New TSM Contributor

You might have missed it, but thanks to TSM for the shout out from his post late last night. I am a new contributor to Toronto Sports Media, and no, I’m not Rocky Saganiuk, Leaf winger from the early 1980s. When TSM posted that he was looking for some help earlier this month, I jumped at the opportunity, having enjoyed the website for some time.

He suggested I introduce myself to you, so…who am I? Like many of you reading this, I have had little direct association with the media, at least until now. Full disclosure – I studied and attained a diploma in journalism more years ago then I’d like to admit, however I never pursued it, as I carved out a sales career in the consumer packaged goods industry. As a journalism grad, I have always been a newspaper junkie, and there’s no better city than Toronto for that. Being on the road much of the time, I enjoy talk radio, particularly sports, warts and all. Like you, I am full of opinion – just ask my first wife, or my second! I recently married again, and fortunately she knew going in that I’m a sports junkie. Frankly, she not only watches a Leaf game with me, but she derives some sick pleasure as I sink deeper into my Leaf Cup Fever psychosis.

Having a partner that gets as much pleasure watching sports as I do is awesome. Unfortunately for her, it comes with having to listen to my occasional rants, which ironically brings me to the lead paragraph of a story I read the other day on the Star website by Richard Griffin. The story begins with, “The legend of Brett Lawrie continues”.

Further into the story, Griffin writes,

“Lawrie doubled, slid into second, popped to his feet and emotionally slammed his fist into palm in celebration before then calling timeout. It was an expressive display of accomplishment, but nowhere near the intense show of emotion when he hit a grand slam on Wednesday and became a one-man wrecking crew with teammates’ hands and chests down the length of the dugout”.

Excuse me, have I missed something? Legend? Does Brett Lawrie have a bust at Cooperstown? He’s a had a terrific start, but two weeks is hardly a body of work to pin the word legend on someone. I understand Lawrie comes to the big leagues with high upside, but can we let the kid play a month or two, heck even a full season, without anointing him a legend?

The hype machine malady has afflicted the Toronto media landscape for many years. Player A is called up, the media hype begins, the public buys in, and the player is on the road to becoming overrated. Then the player doesn’t live up to the hype, and pseudo GMs start calling in to radio shows with cockamamie trade proposals of Player A (plus the proverbial 3rd round draft pick) for the best player in the league in return. It’s as predictable as sunrise and sunset.

With apologies to Rocky Saganiuk above, who was a victim of the Toronto Sports Hype Machine, feel free to share some Toronto players that fell victim to this.

Richard Griffin’s story can be found here.

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Chris F.
Chris F.
August 17, 2011 12:16 am

Eric Hinske was a victim. I remember after his ROTY season people were saying he would be a great power bat for years to come but it never materialized and people turned on him quite a bit.

Alex Rios had a lot of promise and Jays fans and the media were hoping for bigger things but I don’t think he was so much a victim of the hype machine but rather his piss poor level of work ethic.

I’m not sure if Manny Lee got the big media hype but he was talked a lot as a future star on broadcasts for years until it was painfully obvious he was a AAAA player.

August 17, 2011 7:28 am

“Excuse me, have I missed something? Legend? Does Brett Lawrie have a bust at Cooperstown? He’s a had a terrific start, but two weeks is hardly a body of work to pin the word legend on someone. I understand Lawrie comes to the big leagues with high upside, but can we let the kid play a month or two, heck even a full season, without anointing him a legend?”

Ever heard of hyperbole?

Mike on the go train
August 17, 2011 9:11 am

It’s clear I’m not the only one tired of Robbers trying to sell me George Brett everytime some decent prospect has a good month. This team has 1 star, and has a few guys a few die hards have heard of, but they are still 14 out of W/C and 18 years out of the playoffs…

Less than 12 parsecs
Less than 12 parsecs
August 17, 2011 9:21 am

Welcome robg.

When Lawrie hits the inevitable dry spell, I’m really looking forward to Griffin et al blaming the fans for hyping him.

