Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

April 16th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports
156

photo credit: Twitter

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by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail

 

Good morning sports media insiders, outsiders, and new readers. If this is your first time reading Seen & Heard, we use this space to reflect back on the week that was in sports media. Traffic has spiked in the last while and the comments sections have been on topic and highly engaging. Several people in the media have mentioned to me how good the discussion has been here lately. Let's keep that ball rolling.

 

Suggested Soundtrack: Wye Oak – Civilian

 

As always, if you spot a mistake or think something I have written is unfair, email or DM. You can DM me even if we are not following each other. Ok, let's go …

 

JaysTalk

 

The Blue Jays front office made news twice this week. First, on Tuesday we learned that popular executive Stephen R Brooks was leaving to pursue other employment "opportunities", namely the ones that are available to the unexpectedly unemployed. The second item of news was that Sportsnet would be featuring a documentary on new Jays President Mark Shapiro prior to Sunday's game. Let's deal with these in turn.

 

The Brooks departure sent waves through the industry on several levels. Brooks was arguably the most recognizable face (see face below) in the front office last year, after AA and Beeston.

 

 

His notoriety was largely due to his Twitter presence, and his stalwart efforts to quickly and accurately answer fan questions about everything from gate entrances, to ticket refunds, to what happened to the "all you can eat" section. In brief, Brooks was the first point of contact for many Jays fans who had questions and concerns. He was very very good at his job.

 

Here is his goodbye tweet:

 

 

Beyond the impact on fans, several writers opined on what this departure means for the identity of the front office. Here is The Sun/Postmedia's Bob Elliott:

 

"The Rogers Communications web site boasts that Rogers is “a diversified public Canadian communications and media company” … that actually “employs some Canadians at the top.” Canada’s Team? How about changing the slogan to: “Canada’s Team … Canadians need not apply for vacancies with high salaries.”"

 

Sportsnet's Shi Davidi raised similar worries about "Americanization" in his piece.

 

"[The] Blue Jays have given Canadians an opportunity to enter the business side of the game, something that visa restrictions makes difficult for them to do in the United States. Assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish is now the highest ranking Canadian on the baseball operations side of the club, working his way up from a baseball operations intern in 2001."

 

Others personalities at Sportsnet chimed in on the issue with their trademark depth and insight:

 

 

The story might have ended here , however Shapiro stoked the coals into a fire with this incendiary quote on how to replace Brooks' presence on Twitter:

 

"We’ll certainly have to address the Twitter, that’s the primary spokesmen’s role there. We’ll have to address that and look to back-fill that with someone else in the organization. Throughout baseball and sport, the primary spokesmen in the organization are hopefully the manager, the players and then the general manager. You default to club president and business leaders only in very small situations and circumstances.”

 

This is a puzzling statement to say the least. Setting aside the verbal flub (George W Bush didn't really think there was more than one internet, right?), he says several interesting things here. First, he seems to dismiss the value of Brooks' work by suggesting they can find someone else on the existing roster to step in. In other words, Brooks' Twitter work was fairly minor. Second, he leaves open the following implication: Brooks was often speaking out of turn.

 

I'm not sure what he could possibly have in mind. All I ever saw from Brooks' feed was useful, if somewhat curt, answers to reasonable questions. It's possible that Shapiro resented how Brooks positioned himself vis-a-vis the dirt infield renovations. The latter tweeted out regular photo updates and was very clearly invested in the project, its timeline, and the nuts and bolts of the science behind getting the right consistency. Perhaps this was far outside his mandated job portfolio? Who knows. Regardless, the claim that business leaders should be seen but not heard sticks out and calls for clarification. Hopefully the local media will follow up on this and the truth will eventually come out.

 

Last thought on this story: both Elliott and Davidi tried to kindle our collective national pride in their reporting. I don't really see this as a viable angle. Yes, it is hard for Canadians to work in the U.S. so they will likely face hurdles when competing against Americans for jobs down south. It is also true that Beeston, AA, and Brooks are all Canadian. However none of that seems relevant to the current state of affairs. Was Shapiro looking for an excuse to can Brooks because he hates Canadians? Ridiculous idea. This isn't that JaysTalk. Would Brooks have kept his job despite his supposed gaffes if he were American? Equally preposterous.

 

I won't accuse Elliott or Davidi of jingoism, but the media need to raise the bar on what counts as a justification for sounding the patriotism alarm. There are a lot of things about which to be upset at the Jays front office and their parent company. That Americans are currently sitting in chairs previously held by Canadians is not one of them.

 

Sunday edit: Steve Simmons has a great take on the Brooks firing, and Shapiro's media problem.

 

Over to you: 1) Is there more than meets the eye here with the Brooks departure?, 2) Do you care that Shapiro, Atkins, and Brooks' replacement are not Canadian?

 

 

I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions are Good

 

Moving along, the second major story is Stephen Brunt's thoughts on the misunderstood Mark Shapiro. This article is both a freestanding piece but also a tease for what Sportsnet is promoting as a documentary that will air at 12:30 on Sportsnet on Sunday, before the Jays take on the Red Sox.

 

[Aside: removed. Question answered]

 

The main thesis of Brunt's article, as far as I can tell, is that the antipathy towards Shapiro is due to circumstances beyond his control. The point of the piece is to lay the case out, presumably with the goal of getting people to evaluate the man based on his own actions. Here's one of Brunt's opening paragraphs:

 

"Here was a fairy tale playing out right before their eyes, a club transformed at the trade deadline through the wizardry of Alex Anthopoulos—Canadian, former Expos fanboy, in every way one of their own—now rolling toward its first playoff appearance since 1993. And here was the new guy, brought in to replace Paul Beeston, but for all intents and purposes the person who would now shape the Blue Jays in his own image on and off the field, hailing from Cleveland of all places—the name of the town uttered as though the Indians, not the Blue Jays, had been a baseball punchline for the previous 22 seasons. Shapiro was instantly cast as Skeletor, as Darth Vader. Cue the heel’s walk-out music. And why did he pronounce his name that way?"

 

Most of that is fairly accurate. Shapiro was hired right around the time the Jays' 2015 season flipped the switch from disappointing to exhilarating. Anthopoulos is indeed Canadian, as is Beeston. What is not accurate is that Shapiro was instantly cast as a villain. That came both much earlier and much later.

 

Recall that Shapiro was hired to replace Day 1 employee Paul Beeston. The search began back in November of 2014 when, as we all know by now, Ed Rogers started making calls to executives employed around the league. This excellent piece by Bob Elliott chronicles the embarrassing blow by blow of how that all went down. That horrible chapter of organizational incompetence finally ended with Shapiro's hiring. So, it is true that Shapiro came in saddled with baggage entirely unrelated to his own actions. Brunt is 100% right about that. But the story is incomplete without discussing Ed Rogers' role in creating the stacked deck with which Shapiro would be playing. It's not just about Alex and Paul. In fact, I would argue, it's mostly about Ed.

 

Next, recall that the plan – at least as far as the fanbase was concerned – was for Shapiro to work with Alex in much the same structural arrangement as existed when Beeston was president. There would be changes to be sure, but Alex's role would not be fundamentally different. Why would you mess with something that was, for the first time in two decades, yielding playoff results?

 

As we all know that narrative quickly crumbled. We heard of purported "scolding" of AA for trading away so many prospects. We heard that rather than looking to lock up Alex for years to come, Shapiro's initial offer was a 1 year extension, or as one person put it to me, a "fuck off" offer. All of that happened after Shapiro arrived. More recently we learned from Steve Simmons that Shapiro didn't bother making an offer to David Price, even though Alex had left a plan for how to do it within budget parameters.

 

All of that to say that the story is more complicated than Brunt paints it. He is right that some of it is not Shapiro's fault. The baseball moves that Shapiro has made have been sound, and he is perhaps not being given the credit he deserves. Further, we don't know what pressures he is facing from ownership regarding payroll reductions in the years to come. Lastly, deep down many people know that you are not going to be able to sign EE or Jose to sensible deals and that it may be best to let them walk and take the picks at season's end. Shapiro will be the evil public face for something few of us want to admit is the right decision.

 

The next section of Brunt's article features a confusing quote from Shapiro:

 

“I’m not sure I could have been any more thoughtful […] I’m not sure I could have been any more culturally sensitive and aware. I’m not sure I could have embraced the place I was coming to any more. There were certainly maybe some things I did that didn’t help to endear me to people. But people were looking for things to not like about me rather than things to like about me. I view those as circumstances. It’s the situation I walked into. Really, if you look at what happened, nothing was my choice. Nothing was about decisions I made. I was walking into a situation that dramatically changed from when I made the decision to come here to the time I started working here."

 

Again, most of this is right. The situation really did change from when Shapiro signed on. The Jays went from 50-51 to the best team in baseball the rest of the way. The plan, one assumes, was to ride out another expensive disappointing season and then send Alex and many of his pricey acquisitions packing. Shapiro was ready to do the heavy lifting of tearing it down, retooling, and then building a contender. Or, exactly what Alex did 7 years ago when he took over from Riccardi.

 

The confusing part here is how Shapiro says he couldn't have done more than he did in one breath and then says that he "certainly maybe" also did things that made people not like him. Leaving aside the certainly-maybe oxymoron, I think he means that he was as gentle with the fanbase as he could be, but that he also had to make some moves that were going to be unpopular no matter what. Reading through the gaps, I think he's talking about AA. When he was approached he agreed to take the presidency but only if he could install his own guy in Alex's place, and only if he could be more active in baseball-related decisions. Rogers gave him that, and then the Jays promptly rocketed into the playoffs. That is not Shapiro's fault. It's the fault of the people negotiating with him on behalf of the Jays. They should have left themselves some wiggle room.

 

The rest of the article covers the interesting details of Shapiro's life and upbringing. Brunt brings his peerless writing skills to the subject and really gives us a feel for Shapiro as a human being. Go read it.

 

A few questions to ponder:

 

  • Why now? The season is under way and fans have largely forgotten about Alex and Beeston and are rightly focused on the the 2016 Blue Jays. I don't really get the timing of this article and the accompanying video.

 

  • Why Brunt? There is certainly news value here, but this seems much more up the alleys of Davidi, Zwelling, or any of a number of other Sportsnet affiliated writers. I know Brunt does whatever he wants these days, but I can't help but think his talents are being wasted on this assignment.

 

  • Why at all? Go have a glance at the 350+ comments attached to the article. Many of them completely shred Sportsnet for being a PR wing for Rogers. This one made me laugh out loud:

 

Courtney01 [Rank 1447] "wow. now Shapiro is getting his own tv special? any word on the 6 part mini series?"

 

I just don't know why you would put your best and most trusted writer on a story that is not all that topical or timely, especially when the appearance will be that the team is using its media department to do damage control.

 

Over to you: 1) Did the omission of the Ed Rogers aspect hurt Brunt's piece? 2) Please comment here after it airs tomorrow. I will be on assignment and can't watch.

