By Ami Angelwings
Primetime Sports August 6th, 2012
Roundtable with John Shannon (host, Sportsnet Hockey Insider), Michael Grange (Sportsnet reporter), Dave Perkins (retired golf columnist, still occasionally writes for the Toronto Star), Sid Seixeiro (co-host of Tim & Sid, 1pm-4pm, M-F, the FAN590)
4pm hour was replaced by the Canada vs US Women’s soccer semi final match
First segment: conclusion of Canada vs US women’s soccer semi final match
Discussion about the women’s soccer match. Shannon ends coverage of the soccer match by praising the US team. Discussion begins with Perkins suggesting that Christine Sinclair is the early leader for the Lou Marsh trophy. Shannon compares her to Steve Nash and Grange points out that Nash was bottled up against France while Sinclair played her best game against the best team in the world. Discussion about whether Christine Sinclair can be a flag bearer without winning a medal. Seixeiro believes she should and so does Grange. Shannon interrupts, saying that the team lost and that’s what matters. Seixeiro brings up the refereeing and Shannon says, “Now, don’t start blaming the refs, Sid… Sid!” and Seixeiro turns it into a joke to defuse the situation. Shannon reminisces about the Lilihammer olympics. Grange refutes that Canada was over matched, saying that Canada played fairly evenly against the US and it wasn’t just one sided. Seixeiro compliments the game, saying, “I wasn’t watching women’s soccer, I was watching soccer.”
More discussion about the context of this loss. Grange points out how rare a chance it was for Canada to be in a position to get into a final in a game the whole world cares about. And then, to have it snapped away… Shannon ends the segment by saying “If you missed it, Canada took the US to extra time today…”
This was a bit of a disappointing segment for me because it’s in the wake of that dramatic loss and both Grange & Seixeiro had so many thoughts about it on Twitter, and I would have preferred discussing the match rather than the historic significance which A) Can’t really be evaluated so soon and B) Probably isn’t what most people wanted to hear, since this would literally be the post-game show on the radio.
Shannon was playing the role of the humble Canadian who is used to us losing and trying our best, and wouldn’t hear anything about Seixeiro’s refereeing complaints. I wish Seixeiro wouldn’t back off into jokes whenever he meets opposition to his opinions. I’ve found he’s been doing that more and more lately, and it’s kind of annoying (whether or not I agree with his opinions) because I prefer to hear debate rather than one person say, “Oh haha I’m just joking, let’s move on”. Perkins talked very little, and mostly it was Grange talking up the significance and Shannon saying, “Well, but we lost” and, “Well, but it’s disappointing.” I appreciated Sid’s compliment of the game because it was an amazing game. But it’s sad that men’s soccer is “soccer” while women’s soccer is “women’s soccer” unless it goes above some threshold. I wonder what that makes TFC.
Given what I heard from Seixeiro today on Tim & Sid, I wish he had been more forceful or had been given more space by Shannon to speak on the roundtable without Shannon scolding him. My usual criticisms of Shannon stand for this segment: He doesn’t like criticism of things he doesn’t agree with and will go on and on about his fond memories of the person, or the place (in this case, Norway), and he won’t let people finish a statement he doesn’t agree with. When he hosts it’s even worse because there’s no host to re-direct the conversation to the person interrupted.
Discussion about the Olympics in general and everybody’s favourite moments. Perkins talks about how there’s too much focus on medals and not enough on appreciating the skill & dedication of all the competitors. Grange praises Michael Phelps and his medal haul. Shannon and Perkins talk about what great entertainment the Olympics are. Shannon tells a story about his buddy Bettman. Grange and Sid talk about how fascinating the Olympics are to children and how there’s a childlike enjoyment they feel watching it. Grange casually mentions that there are some sports that he wants to get rid of and Shannon says they’ll save that for the bullets, then says he would get rid of the team sports.
Not much to say about this segment, just people talking about the joy and wonder of the Olympics. Shannon at one point mentions how there hasn’t been that much controversy, which is odd, because there’s been quite a few controversial incidents. Nobody mentions the judging controversies that has happened. I’m not sure if they just don’t remember them, didn’t think they were really significant, or because they didn’t happen to Canada. The discussion didn’t really focus on very much, so there isn’t really much I have to say about it.
