San Jose has a great big rat and Winnipeg has a Golden Boy with great big balls

So here’s what I’m thinking about three members of the San Jose Sharks bashing good, ol’ Hometown…

First of all, Tomas Hertl, Justin Braun and Tim Heed could have been a tad more creative in dissing Winnipeg. I mean, describing River City as “cold and dark” is so much meh. Same old, same old.

The Golden Boy: Tall, proud and buck naked.

It’s frigid in Winnipeg, you say? Well, duh. So wrap yourself in a parka and trundle to and fro in those subterranean tunnels and above-ground test tubes that connect the downtown corridors. And it gets dark in Winnipeg? Ya, like, after the freaking sun sets, dudes. A setting Sol is not peculiar to Pegtown. At last report, River City was still part of the Solar System, so, ya, they have to deal with that pesky dark-of-night thing.

Second, if you hang your hat in El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, you might want to trigger the filter between your brain and tongue before opening your gob.

Technology aside, what’s San Jose really known for?

Well, news outlet FiveThirtyEight named it “the most forgettable major American city.” Economist and migration blogger Lyman Stone ranked it as the “weirdest city in America” in 2016. On WalletHub’s listing of the most fun cities in the U.S., it comes in at a distant 95th, behind notable good-times spots like Akron, Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Rapids and Des Moines.

Little wonder the mayor of all 1,042,094 people, Sam Liccardo, says, We’re not big on bluster.”

Apparently, Mayor Sam and other civic leaders have been trying to come up with a fresh slogan for San Jose. Hmmm. The city has this quirky law which prohibits animals from publically fornicating if within 1,500 feet of a church, school or pub. Might make for a catchy slogan—San Jose: We never screw the dog.

A better question would be: How do those horny critters know if they’re inside the 1,500-foot, no-humping zone? Do they post doggy signs?

Whatever, San Jose is not without its selling points.

Reportedly, more than half the adults in the self-proclaimed Capital of the Silicon Valley have a college education. I assume the other half voted for Donald Trump.

Joey Chestnut

And, hey, San Jose has celebrities. Like Joey Chestnut.

Nobody on this planet eats more hot dogs in less time than Chestnut, the renowned face-stuffer who’s been known to scarf as many as 72 Nathan’s tube steaks in 10 minutes. What city wouldn’t be proud of a world-class glutton?

I’d say Chestnut’s achievement is admirable, except I’d be more impressed if he could gobble down 72 Salisbury House cheese nips in 10 minutes.

San Jose also has notable landmarks. Like the world’s largest rat. That would be a 30-foot Chuck E. Cheese. The thing is, they keep the rodent caged. And indoors. Wimps.

By way of comparison, Winnipeg has the Golden Boy—all 17.2 feet and 3,640 pounds of him—and he stands outside (even when it’s dark), proudly atop the Manitoba Legislative Building with his bare balls hanging out. Try that in minus-40 weather.

Winnipeg can even match San Jose school dropout for school dropout. They have Stevie Nicks, who left San Jose State University and eventually found fame with Fleetwood Mac. But I’ll call their Stevie Nicks and raise them a Neil Young, the Kelvin High dropout who joined Buffalo Springfield, then Crosby, Stills & Nash.

But, listen, I’m not hear to trash San Jose, even though trash talking the other guy’s town is as old as a Bob Hope joke. Happens every day. And Winnipeggers definitely do it, too.

Think about it, when was the last time you heard anyone in River City say something warm and fuzzy about Regina? As if. I recall a former Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach, Professor Mike Kelly, describing the good folks of the Saskatchewan capital as the “toothless, green, watermelon-helmet-wearing people from the crotch of Canada.” And Ol’ Lefty, Bombers place-kicker Troy Westwood, called the flatlanders “a bunch of banjo-picking inbreds.”

Others in Pegtown have used different parts of the human anatomy to describe Regina, and each of those body parts leaks and emits foul odors.

So there’s that.

Chuck E. Cheese

Legendary jock journalist Jim Murray, meanwhile, seldom squandered an opportunity to have sport with his many ports of call as columnist with the Los Angeles Times.

On Cincinnati: “They still haven’t finished the freeway…it’s Kentucky’s turn to use the cement mixer.”

On Baltimore: “The weather is like the team. Gray. Colorless. Drab. The climate would have to improve to be classified as merely lousy. It really doesn’t rain, it just kind of leaks. You get a picture of Baltimore as a guy just standing on a corner with no place to go and rain dropping off his hat. Baltimore’s a great place if you’re a crab.”

