Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

March 26th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports
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photo credit: Sportsnet

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by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail

 

Good morning sports media insiders and outsiders. I'm looking for story ideas so if you have some topic you want to see covered here, please be in touch (note: you can DM me even if we're not following each other). Also, if you're in the industry and want to get something off your chest, we have ways of making that happen.

 

Because It's 2016 …

 

Of all the topics we cover in this space, the ones we discuss the most pertain to the intersection of sports and social issues. Of those issues, sexism, racism, and homophobia stand out as the most important. The reason is that sports is reliably lagging behind the rest of society. So even though we are in 2016, there is still a need to shine a light into the corners of the sports world where these problems continue to lurk. Baseball fought the integration of black players. Just last month we learned of a baseball prospect quitting after his coach talked about killing gay people. We don't have openly gay current players in most professional sports. And it wasn't that long ago that one of the world's most famous golf courses banned women.

 

The news isn't all bad, of course. The NFL pressured Arizona to drop some anti-LGBT legislation by threatening to move the SuperBowl. Some teams are doing the same with respect to a similar law passed by North Carolina. The You Can Play project has seen some uptake by individual professional teams as well as the CFL, MLS, NHL, and their respective players' associations. But the existence of good news doesn't make the bad news any easier to accept. And the bad news when it comes to sexism has been an ongoing story in several leagues in recent months.

 

Here's an abbreviated list: the NFL's initial lax treatment of Ray Rice punching his girlfriend into unconsciousness, the same casual attitude towards Greg Hardy's domestic violence, the LA Kings' laissez-faire approach to the Voynov assault, and Gary Bettman's trademark disingenuous response to the Corey/Katy Perry chants. PPP also writes about, among other related issues, a recent Chicago BlackHawk prospect being charged for revenge porn. (note: comments are closed on this thread at PPP. Attempts to ascertain the reasons why were ignored by their Site Manager. Feel free to comment here.)

 

All of this serves as the background to the big story of the week. The CEO of the Indian Wells tennis tournament Raymond Moore said some sexist things, and later resigned. The BBC has a great breakdown of the issues.

 

Here are the relevant quotes:

 

"In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men. They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport."

 

He also referred to women's players as "physically attractive and competitively attractive" while talking about the future of women's tennis, referencing Genie Bouchard and others. 

 

When asked to comment on Moore's remarks, Novak Djokovic said many things, including this:

 

"I applaud them for that, I honestly do. They fought for what they deserve and they got it. On the other hand I think that our men’s tennis world, ATP world, should fight for more because the stats are showing that we have much more spectators on the men’s tennis matches. I think that’s one of the reasons why maybe we should get awarded more. Women should fight for what they think they deserve and we should fight for what we think we deserve."

 

Seems like a reasonable argument. He also said this:

 

"I have tremendous respect for what women in global sport are doing and achieving. Their bodies are much different to men’s bodies. They have to go through a lot of different things that we don’t have to go through. You know, the hormones and different stuff, we don’t need to go into details. I have great admiration and respect for them to be able to fight on such a high level. Many of them have to sacrifice for certain periods of time, the family time or decisions that they make on their own bodies in order to play tennis and play professional sport. … I’m completely for women power."

 

Oh boy. Let's separate out two issues:

 

1. Pay Equity

2. Sex appeal in sports

 

These are distinct issues and you can have no problem with the second and lots of problems with the first, and vice versa.

 

Let's deal with the first: should women stars be paid the same as their male counterparts?

 

In most other sports this would seem ridiculous but in tennis it is not. Have a look at the BBC article for some relevant data. As a complete outsider, it seems plausible to me that the star system in tennis is cyclical. In an ideal world there will be stars in both at all times. In reality, women will be be the stars at times and men will be stars at times.  Pay equity in the most lucrative tournaments seems like a reasonable solution to the ebb and flow of the sport.

 

I can understand the argument that purses should be relative to ticket sales for all events, including the majors. After all we don't expect WNBA stars to make the same as NBA stars. But it is hard to compare tennis to any other sport. It's an individual game not a team game, so likening men's and women's tennis to the NBA and WNBA doesn't work. However, tennis is also not like golf where your main competition is with the course, not your opponents. It's also not like golf in that the men and women tour together for majors and other tournaments. Since individual fates are very much intermixed in tennis, pay equity at the most popular tournaments seems like a decent solution. There is room for reasonable disagreement on this issue.

 

On to the second: is there a problem with marketing sex appeal in sports?

 

All things considered the answer has to be: no. These are among the most fit humans in the world. Their bodies are amazing. I have no problem with individuals choosing to draw attention to their physique. Where it becomes problematic is when a league decides to use that as its marketing technique. I'm sure the women who signed up to play in the Lingerie Football League knew what they were getting in to. The fact that some of them are very good at playing football is secondary. This is not at all the case with the WTA. So for Moore to suggest that the league should start focusing the attention on how attractive their players are is demeaning to the athletes who compete in that league.

