Dan Shulman Returns Toronto Sports Media Open Thread

November 21st, 2015 | by torontosportsmedia
Dan Shulman Returns Toronto Sports Media Open Thread
sports and toronto

By TSM @yyzsportsmedia

photo from here
The week that started with the Bell layoffs ended with the return of Dan Shulman, as it was announced that Shulman will be joining the Sportsnet Blue Jays broadcast team for some 30 games this up coming season.

This is fantastic news for Blue Jays fans.

Not only is Dan a Toronto guy who got his start at The Fan 590, but he’s amongst the best broadcasters in North America. Shulman is currently the voice of ESPN Sunday night baseball in addition to NCAA college basektball.

The only folks who were none too pleased about this were the folks at Bell and more specifically TSN radio who have lost the ability to have Shulman on their airwaves.

At a time when not too much seems to be going Bell’s way this certainly doesn’t help.

This is quite the coupe for Sportsnet.

Buck Martinez frequently takes time off during the season and his slot has been filled nicely by Matt Devlin in the past. That role, I presume will now be filled by Shulman.

So, it’s been a few days since the moves at Bell, what do you think of what’s left?

Richards is now flying solo. Is the show better? Worse? The same???

Word is that Dean Blundell will have yet another guest co-host this week. Do you like the roving co-hosts?

Michael Landsberg (I am not dead yet) and his OTR will be brushed off TV at the end of the year in it’s current format. Will you miss it????

Lastly, what do you think of the return of Danny Boy????

The 20 questions segment with Elliotte Friedman will run later in the week!

Happy weekend!



  1. Peace says:

    The timing of the Shulman announcement was interesting in the wake of the Bell layoffs. Not that Rogers would try and twist the knife or anything.

  2. Neal says:

    I listen to Mike Richards in the Morning. He can definitely carry the show because he has quality insiders on the show on a regular basis and his schtik does go a long way. But I think long-term, there needs to be a co-host there as morning radio can be quite a grind. I don’t understand why Bell decided to cut Bastl. He and Richards formed a great chemistry. Having said that, Scrizz (I think that is his name) and Shawn Lavigne are good guys and help him out.

  3. Mike says:

    I think the Shulman announcement is great for Sportsnet! He is the best in the biz at what he does and I’m glad we’ll be able to hear him on the home team broadcast. For Sportsnet, their year just keeps getting better and better. 1st they dominate TSN in the ratings due to NHL Playoffs and the Blue Jays run, then they steal away their best baseball guy.

    They are finally coming into their own and in my opinion are the clear number 1 choice to go to now for sports.

  4. Steph says:

    any chance anybody thinks this could lead to shulman taking over PTs down the Road?

  5. Daniel says:

    Amazing news about Shulman. Can’t wait to hear him calling games. That’s a huge get for Sportsnet. After listening to the Fox crew for the playoffs, even Buck and Pat seemed decent by comparison, so to have Dan is quite the upgrade.

    re 1050 – I’m glad it’s there, but the only show that actually compels me to listen is Naylor. And even then, I mostly just flip over when I’m driving and PTS is boring or on commercial. That said, since Tim & Sid left, the only Fan shows I really make sure to listen to are Blair (especially now that Brunt’s there) and PTS. Still think that station really misses Tim & Sid, but I guess it’s worth it for them if they boosting the TV side.

    I don’t really listen to Blundell (or most morning radio. CBC if anything), but I caught a bit of Blundel with Jon Morosi, and I thought it was actually pretty good. Seems like a strong regular co host would be better than a rotation, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. I still think they should let that show become less sportsy. Why bother bringing in a guy like Blundell if you’re going to make him stick to sports for 3 hours a day?

  6. Firstly TSM, regarding: Buck Martinez frequently takes time off during the season and his slot has been filled nicely by Matt Devlin in the past. That role, I presume will now be filled by Shulman.

    I heard Dan being interviewed several times this week and the T.B.A. schedule for him on the Jays games he will cover will be exclusively weeknight games, so it is unlikely that it will be tied into that.

    Dan said that he will be doing some games with the three of them, some with Buck, who he spent 5 years with, and some with Tabby, who he spent the last year with while Buck was managing.

