Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

October 31st, 2015 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media watchers. Jonah and I have been trading texts over the last week about the possibility of Anthopoulos leaving the Jays and how the media would react. His theory was that the industry would go bananas. My view was that while there was a media angle here, the focus would mostly be on Alex and his decision making process instead. Shows how much I know … So without further ado let’s get to work breaking down the media meltdown we witnessed this week.




It started with the tweet heard round the world.



After a lot of media debate about why AA had not yet been signed and how unfathomable it would for him not to return, the verdict was in and Shi had the scoop: Alex rejected an extension from the club that included a downgraded job portfolio and chose to walk away from the playoff roster he built over the last several years.


Shi Davidi has come a long way from his Canadian Press days. Great to see hard work paying off. He has cemented his position in this market with his valuable contributions over the last couple of years. Great hire by Sportsnet.


The details surrounding this incredible development emerged in small bites in the reporting that ensued. Rick Westhead of TSN wrote that Shapiro recently met AA along with the latter’s lieutenants and expressed concern about the number of prospects that were traded. This aspect of the story was confirmed by others who wrote about the reasons for Alex’s departure. I have no idea if everyone is relying on Rick’s reporting or have their own sources on this, but many people are now talking about a “chilly” meeting between AA and Shapiro.


In the build-up to AA’s press conference, tweets and takes were hotly flying back and forth about how this situation ever reached this point, and at whose feet the fault belongs. In the minutes before the conference call started, news leaked out that AA was just named executive of the year. Amazing. The presser was boring and predictable, and Rogers and the Blue Jays released statements wishing Alex well.


So here we sit, left to pick up the pieces of the story and try to make sense of how and why the Jays parted ways with their award winning GM who just engineered the team’s most successful season in 22 years.


The Good …


A lot of great reporting saw the light of day in the last week. (This list is not exhaustive since I am a mere human with finite time and energy. TSM HQ doesn’t include interns.)


Let’s start with the Jays’ crushing loss in game 6 of the ALCS. A gold star goes to Eric Koreen of the National Post for this piece. If you follow Eric on twitter, as 19.5k of you do, then you’re used to his occasional existential musings. I’m glad his editor let him write this very personal article. Highly recommended, and great work by someone who is not usually on the Jays beat.


As we moved into full off-season mode Richard Griffin of the Star wrote an excellent warning piece on why the Jays might have a mess on their hands if they promised Shapiro more control than his predecessor. This article describes precisely the tension that we all assume ultimately led to AA’s departure.


“If Rogers does not side with the Canadian kid when it comes to personnel moves, he’s on the street. If that happens, his MLB brotherhood will be dumbstruck and Rogers will just be dumb.”


Griff followed that up with an angry but fair article the morning after.


“This team will not fall apart under Shapiro. They may even repeat the run for a full season with all of the position bats coming back. Shapiro is a good baseball man. But Rogers is proving they are bad baseball people.”


The angry voices came from other corners as well. Here is Bruce Arthur from Friday’s paper:


“Ed [Rogers] didn’t mention the terms, though. Anthopoulos wasn’t going to accept being anything less than the general manager of this team. Would you? He built a top-four team in baseball, so of course that’s how he felt. That’s why he left.”


Scott Stinson of the post added his voice to the dialogue.


“But perhaps we should not be surprised. It was Team Rogers, after all, that began searching for an executive to replace Paul Beeston as team president by trying to poach Kenny Williams from the Chicago White Sox, a team owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, who happens to be a close friend of Beeston. Trying to push out a long-time employee by surreptitiously contacting one of his confidants: that’s some shrewd management right there.”


Looking forward to 2016, Brendan Kennedy of the Star looks at the corps of assistants Alex is leaving behind. It will be interesting to see how many of them are with the team in April. Ken Fidlin at the Sun talks about how Shapiro will deal with the “steamy manure pile of hurt” into which he has stepped. Andrew Stoeten, special to the National Post, has a very balanced piece on the bittersweet nature of Alex’s departure. Steve Buffery writes about the writing being on the wall for the likeable John Gibbons.


… The Bad & The Ugly


The good reporting was able to walk the tightrope between slamming Ed Rogers and his band of meddlesome misfits and slamming Rogers as an employer. Everyone agrees that Rogers (in the former sense) screwed this up in spectacular fashion. But keeping separate things separate is hard and not everyone was up to the task.


Let’s start with this article by Steve Simmons. It’s for the most part a very thoughtful and accurate discussion of Alex’s successes in the context of his failures. The piece goes off the rails here:


“The clowns at Rogers who wouldn’t know a sacrifice fly from a tsetse fly were authors of their own demise. They have been tripping all over themselves from the day it was determined they would stab Paul Beeston in his baseball back. They did their own little dance of Tinkers to Evers to Chance — but, in this case, that meant it went Dan Duquette to John Hart to Kenny Williams.”


Steve has been at this a long time and should know that this kind of invective is just unnecessary. I understand he’s a columnist and you want to put some of yourself into your columns to give them a personal touch. He’s making the same point as some authors linked above, but the wrapping is all wrong here. You’re a regular face and voice on TSN. You have to know that framing this in terms of “the clowns at Rogers” is dangling red meat in front of a group of people at Sportsnet who are more than up for a fight.


Why not put it in terms of that one clown Ed Rogers rather than insulting the whole company?


The bait worked on FAN midday co-host Greg Brady. (note: I have no inside knowledge what in particular set Mr. Brady off). He came out swinging on Thursday and let everyone know: 1) Sportsnet is killing TSN in the ratings, and 2) Some people who work for Bell are biased against Rogers and will spin any angle on the AA story to make Rogers look bad. The full details can be heard here.


I had 300 words breaking down everything that was wrong with this take, but Brady took a minute the following day (Friday October 30th, 1pm hour) to express regret for taking a “cheap shot” at TSN and Bell, and wishing that he had some of those sentences back. The statement sounded sincere and while not quite an apology, I suspect that it went some way in repairing relations with the other employer in the market, and with the audience who frankly doesn’t give a damn about the ratings.


Brady is a polarizing figure. Some find him brash and condescending. No one questions his sports knowledge. Personally, I think Greg is one of the better talents at radio. He’s one of a very small number of people who have managed to crack this market as an outsider, and he has carved out his own distinctive brand here over the years. Enlisting in the bias police should not be part of that brand. Lots of other people are already happy to carry that torch. This episode was beneath him and it was good to hear him acknowledge that.


The next contribution from the nonsense brigade came when Brady and Walker threw to Wilner who promptly denied Westhead’s report (cited above) and the other stories mentioning the Shapiro-AA meeting. Wilner said the report is not true, mocked fans for believing it, and followed up by saying that he had no idea what Shapiro thought of the trades and the amount of prospects given up. Classic Wilner … 10/10. Here is Westhead talking about his report (500 comments!). Make up your own minds based on the bodies of work involved.


Even the reputable Bob Elliott couldn’t quite walk the line perfectly:


“Now, Eddie Rogers has done something we did not think was possible, topping the bungled December-January search for a new president while president Paul Beeston was in office. The Rogers spin doctors will try to sell this that the Jays were a .500 team when they began talking to Shapiro in June or July and the GM deserved to be fired.”


What does a reference to “Rogers spin doctors” add to the discussion. Nothing. It’s gratuitous and inflammatory. There is no need to talk about anyone other than Ed Rogers and his henchmen. They (and Guy Laurence I suppose) are the ones responsible for this. When someone at Sportsnet writes a spin doctoring piece then go ahead and rip it. But launching a preemptive scattershot strike is unprofessional and petty.


The worst offence by far was Richard Griffin calling out Sportsnet’s Barry Davis.


Griffin Griffin


Why on earth would you pick on Barry of all people? His job is to give reports from field level, interview players, coaches, and family, and basically be a friendly face on the TV broadcast. The NESN (Red Sox) version of Barry’s job involves trying out the local ballpark food for the delight of the home audience. No one is going to Barry for hard hitting baseball analysis. That’s not his job. Furthermore, his point is really straightforward and basically uncontroversial. Shapiro is not being brought in to dismantle the team (as far as we know).


Griff is a great asset to the baseball beat. He’s funny, self-effacing, established, and plugged in. This incident makes it seem like he has a personal rather than a professional issue with Barry. This is a horrible mistake and I hope he apologizes to Barry.




The above shows just how fragile the Toronto sports media market is in 2015. Almost everyone has some connection to Bell or Rogers which means that everyone is a stone’s throw away from being called out as a shill.


