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


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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August 28, 2012 6:03 am

– You’re right about Rosenthal – he qualifies EVERYTHING with might, could etc. Come on man, you’re paid to have an opinion!

– Sports reporters literally stabbing each other on a reality show – lol

– If you could combine Friedman and Wilner you’d have a pretty good host I think. Although possibly long-winded.

– Too bad Banks got the last segment today, would have much preferred him to Dater for the long segment. Dater’s phone connection was really bad, which didn’t help.

August 28, 2012 9:35 am

I feel Wilner would make a great guest host for PTS (and he has in the past) given his confidence, but he’s a one sport guy at this point.
I would prefer someone qualify their answers with what their opinion is (which Rosenthal does). Ken does a good job of that and supports his opinion with facts (or what he understands to be facts based on his sources). At least I can then determine whether or not I believe or support his opinion. When someone comes out giving their opinion as fact and it’s later revealed that their wrong then I can no longer trust them when they state something as “fact”.

mike in boston
mike in boston
August 28, 2012 10:49 am

Wilner disagrees […] also thinks that you can’t know what would happen in an alternate timeline […]

He responded with a facile rejoinder that shuts down intelligent discussion? Shocking!

As someone who finds Wilner NOT to be a credible commentator on the Jays, Bob’s absences from PTS are especially irksome since this means Wilner is allowed back on the show.

nice analysis of Friedman’s strengths and weaknesses. I have not been listening lately so I can’t comment specifically, but I think he is miles ahead of Shannon and Cox in terms of intelligence, so I am willing to put up with the stylistic problems for the time being.

Another Steve
Another Steve
August 28, 2012 11:54 am
Reply to  Sam

Is Rosenthal paid to have an opinion or to know what he is talking about? I suspect it’s the latter.

August 28, 2012 12:17 pm

I don’t see how calling up Gose hurt him at all. It gives him a real taste of what MLB pitching is like and what he has to do to become a capable, if not great, MLB hitter. You have to think a competitive athlete WANTS to know and then strives to become better.

August 28, 2012 12:59 pm
Reply to  Another Steve

Well, its both I think. He’s an analyst, so if he’s talking about the future, in that context the person who’s listening should be able to deduce that he’s making a prediction, not announcing what will happen without doubt.

I think its just the way that KR always enunciates that something “could” or “might” happen is just sort of annoying… we know he can’t be sure of the future, he doesn’t have to hammer it into us.

August 28, 2012 4:00 pm

Mike Wilner would be probably the worst guest host for PTS. Elliotte Friedman is ten times better to replace Bob McCown than Wilner.

August 28, 2012 4:27 pm
Reply to  mike in boston

I think that had a lot to do with Friedman running himself down too, because he’s already kind of nervous, and Wilner’s statement made him feel like what he said was so stupid, he got insecure about it.

August 28, 2012 10:04 pm
Reply to  Sam

He did that when talking about John Farrell. At first he said that he thinks Farrell will stay with the Jays. Then he added that he would stay unless he doesn’t want to, then he might leave. And then he talked about how he could either stay or leave. He finally ended saying that he thinks Farrell will stay though.

mike in boston
mike in boston
August 29, 2012 11:40 am

getting caught up and listened to this show.Dater was an absolute mess of a guest –rambling, contradicting himself, seemingly endless answers, not much insight. Just terrible, but since it’s hockey the hosts seemed to be having a grand time.

Friedman is really solid but needs to work on being more concise. One quick way to do this would be to excise all self-referrential comments. It’s distracting, rarely necessary or even productive, and it is far less cute and endearing than he probably imagines it to be. You’re the host of PTS — show a little confidence or let someone else lead the show.

Chef Mike in Burlington
August 29, 2012 1:54 pm

I find Bob McCowan (and PTS generally regardless of host) is getting more and more tedious as he gets older and crankier, and his never ending pro-Rogers bias is getting old. As for Wilner, his one sport homerism makes him unlistenable, and the the thought of him having any bigger role at 590 makes 550 and ESPN even more appealing. Bye all, its been fun…

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