    What I imagine Rogers doing, and Dan would completely buy in, would be doing the key weeknight games against the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, etc., teams that are expected to contend or have huge followings. There was no mention of the split between home and road games, but since he has always lived in Toronto, it would not surprise me in the least that he only does home games. Maybe I missed that, but would love clarification on that. Dan gets to cover tons of games anyways from Yankee Stadium and Fenway as it is, so it would not be a big deal if he does no road games there.

    When I heard the news I was beyond excited, and it takes a lot to get me excited about sports, as I’m not twelve years old anymore. I love top broadcasters, and to have one cover your team for a significant amount of games will make those must watch games, and I was joking, but not really, when I said that the games that Shulman calls at home would actually hurt attendance for those who don’t want to miss his play by play. I suggested that the Jays pipe in Dan’s game calling at the Rogers Centre like the Dodgers do with Vin Scully as he is at that level. This way you can go to the game, and hear Dan call it and not miss a thing. Due to delays you can’t do that, even if you watch it on your Sportsnet app from the Rogers Centre.

    Rogers has down the impossible. Basically taken down TSN for the most important sports properties i.e. Jays/NHL National Rights and while I am a huge tennis fan, and love the coverage of TSN for the 4 Majors, but even then, Rogers has the rights to the ATP Circuit for all the Masters 1000’s, WTA events when they choose for Genie when she actually plays, and plays well, which is rarer, and the Davis Cup/Fed Cup events.

    TSN still has tons of content, and the channels to deliver it, so it is not like they are going anywhere, but no question where the majority of my sports watching has and will be going, and it is Sportsnet. Even with the latest Bell Media cuts, I expect to see a lot more going ahead at TSN, as the ratings and ad dollars are going to be taking some serious hits.

  7. My last paragraph, since there is no editing abilities still, the word “cuts” was missing: I expect to see a lot more cuts going ahead at TSN,…

  8. yaz says:

    I wish PTS would get a different fill in than Blair when Bobcat is away. It ruins the continuity of the 9-12 slot. And does anybody tune in to PTS BECAUSE Blair is there? I doubt it. If Blair’s presence is ratings neutral, put someone else there. Bobcat being away should only affect 1/4 of the day’s shows, not 1/2. Ennis is horrible. Say what you want about Blair’s voice, he has a depth of sports knowledge to draw from that Ennis can’t compete with.

    Bobcat being off when the Shulman announcement was made was no accident.

  9. Harry from London says:

    When does Bobcat’s contract end. Shulman will be perfect, as he is local and has already sat in the chair…..

    Or he becomes the primary voice of the Jays again. Either way, happy he is back!!!!

  10. Kipling Burchmount says:

    Dan Shulman is today probably top 3 in the business of baseball play-by-play.

    Yes he will call 30 ish games (probably Tues,Wed,Thurs Home games during the summer)

    Sportsnet, be careful for what you wish for even with him only calling 1/6 of the games he is going to certainly expose Buck and Pat to what they really are.

  11. Darrell says:

    I don’t always applause Rogers for their movement within the FAN 590 or even the Blue Jays, but must admit this is a great move with Shulman.

    As for a McCown replacement for PTS, I agree with everyone on Blair being below average. As good as Shulman is, I would love to see Friedman as the replacement host.

  12. Rob J says:

    @Raptors Devotee

    The Dodgers don’t pipe in Scully’s play by play during the game.
    Also, why the desire for Elliotte to be the new host of PTS? He’s hardly ever done it , and when he did for a week this summer….well, it wasn’t great.

  13. Rob J, you are right. I looked it up. In L.A. lots of people bring in old fashioned transistor radios, with one earbud in to listen to Scully, and the other one out so you can get the feel of the crowd and the game itself. Besides that, Shulman would be doing the tv broadcast, so it would not work. As an alternative, for those at the game who leave between innings, why not have instead of the tv’s muted but with the game on, have the sound cranked up so Shulman can be heard throughout the concession areas. Just putting it out there, that Rogers should be looking into creative ways to expose Shulman as much as possible, as it is quite a coup to get him, especially going into 2016 when the Jays should be a playoff team if they can pull a starting rotation together.

