Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

November 7th, 2015 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: CP/Sean Kilpatrick


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media watchers. Thanks to everyone who participated in an excellent comment thread last week. Lots of stories this week. If I missed something you want to discuss, please start the conversation below. As usual, please let me know if you spot any typos or errors.


MLSE Finally Gets Its Man


Poor Mr. Leiweke is finally free. He’s been trying to leave for almost a year now and has been stuck running one of the most valuable entities in pro sports while the board at MLSE tried to find a suitable replacement. The suit that will be replacing Leiweke is Air Canada executive Michael Friisdahl. It is fitting that the only person the warring media giants could agree on is someone from a company that rivals Rogers and Bell on Canada’s most hated list. 


Rick Westhead who has been following the MLSE CEO search since Day 1 had the story on the new guy. David Shoalts at the Globe (NOT 15% owned by Bell) looks back on Leiweke’s time in Toronto.


We have come a long way from the old pension plan days. All the MLSE teams spend lavishly on coaches and players and marketing and fan experience. So the new CEO just has to keep the gravy train running and avoid mentioning parade routes, and presumably he will be fine. That said, the end of the Leiweke era took much longer than anyone could have reasonably predicted. One wonders how many projects were put on hold until a new guy was found.


The main explanation for why MLSE had so much trouble finding someone to take one of the most high profile jobs in pro sports management is that Rogers and Bell couldn’t find someone who was free of the stains of the other. As we have seen with the Rogers hires from Bell (Brace, Pelley), almost everyone has worked for one side or the other at one time. Rather than being a non-issue due to how pervasive it is, this reportedly became the hill to die on in the hiring process.


That said, we have not read many articles lately about the toxic board room culture at MLSE and perhaps Friisdahl will usher in a new era of peace in the realm. I do wonder how many compromises were made in terms of other priorities just to satisfy this one big hiring requirement. To discuss these questions I turned to Rick Westhead and he agreed to answer two of them. Here is what we discussed:


1) Pro sports was a big part of Leiweke’s existing portfolio when he was hired. The new CEO has little to no pro sports experience. MLSE is obviously much more than just the teams it owns, but does having a sports guy at the helm matter?


RW: I guess it’s a subjective question. I can see both good and bad with hiring a sports guy. Hire a sports guy and you would think he comes with a good network of contacts in the sports industry. That could help a new president learn faster about best practices employed by other teams and leagues. And it could smooth his relationship with the media, which is an important part of the job since the president if MLSE’s public face. But at the same time, this is not a sports job, per se, so it’s not critical that the president has an encyclopaedic knowledge of sports or even sports marketing. He’ll bring a fresh perspective and presumably won’t have allegiances to either Bell or Rogers. Seems like he’ll be well suited to play the role of Switzerland. And like I said on TSN radio on Thursday, consider what this specific job actually is. Tim Leiweke won approval from Toronto city hall for permits to build a Raptors practice facility and to expand BMO Field. That requires registering as a lobbyist and a soft touch when negotiating with city councillors, as well as someone who can navigate corporate construction companies. There are issues about sports gaming, particularly now that MLSE has as partnership with DraftKings. So relationships with the CRTC federally and perhaps the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario provincially. And then there are relationships with sponsors and fan engagement events. This new guy is a high school graduate who started and later sold his own company. I think that makes him a little more human to the general public, perhaps a little more accessible than Leiweke, who came with such pedigree. At the same time, Friisdahl may not be able to say he ran AEG, but he did oversee the startup of a new airline, Air Canada Rouge. That’s no small task.


2) This search has lasted much longer than anyone would have expected. The popular explanation for why so many people turned the job down (or weren’t considered in the first place) is that finding someone who can simultaneously serve the interests of Bell and Rogers is extremely hard. What will Friisdahl need to do succeed in his job?


