Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

May 28th, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star


by mike in boston / @mikeinbostonemail


Programming note: I'm still away on special assignment so I am writing less frequently. Follow me on Twitter for occasional sports media observations. Retweets are sometimes sincere. Also, we're working out some WordPress bugs so things may look a little different than usual. Let me know if someting isn't working. As always, if you want to take issue with something written here or educate me on how the business really works, please be in touch via DM or email.


Lastly, to read past columns scroll to the bottom of this one and click on the "mike in boston" tag. Apparently this is my 100th post for TSM.


Suggested Soundtrack: DeVothcKa – How It Ends


Raptors Playoff Coverage


The last eight months in Toronto sports have been more successful than the previous decade combined. The Jays made it to game 6 of the semi-finals, producing some moments that will be iconic in this city forever. The Leafs won the draft lottery and will pick a player who reportedly has the talent to be a star. And the Raptors made it just as far as the Jays, providing the city with a welcome collective rallying point during what is usually a disappointing time of year. As we head into the normally dull months of summer, Torontonians have a competitive TFC team to watch, as well as the Argos playing outdoors for the first time in eons. In addition, the Euro touranment begins in a couple of weeks which turns our mutlicultural city into a constant good-natured party. Fun times ahead. 


As we close the book on the 2016 season let's be honest about one thing: the Raptors playoffs were often painful to watch. The series against the Heat and Pacers gave rise to doubts about the level of talent on the team, and the one against the Cavs confirmed that hypothesis. Elements of this roster may well form a contender in the years to come but, as composed, this team is not championship calibre. The drubbings at the hands of Lebron over the last two games exposed the need for major improvments — on both offense and defense — if this team is going to take the next step. 


Here's a quick rundown of the univocally cheerful post-mortem columns:








If you read them all get used to the phrase "no shame in losing" since it is repeated ad infinitum throughout. If you only have time for one, read Cathal Kelly who does a good job putting the entire season into context.


With the 5 week playoff run a lot more has been written about the Raptors than usual. Further, many people have been writing about the Raps who normally focus their attention elesewhere. This echoes back to something we have discussed before. During the Jays playoff run and ensuing off-season front office circus Jeff Blair sneered at "baseball tourists" in the media.



This was at a time when TSN was going hard at the AA story, the payroll, the Jose and Edwin extension talks etc. People like Blair and Bob McCown seemed very annoyed that Jays stories were being broken by the competition (see my column here). But the basic complaint is an interesting one to reconsider now that the shoe is on a different foot.


Over the last month several columnists have been parachuted in to provide full-time coverage of the Raptors. In particular, Dave Feschuk, Bruce Arthur, Cathal Kelly, and Steve Simmons all wrote regularly about the Raps. While Bruce and Steve wrote occasionally about the Raptors during season, Cathal's 2016 resume mostly includes soccer, tennis, Manziel, rugby, fishing, and everything else under the sun. If you look at Feschuk's posting history over the months before the playoffs began, it's 100% Leafs, followed by some Master's coverage, and then on to the Raps.


Obviously you want all hands on deck to cover the most important stories from all angles. That seems like the right approach, and if you're paying a columnist big bucks then you want him (or her … are there any female all-sports columnists? Let's come back to that another time) writing as much as possible. The question I have is about credibility. If writers don't cover a team on a regular or semi-regular basis, do you find them credible when they swoop in during the playoffs?


Over to you: Who was your go-to writer for Raps coverage over the last month? Which of the generalists do you find most credible on basketball?


Media Redundancy


Note: please don't read what follows if you are in charge of hiring (ha!) and firing in sports media.


One question came to the forefront during the Raptors' playoff run: do we still need both reporters and columnists in 2016? Here's what I have in mind. Rachel Brady covers the Raptors during the season for the Globe. Doug Smith does the same for the Star, and Ryan Wolstat and Mike Ganter both do for the Sun/Postmedia. Most of these people took a backseat (in some cases literally) to the usurpers mentioned in the previous section. This is not because they are not good at their jobs. It has to do with the role they have been assigned.


What value was really added by, for example, Rachel Brady's game 6 recap? This is not a criticism of her work. It's a point about the modern sports readership. You have Cathal Kelly writing a column about the game. Anyone reading that either saw the game, or saw the highlights, or already knew the score. It's implausible to me that someone would sit down and also read a 700 word game summary the next day. Why would you when there are so many other things to read, and so many other ways to find out what happened?


The game summary seems like a relic of a bygone era when not every game was on TV and where it was hard to follow players and teams from other markets. If that's right, then this kind of story is not really needed anymore. It makes more sense to farm out game recaps to wire services and let both Rachel and Cathal write columns on the team, or just have one person covering the team as a regular basketball columnist with the other serving as a generalist who can bounce around when fishing news breaks. This seems to be in part's and's approach, as their Game 6 story is from Canadian Press. Sportsnet has Grange doing the heavy lifting on Game 6, with Steven Loung, Donnovan Benett, and Jeff Simmons filling in the gaps (at the time of writing this column).