 

Again, to be clear: there is nothing wrong with Anna Kournikova building a fortune based on her looks rather than her tennis skills. The problem is with a highly paid and powerful tennis executive publicly arguing that this is what all women in the sport should be doing.

 

Over to you: for those of you who actually follow the sport, how representative of general sentiment are Moore & Djokovic's comments? Is there merit to the argument that since women play best of 3 while men play best of 5, men deserve to be paid more?

 

McCown's Moral Progress?

 

The Indian Wells fiasco brought to mind some similar comments by Sportsnet host Bob McCown in 2011. On International Women's Day (March 8th of 2011) McCown went on air at 3pm and began his show by talking about women in sports. As you'll recall, moving PTS to 3-6pm and replaying the 5 o'clock hour from 6 to 7pm was a Kollins Genius Idea™. This decision came after he opted to hire Andrew Krystal to host the morning show, another KGI™. By March of 2011 Krystal was hosting 1-3pm, and he regularly joined Bob for a cross-over segment (KGI™).

 

The two hosts discussed the state of women's sports for roughly 20 minutes. The podcast of the show has been lost in the sands of time (note: I'll make a donation to your favourite charity if you find and send me the audio) but some of Bob's remarks were recorded for posterity. Here's a sampling of McCown's thoughts:

 

"The sole motivation for a man to watch any sport is: Are [the women] half naked and are they good-looking?"

 

"I have never seen a female volleyball player I would consider attractive. I’m not saying they’re all dogs, or butch, but they’re not overwhelming. Women’s hockey, I would never watch because you can’t see them."

 

"You don’t get enough close-ups in soccer to see if they’re attractive or not."

 

Dave Bidini in the National Post has a commentary on Bob's remarks, including the parts where McCown discussed "Gabriella Sabatini’s nipples, her sweat, likening her competitive look to a wet T-shirt contest." Readers on this site also discussed the comments.

 

Bob appears to have revised his view of things in the intervening 5 years. The always excellent Christine Brennan (USA Today) appeared on PTS on Monday (March 21, 6pm hour – Shannon warning!) to discuss Moore's remarks and succinctly articulated why they were sexist and unacceptable. Bob noted in response that "any right thinking person" would agree with her.

 

In a slightly uncomfortable segue, Bob Ryan was the next guest and said we should not be surprised at the dumb things executives say when it comes to gender. Ryan also appears to have evolved since he famously said that a prominent NBA player's wife should be smacked, and refused to retract the comment when given the opportunity to do so. (As an aside, PTS should move on from Ryan as a paid guest. He's incoherent most of the time.)

 

It would have been illuminating to hear Bob explain his change of stance on women's sports. While he claimed to have been joking when he made the sexist comments in 2011, the content of what he said speaks for itself. As far as I know he never apologized for saying those things. So as a listener I am unsure whether Bob has genuinely changed his stance or not.

 

Naylor & Landsberg had a great segment with Howard Bryant (ESPN) on the Moore comments (March 21, Hour 3).

 

The Freelancers

 

  • Nice to see Eric Koreen getting more venues for his excellent writing. In addition to Vice and Sportsnet, Raptors Republic is now carrying his work.

 

  • John Lott continues to tear it up as a freelance writer and photographer. As I have said before, the Globe should sign him up immediately. I would read their website every day during the baseball season if he were writing for them.

 

  • David Alter continues to produce good content for theScore. theScore used to be a great alternative until they got rid of most of their writers a while ago. I use their app a lot less than I used to as a result.

 

  • The newest addition to the freelancer crowd is Mr. Greg Brady who is writing for not one but two outlets. Nice to have Greg back on the scene and nice to see him get a chance to ply his trade in a new medium. Greg is best suited to radio, but let's see how this goes.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Fun fact: lots of people in the sports media have their colleagues on mute on Twitter.

 

  • Seems like there is some tension between Andrew Walker & Bruce Arthur:

 

 

  • Tony Soprano once said that "remember when" is the lowest form of conversation. Someone please pass this message on to Naylor & Landsberg. You're both older than your target demo so beating the nostalgia angle whenever possible seems like a strategic mistake.

 

  • Speaking of the morning show, I find it shocking that Landsberg has made it this far in life without learning there is a difference between gentle ribbing between buddies and being a jerk. Far too often he makes unnecessarily mean spirited comments to Naylor or to the guest. I don't think he's a mean spirited person, so why does he talk like one?

 

  • Great moment between Keith Law and Landsberg discussing the need for destigmatization around mental illness (March 21, Hour 3).

 

  • With reports that Tim & Sid's TV show is a ratings disaster relative to its cost and what it replaced, the good news is that they have a plan for how to boost ratings.

 

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

 

77 Comments

  1. Ron H says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Bob Ryan. I can’t actually believe that the average Toronto sports fan would be so enamored with what’s going on in the Boston sports scene.

    I think there’s a future for Naylor & Landsberg, if only Michael could stop hijacking the conversation. Enough with the OTR references.

    Would love to be a fly on the wall for how Rogers approaches the NHL playoffs. 5 CDN teams within 3 points of finishing dead last. Is there a team they latch on to? Is there a team they’re hoping go’s a long way?