This is terrible for everyone. It’s terrible for the audience, as can be seen above. Wouldn’t it have been nice to not have to sift through all that crap to get to the good stuff? It’s terrible for those established in the industry since, despite their best efforts, they can always have their good work swept out from underneath them by someone from the other tribe accusing them of bias. And it’s terrible for those trying to get into in the business because there is this looming question of whether what they write or say will make them unhireable if they piss off the wrong people. Certainly seems like the ones shouting “shill!” are among the 1%. Maybe that’s how you get ahead?


Here is my lowly proposal as someone on the fringe looking in. How about we all agree to take a break from calling each other shills. No one at either radio station or TV network is being given memos on what to say and what not to say. Some people are more likely to suck up to their bosses and some people certainly aren’t. But the proof of that lies in the body of work. So let’s evaluate the merits of the arguments, not the merits of those making them, or who they happen to work for.


Here is where I stand on the AA issue. Something doesn’t make sense. Why would Alex want to leave unless he wasn’t comfortable under the new regime? He wouldn’t. So he must be uncomfortable with Shapiro’s reported expanded baseball role. Next question: why would Rogers hire someone with whom AA wouldn’t be comfortable? What could explain wanting to rein in your GM? Maybe he was pushing Beeston around and they wanted a more top-down management system? If that’s the case, what soured them on AA such that they made him an offer he couldn’t help but refuse?


Answering these questions is where the real journalistic work needs to be done. It would be great if the real journalists got to work on that.


Note – Shi is reporting this morning that Ed Rogers denies AA’s job would have changed under Shapiro.


Quick Hits


I’ll have some stuff on the new MLSE CEO next week. I don’t want to waste good material this week.


Grantland is dead. It will be interesting to see who steps up to claim the space that this publication proved exists. Lots of talented people just need a legitimate forum. ESPN has decided to shut this one down.


Yahoo! gave us an insight into what the future of sports rights may look like. Their NFL stream reached 15 million people in glorious HD. (Someone let Bobcat know they have internet on TVs now.) The interesting thing to watch will be how soon Apple, Google, Netflix, and other tech giants get into this space. The NFL have shown they like to spread their content around … you know, the opposite of the Bettman single-partner model.


If this were a different week we’d debate the balance between the quest to be first and the desire to get it right and how these things are in tension with each other. Deadspin reports on how the media handled and mishandled the news of Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez’s father’s passing while Volquez was on the mound. Good topic.


Mike Babcock answering a reporter’s question about chemistry: “I think chemistry is good but I also think having a couple of guys together, you can move people around to spark them once in a while. But, you guys have to write stories too right? So you’ve got to make some stuff up every once in a while. Nothing wrong with that.” Welcome to Toronto Mike. Many brave men have come before you.


Adam Proteau ex of the Hockey News has landed on his feet at


Tim Thompson, better known as the HNIC montage master who goes by @b0undless has another wonderful production for all of us to enjoy as we settle into another long Leafs season.


Two good stories on the death of fighting and the death of fighters in the NHL. First one is from Gary Lawless, the other one from Mirtle.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • Nice to hear Bobcat fired up and engaged on a topic. Would have been a lot nicer to have Brunt as a co-host this week. Never too late to mend fences …


  • How did everyone enjoy the roundtable of Shannon, Reid, and Eric Francis?


  • We are testing out stricter moderation this week, but my general hope is that the problem will solve itself and the good will once again drown out the bad. If you don’t comment much (or ever), please make an effort to comment more. You’re the hero we need.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)


  1. Chris says:

    Good read as usual, MIB!

    If you think some of “ugly” reporting was this week, then I don’t know how you’ll describe some of it after Shapiro’s meet the media presser on Monday. Instead of starting their questions with “Welcome to Toronto, Mark” they’ll be heaving darts at the guy, blaming him for AA’s departure. Perhaps it’s true, perhaps it’s not, I just don’t ever remember a time when a new executive of a Toronto sports team was introduced, and was thrown into an absolute shit-storm on his first day.

    RE: Brunt on PTS. Would have been nice to hear him when the AA stuff broke, but I believe he was on a fishing trip or something. He wasn’t on Blair’s show toward the end of the week, either.

  2. Wayne says:

    I’m not a Jays fan (Yankee fan) but I appreciate the job AA has done. It wouldn’t surprise me he’s the next GM of the Dodgers. But all this media hype and positioning makes me think what would happen in Toronto if the Leafs made it to the 6th game of the conference finals. All hell would break lose! Sad to see Bell and Rogers have a monopoly on sports. You can’t even argue or debate with your friends because who really knows the truth. It’s all speculation people! Don’t get so bent out of shape. AA is gone and move on!

  3. AP says:

    I think the talk of shills is how it needs to be. This is the media of today, and readers and listeners should know the possible bias.

    Separate the media from the teams and we’ll go back to how it used to be.

  4. Sam says:

    Would be interesting to know how Davidi got the scoop… wonder if he was selected to receive it, more than him gum-shoeing to find it (no offense to him, I have really no opinion on the quality of his writing).

  5. McLean_Deluxe says:

    Regarding Brunt, I did think it was pretty weak that 960Calgary got him but 590 didnt find a way to squeeze him in. While TSN went with all there big insiders from 9-10 after it happened (Law, Phillips, Griffin, Simmons, etc.) 590 went with 10 minutes of Davidi then callers. Awful.

  6. Shawn says:

    Good summary of the week’s events…

    Why no mention about Bobcat’s interview (or even the multiple interviews) that were conducted with AA, in the good/bad section?

  7. Toronto Mike says:

    “Welcome to Toronto Mike”.

    You’ll need a comma in there or you’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

  8. Chris says:

    @Sam – I’m a fan of Davidi’s work, however, I’m sure he was fed that story by ownership. Pretty much everyone who wrote on the story this week was leaked information from one side or the other.

    Bob Elliot has a really good column in today’s sun, and DOES cite sources:

  9. Shwaguy says:

    Nice to see my comment in the Brady thread echoed here – short of any proof, it’s irresponsible to call anyone on either side a shill. Glad Brady walked his comments back, but I understood why he got mad. Griff definitely owes Barry an apology too. What I’d like to know is this: what if the Jays 3.5 month run was just a fluke? Would everyone still want Alex back if it was? Runs like that happen and next season those teams fall off the map. Donaldson may not have an MVP season next year. Tulo might get injured, which his career pattern says is highly likely. Others might step up, others might regress. Age wears everyone down eventually. What if Shapiro actually said to Alex “Hey, you got lucky – but now you’ve killed our farm system for a few years with no guarantee of a repeat performance from this team. We have nobody to call up to fill the holes in this team and nobody to bring up if anyone goes down injured. We have nothing to trade with to address any gaps in the team next year. Did you have a plan for next year?” If I was Shapiro, I wouldn’t have extended Alex, I’d have fired him. Just like everyone was expecting before the run. Stoeten and others who wrote balanced pieces about how Alex wasn’t a flawless GM don’t get enough credit. If the run wasn’t sustainable into next year and Alex was back – do these same people call for his head next year? I haven’t seen that in a column anywhere yet. It’s tough to be reasonable among the cacophony of ‘Rogers are morons! TSN are shills’ etc.

  10. Steve Jones says:

    Sure is unfortunate that the guy who put together a winner has been effectively pushed out the door. It’s a multi faceted situation where blame can be easily assigned to the key players. First of course is Rogers. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to dislike that crew. They screw you on your cable and cell phone bills and never give you a decent answer when you contact them. They butchered the Beeston coup a year ago. Ed Rogers is a a perfect example of the scion who can’t actually run anything, as evidenced by his removal by Laurence from all operating roles at Rogers. Had they done this clean and just fired people it would have come and gone, albeit with a decent dose of consternation. But they bungled and over managed and then got hit by the train that was the Blue Jay end of season run. By the time they tried to out in a fix it was way too late. So they get villain number one.

    The other side of this is the role AA played. I’m pretty sure he knew what was coming. He’s a smart guy. So would he have gutted the system to win if he didn’t think he was out the door? I’m not saying he did it to be malicious but more because all pressure was removed. Win and you’re a hero. Don’t and oh well I tried. But one fact remains, he hadn’t had much of a run prior to August. It was 5.5 years of mostly failure. So he was not an unfair target. Plus the game has shifted in terms of GM roles. Many don’t have final say anymore. Recognizing this AA could have remained and carved out a role but he chose otherwise which was his absolute right.

    The question now is what is his future. Many seem to think he’s now the hottest commodity in the management world. I wonder about that. It’s a pretty short run to be classified as the next big deal. I am of course willing to concede that he has just now arrived as he has become the “it” guy. Guess we’ll see. In the end Rogers looks horrible as usual but underneath the ham handed management moves there was legitimate reason for their moves.

