Prime Time Sports Review for Monday, August 27, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Listener calls with Elliotte Friedman

  • Calls are mostly about the Blue Jays, callers are very negative about them
  • Friedman thinks that calling up Gose early is bad for him, doesn’t think 9 years is worth it for Prince Fielder

5pm hour – Elliotte Friedman hosting, Michael Grange co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Rowan Barrett, Assistant General Manager of Canada’s Men’s Basketball Team

 

  • Grange asks what a young team like Team Canada needs, Barrett says getting more experience and developmental opportunities is important
  • Grange asks how Barrett can help the younger players navigate all the pressures of the US basketball industry, Barrett says it’s important to develop relationships with the clubs they’re attached to, as well as the coaches and parents, and you have to give them support
  • Post-Interview, Grange and Friedman discuss the challenges of Team Canada being so young, Grange stresses that expectations should be realistic

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

  • Friedman asks Rosenthal for his thoughts on the big Red Sox/Dodgers trade, Rosenthal thinks it’s a unique trade because the Dodgers took on a ton of money AND parted with top prospects, but that the Dodgers wanted Adrian Gonzalez very badly
  • Grange asks how sustainable this direction for the Dodgers is, Rosenthal believes that the Dodgers can sustain the expensive salaries
  • Friedman asks if Beckett can become a useful pitcher, Rosenthal doesn’t know and disagrees with Friedman that the success of the trade hinges on him
  • Grange says that despite their success, the Yankees are an aging team and asks if they will have to reload, Rosenthal thinks that day is coming
  • Grange asks if he thinks Farrell will still manage the Blue Jays next year, Rosenthal thinks he will, unless he doesn’t

Third segment: Talk segment

  • Friedman and Grange talk about how much they like Bruce Springstein
  • Friedman asks Grange about the NHL CBA negotiations, Grange thinks their next meeting isn’t going to solve anything

6pm hour: Elliotte Friedman hosting, Michael Grange co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Adrian Dater, writer for the Denver Post

  • Friedman asks about how Avalanche attendence will be affected by a second lock out, Dater says that the Broncos will always rule Denver but it’s still a good hockey market
  • Friedman asks if the Avalanche management is worried about Payton Manning playing for the Broncos, Dater thinks hockey will always have it’s niche in the US

Second segment: Interview with Mike Wilner, host of Jays Talk, FAN590

  • Friedman and Grange are concerned that bringing up Anthony Gose early is hurting him, Wilner disagrees, thinks he’s doing okay, also thinks that you can’t know what would happen in an alternate timeline if they left him in the minors
  • Wilner and Friedman think Mike Trout should win the MVP

Third segment: Interview with Don Banks, football reporter for Sports Illustrated

  • Friedman and Grange ask about the Jets, Banks thinks that it’s going to get ugly for them before they can sort it out, thinks that Mark Sanchez is limited by not having many receiving options
  • Friedman asks how long until the Jets become a trainwreck, Banks think that the Jets will be able to keep many games close, but the key will be if the lockerroom divides
  • Grange asks if Andrew Luck’s pre-season success will translate into regular season play, Banks thinks he looks like the real deal but he may struggle behind a weak offensive line
  • Banks believes the Colts will have a better record under Luck than they had last season, doesn’t believe Luck will make many mistakes

Thoughts:

The reason the interview segments have so fewer points than other reviews is because I’m trying to cut back on how detailed I make reviews, so I don’t burn out.  However, in the case of today’s show, there were also few points because very little was actually said.  This is for 2 main reasons: First, I noticed that Friedman takes a long time to introduce guests and asks questions.  He spends a lot of time setting up his question, often unnecessarily, before asking it.  Secondly, a lot of the guests, especially Dater and Rosenthal, gave extremely long answers that said basically nothing.  Rosenthal qualified almost all of his answers, so they basically came out as “that could happen, unless it doesn’t.”  Dater simply seemed uncomfortable doing a radio interview and he talked and talked but I gathered very little of an actual answer from what he said.

To be fair to them, it could be because whenever Friedman asks a question, it’s so long-winded that often they seemed confused what the question was.  Dater, especially, seemed to be searching for the meaning of what Friedman was asking him.

I’m not particularly fond of Friedman as a host.  I like him as a co-host, and he seems like a nice person, but, at least for the moment, he just doesn’t seem to have the personality to host.  This may change as he gains experience, but I think his biggest problem is confidence.  He’s already stated in the past that he over-thinks a lot, and he’s worried about being misinterpreted, or being extreme, so he is very careful in what he says.  That’s a really good quality to have as a journalist, but he has to be careful about how it comes out when he’s hosting on the radio.

For one, he needs to have more confidence that the questions he asks are clear, and good questions, and not need to spend 30-60 extra seconds setting it up.  Secondly, he needs more confidence in himself.  He needs to stop putting himself down, even if he’s couching it as a joke.  I know this tendency well because *I* do it a lot, and I recognize it in others.  There’s a difference between joking about yourself to be funny, and hiding your own insecurities behind humor, and Elliotte does the latter too much.

This especially showed during his interview with Wilner, where Wilner disagreed with him (about Gose) and Friedman started to talk about how people listening must think that he (Friedman) is so stupid, and Wilner was like “what?  no!  I just don’t agree!”  That pinged to me, because sometimes I do that, and worry that disagreement shows some failure on my part.  While I understand his insecurities, I do think that he needs to at least be able to hide them better if he’s going to continue being in the big chair.

I was amused when Friedman said that reporters “literally stab each other in the back, in the front, to the face.” I know a lot of people use “literally” to mean”figuratively” but I just thought if that were true, you could make so much money from a reality show about sports reporters.

Friedman also took very few calls because he spent the first 18 minutes talking about his own feelings on the Blue Jays, and responded to the first question with a soliloquy about more of his feelings on the Blue Jays.  I think he took about 5 calls in total.

I think, in general, a lot of Friedman’s issues as host are related to his inability to speak concisely and his humble personality, and I don’t know if the latter is something he can get over with experience, or will just mean he can’t be host.  Some people just don’t make good hosts, but make excellent co-hosts, like Stephen Brunt.  I guess we’ll see.

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