  14. Not that Chris says:

    I would think SN will be using Shulman as much as they possibly can, and on as many platforms as possible. It’s a big get for them, and on PTS Blair was joking about how much money he was being paid, and Shulman said “they’re getting the family and friend rate” which isn’t surprising. Shulman started there, I’m sure he’s happier than a pig in shit to still have his big US gig, and do things on the side at home, where he started – you could tell he was happy to be back where he started when he was all over SN Thursday.

    As others have said, SN has become the go to for all things sports. TSN, if they have a clue, will have to be different than the “hockey centric network” they’ve always been.

  15. Rob J says:

    @Raptors Devotee
    Yes, the transistor radio use is true. What a thing to have been a part of back then! At the dome, they do have the TVs muted, but air the radio broadcast in the concession areas. I’m not a huge Shulman guy, so really makes no difference to me.

  16. Carl A says:

    Getting Shulman is definitely an upgrade for the SN broadcast. Hopefully he won’t become a cheerleader and maybe he can get the broadcast back on track. The quality has gone downhill even though the product has greatly improved. Shulman would do a great job on PTS with all the connections he’s made south of the border. Even as a cohost he would be so much better than Reid or Shannon.

  17. Tighthead says:

    My goodness, Arthur just trolls Twitter on social/political issues so that he can retweet the worst replies and show us how moral he is. Nobody can be more sensitive or outraged than Arthur. He won’t stand for it. Funny Bruce Arthur is a good follow; social empath Bruce Arthur makes me appreciate Al Strachan.

    If Dowbiggin wa ts to get another job he should likely get off Twitter.

  18. Don Mandrie says:

    Touche on the Dowbiggin reference. What a sour, angry guy.

  19. Mont from London Ont says:

    @ Rob J
    I’m with you – I am not huge Schulman fan – There is no doubt the guy is competent
    but bouncing around does not allow him to be team specific – I prefer to listen to MLB on radio and subscribe to xm so I make a point of listening to the various team broadcasters – Some are good and some not so good but the ones that have been with a team a number of years have more of an insiders take wich Schulman can’t possibly have- And as someone suggested I just can’t see Schulman taking over from McCown – While I rarely watch Blue Jays on TV I sincerely hope Schulman doesn’t toe the company line and become a schill like ‘get out get out’ Bucky boy

  20. Rob J says:

    Shulman is good, but definitely not the gold standard we are being asked to accept both as play by play or PTS host. Lots of nostalgia at work here. Good for him, I guess. Wont change my viewing habits.

  21. Marcus says:

    I agree with those who say that Dan Shulman is a great addition to the Jays broadcasts. He has an excellent memory and recall of baseball knowledge and can put things in context. Plus, he is great at maintaining neutrality in his commentary. He speaks about the right amount, too – not too little or too much.

    I respectfully disagree with those who say he should host PTS (or any other show). He is an expert, and should be answering questions, not asking them. A host should have good general knowledge of several sports, enough to ask relevant questions, and also have the skill to draw out interesting answers, and keep the discussion on track.

    @Neal, I’ve started to listen to Mike Richards more. Someone else pointed out in another thread that he gets good guests, and in the way that he speaks to them, I sense a sincere interest in the answers that his guests give, and a genuine affection for the world of sports and all that surrounds it. Some questions may be soft lobs, but at least he doesn’t kiss up to them and then rip them to shreds after they hang up, which I’ve heard some other hosts do, and which I think shows no class.

    @Not That Chris, I agree that TSN should change their focus. They should double down on their Raptors coverage and pick up that lost demographic. They’d need more “Basketball Insiders”, though…

    @Daniel, the “less sportsy” suggestion might help Dean’s show, but I don’t think that I’d bother tuning in. There are (more than) plenty of morning shows that gloss their sports coverage while they present a “pop culture” topic mix to their listeners. I prefer sports (and news) coverage to be focused and in-depth.

    Bell layoffs – interesting that one week after Andi Petrillo’s interview, talking about more women going into sports broadcasting, we see several female broadcasters and crew being laid off. And yes, men were laid off, too, but I sense that on a relative (%) basis, this set equal ops for women broadcasters back a not insignificant amount…

  22. Marcus says:

    @TSM, thanks for the link for that photo. How come no one mentioned that in all the SportsNet interviewing this week? I’m not sure that I want to guess why…

  23. Dave in Bolton says:

    SN can add why ever they want they will always be 2nd to TSN. From the insiders to the the production TSN Still kicks Rogers\SN this latest move changes nothing! SN still in 6th place behind all the TSN’s

  24. Antonio says:

    Arthur is so annoying on Twitter. His tweets consist of either insults to anyone who’s not a clueless socialist or his concerning love affair with Steph Curry. Seriously, give it a read.