 

 

Postscript on the Concussion Coverage

 

The reaction to last week's column on the lack of coverage of the NHL concussion emails by Rogers was strong and swift. Many people reached out privately to offer support, but some also reached out to tell me I was way off. The one place where there was significant disagreement was whether Gary would need to call Rogers to discuss how they would report on the emails. Many argued that a call would not be needed and that the "turn a blind eye" editorial policy was set in house. Others argued that the Sportsnet writers were just very busy, and got around to covering it the following week.

 

It is also worth noting that if there was a soft journalism directive then it would appear that it was partially lifted last week. Michael Grange delivered a terrific piece on the medical science of concussions and how the game needs to change, featuring an in-depth interview with Dr. Tator. You know Dr. Tator — he's the guy who feuded with Don Cherry back in 2009. Grange's article features the following quote from NHL exec Bill Daly:

 

"Other than I don’t agree with Dr. Tator’s opinion, and that the actual facts belie it, I have no intention to comment further.”

 

This is a terrible way for the NHL to be framing their position. Daly is not a doctor and he shouldn't be arguing the medical facts. The NHL is making this mistake often in their legal strategy against the plaintiffs in the concussion lawsuit. Let the doctors do their thing, and let other medical professionals debate the merits of the evidence. The NHL comes off as "anti-science" in the same way that climate change deniers do.

 

The real legal question is what duties of care the league should be made to take on behalf of its employees, and what responsibility lies with the individual players. That is a productive and healthy discussion about which there is a range of reasonable positions.

 

Lastly, Len Boogaard, father of Derek, has been in the news again. The people in charge of running the substance abuse program failed his son, though there is no shortage of other names on that long list. TSN's Rick Westhead explains the substance abuse program that exists in the NHL. It seems like a system that is more designed to limit liability to the NHL and the PA than it is to help players suffering from addiction.

 

Mr. Boogaard appeared on PTS back in 2014 and gave perhaps the most poignant and memorable interview I have ever heard. The interview has been lost in the digital sands of time, and requests for a link from Sportsnet were ignored. You can read a little about it here. Bob McCown and Stephen Brunt were at their absolute best.

 

Quick Hits

 

Wayne Gretzky had some strong words about the lack of scoring in the NHL and the general poor entertainment value of the game. The league needs more people like Gretzky involved in the future of the product.

 

Andrew Stoeten asks some good questions about the financial effect of the bad Rogers NHL ratings on the Jays. I'll have some more on this topic in the next few weeks.

 

Chris Zelkovich writes that when it comes to the regular season "the Raptors drew the kind of numbers usually reserved for speed skating or luge." Here's hoping that all turns around starting today. Given that they are playing an afternoon game on the first truly warm day in eons, things may not go so well.

 

CBC reports that 80% more people cut the cord in 2015 than in 2014. The future is coming more quickly than anticipated. Sporstnet was first out of the gate with their streaming service. I'll be curious to see how many people subscribe. As someone who currently spends (and enjoys spending) $110USD every year on MLB's streaming service, SN's service is not priced as outrageously as some of you believe.

 

PPP has been struggling a little as they cycle through writers, but they found a gem in the author of this great piece on where you can gain a financial advantage in a salary cap league. Very compelling stuff.

 

Lastly, TSN released a press document congratulating themselves for winning the Q1 ratings war and recapturing the crown as Canada's most watched specialty channel. They also trumpet their web dominance, and the fact that they recorded 5.5. million video views. I'm willing to bet 90% of those views are from poor saps like me who are slammed with auto-play ads followed by random unwanted content from the moment I click on their website. I update my ad-blockers on a regular basis but both Sportsnet and TSN are always one step ahead in their efforts to make me hate the time I spend on their sites.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • It's 2016 and people are still saying overtly racist things to on-air staff. Unacceptable. Sorry that you have to deal with this Faizal.

 

 

  • Jamie McLennan co-hosts one of the most listened to shows on TSN radio. With the Leafs moving to the back-burner for most of the next 5 months, how on earth is this guy going to make it to October? Forget that, how is the audience going to make it to the next book?

 

 

  • Things that are working: the Breakfast Club hour on Naylor & Landsberg. After a very rough start with so much yelling and interrupting, the lads seem to have found a way to share the air.

 

  • Things that are not working: the 3 man booth on Jays broadcasts. Dan Shulman is such a treasure on the ears, but we are constantly being assaulted by Buck and Tabby each trying to get their 2 cents in. This is not a democracy. It's a meritocracy, and Dan is head and shoulders above the others.

 

  • The intern in charge of scrubbing Greg Brady's existence from the Sportsnet tubes either needs a raise or to be fired. Look who I found.

 

  • It's been a busy week at the mouse-trap factory but I am dying to know: did Luongo manage to shut down the Florida Panthers? #missedthatmoment

 

IMG_0044

  • What are you still doing inside? Go outside!

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

 

 

156 Comments

  1. GreyCountyMike says:

    It’s been painfully obvious for some time that Stephen Brunt is no longer even a credible journalist (nevermind Canada’s greatest sports journalist), but rather a “content provider” at best and a corporate shill at worse. Any writing he does on the Jays in particular or Rogers properties in general cannot be taken seriously.

  2. Rob J says:

    Hockey fans in Canada cheer mostly love teams based here. When the playoffs start, the default team is often the one with the most Canadian-born players. The jays have nearly no Cdn-born players but are taking heat cause of Americans in the front office which I don’t recall ever being an issue before. I think people are making up the rules as they go along. In 2016, who possibly could give a flying fadoo about where people are born?

  3. Shwaguy says:

    Sure, what really counts with the Jays is how they do on the field. But if last year was a flash in the pan, fans will turn on the players, manager and the front office in a big hurry. A guy who gives off the air of competence can buy himself some time when things go south (think Anthopolous 2013, 2014) but when a guy gives off an incredibly negative impression right from day 1, it’s hard to believe Shapiro is going to last very long here. Every hiring decision he’s made so far has looked horrible to the average fan. Sure, optics and performance are two different things – but if the fans turn on you, everything you do looks like the wrong decision. And then it’s just a countdown until you’re packing your bags for the return trip to Cleveland regardless of how many bios get written about you by Stephen Brunt.

  4. mario says:

    Thanks for another great read as always MIB. So just anther PR press release this time from TSN , just waiting now for Rogers next one I am sure touting there #1 again from here till the end of the year that is if the Jays go all the way to the post season.

  5. scarboro_scamp says:

    I think it’s generally just the optics of how things went down with Ed Rogers and the Jays front office. People might not be so upset if we hired from perennial juggernauts like the Giants, the Cards, or heck, even luring Billy Beane from Oakland. It’s Cleveland. And Rogers asked MLB to help him find a replacement for Paul. It’s Cleveland. And the people are coming in are from Cleveland and were the people Cleveland were okay letting walk away. From Cleveland.

    The story and the video piece certainly seem ‘silly.’ Especially with the team off to a 5 and 6 start. After the piece, I hope we stop hearing from him for a while.

    I guess it’s good to know that Shapiro has a thick skin. I think he will need that during his tenure.

    I sure would like to see more pieces on Ed Rogers bungling ways. That’d be a good read. Probably won’t come from Sportsnet.

  6. scarboro_scamp says:

    I meant to write ‘shill-y’. Autocorrect!!

  7. Hans says:

    I think with the Brooks thing is not that it’s an anti-Canadian thing but more that Shapiro is just further making the Jays front office HIS front office and removing another hold over from the previous administration.

    As for Brunt, I am of the thinking he’s working under his own exit strategy and that this is all a part of his dialing it down before he retires to fish in Newfoundland year round. He’s been at the reporting game for about 30 years now so I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s about done with it and ready to head off into the sunset. It would explain why it seems that someone of his talent isn’t doing much and it’s simply because he doesn’t want to and is riding out the contract till he can retire.

    On the Jays booth front, maybe it would b a good time for Buck to have days off when Shulman is calling the game. It’s really clear that Buck has forgotten how to be a colour guy and most likely has no interest in being second banana to Dan. The three man booth just isn’t working no matter how hard they try.

  8. (Another) Andrew says:

    There are a number of educated people who call it “the Twitter” – Brian Whitmore, the Editor and Russia analyst at Radio Free Europe, comes to mind – but I’ve heard others saying it. Maybe it once included the definite article and some stuck with it? It does sound odd though.

    Lastly, TSN released a press document congratulating themselves for winning the Q1 ratings war and recapturing the crown as Canada’s most watched specialty channel

    It occurred to me just before the baseball season started that if it weren’t for the EPL I would not have watched a single sporting event on Sportsnet this calendar year. It’s been all TSN and American networks.

    When the playoffs start, the default team is often the one with the most Canadian-born players.

    Is that really true? If so, I’ve never noticed it. I thought most hockey fans either cheered for the team with the most attractive style or skillful players (Ovechkin, Crosby etc) or against teams they’ve a history of disliking.

    Anyway, with the Jays – more popular than previous seasons – playing most nights, the Raptors in the playoffs, and the better weather I expect ratings to crater.

  9. Alex says:

    Cranky/Sulky Bob was on the roundtable yesterday and it was full of weird inside baseball stuff, esp from Cox. Worth a listen just for awkwardness of it.

  10. Daniel says:

    I had the same thought about Overdrive.

    You’d assume that interest in the Stanley Cup playoffs will be lower than usual this year with no Canadian teams, and the Leafs having such an under the radar year.

    If the Raptors go on a run there will be interest there, and if the Jays have a season that’s anything like last year, they’ll heavily dominate the sports conversation for the next six months.

    And your drive home show is going to be a host and two hockey guys?

    I haven’t really heard those guys talk about anything but hockey, but it they don’t make sure to branch out it could be a rough six months for them.

  11. Original Mitch says:

    Why was this Shapiro piece even done, as mentioned in the article? Nothing good can come from this. Perception won’t change as long as he keeps making bad moves, whether from a PR stand point with Brooks, or dumb on-field transactions like Chavez and Storen. Here’s an opportunity for Rogers to just lay low, watch their product hit dingers and forget about anything else. Instead, they throw this non-sense documentary in our faces. I have no doubt that its well done. But stop forcing him down our throats. Classic Rogers PR blunder. again.

  12. Daniel says:

    (That said – I haven’t listened to Overdrive that much yet, so maybe they do branch out. Just haven’t happened to hear it much myself).

  13. Dave says:

    The one thing I absolutely can’t stand about any Sportsnet broadcast is that they take every single opportunity to mention their own name.

    Listen to the FAN after 7pm to really hear what I’m talking about. *Splash intro for Sportsnet, mentioning its own name a few times* Then, “Welcome to Sportsnet tonight this is Sportsnet 590 the FAN, tonight our guest is from Sportsnet magazine, and catch his latest article on Sportsnet.ca, etc. etc. etc”. I literally can’t switch to the station for more than 20 seconds without hearing the word Sportsnet. At least listening to TSN radio they don’t bombard you like that.

    Not to mention, they take every opportunity to go to commercial. Watching the Jays game and there’s a bullpen call? That’s a commercial break. Back when TSN and CBC had some Jays game broadcast rights, they wouldn’t be so adamant to go to break.

    I wish they hadn’t bought the rights to pretty much every major sport, so that I wouldn’t have to hear their name all the damn time.