Discussion about the Blue Jays. Perkins thinks the Jays need to play J.A. Happ and find out what they have in him. Grange thinks we need to see what the kids have and that injuries have given Alex Anthopoulos an excuse to wash the season and use it to see how the prospects are coming along. Perkins says that the Yankees & Red Sox have had more injuries and the Jays shouldn’t use it as an excuse. Perkins complains about the Jays giving away runs and John Farrell not putting a stop to the poorly timed base stealing.
Discussion about Brandon Morrow and how important it is to have him back because of how decimated the staff is and how important it is to know that Morrow can be depended on for next season. Seixeiro & Grange think that this off-season is the time to spend money and get some pitching. Perkins doesn’t want more National League pitchers on the Jays.
Brief discussion about whether Yu Darvish is good value for the Rangers & if he would have been for the Jays. Seixeiro thinks that AL batters are figuring him out, Grange says he’s still good value. Seixeiro suggests that Darvish might be a good value because of international jersey sales, but Shannon says that the league splits that revenue and so the Jays would get 1/30th.
All Jays segments on almost every radio show are pretty much the same now. That’s not a criticism; it’s just how it is (because what is there really to talk about?) They’ve been decimated by injuries, and Grange is right, whatever criticism people were ready to lob at Alex Anthopoulos is blunted now because of the injuries, so you can’t really do anything but talk about how the Jays better spend on pitching.
Perkins mentions how he doesn’t want National League pitchers on the Jays because they blow up in the American League. He’s brought this up every single roundtable he’s been on in the last few weeks, so it’s pretty clear it’s something he feels very strongly on. What *I* found more interesting is that on Friday, and again on Monday, Perkins has hinted he doesn’t like how Farrell is managing the Jays. I would really like to hear more from him about this because I haven’t heard or read very much criticism of Farrell (And it’s not that I think there SHOULD be, I’m just curious what criticism Perkins has.) From what I gathered here, he thinks Farrell isn’t keep the players in line on the basepaths enough and they’re running themselves out of innings (Mike Wilner would point out that the number of times they’ve been caught stealing with Bautista on base is probably very few but Perkins is remembering the times it’s happened.)
Shannon shows his specialty at the end of the segment by talking about his knowledge of the league business side of the game, and that was good since he would know, and it means that listeners wouldn’t be getting a false impression from Seixeiro’s suggestion. Without Shannon there, fans who want to get angry at the Jays for not spending would probably have gotten the impression that the Jays would have made any money they spent on Darvish back from the international jersey sales.
Discussion about the significance of Usain Bolt and how he’s matured as a competitor. Shannon believes he has matured a lot. Seixeiro and Grange talk about how Johan Blake may have made Bolt realize how he needs to take the race seriously or risk his legacy. Shannon segues the discussion into being about Michael Phelps and his legacy. Discussion moves to Lockte and how his star has faded so much after his initial victory. Seixeiro relates a story about Lockte urinating in the practice pool. Perkins responds by saying he’s not inviting Lockte over to his backyard parties.
Why does Shannon always interrupt people and say “Hey now, tell that to XYZ”, like with Grange saying the 100m dash is the main event in the Olympics and Shannon said “tell that to the swimmers”. It was irrelevant, and Grange had just started talking. I enjoyed Seixeiro & Grange talking about reasons why Bolt may have gotten a wake up call because they were quotes and context that the casual viewer might not have been aware of. I enjoyed the discussion of his legacy. I also thought their very brief discussion about how Lockte’s star has faded so much in the Olympics was interesting and I wish they had more time to discuss that because it is really interesting how the narrative in US swimming has gone from “Lockte vs Phelps” to “Phelps’ legacy and medals” and Phelps being once again the face. Perkins’ response to finding out Lockte urinated in the pool made me laugh.
Primetime Bullets. First bullet is about the PGA Championship and asking Dave Perkins what he thinks and he talks about how unpredictable the golf scene is now and you can’t tell who’s going to win. Perkins notes that all of the majors have ended with the leaders falling off rather than the winners catching up to them. Shannon asks Perkins what’s wrong with Tiger Woods and a discussion about Woods ensues. Grange believes Tiger will be back to form.