RW: Way too early to say. It’s tough having bosses who have disparate interests. Look at the CFL. I’m told that former commissioner Mark Cohon was largely able to be successful in that job because he really didn’t need the money. So he was able to tell the owners, “if you don’t like what I’m doing, go ahead and fire me.” But let’s see how this plays out. At the end of the day, Friisdahl told me Thursday that both Bell and Rogers have a common interest – to field winning teams. That’s true to a point. Bell clearly has more at stake with the Argos than does Rogers. If Friisdahl is smart, he’ll spend his first 90 days doing what he told me he’ll do – meeting top, mid and lower-level employees and building relationships with them, establishing ties to everyone from Dave Hopkinson and Tom Pistore to Shannon Hosford and Michael Bartlett. (Wouldn’t hurt him to take former MLSEers like Richard Peddie, Tom Anselmi, Chris Overholt and Brian Cooper out for lunch either.)



Thanks Rick. You can follow Rick here.


Over to you: How much longer will we be stuck with this unholy alliance? Is a Bell/Rogers partnership actually a good thing for us, since the alternative is one of them owning all the local sports teams? Does forced cooperation insure against mutual assured destruction? 


Deitsch Takes Over PTS


The FAN touted this appearance for the past several weeks: Richard Deitsch (156,000+ followers) of Sports Illustrated would join Bob McCown (29,000+ followers) in studio for the entire week. Deitsch has been a frequent guest on PTS over the years and he and Bob have developed a good rapport, despite the latter often wasting the segment by getting Deitsch to talk about random things Bob had on his mind that day.


To say the shows lived up to the hype would be a vast understatement. Deitsch was his usual intelligent and professional self and Bob stepped up to the task of running his show for the benefit rather than the detriment of the audience. The producers were also on their A-game for the most part, keeping the usual “insider” suspects off the air and booking guests who would bring out the best in the hosts. Bob was engaged, friendly, and refrained from talking about himself too much (even when there was a gambling guest on). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Bob would probably admit that this was one of his best weeks in a long time.


The highlight of the week came in Deitsch’s first segment, when Bob and Richard interviewed newly introduced Jays president Mark Shapiro. All three parties were in top form. Bob and Richard asked all the tough questions and one thing became immediately evident: Shapiro is nothing like AA. Alex could talk for minutes at a time without saying anything, all while getting everyone to like him (“such a great question guys!”) even though he was giving you nothing. Shapiro, by contrast, is direct, concise, and does not seem to care much about making friends. At one point he replied to a question by saying “that’s not a constructive discussion.” Loved it.


The rest of the week included guests on the Leafs, Raptors, MLB, lots of NFL, some horse racing, and more. Again, the producers — Matt Marchese and Jeff Azzopardi — did a great job mixing up the topics. This is the kind of week that should be the rule rather than the exception on Canada’s most listened to sports talk show. I’m sure this was also a very expensive week for the FAN, so the reality is that this kind of week won’t happen all that often. However, the recipe for great radio is right there in front of us: get rid of the Sportsnet insiders, have a co-host who could be off doing other things and isn’t just happy to be there, and look for a range of topics and guests that will keep the content fresh and interesting. (I have written at length in the past about what Bob’s exit strategy should be.)


As we all know, thanks to Bob and Shoalts, McCown’s contract is up soon and there is little chance he will continue to do 5 days of PTS when the clock runs out, if not before. The challenge for Cadeau and others at Sportsnet is what you do with the time that is left. Rotating through big names as co-hosts seems like a great way to both pay tribute to all PTS has done for the FAN and protect the timeslot for whoever comes next. (For my 2 cents: pay whatever it takes to get Rob Becker up here for a week.) Why not end the show on a high note rather than the sad one that has been playing on a loop for most of the last few years.


Over to you: what did you think of Deitsch’s visit to PTS? Who should be next? How did you enjoy the roundtable?


Quick Hits


The guy who was fired from a sunshine list job at Hydro One for defending FHRITP on TV has been rehired. My best guess: his bosses were advised that he had a decent wrongful dismissal case and this was the better option. As far as we know he is still banned from going to TFC games.


I love lawyers. Here is a wonderful lawyer’s argument: the Redskins name is totally not racist, but even if it is then it should still be protected because lots of racist and offensive speech is already protected. If you know anything about American free speech law, nothing is more sacred than racist speech, and I’m certain this argument will succeed.


The Toronto Star is in financial trouble. Their iPad app (not compatible with iPhone) is fantastic but their losses are even more impressive. They also boast one of the biggest sports sections in the country. If cutbacks come to the Star, how soon until they hit the sports section? They have a lot of high priced writers on their roster.


