Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

October 3rd, 2015 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: Frank Gunn/CP


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media watchers. I’m on the move this morning so this column will be a little less well proof-read than usual. All complaints should be directed to our editorial department. Warning: lots of Rogers related content to follow. If this will cause you to scream “Rogers sucks” in the comments section, feel free to sit this one out.


Brunt on Rooting for the Home Team


Sometimes interesting sports media topics just fall into your lap. This was one of those weeks. Stephen Brunt, Sportsnet’s multi-platform rockstar, filled in on the At the Letters baseball podcast with Arden Zwelling. The pair discussed all things Blue Jays as the team finally won their first AL East title in over 20 years.


On the podcast Brunt is his usual insightful self and brings up the changing demographics of Jays fans since ’92-’93. He notes that the model for appealing to younger people was the NBA’s approach of cranking up the dance tunes, never having a dull moment during the breaks, and basically just slamming the audience with content at all time. This stands in stark contrast to baseball which is slow and quiet, where “you have to participate as a spectator … it doesn’t come at you.” As Brunt notes, “it’s still the same game” and somehow fans of all ages are packing the Dome and having a good time.


This is a great point and part of the mystery of baseball’s appeal. Given how little action there is in a 3 hour game, how do you stay engaged? The answer is that you have to care about the little things that constitute the game story. Has the pitcher’s fastball been losing velocity? Is he ignoring runners on base? Why are the defenders shading so far out of position? What kind of strike zone are we seeing tonight? All of these questions are things you thin about between pitches or between at-bats. If you’re not thinking about those things then the game can be incredibly dull.


Brunt shifted from that topic to TV ratings and how winning has taken the Jays’ already good numbers to a different level. From there Arden asked what the differences are covering this Jays playoff run as compared to the earlier teams. Here’s a mostly verbatim excerpt of what Brunt had to say.


“I have a different relationship because like you I work for a company that owns the team. It changes things. One of the things that has meant is that I have had great access. I’ve also been able to spend a lot of time around this team and in a non-threatening way. It’s not that we are all in this together … we still have a responsibility … but it is a different vibe. I’m not just the guy standing at somebody’s locker waiting for a post game quote.


The great edict of my profession is ‘no cheering in the press box’ but what that often creeps into is cynicism and bloody-mindedness. You start to hate the people you cover. I’ve seen it a million times … some of those guys are miserable SOBs. You didn’t like spending time with them, you didn’t want them to win, you were just as happy with a sweep in the playoffs so you could go home.


So the ability to not do that, and to be able to say ‘I think Encarnacion is a really good guy’ or ‘I’m really happy for Alex or Gibby’ … it’s OK to be able to feel and say those things. It allows you to enjoy the success of it without being a miserable old sports writer. I never wanted to be one of those guys. So it’s doubly pleasant for me to be able to cover this team.”


Good stuff there. What I’d like to discuss is whether or not Brunt has set up a false opposition between rooting for the team and being a “miserable old sports writer.” I love this question because I lived in Boston through the last of the dark days of the curse of the Bambino and it was remarkable how many sports media types had absolutely no idea how to handle the Red Sox’s success. Something similar is going on here with the Jays but also more widely with the Leafs, Raps, and TFC. In Toronto, losing is as much part of the media’s culture as it is that of the fans and players.


More specifically I wonder if Bob Elliott and Richard Griffin and John Lott think of themselves as miserable old sports writers because they don’t work for a team owned media outlet. Obviously I’m not saying that Brunt has those guys in mind here, but part of the implication of his point is that when he worked at the Globe he experienced (either in himself or in others) the tendency towards cynicism he mentions.


My point is that, unless I’m misunderstanding, Brunt is drawing a connection between being employed by Rogers and liberation from cynicism. Now he might not be saying that it is only when one works for the team’s owner that one can experience true freedom in the presence of success. But he seems to be saying that it is nice to be able to root for the team and its players, and that one cannot do this when one is bound by the “no cheering in the press box” rule.


I have lots of thoughts about this but I’m more interested in yours. To be honest, I think we sometimes put media in an impossible position. How could it be a bad thing to be happy about the Jays’ success? It has been a wild and enjoyable ride, and it would really be a shame if being in the media meant you couldn’t revel in these moments.


So my questions for you this morning are whether you like your sports writers to be miserable and “responsible” in terms of professional distance or whether you like them to be invested in the team success at the expense of some that professional distance? Or is there some neglected third alternative that sits between these two options?


Zaun on the Upside of Choking Teammates


The Washington Nationals are finishing up a disappointing season. They traded for closer Jonathan Papelbon in a last ditch attempt to make a playoff push but that did not yield the desired result. One result the trade did yield was Papelbon choking teammate and young superstar Bryce Harper on the bench.


There was much debate about who was in the wrong in this incident, with some lining up behind the veteran Papelbon for keeping his teammate accountable, and some behind Harper for not taking barking from a guy who has his own reputation for selfish behaviour on the field. Sportsnet’s Gregg Zaun, who has made “playing the game the right way” one of his regular talking points of principle, spoke out on the incident. (Warning: linked video plays after 3 separate unstoppable ads)


“I can’t believe he would even step up to a veteran player and mouth off and defend that crummy effort.”