    Any Leafs fans out there scared as hell on dropping out of the top 3? Bittersweet !!

  2. Mike, you brought back memories for me of that segment with McCown and Krystal that repulsed me beyond belief at the time.

    Reading my comments on both of the threads from 5 years ago and how I felt at the time I ask myself in 2016 what would my reaction be with my daughters 14 and 12 now. My wife and I have certainly instilled in them that they can do anything they want to do in life, and should be treated the exact same as a man in the workforce, including pay, which sadly has not happened yet for equal work.

    For Bob to say what he did back then was doing a disservice to the athletes themselves who were professional tennis players. Here is a quote from Gabriella Sabatini on her retirement from the game: I carried through well with my tennis. I got the respect by usage of the tennis racket. If only Bob had the wherewith-all to treat her like a player who won 27 singles titles and the 1990 U.S. Open rather than drool over her like a teenage boy having just gone through puberty we would be in a better place.

    Does Bob feel differently now than back then? I have no idea. I do know that he would not repeat his diatribe on air now, mainly because he knows society has progressed since then, but obviously not far enough – see Raymond Moore.

  3. Rob J says:

    Males sports are increasingly using sexuality as well. NFL are painted on, showing off the players’ physiques, Outsports called MMA ‘gay porn for straight guys’, Tyler Seguin did a nude photoshoot on a Zamboni, and the media swoon over 18 year-old hockey players and their physiques at the draft combine. There’s no way you can watch males in sports like tennis, football, gymnastics, wrestling-MMA etc without being made fully aware of their physical gifts, shall we say.

  4. mario says:

    Thank again MIB for a great read. Could not agree with you more with this stone age thinking about sexism, racism and the homophobia there is if most if not sports but in every day life. The comments of WTA Raymond Moore with beyond belief how someone could say the things he said, good riddance to him.
    As for Tim & Sid why don’t they just move them back to radio and TV in there old time slot, them Walker back to mornings. But that might make too much sense.

  5. Cirroc says:

    Anybody else not really care about the “issues”? Does that make me a bad guy? Just give me some sports please.

  6. Tighthead says:

    Cirroc – I think sometimes the issues are overplayed, mostly because the majority of sports journalists lack the capacity to do so effectively.

    Is hockey the only major team sport without a former/current player who has come out as gay? If so, it certainly supports my belief that it has the most conservative culture.

  7. (Another) Andrew says:

    I’m far more concerned about Indian Wells owner Larry Ellison’s disturbing political views, which he backs with many millions, than some throwaway remarks about women’s tennis from a tournament director. Unsurprisingly, American sports journos leave the tough stuff like that alone. Indeed every year the commentators give Ellison the rock star treatment. He’s so great. The players are treated so well. The facilities are amazing. Ellison has an awe-inspiring mansion with a golf course. Celebrities love him so much. Ugh. It’s embarrassing.

    Incidentally, if women’s tennis is in such great shape, as American generalist sports commentators claimed this week, why have they been so desperate to link all their tournaments to the men’s events? The argument could be made that women’s tennis was at least as entertaining as the men’s game in the 90s – and the ratings backed it up – but today it is in poor shape. Kim Clijsters took two years off came back and in her second tournament won the U.S Open. Laughable. Despite what our America-centric sports media think Europe is the most important market for tennis and over there interest in the women’s game is limited whilst the men’s game has never been more popular. The soaring revenue from the men’s game has indeed benefitted female players, though obviously Moore’s way of expressing that point was, er, somewhat undiplomatic and inelegant.

    With reports that Tim & Sid‘s TV show is a ratings disaster relative to its cost and what it replaced, the good news is that they have a plan for how to boost ratings.

    I keep reading that here at TSM but I don’t recall seeing any actual numbers to back it up.

  8. Another Steve says:

    Whenever Canada’s elite national women’s team plays the USA in hockey, it’s a must see event.

    It’s good, technical hockey, with a lot of passion and emotion.
    Although not as fast as major junior hockey, it’s an entertaining level of hockey to watch, with a fair bit of “incidental” contact.

    Elite level women’s soccer can also be as entertaining, but is also limited to 3 or 4 teams that typically play very high level technical football (USA, Germany, and Sweden; then it drops off, Japan and Brazil can sometimes compete with the big three) then there’s another drop off, and it becomes a combination of broken plays between teams trying to play build-up vs teams relying on kick and run.

    I’ll also watch high level women’s curling, of which, I think could compete with high level men’s curling.

    Otherwise, I have no interest in watching women in sport on tv, but I always make time to support and watch my daughters in their respective sports.

    As for McCown, much like he has over the past couple of years, I’ve lost interest in PTS – guests are tired, old, or young goofy white guys. The show lacks interest and appeal. A revamp, with a complete overhaul, is long overdue, start with the host’s chair.

    On the issue of pay equity, I think what drives the bus is demand.
    Where are the sponsors parking the majority of their money, female events or male events; if it’s the same, then yes, pay them the same. Same to be said, for ticket sales. Who sells more, female players, or male players? If it’s the men, then pay them more.