  14. Claire A Fye says:

    This is a ridiculous thread. People commenting about a special that hasn’t aired yet, and Daniel commenting on something he admits he hasn’t really been listening to. Comments are great folks, but please let’s at least attempt to be fair. This brings me to another thing I’ve been thinking about this site, and that is a lot of the people commenting are either Rogers or Bell employees. Maybe I’m wrong . Maybe people are just drinking the Kool-Aid.

  15. Claire A Fye says:

    Oh and one the thing MIB. Are you really advocating the firing of some intern who most likely isn’t getting paid? That’s a new low.

  16. Rob J says:

    @Claire
    I just assumed most of the commenters are in media. There’s no way even the most die-hard layman would care SO much about stuff you could easily just choose not to listen to or watch!

  17. Clayton says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one noticing noodles annoying commentary. Adds nothing to that show.

  18. Cirroc says:

    Rogers has really put the Jays in a tough position. If they poop the bed on the field this season, AND choose not to bring back EE and Bats while continuing to load up with former Indian staff, this could turn into a real nightmare.

  19. Cirroc says:

    Hey, how about a little levity here. Thank you @Rob J for the kind words as I was only trying to point out the possibility of the Jays going back to where they were before last years big run, with the added baggage of bad mojo they have acquired with the handling of AA and what not. I’ve been a fan since the mid 80s and enjoyed the build up to the championships. What a glorious few years.

  20. Doug says:

    So much for the meaningful comments on this thread…

  21. Jeff says:

    Obviously just my opinion, but what I love about Overdrive, might be the very fact that noodles and o-dog don’t TRY to fake their knowledge about other sports. They seem to play off of it. Much like tv, when I tune in to a show, I want to be entertained after a long day of work. I don’t need more “Insiders” regurgitating the same info that has been already talked about for 8 hours that day by the other “insiders”.
    The Overdrive guys have found a great balance between sports, and sports-talk, and I think it resonates.
    What scares me, is that they may start to lean too heavily on certain gimmick segments like “Gerry” or “40/30”. If they don’t learn how to keep things fresh, by utilizing scarcity, they’ll end up like Tim & Sid……and nobody wants that !!

  22. Species 1967 says:

    Can you elaborate on why you think we are struggling at PPP?
    We have recently had some great and timely work from long time staff. JP Nikota wrote on jersey advertisements. Scott Wheeler has had great writing on prospects. Achariya had an in person sit down interview with the management and coach of the Orlando Solar Bears.
    The question is serious. We rely on reader feedback to make the site better.

  23. Brian says:

    I’m not sure if OverDrive is a ratings success but it seems to have made PTS care more about its product of late. If Cox and Madani are the full-time co-hosts and Shannon only visits in the 4 pm hour, I’m OK with that. But the revolving door of co-hosts and Shannon’s repetitive commentary and faux laughter was making the show unbearable.

    Noodles is the weak link on OverDrive. It was a relief when he had go to Ottawa to cover a game. Unfortunately, that won’t happen again until September/October. In sports radio it seems that the blatherer– the person with little insight or talent for keen observation but who loves to talk — gets the most airtime and that others on the mic are willing to let the blatherer talk because it means that they don’t have to. This is Shannon. This is Reid. This is Noodles.

    The OverDrive guys have a sometimes shocking lack of depth on anything besides hockey and partying. In fact, the show is often at its best when the guys tell off-ice stories from their playing days. But there are only so many stories. I think that means the show will eventually return to the 12 pm slot, and that’s certainly my hope. That extra hour only exposes the group’s lack of life experience or experience with other sports (and the new Leafs Lunch has already lost me). We’ve become accustomed to getting more meat on the bone in the drivetime slot and this group doesn’t offer much more than silliness — although Hayes sometimes does great interviews and the 20 minutes with Ferraro is usually good radio.

  24. WestDale Rocks says:

    Have to say that Stephen has lost an edge in his reporting since becoming an employee of Rogers. Haven’t seen him “call ’em like he sees ’em” in matters NHL or Blue Jays in quite awhile.
    IMO, Edward Rogers made a terrible hire in Shapiro, that has manifested itself into more bad hires. The simple fact: When looking to upgrade personnel, you tend to look to successful franchises. Sure, it’s OK to mine suggest from bad franchises, but nobody can tell me that all these hires from Cleveland are all nuggets! There’s no doubt Shapiro is pulling the GM strings for his Atkins puppet (we may as well call this two headed monster “Shatkins”). If you agree with a GM’s worth being the team being three years after his hiring and three years after his leaving that post, granted the Indians had a couple of good years, but there was also a fair bit of underperformance in there as well. I’m not convinced yet, that this combination is the right one. I had WAY more confidence in AA.
    One final thought. To the TSN Overdrive producer and the announcers on Friday afternoon. Thanks for the conversation about “Brazzers” you had around 5PM and I especially appreciate the questions I got from my son afterwards. “Dad, what is Brazzers?” This show is on when people are driving around with kids in the car. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, please!

  25. WestDale Rocks says:

    Meant to say “It’s OK to mine nuggets from bad franchises. Got spell check’d!!!!!

  26. Pants Go Brown says:

    I recognize this is way too early to talk about etc. etc. But, you have to think with Shapiro’s success at amputating so many vestiges of the previous regime, and with the Jays slow start, how much runway room will John Gibbons be given?

    I know, I know they were .500 coming out of April last year and look how that turned out blah, blah,blah, but my impression of Shapiro is that he is a guy who is looking for reasons to get rid of people from the previous era and a continued shitty start my the Jays may give him reason to can Gibby.

  27. Billyjoejimbob says:

    Brunt took the money, and works less than ever. Who can blame him?

    Everyone on this board would do the same.

  28. Curt says:

    I just finished watching the Shapiro piece. I haven’t checked the Rogers Media org chart but I’m certain it says: Stephen Brunt, Director of Public Relations.

  29. yaz says:

    Walker seems to be hitting a stride. I’m off work for a few weeks and have been listening to afternoons while working out. Gino Reda is a solid 3 PM staple on the MR show; great 20 mins of hockey talk. Blundell is the single best at posting Podcasts as soon as the show ends – though he is the only Pod that leaves the daily score updates in the Pod; annoying. NL & Macko slack off at posting Pods.

    Again, the NL show is great because even when there isn’t a guest or a blessed ‘insider’ to interview, there is engaging sports talk between two knowledgeable sports guys. Landsberg has been a bit self-deprecating about his ‘hatred’ of Naylor so he must have been made aware of that perception. The only thing that drags are the ‘comedy bits’ written by their technical guy. They are lame at best and an imposition to listen to. Not only are they not funny, I don’t even know what the comedic component is supposed to be to even try to understand it ( Landsberg doing a Russian accent yakking about Hunter scouting in Russia ). They should stick to bits that are live, like lists, or best-of-the-day or something. The little bits in the bathroom aren’t bad though – they are in the first person and relate directly to the show.

    Toronto sports radio is odd without Brady’s voice. He has moved around but always been there. Made me think that within the major time slots 530am to 7 PM he was likely number two in terms of quantity of hours on the air (hours doing specifically Toronto sports radio). Hayes currently probably number three.

    If I’ve missed a few days of Pods the first place I go to is the 5 PM hour of Overdrive.

  30. Matty Zero says:

    Agreed, Yaz. Those Lansdberg movie trailer bits are brutal, and need to go away now, not be repeated 3 times an hour.

    I thought Brunt had already retired, tbh.

  31. Mike S says:

    I was going to nominate the Naylor & Landsberg comedy bits for MIB’s “things that are not working” list but it looks like Yaz beat me to it

    Another thing on 1050 that is not working is the fill-in hosts and co-hosts (Derek Taylor, Mark Roe, Andy McNamara, Jeremy Taggart, etc)

  32. cohen says:

    thank you for all the great articles.

  33. Mike says:

    For me Naylor and Landsberg isn’t working at all. I keep giving it a shot if for no other reason than my radio is already on 1050 from the night before. I get in the car I’m dealing with my son not really paying attention to the radio. Then as things calm down and I start to listen I keep thinking… My God this is awful.

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills how can anyone like this crap? It usually takes me about 5-6 minutes before flipping to something else anything else. today was 680 news. 680 NEWS that’s how much I hate Landsberg.

  34. McLean_Deluxe says:

    1-The usual swing and a miss take on Shapiro. Totally missing point of his “incendiary” comments. Point is that the SVP of business shouldn’t be the Twitter point man for basic ticketing issues and the like. That is an indictment in itself of Jays social media abilities and customer service. There should be a more official Jays accounts that deal with this instead of solely self promotion.
    2- I listened to 10 hours of Naylor and Landsberg last two weeks and rarely did they actually talk any current sports issues. Just personal anecdotes and mindless, useless banter between themselves. Heard very few guests and when there was it was dominated my the narcissistic meandering of Landsberg who feels the need to personalize eveything. Awful. Our hopes are gone and morning radio is still trash.

  35. Island Chris says:

    Honestly, I’ve really been enjoying Overdrive. It’s already become my favourite show. Mind you, when it comes to sports talk I want Leafs, NHL, Toronto teams, non-NHL hockey and just the top stories from other sports… in that order. That’s basically what Overdrive delivers with some silliness in between and that suits me just fine.

    After NHL free agency opens up, usually I stop listening to sports talk radio because I’m just not that interested in baseball, golf or the CFL. Mind you, I would listen if they talked MMA. It bothers me that big stories happen in the UFC and the premier sports talk show on a radio station owned by the rights holder, rarely seems to cover it. Just as well I guess, when they do, the conversation always seems to degenerate to how much more violent MMA is than hockey fights. Sure, it’s a valid point but it kind of a dead horse beatdown at this point.

    And, when it comes to the NHL playoffs sans Canadian teams, it really doesn’t prevent me from watching. After the Leafs I usually tend to cheer for Canadian players or just the most compelling stories.

  36. Antonio says:

    Calling Brunt a shill is being too kind – he’s more like a well-paid whore.

  37. Toronto Frank says:

    How about we leave calling people shills to Damian Cox and actually give reasons for things instead?

    For those of you who watched the Shpiro piece or read the column cited above, did you find it objective? For myself, I think Brunt is right that there is a negative energy in the fanbase around Shapiro and a lot of it is unwarranted.

  38. Omar says:

    I didn’t find the Shapiro piece objective for the following reasons:

    1. The only people interviewed were friends of Shapiro. John Hart, Atkins, and a few friendlies from espn. When not include someone who was more critical of Shapiro like Bob Elliot of the Sun? When his father, his wife, and kids (!) came on the screen to tell us what a great guy he is it became a propaganda piece.

    2. Brunt mentioned in the piece that Shapiro offered AA a lucrative contract offer. What he didn’t mention was that this was after the intitial F-you offer of a one year extension.

    3. They glossed over the David Price situation as regards to not even making an offer.

    4. No mention that he is utterly despised by the Indians fan base and has been for years.

    Shapiro may very well be a great guy and I am willing to give him a chance. I have no qualms with him bringing in his own guys, I would do the same. I’m not sure how to characterize the piece; it wasn’t journalism to my mind. Stephen Brunt once was must a must read while at the G&M; now he just diminishes his legacy with this type of work. Pity.

  39. McLean_Deluxe says:

    So basically if someone works for Rogers or they don’t support my one sided, negative opinion, they are a shill. Ok, got it.