Ex Astros player Lance Berkman spoke out recently against protections for LGBT rights with perhaps the greatest ‘window into the soul of bigotry’ quote in recent memory: “Tolerance is a virtue that is killing this country.” (which is co-managed by the excellent Cyd Zeigler) gave fuel to the fire by publishing this poorly argued piece that does little more than trade insults with Berkman. A much better (and much longer) argument appears in this great article by Dave Zirin.


Bell joined Telus and axed a bunch of jobs in Toronto and Montreal this week. Bell’s George Cope is quoted as saying that their restructuring “is really the result of the CRTC rules, so we will be changing our cost structure to reflect that going into 2016.” Add this to the long list of tone deaf corporate quotes for 2015. All eyes are now on Rogers and whether they will do the same, or if the good news coming from the Jays playoff run and recent cell phone gains will delay any mass firings. Best wishes to those of you looking for work.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • Dave Feschuk of the Star delivered easily the worst article on the Leafs so far this season. He criticizes the coach for agreeing to lead Canada’s World Cup team this summer. I debated whether or not to link to the awful article but decided I wanted to support the Star, so here is a pity link.


  • Bryan Hayes did a great job fending off Feschuk and Naylor as they tried to tear down Phil Kessel on his way back in to town (Oct 30, Hour 1). Feschuk in particular was all too gleeful in going to his bank of insults. Hayes, by contrast, made a bunch of sober and balanced points about the good and bad of Phil Kessel.


  • I am not going to talk about the Kane case or the Hardy case this week. To different degrees both cases involve complex legal and moral issues and I need more time to think and to learn. In the meantime you can consider what this deep thinker had to contribute:



  • Al Strachan has been lobbing bombs at various people in the industry over the last month and it has been very entertaining:





thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)


  1. yaz says:

    Friisdahl is an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill. The only thing he will do is reduce the size of peanut bags at the ACC.

  2. yaz says:

    Oct 31 was a Saturday. Which show’s hour 1 are you referring to for Hayes vs Naylor and Feschuk?

  3. Rob J says:

    John Shannon (Thursday) also said ‘Babs’ should take his name out of the running for Team Canada coach. I’m really surprised he’s taking on this part-time job…part of the ‘Shanaplan’ I suppose.

  4. Drumanchor says:

    Another fine column, thanks MIB.

    Two quick thoughts:
    1) “…the recipe for great radio is right there in front of us: get rid of the Sportsnet insiders…” That is pretty much it in a nutshell. Although they can be insightful and knowledgeable, they are boring radio. The same-old, same-old, if you will. One of the reasons I enjoy TSN 1050, as well. They’re “insiders” are excellent and don’t necessarily all work in the same building.

    2) At the risk of jumping on a TSN 1050 bandwagon, I have long enjoyed the work of Bryan Hayes. I always find him on his game. As you stated, his is balanced, thoughtful and bright.

  5. Sam says:

    I was curious as to who actually DOES own the Globe… Woodbridge controlled by… Thomson who owns… THE WINNIPEG JETS!!!! DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!

    Deitsch was awesome. And Shannon kept the stupidities to a minimum on the excellent roundtable and actually had a few good points!

    I saw Deitsch’s comment on Hardy and noticed they didn’t discuss but you know what? Hardy will still be there Monday, but Deitsch won’t be in studio.

    MIB – nice get on Westhead. God, how great it would have been to have him on the Friday roundtable?!

    Next guest on roundtable – to me, Becker or Banks would be both great choices. They are different, both have strong points.

    At first I thought Babcock should really be focusing on the Leafs but you know what if I was him I’d need any break possible to do some winning before another season of absorbing ass-kicks with the Leafs.

  6. Steve Jones says:

    A terrific week on PTS. Deitsch is an excellent co-host and he causes Bob to elevate his game. He also seemed to motivate them zto get some terrific guests. If Reid shows up Monday I’m turning the radio off.

    The new hire at MLSE is really quite irrelevant to me. But it does raise the question of how the teams will be run when all the team Presidents report to a reportedly fractious BOD. The board that couldn’t agree on who to hire to run the biz ops. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

    What can you say about Cox. He’s a dinosaur. And my apologies to all the fine dinosaurs out there.