This is a classic example of getting two separate issues mixed up in a false dichotomy. You can be against BOTH failing to run out a fly ball AND Papelbon’s attempt to pick a fight with his teammate (for 2 months). Zaun went on to say that he would refuse to vote for Harper for the MVP based on his lack of effort running out a fly ball.


Then Zaun doubled down on false dichotomies and said:


“Suspending Papelbon sends a really bad message.”


Again, Zaun fails to see that he can criticize both players for the altercation … it’s not a zero sum situation. But since Zaun is so opposed to young players not playing the game the right way, he sides with Papelbon. Imagine if recently acquired Jays reliever Latroy Hawkins choked Donaldson on the bench after a weak effort? It would be insane to suggest that Donaldson should take it because Latroy is a veteran. But that is what Zaun is advocating here: you have to take physical assaults from older players if you fail to violate one of baseball’s unwritten rules about showing effort.


That someone would think choking a teammate on the bench is not worth a suspension is unfathomable. Just put it in any other work context and it is immediately obvious that regardless of tenure no one should be subject to this kind of treatment at the hands of a co-worker. But what do I know … I never played the game. Apparently the Nationals did not agree with Zaun’s analysis, and suspended Paps for 4 games.


Zaun was a good addition to the Sportsnet roster back in the lean years. But I think Sportsnet would be better served by someone with some more balanced views in the seat Zaun is currently occupying. Jamie Campbell continues to do good work under difficult circumstances.


Maybe I’m being too harsh here. Anyone agree with Zaun’s take?


Quick Hits


Species1967 has a post over at PPP about the merits of renewing your subscription to GameCentre Live for the coming hockey season.


Vice has a good story on how video games are once again at the centre of the NCAA/O’Bannon lawsuit.


In response to past columns some people have wondered aloud why ESPN’s Darren Rovell appears on the FAN, contra the current exclusivity agreement. I reached out to Naylor, on whose show Rovell used to appear. Here’s his statement: “Darren Rovell was a valuable contributor to TSN Drive but occasionally we like to change-up our lineup of regular guests and this was one of those instances.” Here’s my gloss on this: we like Howard Bryant a lot better than Darren Rovell. Can’t say I disagree … Rovell never seems to have any clue about anything related to Canada.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • Congratulations to FAN PD Cadeau for doing what Kollins didn’t in getting Blair a co-host. Brunt and Blair is a really good combo. Blair is much better when he has someone to carry some of the conversation. That’s not an insult. Almost no one is better solo. This move makes Blair a much more plausible eventual McCown replacement.


  • I’m no fan of their work, but on a human level I’m sad for Buck and Tabby that they won’t get to call Jays playoff games. All other teams who have made the playoffs under the current Fox/TBS/ESPN contract have suffered the same fate. It sucks, but it’s not personal.


  • TSN1150 in Hamilton is a great addition already thanks to their U.S. syndicated content. ESPN’s Mike and Mike cover the NFL better than any Canadian station possibly could. Great stuff on a Monday morning. Anyone have a report on how the local shows are doing on 1150?


  • Quick Thought as the NHL gets underway: who could have thought 2 years ago that Goodell would eclipse Bettman as the most hated commissioner in sports? Does anyone think it’s even close right now?


  • Lastly, way to go to this site on being at the centre of the Leafs road game radio broadcasts controversy. Change was championed because of Jonah’s work on this. Also, David Shoalts cites us (without actually citing us … c’mon Dave, show your work!) in his latest McCown piece. So congratulations to all of us for keeping an eye on things and being a part of the process.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)


  1. rob j says:

    Reporters who are paid by the same company that owns the team are not ‘media’ in any sense of the word. It’s an infomercial like the thighmaster or juicers.

  2. Not that Chris says:

    I don’t agree with Zaun’s take at all, but he wasn’t the only one who had that opinion. It seemed like every ex-player shared the same opinion of the incident. Bunch of cavemen.

  3. William D says:

    Personally I think that the MLB should eliminate corporate ownership, I think it would add more credibility to the reporting if the reporting is coming from the outside. Media companies that own teams have a vested interested and often serve as the teams PR division through the sports network or radio station personalities. The fact that Brunt is closer to the team does not mitigate my skepticism of his reporting on the Jays, the fact of the matter is, he works for a sports network that is owned by the same company that owns the team he covers. Sportsnet radio and TV commentators with the exception of a couple are spin doctors.

  4. GreyCountyMike says:

    The “Gibby” approach that Stephen Brunt has adopted at this point in his career is, quite frankly, embarrassing and disgraceful. This is a man who was once the Canadian sports journalist by which all others was judged; today, he is a shill, plain and simple.

  5. Alex says:

    Its interesting to contrast the ida reporters should be neutral observers to that of UK jornos, where their rooting interests (growing up and/or presently) are usually well known. And the consumer is left to judge whether they have credibility. In fact, they might be harder on their teams than an equally struggling team.

  6. Bob Canuck says:

    Mike in Boston,

    Interesting article, thanks.

    “So my questions for you this morning are whether you like your sports writers to be miserable and “responsible” in terms of professional distance or whether you like them to be invested in the team success at the expense of some that professional distance? Or is there some neglected third alternative that sits between these two options?”