  40. McLean_Deluxe says:

    But see Omar, the David Price non offer being a negative is YOUR opinion. Why does that need to be covered? I, personally thought it wasn’t smart to resign him for enormous money, but what I think doesn’t matter in a “profile” piece. That statement by you, and you making up that he is despised by Indians fans is a perfect example of you wanting a piece to echo your own opinion or else it is just biased. That’s not how it works.

  41. Mike S says:

    Ken Reid update………..I could be wrong but I think he has made only one appearance (roundtable Friday March 25) on PTS since January 29th

    A year ago at this time the two main PTS co-hosts were Brunt and Reid

  42. Dros says:

    I agree with some people on this board in saying it has to be filled with employees from either Bell or Rogers.

    I’ve read for months about how much Tim & Sid suck because of their humour first approach to their show, their shtick or segments, yet I see people on here praising Overdrive on 1050 for that exact thing they hate about Tim & Sid? Something doesn’t add up there…

    How is it that a show just started and is already someone’s favourite show on a station?

    I caught some of Overdrive for the first time the other day Bryan Hayes is pretty damn good. You can definitely see the potential in the guy; TSN was right to move him into the slot, whether his co-hosts last or not. The criticisms of Noodles and the other guys still stand though: when a topic not related to hockey comes up, Noodles or Odog will offer a 1-2 sentence rebuttal, then relate it back to hockey, taking the topic back to the NHL.

    Is it better than what TSN has had previously in that time slot? No question. Is it now the best show on sports radio? Not a chance.

  43. Omar says:

    @ Maclean Deluxe

    I never stated that the non offer to Price was a negative, merely that they glossed over it. They did cover it. I wouldn’t have signed Price either. You’re a bit quick to jump to conclusions about what I wrote. Did you watch the piece?

    In terms of being despised by the Cleveland fan base, that isn’t an opinion. I always read other cities sports sections, especially as it pertains to baseball. Have a look for yourself on any Indians baseball forum or story related to Shapiro and read the comments to see what I mean. Have you done that, or are you “making up” things? I didn’t “make up” anything. You know nothing about my depth of knowledge when it comes to baseball, not sure why you think I am making stuff up. If you feel he is beloved by the Indians fan base you’re out in left field on that one.

    I didn’t call Brunt a shill. I merely stated that the piece was not objective and stated my reasons why.

    For what it’s worth, I was not a big AA booster and welcomed the Shapiro hiring. That doesn’t mean I have to love everthing Sportsnet tells me. Get it?

  44. Original Mitch says:

    The Shapiro piece was a giant piece of Propaganda. Obviously if Rogers doesn’t own the Jays, they don’t produce this feature. So yeah, its really that simple. Maybe Brunt isn’t a shill, but he sure knows who signs his paychecks. What’s he gonna do? Create a negative piece about a fellow Rogers employee? give me a break. Also…since when do I care so much about the front office? Give me features on players and coaches, but suits? please.

    Mark Shapiro isn’t well liked in Cleveland because he’s not particularly good at his job. He’s the epitome of blind squirrel finding a nut or broken clock being right twice a day. Completely unrelated: another strong outing by Storen today 🙂

  45. Reggie says:

    That Faizal Khamisa story should be expected since multiculturalism creates so much racism.

  46. Sperk says:

    Do anyone else see no point in Tim & Sid’s presence in the Raptors’ broadcast on Saturday? I should amend that…no value to the viewer. Their pre game show and in-game commentary (at end of quarters/half) basically consisted of he following formula:

    1. Talk about themselves
    2. Tim would make an one sentence observation about the game
    3. Sid would then do a promo for what is on the network

    I guess (according to this website) their show is doing poorly ratings wise and so the network heads wanted to bump their presence but is that the way to do it? Provide absolutely no content…mind you self-promotion and shilling for rogers is pretty much what I remember about their show the few times I’ve watched it

  47. Matty Zero says:

    Right about Shapiro there Mitch, he pretty much rode the coat-tails of what John Hart build in the 90s and destroyed it. Not even Kluber,Carrasco and Lindor could cover the stain he left on that organization.

  48. Dros says:

    @Sperk

    Wow…could not disagree more. I view that as a completely unjustifiable argument.

    Not only did they have discussion and debate with Shermin Hamilton, hitting all the necessary storylines entering game 1, but they also brought in Matt and Leo and threw to a piece by Stephen Brunt to open the game. Aka, they did what everybody does during a pre-game.

    TSN wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. They would’ve had Rod Black and Jack Armstrong instead…but they would’ve done the exact same things and tackled the exact same topics. The notion that promoting what’s coming next on your network as a new thing clearly just wasn’t paying attention before.

    Tim and Sid are clearly way closer to an NBA target demographic than Rod and Jack are. Clearly, that’s an unpopular opinion on here, but they definitely brought more life to it than the normal old guys do.

  49. Dros says:

    @reggie

    Multiculturalism doesn’t “create” racism. People are racist whether someone different than them is around or not. They just hate what’s different from them.

    Guaranteed all of those anonymous and racist posters don’t know a single person different than they are. They hate and are afraid of what they don’t know.

  50. Sperk says:

    @Dros

    You’re right TSN would have had the same stories but would have shied away from making themselves the story unlike Tim & Sid did. Rod and Jack have their failings agreed (I’d actually take Tim over either of them) but they focus on the story not themselves. Jack is falling into the same pattern of inserting his personality over actually talking hoops BTW. Also TSN is more discrete about promoting their future shows, T&S spent a significant part of their air time basically doing a commercial.

    Agreed, T&S is more of a fit for the demographic and had more energy…my opinion (perhaps one you do not share) was their energy was focused on themselves. “Tim & Sid are at Jurassic Park”, Sid making a pithy comment at the beginning of the Casey interview about the production value, Sid stopping Sherm in mid thought to point out the giant T&S heads behind them.

  51. Dros says:

    @Sperk

    I think that both TSN and Sportsnet are trying to create more buzz than ever surrounding the Raptors. Sportsnet, especially, because this is the first time they’ve ever had any Raptors playoff games. Some of that is going to come off as artificial, I agree. That being said, I don’t think Sportsnet has anybody better equipped to talk ball than those two. Going back to their Score and radio days, they clearly care more about basketball than just about everyone on the Toronto media scene.

    Regarding the atmosphere in Maple Leafs Square and the floating heads, I think they were trying to manufacture a bit of a College Gameday vibe (see here: https://www.google.ca/search?q=college+gameday+signs&rlz=1C1NHXL_enCA684CA684&espv=2&biw=1639&bih=844&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj22sb4gJnMAhXkuoMKHV-4C0kQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=l1iQ4G5UjrLmXM%3A).

    When it comes to the two of them, it seems like people are either on one side of the fence or the other: they love them, or they despise them. I think they’re funny and enjoy their laid back approach–I prefer that to people just coming with serious stats and being talking heads.

  52. Sperk says:

    @Dros
    To each their own, I prefer to be informed about what is going to happen as opposed to being “entertained.” You’re right, people love them or hate them and I’m admittedly in the latter camp so they weren’t going to impress me anyways.

    Your College Gameday point is an interesting one, I think it illustrates my point though…Jurassic Park has been there for 2 years now (it actually was a Leafs thing first I believe) without T&S and will exist without them. Gameday is the story as those kids are there to see the ESPN broadcast, not to actually watch a game (which is usually that night). Inserting themselves seemed very disingenuous to me and it was clearly contrived (they handed out the heads and the t-shirts).

    Anyways, enjoy the game tonight…GO RAPTORS!

  53. Original Mitch says:

    the T&S Raptors show was fine in my opinion, until the giant head. Then all of a sudden it felt cheap and forced, especially when sports fan “evanka” held it up. It went from decent playoff programming to cheap gimmicks.

  54. McLean_Deluxe says:

    Shapiro won exec of year twice, and was at the helm of extremely one sided trades in favour of Indians. Not acknowledging this is ridiculous Mitch. He took an very old team from John Hart while also being told to slash payroll 50% and rebuilt them back into a playoff team. Why are these facts always ignored in order to fit some sort of ill formed opinion?

  55. Mike V says:

    The thing with Shapiro that I don’t think a Rogers-produced documentary would ever be allowed to cover (I haven’t seen it) is that the search was originally meant to find someone to replace Paul Beeston with the business and non-baseball personal operations and somewhere along the way that got switched to giving him both Beeston’s and Alex’s responsibilities, while Alex still had his job and the team was in first place (Shapiro’s deal was finalized at the end of August, not when the team was under .500 in June). If they had just stuck to the original plan, Shapiro’s arrival would’ve been met with a ho-hum by almost everyone and he could’ve went about re-designing the Blue Jays as a business that by most accounts was behind the times under the old administration. So while it’s true that the anger directed at Shaprio is mostly (but not entirely – he has had some) from circumstances out of his own control, they were certainly in Rogers’ control.

    Poor Raptors still just can’t catch on. Only 490,000 watch game 1, down 5% from last year. The bright side take is that it’s better than the down 15% from last year the regular season did.

  56. Vic says:

    Mark Shapiro is a crook and he has been since day one.

    It’s like he only wants people to talk when he says its ok to do so, and if he doesnt give the approval then you cant talk. Let’s use Ross Atkins as an example; we all know that Atkins is essentially Shapiro’s spokesperson even though his title is officially “General Manager”. There is no way that Atkins is allowed to speak to the media without Shapiro’s approval, and i’m sure he’s given a strict limit on what he’s allowed to say without Shapiro around.

    It makes sense why AA left on his own accord, because he didnt feel comfortable taking a role where he would be relegated to being the spokesperson instead of being a true GM and honestly who can blame him? I dont think there’s one person on this board who would take a job under Shapiro knowing the they would be muzzled everyday and relegated to being a spokesperson.

  57. Original Mitch says:

    @maclean_deluxe
    And what happened the year after he won his 2nd executive of the year? (after winning it with a non-playoff team the first time) he traded everybody!
    The guy isn’t a winner. he falls into a good situation and generally makes them bad again.
    Oh well, the jays will win despite Shapiro. just like they did Monday.

  58. McLean_Deluxe says:

    And yes Omar, I have read up extensively on Shapiro in Cleveland, and the opinion among the INTELLIGENT baseball minds is mostly positive. Much like Toronto it is the people who form their opinions emotionally and illogically who dislike him.

  59. McLean_Deluxe says:

    And I love how people complain about the documentary interviewing his family, but gloss over Stark and Gammons, 2 tenured, respected and well connected reporters saying that Shapiro has gotten a raw deal on the perception of his hiring and that he “ran” AA out of town.

  60. McLean_Deluxe says:

    Clearly Mitch, you are one of those guys who has formed an opinion based on who knows what, and no matter how much evidence to the contrary, it won’t change. Just like people on Gibbons, who slammed him as a hobby and of course when they do well, it his in spite of him. It takes a real courage for one to admit they were wrong, and clearly courage is lacking amongst many “fans”.

  61. Original Mitch says:

    @mclean_deluxe

    Listen dude, if you’re cool with Shapiro and Atkins, more power to you! If you want Rogers to emulate small market baseball, more power to you! If you want to trade Stroman or Sanchez once they get really good, more power to you!
    We will agree to disagree on Shapiro as a baseball executive.

