Prime Time Sports Review for Wednesday, August 22, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Listener phone calls with Jeff Blair

  • Calls are generally about Ricky Romero, many callers think he should be sent down, or shut down
  • Some calls complain about Rogers not spending money, one caller suggests Rogers should sell the team and just stay as a rights holder
  • One caller complains about Anthony Gose, another caller claims that he knows the Jays have been clubbing at night
  • Jeff Blair believes you should shut Romero down or move to a 6 man rotation, but there’s no point in sending him down to the minors

5pm hour – Jeff Blair hosting, Dave Perkins co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Ken Rosenthal, baseball reporter for FOX Sports

  • Blair asks about the impact of Bartolo Colon being suspended for increased testosterone levels, Rosenthal says it will hurt the As because down the stretch they will need veteran pitching
  • Rosenthal expects the As to stay internal to replace Colon
  • Blair asks if the Nationals will actually shut Strasburg down, Rosenthal believes they will because they have been consistent about their views
  • Asked about Clemens, Rosenthal thinks there’s a lot of motivation on both sides for him to rejoin the Astros, for Clemens, it’s to delay his hall of fame eligibility, for the Astros’ it’s to sell tickets
  • Perkins asks what the Jays should do with Ricky Romero, Rosenthal believes he needs a break, either sending him down to the minors or having him miss a start
  • Blair suggests the jays may go to a 6 man rotation
  • Discussion about John Farrell and the Red Sox managing situation, Rosenthal thinks the Jays should sign Farrell to an extension now, also suggests that Jason Varitek may be an option for Red Sox manager

Second segment: Interview with Milos Raonic, Canadian ATP player

  • Blair asks Raonic what he thinks of the US open, Raonic says it’s “great”
  • Perkins asks about Raonic’s Olympic experience, Raonic says representing Canada makes him proud
  • Perkins asks if the Olympic tennis tournament was different than Wimbledon, Raonic says there wasn’t much difference outside of the crowd
  • Blair and Raonic talk about the rowdiness of the US Open crowd
  • Blair asks Raonic to expand on his comments that he “needed to create more chances” in his matches, Raonic says that he was waiting and reacting instead of “creating”
  • Perkins asks Raonic who are the big servers in Tennis, Raonic lists Isner, Karlovic, Federer and Tsonga
  • Blair asks Raonic to give an area of his game that he’s not happy about, Raonic says he needs to improve on handling the first ball on a return of serve
  • Blair and Perkins compliment Raonic for being the highest ranked Canadian tennis player ever, Raonic says he was taught by his parents not to compare himself to other Canadian players because of the lack of success Canada’s had in men’s singles

Third segment: Talk segment

  • Perkins gets mad at Blair for boring him by talking about Blair’s fantasy soccer team
  • Perkins reminisces on how times have changed and that fans care more about statistics and individual player accomplishments than they do about team success

6pm hour – Jeff Blair hosting, Dave Perkins co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Charley Casserly, analyst for the NFL Network, former NFL general managers

  • Blair asks about the NFL using replacement referees, Casserly says that he’s seen calls that aren’t normally called and that the officiating is inconsistent but will improve
  • Perkins asks if the NFL’s credibility is damaged because they make so much money yet lock out the officials and choose to go with inferior officiating, Casserly says that the NFL can’t simply give in to the officials’ demands, says that they shouldn’t have a pension plan
  • Blair asks what will happen to Michael Vick, Casserly says that the Eagles understand they have a talented but aging and injury prone quarterback, and know they need a back up in case
  • Perkins asks how Casserly looked at pre-season games as a general manager, Casserly says that he looked for how his starters played against the opponents’ starters
  • Post-Interview, Blair and Perkins discuss the NFL’s London game and the silliness of sending Jacksonville

Second Segment: Interview with Steve Bitker, sports broadcaster with KCBS 740AM in San Francisco

  • Perkins thinks it’s interesting that both Cabrera and Colon are former Yankees
  • Bitker thinks that despite the statistics, Colon isn’t a big loss to the As because he has a history of fading down the stretch
  • Bitker talks about the depth of young pitching in the As’ system
  • Blair says the As organization is really good at identifying young pitchers they want to acquire in trades, Bitker agrees

Third Segment: Talk segment

  • Georges Laraque cancels again, Blair half-jokingly expresses his annoyance
  • Blair is starting to wonder how real the CHLPA idea is, brings up the question of whether you have to negotiate with each team owner individually  because they are all individual owners, Perkins wonders who would be financing the CHLPA
  • Blair says that Georges Laraque is the last person he’d want to run any organization that was serious about getting something done
  • Perkins and Blair discuss the possiblity of Buffalo becoming Toronto’s AAA baseball affiliate, Blair thinks people in Buffalo would not stomach being the junior partner to Toronto, Perkins disagrees and says Buffalo understands that it’s a AAA baseball town
  • Perkins talks about how awful it was for him to watch Romero struggle last night, he believes the Jays have to sort Romero out soon rather than have him stew on it for 6 months
  • Perkins suggests shutting moving Romero to the bullpen, Blair doesn’t think it’s a good idea, Perkins doesn’t like Blair’s idea of a 6 man rotation


I wonder why Jeff Blair doesn’t get the sort of criticism that Mike Wilner does in the way he handles phone calls.  To my ear, Blair is even worse when it comes to callers he disagrees with because he cuts them off mid-sentence and starts yelling at them and explaining to them why they’re wrong even before they finish talking.  This caught up with him today because one caller’s point was actually not what Blair thought it was and after Blair’s explanation, the caller revealed he wasn’t talking about that at all.