    I might be persuaded to buy a ticket and watch Milos play.
    I have no interest in buying a ticket to watch Genie play.
    Same sport, same venue, both Canadian.

    On the issue of sex appeal.
    Sex sells!
    That’s our reality. Don’t have to like it. But that’s what drives the promotion vehicles, and every sport and tv network trys to, “sex it up”. UFC, tennis, golf, curling, FIFA, IIHF, the Olympics….

  9. Original Mitch says:

    If you wanna know why nobody is watching T&S, well that tweet sums it up perfectly.

    Also, @robJ you are right, there is this unspoken double standard when it comes to male and female athletes flaunting their bodies. So much of the marketing for pro sports is about the male athlete without their shirts, their perfect non-perfect hair and face. Its marketing. Women want them and men want to be them. Tyler Seguin nude is cute, a female athlete? Sexist!
    The sexualization of male athletes is more prominent then ever, yet it isn’t an issue.

  10. Catman says:

    Landsberg needs to tone down his act and realize he has a co-host. And the condescending manner in which he speaks to Naylor at times is a big turn-off. Give Naylor some respect – he’s earned it.

  11. GreyCountyMike says:

    It’s been evident for many years that Michael Landsberg becomes a mean little man whenever he feels threatened or upstaged … and that’s a tough way to have to work when you’re a second-tier guy in a market that has a fair share of top-tier talent.

    Too bad, really, because he’s got some interesting insights on various subjects. Professionally, he just seems unable to get over himself.

  12. AP says:

    The Score app is an absolute must. The news section is actually good for quick updates.

  13. Alex says:

    Most people here likely dont know her, but georgie bingham is a british sports host (who worked for espn a few years ago).

    She is in the camp if people that think men should get paid more because they play 3/5 sets and women play 2/3.

    Her point is that she can say it and have a discussion, but if a guy says it, they are immediately branded as sexist and their opinion inmediately dismissed.

  14. Darrell says:

    Tim + Sid are the best thing today in Toronto sports media. They are funny, quick wit and make you forget your trials/tribulations in a hurry.

  15. dogpounder says:

    Agreed on Bob Ryan. Interesting perspective once in awhile. Spot should be reduced from weekly to monthly.

  16. Cirroc says:

    It seems fitting to mention the story that’s out there that the NFL made a deal with the Rams so they would draft Michael Sam. Was this deal in the name of progress, good PR, or fear of backlash if he got passed over? Either way, it seems the NFL did it’s part. Too bad Sam didn’t. It’s really a shame that when we look back at the first openly gay NFL player, the story will end with said player being a quitter.

    ps Tim and Sid are an embarrassment

  17. Rob J says:

    I know this board loves Freidman but his comment on PTS friday that Tor is ‘a tough media market’ vis a vis the Jays is guaranteed the most ridiculous quote of the year

  18. Rob in Aurora says:

    I find it quite strange that Landsberg takes such delight in bullying other people. He quite obviously tries to make them feel bad about themselves. You would think a man that quite opemnly admits to suffering from depression himself would avoid trying to make people feel bad about themselves.

    I definitely would avoid trying to do the same to him if his psyche is as fragile as he lets on. Someone in my family suffers from depression and one of the big issues is her self image. She is very easily thrown into a dark place by how she feels about herself.

    This is why I think Landsberg is a bit of a phony when he starts acting like a Doctor Feelgood every time he wants to discuss depression and mental health issues. I appreciate his efforts, (even if he seems duplicitous), but with his personality that, on the air at least is a bully, he comes off as really disingenuous. Why would I take hi!m seriously when he gets all touchy feely about depression when he’s always so busy giving people a good excuse to feel bad about themselves?

  19. jason says:

    ‘I don’t think he’s a mean spirited person, so why does he talk like one?’

    Ive met him twice, (I guess we live in the same area), he’s mean spirited.

    ‘I find it quite strange that Landsberg takes such delight in bullying other people. ‘

    +1

    I appreciate his efforts, (even if he seems duplicitous), but with his personality that, on the air at least is a bully, he comes off as really disingenuous.

    The more I listen to him added in with my personal interactions, I wonder if its an act to get his name out there. Awful thing to think, but how else can he treat people so poorly then act like feelings matter? Its not like its just on the radio, its every day life.

  20. 4X4 Time says:

    @Rob J – I have spent the past two years and a bit working quite a bit in Chicago. You are correct, Toronto is far from a “tough media” town. Also, it is surprising with all the “insiders” in this town how often they miss being first on real news issues.

  21. Rob in Aurora says:

    Thanks for the score app tip. Was not using it for news updates (Twitter is immediate) but ibwill give it a try. It’s great for game stats and immediate feedback during the game (roster info etc)..