  62. Sam In Scarb says:

    @Vic You are sooo right on all you said.
    Brunt has sadly just turned into an infomercial host.
    He usta be good with great questions,,now just sucking rogers for the dough.
    Which is PERFECT..screw them for every thing you can..

    The OLD Brunt would of asked SHappy…
    What exactly is Eric Wedge’s job with the Toronto Blue Jays???
    And after a blow off and edited answer ASK AGAIN
    WHY EXACTLY IS HE ON THE BLUE JAYS PAYROLL???

    Thousands of people would like to know the answer to that question??
    Thousands already know the answer…

    Make your own judgements & opinions.

  63. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Just finished listening to PTS – I don’t follow the NBA so have no idea who Matt Devlin is – However for a professional he used ‘you know’ so often that it got downright annoying – Somebody get him a speech therapist you know-

  64. MattK says:

    I enjoyed Wilner on with Walker today, so much better when he doesn’t have to deal with callers.

    I would prefer AA over Shapiro but Indians were 81-80 last year 85 wins in 14 92 in 13, so it’s not like they were a dumpster fire. They missed up on their big signings of Bourn and Swisher, but have a good base of young players.

  65. Curt says:

    The clip in the Shapiro piece that I laughed out loud at was where Brunt seemed to be hosting what looked like a Blue Jays season ticket holder event (or something) and brought Shapiro out on stage, enthusiastically shaking his hand and sitting down to what I’m sure were some nicely scripted questions.

    Look, I don’t blame Brunt for selling out and becoming a corporate PR guy – we all have to eat. But don’t tell me he’s still a journalist. He used to be one of the best, but that was a long time ago.

  66. MjwW says:

    McCown asked Zaun about Jeff Hoffman, the prospect traded to the Rockies for Tulo. And neither Zaun or Madani had the balls to tell McCown.

    Can we start speculating something is wrong with him?

  67. Original Mitch says:

    @mjww

    What do you mean?

  68. yaz says:

    I don’t like Shapiro either but it’s kind of like killing the messenger. Shapiro was Rogers’ 3rd or 4th choice after others turned it down. Then Rogers went sheepishly to MLB head office and said ‘Please sir can you suggest a President to us?’ which begat Shapiro. Bobcat knows a lot about the inner workings of Rogers via years of a friendship with Beeston and doesn’t say a lot but sometimes drops hints. In a heated exchange on PTS in the week after Price signed with Boston he cut in and said ‘Rogers has a lot of very vocal shareholders who make their voices heard.’ (About Jays losses and the money they do and do not make).

    Unless someone at Rogers can convince the shareholders that upping the payroll is a worthwhile investment, it ain’t gonna happen. ( it won’t) They have a budget. They are an entertainment product that is dispassionately managed. Our only hope is that Rogers perceives their asset as peaking and decides to sell to a Canadian billionaire who wants only to win at any cost. Fat chance, said free-spending, publicity seeking billionaire likely would have gone after the Leafs jewel over the Jays. Or worse, and more likely, an American billionaire who doesn’t give a whit about hockey and had no interest in MLSE, buys the Jays. Or TSN overbids for Jays to get back at the back stab? Hope not, another publicly traded black hole.

  69. Mike V says:

    Think mjww is saying Bob didn’t know the prospect was traded nine months ago and nobody on PTS dared point out that the emperor has no clothes.

  70. Original Mitch says:

    Ah, got it. Maybe Madani didn’t know either? Zaun I suppose should have known.

  71. Rob J says:

    @mjww and other bob haters
    Yeah, cause guys like @gibbylover and @batflip4ever on twitter are a fount of baeball info

  72. Rob in Aurora says:

    Shoalts has another pretty good article on the Globe site about the hot garbabge Rogers serves up as hockey coverage – and how fans are being -and have been, very vocal about how much they hate it….sound familiar?…

    The article mentions that many fans were already commenting about how HNIC needed changes when HNIC was a CBC property and that’s where Rogers got their “inspiration” for the current iteration (read:abortion) from.

    Joni Mitchell was not quoted in the article, but right about now, Ron McLean would most likely recite, with a feigned look of sincerity on his face…”don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” (as if it was something he wrote)………I was so sick of that sh*t, but now it seems like a Christmas morning compared to George and his yoga pant skinny suits – and the forced laughter among his merry band of sycophantic idiots.

  73. Vic says:

    @Sam In Scarb

    Make no mistake about it, Eric Wedge was brought in to be the ultimate successor for John Gibbons. Forget about what ever garbage comes out of Shapiro’s mouth about “the process”, we’ll see that by the end of the season Gibbons will be shipped out and Wedge will either: a) Take his place on an interim role and eventually become full-time manager or b) Take the job full-time outright

    And make no mistake about it, hiring Wedge would be an unmitigated disaster for whatever is left of the current team in 2017.

  74. Mike V says:

    Yeah rob j, that’s an appropriate bar for the highest profile radio host in the country.
    And yes, I would bet that most of the engaged fans on Twitter knows that a prospect was traded last year by now.

  75. Rob J says:

    @Mike V
    As an experiment, I’ll stop listening to the PTS podcasts and follow @IheartAA and @JDcanRainonMeAnyDay and we’ll see how stupid I get.

  76. Mike V says:

    No it’s alright. Looks like you’re following enough already.

    There there, it’ll be ok. I see Bob is now wearing a finely tailored suit from Korrys; he looks so splendid in it. I understand now why we all need to bow in deference to him. Mr. Manfred is righting this wrong as we speak and tomorrow Hoffman will be in the Blue Jays farm system just like our Emperor says. Feel better now?

  77. Omar says:

    @ Maclean Deluxe

    As i said he was hated by the fanbase your comment doesnt address that. I believe he did the best he could based on what Dolan gave him but was hated nonetheless.

  78. dogpounder says:

    “McCown asked Zaun about Jeff Hoffman, the prospect traded to the Rockies for Tulo. And neither Zaun or Madani had the balls to tell McCown.”

    I shat myself.

  79. dogpounder says:

    Ah. Still listening to podcast. Madani pointed it out, said “you meant Hutch not Hoffman”

    I’ve unshat myself.

  80. Omar says:

    CC Sabathia. Cliff Lee. Victor Martinez. Omar Vizquel etc. all dumped by Shapiro. As an Indians fan you can only lament what could have been. Shapiro will take the heat for not JB and EE if negotiations fall through. Best course is probably to dump at least on of them but the fallout aint gonna be pretty.

  81. Omar says:

    *for not signing JB and EE.

  82. Rob J says:

    McCown gets a name wrong and people run over here to gleefully tell us all. Your teachers must have loved you guys…keep the cooler kids in check.

  83. Island Chris says:

    @Dros

    “I’ve read for months about how much Tim & Sid suck because of their humour first approach to their show, their shtick or segments, yet I see people on here praising Overdrive on 1050 for that exact thing they hate about Tim & Sid?”

    You’ve never seen that from me. I love Tim & Sid, always have. Their radio show on the Fan was hands down my favourite. In fact, when they left the Fan I realized that the only reason I listened to PTS was because it was easier than changing the station. Since their departure I haven’t had much desire to change stations for PTS.

    “How is it that a show just started and is already someone’s favourite show on a station?”

    I think I made it clear how it’s become my favorite show. They talk Leafs, hockey and then everything else. For me, that’s what I want to listen to. If Tim & Sid could talk Leafs for 3 hours, that would be the perfect show for me.

    Also, I don’t think O’Dog is that bad when it comes to other sports. He’s not providing incredible insight but at least tries. It seems like there’s potential for him to get better with the other sports. On the other hand, I enjoy Noodles take on hockey and how he’s the voice of reason when the other guys get caught up in Leaf fandom but he makes no effort to concern himself with the other sports.

    I would think giving him the summer off would make the most sense. There’s no point in him being there full time past July 1. Not that I care, I probably won’t be listening much anyway except on days when the Leafs make a big trade or free agent signing.

  84. Antonio says:

    @Rob J
    There’s no denying it, McCown has lost some of his marbles – and those marbles aint coming back. its quite evident when you listen to him.

  85. Mike V says:

    Exactly Antonio. Setting asides the red herrings, I don’t know why someone would take it so personally, unless you were affiliated with the show.

  86. Pete says:

    I didn’t hear much of Leafs Lunch when they were in the noon time slot, so I had no real sense of the crew until Overdrive. I have found that Noodles is easily the weakest link on the show. When it was just O’Neill and Hayes last week, they were great. O’Neill doesn’t have a broad sense of sports outside of hockey, but at least he can provide some opinions and formulate a decent question to ask a non-hockey guest.

    For Noodles, everything has to be referenced back to hockey. He reminds me of those on hockey message boards who hear about a trade in another sport and immediately asks to have that contextualized from a hockey standpoint. I also find his thoughts and delivery to be unpolished. Noodles drags the show down for me.

    I’ve become a huge fan of Naylor & Landsberg. The latter still has his moments of being a condescending prick towards the former. But knowing what the alternative morning sports show is, give me N&L every day of the week.

  87. Mike S says:

    I agree with Pete……..I don’t dislike McLennan but when they were in the noon timeslot I always thought that the show was most entertaining when it was just Hayes and O’Neill………..they have very good chemistry

    Yesterday McLennan was making an analogy between Lowry/DeRozan and Kessel/Phaneuf……….everything has to relate back to hockey for him

    In the last few years O’Neill & McLennan were off for the summer like the rest of the TSN hockey people so I doubt we will hear much from them on OverDrive in July & August this summer

  88. yaz says:

    Segment on NL ‘Breakfast Club’ was great today with Naylor / Landsberg / Simmons / Arthur. Except for Arthur’s retort to something Naylor said. Arthur ‘That’s stupid!’. Naylor begins a reply and Arthur screams ‘That’s objectively stupid!’. Oh, okay, objectively stupid clarifies things.

    Compare that hour of radio to either MR or DB in that slot. Much much better and informative, entertaining. Disappointed I haven’t heard Naylor do his Victor Newman impersonation yet though.

  89. Eric says:

    The Breakfast club is garbage. Instead of 2 crap hosts you got 4. They all suck.

    Informative ha ha the only info I get out of that show is who was what guest was on off The Record 8 years ago.

    4 boring old guys yammering on outing me to sleep as I drive into work. No Thanks. Give me Richards and his Victor Newman impression any day.

  90. jackbee says:

    Why Tim and Sid are on SPORTSNET Raptors coverage, is beyond me Have never liked Tim and Sid in any format. They couldn’t hack it in 3 hours of radio so they have 1 hour reduced on tv.

    SPORTSNET desperate to prop up those silly, adolescent twits profile or audience reach, that they are foisted on the airwaves in front of J. Park fans. Sooner they are off the air, the better.

    I like Overdrive and believe Jeff can become a star with his down to earth views and wit. He’ll hopeful have chance to shine in summer sans hockey.

    As for Blundell and co., bunch of adolescents wannabees led by the biggest non entity Blundell. Didn’t know why Jays start at 1100 am on Monday in Boston, among his many other mistakes in sports leagues and players.