    For me, Stephen Brunt’s comments touch upon my preferred alternative: journalists, reporters, and opinion makers drop the veil that they are without bias. The quote below is from a Glenn Greenwald article, which addresses journalism in the world of politics, that I think has some relevance to sports media.

    “A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions, feign utter indifference to the outcome of political debates, never take any sides, be utterly devoid of any human connection to or passion for the issues they cover, and most of all, have no role to play whatsoever in opposing even the most extreme injustices.” The quote is from blog post that can be found at the link below.

    As a consumer of sports media, I much prefer if reporters and columnists acknowledge that they have biases (e.g., likes/dislikes) and personal objectives (e.g., maintaining access). If one accepts that broadcasters that partner with the professional leagues (NHL – Rogers and TSN; NFL – ESPN, Fox et al) are not objective when it comes to covering their respective business partners, why should we expect reporters, including those not employed by one of the noted business partners, not to slant reporting (consciously or subconsciously) of sports teams, players, and management? To me, it is naïve to think that reporters can check their biases, life experiences, etc. at the locker room / clubhouse door.

    While I do not agree with everything that Stephen Brunt said in MIB’s article, I am happy that he said it.

    I will close with an Louis Brandeis quote.

    “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

  7. Another great read MIB.

    I listened to the entire podcast, and have no issues with where Brunt is coming from as he fully discloses it. His unfettered access to the Jays who seem to all trust him allows him to pass on to the readership insights on the players that we otherwise would never get.

    Zaun is so beyond out to lunch on a myriad of topics, I don’t even know where to start. He is so out of touch with today’s players, that they likely don’t give him the time of day, other than the old grizzled veterans like Buehrle. Jamie Campbell is somewhat like Ron Maclean is to Don Cherry, and I give him a lot of credit for having to listen to the BS that comes out of Zaun’s mouth on a regular basis.

    Blair and Blunt are great together, allowing me to listen to them in their entirety while I can only take so much of Blair solo before I have to depart.

    Buck and Tabby, good riddance for the playoffs. Radio with Jerry and Joe is eons better than their tv counterparts, so hard for me to feel sorry for them in any way by not calling the games.

  8. d says:

    Zaun is right. How dare a young 22 year old 4 year vet with 3 all star appearances that just happens to be this year’s mvp and and the best player in the league tell a blowhard like Papelbon to go f himself? A franchise player like that needs to know how to play the right way.

    Goddamit how is Zaun still employed??

  9. JD says:


    Papelbon has a Ring and four allstar appearances and is one of the games top closers, I think Papelbon has a say especially on a team that really knows how to choke.

  10. mario says:

    Thanks for another great read MIB .. Could not agree more in the teaming up of Blair and Brunt makes it much more enjoyable to listen too. Noe if they could only work on a new co host on PTS

  11. Steve in Barrie says:

    “If this will cause you to scream “Rogers sucks” in the comments section, feel free to sit this one out.”

    That would be fantastic if it happened, fingers crossed

  12. Happy says:

    Zaun is smart enough to see the appeal Don Cherry had/has, and he figures he can be baseball’s version of Cherry in Canada.

  13. SportsGuy says:

    Re: Buck/Tabby not calling the games. There are likely a few reasons. Should Rogers have produced these games, they would have been the 4th camera/broadcaster and would have received the worst shots and angles. US National + MLB Network + International Feed all had priority.

    It also doesn’t hurt that Rogers will be saving a ton of $$ by not producing these games and just plugging into them. They have said they are doing pre and post which they can generate revenue from, and then the broadcast spots will likely run $100K for :30s, without the cost of producing the game. I think it’s their way of squeezing out as much $$ as possible – remember that a lot of their big sponsorships were already locked in (Home Hardware, Honda, etc.) before their magical run started, so they really didn’t make a ton of new money due to the ratings. Playoffs is where they make their buck, and then next year using this year’s audiences you can expect to see an increase in rates.

    The money saving on production, and earning on sales, definitely also helps offset the truck loads of money they lost on the NHL’s first season.

    Hurts the brand IMO by not producing, as the home of the Blue Jays, but from a business perspective, and due to the production restrictions, it makes sense.

  14. Dogpounder says:

    “Zaun is smart enough to see the appeal Don Cherry had/has, and he figures he can be baseball’s version of Cherry in Canada.”

    Bingo. A lotta hockey pucks watching. He’s going nowhere, unfortunately.

    I can’t believe how much I missed Dan Patrick. Loving the option on 1150. Unfortunately it’s coinciding with Brunt/Blair which has been fantastic. Suddenly, there are excellent options from 9-noon.

  15. Curt says:

    Zaun defending the indefensible. I’m no Harper fan (baseball player or politician) but the guy did nothing wrong this time but Zaun was looking for an excuse to go off on him – like Papelbon. This wasn’t about running out a ground ball (which admittedly he hasn’t done on occasion), it was a shallow fly ball where Harper would have had no chance to reach second base even if it was dropped. Then Papelbon openly baits and attacks him. In what “old school” world is that acceptable. Zaun embarrasses himself.

    I like some of Brunt’s books and usually enjoy listening to him. But he traded in the moniker “sports journalist” the moment he ran with the torch.