    As for Shulman, the only way he returns to Canada as Bob’s replacement is if he’s canned by ESPN – which doesn’t seem likely.

    Sportsnet couldn’t pay him what ESPN does. Why would anyone leave the big leagues for the minors???

  25. Neal says:

    With ESPN making some cuts recently, a part of me is wondering if this was a strategic move (brilliant at that) by Shulman to keep an option here open in case ESPN starts making deeper cuts. Shulman said in a recent interview that Rogers/Jays had come to him in the past wondering about his availability and repeatedly turned them down. He’s done a 180 on that now. In terms of PTS, he probably doesn’t have time in the winter with the NCAA games to host to show but I am sure the higher ups at Rogers are just salivating at the prospect of having Dan host that show again. I personally remain a McCown fan.

  26. alex says:

    He said on PTS that his schedule opened up in summer because he used to coach his sons baseball team and he isnt doing it this year.

  27. Daniel says:

    @Marcus – I totally hear what you’re saying.

    Blundell would not be my choice for Fan morning host, but I guess what I’m saying is – if you do decide to get him, you might as well let him do what made him so popular on The Edge. They should have stuck with Brady and Walker if they wanted it to stay really sports heavy.

    Maybe they think long term Blundell can be a passable sports guy. I guess it’s not impossible. He’s better than Krystal was, anyway.

  28. Mike S says:

    McCown is back from vacation and he just said that Damien Cox will be PTS co-host this week

  29. Not that Chris says:

    I enjoyed Damien being back on PTS today. I know he rubs some the wrong way, sometimes he rubs me the wrong way as well, but he’s a strong co-host who doesn’t kiss Bob’s ass and is willing to challenge his opinions. That makes for a stronger show, imo.

    I’m REALLY hoping we get a full week of PTS with Bob and Shulman co-hosting. They had great chemistry back in the day.

    Shoalts had a decent article today about Shulman returning to sportsnet and it’s effect on TSN.


  30. Pete says:

    I thought the tide was turning towards SportsNet before the NHL deal. If only Rogers didn’t completely eff up what they’ve done with the hockey deal they’d have TSN on its deathbed. Banking on the CFL and a two-week junior tournament over the Christmas holidays isn’t enough to prop them up and make them relevant.

    Shulman’s great. Big blow to TSN because he brought credibility and a must-listen aspect to their programming. TSN is getting just obliterated.

  31. Chris says:

    For all those always wondering when a woman will host a radio show, Andi Petrillo is hosting Leafs Lunch today while Bryan Hayes is away.

  32. Chris says:

    @Marcus There’s some great basketball “insiders” in this market. Eric Koreen would be an awesome addition for them. He covers the team daily, he’s active on social media, so most, if not all, Raptors fans know who his he is. He’s also young, and not white. Have that dude on TSNR everyday instead of Dreger. Nobody in this town serves the basketball market, TSN, if they had any brains, would go take that for themselves. Scrap “Leafs Lunch” and have a noon hour basketball show. Nobody listens anyway, so a change won’t hurt them.

    However, I don’t think they will change how they do things. The whole network is nothing but puckheads.

  33. Claire A Fye says:

    @Chris Taking Leafs Lunch off the air would be the end of TSN radio. It’s not just the best show on the station, it’s also better than anything on The Fan 590. You clearly aren’t a hockey fan but the vast majority of this market still is. Is basketball growing? Sure, as long as the Raptors keep competitive. The Raptors could really use a long playoff run, and maybe then a daily hoops show might work. Might. Also, what does Koreen not being white have to do with anything?

  34. Pete says:

    LOL! That Twitter pic of Koreen is fake. He’s as white as they come. He looks like Screech in real life.

  35. ADC says:

    Yeah, his Twitter pic is of NBA player Nene.

  36. MjwW says:

    Reid co-hosting last week, Cox this week. Who next week? Butch Carter?