    I’m really sorry to see Grantland go. It was always a must read.

    Welcome to Toronto Babs. I hope that wasn’t real frustration. If it was he clearly has no clue what he signed up for.

    It was nice to listen to an engaged Bob. I could have used a little less of the “inside” stuff he loves to trot out. We all know that Bob has personal relationships with all the key players and we get it. Unless they are feeding him inside info it’s irrelevant and just comes off as him pumping his own tires. Which is really tiresome.

    Round table. Train wreck.

  11. GreyCountyMike says:

    Well, based on his past and recent work, it’s clear that Wilner is a shill. Don’t agree, MIB?

  12. Mike V says:

    Shwaguy, I would say the last three months of the year was closer to the team’s real potential than the first four months of the year – when the team was .500 but their auxiliary stats like run differential told you they were better than that. Sure some guys might regress a bit next year but Stroman should be here for the full season and Tulo, if healthy, almost has to play better than he did in August and September

    The talk about AA not being perfect is a red herring -nobody is suggesting he was – and holds him to an impossible standard no else is – is Shapiro perfect? Is Theo? AA made some bad moves but on balance they are greatly outweighed by the good ones and the team is in much better shape than when he took over in 2010.

    Also, for all the comments about the farm system being in disarray and the team is without any young arms – no it’s not! We still have Stroman, Sanchez and Osuna – all MLB-capable and controllable pitchers that AA didn’t give up to acquire Donaldson, Tulo or Price (might he have learned something from the Dickey deal?) I mean didn’t we hear the exact same thing prior to the 2013 season yet just 2 and a half years later it’s rebuilt enough to land two all-stars at the trade deadline. Farm systems can and are replenished all the time and it doesn’t take as long as some would have you believe.

    Still we haven’t heard the answer to the pertinent question – why did Rogers feel it was necessary to give away Alex’s authority over player personnel decisions while the team was in the middle of a fucking playoff run? I don’t care how Ed Rogers wants to spin it, the second that happened it changed AA’s job description and changed it dramatically. Anyone saying otherwise is at best being niave.

  13. Mike V says:

    Steve don’t be fooled by the title inflation going on in MLB. A GM is still a GM, even if some are called “President of Baseball Operations”. By any common sense definition, Mark Shapiro is now the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays.

  14. I listened to the entire McCown interview with Alex after all hell broke loose. Alex said that on Thursday night, he advised on a conference call all of his staff about what transpired and how he was moving on from the Jays. When Shi reported this Friday morning, Alex said to Bob that it was not supposed to be released at that time, but was leaked. Easy to put 1+1 together here. I respect Shi a lot, like you, great writer, no ego, down to earth, but in this case I really think he needed to come clean with who broke the news to him, given the importance of it.

    On another note, no mention of Steve Simmons so far unless I missed something as per below:

    steve simmons ‏@simmonssteve Oct 29
    Apologies to @ShiDavidi who broke the Anthopoulos story. I was woken up by a telephone call telling me it was @Ken_Rosenthal story.
    8 retweets 23 favorites
    Reply Retweet 8 Favorite 23

    Pretty lame here, as all Steve had to do was check Rosenthal’s timeline, where he posted the following:

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_Rosenthal Oct 29
    Source confirms: Anthopoulos leaving #BlueJays. First reported: @ShiDavidi.
    292 retweets 147 favorites
    Reply Retweet 292 Favorite 147

    I have no idea how this was missed by Steve. Thankfully he apologized, so just his rush to tweet without checking his sources properly, which were right there.

    The issue is how quickly, like with the Brady incident, each media conglomerate and its employees are taking shots at each other.

  15. dustin says:

    You haven’t seen anything yet! If you want to see excitement, wait for david price not to come back, or the rumored 2016 budget be confirmed. Apparently Rogers won’t spend a dime more. Good thing they made all that playoff money 😉

  16. William D says:

    It’s funny but when it comes to the GM’s of the Toronto Blue Jays it seems to be a complete circus. I can recall when J.P Richardi got hired by the Toronto Blue Jays, Dave Stewart former Toronto Blue Jays assistant GM to Gord Ash made accusations of racism, as the new owner at the time Rogers Communications went outside the organization and hired J.P Richardi as oppose to giving Stewart the job. Dave Stewart for years prior was being groomed by Gord Ash.

    Stewart would be vindicated as
    during J.P’s tenure although the jays were never really in the news because of how lousy they were,J.P was always in the news A.) For consistently lying, just google J.P Richarddi lies, the lie that stands out to most fans would be J.P saying he never mentioned anything about a five year plan. Many including myself can recall J.P mentioning a five year plan as it pertains to rebuilding the Jays. J.P will take to his grave that he did not mention a five year plan. J.P denied it because even after five years under his watch the team still did not sniff a playoff and fans were pissed B. Getting into a fight with a fan on Mike Wilners show about signing a player. J.P ended up insulting the player who it was suggested by a fan that he should sign. At the time it was Adam Dunn. J.P told North America and the fan he contended with on the radio that Adam Dunn doesn’t like baseball. Dunn to say the least was not happy C. Always making his philosophical differences about payroll known to the public discreetly slamming ownership. J.P was always complaining about payroll in public saying, he would never be able to compete with the Yankees or Red Sox with his budget restrictions. The odd thing is J.P understood that at the time he was hired he was brought in to shave payroll and not to mention draft and develop especially in a year where it was reported that the team lost a ton of money. Rogers went after J.P because he was mentored by Billy Beane need I say more.
    J.P was ultimately fired after a story about Cito and a clubhouse disaster leaked, It was alleged that J.P leaked the story after having to fire his close friend John Gibbons and having to hire Cito Gaston at the orders of Paul Beeston. There was a lot more I didn’t mention about the J.P era but I guess the point is taken that the hiring and the tenure was a PR disaster. Forward to 2015, JP’s former assistant AA decides to depart from the company upon having to submit to a new boss that was installed by Rogers communications. Alex leaves despite a lucrative offer to stay. The PR nightmare started when Ed Rogers went behind Paul Beestons back to search for Paul’s replacement, boy what a media firestorm it caused(Especially backlash from Bob), now the blue Jays have somewhat done the same thing to Alex, with the new president that is in place who is also a baseball guy, he will somewhat take over some of Alex’s duties ultimately stripping away the autonomy Alex had with Beeston. I think Alex felt if they could do it to Beeston a man that brought the team two championships they would most definitely do it to him. Another media storm and public backlash having to do with a GM in Toronto.
    Please tell me when someone in Toronto is going to publish a book called sports enterprise bloopers in Canada, because I’ll be the first to the bookstore. I guess in all fairness the bloopers would be extended to area’s outside baseball like the Rob Babcock hiring as GM of the raptors the Andrea Bargnani drafting, the John Ferguson Jr hiring etc…….

  17. Bob Canuck says:

    Brian Gerstein,

    I don’t understand your comment “I really think he needed to come clean with who broke the news to him, given the importance of it”. Are you saying that a reporter should divulge sources, even in the situation when they get the story correct?

    With respect to your statement, “Easy to put 1+1 together here”, what conclusion(s) did you reach and why?


  18. Hugh310 says:

    So AA was offered an out clause after Year One of a five year offer. His GM responsibilities would remain the same. And he still turned it down ? Obviously AA has another job already lined up, probably for more money. A fellow with a young family would NOT decline that offer unless he had already accepted another offer. AA’s line about ‘not being the right fit’ is just smoke and mirrors because he cannot tell us the true reason why he’s bolting the Blue Jays.

    When you get a new boss, there will always be a feeling out period – a transitory period. AA was comfortable working with PB and basically got his way every time. This was bound to change under MS but instead of trying it out, AA bailed on his Blue Jays executive team and is chasing money to LA or wherever. The grass is always greener, etc.

    I don’t know why everyone is praising Bobcat’s interview with AA. He asked so-called ‘tough’ questions knowing damn well AA would babble on in repetitive circles of rambling and not clome close to answering any of the Qs. Frankly, it seemed like a charade that both parties fully expected to play out for the listeners.

    Once I found out who was on the round table this last Friday, I switched stations right away.

    With AA fleeing, Gibby is a dead man walking. Good riddance. Gibby threw away games after the Jays clinched a playoff spot that cost them home field advantage in the ALCS. Sure would have been nice to get games 1,2,6,7 at home against the Royals. And let’s not forget boneheaded decisions like bringing in Price from the bullpen in a 7-1 game with Dickey one out away from the win in a game where he was pitching very well.
    Hopefully MS will bring in a decent manager like Francona, who has an opt-out clause in effect at this point in time.

