break out the paper bags, Bomber fans. It’s only going to get uglier.
• • •
With more headlines being made in courtrooms than on the ice in the NHL these days, a lone bright spot of the exhibition season has been the comeback attempt of the diminutive Theoren Fleury.
A Hollywood scriptwriter would be hard-pressed to come up with a better plot than the way Fleury’s first game with the Calgary Flames ended—when Fleury scored the only goal of the shootout to send a capacity crowd home happy.
But it didn’t end there as the former Flame contributed a goal and an assist in a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Sunday.
It’s hard to say what the odds are of a player making it back to the NHL after six seasons out of the loop, especially at the age of 41 and considering his history off the ice, but so far, so good.
• • •
Emo native Luke Judson was returned to his junior team, the Belleville Bulls of the OHL, late last week after a solid showing at the San Jose Sharks’ rookie camp.
Judson got off to a quick start with the Bulls, tallying a goal and an assist in their season-opening 3-2 loss to Peterborough on Saturday night.
The Bulls next travel to Brampton to take on the Batallion this Friday night.
• • •
Fort Frances native Mitch Cain will get his first taste of the USHL tomorrow when his Des Moines Buccaneers take on the Green Bay Gamblers.
Cain is hoping to develop in the USHL this season before making the jump to Bemidji State University for 2010-11.
Fellow Fort Frances product Ryan Faragher, currently with the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL, has an 0-1-1 record in two appearances so far with a 5.03 goals against average and .825 save percentage.
Faragher, who spent the last two seasons with the Fort Frances Jr. Sabres, is adjusting to a higher level of play in a back-up role to Ryan Massa.
Other former Fort Frances Jr. Sabres are off to good starts in various Junior ‘A’ circuits across Canada. Brendan Baumgartner (four points in five games, along with 32 minutes in penalties) and defenceman Mike Boese (three points) currently are playing with the Dauphin Kings of the MJHL.
Fort Frances native Kyle Turgeon also is on the Manitoba circuit with the Portage Terriers, who have played just one game so far. The Terriers travel to Swan Valley to take on the Stampeders tonight.
And Atikokan native Graham Dyck currently is suiting up for the Miramichi Timberwolves of the MJAHL, having netted one goal in four games to date.
• • •
Jordan Larson joins a growing contingent of Rainy River District talent with the Thunder Bay Kings’ organization.
Larson will suit up for the Bantam Kings this season and attend Hammarskjold High School as a Grade 9 student.
Larsons joins local products Jon Carlson, Robbie Rea, and Bryce Knapp in Thunder Bay, who are with the Kings’ Minor Midget squad.
• • •
Steve Arpin recovered from a pair of rough finishes on the ARCA RE/MAX circuit with a fifth-place showing at the Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at Salem Speedway on Saturday.
Arpin now is seventh in the points standings with 3,820 with just two races remaining on the schedule.
Justin Lofton, who won at Salem, is first overall with 4,765 points.

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