Here's a quick rundown of all the people writing about basketball for the various outlets over the last month: (Apologies to anyone I missed. Message me and I'll add you)


Star – Arthur, Feschuk, Smith

Sun – Simmons, Ganter, Wolstat

Globe – Brady, Kelly – Josh Lewenburg, Jack Armstrong, staff (?) – Grange, Blair, the people mentioned above, Dave Zarum, Dan Robson, Shi Davidi (??), Geoff Lowe, Eric Koreen, Kristina Rutherford, and Arden Zwelling


As mentioned, come playoff time the beat reports at the papers are mostly rendered obsolete by the heavyweights. Sportsnet has a different approach with Grange in the obvious 1-chair with tons of worker bees supporting him. TSN by comparison seems to be devoting few resources to generating readable content, and doesn't even bother giving their staff interns bylines. Classy. 


Over to you: Am I underselling the value of written game recaps? Which outlet provides best value for comprehensive coverage? What's the right model for keeping both columnists and reporters employed?


Quick Hits


Steve Simmons' casino story has been discussed ad nauseam so I will keep my comments brief. It's a non-story objectively speaking. They weren't out clubbing/drinking. They were sitting in a casino attached to the hotel. Rachel Brady has a good summary of the facts and player quotes. Steve's follow-up piece lays out some of his reasoning, and his reasonable point that it's about optics more than anything. I agree with this to an extent. Why open that door if you're the players in question? Steve explains that he doesn't think this had anything to do with the 38 point blowout. But this raises the question: why bother reporting it? There's a bit of a contradiction here. It didn't matter, but the optics were bad. However, the only reason any of us know about the optics is because you chose to write about it, making the non-story into a story. 


Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News has an excellent piece on the hubris of the hapless Bills. 


BlueBirdBanter has a great article on baseball's addiction to bean-ball. 


How does Gary Bettman explain to his owners why he signed the TV deal in CDN dollars? The NHL had all the leverage over Rogers and he could have shifted the burden of currency fluctuations to them. Instead, the league faces losing a reported $200 million. Good news for Rogers, but it's not great to have your partner mad at you. Gary has a reputation for holding grudges and he doesn't like being publicly embarrassed.


Two Peel region schools are changing their names and logos to avoid appropriating Indigenous cultures. The Washington Post published a survey indicating 9 out of 10 Native Americans don't find the slur "redskin" bothersome. The survey has since been shredded. People need to stop creating debate about whether or not the word "redskin" is derogatory. Just substitute in "spear-chucker" and see if you still feel like there is something to debate. 


Low Hanging Fruit


  • The devil comes to you with an offer: Dean Blundell will think you're gutless but Marty York will be the only one to publicly defend you. Deal or no deal?


  • Someone convinced the newspapers that the kids love videos because both the Star and Sun are adding video content to their published stories. Here is Doug Smith from his car. Here is a very awkward discussion between Ryan Wolstat and Steve Simmons. Did this enhance anyone's experience? I click links on newspaper websites because I want to read.


  • Does anyone else chuckle when Sportsnet people cite Buck Martinez's experience as a manager when asking him a question? If I were Buck I wouldn't really want to remind people of that short-lived PR stunt. Bob McCown seems to agree with me on the merits of that decision. 


  • The confusing world we live in: is Rogers happy that the Raps run has distracted from the poor overall NHL playoff ratings, or sad that this is drawing precious eyeballs away from the NHL coverage, or happy that Sportsnet is getting 1.5 million viewers for a basketball game, or sad that the number TSN got for Game 6 will be even higher, or happy that the Raptors got another home playoff date?


  • Bell reports that their ratings for the IIHF tournament were huge, and grew over last year's numbers. Does this confirm the hypothesis that Canadians are not really NHL fans, but rather fans of Canadian hockey? The test of this will be in September when the NHL dresses up its players in national colours. How are you feeling about that tournament?


  • I seem to be getting fewer auto-play ads from both TSN and SN. Did my ad-blocker catch up or have they changed their business model?


  • Fun discussion on NBA officiating with Matt Devlin on Brunt & Blair (May 23, 9am). The awful calls were a major talking point during the Raps' run. The Jays are currently suffering at the hands of the cowboys who run MLB games.  The NHL seems to have recovered from the Kerry Fraser ego era of refereeing. How can the NBA and MLB get their officials under control?


  • As we wait for the spring radio book, here are the results of our poll on TSN1050 v FAN590. Numeris says no one listens to TSN. My numbers say that's not true. My sample size is based on 700 votes. What sample size is used to generate Numeris' numbers? I'll wait …




  • Finally, how do people feel about media openly cheering on Twitter? To my mind, it's an extension of the press box. Even if you are a fan, you're supposed to root for the story not the team. Is this a signal to the audience that one has hung up one's journalist trousers for good? 





thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)



  1. mario says:

    Thanks for the read MIB: So Bettman is reporting the league lost 200 million dollars if you blieve this is true or just another moving target from the league bean counters. I am sure Bettam new what ramifications were when he signed this deal with the fluctuating Canadian dollar , thats why I believe Rogers over paid so much to balance this out when they signed this deal good or bad. Now if Canadian teams can start doing well in the standing and put a competitve product on the ice for what ever warts Rogers has with its TV peronalites viewers will watch  in large numbers.



  2. Mike V says:

    But your unscientific poll is worthless and shouldn’t be compared to Numeris at all.

    Blair wasn’t in the press box covering the game though, he was at home watching the game on his couch. And it’s somewhat contradictory because if you’re rooting for the story, isn’t the underdog Raptors winning the best one? Blair and Brunt had an interesting conversation around this topic halfway through the Wednesday 9am hour.