    Naylor and Lands – why is Michael starti9ng 600 am and David at 530 pm. Don’t need to listen to hi son/producer in the 530-600 am slot. Lot of ML’S SKITS failed badly including tank nation and Haffey’s lame impersonations. He sounds like a Gary Owens wannabee (look him on Internet, millenials)when he gives updates, wish Haffey not on the air at all.

    Morning radio a real pick’em most days. I think Richard is doing fine from 1-4 so those other radio teams should learn from him that more voices equal less palatable listener reading.

  91. mike (in boston) says:

    Wasn’t aware of the cardboard heads thing at Jurassic Park until reading about them here. Watched the Raps game on TSN last night and they kept showing the Jack heads and ranting about how great it was.

    I can’t believe both networks are peddling this garbage. If the fans want to bring signs, sure. But trying to astroturf the crowd with your network’s personalities is beyond embarrassing. I’m surprised Armstrong went along with it. Tim&Sid at least already have a reputation of trying to engineer viral enthusiasm via their followers. Jack was once a credible basketball expert.

    I had just acclimated to the rival press releases. I’m not sure I can handle rival giant heads. Can one of the banks buy MLSE already and put an end to this nightmare?

  92. Greg says:

    Am I the only one frustrated with Sportsnet simulcasting US regional feeds for the playoffs? I understand its not possible to have your own crew at every game, it was only done in the past because the first round was split 2 ways between CBC and TSN, but come on some of these regional guys are painful to listen to. At least show NBCSN’s national coverage..oh wait cant do that either, because Gord Miller and Ray Ferraro are doing games for them. Thanks for another sub-par production Rogers.

  93. Steve Clark says:

    I haven’t read all the comments, but man, the negativity here. I get that this is an online forum where people opine, but I’m not sure who/what you like. The one thing I get is that you like the TSN TV panel and you like Ron MacLean. In short, from what I take, maybe there is a resistance to change, and that TV viewing is habit forming.

    I’m never going to rip on anybody, but I’m in a different position than you. Sure I am a fan, and I appreciate good coverage as much as the next guy but these are guys in elite position charged with educating and entertaining. When you do that, it’s not to all people’es tastes.

    With a couple of the threads that have developed here, here is my take.

    Shapiro Doc: When you’re in the content game 24/7 and you are a rights holder, you provide and control the content. Shapiro, when he came here, was the great unknown and right out of the box divided a fan base, or made the wrong impression. The idea of an extended piece on him is a really good idea, an opportunity to peel back the curtain and get to know somebody. I know people look at it as a puff piece or a PR exercise. When I watch, I’ll see if that is true or not but I really feel that it was a newsworthy topic worthy of exploring.

    Rogers Coverage. Year two of a 12 year deal in which the company has been dealt a bad hand in terms of compelling Canadian storylines. Sorry, nobody, no matter who the broadcaster was would be consistently engaged in following Montreal or Toronto this year. Couple that with Connor McDavid’s injury and a lousy performance, the ratings have underperformed and that effects the bottom line. To me, they are still experimenting and streamlining coverage. Sure, the jury is out on the effectiveness of Strombo. I haven’t seen anything in him to warrant such a strong opinion. I don’t think he is in charge of the panel as much as should be but I don’t mind him as a host/entertainer. No way I could pull off the suits he’s wearing. He and I are around the same age and my waistline is closer to 40 than 30 … I don’t think they deserve the vitriol they get here.

    McCown forgetting names: I get it. He made a mistake. The ultimate goal should be to correct the mistake, without making the other person, ( in this case Bob) look bad. Correcting someone right away looks bad. I would not like to be corrected on air immediately by whomever I’m broadcasting. That’s not good practice. I’d like to corrected by the voice in my ear, or in a good transition time like a commercial break.

    Just my 2cents (which these days is rounded down to nothing.. Sounds about right)

  94. Steve Clark says:

    Sorry that should say “Couple that with Connor McDavid’s injury and a lousy performance by all other Canadian teams”.

  95. Steve G says:

    re: everything having to relate to hockey for McLennan. It’s gotta be in the hiring process there. I remember CTV/TSN’s open to the London 2012 broadcast that would include the Men’s 100 M final. James Duthie compared it to the Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game in Vancouver a couple years earlier.

    Except for the extra 150 or 200 nations paying attention to the sprint and indirectly implying one can compare the global recognition of Crosby vs Bolt…..

  96. Art says:

    @Steve Clark

    I gotta disagree. Rogers HNIC is awful. I would love to see the RDS Habs rating this year. I’d be willing to bet that in-spite of the Habs insanely bad year the RDS rating didn’t drop off as much as Rogers did.

    I also don’t hear Habs fans complaining about RDS anywhere near as much as Rogers. sure their are some broadcasters there people don’t like (Mario Tremblay for example) but over all people genuinely love the broadcast.

    To me it’s telling when English speaking Habs fans prefer the French broadcast. I know this is the case because I talk to tons of Habs fans on social media. I myself will always choose RDS over Rogers and I don’t speak French.

    If Rogers wants to make the Canadian Teams missed the playoff excuse fine. but they would be doing themselves and the fans a disservice. 5 Canadian Teams made the playoff last year and still the ratings dropped.

    And yes people were complaining about HNIC before Rogers… but the complaints were largely about Healy, PJ Stock, Gary Galley. Rogers kept them all on.

    If Rogers actually starts listening to the viewers they will be much better off.

    As for Strombo. I personally like him. As I have said before he’s a Habs fan on a show dominated by Leafs and Bruins bais so I welcome the change. but my view aside the vast majority want Ron back in that role. That being the case give the people what they want.

    The negativity isn’t just on this forum. go look through twitter, facebook, go talk to guys in a sports bar. People hate Rogers/HNIC. The people have spoken.

  97. Art says:

    Just saw on twitter NHL Playoff ratings are down 61%, just one in 69 Canadians are watching. WOW!

    Obviously 5 Canadian teams to 0 is the biggest reason. but 5 of the 8 series using bush league US feeds doesn’t help either.

  98. Species 1967 says:

    @Greg

    “Am I the only one frustrated with Sportsnet simulcasting US regional feeds for the playoffs?”

    Not when it’s FOX Sports. Yes. FOX Sports.

    Probably as the result of having to overcome the obstacle of broadcasting hockey on a network that doesn’t care at all about it, they go above and beyond anything on SN or TSN.

    One of the best is FOX Sports South-West covering the Stars. *gasp*

    They have been analyzing and breaking down plays throughout every game, explaining what happened in a manner that is so simple and straight forward even Glenn Healy could understand it.

  99. Eric says:

    @steve clark

    I like the way you work bud. Come on here say a bunch of nice things about Rogers defend the guys. Attach your web site so they can see your demo reel.

    Makes sense changes are coming, every little bit of sucking up helps.
    Good luck, from your website video you actually seems pretty good. I hope your new friends scoop you up.

    Cheers.

  100. yaz says:

    Zaun’s baby has been great on PTS lately. Especially yesterday. Love her insights.

  101. edge says:

    Can’t wait to read Chris Zelkovich’s Great Canadian Ratings Report this week. Not just for the hockey numbers as we know those will be bad, but also for the Blue Jays and Raptors.

  102. Original Mitch says:

    @steveclark

    No offense kid, but you can’t exactly be objective while dying to be employed by the big two. the jury is NOT still out on Strombo, its overwhelmingly IN. He doesn’t work in that roll.
    5 Canadian teams made playoffs last year (which means good hockey ALL season) and ratings tumbled.
    I’ve never seen you work Steve, but I would hire you over Romanuk in a New York minute!

  103. Rob in Aurora says:

    Steve’s G is either :
    A) an apologist for Rogers (who knmows why?)
    …..or B) or a Rogers employeend familiar?…

    Either way, I have to say that he really adds some intrigue to the comments here….great stuff. Very entertaining. You go Steve!

  104. Simulcast in Mississauga says:

    With Andi Petrillo’s photo leading off this week’s blog, it invites comments on Leafs Lunch. Yet where are the comments…doesn’t anybody care? I have switched over to Leafs Lunch from HCN because by now, I have heard the opinions of the hosts of Hockey Central so frequently that I can predict exactly what they are going to say about most issues. The HCN show is too predictable and needs a refresh. Without much interest in the NHL playoffs, for me the Leafs focus on Petrillo’s show is what I want anyway for now. I likely will switch back to HCN in the fall.

    Andi is doing a good job but uses the same phrases over the over again (“at the end of the day”); this gets aggravating as is the shoe talk. Glad to see her growing into the job at Leafs Lunch though.

    It will be interesting to see if Hayes goes back to Leafs Lunch or mornings (or switches over to the FAN as he clearly is TSN1050’s main star) as I suspect that Overdrive will fail miserably against the King. I listened to a few of the shows but the one note approach and the lack of sports knowledge by the three hosts outside of hockey will doom it. McCown has stepped up nicely and his show seems to have regained a spark. Face it, when a big story comes up, who would you want to do the interview…..Bob or the B team?

    Rogers hockey coverage is indeed not that great for the reasons that most posters in this forum have noted. Here’s a suggestion for the boys over at Sportsnet for these playoffs: each week, list ten or so Sportsnet personalities on the web and have the audience vote in one of them as a guest host on the playoff panel along with George. My first vote would go to McCown even if he likely wouldn’t appear. For next fall, Rogers should completely revamp their hockey coverage.

    Sad to see Brunt sell his soul to the devil.

  105. Rob J says:

    @simulcast in mississaugaa
    Uh oh, you complimented McCown. Brace yourself…

  106. Matty Zero says:

    @Steve Jones You sir, are the 40/30 grit grinder of the week.

  107. Daz66778 says:

    Read with interest Simulcast in Mississauga’s comment on Andi Petrillo always using phrase “at the end of the day” phrase because, although I do like him fine, Greg Zaun constantly seems to use that phrase also. It gets to the point you are just waiting for it to be said during his commentary.

  108. Anthony says:

    ‘Several people in the media have mentioned to me how good the discussion has been here lately. Let’s keep that ball rolling.’

    Yet here we are having anyone who says anything positive about a Rogers broadcast being called homers or employees. Sorry, but that doesn’t seem to be intelligent, insightful commentary.

    If you disagree with someone, why must they be an employee, why can’t they just like something different then you?

  109. mike (in boston) says:

    Discussion tends to go most smoothly when people use the following principle:

    if [comment] = [too stupid for words] then [ignore]

    This way the bad comments don’t derail the conversation and the good comments drown out the bad ones.

  110. mike (in boston) says:

    Unrelated: WordPress reports that one the search terms that led someone here this week was “Hazel Mae teeth”. Who would think to search for that?

    If you plug that into the google, the #1 hit is this vintage TSM post from 2011

    http://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/unveiling-hazel-mae/11869

  111. Eric says:

    @Anthony

    To me the fact that you are discussing this forum with people in the media says that you are too contented yourself.

    If you are referring in anyway to the comments I and another said to Steve Clark, I think it’s pretty obvious he’s a guy looking to get hired by Rogers saying nice things about them. It’s obvious he has an agenda.

    Clearly this forum has a lot of people here attached in some way to Rogers or Bell. former or current employees, guys looking for work or in your case perhaps friends of ppl in the biz.