  7. Carl A says:

    Special guests on PTS seem to respect Bob and feel comfortable with him. This leads to them not being guarded with their opinions or inside knowledge which makes for a good show. However when Reid and Shannon are present it pulls the quality into the basement. As a result I missed parts of the program when I forgot to turn back after changing the channel to TSN.

  8. ESS says:

    I stopped listening to PTS when Ken Reid became the de facto co-host. I pretty much only tune to TSN1050 now for my sports radio listening. However, on the day Shapiro was introduced and Naylor said they would speak with him on air at 6pm, I figured FAN590 (and PTS) got first billing, so I listened to the 5pm chat, and was surprised to hear Deitsch. Your idea of getting Becker to do a week would be awesome; Becker’s “New Yawk” accent getting passionate about issues is entertaining and informative.

    Going off on a tangent, I tweeted Bruce Arthur a while back asking him what he thinks about Damien Cox mercilessly attacking his former colleagues at TSN. To paraphrase Bruce’s response: “it is his nature”. In my opinion, TSN has been doing sports broadcasting long enough to know how to control its talent. When Damien was on TSN, he was restricted to “TSN The Reporters with Dave Hodge” and the “Studs and Duds” segment on “That’s Hockey with Gino Reda”. Giving Damien a larger forum would bring about the “holier than thou” attitude he carries now.

    Speaking of “Studs and Duds”, why does TSN insist on using Jason Botchford for that segment on “That’s Hockey”? Botchford always looks uptight (and uncomfortable) and yells into the camera. After his questionable reporting of Joe Thornton’s off the record comments in the San Jose dressing room a few years back, is Botchford really a credible person to canvas for opinions? Gary Lawless may yell into the camera (or overly project), but his insight into the CFL does provide value.

    Any news on Aaron Ward? I figure his broadcasting career at TSN is finished regardless of the outcome of his legal matters. I am basing that conclusion on how the tenures of Mike Milbury and Matthew Barnaby ended at TSN.

  9. Robert says:

    I realized that Dave Perkins hasn’t been on PTS for some time, well before the baseball season ended, if I’m not mistaken. I would have thought he’d be a natural for all the baseball talk during the post season. Does anyone know if he’s had a recurrence of his health issues?

  10. Steve Jones says:

    Sorry wanted to throw in my 2 cents on the Babcock issue. I agree with the writer. Babcock shoukd be focussed on his day job. There are other just as credible coaches that could take the reins. After having heard Babcock speak much more than ever I personally believe ego is involved. His ihas always been huge and the thing that I am already finding grating is his all but dismissive attitude to questions he doesn’t like. I should also mention I’m a life long Wings fan so it’s not like I’m anti Babs.

  11. alex says:

    According to my podcast archives, perkins was on the roundtable oct 19th.

  12. KC says:

    I just wish Dietsch would have been on with Rovell this week. That would have been awesome radio.

  13. Robert says:

    @Alex – Thanks. The archive on the website only goes back to Oct. 26, and he hasn’t been on since then. I guess I missed the day he was on.

  14. Andrew says:


    Perk seemed to be feeling okay when he killed Rogers over AA. He might be in the penalty box until Shapiro does something that they can focus on. You know, like trading half the team and cutting payroll.

  15. Daniel says:

    Totally agree with your PTS thoughts – That was a really great week of Prime Time. Dietsch was great, and credit to The Fan for arranging it. I hope PTS makes the effort to keep up this level of quality. It’s probably unrealistic, but if there’s any way Dietsch could become a regular, I’d be all for it. A great co host makes SUCH a difference to that show.

    My personal highlight was the hour with Bobcat, Dietsch and Morosi. Great, great stuff.

    Also – I caught a little bit of Morosi on Blundell. He was excellent on there too.

  16. Sam in Scarb says:

    By reading the comments here (PTS)
    Any warm, breathing, up-right body is an improvement over reid & shannon.

  17. Rob says:

    Loved listing to Dietsch and Morosi on the Fan all week. How much do you think they charged Rogers?