  3. billyjoejimbob says:

    Feschuk was a high-school basketball All-Star in St. Catharines. I remember hearing he was cut from Western’s team. So I’d probably take his knowledge over all of them.

    The one thing I haven’t heard much about the casino article — and my biggest complaint — is the excuse that the deadline prevented him from asking Carroll and Joseph about being out. Sorry, but if you’re going to assassinate someone’s character, you gotta ask the question.

  4. dogpounder says:

    Good to have you back, Mike.

  5. Rob J says:

    Took a little longer than usual, but thankfully the basketball season and the incredible media homerism is over in these parts.

  6. AP says:

    Was Doug Smith not wearing a seat belt in the back of the Dodge Charger?

  7. Big G says:

    @Rob J

    Jamie Campbell, Buck, Wilner, are you sure the incredible homerism is over?

  8. Alex says:

    (My original post got eaten, so this is a repeat)

    glad basketball is over in TO. Please give me back the radio segments ive had to skip and can unmute the writers i had to hide during the playoffs clgging my timeline.

    blair "joked" the other day he didnt know what was happening with the IIHF championships because they didnt own the property. Or was he joking? 

  9. Rob J says:

    @Big G
    I was tring to be a little tongue-in-cheek, haha. Homerism will never die! (That would be a great bumper sticker).
    I agree wholeheartedly. Tweets such as ‘wow’ and ‘that’s not good’ during live games need to be banned forthwith, not to mentuon ones where journalists show their true homer colours.

  10. Drumanchor says:

    With regards to the excellent  numbers for the IIHF World Championships, I would offer that it was partly the success of the Canadian squad but also that a great deal of eyeballs were attracted by the presence of Matthews and Laine. For many TSN viewers, both players come with hype, hope as well as talent. 


    It had to help with the ratings. 

  11. Greg says:



    I dont think he was joking. I remember hearing him back in the winter, I think he was on at the end of Blundell and co. And they mentioned watching the world Jr. Game going on that day and he said "you can't say that can you? I'm not watching." Or something along those lines. That stuff drives me crazy you can't expect fans to be loyal to a station like that. If the average fan had to choose one or the other they would miss out on half the major sporting events. Even if he means it to be funny it's not. Nobody cares about your stupid feud between the 2 most hated companies in the country. Give it a break. 

  12. Bob Canuck says:

    Mike In Boston,

    I think you have misinterpreted the Globe & Mail article regarding the impact of changes in CAD-USD exchange rates on the Rogers-NHL TV Deal (the “TV Deal”). According to media reports, Rogers paid the NHL approximately CAD 320 million in Year 2 of the 12-year deal. Accordingly, there is no way the NHL lost USD 200 million in fiscal 2016 on the TV Deal due to the decline of the Canadian Dollar vis-à-vis the USD. My estimate of the NHL’s loss of value on the TV Deal in fiscal 2016 is approximately USD 35 million. The USD 200 million estimate of the currency loss refers to total revenues, of which approximately USD 1.32 billion comes from Canada; the USD 1.32 billion figure includes reveneus from tickets sales, the TV Deal, and other sources.

    With respect to the decision to have the TV Deal denominated in CAD, I think there are many possible reasons, including:

    (1) As the Globe & Mail article noted, the NHL owners and players share revenues on a 50-50 basis. Therefore, one-half of the currency exchange risk inherent in the TV Deal is borne by the players.

    (2) The financial impact of CAD-USD currency fluctuations from the TV Deal is not significant; if my USD 35 million estimate is correct, the fiscal 2016 impact of the currency loss on the TV Deal is less than 1% of total revenues. Assuming 50% of the USD 35 million loss is borne by the players in terms of a reduced salary cap, the net cost to each team is less than USD 600,000.

    (3) As a final point, given that NHL teams are located in the U.S. and Canada, foreign currency risk from the TV Deal will always exist for owners. If the TV Deal was denominated in USD, then the Canadian teams would bear the currency risk; if the TV Deal is in CAD, then the U.S. teams bear the risk. 

  13. Brandon says:

    That’s desperation to keep a gig on Blair’s part. The Globe let him go and went after Cathal Kelly, and Blair has just been shilling real hard ever since. I’m like everyone else, he’s good talking baseball, absolutely uninteresting stammering away about the other sports.

    I’m also watching the Blue Jays game today. The transformation of Hazel Mae is remarkable. She reads promos. That’s it, that’s all. Maybe there’s a postgame question or two, but it’s not like she’s providing lineup information or whether pitchers are warming up in the bullpen or not. Of all sports that don’t need a sideline reporter, baseball is one of them, and Hazel after getting bumped for Tim and Sid must be hanging on for dear life at Sportsnet, or they don’t like the look of firing a woman. I think Carolyn Cameron is good at what she does, and Carly Agro is simply terrible. Used the phrase “fer sure” in conversation the other night on air, I won’t make the mistake of tuning by again.

  14. Justin says:

    The FAN had a great lineup not long ago with Brady/Walker-Blair-HC@N-Tim&Sid-PTS. Too bad Don Kollins completely butchered it before sneaking away to California.

    The morning show is unlistenable, Blair is only good when talking baseball, HC@N was much worse than the old Leafs Lunch and still worse than the new Leafs lunch, Walker is boring solo, and PTS is…hot and cold depending on how much Bob gives a sh*t that day.