    …I can’t stand the Tim and Sid show. (It’s all about tastes and preferences. Some people loved Seinfeld, while others liked Three’s Company. I am sure that no one likes both). Tim I like, Sid tries way too hard and he’s annoying to me…..Tim should go solo back on radio. He could be a relacment for McCown some day

  22. I have not chimed in in a long time on Tim and Sid, and how my level of engagement is on it. Firstly, let me say that I was a 100% Tim and Sidizen when the were on from 1-4 p.m. The show had room to breathe, was not too hockey-centric which I loved, and was certainly not over-produced. The regular outsider guests were great, and while there were some internal Sportsnet regulars on I never felt it was overbearing. Somehow Sid was more under control in this format, and his overbearing rants for show somehow felt right in the 3 hour format.

    There literally is nothing that I like about their move, and it has taken the best of what I loved about their show and removed it, only to replace it with ridiculously overproduced segments that feel like Sportsnet advertorials thrust through every fabric of social media.

    I am at the point now where John Shannon is even starting to look better to me, actually, I was just kidding there, but you get my point.

    To recap, the time slot does not work on tv for me, promoting Sportsnet evening programming is completely boring, I want to talk about what has already happened and have some actual depth to interviews, and this format brings the worst out in Sid for sure, who is trying too hard.

    I feel bad for Tim, who is a straight-up knowledgeable sports guy who gives opinions and backs them up with reality, and under this format he just does not have enough time to conduct proper interviews. I catch the off segment now and then, more to see if the show has somehow figured things out, but they have not, and as a result, McCown sans Shannon/Reid has got more of my attention, as 1050 not being a hockey puck will never have street cred for me with those guys branching out to include other sports. My answer is listing to Melnick on TSN in Montreal, at least I am dealing with a professional broadcaster in the right format.

  23. yaz says:

    I’ll say this about Bruce Arthur: quite frankly, after all is said and done, at the end of the day in my humble opinion, that is all there is to say about that.

  24. KJ says:

    Bruce Arthur is upset at Walker? Oh dear, what happened? Walker must have suggested at some point in time that Bruce was ever-so-slightly less than the most superior human being of all time. Of course, anything less than absolute agreement with everything Bruce says is a Cardinal sin in Bruce’s books. Shame on Andrew.

  25. Billy Bob says:

    Why does it seem like to me that Bruce Arthur doesn’t even like sports? His incessant need to inject social commentary into every discussion is beyond tired. Sanctimonious and arrogant. You’re not a journalist (whatever that means these days), you’re a sports writer, you hack.

    I’m all for Tim and Sid crawling back to radio after a failure of a tv stint. They’re much better at the 1pm hour and watching Bob’s gleeful I-told-you-so would be fantastic. Please get Walker out of the there, it’s just not good.

  26. MattK says:

    Numeris called my dad yesterday at 12:07 to do a survey, Easter Sunday at lunch wtf is that?

    I don’t watch Tim and Sid, but I used to always listen on the radio quite often. Not a 100% sure why, but it may have something to do that it is no longer just 2 guys talking having fun and it feels more forced now.

    Would Bruce be pissed that Brady used to attack TSN and Walker did nothing to stop it?

  27. Antonio says:

    my God! McCown really looks like a tool in that picture. What idiot thought it was a good image to use to promote his show?

  28. BoJack says:

    “No one told me you couldn’t refer to broads as ‘dogs’ or ‘butch’ anymore! Sheesh, political correctness is ruining everything these days.”

    *shrugs* *pops red leather collar*

  29. BoJack says:

    Can’t really blame Sid for going back to the well that made him rich. The people I feel bad for are Tim and Bob’s old producer and the rest of the people who have to pretend that this is funny or interesting.

  30. (Another) Andrew says:

    It’s been evident for many years that Michael Landsberg becomes a mean little man whenever he feels threatened or upstaged

    If true then Naylor sounds like the perfect co-host for him.

  31. Brian (not a Raptors devotee) says:

    Sadly, TSN replacing the Leafs Lunch crew has me listening more to HC@N (despite Shannon’s repetitive thoughts, repetitive thoughts). I gave the new show a go but it hasn’t kept me interested. I only go to LL on commercial breaks or if PJ Stock AND Shannon are on — surely a justification for assisted suicide.

    Tim and Sid need to evolve. I’m not a fan of the new show. If they don’t move beyond the mindlessness, people will move on. More substance, less schtick.

    Re Tennis pay inequity: There must be some way to code tickets in such a way that that allows tennis authorities to determine total revenue from men’s tickets vs women’s sold (including finals). So that for each tournament each gender gets its respective share of ticket revenue. Sponsor and TV money are different and would have to be divided equally. That seems fair to me.

  32. Daniel says:

    I’m a huge fan of Bruce’s writing, and I often enjoy his political takes as well as sports ones, but his twitter persona has started to seem really defensive and insecure. I looked at his @mentions a while ago, and it looked like he was just saying ‘Fuck you’ to any tweeter told him they disagreed with him. I also don’t find him all that great on the radio. I thought he’d develop into a Brunt type on there, but so far I don’t find him too compelling on there.

    Still – I think he’s an amazing writer.