  18. Neal says:

    McCown and Deitsch had an excellent segment on yesterday (Friday) dealing with sports media personalities. They examined various American sports personalities and talked about their relationships with their companies (ESPN, FOX etc.) and then made a comparison to Canadian sports personalities. They also examined some of the problems that ESPN has been having recently. It was one of the best segments that PTS has ever presented in terms of an insight in the broader sports media field.

  19. MattK says:

    For Brady and Walker they had Charles Davis on and that was a great guest… but he was on in exchange pitching Seat Geek. Is this something that happens often on 590? I didn’t mind it too much it was similar to what happens on some podcasts where they joke about the sponsor yet still do the pitch. Much rather them have some of that then just Sportsnet personalities.

  20. William D says:


    Just to follow up on what you are saying about that segment, I really respected the objectivity Deitsch brought to the convo regarding american sports media broadcasters,he pulled no punches and kissed no ass when talking about the big four networks in the states and what goes on backstage in the industry.

    Also loved Bob and Elliot’s skeptism of Shapiro, Bob’s exact words were, “He scares me” obviously referring to Shapiro’s fixation on the pharm. Elliot is convinced the new president is fixed on rebuilding the pharm which means trading big pieces from your current. EF seemed like he is just not buying what Shapario is selling. I think many are convinced that Shapiro is apped with dynamite waiting to blow this BJ team up at the first opportunity he gets.

  21. AP says:

    I didn’t enjoy the 6 pm segment yesterday hearing about how much better Canadian media is than American media. Just self-aggrandizing, imo.

  22. Jojo says:

    I can’t believe Don Cherry actually thinks the two Flyer players intentionally hurt McDavid. I’m sure in the heat of the competition, they wanted to minimize his effectiveness; McDavid is their meal ticket…

  23. HRM says:

    The Fan 590 had a great week….both Blundell with Morosi and PTS with Deitsch. I listened live as much as I could and what I missed I listened to on the podcast. Does anybody know if podcast listeners are included in the ratings or used, in some way, to rate the shows? I would love to see Becker or Bob Ryan up for a week.

    Friisdahl’s appointment was met with general disinterest and was rather underwhelming. Hopefully, his tenure is similar and he runs a steady ship behind the scenes and let’s the sports teams make decisions with autonomy.

    Feschuck’s articles are essentially ‘hot takes’ in essay format. I guess the Star approves because it gets them web hits but I, for one, cannot take him seriously.

    On PTS this Friday Bob said he heard that Rogers was thinking of reducing payroll. If so, I can hardly wait to hear Bob go off….

  24. Jim says:

    That was a fantastic week on PTS. Having Deitsch and Morosi on was must listen radio. It was the first time in a while that didn’t miss Brunt.
    I also enjoyed a couple of weeks back with Matt Stairs on the round table. Fascinating stuff.
    I agree with some of the other posters here… Bring in some other guys like Bob Ryan, Banks, or Becker.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like when Friedman is on, and I think Arash does a good job too… But how great would a round table be with Deitsch, or Morosi, or Becker, and Brunt?

  25. Drumanchor says:

    According to Steve Simmons, it is Boobie Clark’s birthday today. Now that is a story I could get my hands on.

  26. Jp says:

    Why would people want Rob Becker as a co-host? All he does is legal analysis, or being Bob’s on-call “legal beagle”… He’s great on a 5 minute spot but longer than that he gets irritating… I cannot imagine him filling 10 hours for a whole week of PTS

  27. Sam in Scarb says:

    @Jp agreed 100%
    I assume when Becker is booked he is told what the subject will be.So he has hours to prepare thoughts.So again, for 5 minutes he sounds very good.
    Ask him if Josh Donaldson should take more walks and play 15 less games per year he may not sound so smart!!

  28. Daniel says:

    If Rogers follows up 3 months of nationwide excitement, sold out crowds, and record setting ratings by cutting payroll, then they truly are incredible idiots. The potential is clearly there to run this team like a financial powerhouse. Knobs.