    With the old lineup, the only show I listened to on 1050 was Leafs Lunch and occasionally Macko&Cauz if Blair wasn’t talking baseball. Now? I ONLY listen to 1050 with the exception of still flipping between Cauz&Wheeler and Blair. I still catch PTS, but mostly later via podcast if I like the guest.

    Naylor & Landsberg >>>>>>> Blundell
    Cauz&Wheeler = Blair
    Leafs Lunch > HC&N
    Richards > Walker
    Overdrive > PTS, for the most part (Bob still has some great guests on).

    Kudos to 1050 for the sudden turnaround in my listening habits. Part of it is 590 also messing up. I think you’ll start to see 1050’s increased listenership reflected in the Numeris numbers in the near future.

  15. Original Mitch says:

    It is becoming an annoying issue when One broadcast team isn’t allowed to mention the competition, or their stories in order to protect their own brand. I notice small things like even using sound from the competitors during highlight packs is a no-no. Gotta find alternate feed, even though for the viewer it makes no difference.
    Case in point is the CFL. It would benefit the league and the fans a great deal if Sportsnet acknowledged it, but alas.
    During Sid’s faux-rant against Simmons, it was pathetic that they had to blur everything about Simmons’ twitter page. But I guess those things matter in the great Bell VS Rogers media war.

  16. Cirroc says:

    Oh did I miss an episode of Sid’s Soap Box? I’m sure it was brilliant.

    I don’t mind local media being fans of the team as long as they don’t become schills for the team and corporation. It’s nice when a team is going well to hear the excitement come through.

  17. Jp says:

    Best athlete interview I had the pleasure to listen to Friday night: Scott Ferrall from NBC (simulcast on Fan590) with Joe ‘jumbotron’ Thornton. So much complicity and openness from JT it makes me sad for our Toronto sports media talent.

    I’m always so bored with players/media segments even Bobcat does his best to stay away from it, because according to him they never say anything… To you that is Bob. Same goes with the rest of our on-air talent, always the same monotone-cliché’d not-getting-in-trouble-politically-correct-stick-to-pre made-statements answers from athletes.

    I know most people here cannot stand the raspy fork-in-throat voice of SF but he’s leaps and bounds above anything we got in Canada as far as personality and shtick. the constant stammering and repetitiveness (narrative, anyone?) from our local hosts and lack of personality makes it hard to listen… really, who can differentiate Ben Ennis, Andrew Walker, Dan Riccio… Are they not all the same guy?

  18. Matty Zero says:

    Steve Simmons was right, it was all about optics, and those optics are about getting eyeballs and clicks on his non-story story. He basically admitted as such when he said he probably wouldn’t have run the story if the Raptors had won game 4. That should tell you all you need to know about that weasel.

    As for the hockey playoffs, there have been some real entertaining games, specifically those involving the 2 cup finalists..but I get why not many are home team, nice weather and all the 2 and 3 off days between games are the main culprits. I don’t know how they could do it, but the NHL should make it so the playoffs end on or around May 24.

  19. Original Mitch says:

    I work late and find myself on the road at the wee hours of the night (morning) and you are bang on. Ferrall is fantastic, Amy Lawrence is also very good, Jason Smith on 1150 (Fox radio) is great and the best is Ben Maller who starts at 2am, goes until 6am and has NO GUESTS. 4 hours nightly with zero guests. He’s exactly what is right with sports radio in my opinion.

  20. Original Mitch says:

    Another quick note on American radio…I am always surprised (especially the boys on Fox) who bash the NFL and the players on a regular basis. They are relentless despite of course being an important broadcast partner. Shows they are not told by their bosses what they can and can’t say on the radio unlike the Fan up here.

  21. Rob J says:

    @Original Mitch
    Why would the Tor media criticize the players here? They’re all perfect citizens, awesome teammates, great in the community, never argue with officials, play their hardest every night, and read to the blind when they’re not volunteering in soup kitchens. Just look at the line dancing in the dugout the lovable jays choreograph after each play. Whatever should be criticized?

  22. Alex says:

    In my original post that was eaten, i mentioned how in the UK (and prob Europe too), the rooting interests are often known of jornos and often they are more critical on them than other teams. I guess if rooting interests are known, the consumer can make their own decision about their credentials.

    And its even worse in international events. The Beeb openly roots for British atjletes in the Olympics and Wimbledon.

  23. Michael Grange for me is my trusted MSM source. He goes way back with the franchise, did an awesome series called “Ask Hump” when he had his “From Deep” G&M Column, which in its own completely ingratiated me to him. Grange has the sources, is a straight shooter, and knows his ball very well.

    For online which you overlooked Raptors Republic is easily now my primary source for all the Raptors coverage I need.

  24. Steve in Waterloo says:

    I’ve got no problem with local/team play by play/analysts being homers.
    If someone (Joe Bowen / Buck) is broadcasting a game, in the TO market between the TO team and one from the states – I like the homerism.

    If Bob Cole is doing a game between Toronto and Vancouver on a national broadcast, then they need to not be a fan.

  25. Bobby G says:

    As far as homerism in local sports media goes, people will always hear what they want to hear, see what the want to see and interpret the written word they that fits their own narrative. There’s no getting around it and there is convincing someone on one side to see thIngs the other way.

