Prime Time Sports Review for Friday, August 31, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Listener calls with Elliotte Friedman

  • Calls are about whether callers prefer to watch sports at home, or in the arena, callers who want to go edge out callers who don’t by one

5pm hour – roundtable with Elliotte Friedman, Arash Madani, Dave Perkins, former Toronto Star sports writer, Doug Smith, Toronto Star basketball reporter

First segment: Discussion of the Toronto Blue Jays

  • Discussion about Marcus Stroman’s suspension, Smith says it might raise concerns about what else he might have done in the past
  • Perkins says that the only pitchers that have impressed recently are Carlos Villenueva and a couple of the relievers
  • Perkins suggests that a reason for the Jays’ pitching injuries is because earlier in the season, pitchers were pitching too many “tough innings”

Second segment: Discussion of Stephen Strasberg being shut down by the Washington Nationals

  • Perkins thinks that if you have a shot at the World Series you need to go for it and not hope for next year
  • Smith doesn’t think the Nationals have any studies to show that it’s better to shut Strasberg down
  • Madani says that if Strasberg really wants to pitch, he would fire his agent, Scott Boras
  • Smith thinks this sends the message to fans that the Nationals don’t want to win this year

Third segment: Discussion of Canada men’s national basketball team

  • Smith is optimistic about the future of the team, and that they have a chance to medal in 2020 and maybe even 2016 because the South American teams are falling away
  • Perkins asks when the NBA wants out of the Olympics, Smith says that the tournament may move to an under-23 format as soon as 2020

6pm hour – roundtable continues

First segment: Is the future of football in danger?

  • Perkins and Smith say that they wouldn’t want their kids playing football and that they believe the demise of football is a generation away because of how dangerous it is and how enrollment is down
  • Madani disagrees, points to the ratings of the NFL
  • Both Smith and Perkins are okay with rugby, believe it’s less dangerous in terms of head injuries

Second segment: Discussion of the NHL CBA negotiations

  • Doug Smith believes that the NHL lockout will go the route of the NBA lockout and be resolved around January
  • Elliotte Friedman thinks Bettman is a great negotiator, Perkins thinks that Bettman takes things too personally, praises the NFL commissioners and how they don’t take things personally
  • Perkins rips the NHL owners who sign long term deals and now want to roll them back, Madani thinks that it’d be wrong if the owners tried to change existing deals

Third segment: Which quarterback would you choose to win one game?

  • Question is raised because of Patriots owner, Robert Kraft’s statement that Tom Brady is better than Joe Montana
  • Madani chooses John Elway, Smith takes Johnny Unitas, Friedman thinks it’s either Joe Montana or Tom Brady, Perkins never actually answers the question


I liked this roundtable despite the few bullet points.  It wasn’t that structured with anybody having particular positions (outside of the NFL debate) but I found it quite entertaining.  I like Smith and Perkins and I think they add a lot of character to the discussions, and Madani is clear and concise in making his points.

I thought the Blue Jays discussion was a bit weak, because, as I keep saying, there’s nothing to talk about the Jays anymore.  However, I really enjoyed the NFL concussion debate, and I found it interesting it’s the older guys who are okay with football going away and the younger two were the ones who weren’t.  It runs opposite to the idea that older people have a harder time adapting to change, but in this case I think it has to do with them being fathers and also with having a longer view of things.

I think the only thing that really was annoying to me was during the NFL discussion.  They were discussing head injuries, and Madani and Friedman started to make jokes about Colt McCoy sustaining a head injury and making fun of the look on his face.  That’s exactly the kind of trivializing attitude to head injuries that causes people to dismiss the seriousness of the issue, and I found the jokes in pretty bad taste.

I was glad to hear Friedman say something positive about social media and how he has learned a lot, and thought about things he wouldn’t, because of twitter.  Given how often Bob, Cox, Perkins, etc run down social media and kids these days, it was refreshing to hear.

This roundtable wasn’t particularly big in terms of heated debate, or new information, but I found it an enjoyable listen.

I’ve noticed that Friedman seems very defensive about the industry of professional sports.  He was arguing on behalf of pro players against Madani a couple of days ago, and he seemed to be defending sports teams to the callers today.  I wonder if it’s because his job is in the industry and so tied to these people and companies that he feels that they’re being treated unfairly.

From my listening, a lot of the callers seem more angry at how poor the Toronto teams have done lately than they are against going to the stadium or arena.

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