  29. William D says:


    To an incredibly large telecommunications conglomerate that makes the lion share of it’s profits from it’s wireless and cable business, I highly doubt the Jays are anything close to a finanial powerhouse to Rogers, now if this team is owned by a billionaire i.e George Weston than the jays are absolutely a financial powerhouse to the portfolio and no doubt he would spend accordingly. The late Ted Rogers stated from the beggining he did not purchase this team becasue he is a fan of the game. Ted purchased at a time where telco’s were combining internet and tv. Bell had a stake in the Raptors and soon put them on CTV and TSN and Rogers then went after the jays. The jays are nothing but a content play, then once in a while the Rogers guys will throw the fans a bone, like a payroll increase or a big trade. The crazy thing for me is that jays always have strong numbers on t.v and radio so in other words the Jays are the baseball version of the leafs in this country, the difference is, the support is reversed, when butts aren’t in the seats at the rogers centre people are tuning in on tv or radio in very large numbers ,with the leafs, even if a hurricane struck (knock knock) people would still fill the ACC.

  30. Matty Zero says:


    Rogers gonna Rogers.

    That company has proven time and again, that they are tone deaf when it comes to serving the customers what they want, in any division.

    They probably believe that the massive profits will keep growing, even if (when) they slash the payroll.

  31. mike (in boston) says:

    Thanks for letting me know that Deitsch linked this post Dogpounder. That’s a pretty cool honour.

    I just listened to his segment with Brady&Walker and he is everything that is right about media reporting. Imagine if there were someone of his calibre calling out the BS in Canadian sports media?

  32. alex says:

    I wonder how many times david branch will be on 590 and 1050 today discussing the Flint story.

  33. William D says:

    @Matty Zero

    Radio and Tv numbers have historically been strong, even through the down years. We all know listeners and viewers = add dollars which = profits, not sure a drop in payroll has ever done or will do much to affect that.

  34. Hans says:

    I wonder how people will feel this week with the contrast of Ken Reid being in the PTS co-host chair as compared to Richard Deitsch from last week? I think we can already hear the cries of “noooooo”.

    One thing I would like to see is JP Morosi given a week in the co-host spot as I think he’d also bring some new energy to the table and also get Bob to be more engaged with the show as a whole.

  35. Sam in Scarb says:

    Just flipped on PTS..
    IF Bob or robbers gave a shit about the listening public,reid would NOT be there.
    Just a big slap in the mouth of the public
    CLICK bye

  36. Steve Jones says:

    Heard Reid was going to be co-hosting. Not a chance I’m listening. Over to Naylor to see if there is anything worthwhile going on there. I am on full Reid boycott.

  37. Mike S says:

    When I heard that 590 was going to have Deitsch on as PTS co-host for a week I thought it was a great idea………I haven’t listened to all of the podcasts yet but I have really enjoyed the ones I have listened to so far

    Deitsch doesn’t have the ideal voice for radio but he is extremely bright and insightful……….that’s exactly what I want from a PTS co-host because it makes for enjoyable radio and it brings out the best in McCown……….hopefully 590 will do things like this more often because it is worth the added expense……….they used to pay for Jim Kelley to stay in a hotel every other week so you would think bringing in the occasional guest co-host from out of town should be possible

  38. Mont from London Ont says:

    I try I really try but I just can’t take Ken Reid on PTS-
    Does McCown have no say in this?
    I agree with some of the above posts – I like Perkins and
    hope his health is good-

  39. Robert says:

    @Alex – “Perk seemed to be feeling okay when he killed Rogers over AA.”

    I didn’t hear that. Do you have a link to the segment?


  40. MjwW says:

    Listening to the podcast, Reid seems to know he’s very unpopular with PTS listeners. A sign for hope?

    • mike (in boston) says:

      MjwW – I have two theories about the inexplicable presence of Reid on PTS:

      1. Bob loves the little feller
      2. Don Kollins gave Reid a guaranteed contract as co-host

      Theory 1 strikes me as implausible since Bob doesn’t seem to care all that much about anybody, and it is unclear why Reid of all people would be his protégé. Theory 2 strikes me as quite plausible given some of Kollins’ other judgment calls (e.g. Blundell). The problem is that Theory 1 also has some empirical support: Shannon has been around forever and he is just as bad as Reid.

  41. Rob J says:

    Nelson Millman is scheduled to appear soon on the awesome “toronto mike’d” podcast. Should be a great hour.