    Does PTS even care anymore? Say what you will about Tim & Sid, but Reid and Cox won’t never be allowed to co-host an entire week on that show.

  37. Antonio says:

    “He’s also young, and not white”

    Of course, not racist….

  38. yaz says:

    I always liked Al Strachan for telling it like it is – which is what got him ousted from HNIC. I would bet Al’s thoughts on Bruce Arthur are shared by many in the Toronto media, and Torontonians in general, who won’t get into a Twitter battle with Brucie -something Al has done frequently over several years.

    If you have a moment, as a search item on Twitter, enter ‘@bruce_arthur @winsford99’ and scroll to the bottom and read them all. Fun read and often quite heated. Seems to start off as a disagreement about politics, something I wish Bruce would STFU on.

    Al’s Tweets vs Bruce can be summed up with this one from June 5, 2015 ‘I insult his preaching. He insults me.’ To me that nicely summarizes Bruce’s nearly two hundred thousand Tweets.

  39. Chris says:

    @ Claire A Fye – I agree that Leafs Lunch is probably the most listenable show on TSN for sure. Andi Petrillo held her own as well .. Would be a good thing if she could land a hosting gig on the station… Also, I am not the same Chris who posted the anti-hockey, pro basketball rant.

  40. Not that Chris says:

    It wasn’t an “anti hockey” rant. I love hockey, I just think TSN would be better served getting away from trying to be ‘all things hockey’ when they aren’t a destination for it anymore. They have some regional broadcasts, that’s it.

    Leafs Lunch might very well be one of the best shows on TSNR, doesn’t change the fact that nobody is listening to it – their ratings (not just Leafs lunch, the entire channel) reflect that. I’m just suggesting they try something different, because what they’re doing now on both radio and TV clearly aren’t working.

    Oh well, if Bell wants to pay people to broadcast to basically nobody, that’s their business.

  41. Marcus says:

    @Chris @Not that Chris @The Poster formerly known as Chris, I didn’t think it was an anti-hockey rant either. It was too short to be a rant, and it was more about TSN being so hockey-centric (or puckheaded) that they can’t adjust their programming somewhat. For a given sport, I don’t know if a network should program more “commentary” hours than “live game” hours. TSN could offer at least a couple of hours over to basketball. If they put together a compelling “That’s Basketball/TB2N”, I’m sure that they would get plenty of eyeballs.

  42. Claire A Fye says:

    @Marcus,@Not That Chris “If they put together a compelling “That’s Basketball/TB2N”, I’m sure that they would get plenty of eyeballs.” I’m just as sure they wouldn’t, at least in relation to what the hockey audience brings. Basketball here is growing, no question, and from a demographics point of view, 18-35 and younger is its target and the audience share is growing. But hoops here is like hockey in the US South. The fan base is smaller (but growing) and very much tied to winning. I get the sense that hoops fans get very frustrated with the amount of coverage hockey gets and the comparative lack of coverage basketball gets. Kind of like a hockey fan in Dallas. People take it personally, but it’s just business. Want proof? Sportsnet was floundering…until they got the NHL deal. End of story.

  43. billyjoejimbob says:

    TSN would go to basketball…if the ratings indicated enough people were passionate about it. Not yet. Eventually, but not yet. If the Canadian National Hockey Team flopped like the Canadian National Basketball Team did last summer, there would be an inquiry.

  44. Mike S says:

    Here is a Bob Mackowycz update that Matt Cauz gave on 1050 earlier this morning:

    “I speak to Bob often. He gives us ideas for the show that we use. He is doing well and is in a good place. Eventually Bob will be back”

  45. Jacob says:

    In a weird move, it looks like both TSN and Sportsnet will be simulcasting the NBA all star game. You would think TSN would fight hard to maintain exclusive access.

  46. Chris says:

    That’s what comes with dual ownership, I guess.

  47. Matty Zero says:

    I am in the 35-45 age range, so basketball is off my radar. Probably hadn’t watched a full game since the Chicago Bulls were winning..but I watched a Golden State game about a month ago, and I’m hooked, but only on that team. I’m sure, as Clair stated, that a sustained winning Raptors team, will lead to more coverage. A true top 5 talent would be a major boon, as well.