  26. Big G says:

    In my opinion

    Shulman is great, and his return to Toronto media refreshing. Shulmans national broadcast game calling with ESPN really helps in his current lead role in the Jays local broadcast. Although your tuning into a local broadcast on sportsnet, he still leaves you with that national ESPN broadcast feel, his commentary is neutral, citing a lot of data about the opposing teams as well as other teams, coaches and managers around the league. I also like that his home run calls aren’t

  27. Rob J says:

    @Bobby G
    The next time Buck yells at an Ortiz or A-Rod fly ball to clear the fence, or Bowen screams ‘holy mackinaw’ when the Habs beat the Leafs in overtime, I will concede your point about homerism, ie. Never

  28. Big G says:

    @Rob J

    let me alter the first part of your statement drastically. “The next time Buck Screams GIT UP GIT UP BALL at an Ortiz or A-Rod ball about to clear the fence” Buck doesn’t yell bro he screams and almost sounds like he needs to clear his throat.

  29. Rob J says:

    @Big G
    Ha ha, When I’m wrong, I’m wrong! I blame myself for normally watching the games on ‘mute’ (which I guess also explains my overall baseball ignorance, having missed so much of Tabler’s expertise).

  30. PBI says:

    You calling the ALCS or LCS the semi-finals almost gave me a stroke.

  31. Bobby G says:

    @Rob J
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply it doesn’t exist (as your example clearly shows that it does) but that the degree to which it exists and what is appropriate, what is desirable will always will be in the ears and eyes of the beholder. Some people see an honest accounting of a bad performance by one of the home teams as objective, others will see it as unwanted negativity. Bob Cole got blasted in some quarters as a Leafs homer, Harold Reynolds gets roasted for his evaluation of the Jays in the playoffs last year. I sure we can all think of more examples.

  32. Rob J says:

    We’ll also see homerism on full display tomorrow as the MLSE media partners explain away the Marlies’ 3rd round disaster. Not part of the Shanaplan, methinks. But I’m sure everything’s fine!

  33. Bobby G says:

    I’m not sure any NHL club has ever included winning the Calder Cup as part of a plan. If it happens, great. Otherwise, tomorrow is still Monday.

  34. Rob J says:

    @Bobby G
    Haha! I’m sure that’s precisely how it will be framed tomorrow! You should apply at the FAN

  35. Bobby G says:

    You know, being anti-homerism is one thing, then there’s going too far the other way. And that is just as bad. Take care.

  36. Alex says:

    The Marlies just ran into the juggernaut that is the Hershey Bears.

    #formerseasonticketholder 🙂

  37. Anthony says:

    'You know, being anti-homerism is one thing, then there’s going too far the other way. And that is just as bad. Take care.' What he said. Its sophocating. I have no idea how Rob J (between here and on twitter) has so much time/energy for it. Thats it for me, peace

  38. Rob J says:

    The only thing missing from Anthony's "I'm done" speech was a gif of Nixon waving farewell from the helicopter after resigning the presidency.

  39. Mike V says:

    Interesting deletion there.

  40. Another Steve says:

    Lots to comment on….

    TSN1050 & Fan590 were my “go-to” stations, but I`ve since moved on.
    Lately, I listen to TSN1150 and WGR550 more frequently than either 1050 or 590. Online, the likes of Amy Lawrence, Mitch Melnick, Chris Mannix, and Steve Gorman complete my listening needs. I’m a station changer …
    I’ll change stations when the excessive ad runs start.
    I’ll change stations when hosts start taking “listener calls”.
    I’ll change stations when certain on-air personalities or “guests“ come on.
    I’ll change stations when a host starts gas-bagging it.
    Essentially, I’m all over the dial seeking information and entertainment of any sporting nature. I like variety, not just the redundancy of the past 12 hours from the hockey world, or conversely, the overkill of the current exploits from the home team`s current season.

    I don’t really care that the PDs at 1050 or 590 are clueless corporate drones.

    It’s not really a problem that most of the on-air personalities on 1050 and 590 are unimaginative shills, incapable of delivering, let alone creating, interesting and/or engaging content.

    And that’s the beauty of listening to radio, there are options, and lots of them.

    The Marlies are a young team built around speed and skill; but very short on fortitude and character. As fans, we can’t have it all, and that’s where the development curve comes into play. Over time, hopefully a few of the Marlies mature, develop and can contribute to the Maple Leafs.

    Time will tell if the Shanaplan is working, or if it`s just another failure by yet another inept and incompetent management group.

    For sports content, I don’t even consider the Star or Sun.
    My primary online “go-to” favourites are:
    ESPN, Yahoo, SI, SB Nation, and/or the Bleacher Report.
    If I want to read about local teams, I’ll click on the bloggers for their objectivity and independence rather than read crap from the teams owner’s MSM shill sections that typically populate TSN and Sportsnet.

  41. Antonio says:

    Since the topic seems to be about biased fans/reporters, how about Bruce Arthur – the world’s biggest Steph Curry fanboy? If you check his twitter feed, you’ll notice hardly a day goes by where he doesn’t gush (no really, he gushes) in fact he probably drools as he types his love for Curry.

    Its one thing to admire the skills of an athlete, but Arthur is head over heels in love with him. Disturbing, it is.

  42. yaz says:

    TSN employee Simmons and his Casino-Gate story stirred up a lot of chatter down the dial on 590 last week. Every 590 show except HCN & PTS chimed in (PTS pre-empted by Jays game May 26 & Bob didn’t comment May 27) Also, you had Bob & Shannon discussing at length former TSN employees Jay & Dan and their plight at Fox with Richard Deitsch (May 25, 5pm, about 38 mins in on the Pod).