  42. billyjoejimbob says:


    3) There are no other options. Think about it: who can do a whole week that is available to them? (Without flying them in.)

  43. Mike S says:

    Becker has already been PTS guest co-host for a week but it was a long time ago…………it was in Feb 2006 right before the start of the Turin Olympics……….the Janet Gretzky betting story broke that week so it turned out to be a good week to have a legal expert there………he did a pretty good job as co-host that week but in my opinion he wasn’t as good as Deitsch was last week

    I’m trying to think of other outside the box possibilities……….Morosi as co-host for a week would be a decent choice……….Don Banks (after football season is over) would be good……… that Beeston is retired maybe they could have him on a Friday roundtable……….Jim Hughson often flies to Toronto for Saturday Leaf games so maybe they could get him to be on a Friday roundtable……….they need to be more creative instead of running Shannon out there every Friday

  44. Daniel says:

    Interesting how McCown has claimed Jays will slash payroll, and Rick Westhead is reporting that Jays payroll will be at least the same, and possibly increased.

    Even though I like McCown, and even though he works for Rogers, I have to admit I’m finding Westhead’s story to be a lot more plausible here.

  45. William D says:


    I would go with Bob on this, an order from Rogers to curb spending or reduce payroll my be realistic. This is a team run by a boardroom of suits that work for a publically traded company, it’s all about how can we spend less and maintain profits. When the suits look at the numbers for TV and Radio they will see strong numbers which is no different year after year, regardless of how the team is doing. The suits know they can get away with reducing payroll, because they control the backlash by using their media outlet to do damage control by selling some kind of hope. i.e. young talent, Canadian born players, etc. believe me there will be some kind of silver lining brought to you by none other that Mike Wilner. I don’t think Bob’s anticipation of a payroll deduction is far fetched.

  46. William D says:

    Correction- Payroll reduction

  47. Sam in Scarb says:

    The ultimate drinking game:
    A PTS Friday round-table of Blundell,Shannon & Reid
    Take a sip of your favorite beverage each time something dumb/stupid is said.
    The advantage is one would be passed out on the floor by 5:15 thus not having to listen to the remaining hour and 45 minutes.

  48. Jojo says:

    My ultimate drinking game… Take a sip every time I read a posting like Sam in Scarb’s posting. Talk about beating a dead horse, we get it… You don’t like Reid, Shannon or Blundell.

    They were hired, they have some skill and they get paid.

    Simple solutions:
    1. Call their employee and complain;
    2. Contact them directly and provide constructive criticism;
    3. Cry to your Momma;
    4. Change stations.

  49. Anthony says:

    McCowns proclamations regarding the Blue Jays are usually more wrong then right lately (remember that John Gibbons was about to be fired in May).

    Everyone agreed that Westhead was on the money when he reported about the Shapiro/Anthopolous meeting that made Rogers look bad, now that he’s reporting something positive, hes wrong? Not sure the logic here.

    Over the past few years Rogers let go of their cheap ways and opened up the wallet and finally witnessed the most profitable time in the history of the Blue Jays, I highly doubt they blow it all up, it will cost them more money then it would save them.

  50. William D says:

    I agree with Bob’s assumption, prediction whatever you want to call it, If you understand that this is a publically traded company where baseball does not drive the massive overall revenues and despite Rogers lackluster contributions to payroll over the years the numbers on TV and Radio have remained strong(which cushions a blow), Then Bob’s theory is more than logical.
    In the grand skeem of things media companies will be scaling back as a result of new regulatory changes in the market place coming in 2016, hence the layoffs at bell media.

    Despite some of some of Bob’s inaccuracy in reporting, Bob anticipating a payroll reduction has more to do with logic and understanding the way Rogers treats the Blue Jays as a non core asset and a mere penny on the balance sheet than anything. Bob is far from the only one that is a skeptic of how Rogers will handle it’s payroll this year, Elliot Friedman a very reputable voice in broadcasting and reporting, displayed fear of this teams M.O. with regards to payroll this year. From an investor standpoint The team is simply not a core asset and will always be far down in the pecking order as it pertains to what drives Rogers Communications overall value. Bringing in a guy who’s template for a team over the years has been young, talented and controllable, should say a lot. Short term pain in terms of cost/losses to acquire long term gain(going the cheaper way to gain success i.e. K.C) is simply the cost of doing business and saving long term. The template for winning it all/making playoffs without breaking the bank or being top ten in payroll now has been proven by, KC, St Louis, Pittsburgh, NY Mets, etc. In my view this is a no brainer to a company that doesn’t exactly hedge it’s overall profits on a baseball team.