  16. Mitch says:

    I don’t love that Rogers owns the team and the broadcast rights. I wish these guys could stay neutral, but how can you when you consider yourself fellow colleagues/friends?
    I do believe there needs to be a separation between team and media if you want credible criticism of the team. Then again, I don’t pay attention to what anyone says and make my own judgements of teams, so its no big deal. But I bet Rogers employees expect rings when Jays win WS 🙂

  17. Alex says:

    I remember when they both still worked at the Globe, blair and brunt joked how they never appeared together when blair started guest hosting PTS.

  18. Midnight Rambler says:

    Elliott’s stuff is unreadable – what, another comparison between the 92/93 Jays ans this year’s team? – no matter who he is working for.

  19. Steve says:

    Mike & Mike may have better NFL coverage than anything in Canada, but The Dan Patrick Show which follows them on TSN Hamilton blows them out of the water. Mike & Mike are just another show shilling for ESPN, major bedfellows of the NFL.

    I’ve been listed to DP for a year or so now via a radio stream in the U.S. When TSN Hamilton launched and I saw they were carrying the show, I figured I’d “show my support” to the local station. I don’t know if it has been improved now, but after two weeks I had to go back to a U.S. station as TSN would screw up the automation coming back from the breaks nearly every time, sometimes missing 30–60 seconds of a segment, particularly the beginning of interviews.

  20. Jonathan Giggs says:


    Dean Blundell actually asked Mike Wilner if he will receive a ring. Mike said that if he did, it would be the best day of his life. I was unaware of his contributions to the team’s success. Hearing that, station changed!

    I agree with the notion of separation. Older readers will remember that Mel Profit was termintaed as colour commentator of Argo radio broadcasts for his criticisms of a inept team.

  21. McLean_Deluxe says:

    Having listened to the Brunt and Zwelling podcast as well, I think Brunt’s point has clearly been lost on the author and a few commentators(GCMike has embarrased himself.) Brunt’s point was that his more personal access to players/coaches in more of an editorial position(trips to Dominican for EE and JBau interviews for example)and seeing these team members as people and not just players has led him to feel a sense of happiness for INDIVIDUAL players/coaches finding success. Just basic human empathy. Never once did he justify actually rooting for a team and specifically said no rooting in the press box.

  22. McLean_Deluxe says:

    So Brunt working for the same parent company that owns the team is only relevant in the fact that it has allowed him unique access to foster more personal relationships, NOT that he feels freedom to root for the team. Blair said the exact same thing about being happy to see Gibbons have success.

  23. alex says:

    I think the line also started getting blurred when media members starting having the same agents as players and coaches.

  24. Mitch says:

    I don’t like things like Howarth getting ‘laryngitis’ a day after criticizing Reyes. Things like that are annoying because they treat us like children.
    However, you spend 200 days with this team (a la Barry Davis) and its impossible not to develop personal feelings for these guys. I don’t blame any beat reporter for cheering on the club. They just need to be a professional about it.

  25. Daniel says:

    Great post!

    Re Brunt – I didn’t take it like he was saying ‘I work for Rogers, so I can cheer for the Blue Jays’.

    I think he just was saying he genuinely likes Gibby, AA and some of the players and is rooting for them because of that.

    • mike (in boston) says:

      Daniel – yeah, I don’t want to overstate Brunt’s point about professional distance, but what do you think was the point of the reference to miserable old sportswriters? He seemed to be drawing a contrast and framing that contrast in terms of “now that I work for Rogers …”

      On your reading, what is the contrast he was drawing?

  26. Mont from London Ont says:

    @Jonathan Giggs
    Wilner getting a ring! Was that a serious
    question or does that clown actually qualify?
    How to cheapen a remarkable award-
    If he gets one why not give one to all the concession guys?

  27. Rob J says:

    Broadcasters have gotten rings in the past. It’s crucial Wilner et al be rewarded with one…without him. how would Jays fans on twitter know what talking-points to tweet out instead of conjuring up their own opinions?

  28. Rob J says:

    Oh, and Simmons wished happy birthday to another dead person in the print edition of the Sun today.

  29. Andrew says:

    @Rob J – Who would that be?

  30. Rob J says:

    Former Dodger infielder Mike Shaperson, killed in a car crash 19 years ago! Guess Steve needs a refresher on google.

  31. yaz says:

    My fave show Leafs Lunch got a bit better with posting Podcasts but still is spotty. Often a day late. Last week the Hayes show was posted one day – then Leafs Lunch the next. At time of writing this ( Mon. Oct 5) Leafs Lunch from Friday is still not up, neither is Hayes. Every other major show on 590 and 1050 posts each of their hours throughout the show – LL for some reason waits. Somebody different must be only posting those shows at TSN. For some reason this one show I think wants to drive traffic to the website which is excellent at posting LL on time. Data killer!!

  32. Pete says:

    I’ve never really cared if a sports writer took a rooting interesting in a team’s success. In fact, I often wonder how some of them can be so impartial. However, I take a big issue when sports writers forget that objectivity is the main premise of their business. It’s rather pathetic that everything is spun so positively even when things aren’t good at all. We see it all the time on the Sportsnet website when it comes to the Blue Jays.