    I’ll take Cox’ ego over Reid’s inanity any day.

  48. Hans says:

    Given how they handle the NBA on Sportscenter I have to wonder if TSN is already starting to slowly give more focus to basketball just to ease the average fan into it. That doesn’t mean they’re giving up on the NHL but I have noticed many times they lead with the NBA as opposed to the NHL like they would have done in years past.

    Damian Cox was actually interesting this week. His first day and his discussion with Bob about the differences between being on HNIC and radio was a interesting talk. He’s still very much the center of his own universe but he appeared a bit more mellowed than he was in the past on PTS.

  49. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Re cohosts on PTS – Does Mccown have any say in the matter or
    is he generally stuck with who they throw at him? – I only ask because I can’t envision him or anyone actually choosing Reid as a partner-

  50. Hans, good observation, although I find that TSN will lead with the Raptor game highlights when they go to Sportscenter right after the game ends, but keep in mind, as part of that, they go back to the broadcasters at the game for their insights on the game, so it is likely due to their scheduling.

    Having said that, if I was running TSN, I would do everything in my power to elevate basketball, especially now with the excitement of the NBA All Star Game here this year. The Raptors will be in the playoffs, with an excellent chance to advance, possibly to the conference finals, and why play second fiddle to Sportsnet on hockey, as you can’t get past their live programming for the next 10+ years, so play to your strengths. Demographics will help along the way too, and in a decade, should TSN get pack some or all of the national rights, then you can go back to hockey again full steam.

    TSN has their broadcast talent in hockey under contract, with pretty much no losses to Sportsnet, so I get how they are trying to hang on to the past, but IMO that is a huge mistake. They will not get street cred with me, or other basketball fans if they pay lip service to it. I applaud their extra coverage now with the NCAA and all the CBK games on their multiple channels, so that is a good start.

    On another front, I see TSN smartly is promoting the Australian Open, as they have the rights to the 4 majors. Again, play to your strengths, the areas that you are in charge. If you do it for Tennis, and can for Golf, then start to do it for basketball and own the sport! Even if the games are split with Sportsnet, TSN is more than capable of becoming the go to resource for basketball. TSN should look at what Raptors TV has, and do not duplicate it, but complement their programming, as most diehard basketball fans will not want to see that, but new programming. Keep in mind also to bring in more casual fans, but by winning over the diehards, you build that base and can then expand it.

  51. Mike V says:

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/leafs/2015/11/30/sportsnets-ratings-slip-as-maple-leafs-struggle-through-rebuilding-season.html 2 interesting tidbits from this article
    1) Leafs regional game ratings on Sportsnet are down 8%. No word on TSN regional games but considering some of their games were up against Blue Jays in the playoffs, I suspect those ones alone would make the average worse.
    2) Sportsnet’s website beat TSN in hits for the first time ever in October. I think it’s significant since TSN’s online dominance was even greater than their TV one a few years ago and was the last remaining outlet where they remained on top.

    On the Raptors, it’s a nice thought but I just don’t see the business case for how TSN can overturn everything and focus on them anymore than they have while pushing hockey to the backburner. Sure, you can say the game is growing, you can point to future demographics but when you look at the ratings if it’s indeed growing it’s doing so at an unbelievably slow pace. An argument can even be made that it’s regressing in some places; last year’s Washington series rated below the Brooklyn one for every game with the series ending one at barely 300,000. This is not much above the regular season (and half the number that the Blue Jays typically got before when they were middling in the AL East) for a team that won 50 games and ran away with the division.

    Some will say it’s a chicken and egg thing; that you have to increase exposure to the team before you see an increase in viewers. However, I’ll say that while the team has its fair share of diehard fans, there’s been little convincing evidence that they will become a team that’s followed much more widespread than that from a few extra minutes of Sportcentre, more 1050 segments or a weekly studio show. Maybe that’ll change this year and if the Raptors can move to the Easter Final like RD thinks with million+ audiences every game then TSN can ramp up coverage then. But after a round of cost-cutting and the on-air puckheads no doubt commanding sizable salaries that need exposure to be justified, I don’t blame the TSN management for not putting the cart before the horse.

  52. Pete says:

    Every time I see this picture of Shulman, it disturbs me for some reason. LOL

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