    I see no porblem in calling that out when it’s obvious.

    I don’t see why it should be everyone’s goal to impress your friends in the media. We are not being paid to provide “insightful commentary” We are just a bunch of people on a internet message board venting or sharing opinions.

  112. Anthony says:

    @Mike

    Fair point, ill heed that ‘too stupid for words’ philosophy

  113. Eric says:

    Anyways back to things that matter.

    Rogers handling of the playoffs continues to bug me.

    Last night Rangers vs. Pens was on CBC, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Pacific. Broadcasted btw using the US feed. Meanwhile the Blue Jays (a team they own) is on Sportsnet One a channel that requires a higher cable package.

    So here I am sitting in Toronto not able to watch my team in my own market while being force fed 2 US teams on a US broadcast on 5 channels.

    Come on now something isn’t right. I get that another game was starting at 8 so your not going to move the jays after a hour yadda yadda. but why do we have 4 regional sportsnet channels if they all show the same damn thing. You couldn’t throw the Jays on at least 1 of them as well? perhaps I dunno Sportsnet ONTARIO! call me crazy but maybe a Toronto team should be on the Ontario channel.

    And If it’s because some people with basic cable packages only get there 1 local regional channel. well then bump the US hockey feed to sportsnet One and put Canada’s team on Sportsnet.

    Jesus this shouldn’t be that hard. or maybe it’s all part of the plan to get me to buy the VIP package.

    yet another reason to turn to Kodi. Screw you Rogers

  114. Greg says:

    @Eric

    I agree. I have thought the same thing before, and I am not even sure there is a cable package that you only get one of the Sportsnet regional feeds. I could be wrong but every package I have ever seen includes East, Ontario, West and Pacific. At least TSN does a better job of having some differewnt programming on TSN1, 3, 4, and 5. Not all the time, but definitely more so than Sportsnet. I cant remember who it was (I think it was Sid) but I once heard a FAN 590 personality rip “the other guys” for having 5 channels with the exact same thing on them all the time and I just thought wow now thats the pot calling the kettle black.

  115. Steve Clark says:

    Geez, I make one post and one guy calls me “kid” (I’m almost 44 by the way). Another one calls me “bud” (I’m not 10 years old) and others refer me to me as “pining” “a shill” “agenda driven” “sucking” up” “an employee of Rogers”, and I may have missed one or two.

    Lets clear up some misconceptions. No I’m not employed by Rogers, or Bell. Of course I would like to be employed by the big two. Who in broadcasting wouldn’t? It’s still the elite of sports broadcasting in this country. That said, to say that I’m pining away like some love struck teenager, or have some sort of nefarious plot by linking my demo is just a tad off. Trust me, no one is going to hire me because I said nice things about Rogers. They’ll hire me because of a need that I fill and my body or work.

    It is acknowledged that members of the media, maybe even decision makers frequent this site, so it seems natural to promote the work I do. So if I have an agenda, sure, that agenda is to market and self promote. Guilty as charged. Plus, I’m completely transparant. That’s my name, my work and it shows I’ve got nothing to hide. I’ll never post under an assumed name or handle. Ironically on Twitter someone accused me of using a fake name because “Steve Clark” looked “made up”

    As for the rest, I offered an opinion based on having some insight into knowing how sports media works. You may have a difference of opinion and that’s fine but lets not make assumptions about who am I , and what my perceived agenda was. I will restate that the Shapiro documentary in theory was a sound idea. The guy was newsworthy and a little bit clandetine and mysterious when he arrived because he replaced a very, very likeable guy who was open and honest with the media and the fans. I’ll watch the documentary and reserve judgement until then. I’ll stick by what I said about Strombo. The jury is still out, and my guess is that the day of reckoning will come this summer when I think some changes will be made.

    Rob In Aurora: (It’s Steve C not Steve G- Steve G was my handle for my failed rap career). i get it. You hate Rogers. YOu’ve made that clear on this site and a couple of others as well. You too provide entertainment in your own special way.

    Thanks to the one or two who made nice comments about my work. Play nice now.

  116. Rob J says:

    The Toronto Mike’d podcast has another great episode up this week, with special guest Vic Rauter. Lots of great stories plus reflections on the sports media landscape by a guy who’s been involved for 30 years.

  117. Eric says:

    @Steve Clark

    Hey I’m sorry If calling you bud offended you. To me bud is what i call my friends or people I like. I also did make nice comments about your work too so there is that.

    I did say you have a agenda but you just said it yourself so i don’t see what the problem is.

    oh and BTW there is a Steve G here too so Rob In Aurora wasn’t even talking to you.

    anyways I disagree with most of your opinions but good luck to you anyway.

    @Greg

    lol it is absolutely the pot calling the kettle black. And i think you are right I haven’t seen a package that has only 1 sportsnet regional channel either. It’s stupid

  118. Steve Clark says:

    Eric,

    All good. No problem in disagreeing.

    I love healthy debate though I’d love to replace “agenda” with “goals” or “aspirations”, it sounds niceer.LOL Didn’t see the name “Steve G’, so thought he was talking to me, and it gave me a chance to tell my tried and true “rap name” joke.

    Cheers….

  119. Original Mitch says:

    @steveclark

    You said nobody was going to hire you because you said nice things about Rogers. Maybe, but you sure as hell won’t get hired if you say bad things about them. You’re in a tough spot.

    I personally haven’t disliked the Rogers coverage of the playoffs. I can’t get by Boy George thumb in his pockets as he introduces stuff, but maybe i’m not cool enough to get it. That’s a minor gripe. The rest has been fine.

    I like Overdrive because its not filled with know-it-all insiders. Its actually refreshing to hear honest hosts commenting on their lack of knowledge on a sport.
    We are so foolish to believe hosts know everything about every sport at all times.
    Look at Andrew Walker. he’s so insecure that he attacks as soon as you question him. Try it on twitter, its humorous. Why not just be confident enough in admitting you aren’t an encyclopedia.

  120. Eric says:

    Anyone know Rogers plans for round 2?

    Are they going to keep 3 crews working and have 1 series on a US feed?

    Will they have a fourth crew to make it less bush league?

    or will they send a crew home and make it a 2-2 split?

  121. Sammy says:

    Just went out for lunch listened to the radio in the car. Wow Leafs Lunch stinks. Andi is awful and he girly act isn’t cutting it. 5 mins in I had enough, flipped over to Hockey Central it was much better.

  122. Mike V says:

    The Jays getting relegated to 1 confused me too, especially since they are outdrawing the NHL game on the main Sportsnet most times. The only reasons I can think for this is either it’s a sticking point with the NHL or it’s a strategic plan to keep desired content on the network as a bid to protect the subscriber base. With pretty much everyone on digital cable packages now, I didn’t think you could get one of the regional feeds and not any of the others? The only time I see any of them differ now is with local hockey broadcasts.

    NHL regional blackouts in the US are only for the first round so if Sportsnet does simulcast a feed it will be from NBCSN. If the reason for not using them is indeed that they don’t want to promote TSN guys pulling double duties on air, expect a fourth crew to be added.

  123. Art says:

    I know everyone seems to want Strombo out and Ron back in… But I just listened to Ron MacLean on Bastl’s Bytes, and he seems very happy doing home town hockey and coaches corner.

    He speaks about believing very strongly in what they are doing in the communities and the stories they are telling there. I strongly suggest you guys check it out. It was a fantastic interview. He also gets into talking about coaches corner and the prep work he and Don do for a show. he talks about the playoffs a bit and his view on the draft lotto, free agentcy and Trade deadline.

    Really cool to hear his opinions on these things, I think he will surprise you.

    if you want to hear the interview or David bastl talk with TSN 1050 Scott MacArthur you can find it at http://bastlsbytes.libsyn.com/ or on itunes.

    I know I always promote the show. And I am a huge fan of David Bastl, but I’m telling you go listen to that Ron MacLean Interview it was Awesome!

  124. Justin says:

    @Species 1967

    This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but let me explain why I agree that PPP has gone downhill. I’ve found myself reading the blog less and less and turning to alternatives like TLN more and more.

    An issue I have is with the (seemingly) endless cycling through of writers. A few years ago there was a small and dedicated crop of writers whose work I took to and appreciated, but now there’s so many that I’ve never even heard of half of them. The quality of the former small and dedicated group (mlse, JP Nikota, Chemmy, birky) has been diluted by too many voices. The site used to have a certain personality that manifested not only on the blog but in the twittersphere that I feel has been lost. You used to read HFboards or any other hockey forum and you’d see tons of references to the “PPP guys.” Now, no one knows who the PPP guys even are. The site has lost its trademark personality and seems more generic than ever. My 2 cents.

  125. Rob in Aurora says:

    Sammy – I just logged in here to post the same thing. She is really bad. She holds her own on TV, but her radio personality is really cloying (flitatious with guests and playing up the girlie thing – her audience is mostly men, no one wants to hear that stuff). I find her voice is even becoming tough to take.

    The other thing is her diction? She needs some serious coaching. Whenever she uses a word that ends in “ing”, she pronounces it with an “een” sound…As in: “talk-een”, “work-een”, “writ-een”, “mean-een”…I can’t help picking this out – and she does it every time. I can’t avoid it now and its really, really annoying (….annoyeen).

    The only things a radio broadcaster has to offer the listener is: 1) The quality of their content (their own personality and the information/entertainment they provide) and 2) the quality of their spoken voice—-That’s all we the listeners have to go on. If either one of those 2 things is below acceptable levels, the listener will tune out. I am tuning out. We can’t see them, so we can’t develop a relationship to their physical personality. If Andi thinks she can get by on ‘cuteness’, it won’t work. She never did it on TV that I know of – she’s messing up this chance at breaking into a male dominated world really badly

    I used to listen to Richards (quite a bit of it, accept the so-called ‘comedy’ bits), Macko and Cauz, Leaf Lunch and Naylor’s old show. Now I only listen to Overdrive. So I was a “regular” fairly loyal listener (too lazy to change channels or find something new) and TSN 1050 has effectively and methodically chased me away from 80% of their lineup.

  126. Mitch says:

    Was Art the guy on here promoting the heck out of David Bastl before? Or was that someone else? That was pretty funny.

  127. Art says:

    @Rob In Aurora

    I feel the same way as you. Like you I use to listen to TSN 1050 all day. And like you I now only listen to Over Drive. The rest of the day I stream TSN 690 online.

    As for the new Leafs Luch, 100% agree with what both you and Sammy said. The cute thing won’t fly. The audience is male you have to appeal to the listener.

    It is a shame because I do think women can do well in sports talk radio. We see them on the TV side no reason why they can’t succeed on Radio. She got to this point because I assume she knows her sports and was a quality broadcaster, time to get back to that and leave the cutie, girly shoe shopping talk at home. You’re better than that Andi at least I think you are.

    Maybe Kate Beirness would have been a better choice. Kate use to appear on Naylor’s old show and I always found her knowledgeable and a great listen. She knows her stuff.

  128. Species 1967 says:

    @ Justin

    Thanks for the feedback. It is a bit confusing. I believe in the past 12 months there have been very few changes to our writing staff.