August 17, 2011 9:41 am

And there I thought Griffin had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, as I did while watching the game, seeing Lawrie hit the double and saying “the Lawrie Legend continues”. I guess me trying to adapt to the sarcasm seen on this and other sites has gone overboard – should I go the other way, to totally buying into everything, in sports and politics, as the above posters and robg seem to have done? Wow, talk about literalists!

August 17, 2011 10:48 am

I’ll watch the Jays when they play a meaningful game in Sept. I dont expect to be watching this Sept.

August 17, 2011 10:56 am

‘Roger’, with all due respect, every game the Blue Jays play is meaningful in the big picture. There were a lot of wasted years under J.P, but if your not watching now, your missing a very exciting team.

Chef Mike in Burlington
August 17, 2011 11:29 am

Lagerdale, thank you for your passion, I’m sure Rogers and AA appreciate it, but sadly, many of us cannot share it anymore. Are they exciting in some way?, maybe so, but when you are already out of contention (again) by the All Star break, it’s just harde to care.

Wins when you’re out of it mean nothing, and you’re out of it anyway. I hope you have fun at the games, please enjoy, we know you’ll be able to get good seats…

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
August 17, 2011 1:26 pm

Is Griffin going overboard using the term legend with Lawrie? Probably, but you know what, there is nothing wrong getting excited about new young players on this team. And if turns out they flop, I will cheer for the next young one. And if a young player flops because the fans and media think he has a bright future, well, not sure I want him as a cornerstone of my favourite baseball team.

Eric Hinske had a really good rookie year. And you know what, he hasn’t played that well since. That isn’t the medias fault, the fan’s fault, that is his ability not developing and that happens every year with various young players.

Nothing wrong being excited about Rasmus, Lawrie. I hope Drabek comes back stronger as well. There is genuine reason for optimism from a young talent perspective.

Now its just up to Rogers to open the wallet and not give us excuses about when and why. Just Do It!

Less than 12 parsecs
Less than 12 parsecs
August 17, 2011 1:46 pm

@Gerry I don’t mind folks getting excited about young guys like Lawrie and Rasmus — I was at Camden Yard for Lawrie’s second game, and it was a thrill for me — but Griffin, Cox and the Toronto Sports mafia will also be quick to dump on the fans (for being desperate, unrealistic or some other reason) the moment young guys hit a slump.

That’s why, @Tabbler, I don’t think of Griffin as being ironic. If it actually exists, it’s a pretty withered sense of irony, from a person that doesn’t seem to care much for the Blue Jays, their fans or their city.

August 17, 2011 2:19 pm

Welcome to TSM robg!!! Looking forward to reading your posts…and perhaps meeting you at this years TSM Chanukah/Christmas party 🙂

August 17, 2011 3:00 pm

LT2P good point, it never fails to amaze me how the sports media in this town ridicule the very audience they expect to consume their product.

This media phenom of the moment is anything but new … look at Kadri and his father. In the wake of Blair’s comments about making up quotes, I suppose it is the media’s attempt at trying to create stories in the absence of any real team performance. Other than Bautista, there is precious little to cheer about on the sports landscape, so if the current “hope” of the moment gets some unfounded attention so be it.

As for waiting until teams play meaningful games, where the hell are you going to find that amongst the current collection of Toronto professional sports teams?

I understand the skepticism which years of futility bring, but I do like the direction the Jays are taking. I feel there is reason for optimism and am enjoying watching the progress. This is not to say I agree with all the individual moves. I don’t but that is the great thing about being a fan. So far, I think that AA has done a much better job of cleaning up the mess he inherited than say – Burke.

August 17, 2011 8:58 pm

How dare anyone dump on the “up and coming jays are going to make the playoffs next year beacause they have the perfect GM and a host of awesome young talent that are making the Yankees and Red Sox contemplate giving up their franchises”‘ storyline!!!1 Play along, y’all!!!

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