    The Raptors casino story fell along two lines A) Was it appropriate to post the story and B) Is it appropriate for players to be at a Casino very late the day before a game. ( Actually, at 2 am, it was the same day as the game.)

    Best debates I heard: Brunt & Blair discussing at length whether or not it was a story – really chewing on it. Brunt No, Blair Yes ( ‘but I really would have had to think about it’). Also, both said they would really have to trust their source. They hadn’t yet heard that it was a first person story; Simmons saw Joseph & Carroll at the casino himself. Blair, May 26, 9 AM) Overdrive had the best discussion as to whether or not it affected play. Yes, they didn’t play pro basketball, but the story is about how players have odd sleep patterns and different ways to unwind ( Odog: I partied at the Playboy mansion until 3 am one night and 5 PM the same day scored a goal and an assist vs the Ducks. )

    Raptors at the Casino not a story: Blundell, George, Brunt, Walker, Ken Reid ( via Twitter), Cauz, Wheeler, Landsberg, Hayes, Odog, Noodles.

    Is a story: Blair, Naylor, Sid, Tim.

    Key tidbit: Simmons spoke to Casey after the loss and Casey said he had no issue with players being at the casino. Then an ‘unnamed Raptors exec’ said ‘make sure to mention the players’ names in the story.’ Was the exec purposely steering the heat & pressure away from the bad performance of stars Lowry & Derozan onto supporting players about an off-court issue? Was Simmons thinking of not publishing the names of the players at first?

  43. Rob J says:

    Casino-gate may or may not have been a story, but whether it was or wasn’t a story is definitely not much of a story

  44. Claire A Fye says:

    @Rob J You can’t have it both ways Rob. You constantly bemoan the fact the local media is just an extension of ownership. To the point where it’s pretty boring. And yet, here’s a story that disproves that and that’s your take? Lame.

  45. Mike S says:

    Game 6 on Saturday night between OKC and Golden State was epic (I’m sure Alex would agree)………..kudos to Sportsnet for showing Inside The NBA (the TNT show featuring Barkley, Shaq, etc) after the game on Sportsnet One

    In my opinion that show is one of the most entertaining studio shows in sports so it was great to have the opportunity to watch them talk about the thrilling game that had just happened

  46. Rob J says:

    The local media is an extension of ownership, which is a blatant conflict of interest. I try not to be boring but until that changes, it’s pretty hard to ignore when it comes to sports-media analysis in Tor. In fact, it colours literally everything about the coverage of the Argos, TFC, Raptors, Leafs, Blue Jays, and Marlies on TV, radio, and more and more, print. Imagine if ESPN owned a team in the NFL, NBA, or MLB. You can’t imagine it, cause it would never happen. But thanks for reading and commenting.

  47. Benjamin says:

    ‘to radio, there are options, and lots of them.’

    Amazing isn’t it. You can complain, or just turn the channel. Perhaps it’s just me but I think a lot just enjoy complaining

  48. Bora says:

    Those buffoons at the NHL couldn’t make the final start yesterday or if that wasn’t possible at least start the game earlier since it’s Memorial Day in the US and not go up against the 7th game of OKC and GS. In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter getting a 0.1 rating in the US instead of 0.2.

  49. Big G says:

    @Rob J

    Don’t forget ESPN once shared the same parent company as the then Anaheim Angels and the then Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Under Disney ownership.

  50. Original Mitch says:

    That’s a good point Big G, or at least an interesting tidbit. While they were both owned by Disney, it was still an arm lengths relationship because, hockey.
    Rogers and blue jays is a little sickening at times when you consider the team and the station is just one giant commercial for Rogers products. But that’s the world we live in. So long as the product is entertaining on the field, that’s all we can ask for.

  51. Dros says:

    People lamenting corporate overlords are way, waaaaaaay late to the party.

    That ship sailed the second sports networks knew that they had to play nice with the leagues if they hope to re-up their television contracts.

    ESPN can’t speak badly about the NFL for its handling of concussions, because the NFL may never go with them again as a network.

    We see these issues all.the.time, whether the network owns the team, or leagues own (figuratively) the networks.

    The days of impartiality are dead. Truly, truly dead. Even newspaper men, so starved for more money and a more stable job, buddy up to one of the two networks, killing their impartiality.

    At TSN, it’s Simmons, Arthur, Shoalts, Feschuk, guys from The Hockey News, etc.
    At SN, it’s Doug Smith, Cox, Grange, Brunt, etc.

    The days are gone, so move on. The trick is: don’t expect impartiality and take everything with a grain of salt. That way, people won’t be frothing at the mouth when a journalist says something they don’t like.

  52. Original Mitch says:


    See my previous comment about how Fox Sports radio destroys the NFL and NFL players when they get a chance. They rip Goodell so much, you’d think it was Sportsnet talking about the CFL. Yet, their bread and butter is the NFL on Fox.
    So, while I agree that in Canada they play very nice, I’m always shocked when I hear the guys on Fox or CBS trash into the NFL.

  53. GreyCountyMike says:

    The beat reporters covering Toronto’s major teams are generally quite solid and, I believe, are somewhat accustomed to having to shuffle over and make room for the sports columnists anytime the team gets good and interesting. Same thing happened a lot back in the early ’90s with the Leafs. Moreover, there appears to be mutual respect; the sports columnists coordinate their coverage with the beat guys and, in many cases, call on the beat guys for background material and contacts, etc.