    One reason I find someone like Wilner doesn’t have much credibility in his writing. Similarly, the same applies to guys like Cox and Simmons who always seem to be on the opposite end with their constant negativity. There’s a fine balance that needs to be drawn, but there are barely a handful in the Toronto media who can distinguish that these days. Brunt was one of the few, but he’s started to take on a slanted and biased view.

  33. yaz says:

    Papelbon choking Harper was likely because of tension built up over time, not just the incident that immediately preceded it. The only stupid thing Papelbon did was do it on the bench, should have just beaten the crap out of him behind closed doors in the dressing room.

  34. mike (in boston) says:

    Yaz – let me see if I can find out why Leafs Lunch podcasts are not uploaded as soon as the show is done. In my experience this is a problem due to lack of oversight rather than any grander plan.

  35. yaz says:

    Cheers MIB

  36. GreyCountyMike says:

    Depending on your perspective, there has undoubtedly been an evolution or demise to Stephen Brunt … and it has been a case study ongoing for a number of years.

    The current success of the Jays has brought it to the fore again, but let’s not forget that this is the same “journalist” who joined the Canadian Olympic organization and was a major booster of the NFL In Canada effort. Nobody can deny he can be bought.

  37. Blue Jay Fan says:

    I pitty those who feel that Mike Wilner uses logic, Consistantly talks about how baseball is all luck, then in another breath uses track record and stats to argue probability of success. Well is it luck or track record? Using Wilners logic I guess the Yankees reign in the 90’s was all luck . I pitty fans who give this guy the time of day. The only ring he should get is a phone call telling him he’s gonzo.

  38. Blue Jay Fan says:

    I pity those who feel that Mike Wilner uses logic and is broadcasting god, he Consistently talks about how baseball is all luck, then in another breath uses track record and stats to argue probability of success. Well is it luck or track record which argues skill? Using Wilners logic I guess the Yankees several titles in the 90’s was all luck. I pity fans who give this guy the time of day. The only ring he should get is a phone call telling him he’s gonzo.

  39. Blue Jay Fan says:

    Sorry for the duplicate posts

  40. Mike V says:

    MiB, I think Brunt’s point was just to show the potential downfall of the rigidness to old adages. It’s not that hard to see how someone who is instructed to follow “no cheering in the pressbox” from the start of their career but has no equivalent rule on the lower bound (and works in what can be a very demanding and difficult lifestyle at times I might add) naturally drifts to a negative and cynical viewpoint over time.

    I’m one of those who agrees with Brunt. I don’t mind that sports commentators (and that’s what he is at this point in his career. He’s not a journalist writing on the day-to-day or breaking news) have favourites players, coaches or teams and in almost all cases it’s fairly well telegraphed where those allegiances lie. You just take that into consideration when reading their articles or listening to their arguments.

  41. Alex says:

    My new conspiracy theory is that they are putting Reid on PTS to drive people and instead watch Tim and Sid. 🙂

  42. Matty Zero says:

    @yaz When the TSN podcasts don’t show up in iTunes, the are still usually posted on the TSN website in the radio section Kind of a pain, but at least they are there.

    No opinion on Brunt, but on the Harper fiasco, that stuff should stay in the clubhouse, just as Harper’s comments to reporters about the Machado/Papelbom nonsense should have.

  43. Hans says:

    Alex – unless putting Reid on PTS is sportnet’s way to get back at Bob for all the recent complaints he’s made via the globe.

  44. Keith Murdoch says:

    Hans – Bob still has say when it comes to co-hosts (just look at Brunt), so if he didn’t want Reid, Reid wouldn’t be on PTS. I think he just likes having a co-hosts that rarely challenges him and almost always defers to him. And, despite being decades younger, Reid somehow has the old guy mindset when it comes to sports, just like Bob.

  45. TommyD says:

    Listened a few times to Blair and Brunt together over the past couple of weeks. Great move! Enjoyable and insightful to listen to two thoughtful minds together. Quite a contrast to the drivel that precedes it.

  46. mike (in boston) says:

    another massive post from Shoalts, this time on the Rogers hockey situation going into year 2. Lots of great info.

  47. Dros says:

    Does Shoalts write on actual sports anymore, or just Sportsnet/Rogers?

  48. Curt says:

    “Moore said he and his fellow Rogers bosses are happy with Stroumboulopoulos’s first season because they did not want him to get into heavy hockey discussions.”

    Yeah, why would you want that…on a hockey show?

  49. Marcus says:

    @McLean_Deluxe @Pete @MikeV, I’m in general agreement with your comments. Impartiality doesn’t mean that a person is absolutely neutral in everyone of their comments and observations. They can praise and criticize as they see fit. What gives credibility is the consistency in the way it is handed out i.e. don’t give a free pass to a player you like for a behaviour that you would condemn in someone else. And allegiances are fine if they are declared when relevant.

    It’s amazing that behaviour such as Papelbon’s that would get you fired in an office, factory or warehouse is allowed in a clubhouse. Harper’s media comments and on-field effort may be worthy of criticism, but not assault. The Nationals were right to suspend Papelbon. One comment my brother made about some ex-athletes turned broadcasters is that with each passing year removed from active playing, the game starts to pass them by, as it updates and develops, while they stay in the mindset of how things were when they played. Zaun should be up-to-date enough to realize that choking is not an option in this day and age.