  33. Joseph says:

    @Rob in Aurora – I happen to like both Sienfeld and Three’s Company, the contrast in comedy is somewhat like Tim and Sid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of the show either, it sucks Donkey Balls, for lack of a better term, and I wish they just remained on radio.

  34. Rob J says:

    Is Sportsnet EVER going to break any news in the NHL concussion lawsuit? Westhead has every scoop. The league found the perfect patsy, I mean partner.

  35. Rob in Aurora says:

    Re: Sportsnet breaking any stories that would or could harm the NHL…. I don’t see that ever happening. (Credibility is sorely lacking)

    TSN has nothing to lose and it looks good on both TSN (Rick Westhead in particular for his diligent work on the subject)… but it also looks good on a certain sniveling, two faced, habitual liar.

  36. billyjoejimbob says:

    The concussion lawsuit is a tough one for Sportsnet. They have to eat it. But, it’s funny how much more brave TSN became when they lost the rights. Not a chance they do this stuff if they win the bid.

    I’m still not convinced the players win this, though. Wait til league lawyers start asking them about alcoholism. And Clarke Macarthur’s admission they lie about symptoms is going to hurt them too.

  37. Matty Zero says:

    ‘but it also looks good on a certain sniveling, two faced, habitual liar.’

    Cool, you know my ex-wife too!

    Seriously though,you are correct. Since Sportsnet holds the rights, they will be invisible on the concussion front, as was ESPN on the similar NFL suit.

  38. Mike V says:

    IIRC, Arash Madani was the one who broke news about the CFL concussion story a while back. And he basically had ever scoop about the labour negotiations from last year.

    I take it that nobody actually has Tim&Sid’s ratings? I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re bad but would be nice to have some hard numbers in hand to back up the editorializing the last few weeks.

    • mike (in boston) says:

      Mike VI take it that nobody actually has Tim&Sid’s ratings? I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re bad but would be nice to have some hard numbers in hand to back up the editorializing the last few weeks.

      TSM and I are both working on this. The problem is that we don’t full access to the historical numbers for the timeslot so it’s hard to make exact comparisons. Basically I have to trust what people in the industry tell me, and what they tell me is that relative to Bob’s TV numbers and replays of highlight shows, Tim&Sid’s numbers aren’t good. Relative to the amount of money that show costs in salaries, the numbers are not good enough. But the real killer is the timeslot: who is home and plunked in front of the TV from 5-7pm?

  39. Antonio says:

    @Daniel
    I agree, he is a good sports writer but he has the maturity of a 14 year old.

  40. GreyCountyMike says:

    Winner, winner! Matty Zero with the punchline of the year!

  41. Curt says:

    You’d think paying $5.2 billion would allow you to report on whatever you want. I guess New York lawyer Bettman put something down in small print. But obviously it’s in Pravda’s best interest to only report on “positive” news. More nauseating Canadiana stories about hometown zamboni drivers who really care…

  42. yaz says:

    Why is Walker complaining he didn’t go to the Raptors game last night because he couldn’t get tickets??? Your station owns 37.5% of the team and you are part of the machine that promotes the team and you CAN’T get into the game??? Who is running Rogers, Scooby Doo?

  43. GreyCountyMike says:

    Scooby Doo! What a great boss, he’d be! Lots of munchies in the break room!

  44. Alex says:

    590 is too busy discussing the blue jays 5th starter and bullpen order to worry about concussions in hockey.

  45. MattK says:

    The TSN commercial showing all the events they have is good, Sportsnet may have the NHL and Blue Jays, but the next best thing they have is grand slam curling.
    I miss The Score though. I still watch highlights on 360, just wish the one highlight guy would stop trying to be funny.

  46. jbg says:

    I am reading that MacKenzie should be holding head high over the nhl emails. Is that the general consensus?

  47. Steve Jones says:

    Wow Rogers has that golden goose, aka the Jays, already roasted to a crispy well done. And the season hasn’t even started yet. I guess it’s good for the baseball fan. But for someone who just wants to hear discussion on a broad variety of issues and topics I’m barely turning the Fan on anymore. 5th starter, Bautista, closer. Who cares. Whatever they decide it will all change in a month or two. So endlessly debating the possibilities is really just marketing not so cleverly disguised as team coverage.

    Also, not a fan over Overdrive. All the noon hour charm is gone and now it’s 3 guys, when they all show up, trying too hard to do a bigger thing. With McCown back on autopilot and telling the same stories, yes Bob you were there in ’77, yes Bob you lived in Vegas, yes Bob fillintheblank, my sports listening is way way down.

  48. Alex says:

    Havent listened yet but Ron MacLean is on the new Toronto Mike podcast.

  49. jeff says:

    @jbg
    (Full disclosure — I haven’t read them all)

    Funny, I felt the opposite. Bobby Mac, to me, came off looking pretty bad in those email exchanges. Of course, we’re not used to seeing him uncensored, so i’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. But, I get the sense that he had a lot of apologizing to do to the people who he mentioned directly.