    Where it can … and does … sometimes get nasty is when the general (non-sports) columnist decides the story is just too big or important for the beat reporters or sports columnists alone. Nothing would naturally irritate a pro like a Doug Smith or a Kevin McGran or a Terry Koshan or a Mike Zeisberger more than having someone whose everyday understanding in the subject at hand is, at best, equivalent to “Vito in Woodbridge” strut into the locker room and act like they know it all.

    Thankfully, some athletes do understand … one very prominent Toronto athlete once told me he respected the reporters who did the work; even if they ripped him, he could respect the fact they put in the time and effort to at least try to have a working knowledge and understanding of the team and athletes they were covering. He said he would rarely engage someone “who just woke up that morning and decided the team was suddenly worth covering.”

  54. Bobby G says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Arash Madani’s humourless, I-need-to-demonstrate-to-everyone-just-how-smart-I-am style (I think it’s grating and doesn’t work very well over the long haul as a radio/TV host) but it was nice to see some fresh faces on the basketball round table. Wolstat and Koreen could use some polishing but at least it wasn’t Doug Smith. Although, he’d probably claim now that he could have been on if he chose to or bothered to make a phone call or something.

  55. yaz says:

    This gem from TSN 1050’s traffic ‘update’ “Northbound Sumach is blocked at Gerrard.” – so, for all those 1050 listeners in Regent Park who happen to have a decent signal, they received an important traffic update that saved them hours off their morning commute out of hell. Can we do away with traffic already? ‘401 is slow from Brock St in Whitby to James Snow Pkwy in Milton.’ would suffice on a loop. Give me a break. Weather? Ok. Traffic? We all have apps and don’t listen and by the time we hear an update, it’s too late, we’re effed. Thanks.

  56. Big G says:

    @Original Mitch

    True enough, rights holders are usually apologists for the league, and it is interesting when you hear a rights holder ripping the league especially in the case of fox. The one thing I can say that has been consistent with fox is that they have never been shy of stating opinion or staying away from controversy carrying shows like Jerry Springer is an example. A lot of their content includes very controversial people and social issues, they don’t exactly tow the lines. Their fearless criticism of the NFL I would chalk up to fox being fox, open and honest. Fox is a network that says some of the things that people would like to say but for sake of political correctness don’t say it.

  57. Big G says:

    @ Original Mitch

    In the case of CBS and their criticism of the NFL, A lot of CBS programs appear to be aimed at a young to middle aged women demo(their probably the leader in this regard) i.e shows involving all women panels, soap operas etc. Being advantageous the NFL probably uses CBS to cross promote their product across those shows mostly viewed by women. Nothing more that the NFL would love if a lot more women were watching football. CBS realizes the importants of the relationship to that end. i.e friends with benefits.

  58. Brian says:

    Another anti-Shannon rant coming — be forewarned

    By my calculations, Shannon is on the “Shan” 590 13 hours per week (2 hours x5 on PTS + 1 hour x3 on Hockey Central @Noon). Bob is on 15 hours, as is Walker. But I believe Shannon spends more time talking during those 13 hours than Bob does in 15. In fact, I think that’s why Bob has him on his show — because it means less work for Bob (I mean Bob regularly lets his intro music play for 45+ seconds so that he doesn’t have to talk, which probably totals 20 minutes a week). Back to Shannon.

    His 13 hours on air basically means the station considers him a “star.” How this “personality” deserves that kind of airtime continues to baffle me. On May 31 in an interview with Jim Hughson, Shannon proved just how full of himself he is by routinely talking over his guest instead of just getting out of the way. Then he went on to make an awkward, stumbling ramble about this being a “golden era” for sports (made me feel sorry co-host Arash Madani). That may be true but it’s certainly not a golden era for sports radio in Toronto. We deserve better.

    In a recent edition of Hockey Central @Noon, Nick Kypreos started giving Doug Maclean a hard time about only winning the Clarence Campbell Trophy (which goes to the winner of the NHL’s Western Conference) in 1996 and not the Stanley Cup. The only problem is that Maclean won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1996 as coach of the Eastern Conference Champion Florida Panthers. Kypreos actually won the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1994 as a member of the New York Rangers but still didn’t know the difference between the two trophies. This is Sportsnet’s lead hockey analyst. There are interns smarter than this guy.

    And with Jeff Marek covering the Memorial Cup, Darren Millard has returned as host of Hockey Central. The key role of any host is to make a show move along as smoothly as possible. Marek is good at that. Millard? No so much. His interview with Craig Simpson on May 31 was full of awkward interjections and questions, as well as a reference to mens league hockey. Come back soon, Mr. Marek.

    And today Andi Petrillo spent five minutes talking with Craig Button about how much she hates going to the dentist. Please end this experiment.

  59. Rob J says:

    Hey, until someone remembers that Stamkos might sign with the Leafs these are the pre-summer dog days.

  60. koko b.ware says:

    @Brian …

    Really? You’re complaining about Kypreos using the incorrect name of the NHL’S most useless trophies? Most players could care less about the trophies.

    Nevertheless, you’re just like that kid in class who gets all excited pointing out that the teacher said Thursday instead of Wednesday. And then you go around believing you’re smarter than the teacher.