    We have added one writer to cover women’s hockey and the Furies; we added a new writer who is an expert in stats and European hockey; and since we obtained credentials from the Marlies we added a writer to ensure we would have a presence at every single one of their home games.

    JP Nikota is still with us and had a feature story just a few days ago. He wrote at least a dozen Leaf game recaps this season.

    @MLSE/PPP stopped regularly writing for the site years ago, but even he has posted items in 2016.

    All of that being said, what does it matter who is on the byline? Do you have complaints about the quality? That’s what matters to me.

  129. Art says:

    @Mitch

    Yes it was me, although others have a bit as well. I believe I am the one you are talking about.

    everyone has there favourites

  130. Art says:

    @Justin

    try LeafsHub I have heard good things about that sight.

  131. Art says:

    sorry site* I make a lot of lazy careless mistakes, I wish there was a edit button

  132. Bora says:

    Even with the stinking NHL ratings Mr.Laurence says Rogers will make a “10% percent margin this year and the deal has been profitable.”

  133. Weber says:

    Is Hazel Mae getting fired in the near future?

    Did anyone else catch her trying to sell bad scarves on the shopping channel under the name “Hazel Mae Fashions”?

  134. Hans says:

    Weber – she’s had her own clothing line for a while. I recall seeing her on BT hawking her dresses and such in the past. Also, don’t forget the shopping Channel is a rogers property so I’m sure it’s all about “keeping it in the family”.

    I do think it’s sad that Hazel has essentially lost her anchor gig for being a sideline reporter. Don’t know if that was by choice or if Sportsnet made the call but it does seem like she’s being phased out to a certain degree.

  135. Island Chris says:

    @Steve Clark

    I think some people need to learn the difference between sucking up and being respectful. Unlike anonymous users, your name and career are connected to everything you say here. On top of that, linking to your demo reel opens yourself up to criticism.

    So having your own work ridiculed by someone who might happen to disagree with your opinion is probably not worth the few fleeting seconds of joy that might come with saying “so & so sucks!”

  136. William D says:

    Rogers dividend yield not moving, as a shareholder this sucks, more holds on the stock and as a result inevitably more cuts coming, If the jays are not in it at the allstar break look for the axe to be razor sharp, It may divest itself of more employees or assets to get that dividend moving.

  137. Steve Clark says:

    @Island Chris..

    I am not 100% sure of your point, but I don’t have a problem with being criticized either in words or nything broadcasting. Comes with the territory of always posting under your real name. I am a high school teacher as well, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on knowing all about criticism…

    don’t have an issue with people disagreeing with me, but do have a problem with people calling me a “shill” a “suck up” or “pining” for Rogers as that’s neither complimentary nor true…

  138. Rob in Aurora says:

    I think Hazel was/is being phased out as well. Tim and Sid took over that time slot so they went in a new direction to try and. I gather she wasn’t being watched as Sports Centre’s best show is the 6pm hour (Rod Smith is the lead anchor at Sportscentre and they have all hands on deck at that time of day)…

    Hazel was highly touted as some kind of “star” when she arrived back from NESN a few years ago. But she really wasn’t much of a star when she left for the states, so the fact that she was (was) on an American network was supposed to impress us?… SN really played up her looks too…(that was never ever, ever, going to work in the long run…I can’t think of anything nice to say about that issue, so I will withhold further comment. But that was and is no way to try and compete). People want substance and quality if they are going to invest the time to watch sports in the supper hour. (These are my opinions only – but I’m never wrong, so I thought I better share them asap)

  139. Original Mitch says:

    Funny enough I feel like Hazel Mae sort of parallel’s Rogers NHL deal. Both were brought in with a major splash. Both were transformed to cater to a certain crowd and both have resulted in mediocre benefits to the company at best. And now both are looking for their proper place within the company.

  140. Rob J says:

    New weird twitter thing: people following those they fundamentally disagree with and then getting upset when those people tweet opinions the follower knows he’s going to despise and get irrationally angry over. The next step is to challenge the tweeters’ followers for liking the guy you hate, yet still follow. When the follower doesn’t want to engage, the angry guy who follows someone he hates makes personal attacks. Here’s the question: why follow someone you irrationally hate?

  141. Sam In Scarb says:

    With today being Earth Day I hope to see both Ross Atkins and Eric Wedge out on the streets of Toronto picking up garbage.
    I do not see why they are both on the Blue Jays payroll so,they might as well be out on the streets cleaning up.

  142. Anthony says:

    @Species 1967

    Ill echo the sediments of those who suggest that PPP is struggling.

    I think I noticed a sharp turn as soon as Wheeler took more of an active voice. You guys use to write about hockey and let the credit come to you, now Wheeler will write something and immediately say how great he/it is, and how important it is you read it. Respectfully, that’s not how it works. He’s got a bit of the Damian Cox in him, he’s always right, your wrong, and that seems to be echoing through the site. I get that he’s a bit of an ego driven social justice warrior, but that shouldn’t bleed into your writing, you should be able to separate the two.

    There’s an ego there now, its not the small fun place it use to be. I remember defending PPP all the time when people would take shots at it, now I think most of the criticisms are valid.

    Personally, I think you guys have lost your vision. But that’s me. As long as you guys are content with your content, that’s all that matters.

  143. billyjoejimbob says:

    Andi Petrillo gets Leafs Lunch hosting job — “We love Andi”

    Andi hosts for a month — “She sucks!”

    This site is hilarious. This is why it’s almost impossible for FAN and TSN radio bosses to rely on your opinions. You guys hate everyone and everything. Can never please you.

  144. Eric says:

    @Billyjoejimbob

    I don’t recall ever saying we love Andi. Could it be that some people like her and some don’t? Are we all supposed to speak in unison? One voice?

    I never really cared about her one way or another. She had a small gig on HNIC she didn’t really make an impact on me either way. Then she was a fill in for Hayes here and there but she still had ODogg and Noodles to lean on for entertainment value.

    Now In a larger sample size when it’s her show, she’s driving it, she’s developed her style, her way. I can say I don’t like it. It’s not working for me. And I think many others feel the same way.

    It’s a male audience and she is talking about shoe shopping and acting cute. Sorry I’ll listen to Hockey Central at Noon instead.

  145. Andrew says:

    Finally tried a Toronto Mike’d Podcast. Vic Rauter & Don Landry episodes we’re outstanding. I’ll sample more next week. Pretty certain I’d rather listen to Don Landry than any of the current crop of sports talkers we get in the morning. Or late morning. Or early afternoon. You get the point.

  146. Joe says:

    @Andrew

    I just started listening to Toronto Mike. I really like his show. It’s cool to get to hear guys in the media talking about themselves and their own career rather than just sports. My only criticism is his episodes are a bit long.

    I’ll have to check out the Podcast with Don Landry, I agree with you they need to get that guy back on the air. I really miss Landry & Stelleck in the morning as well.I’m not sure why that show was ever cancelled. He and David Bastl are the guys I miss most.

    Speaking of David Bastl I took the advise of I think it was Art? and checked out his pod cast with Ron MacLean this week. I t was kinda like Toronto Mike in that he had Ron talking a bit about himself and his career. I did like that it was a shorter show and it was more polished and professional.

    I have to say they’re a lot of great podcasts out there. starting to seek them out more than listening to radio.

  147. Anthony says:

    Toronto Mike’s podcast show is fantastic.

    @billyjoejimbob

    I remember that as well, funny isn’t it.

  148. yaz says:

    Overdrive, and TSN for that matter, really has to remove the word ‘Brazzers’ from its vocabulary. I have to admit I had never gone to the site and wasn’t sure what it was. Yes, I have looked at X rated sites before, just had never seen this one. Now that I’ve seen it – it is a full on porn site with videos of all kinds.

    I don’t recall them mentioning it before, perhaps because I wasn’t sure what it was. Someone here mentioned it bothered him that he had to take questions from his kids about what it was when listening to the show. After reading that comment I checked it out to see what it was.

    So on Wednesday’s Overdrive something happened that is so inappropriate I’m not sure what to say. O’Neill ends a segment all excited about his ‘new shirt’ and he’s going to reveal it. They come back from commercial and he triumphantly reveals his shirt which reads ‘Licensed Brazzers.’ Which I guess is some kind of fan shirt for the site. Hayes and Noodles are laughing and joking with him about it. O’Neill says he would be so excited if ‘Brandi Love’ were to autograph it. Then the guy that gave him the shirt was the first star at the end of the show. Basically, it was a running gag for the rest of the show.

    I don’t have any kids but can’t imagine listening to THAT with nieces and nephews in the car. It is a generally disturbing thing to think about on many levels. It also lowers the standard of the show to a level no other show goes to in this market. Perhaps that is their intent or O’Neill is just beyond clueless as to why that shirt is offensive, I believe it is the latter. Then he said ‘oh ya this is going on TV’. I don’t think he did because I don’t see how he wouldn’t be suspended for that. Not sure why it is okay for AM radio.

  149. Omar says:

    @yaz Completely agree. I also googled Brazzers when it was brought up to see what it was and couldn’t believe it. Not sure why they think this type of behavior is normalized to the degree they think it is. Or maybe I’m the one out of touch with todays norms?

  150. Rob J says:

    Wonder how the rogers shills handle the Colabello PED test results

  151. Eric says:

    You guys need to lighten up. They said the name of the website. It’s not like they went into detail about scenes.

    Suspended? you have got to be kidding me.lowers the level to standard no other show goes to in this market? Oh Come on!

    Dean Blundell and Mike Richards have both had porn stars on their shows. they both talk about sex and strip joints. they get a lot dirtier than the name of a website.

    And it’s nothing new. Howard Stern was here, Jesse & Gene, Humble & Fred, What about when AM 640 was MoJo radio? the list goes on.

    If you are in the car with kids maybe put on some pop music for them. Probably here more graphic or sexual lyrics in music than just the word “Brazzers” You guys sound old and up tight.

    Sports Talk is also Guy talk and guess what guys like hot chicks and guy things (including porn) There are lines you can’t cross this was far from that line.

    Relax or maybe listen to something else. Maybe the jazz channel.

  152. Mike V says:

    They’ll do their jobs and report on it as usual. And be called shills for it regardless.

  153. Paul G. says:

    @ Rob J

    I’m watching PTS on the Score and Bob is reporting the story as it breaks.

    On the other hand…the show breaks and Martine Gaillard reports that a players only meeting has just been held; however no other details are offered.

    She then throws to Hazel Mae who announces changes to tonight’s lineup as the graphic is shown onscreen.

    The update then ends with absolutely no mention of by either reporter of Colabello or the suspension.

  154. Alex says:

    Bob is shocked SHOCKED his friend Has been busted for PEDs. After all, he’s got a meso orph body.

    I hope some guest explsins to Bob that you dont need to look like Mark McGuire to be taking HGH or any of the designer drugs there are out there.

    A,so, for thise that dont know, Brandi Love specialized in what in the business is called MILF porn.

  155. Curt says:

    Bob implying that Colabello doesn’t LOOK like a guy who would take PEDs, therefore, it must be a dubious test. Please. Just retire you senile old fart.

  156. doug thompson says:

    what steroids does hazel take. would like some for my girlfriend.

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