On Minneapolis-St. Paul: “They don’t like each other and from what I could see, I didn’t blame either of them.”

On San Francisco: “It is so civilized, it would starve to death if it didn’t get a salad or the right wine. It fancies itself Camelot, but comes off more like Cleveland. Its legacy to the world is quiche.”

Thus, when Hertl, Braun and Heed went off on Winnipeg, describing it as “dark and cold” and, at the same time, suggesting it was a horse-and-buggy burg that had yet to be introduced to the world of hashtags and tweets (“I don’t know if they have WiFi there yet.”), they weren’t exactly breaking fresh (frozen) ground. People have been taking frost-bitten cheap shots at good, ol’ Hometown since the first Red River cart blew a tire (what other reason could there have been for stopping and settling there?).

Remember old friend Ilya Bryzgalov? The former National Hockey League goaltender wasn’t afraid of anything in this entire world. Except “Bear in forest.” And living in Pegtown.

You don’t want to go to Winnipeg, right?” he once advised news snoops. “Not many people live there. Not many Russian people there. Plus it’s cold. There’s no excitement except the hockey. No park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It’s going to be tough life for your family.”

Bryzgalov made me laugh. Hertl, Braun and Heed not so much.

If you’re going to trash talk, boys, come up with some fresh material.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers are the Maple Leafs of Canadian football

Do you realize what the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have become? The Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s what.

Patti Dawn Swansson

We know this to be a certainty because, in yet another disastrous, last-place season that can best be described as The Barnum, Bailey & Blue Bombers Circus, exactly one person has paid a price for any wrongdoing with the Winnipeg Football Club—Paul LaPolice.

There’ll be no attempt here to revisit the removal of LaPolice as head coach eight games into a 6-12 campaign that was equal parts horror show, slapstick and pure incompetence, because I’m not into flogging horses, dead or otherwise.

The thing is, anyone who follows Blue-and-Gold (mis)fortunes can tell you the coaching change changed nothing. Buck Pierce kept getting hurt, Joey Elliott/Alex Brink kept throwing interceptions, Gary Crowton kept proving he knew very little about three-down football, players kept suffering brain cramps and taking undisciplined penalties, and Teflon Joe Mack the GM kept making no sense by talking about coaches having the bad manners to die.

So, in the results-driven business that is professional football, the mind boggles at the notion that Paul LaPolice—and only Paul LaPolice— pays for the sins of this Sad Sack season.

There is, of course, something to be said for continuity, and lord knows the Winnipeg Football Club has already paid enough people to not coach and/or generally manage. That’s seldom a good way of conducting business. Especially if it’s going to cost you half a million bucks, which is what Teflon Joe is due over the next two Canadian Football League seasons.

But to maintain the status quo following an 18-game journey that, at times, has drawn parallels to the best-forgotten Jeff Reinebold and Mike Kelly regimes?

Raise your hand if this makes sense to you.

I mean, Teflon Joe has been generally managing this once-proud franchise for three seasons. He has a 19-34 record. He has twice finished in last place. He wouldn’t know a quarterback if Peyton Manning was standing in front of him.

Meanwhile, the man he gave the head coaching job to after deep-sixing LaPolice has a 3-6 record and is guilty of making some of the most brainless decisions ever conceived. That would be Tim Burke, who, until Thursday, was the interim head coach.

He’s now the permanent head coach. Or at least he is until the Bombers do what they always do, which is pay him to not coach after two seasons.

So Teflon Joe stays on as GM. Burke gets a promotion.

Oh, I almost forgot. Gary Crowton, the architect of the CFL’s worst offence east of Edmonton, returns to devise his head-scratching game plans which usually mean passing the ball when you should be running the ball.

Terrific. Everyone keeps his job.

And for what? For finishing in last place? Again?

This certainly challenges logic.

But, hey, not to worry. Flip, Flop and Fly will now be held accountable. If they soil the sheets in 2013, they’ll be run out of Dodge.

This is a truism because Garth Buchko, the radio guy with zero football background and even less football know-how, says so.

“Next year we have to win,” is how the CEO with no gridiron cred put it on Thursday when advising the people that pay his salary that he doesn’t give a damn what they think. “We could line up excuses for this year. But we’re not in the excuse business. We have to be responsible. There are no excuses next year. We have to be accountable to wins.”

Next year? Who’s accountable for this year?

Oh, yeah. Paul LaPolice, who was 2-2 in his final four games before being ambushed by Teflon Joe.

Go figure.

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