  19. Bob, I heard Alex refer to the leak, and he was very upset that it was released that Friday morning. It was 100% not Alex’s doing, or the people who he spoke to in all likelihood, but released by Rogers to Shi.

    My 1+1 alludes to Rogers doing the leaking, and in this case, I really do feel that Shi should have revealed who told him officially where he was able to run with the story. Is it really that big a deal if he said it came directly from Rogers? I don’t think so in this case, it would just add a degree of clarity to it.

  20. AP says:

    I can understand saying “as reported by….”, but what’s up with trying to give credit to who reported it first?

  21. AP, just the nature of the business now. Whoever has the scoop done first is usually credited in that way. My issue is you better get it right if you are first. Think of the unfortunate Pat Burns incident when his demise was inaccurately reported. Too often the rush to get there first is compromised by proper fact checking.

  22. Bob Canuck says:


    Thanks for the response.

    I think you meant to say Thursday, which is the day the news broke, and not Friday.

    Also, I just finished listening to AA’s interview with Bob McCown and Alex said that the Wednesday evening conference call, held to announce his decision, was with the big league staff. Accordingly, a person or more than one person who attended that conference call could have been the source(s) for Shi’s story. I also listened to Alex on Friday’s Jeff Blair Show and Alex said that he also had a meeting with baseball operations on Wednesday. Given that Shi has frequent contact with people who attended either of the two Wednesday meetings of Blue Jay personnel, I think it is very plausible that the original source was from within the Blue Jays club and not Rogers. It is possible that a Rogers person was a confirming source or, as you speculated, the original source. I just don’t think we have enough information to conclude that Rogers leaked the news. Furthermore, I think it is very likely that Alex was asked by Shi to confirm the story.

    In the end, I think that, in this story, Shi’s use of the non-specific “multiple sources” was fine.

  23. Bob, you are correct, it was a day earlier than I posted, and thanks for all the updates on the timelines. You make an excellent point that with all the sources that Shi has cultivated, he could have gotten initial word from a myriad of people in the know. Shi is a professional, so I have 100% certainty that he checked his sources and reported it factually, which he did.

  24. Bob Canuck says:



  25. amanda says:

    I always thought sports fans in this city were smart/more smart but you know sometimes the things you see/hear makes you shake your head.

    You know I made a lot of suppositions in my previous comment but actually based on more reporting that is listed here and to come out when it becomes obvious with the spin that’s happening and the savaging of character of someone they never had to savage before, because he’s basically nothing to them since rogers got what it wanted ultimately trying to fire out these people, minus the bad pr, you’ll get to see what the angles are in the story.

    No one buys what Ed Rogers is selling with their “clarifications”.

    Also interesting to the raptors dude asking about Davidi’s source on the story and also mentioning the AA dislike about the leaking.

    Like I mentioned previously I forget the big company owners of these people/imprints, so I never even thought about the Rogers Davidi connection like the Raptors devotee person pointed out. Also I’ve always like Davidi so I never questioned his work. I mean and I’m not now but Raptors devotee raised an interesting point.

    So my points based on what people commented on yesterday (heard on radio, seeing on baseball forums/boards, etc…) is that there is a lot of questioning about the salary, the term (opt out and all this stuff as well as the shorter previous contract offer initially, all the details coming out now lol), and many people talking about “alex taking his ball” and about “cooperation” and about “he didn’t want to work with/” w/e people keep saying about this and I’m like are people just not able to like use their common sense?

    In a perfect world where everything is hunky dory and everyone is kumbaya and all this stuff about putting “team first” as AA is a team guy, I think people are literally just grasping at hope straws and like thinking everyone is nice in the world. There’s reality.

    Here are the things we know:
    1) Rogers wanted to fire it’s employees (last year/this year/w.e). (In fact there’s been stories for years about this and huge speculation especially from fans for years).

    Problem: long time employees in the system, some loved, some hated, some not performing, some performing and meeting expectations.

    Need to remember: optics. image is very important to corps like rogers. I mean they do run a media company. Look at all the leeks and the spinning. Look at where the stories are coming from (also fascinating is that a lot of this leaking has to come from Rogers employees, some loyal to BJ’s and AA and some who are loyal to the higher ups and Rogers corp).
    Need to remember: story comes out about how they tried to snake a long time employee Paul Beeston.