  50. Brian says:

    Sometimes you get your wish and it sucks even more. Wheeler wasn’t on Cauz today and in his place was Jeremy Taggart. He’s worse than Wheeler and just about anyone else. Why?? What are his credentials to be on air? Our Lady Peace was an average Canadian band. Nothing more. If being an average Canadian musician gets you on Toronto’s second largest sports station, then about 3 million Canadians qualify.

  51. Cirroc says:

    @Brian

    I don’t mind Taggart, in part because he isn’t Wheeler. Even Wheeler’s voice bothers me. And come on, Our Lady Peace was more than an average Canadian band at it’s peak.

  52. Jessie Brockmann says:

    Heard Overdrive for the 1st time the other day and enjoyed it.

  53. Rob in Aurora says:

    I quite enjoy Taggart when he fills in on 1050. Hes engaging and a genuinely good guy…Almost anyone on God’s green earth is an improvement over Wheeler…And “our lady peace” isn’t an average band – they’ve had a very long career and made a pretty good living doing it. That’s an accomplishment in Canadian music… although I am older than their demographic, so who am I to say?….Taggart and Jonathon Torrens have a podcast that’s pretty entertaining.. .But I maintain steadfastly that Wheeler needs to go on order to save that show.

  54. Alex says:

    Admittedly, i dont listen all day, but i still havent heard the nhl email story discussed on 590.

    Plenty of baseball, of course. Passan was good with Bob actually discussing pitching injuries and bob’s “babying pitchers” talking point.

  55. Mike S says:

    I have no problem with Bob Ryan being a weekly guest on PTS………he is not exactly smooth but I wouldn’t call him incoherent

    I think Ryan is one of the better guests on 590 and my father agrees with me………however I am 48 years old and my father is 80 so we can probably relate to him better………….I can understand why younger people wouldn’t want to hear him each week

  56. Mike V says:

    Weird. I haven’t seen it promoted yet, but according to the website it appears Sportsnet is going to go over the top and start offering a digital-only subscription: http://www.sportsnet.ca/now/. Not going to be cheap though (of course it won’t be!) at $25/month. ESPN has been rumoured to offer this for a while but hasn’t yet. Will be interesting to see if TSN soon follows suit.

    As a cord-cutter it’s intriguing but I think the price needs to come down to around $15/month before it gains many subscribers. For comparison, MLB.TV is $110 US for the year (~142 CAD at current rate) and the Blue Jays aren’t blacked out in Canada so if you’re just a baseball fan, that route is still cheaper for more games.

    MIB, alright – I get that. It’s frustrating as hell that in Canada you can find next to no info on TV ratings (and just forget about ever getting real demo breakdowns) while in the US, you can figure out what the 3am replay of Sportscenter did on the following day.

  57. Rob J says:

    Nothing proves how ‘small-town’ the Tor sports media can be than every fawning interview with Dan Shulman on the FAN practically begging him to put the jays on ESPN and desperately needing to know how the US baseball media views the team. I’m literally embarrassed for them.

  58. GreyCountyMike says:

    Rob J: Dead-on!

    It is absolutely embarrassing how the Toronto community in general and Toronto Sports Media in particular are in constant need of U.S. affirmation. The town could care less what the rest of Canada thinks of it, but will curl up into the collective fetal position the second someone in Lincoln, Nebraska or Mobile, Alabama says something that isn’t totally complementary.

  59. Mike V says:

    Funny, I find those in the rest of Canada to be far more concerned with how Toronto interacts with Americans than anyone from Toronto is.

    It’s like the further they get away from here the more obsessed they become with what happens here.

  60. (Another) Andrew says:

    Rob J: Dead-on!

    It is absolutely embarrassing how the Toronto community in general and Toronto Sports Media in particular are in constant need of U.S. affirmation.

    100% agreement. That’s something all of us immigrants and, based on my own social circle, Quebecois both Anglo & Francophone, notice about Torontonians/Southern Ontarians in general. (Outsiders to a city/country always notice things that have been so normalized that the locals take them for granted).

    I think it’s changing though with young people who are more plugged in to the outside world and less influenced by inferiority complex-ridden people at old media like The FAN, CBC News, etc. Indeed this need for U.S. affirmation and constant obsession with American media makes the guys at The Fan sound a lot older than they are.

  61. Rob J says:

    Kudos to Ron Maclean on ‘Toronto Miked’ for telling the truth about why the Canadian teams, struggle, shall we say: the great players have no-movement clauses which restrict them coming here, and free agents don’t like the microscope they’re put under. Ron said the key to being a great player over a long period of time is being able to ‘turn the game off’, which is much tougher to do in most Cdn markets. (But yes, Leaf fans, I’m sure Stamkos, Tavares, etc etc will all be in Tor soon enough). Give the MacLean episode a listen. He’s got a lot of wisdom and is very honest about his role-reduction and implies it was Bettman-related.

  62. Pants Go Brown says:

    Loved Bob on PTS yesterday expressing surprise that ESPN was covering WWE. Then Grange tells him WWE is also on SportsNet. What a riot. He should go back to interviewing Kelly Anybody, talking about Ali, Jim Brown, RUSH and UNLV.