  51. Alex says:

    It was funny listening to blair & brunt talk about the payroll stories.

    They basucally said “consider who is saying what and who their sources probably and what axes they have to grind.”

    Meaning: Bob is carrying Beeston’s water.

  52. Anthony says:

    ‘They basucally said “consider who is saying what and who their sources probably and what axes they have to grind.”

    Meaning: Bob is carrying Beeston’s water.

    Ding Ding. I like Bob but does anyone have any doubt over where most of his Blue Jays info comes from?

  53. Anthony says:

    Enough about the angry Rogers rants, focusing on MIBs topics, it is amazing (maybe not so much) about how mainstream media guys hold personal grudges. Its funny how they act independent, yet when there’s an option to go after a guy they perceive as ‘spurned them’, be it Kessel or others, it gets personal right away.

    The good ones realize that they are not the story, the players and team are. Those that feel the need to place themselves ahead of the sport, be it Simmons or Feschuck (who may be the worst of the bunch) certainly hurt their image. I wish we could go back to when writers where not personalities, when they just focused on reporting, but with the marriage of media properties, the personality takes precedence over the reporting.

  54. Carl A says:

    PTS today was Shannon + Reid — Not worth watching or listening.

  55. Anthony says:

    Sorry about going back on it, but Bob himself even said today that the Payroll for the Jays will be in the 135/140 Mil plus flexablity (basically repeating what Westhead said), so now EVERYONE is saying the same thing, the ‘Rogers is killing the Blue Jays!!!!!!’ stuff probably can come to an end at this point.

    Secondly, great interview with Nelson Millman today via Toronto Mike, alot of insight into a variety of topics

  56. Ken says:

    I agree with Anthony, great interview with Nelson Millman over at Toronto Mike. His site is a must visit for anyone interested in Toronto radio media.

  57. Hans says:

    For those curious about Perkins – he’s co-hosting on PTS today so I guess he’s both doing well health wise and out of the rogers dog house if he was indeed in it.

  58. Alex says:

    I turned off after Deitsch bc i figured Reid was co hosting today.

  59. Anthony says:


    Its a must listen. I Don’t listen to many Toronto based podcats but his is on the top of my list. I sometimes go ack and re-listen when I have the time. Great content.

  60. William D says:

    I thought Toronto Mike’s questions were strong, I didn’t think Nelson gave him much, appeared as though Nelson didn’t want to ruffle any feathers with opinion or fact. To me Nelson answers kind of watered down the Interview.

  61. MjwW says:

    Holy hell…the first hour of the PTS roundtable was a mess.

  62. Paul says:

    @MjwW No Kidding! I have never commented on a particular media member before, however tonight this hour (switched to CNN around 5:40 re Paris Attacks) drove me nuts!

    Topics and comments from the 3 other panelists were of interest, but Reid’s constant arguing long after an issue/point was raised is simply beyond the acceptable. He simply is not happy unless he is constantly (and loudly) attempting to make himself heard. Reminds me of the kid who finally gets to sit at the adults’ table, but doesn’t know how to behave appropriately.

  63. Dogpounder says:

    ^Re tonight’s PTS.

    Was pretty surprised Bob didn’t know Chris Davis was a LH bat.

  64. chuck says:

    Did anybody else watch the W5 story on steroids? That’s news? Waterloo’s steroid scandal was many years ago. Rick Westhead stirring up controversy for no reason. Nothing new on this. Westhead needs to give his head a shake and stop calling himself a sports reporter.

  65. Pudge72 says:

    @Dogpounder…you should never be surprised when Bob demonstrates lack of knowledge on current players in any league. He conveys the impression that he spends little actual time watching the sports he proceeds to comment on. First impressions live forever with him, and relevant details on silly topics like active players are largely ignored.

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