Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week, they discuss Chad Johnson signing in Montreal, RA Dickey's excuses, Marc Bergevin's dance moves, and the NCAA's decision to provide meals to athletes.
Dave Naylor, TSN 1050
My thumb is up to the Montreal Alouettes who this week signed former NFL star Chad Johnson - aka Ochocino - despite the fact he is 36 and hasn't played in the NFL since 2011. Why is my thumb up when so few ex-NFL stars ever succeed in Canada? Well, because there's really no down side to it. If Chad Johnson is truly as motivated and well-conditioned as he claims ... then he'll be a welcomed addition to the Als and the CFL. And if he's not, well, he'll be gone. Montreal has proven no one makes its team based on what's on the back of the jersey - just ask Ahman Green, Dominic Rhodes and others the Als signed - and then cut, when they couldn't cut it against CFL competition. Will Chad Johnson be the exception to the rule? At least it should be fun finding out. Huit-cinq anyone?
Steve Simmons, SUN Media
My thumb is down to RA Dickey, the erstwhile Blue Jays ace, the former Cy Young award winner who seems to lead the Major Leagues in just one category - excuses. With RA, there's always something. Something wrong. It's either too cold or it's too hot. The roof at Rogers Centre is either open or closed. The wind is blowing in or it's blowing out. It's day or it's night. Everything, it seems, affects the knuckleball. He would be one of the three bears of pitching but with him, it's not often just right. Dickey has made four starts for the Jays in this young season, and he already owns a 6.26 earned run average. I'm sure he has a plausible explanation for that: I just don't want to hear one.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
My thumb is up to Marc Bergevin, Canadiens general manager and dancin' fool. After Montreal's Game 1 overtime win in Tampa, cameras caught Bergevin doing a shimmy and a shake, touching off a dance craze now known as the Marcarena. Somehow I can't imagine Bergevin's predecessors, Pierre "go go" Gauthier and disco Bob Gainey, men who were neither hip nor hop, busting moves in a luxury box. But that's Bergevin, who has been blessed with a sense of fun. When he played, he would often check into hotels as Denis Lemieux, the goalie from Slap Shot. Maybe Bergevin should switch aliases - to Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Dave Hodge, TSN
My thumb is down to NCAA President Mark Emmert, who congratulated himself and his organization for changing a dumb rule that used to prevent schools from providing meals to athletes, but allowed snacks. As Emmert pointed out, a bagel was considered a snack unless it had cream cheese on it, and then it was considered a meal. Well, maybe my thumb should be up to Emmert and the NCAA for giving their heads a shake, but no, it's down for looking at what they can and can't provide to the athletes and thinking that the term "meal-ticket" actually and only refers to food. Never mind cream cheese, they should spread some money around, too.