By Ami Angelwings
4pm hour – Bob McCown hosting
First segment: Interview with Sid Seixeiro
- Bob and Seixeiro talk about parking
Second segment: Interview with Glen Healy
- Healy talks about his experience as a player during lockouts, and how much better communication is now in the NHLPA
- Bob suggests the NHLPA starting a players only league, Healy thinks it can’t work, an argument ensues
5pm hour – Roundtable discussion with Bob McCown, John Shannon, Elliotte Friedman and Tim Micallef
First, second and third segments: Debate about the Blue Jays and whether or not a non-former-player can make a good general manager
- Bob, Shannon and Micallef think that playing experience isn’t necessary to being a general manager, Friedman thinks it is
- Friedman uses himself as an example, says that he couldn’t keep up with Leo Rautins on basketball commentary and Rautins saw the game differently than he did
- Shannon tells Friedman that Friedman is just a broadcaster and isn’t an actual hockey guy and just because he can’t doesn’t mean no non-player ever could
- Bob thinks you just need to surround yourself with smart people
- Micallef believes that the role of a GM nowadays is about PR and getting players to come to a city rather than scouting talent
- Friedman claims that Billy Beane is an example of former playing experience informing managerial decisions
6pm hour – Roundtable continues
First segment: Should Paul Henderson be in the hall of fame?
- Bob thinks he should, points out that others are in for single achievements such as Herb Brooks
- Shannon thinks he shouldn’t and that WHA stats don’t count
Second segment: Discussion of Darryl Katz threatening to take the Oilers to Seattle to get the arena deal he wants
- Everybody agrees that it was a terrible move and Katz made a mistake, Shannon tries to blame Katz’ subordinates
- Bob and Shannon argue about private vs public funding of arenas, Bob thinks that owners should build their own arenas, Shannon thinks they are too expensive and unprofitable for owners to do it
Third segment: Prime Time Bullets
- First bullet is about the final day of the MLB regular season last year, and how exciting the games were
- Second bullet is about the AEG sale and Philip Anschutz trying to build an arena to get an NFL team
- Third bullet is Bob plugging the Fadoo productions Blue Jays 1992 World Series documentary
This was a very unimpressive capper to an unimpressive week of Prime Time Sports. I thought the roundtable was pretty hard to listen to, and was a lot of people arguing with each other while missing obvious counter arguments. The 4pm hour was fairly uninteresting, and the Seixeiro interview especially was just a complete waste of time. All they did was talk about parking their cars. Healy’s arguments against a players only league boiled down to “it won’t happen because it’s just too different than how I’m used to seeing things.” I think Bob actually has a decent idea, and it’s lack of imagination and lack of will which is why it’d never happen.
In the last two months, my opinion of Elliotte Friedman has dipped quite a bit. I’m starting to feel that his lack of confidence in his intelligence and abilities permeates almost everything he says and does. He’s admitted he overthinks a lot and worries about saying the wrong thing, and a lot of his need to elaborate while talking comes from that. But on this roundtable it really came out, as his entire argument seems to be “I don’t feel smart enough to be a GM, therefore no non-player could ever be!” He kept bringing up how overwhelmed he feels, as if this must be how Alex Anthopolous feels.
I found myself actually cheering for Shannon when he pointed out the obvious: Friedman isn’t ALL PEOPLE, and that he’s just a broadcaster.
I wish the other obvious counter arguments could have been made too though. For one, that Alex Anthopolous didn’t burst out of Zeus’ forehead, he was a scout before, and then an assistant general manager. He’s had a lot of experience in baseball, and so he would have a greater understanding of the intricacies of baseball business than just a commentator or a fan.
Also, when Friedman brought up Leo Rautins, I’m shocked nobody said “and how’d he do when he became a coach?” because it was just sitting there waiting to be pointed out.
Friedman created a complete false choice in his argument by implying that there are only ex-players and Joe Schmoes who watch the game for fun. What about scouts? What about people who have been with organizations for decades in various capacities evaluating talent? There are many ways to be experienced and informed about the game besides playing it. Also, what exactly is a “former player”?
Brian Burke’s highest hockey achievement was playing in the AHL for one year. Then he went and got a law degree, became an NHL agent, then got hired as Director of Hockey Operations for the Canucks. I suspect his knowledge of business, law and his experience in NHL management informs his decisions way more than his one year playing in the AHL.
What about Bryan Colangelo? He’s had no experience playing. I KNOW that I’m not picking Toronto’s favourite people here, but I doubt anybody would suggest that Leo Rautins would make a better general manager than Colangelo, but by Friedman’s logic, he should right?
And when Friedman was talking about Moneyball, he made the mistake some people do of acting as if Billy Beane wrote Moneyball. Moneyball is Michael Lewis’ narrative of Beane and the Oakland As. Simply because Lewis believed Beane’s experience as a player helped give him an example of a player overlooked by the system doesn’t mean that Beane turned the entire organization around simply because of that experience. Also, the narrative was also saying that Beane WASN’T thinking like an ex-player or a “baseball guy” but instead like a business person.
I was just amazed that Friedman was able to take up three whole segments with an incredibly flawed argument using examples that are easily disproved. It was frustrating to see the other three try to chase his tail, when his argument boiled down to “I still think I couldn’t do it, therefore nobody can.”
I also was unimpressed by Friedman’s poke at Tim when he said “that’s what we were waiting for?” (or something to that effect) when Tim finally had space to speak a point he’d been trying to get out.
I was pleasently surprised that the Paul Henderson discussion actually broke some new ground. The “but Herb Brooks is in” argument was actually a pretty astute point, I thought. It also meant that Shannon couldn’t bring up Brooks’ college accomplishments while dismissing Henderson’s WHA ones without having it called out.
I wish Micallef and Seixeiro would talk more when they’re on the roundtable. Both of them seem to fade into the background during heated debates, and neither of them seem to want to speak over the older guys like Bob and Shannon. I thought Micallef could have probably brought a lot more to the discussion but seemed to be patiently waiting for his turn to speak which rarely came.
I’m really hoping that some interesting sports stories pop up next week, because this week’s shows were pretty boring, and the roundtable was a lot of ado about really very little.
Photo available here