    I’m not a supporter or hater of Kypreos, but at least point out some glaring error.

  61. Brian says:

    @Koko I believe I am smarter than Nick Kypreos. I even believe you’re smarter than Nick Kypreos. My point is that these people need to be better than this. I think when a guy wins a trophy he should know its name, especially when he’s trying use that information to make fun of someone else. He’s just thick. Ferraro or McKenzie would not have made that error. And I can’t name all the times he’s stumbled on the panel when it’s a segment that wasn’t pre-planned. He was OK when Sportsnet wasn’t in the spotlight but now that it is, he’s over-exposed. With Kypper, less is more.

  62. mitch says:

    on a brighter note, but pertaining to home town media, the Fan is a lot more tolerable when the Jays do well. It makes their banter much more authentic and less forced and a lot less like a teacher (host) talking down to students (listeners) about how wrong they are.

  63. koko b.ware says:

    Fair enough. Much better arguments.

  64. Claire A Fye says:

    @Brian I’m not sure you, me or anybody else being smarter than Kypreos is the point. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a fan of his and I don’t think he’s terribly booksmart. I just don’t think that matters. What he is is connected. I don’t mean that as a dig at Sportsnet and their former branding. Kypreos isn’t in the same league as McKenzie, Dreger, or Lebrun in my opinion. I think he’s one of the biggest weaknesses with Sportsnet’s hockey presentation. You feel like your getting information from him, but never any insight.

  65. Steven says:

    Jeez, how many accounts does Marty York use to comment on here anyways 😉

  66. Alex says:

    I would also cut some slack to a pundit who had to retire due to head trauma. It also doesnt help they dont use those names anymore.

  67. jeff says:

    @Brian, I think you should cut Petrillo some slack. How is a 5 min dentist conversation any different from what the previous Leafs Lunch Guys do?

    I enjoy their banter, but lets count their tangents:
    Tramps, Scooters, Darts, tight tucks, Keswick, Guys named Gary, Old Dutch chips, 30 hrs in Vegas, Bar Play, Bartolo Colon fascination, etc., etc, etc….

  68. Mike V says:

    Not directly sports related, but Canada AM was just cancelled by Bell/CTV after 40+ years. To be replaced by a simulcast of the news channel until a new (read: much cheaper & leaner) show is announced. Hollowing out of Canadian media jobs continues.

  69. jeff says:

    @Mike V
    Its sad that people are losing jobs, but its a reflection of how technology has changed how we consume media. I PVR almost everything on TV, listen primarily to podcasts, and use twitter to alert me of news that I care about.
    It was only a matter of time before these changes would happen.
    It will be interesting to continue to watch how media companies adapt. SportsnetNow is a good example of “if you cant beat ’em, join ’em”

  70. Bora says:

    Nothing makes me change the dial faster than when I hear “Our next guest (really just FOB) is Daniel Negreanu”

  71. yaz says:

    Please Gawd can someone at Blundell & ‘Co’ stop including score updates in the effing podcast? May as well include traffic and weather.

  72. Omar Khan says:

    Bob Elliot’s retirement from the Sun is truly an end of an era. Anyone on the horizon to replace him in print media? Too bad.

  73. Steve Clark says:

    I’m good with Kypreos as an analyst, and am not going to pile on because he made one mistake in analysis. That is the thing with sports fans/ broadcasting and social media. I know that when I mistake in a broadcast, more often than not I am going to hear about from someone over Twitter. Generally, I am happy people are that tuned in, but it can get a little bit overly picky at times.

    For me, I was not always in tune with Elliot’s quirky style of writing. I enjoyed some, and found others a little incomprehensible. That said, the body of work speaks for itself.

    “Jeff” makes a good comment on the changing notion of consuming media. Eventually the ad dollars paid are going to have incorporate people’s habits of PVR/Podcast etc. In the 50’s they used to do sponsors within the show context or at the beginning. I’m guessing you are going to see more of that, along the lines of “The Grit Grinder” by Wrangler etc…

    Lastly, I thought everyone was a little too sunny about the Raptors run. Sure to get to the final 4 was impressive and uncharted territory, but really the team was awful, losing 5 of their 10 games in blow out fashion, and never were consistent. Overall they were 10-10 and struggled vs teams they should not have (Indiana, Miami)

  74. Hugh310 says:

    Does anyone else else find it odd that Bob Elliot retired in the middle of a baseball season ? I hope he’s not sick …

  75. Mike S says:

    McCown told a pretty interesting story on PTS today about Bob Elliott

    Apparently Elliott criticized Jays ownership last year and so someone at Rogers told PTS that they weren’t allowed to have him as a guest anymore………I guess that’s why he hasn’t been on PTS much in the last few months until this week……..McCown said he intends to have Elliott on the show in the future

    If you want to hear it just go to the 4 PM hour of the June 3 show…….it starts at about the 15 minute mark

  76. Pete says:


    My first thought was he was the victim of another Postmedia lay off that was masked as a retirement. Unless there was a significance to the day he retired (i.e. 50 years to the day), I’m puzzled why he did it mid-season as well.

    It wasn’t until he was announced as a Hall of Famer that I really got a sense of Elliott’s standing in the baseball world. Quite honestly, working for the Sun all those years, I didn’t pay too much attention to him.

  77. Paulina says:

    Fantastic stuff.

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