    People to be fired are: AA, Beeston, Gibby, etc…

    2) In trying to snake Beeston they went through a list of possibilities and settled on their 4th option (I don’t know what’s on Rogers list but saw many places people mentioning this. Me personally I don’t care as long as the person is capable), a smart well liked (not by some gm’s lol. not like how the gms like and work with aa more) successful baseball person who essentially fits what rogers wants. But in essence in negotiations an older man getting older who liked his previous job in Cleveland but wanted to return to his former roots and wanted more power and has more aspirations (because a company and team in the east will allow him to reach some of these aspirations), is smart in negotiations and probably says he will only come here if Rogers gives him X, and so Rogers, who they have a long term employee they are not in contact with are not renegotiating with are not schmoozing (the context here is that the jays for a long time weren’t winning…supposedly is the story out there) and actually wanted to fire, Rogers which might have given a job title/position to AA previously but might not know what it entails even though they pay the guy because they are big company and don’t have hands on with the BJ’s side of things (set up in a perfect way for AA to operate) don’t understand what they are doing by changing an employee’s job description and making him unemployed (because his job no longer exists. It has gone to another person) make the x factor of the deal.
    Either Shapiro is the one who asked for this power, or rogers were the ones who brought it up to him. Either way this is business negotiations and schmoozing. It’s all good dealings. What’s not good dealings is that AA is about to be scooped and maybe he’s aware of shenanigans because of Beeston debacle and maybe he knows he’s on the block but he doesn’t know it’s that bad. Because for some reason he’s still loyal to Rogers and waxes lyrical about them (which he still did in the interviews and calls and all the rest).
    So rogers thinks things are good and they have their cards lined up. But AA makes some moves (with Rogers knowledge) and they work out making him look like a genius and all of a sudden Rogers doesn’t know what’s up. In fact Rogers tries to operate as normal and think like maybe these two guys can work together and it’ll be okay and if not we’ll stick to original plan to fire AA but of course we (fans and Torontonians) are not accusing rogers of being smart (I’m being harsh here with the smart comment, but really I’m not mad at rogers because what they did is understandable. In actual fact and many people pointed out, in a way rogers is not wrong, in their unethical dealings they were just trying to do what they didn’t know but their best with their own/known knowledge and hire the best employee to come in and they got their guy. There would be much more hoopla if the bj’s stunk and AA was still here, so in a way rogers covered it’s bases, still covering and in fact is covered because fan will come around if the team wins, and hired the best employee available to them leaving no job openings, except for gibby maybe).
    So the season gets longer the winning gets better and unexpected things happen all through out.
    Need to remember: from AA’s own words, he was the one telling rogers he didn’t want to have contract talks till after the end because he wanted to focus on what was happening.
    Fan Question: This is where people are questioning AA and saying why did he make the cupboard (prospects/farms) bare and make these trades? Did he know he was going? (my personal opinion is that although I didn’t like the trade(s) and I too was calling for aa’s head, after some thought and days I just realized that aa had flipped some prospects they weren’t keen on and flipped them for better current players and although I was very mad about a couple high end prospects, I trusted aa, the scouts, the farm system to go to this off season and next year and acquire players, make trades. That’s what these guys did here plus AA+team were just getting better, so there wasn’t any reason for me to distrust the process and the people. So the cupboard bare rhetoric is a bit thick from fans and others lol.)
    Need to know: Listen to all the interviews AA did. He doesn’t want to spell things out and put out a timeline but AA is a very smart dude and also a Rogers employee. He might have not expected what happened and tried not to think about the future too much but based on his own answers you can tell AA knew what was up and the writing on the wall mumbo people keep saying. It’s in his “IT’S NOT THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME” responses. Things changed, some AA might have liked, some not so much. But the work environment changed. In fact the work environment changes because AA and team is suddenly successful and exceeding expectations, there are new people, new hires, a new boss, etc…
    The only people who didn’t change was probably Rogers. They probably had a scenario lined up that changed on them and maybe they were supposed to change their bottom line (according to outside people), but that’s not Rogers what rogers did. In fact rogers stuck to their plan (just like in the end AA stuck to his plan) and continued. Only at the end when Rogers started to understand what was happening did they alter their plan to offer more money, term, whatever to sway a person (but once again it goes to show that they don’t know their own employee, a person who has worked for no money just to gain experience and connections. I mean if you want more clarity listen to the PTS interview when AA talks about first meeting his wife, having kids, when McCowan asks him if he ever wanted to be president or w/e. I don’t understand why people are putting out there that AA wants to be an owner and like is super power hungry (maybe), and all this stuff even though this guy has been here for years. Like where is this all of a sudden coming from? Anyways maybe he wants to be an owner one day and maybe in Montreal, but not now (his words). I don’t know why people are doing so much projecting. Also like yes AA is media savvy after being in the city for years and dealing with them so yes he’s a guy and he’s also the image he presents, but then again so is Rogers. In fact rogers is an even bigger guy and has to maintain a certain image because they are a corp and deal with an exponential amount of people and have many ties into things in this city. In fact the one with the bigger image is rogers and the greater onus/imperative to maintain/craft a status is rogers. I don’t understand why people kinda think like one dude has more power than an entire business. Rogers has ultimate control. They control the media because they are the media, and it’s their medium/media platforms. They hire their employees who talk to their employees. There’s all sorts of conflicts of interests here (which I am only coming to terms with. I need to stop forgetting about the big 3-4 corps)).
    Fan Question: why didn’t he take the bundles of money and the terms. People say they would have taken the deal. People question AA’s character and say “why didn’t he take the contract for the team if he’s such a team guy, etc..why didn’t he just try it out”.
    Opinion: Like I mentioned previously, there’s something going on here about respect (lack of?). After hearing all the fan call ins, all the insiders, all the media people stuff, and also learning more about AA than I knew from the first couple seasons when he came here, it’s about integrity and principle. There are certain things that don’t smell right in this story and I think people need to go back to the people involved in the story instead of thinking about themselves and trying to insert themselves into the story. Think about how what has happened would look to a person like AA, and not yourself. (I’m not saying I wouldn’t have taken the money or that I am a perfect fan—I would have taken the money lol. I need it hells bells. I have been on the fire gibby train years ago (to try out the burning hatred but really figured the fire gibby train was full of crazy and I personally am a gibby fan but can acknowledge when mistakes are made and that I need to be more chill like gibby about life (what would gibby do?), on aa’s/jp’s head on a spike and don’t let the door hit you on the way out, beeston who all he does is smoke cigars and chill with his rogers buddies lol, on the get rid of so and so players, why’s this kid’s in our farm system, who’s this friggen coach, etc…but I’ve always tried to be reasonable. I stan for certain players, coaches, and I’ve gone along with the crowd about others. It’s all entertaining. Anytime I’m all in about something I just pull back and reevaluate.)
    So about the respect factor, there’s the issue about AA’s job being given to someone else, issue about change of job, issue of his being mini gm #2 instead of getting a promotion, etc.. Many people (Bruce Arthur) have written about the first offers on the table and how it would look to someone like AA (a guy people keep insisting is egoless. As if having an ego is a bad thing. You can have an ego and still be a decent human). Then there’s respect issue about leaks (which AA brought up many times this week). There is a leaking party going on and AA is not in on it from his own words (I don’t count that conversation with Cathal Kelly as a leak but more like a well placed conversation by a media savvy guy. AA might not look media savvy but the brain is working double speed. This whole he’s likeable because he’s just like us (fans) stuff is kinda plausible, but the whole Rogers ‘we’re like the fans’ stuff was hilarious), and really AA doesn’t need to leak. He did all the media rounds, even though I just wanted him to stop talking lol long before the PTS interview.
    Fans question: Did Alex know he was going to leave and is that why he sold the farm, making bets to try and get to the post season?
    Opinion: There’s some ways to go on this one and I’ve been through many scenarios but I think the common sense one is probably the most plausible because the others would require some level of scheming and like believing that your employer is a total piece of carcass and that you too also have to be a zero sums person going for the glory and screwing the pooch for the incoming newbie (who you might like/dislike). There’s some level of like foresight required for the other scenarios and a lot of emotional inputs and stuff so I just went with what made sense and what I know/heard about AA character (loyalty).
    It’s about contracts—AA’s, the BJ’s core, the people who have been here the longest. It’s about loyalty to them. I think AA probably felt/feels that he owes it to a lot of people & fans to try and make a run for it because the team was good, he was going to make it better (he trusted his instincts, his team), and maybe that whole business going on with the new hire and about beeston and about being expendable by rogers, maybe he knew he wasn’t going to be here anymore. So he went all in. This is where people pointing out this is unlike AA’s behavior (normal) and the post season celebrations, comments and all that is relevant. But actually if you think about it and you match it up with what Arden Zwelling said in that segment with BenEnnis (I remembered the show), talking about AA making bold moves (and also thanks to people on HF boards having a whole list of moves good-bad AA has made) it’s not really out of character for the guy. In fact it would be normal AA behavior to trust his gut and go with what he sees happening instead of sitting on an egg waiting for it to hatch (aka Rogers budgets, Rogers BJ’s post WS history, many years of Rogers experience with BJ’s).
    For people to believe that AA didn’t have a plan, short or long term for this BJ’s team, for them to think that he’s just burning the farm to make a personal ego trip and try to screw over Shapiro and stick it to rogers with bad contracts and shit, it’s like where have you been all these years following the blue jays. I mean the dude is not jesus and he can’t make miracles happen but he’s dealt with HUMONGOUSE stinker contracts and gotten rid of them, burned people fans loved because he thought he could bring in better people who would still be loved by fans, made some blooping stinky trades and signings. I mean the dude’s outcome was a mixed bag, but people trying to go all doomsday and the people who are totally optimistic are selling you pipes. Instead more people should just actually chill like Gibby and become more like AA in their thinking. I don’t know how possible it was for rogers to be hated more, but they did it. Who cares though because I doubt they’ll lose anything. Also it’s interesting people falling in and out of love with AA parallels the team, and other Toronto teams with their power hires. Otherwise just be a fan and enjoy the game. It’s really about baseball, instead of just the business side.
    Can someone please do more investigating into MLB’S connection to rogers and the blue jays? I want to know all the links. Point me in the direction and I’ll do my own research. Thanks!

  26. amanda says:

    I love that Mike Babcock is here to snipe the media and get ahead of the trainwreck before they come for him. He’s on their level so they respect his post game steeze. I am here from the drama (actually more leafs losing. Did people hear Dion’s post game? it was awesome. I mean the most I’ve heard from Dion when he didn’t sound like a robot. Not like he’s always a robot, like when he was talking about the blue jays game he was going to and facing off with ex leafs on other teams).

    I never read grantland. I don’t know I’ve tried to tamp down on my sports fandom over time and I know the people from grantland from previous works, so I’m sad that typical ESPN is shuttering quality (from what’s I’ve heard people talk about it for years) so I’ll be going back and experiencing it for the 1st time as a newb and I’m alright with that. It’s sad about the whole drama with Simmons though.

    Aside from that stoked for tonight, lots of games, football yesterday (pats are in the zone), football tomorrow, etc..good sports weekend.

    someone made a good comment in the other post about how the media sniping needs to stop.

    i don’t know why the media people think it’s about them and their corps. i mean i get it, they make lots of money and they need to generate money and keep their name in the media all that, but like as a fan and regular person, I don’t care about their drama. It’s not even entertaining. It’s not about Rogers, Bell, etc. It’s about sports. It’s about fans. I appreciate the media disseminating information I care about, but really in this city it would be beneficial if they (sports media) took a back seat, especially maybe when it comes to sports (but not when it comes to local/provincial politics. I mean the liberals are just rank but the others are not viable).

  27. rob j says:

    Crazy story, involving an arrogant former GM and fans from a sports town that feeds off drama, though usually from the hockey team. It was weird reading William D’s recounting of the JP era, since all Jays’ fans know that the new franchise narrative draws a straight line from Joe Carter’s homer to July ’15. The 20+ years in the meantime NEVER happened, and AA is the greatest executive of all time and should have received a job for life on his terms.

  28. Tighthead says:

    Media guys calling each other shills reminds me of the great Corleone line to Senator Geary “we’re both part of the same hypocrisy”. If you are a rights holder, your hands are tied, and there are very few media members who are not somehow tied to a rights holder, even if it is just a print person who does regular hits on the radio.

  29. Rob In Aurora says:

    So lets get this straight: everyone who did not take a shot at Rogers directly in their reporting did a good job reporting – and everyone who took a shot at Rogers (deserving or not) did a bad job… Why am I not surprised?

    Guys like Griffin, Arthur, Simmons and Elliott are columnists, not just ” reporters”. They are allowed and supposed to include opinion and editorial comments in their work….all their columns were excellent this week. So was Ken Fidlin…he and Elliott both took shots on Friday at Shapiro’s approach to managing (according to other GMs) and his record running the Indians…and how his past history does not bode well for Jays fans long term.