Next topic is tennis and how much pressure is on Milos Raonic going into the Rogers Cup in Toronto. The discussion morphs quickly from Raonic to Shannon being shocked that Andy Murray is coming to the tournament after winning the Olympic gold medal in London. Shannon says that if he were Murray, he’d rather rest on his laurels and enjoy partying in London. Seixeiro wonders what would happen if they had chosen Murray to be the flag bearer and if he would still be coming to Toronto if he had been chosen as flag bearer.
Final bullet is which sport should be removed from the Olympics. Grange believes all horse related sports should be removed because horses don’t get anything out of it and the riders get credit. Dave Perkins would remove all judged sports and wonders why professional boxers aren’t allowed in the Olympics when professional soccer, golf & basketball players are allowed. Sid wants to remove badminton and everybody yells at him. Show ends.
I wish they had devoted a segment to them discussing which Olympic events should be removed because I think that’s an interesting discussion and there’s a lot of different ways to look at it and each one had a different take on what they believe an Olympic sport should be about (except Sid who just hates Badminton, apparently). Grange, for example, thinks humans shouldn’t be getting credit for the accomplishments of animals, Perkins thinks sports with too much subjectivity create problematic results, and Shannon thinks Olympics should only be for individual sports (as he mentioned at the end of the 2nd hour). I really wish they could have elaborated on that, but unfortunately it was the very last bullet of the last segment.
Hearing Perkins talk golf is always a joy for me, even though I don’t like golf, and I enjoyed him talking about the current state of the PGA. The tennis conversation was pretty meaningless. They didn’t even talk about Raonic very much (except Grange pointing out, yes, it is important for him to do well) and the discussion of Andy Murray didn’t really add very much.
I didn’t enjoy this roundtable that much. Given the drama of the day and that, as I said, this was essentially the post-game show that IMMEDIATELY followed the women’s soccer match that took Twitter by storm (and every Canadian sports journalist male or female on my feed), I was hoping for more discussion on the actual match. I would have actually liked more discussion about what was happening in the Olympics rather than general discussion about the importance and wonderfuness of the games (which should be a given.) Each discussion was really about how special and impactful the events were (Phelps, Bolt, the soccer game) rather than what actually happened. I understand needing to place things in context, but I think that can be done after the Olympics are over. Talking about the specifics of what just happened (or happened a day before or two days before) can really only be done while the event is still fresh and the audience is still thinking about it and can easily recall the events.
The Blue Jays talk was the same thing they’d been talking about for the last 2 weeks and even I’m getting a little tired of it (and I love Blue Jays talk.) It’s just that I’ve heard the same opinions from all 4 men so often that I already know what each is going to say.
Shannon has enough problems with interrupting people when he’s just a guest (or a co-host), but when he’s host he doesn’t even have Bob to give somebody else space to talk. He ended up cutting off what could have been interesting debate a few times during the show. The way he does it is also annoying, since usually it’s “hey now, Gary Bettman’s my friend!” or “hey now, I like Norway!” or “hey now, what about the swimmers?” rather than an actual rebuttal. He asked Grange to give his opinion on the 100m dash; and one sentence in, he interrupted Grange talking about the importance of the event. I think he was trying to make a joke, but, like all his interjections, it just interrupted the flow of the discussion.
I love Sid Seixeiro. I think he’s really smart, and he’s the closest one in age to me (I’m not sure, since he seems to be very sensitive about how old he is. I think he’s in his 30s though.) So it’s nice to have somebody who isn’t immediately like “the internet sucks! I don’t understand these newfangled stats!” Having said that, I think he needs more confidence in expressing a controversial opinion on the roundtable. On his own show, he has no problem saying what he believes, but he hides behind jokes when he’s on Primetime Sports, and I find he’s doing it more and more. Whether I agree with him or not, I would have enjoyed hearing him speak about the refereeing, especially since he’s a soccer enthusiast and has some idea of what he’s talking about. I also would like to hear a man talking passionately about women’s soccer, especially on a show where the regular host finds both women’s sports and soccer to be boring. Shannon cut him off from that, leading to Sid making a joke instead of making a point. :\ That made me kind of sad. I would have loved to hear more talk about the game and how Grange and Sid felt about it (given that I know from Twitter how both felt.)
So, if you’re reading this Sid, YOU ARE AWESOME AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. (Also, Michael Grange, you are awesome in general.)
Photo available here