I went into more detail of the Jays calls because I wanted to show just how much anger there seems to be about the Blue Jays.  I think that some fans went into this season ready to pounce on Alex Anthopoulous and Rogers if the Jays had another bad season, and they’re frustrated because the injuries have clouded the issue, but their anger hasn’t gone away.  A lot of the calls are fans who need to blame SOMEBODY and get mad at SOMEBODY, whether it’s Rogers, or Anthony Gose, or that the Jays are being lazy and partying all the time, they just need SOMEBODY to be angry at.

Blair’s statement that it’s understandable that the Jays go clubbing because they’re “practicing heterosexuals” is odd, since bi and gay people party too (in fact, the stereotype is we party MORE.)  Blair was pretty definitive that he didn’t have any problem with injured players (and pitchers who aren’t starting the next day) clubbing

He talked about it twice, and I still don’t understand why Blair thinks that Buffalo would have an issue being Toronto’s farm team.  I understand they would be angry that the Bills are playing 2 games in Toronto a year, but whether Toronto is the affiliate or not, Buffalo’s going to be SOMEBODY’S farm team.  I agree with Perkins: They know what they are, and I think some of them might actually like having the major league affiliate within a 1.5 hour drive.

The Raonic interview was a perfect example of why Bob hates interviewing athletes.  Perkins and Blair tried so hard to get something interesting out of Raonic, and he managed to say nothing while using a lot of sentences.  He said “great” about 3 times while describing the US open, and all he said about the Olympics was that he was proud to represent Canada.  Blair asking him to explain what he meant by “needing to create more” was the worst part because Raonic responded to the question by using the word “create” 5 times and basically concluded by saying he needed to create more.  He didn’t explain what he was creating, which was what Blair was driving for.

I find the athletes that make the best interviews are journeyman players that have had to learn the intricacies of the game to keep their jobs.  Unsurprisingly, they’re also the ones who are most likely to become analysts or coaches.  The superstars and prodigies (like Raonic) are generally unable to explain their talent or how they play the game, because they haven’t had to think about it as much.

I wonder if Raonic saying that he doesn’t compare himself to other Canadian tennis players, and doesn’t care about his ranking in Canadian tennis history, will cause an issue or not.  I mean, it’s completely understandable, because he’s right, we haven’t had much of a history.  At the same time, Canadians sometimes get touchy about these things.

As a younger person, I always roll my eyes whenever I listen to Bob or Perkins or Shannon complain about new media and how kids these days just aren’t as polite as the older generation, and how Twitter and email have ruined everything.  I did find Perkins yelling at Blair that he doesn’t care about his fantasy sports team to be amusing though.

Charley Casserly was a huge shill for the NFL.  He reminded me of Doug Maclean and John Shannon back when they still felt they had to defend the NHL up, down, back, forth and sideways.  Shannon’s still a bit like that, but he’s nowhere as bad as he was before.  Perkins had an interesting point about the reputation of the NFL, and Casserly’s response was basically “you can’t expect the NFL to negotiate with those ungrateful referees!”

Rosenthal’s interview was fairly interesting, and I thought he had a lot of good analysis.  I don’t know if there’s any substance to his suggestion about Varitek or not, but it’s a creative idea.  Bitker didn’t offer up very much.  I think the mistake was that Blair and Perkins didn’t do what Bob did last week, which was asking Bitker about how the issue was playing in the Bay Area.  Once Bitker said that he didn’t think Colon’s talents would be missed, there really wasn’t much else to go in terms of baseball analysis.

I think Blair is really annoyed at Laraque.  He took a couple of shots at him, and he even “joked” at the end that Laraque should be banned from the show.  It also sounds like Blair’s never really liked Laraque.  I thought it was a bit of a mean shot when Blair said that Laraque isn’t fit to lead any organization that actually wants to get something done.  I wonder if it’ll get back to Georges and if it’ll affect the interview when (OR IF) it’ll ever actually happen.  I completely understand why a guest not answering his phone twice in two days when he’s scheduled to be on would annoy a radio host, though.

Outside of the Rosenthal interview, I thought this was a pretty lackluster show.  It could have been worse, but I always enjoy listening to Perkins talk during the talk segments, even if he’s trashing us young’uns.

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