    …and finally while we’re beuoung all “judgy”, I think this blog is quite often “shilling” for Rogers and Sportsnet….for instance, why a question about McCown’s round table?…(is that a question or an advertisement?)…thanks for the warning about Eric Francis though!

  30. yaz says:

    oh, okay – I understand the editing process now.

  31. scarboro_scamp says:

    Three days on and I’m still sad about the whole AA situation. I’m no media expert but I know what I like just as well as I know what I don’t like. I wish we could know the true story of what happened, but as it’s been pointed out we’d have to go back past August 31 (Shapiro’s hire) to Ed Rogers’ end run in December. That situation has finally played out and two decent baseball guys are leaving an organization they love. For what reason? Wish I knew.

    My fear is that the Jays are going to become the Indians, but will still be in the AL East. I remember listening to Gillick talk on the radio about the Jays. And he quipped that if the Jays want to make the playoffs, they just have to move to the AL Central. Well, Mr. Shapiro’s record would indicate that that isn’t entirely accurate.

    AA seems like a genuine person. The Sportsnet article about the day the trades went down showed AA as a thinker and a doer. Loved the piece, loved the vibe it gave off about AA.

    Prospects are meant to be traded. Because they’re prospects. It’s what you do. (Although, I understand about concerns about Jays pitching. Then again, not many organizations can churn out pitchers like Tampa or St. Louis.)

    When I was a kid and watched wrestling I liked the faces, not the heels. When I watch movies, I want the good guy to save the day and get the girl. I like happy endings. I wanted the Blue Jays I cheer for to be run by Paul Beeston and AA. They are just guys I could root for.

    Wished it could have ended differently. I don’t want the Jays to become mediocre again. This was a good run. I hope the new powers-that-be can keep it going. Otherwise, sell the Jays to MLSE and be done with it. They couldn’t run it much worse, could they?

  32. bob c williams says:

    AA was a very good GM with a decent budget who got us one ALDS title. He is not irreplaceable and Shapiro is, by all objective accounts, also a solid baseball guy and person who will probably hire good talent. It is not the end of the world.

    The end of Grantland was foretold by the firing of Simmons. Grantland (and Simmons) were as much about pop-culture as sports. The fit with ESPN was not there. It will not be the end of the world for those talented writers, or long-form sports journalism.

    What IS the end of the world is a PTS panel of Shannon/Reid/Francis. In a week where baseball dominated the news, how can a competent producer put together that line up? I cannot believe it, but I actually feel bad for McCown. Here’s hoping that panel will never be repeated – we miss you Mr. Brunt.

  33. Dogpounder says:

    Baseball Central from last Monday is worth a listen. Brunt pretty much lays out what’s about to happen, saying he’s guessing… Seems he was plugged into the situation but didn’t let on as much. Listening to it after what’s transpired is pretty interesting.

    I don’t very much like that my favourite sports team is owned by a corporate machine… However, sometimes I see Jerry Jones and need to reflect.
    The $$$$ generated this past 2 months should be motivation enough to continue to put a contender on the field. No matter who’s in charge.

    I enjoy Griff 95% of the time. A great thorn in the side of RCI. In this instance with Davis, It’s the 5%. Lame-ass.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
    Shill Gambit –

    Thanks for the read. Always worth my time.

  34. Dogpounder says:


    Hopefully the Grantland vacuum is filled soon. Will be missed.

  35. Anthony says:

    Good read as always.

    Its a shame to see Grantland move on but once Simmons jumped ship it was doomed. He was the heart, you rip the heart out and you never get it back. I witnessed alot of outcry about newspapers dying and to an extend its to bad, but I find most local blogs way more effective at covering the games anyways, Its just a shame that those bloggers never really make anything and usually are not given access to cover the games as they should. Newspaper industry never evolved while others did. I hope they take a lesson (with the Grantland model they kind of did) to look at how some are doing things in the new age and many that style of writing and looking at the game to their financial framework.

  36. Curt says:

    “…Guys like Griffin, Arthur, Simmons and Elliott are columnists, not just ” reporters”. They are allowed and supposed to include opinion and editorial comments in their work….all their columns were excellent this week. So was Ken Fidlin…he and Elliott both took shots on Friday at Shapiro’s approach to managing (according to other GMs) and his record running the Indians…and how his past history does not bode well for Jays fans long term.

    …and finally while we’re [being] all “judgy”, I think this blog is quite often “shilling” for Rogers and Sportsnet….for instance, why a question about McCown’s round table?…(is that a question or an advertisement?)…thanks for the warning about Eric Francis though!”


  37. Mullah_Kintyre says:

    Re: “Someone let Bobcat know they have internet on TVs now.”
    Ha ha. I know when the story of yahoo streaming the NFL game was news a few weeks or months back, McCown several times complained in the following days about only liking to watch on big TV screens and not small mobile devices. But someone that week on the Friday round table did explain to him that any computer or mobile device should easily connect to a TV with the right cable (and/or adapter). If Grampa technophobe Bob still doesn’t understand that, maybe he never will.

  38. Species 1967 says:

    I am not a Jays fan, and have only picked up on bits and pieces of what is happening through various media, but I wanted to comment on one thing.

    “I just finished listening to AA’s interview with Bob McCown and Alex said that the Wednesday evening conference call, held to announce his decision, was with the big league staff. Accordingly, a person or more than one person who attended that conference call could have been the source(s) for Shi’s story”

    I wonder how well leaked is the MLB (or any sports league) conference line ID?

    Conference call services are outsourced these days. The company I for which I work uses “Intercall”. Everyone on staff is assigned a ‘conference ID’. When you book a conference call you send out a calendar invitation to everyone you want to invite with that ID. The participants dial a standard 800 number, enter the ID, and join. You don’t need to do anything in advance.

    Anyone can join if they have the ID.

    You can configure the system to request callers state their name before joining, but my experience is that when that feature is enabled most don’t bother with it and just push ‘#’ to skip it without saying anything. It is assumed everyone on the line should be there.

    You may be saying to yourself “one would think they have the higher security options enabled”.

    Would they? When you have hundreds of conference calls a year it’s easy to get complacent and frustrated with the hassle of the security options and not turn them on. Perhaps they don’t bother? Perhaps some journalists have collected certain people’s conference ID’s, and dial in when they think, or are told, a call is happening.

  39. Andrew says:

    It’s simple really. Edward Rogers is a fuck up. The corporation sent him to run the Jays because they couldn’t get rid of him and figured he couldn’t do too much damage there. Pretty sure there was a Globe article a while back that said as much.
    Mark Shapiro took the job after all the trades were made. He gains no “glory” if they carry on winning and all the blame if they don’t. Better to get the “you gave too much away” story out there now so his ass is covered.
    As for people criticizing AA record as being not very good through the first few years, that’s how a 5 year plan works. Years 6,7 & 8 etc are where you see the benefits. We’ve had 5 year plans in Toronto sports before(see: Burke, Brian or Colangelo, Brian) we’ve just never seen one work before.
    It’s hard to believe I could actually type these words, but I don’t really blame Rogers corp, they’re stuck with a fuck up and now we all get to see what kind of damage he can do.

  40. Pants Go Brown says:

    I think you can view the AA situation as you wish, but there is no doubt in my mind that Sportsnet and Fan staff were very very reluctant to criticize the situation and how it was handled — perhaps with the exception of McCown.

    The entire AA departure was un-necessary and stems from Rogers ham-fisted management of the entire situation. That is obvious but there were very few who worked for the fan or SN who would say anything critical. It’s too bad b/c it is a shit show of the first order and Rogers mgt should be held to account.

  41. mike (in boston) says:

    thanks to everyone for bearing with us as we learn how to use the comment moderation tools. I’m really hoping that we can turn them back off soon and that lighthearted poking fun at each other will once again be tolerated.

    a few thoughts and replies:

    Shawn – I didn’t listen to the AA interviews so I didn’t comment on them. I didn’t listen because based on the last 5 years of listening to AA, I more or less know that the number of words will be very high and the amount of interesting information will be very low. Not worth my time, even on a week like this one.

    GreyCountyMike – it would be kind of hypocritical of me to call anyone a shill this week …

    amanda – glad to have you on board as a reader and commenter. Consider breaking up your thoughts into bite sized chunks. Makes them easier to digest.

    Tighthead – great line and apt reference. If I were in the media and wanted to be perceived as objective I would draw as little attention as possible to the corporate hegemony that runs the entire industry.