    Bettman was on PTS this afternoon. Bob openly told him a couple of times that he wasn’t buying what Bettman was saying. I don’t think that Bettman is the most hated. He is too smart a lawyer to ever allow a Ray Rice situation. He admitted that they are looking to further enhance their support of athletes who are struggling with drug dependencies. He understands what bad optics are, and what is truly upsetting to fans. Of course he is not going to tell all he knows, or stop talking a blue sky about the current state of hockey. But he was very patient with Bob’s questions, and didn’t sidestep them, even if several answers didn’t reveal much. I get the opinion that unlike Goodell, Bettman “writes his own scripts” for how he addresses the media. In some ways, I think the most hated commissioner is the one who has a suspended season due to a strike or lockout.

  50. Pants Go Brown says:

    How ridiculous is it that the Jays are finally back in the playoffs and The Fan goes with Hockey Central starting at noon?

    Mind blowing decision.

  51. Sam in Scarb says:

    The Fan is KING of mind blowing decisions
    Andrew Krystal,Dean Blundell,Ken Reid,John Shannon,Damien Cox,PTS 3-6
    And on and on

  52. The Londoner says:

    Appreciate the effort Mike (keeping it respectful warning), but like every week, some posters just feel the need to use this forum as a place to tee off on Rogers and their media personalities. If you hate them so much, stop paying attention to them, i don’t get the need to attack them personally.

    A lot of fair comments, but a small minority ruining it for the majority. I don’t need ‘fans’ constantly attacking guys, there are other outlets for that, usually this space is saved for intelligent sports media talk, not trolling media personalities anonymously.

  53. William D says:


    I don’t get it when people complain about Rogers Bashing on this blog. It seems as though it has become the thing to complain about, unless it is one poster complaining and using anyomous names to post the same complaint multiple times.
    My thing is, unless people are using profanity or abusing other people in the forum, comments should not be censored, especially if the comment is within the context of the subject, and we can all agree that when it comes to Media, Rogers is a national broadcast beast right now with their rights to baseball, blue jays and hockey, and having the most listen to program on the fan. Given the size of the Rogers sports broadcast portfolio it is totally fair to critic,dislike or praise a Rogers broadcast product, if the conversation becomes the displeasure with their cell phone service or internet than I can understand frustration, nonetheless I have not seen that kind of tangent and feel that the criticism is fair and in my opinion the compaints about Rogers bashing is overblown. Everyone is entitled to agree or disagree with the comments. The internet is form of democracy, love it or leave it.

  54. Curt says:

    ^^^Hear, hear.

    I’m almost convinced that some of those complaining about “Rogers bashing” are Rogers employees.

    What I don’t get is MIB basically calling for a halt to this so-called “Rogers bashing” (what qualifies btw?) in the blog post and then later posting a link to Shoalts’ column that offers several questions/criticisms about Rogers hockey coverage. It’s like dangling red meat in front of a lion and not expecting it to eat. I think I’m about done with TSM.

  55. Mike S says:

    I agree with Dogpounder……….the addition of Dan Patrick on 1150 along with Brunt on Blair’s show has vastly improved the mid morning timeslot in southern Ontario

    I used to listen to 1050 almost by default because I am not a fan of solo Blair taking calls………now I think 1050 is a distant third in that timeslot, although that might improve a bit when (if?) Mackowycz returns

    It will be interesting to see if Brunt is still a frequent co-host of Blair’s show once baseball season is over

  56. alex says:

    I would not be surprised if blairs show gets rebranded either to “blair and brunt” or a generic sportstalk name.

  57. Mike S says:

    It looks like TSN hockey analyst Aaron Ward is in some trouble:

  58. The Londoner says:

    ‘Everyone is entitled to agree or disagree with the comments. The internet is form of democracy, love it or leave it.’

    Not sure who else has been posting about it, but if more then one is saying it then there must be something to it. When the author of the posts is saying its getting to much, then its getting to much.

  59. mike (in boston) says:

    i’m on the road this weekend so Jonah has you covered. Happy thanksgiving everyone.

    Two quick things:

    – good on Greg Brady for crediting Rick Westhead of TSN for his NHL/cocaine story. Another big scoop for Rick. I’m not sure I buy his argument that this raises “integrity of the game” issues, but it’s an interesting angle.

    – good on TSN for getting out in front of the Aaron Ward arrest story. I’m glad that TSN was proactive rather than waiting until the last minute to issue a statement. None of us were in the room, but when the police see fit to lay charges then you have to act. I’m going to wait for more details before saying Ward should be fired.

  60. William D says:


    While I respect your viewpoint I just don’t understand it.

