What’s that old saying, ‘You never get a second chance to make a good first impression?’
We’ll say this about the first day of main Blue Bomber training camp: there is a real fascination about this team that rivals any year we can remember dating back to 1990.
First off, the crowd count today was estimated at about 2,500 – a huge total that created an interesting atmosphere as fans oohed and ahhed after every home-run ball or dropped pass. Said Bomber president Jim Bell: "I’m just thrilled. This is tremendous."
A car show was held in the parking lot with a DJ playing music; the concessionaires were out offering samples of their products at reduced prices, many alumni were in the house to greet fans and the club is busy gussying up the old joint with fresh coats of paint while throwing up some pictures of the legends and past Grey-Cup championships to honour the franchise’s often under-celebrated history.
In other words, the franchise is busting its backside to keep their faithful happy and try to attract new customers. Good idea, considering two of their post-Banjo Bowl crowds last year were the lowest of the millennium.
Main camp highlights:
New Blue? Receiver David Ball has arrived but did not practice as he has yet to officially have his contract registered. He starred at the University of New Hampshire, had stints with the Chicago Bears and New York Jets and has spent time with Hamilton and Montreal.
Interesting news from around the league as DL Stan Van Sichem – the guy the Bombers acquired from Montreal for Gavin Walls – has landed in Hamilton. He was cut by the Bombers because they were concerned he couldn’t pass his physical. As well, Montreal Alouette centre Bryan Chiu retired while the Argos traded Canadian receiver Obed Cetoute to Saskatchewan for Canadian O-lineman Jonathan St. Pierre.
Walking wounded: WR/KR Travis Shelton (hamstring) and S Ian Logan (neck) missed practice but were in attendance while WR Will Franklin (hamstring) and OL Brendon LaBatte (ankle) did not finish the session after pulling up lame. Head coach Paul LaPolice said Logan needed further evaluation and they hoped he could be back on the field soon while LaBatte, who left late in the day, had yet to be fully checked out by the trainers.
Sunday’s stars: QB Buck Pierce, DB Jason Tate; receiver Terence Jeffers-Harris; RB Fred Reid.
Worth noting: Hall of fame punter Bob Cameron was in the house working with Mike Renaud; ex Bomber linebacker Lamar McGriggs was helping with the defence.
Afterward, LaPolice said fans should not read anything into the starting defence and offence lineups trotted out on Sunday. All QBs will get their turns running the No. 1 attack and the staff wants to move their O-linemen around to see how versatile they are.