    Species 1967 – great conspiracy theory! I have had the opportunity to dial in to media conference calls when people accidentally send me the ID. Never called in though. Most people in my line of work use Skype for smaller conference calls.

  42. Pete says:

    In last week’s pissing match of Rogers Shills vs. Bell’s Rogers Bashers, I’m going to have to side with the latter. Why? Because a week prior members from both sides all heaped praise on AA for the job he did and getting the Jays to the point where they got to. The guys at TSN — Naylor, Simmons, Arthur — they couldn’t get enough of him. And same with the guys at SportsNet. Then everything went down and TSN lambasted Rogers, and rightfully so, for screwing it all up. While those from SportsNet started spinning the story almost diminishing AA’s accomplishments and capabilities. Nauseating.

    And I loved the Griffin tweet towards Barry Davis. I also don’t think it has anything to do with being a paid TSN employee either. Bob Elliott receives a paycheck from SportsNet and he absolutely roasted Rogers for a few days.

    • mike (in boston) says:

      Pete – I agree with you that the Griff tweet is unrelated to the fact that he occasionally does radio hits on TSN. But why go after Barry? Surely Griff is tough enough to take on the big dogs (whoever those are) at SN if he thinks they are spinning the story. Seemed like a cheap shot against someone in a much weaker position.

  43. Billyjoejimbob says:

    Bob Elliott does not receive a paycheque from Rogers. Wrong.

  44. Not that Chris says:

    Deitsch as a co-host on PTS worked for me today. He was engaged, understood the topics and asked good questions when given the chance. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week with him. If only Rovell was on between 5-7. That would be great radio.

    This is the kind of standard PTS should be held to. Good goddamn co hosts.

  45. Sam in Scarb says:

    Is it true that after all the copies they give away for free,Sportsnet Magazine actually only sold 750 copies last month?
    750…No that is not a typo.
    AA bailing on the parent company is starting to make a little more sense today.

  46. Mike V says:

    750 sold off the newsstand. The subscription circulation would be much higher.
    From the Globe article it looks like an industry wide problem, not many people are buying magazines at the checkout anymore.

  47. It just hit me right now, something that Alex said when Brunt interviewed him after the Jays won the division. Brunt asked him what would determine the Jays season a success for him. Alex said that winning the division, over the course of 162 games is an incredible accomplishment, as anything can happen in a short playoff series, best of 5, even best of 7, and the better team does not always win, especially in baseball.

    I found that odd at the time, but it makes sense given recent events, where Alex knew he was not coming back, so why would he say a successful season is winning the world series, or making it there, when he would be looking for other employment shortly after.

    While I am sure that Alex was genuine and meant it, had he known at the time that he was prepared to continue with the Jays, maybe his response to Brunt would have been different.

    As many said yesterday, Shapiro could never win that press conference, so a tie, which he seemed to get, was exactly what he wanted. As long as his team wins everything will be fine. I certainly have not gotten the truth about what transpired between the two of them, and likely never will, as I am convinced there is more to the story than what was revealed i.e. not the right fit. My gut tells me that Alex based on the recounting of events I got from Brunt, just could not on pride alone continue with the Jays, given how they had deemed him expendable earlier in the season, and took it as completely two-faced when the public swell of support for him forced Rogers hand and they realized that they needed to reach out to AA, even though they were hoping he did not accept, which he didn’t.

  48. Anthony says:

    ‘Deitsch as a co-host on PTS worked for me today. He was engaged, understood the topics and asked good questions when given the chance. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week with him. If only Rovell was on between 5-7. That would be great radio.

    This is the kind of standard PTS should be held to. Good goddamn co hosts.’

    Right? It was refreshing to hear a co-host that not only could make a point without simply agreeing with Bob, but articulate his own thoughts (and not try to make an awful joke). Looking forward to what should be a really strong week.

  49. Antonio says:

    JP Morosi on Blundell’s show was a welcomed change as well. It meant less of George (Sylvester the Cat) – which is always a good thing.

  50. Antonio says:

    Judging by Bruce Arthur’s twitter, he really, really likes (no, actually loves) Steph Curry. Its kinda of creepy though.

  51. mickey b says:

    Sportsnet magazine’s subscription numbers are much higher? I would have to assume that you’re not talking about paid subscriptions. Doesn’t seem to matter what I sign up for, I always seem to end up on a mailing list to get free sportsnet magazines sent to my house. At one time I was receiving 3 copies of the same magazine at the same time. Had to stop this as I’m not only not the least bit interested in the magazine but more importantly it was just a waste of paper filling up my recycling box. Every time I share that story with a friend seems like they have a similar stories about the magazine. Now to be fair, this goes for many other magazines these days. Just stop the wasted resources and trying to fool advertisers that you have high numbers subscribing when you know you don’t.

  52. alex says:

    I canceled my ESPN Magazine sub over 3 years ago and still get it delivered. I even emailed to ask them to stop sending it and it still comes.

  53. Mike V says:
    This data is a bit stale now (they don’t seem have an updated post) but the numbers – assuming they are accurate – don’t look that bad for the magazine.

  54. William D says:

    The Print Era is OVER. Distribution of sports content is all about the internet. Espn in it’s efforts to reshape it’s distribution concepts, has laid off 300 employees last month. Most of that money will likely go towards digital distribution.

  55. AP says:

    Why is it necessary to have Brunt interview Shapiro with a different camera effect, sitting in a relaxed atmosphere? It’s like they’re using Brunt as a mascot. The same questions could be asked by Barry Davis.

    Brunt is such a waste at Sportsnet, imo, when used as the artsy guy.

  56. William D says:

    This article reminds of why it’s difficult to listen to sportsnet report on the Jays, especially during this AA circus

  57. Mont from London Ont says:

    As 590 the fan does not reach London Ont I have listened to Blundell & Co
    on a streaming feed for a week and a half or so- To me it is okay as a vehicle for ads and not much else – There is too much forced mirth and merriment among the host and guests for my taste giving it an air of phoniness-
    Also for a supposed veteran of the radio business I find he stumbles around
    with far too many ahhhs errrs and uhmms etc when he changes topics –
    As to the show itself I can take it or leave it – Like so much media these days there are FAR too many ads-

  58. Jojo says:

    I have attempted to not comment on the fallout from the AA discussion. First off, I am a fan of Greg Brady. Since his arrival, other than his Detroit references, I find his 80s references and Letterman-style humour to be refreshing.

    That being said, his comments on Monday afternoon wherein he basically jumped all over AA for trading prospects basically made me realize he IS towing the party line. Both he and Walker gave up all onjectivity, and in doing so became corporate shills.

    Case in point, Brady stated that AA should have just accepted Shapiro having final say because that’s how it’s done all over the league. Then he rips AA for dealing prospects (no problem if that’s his opinion).

    However, if all the GMs must report to the president, then really Brady and Walker should have been smart enough to realize that Rogers really screwed up by allowing two employees, one who is on his way out and the other who has a choice to leave, to make huge decisions which will have an impact on their assets in the future.

    Why blame AA or Beeston? Just like the previous owners of my house didn’t mow the lawn or take care of the garden. It wasn’t in the contract to maintain, so why would they?

    Similarly, Rogers really screwed up.

  59. Steven says:

    Ill miss Grantland, great content. Its a shame that a site like that with ESPN’s backing couldn’t find a way to maximize its profit. The site did a marvelous job of maximizing its readership by covering different types of content within their niche. The log form essay may be dying given how we consume media, but i still believe there’s a need for it in sports.

  60. Chris says:

    A touch off-topic here, but I am interested to know if anybody has an answer to this… When a Canadian network overtakes a live event on an American network, does it factor into the ratings? (Like SNET putting their World Series broadcast on FOX’s airwaves, or CTV pushing their way onto any station showing the Super Bowl).. I am curious because we do get the Canadian networks panels, commercials and everything else.

  61. Daniel says:

    @jojo – No question Rogers utterly screwed up the AA situation and deserve all the blame in my opinion. Idiots.

    To be fair to Brady though – I seem to remember he’s been pretty consistent in ripping AA for trading too many prospects through his tenure.

  62. Anthony says:

    @JoJo @Daniel

    Brady has been pretty consistent. He has gone after AA in the past for many things, including trading prospects. He also went after Wilner and ripped the team in June saying ‘the seasons over’. Suggesting otherwise just isn’t fair.

  63. Jojo says:

    @ anthony
    Fair enough. But while the Jays were on their run, he said next to nothing about AA or the prospects. Again, why would he not rip Rogers for allowing AA exclusivity in making deals. Blaming AA is ridiculous. Rogers should’ve prevented any prospects from being moved if they thought I’d deals were short-sighted.