    The author of this post has taken his fair share of shots at Rogers Media products(the fan, sportsnet, Nhl),and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him say” it’s getting too much”, MIB enjoys the traffic to the site as well as the varying opinions from commenters and welcomes all comments as long as they are non abusive.
    if there were discrespectful comments being thrown around this forum which border on abuse of other commenters I would concur with your concern, however, on a media blog, criticism of media is fair game, even if the criticism is with great regularity towards one company it would be fair game if commenters praised coverage the media products from Rogers. Again I’ve noticed that all the criticism is within the context of hockey coverage, (Which is controlled by Rogers) baseball coverage(which is controlled by Rogers) PTS (coverage which is also controlled by Rogers) In a media world full of bias and partisanship, I welcome a media blog that opens up a forum to allow for objectivity without censorship . I find it completely baffling that you want criticisms of Rogers media personalities and media properties censored. Again everyone should have a right to an opionion as long as it does not border on abuse or profanity.

  61. Dj says:

    I wonder if Sportsnet/Rogers receives a call from the mlb when Zaun goes absolutely insane on their products like the games umpires and instant replay.

    And one other thing, given that the baseball commissioner was in attendance yesterday, If I were to put on my tin foil hat, I would say that at the time the play at second base was being looked at the commissioner probably contacted HQ and said “The ruling is safe no matter what, I need to see a battle of Texas series in the ALCS” (Astros vs Rangers)

    That’s all folks

  62. Blue Jay Fan says:

    I wouldn’t totally dismiss the “Tin Foil” theory The state of Texas is a huge cash cow in North American professional and collage sports, not to mention we’ve seen this kind of contreversy in Texas before In the 1999 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs the Brett Hull goal was allowed despite his skate in the goalie crease, the goal ultimately determined the game and the playoffs.

  63. Blue Jay Fan says:

    Oh Ya, Brett Hull was a member of the Dallas Stars at the time.

  64. The Londoner says:

    @William D

    MIB put it literally in the copy of his post

    ‘If this will cause you to scream “Rogers sucks” in the comments section, feel free to sit this one out.’

    Like i said previously, when numerous commentors and now the main author is saying it, its not just once voice, its alot of voices.

  65. Mont from London Ont says:

    While I agree with you about Zaun you can’t be serious about the BB commissioner theory – Things happen in sports and the whining Blue Jays have just got to accept the fact that perhaps the bubble has burst and stop blaming everybody else
    and put the blame where it belongs – Bautista Encarnacion Donaldson and others for months have been showing up the umpires by questioning strike calls with grimaces and comments etc to the point where it got tough to watch – Showing the umpires up game after game caught up with them – An ‘iffy’ call didn’t go their way- It looks good on them-
    (This from a Detroit Tigers fan!)

  66. William D says:

    @Londoner, you can be as pro Rogers as you like, and that’s fine, because your entitled to that viewpoint, but I’m not sure what it is that perplex you, is it the very word’s “Rogers Sucks” because personally I have not seen that posted to the degree in which bothers you or is it the fact that people are very critical of Rogers media properties i.e Ken Reid, Bob Macowan, fan 590 etc. If it is the latter, than you probably need to take up your issue with the author, MIB has had his fair share of Ripping Mike Wilner, Mcowan, Zaun, Ken Reid and sportsnet coverage of the NHL not to mention the jays. In a round about way is that not saying “Rogers Sucks”? and if MIB has had enough of the Rogers Sucks thing then figuratively as a previous commenter put it why dangle meat in front of lions and expect then not to feast? The bottom line is that this is not mainstream media, the censorship you are seeking is over the top, we live in a democracy. If commenters are not swearing and abusing than let free speech live. I get the perception that there is some kind of vested interest in Rogers on your part although I could be 100% wrong.

  67. The Londoner says:

    Im not seeking any kind of censorship, just made a comment, that much like others the constant rogers bashing from the same people every single week is boring and monotonous. You said the same thing last week, your saying it this week, we get it? MIB agreed, others agreed, lets move on to something fresh? Its not like its just one person saying it, it seems to be a common theme here.

    But if yourself and the others who do the same thing over and over feel the need to ignore MIB and go at it another week, have at it, i just wont bother reading (guessing that soon will be a theme). Been there, done that. Ce la vie, ill survive, go head and do what you like.

  68. William D says:

    @ Londoner

    I still don’t know what you mean by Rogers bashing, your certainly fail to provide examples and make yourself clear, How bout this, speak for yourself instead of always using the term”others” and the name MIB as a scapegoat because right about now and if you go through the comments on this site there is noone going to war for Rogers as you have been, This board is about your opinion, not about you trumpeting other commenters opinion. It would appear in your comments that you went out on a tangent and did not even answer my question about what kind of Rogers Bashing goes on in this blog is it Rogers media properties bashing? if so you haven’t address the fact that MIB has had his fair share of Rogers Media bashing, Ken Reid, Bob Mcowan, Mike Wilner, Sportsnet Coverage ie I’ll pose the question again, is this not equivalent to putting meat in front of a pack of lions and telling them not to eat. If your tired of Rogers Media bashing instead trying take it out on other commenters talk to the author and want to move on to something fresh again talk to the author as he is the one that sets the stage for what commenters disscuss.

  69. Dj says:


    The people on this blog do not pick the topic, Mike(In Boston)does. A fresh topic would have to be decided by him, and that usually comes in a separate post. Sounds like you have a lot of issues with Mike that you are deflecting onto everyone else. The most bashing I’ve seen on this site is Ken Reid Bashing, but if that’s how people feel hey what can I say. Mike(In Boston) the stage here and whatever he writes in his opening is like a spring board for a lot of commenters on either side, the fact that he made the statement “Rogers Bashers” can feel free to sit this one out open the lions den for the Pro Rogers contributors. I think you should speak to Mike(In Boston) Me I could care less, I’m not getting a Rogers paycheck.