  63. Brian says:

    @CIRROC OLP ranked 62 on CBC’s list of Canada’s “best bands.” I’m not sure where or when OLP was great. Taggart is dull, doesn’t know sports in any depth and his voice is every bit as bad as Wheeler’s but in a different way. He sounds dumb and I can’t listen to him at all. The weeks when he’s on in the summer means I use data to go out of market. In other words: I would rather pay than listen to Taggart for free.

    I’ve been trying hard to like Overdrive but that’s getting harder. The chemistry from Leafs Lunch seems mostly absent. That extra hour really stretches this group. On Leafs Lunch the show would end and you would often want more. Now, it’s rare if you don’t change the station several times during the show.

    Once they start talking anything other than hockey either O’Dog or Noodles inevitably compares what’s happening in other sports to something that happened in hockey. These are hockey guys. And that shows more and more.

    The other issue is that Noodles talks too much. O’Dog IS the most interesting voice but contributes the least. Hayes and Noodles can talk 10 minutes without O saying anything. If Noodles left the show tomorrow, would anyone care?

    And Hayes is constantly teasing things and sometimes he never gets to what he says he will get to. That’s frustrating. As a listener you don’t want to hear that they’re going to talk about something, you just want them to talk about it… now. I know teasing what’s coming is part of radio but Hayes over teases.

  64. Rob J says:

    I hate to nitpick over little things said on the FAN but Healy stating that Quebec won the Cup the year after the Rangers beat them (’94) left me unable to concentrate on the rest of the interview

  65. Cirroc says:

    @RobJ

    That’s okay, on last week’s HNIC broadcast Healy made his usual smug “The Leafs have played at the ACC since ’99 and the nets haven’t moved blah blah blah” comment when a guy missed the net. Only problem is they HAVE moved, when the league decided the players needed extra room behind the net. Now that’s a nitpick.

    @Brian

    CBC just ranked you 62nd best commenter on this board.

  66. Alex says:

    Things i would not expect to hear on pts:

    “Does everything have to be about money?” -bobcat

  67. Curt says:

    I generally don’t listen to PTS anymore. I’ll listen occasionally for the train wreck factor. But I have to say that it’s shocking at how little Bob knows about sports. The host of the top sports talk show in the country is embarrassingly ignorant about the topic he’s paid an obscene amount of cash to know something about – and it’s been that way for years. It’s not that he’s old – Kornheiser and Wilbon are old guys that are still relevant, knowledgeable and entertaining. It’s simply that Bob is a fraud.

  68. Curt says:

    Seconds after my post, Wilbon, after he gets into it with Tony about the Cubs being World Series favourites, rips off his microphone and walks off. And I think it was real. LOL! (Wilbon returned, but tension remains.)

  69. Frank says:

    @Rob J:

    Healy was referring to the season after the cup (1994-95), where the Rangers struggled to make the playoffs, finished 8th seed and ousted 1st ranked Quebec. Quebec did go on to win the cup the following year.

  70. Rob J says:

    @Frank
    I trust that you’re right. Apologies to healy for that one. That’s why I hate nitpickers! I’ll stick to complaining about how the telecoms’ ownership of the Leafs, jays, Raptors, Argos, TFC, etc taints their coverage.

  71. Alex says:

    As someone from the region, TK and definitely Wilbon are not as great as they were before becoming TV personalities primarily.

    The WaPo used to have an amazing sports section with TK, Wilbon, Boswell, Sally Jenkins and more.

  72. The Londoner says:

    For the first time in ages I listened to 5 minutes of the morning show. Gilbert Gottfried was on, I guess he was promoting something. It was so awful. Perhaps the worst radio I’ve ever heard. I was in a position where I couldn’t easily turn it off. I think a lot of it was Gilbert’s fault for being so unfunny, but the fake laughter by Dean and company was so ridiculous. Never again.:)

  73. Brandon says:

    The complaints about Blundell’s show are fewer and fewer in these forums. That doesn’t mean he’s getting better, it just means people have absolutely tuned out and aren’t bothering anymore. Might be more comments about Landsberg driving people crazy, but guess what, that means people are hearing it. The Fan can pretend they have a morning show that matters and their listeners find popular, but they know it doesn’t in the longterm.

    Would any other sports radio station in the country hire Dean if he was a free agent tomorrow? I’m being serious when I ask that question. This has to be a springboard towards something else for him, the only question being is it with Rogers?

    This wasn’t going to work and it hasn’t. The next step should be fascinating. I do predict Landsberg is still in his spot long after Blundell isn’t at the Fan. I wouldn’t say the same for this Overdrive experiment vs. Bob.

  74. Andrew says:

    @Curt – I’m pretty sure the Wilbon thing was an April Fools gag. Mr Tony is away next week golfing at Pinehurst so we have a cliffhanger. As always, I can’t recommend Mr Tony’s ESPN 980 radio show enough. #little

  75. Curt says:

    Yes, by the end of the show I was starting to wonder about that. I was probably fished in. LOL!

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