  64. Anthony says:


    Pretty simple, because they are winning. Same as everyone. When things are going well there really isn’t any reason to rip anyone. Even Sid went from Hardcore ripping on anything Blue Jays to ‘Yay blue jays’ over night. When you win, you exempt yourself from hardcore criticism. I’m pretty sure I heard Brady mention that he wasn’t sure about giving up that much (which i could offer proof) but that at the end of the day winning trumpts.

    Whole point is that if there was a ‘be nice to the Blue Jays’ mantra, he wouldn’t have ripped them in the first place.

    Why isn’t there a be nice to the Maple Leafs mantra :)?

  65. Anthony says:

    Interesting seeing how Yahoo’s live streaming impacts television. The only real reason to have traditional cable is for live programming, sports being one of them. With Netflix taking over and changing how we watch television, if they can also get into live sports broadcasting I can’t see most staying with the traditional way to watch.

  66. Mike S says:

    I don’t mind Eric Francis so when I heard he was going to be PTS co-host for a week instead of the usual (non-Brunt) suspects I was in favour of it………..but when it turned into a baseball dominated week of PTS Francis seemed somewhat out of place

    It reminded me of many years ago when they brought in George Ofman from Chicago to co-host during a week that happened to be Grey Cup week (back when McCown cared about the CFL)………Ofman knew very little about the CFL so his talents were wasted

    I agree with those who say that Friday’s roundtable needed people like Perkins or Blair or perhaps Grange……….even though PTS has a new producer it seems that Shannon has been given a spot on almost every Friday roundtable after Labour Day just like last year………and then there was Reid……….ugh

  67. Alex says:

    I think two years ago, shannon said it was in his contract to be on the roundtable. But that was before rogers got the nhl deal.

    It seemed like Shannon was on a lot less because he was in the other building doing hockey stuff.

    Maybe they think hes better used less on tv and more on radio.

    (Disclaimer: i like Shannon more than most here. I think because he was the co host i heard the most when i started listening during the summer years ago when PTS was on sirius.)

  68. Matty Zero says:


    When there is a Simultaneous Substitution, which is the technical name for what you described, it was implemented explicitly for the Canadian networks to receive advertising dollars for outside programming. Recently, the CRTC proposed that only Over The Air broadcasts should have to comply, but Bell Media is fighting that. They don’t want to lose those Super Bowl eyeballs on their Pizza Pizza ads.

    I have heard estimates that at peak, that most advertising dollars are about 10% per minute for Canadian networks, when compared to what the originating American network receives.

    Hope this helps!

  69. Anthony says:

    @Mike S

    I didn’t mind Francis as a secondary guy, not sure about him as the host (he played the role on Friday). Don’t think he’s that knowledgeable but at least he’s a new voice.

    I will re-iterate how nice it is to have new voices on PTS. Last night’s edition with both Deitsch and Morosi talking baseball (im a baseball guy) was great. A big failing to me (Mike kind of made the same point) is when sport centric broadcasters like Shannon are forced to talk about sports outside of their range they lose me (and others I’m sure). I’m fairly confident I watch more and have a better feel for MLB then Shannon, Reid or anyone else, so why do I care what they have to say?

    When its hockey season the producer should bring on heavy hockey guys, guys who actually live and breath the sport, not guys who have a passing interest. Same with summer, why have hockey centric broadcasts on every week to talk MLB?

    I think its a case of putting your talent in a position to shine and come across like professionals, putting someone out of their comfort zone makes them look less knowledgeable IMO, which hurts their public standing and the shows standing. Having someone like Ken Reid on at any time hurts everyone standing, but that topic has been killed lately on here, no point in going at him again. Nice guy im sure, but he’s not a radio talent.

  70. dberto says:

    On Wednesday, JP Morosi was on both the Blundell morning show and PTS with Bobcat (long day). I listen to both shows as I hear them during my drive in to work and the drive home.
    The two shows could not be any different, PTS being a serious and intelligent sports discussion and Blundell & Co. being a goofy frat party. It is a testament to Morosi’s ability that he was able to sound intelligent in both environments.

  71. Omar says:

    I will echo Anthony’s comments on here about Dietsch and Morosi. Both held their own with McCown. Dietsch in particular is well rounded and can speak intelligently on a number of sports topics. I don’t “hate” any particular co-host but the quality sure goes up when you have the right one on PTS with Bob.

    Would love them to get Keith Olberman for week, would make for compelling radio.

  72. MattK says:

    At the start of PTS Bob was saying something about not being the most watched/listened to program… I assume that means Sid and Tim are now.

  73. Bora says:

    I’ve been listening to McCown for more than 25 years and I have to say Deitsch is one of the best co-hosts ever.

  74. William D says:

    Dave Naylor and Steve Simmons had a great interview today with Howard Bryant of Espn. Howard spoke out against ceremonies having to do with the armed forces prior to major league games. Howard went on to discuss
    the fact that these warm and fuzzy ceremonies are a revenue stream for teams as they are funded by the government. Bryant suggested that fans are being dooped as they are led to believe that it is a goodwill gesture by the team, while it is really all money driven. I believe earlier in the year Newsday covered a similar story which was discussed on the fan, I can recall Jeff Blair going off about the pointless singing of the national anthem at major league sports games. Howard Bryant makes a point of saying pro sport in the 21st century has really cemented itself as an industry. Great Listen.

  75. Alex says:

    There was just a congressional committee report that came out this week about how much the govt spent on these jingoistic ceremonies.

  76. Steve G says:

    ESPN’s Outside The Lines (available on daily podcast) has a typically-stellar show devoted to the military pay for play story. If you read this website regularly, you should subscribe. Content is very US-centric as you’d expect, but there’s some great stuff in there.

  77. Jim from Abroad says:

    @bora. I understood it as PTS being the number one afternoon drive show in general, not just sports. ‘Probably because of the Blue Jays.’

    I am curious though, how do Tim and Sid do in the ratings? They hardly get a mention here both editorial and in the reactions.

    And I concur, having Richard Deitsch in studio has been a joy to listen to. And Banks is coming in a couple of months.

  78. Jim from Abroad says:

    Sorry, comment was Aimed at MattK.

  79. Mike S says:

    Brady and Walker had Deitsch in studio today at 2:45 PM and they talked about the sports media scene in Toronto & Canada compared to the U.S…………it was a pretty interesting discussion

  80. Mike S says:

    Today’s PTS roundtable is McCown, Deitsch, Friedman, and Shannon……….this means that Shannon has been on 8 of the 10 Friday PTS roundtables since the start of September

  81. Daniel says:

    Yeah yesterday McCown said at the start of the show that it was the most listened to drive time program in Canada in the last book (and was like ‘think we got helped by the Blue Jays there). He also said ‘20.8, John’ to John Shannon at some point. No idea if that’s what he’s claiming his rating was, but if so that’s pretty insane.

  82. Hans says:

    Mike S – they’re having the same conversation about broadcasting on the PTS roundtable right now. It’s quite the interesting thing to hear and for once I think Shannon and his “broadcasting” experience seems to fit in this discussion.

  83. Bora says:

    Unfortunately Shannon being on the roundtable ruined the last day of Deitsch.

  84. Alex says:

    6pm roundtable was best PTS in recent memory. At least best since they had Boogaard’s father on the show.

  85. William D says:

    Great discussion on broadcasting by the roundtable, pretty slimy that players and broadcasters share the same agent and how it impacts signings. WOW…..

  86. Alex says:

    Dont know if its still true, but in miami, lebatard, riley and spolstra all were repped by the same agency.

  87. Keith Murdoch says:

    Absolutely disgraceful that the PTS roundtable did not discuss Greg Hardy today, but I guess violence against women isn’t an important issue for McCown.

  88. Matty Zero says:


    I guess the Bobcat doesn’t read Deadspin.

  89. Jojo says:

    @Keith Murdoch

    That’s a stupid comment.

    “I guess violence against women isn’t an important issue for McCown?”.

    Based on what, due you attribute this statement?
    He didn’t talk about a lot of things that are big in sports and/or in the news, that doesn’t mean it’s not important to him.

    Grow up and be respectful of him and his experience.

  90. Alex says:

    Deitsch tweeted they were going to talk about Hardy in 6 pm hour. I presume they got sidetracked by the inside baseball media stuff. I’d rather hear that than a crime blotter story where everyone likely agrees Hardy is a jerk and should be punished etc. i doubt there would have been a contrarian opinion, unless it branched out to include Kane. Then i bet Shannon would have given NHL party line.

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