  70. Sam in Scarb says:

    Since this is becoming a “NO ROGERS BASHING ZONE”
    I will not in any way contribute.
    I will comment on how wonderful the “Post Game ” show on TSN is.
    Darrin Dutch & Dirk Hayhurst great comments and commentary live in in studio.
    Only found that TSN was doing that by accident after game 1..
    For me after the last pitch today,it’s off to TSN…
    Humm sorta like hockey…

  71. Anthony says:

    I know Ive said it in the past, but it boils down to people getting sick of the same posters saying the same comments every single week. We get that you dislike Rogers, honestly we do, but do we need to examine this topic every single week, every single post?

    Does being hired by Rogers make Dean Blundell a bad announcer? No, it was a bad decision, no doubt, but his quality of work is just as if not a bigger issue, yet we never explore that, we just constantly say ‘rogers sucks for hiring blundell!!!’ ,well, Blundell is a big issue, don’t give him a pass.

    The previous program director who left for San Francisco didn’t do the listeners any justice in his decisions, but instead of raking him under the coals, its all ‘Rogers sucks for hiring him!’. Of course they do, but can’t we take it deeper? Can’t we talk about his decisions and not always default to, as MIB puts it, ROGERS SUCKS!

    Intelligent dialog is missing here sometimes, which is a shame, its a great place to read about the happenings of sports media with a collection of fairly smart and articulate posters. We should be able to look deeper into issues other then ‘ROGERS SUCKS!!%$%@!!!

  72. Dogpounder says:

    Weekend Takeaways.

    1. Revolving bandwagon door is amusing.

    2. People “outraged” by Harold Reynolds are probably the same lot who enjoy ridicule of southern hockey fans.

    3. “The Rog” was interviewing someone from MLB Network (I think) Saturday. Said the Jays would tee off on Martin Perez. Later in interview said Jaime Garcia would be starting for Cards. Pronounced “Mar-TIN,” and “JAY-Mee” respectively. I wonder if Reynolds was listening.

    4. May have been Chase Utley’s head that broke the leg of Tejada. No concussion protocol. No talk of the dark room. The NFL would’ve been roasted for such an omission.

  73. Hans says:

    Considering the Blue Jays pulled Donaldson for what appeared to be a lesser head blow I would be pointing the finger more at the Dodgers and less at MLB overall.

  74. Pudge72 says:

    @Dogpounder…re: your point 3. from your October 12th post…based on what you wrote, the MLBN guest was actually the one mis-pronouncing their names. The Spanish language pronounces J’s as H’s, E’s like A’s, and I’s like E’s in many situations. The proper pronunciations of the names would therefore be “Mar-teen” Perez and “Hi-May” Garcia.

    My main reasons for posting…

    1) I actually like Zaun when he sticks to technical analysis of pitcher/catcher issues such as pitch selection and sequencing. His “White/Right Way” to play the game takes are absolute garbage.
    Harper does deserve a small portion of the blame for his original media comments from a couple days previous where he publicly threw Paplebon under the bus for throwing at an Orioles (iirc) player, then commenting that he would likely be targeted in retaliation. That comment shouldn’t have been made to the media. Otherwise, Paplebon deserves 90+% of the blame for well, doing his usual Paplebon thing. What a turd.

    2) 9-noon, I’ve really enjoyed Blair paired with Brunt…there is the future of PTS whenever Bob gets the boot or officially mails it in. 1150 or 550 are 2/2A on options, with 1050 a distant third…Wheeler/Cauz just don’t do it for me.

    3) Have actually been tolerating/occasionally enjoying Mike Richards show since he has come back. Blundell is brutal so 590 is a no go zone before 9 am. I will listen to Mike and Mike on 1150 on occasion (I commute several times a month from the London area to the GTA), but will switch to Richards if I’m annoyed by their voices, or if they are talking US college sports.

    4) Noon – 1 pm is an absolute wasteland in southern Ontario as I can’t stand Hockey Central when Maclean (especially) is on, Jim Rome is trash radio, and I’m not a Leafs or Ti-Cats fan.

    5) 1150 from Hamilton does local sports (Ti-Cats and the former Belleville Bulls, now Hamilton Bulldogs, in the OHL) well, and it is good to have access to Dan Patrick (especially) and Mike and Mike (occasionally). Their signal carries an equivalent distance to the west as 1050, so I can stay with it closer to the London area.

    6) Strange radio signal situation yesterday leaving the GTA during rush hour. TSN 1050’s signal was unusually weak in my vehicle (I can usually get it passably, until Brantford/Kitchener along the 403/401…yesterday, it crapped out in Hamilton). Just west of Hamilton, I started to pick up (with a good dose of static) ESPN Desportes 1050 from New York City. If I spoke Spanish, I would have been able to follow along most of the time. Very unusual during day time…at night, I can occasionally snag a Boston (1130, iirc), Chicago (1000) or NYC station, but not while it is still daylight.

    Sorry for the long post.

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