Prime Time Sports Review for Tuesday, September 6, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Bob McCown hosting

First segment: Interview with Jonah Keri, baseball writer,

  • Bob asks Keri about the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasberg, Keri thinks it’s a stupid decision, the Nationals should have handled him like the Braves handled Chris Medland and brought Strasberg out of the bullpen to start the season and ease him into a full load of innings
  • Keri doesn’t think that Strasberg truly wants to pitch in the playoffs, because if he did, his agent wouldn’t be agreeing to the innings limit
  • Bob and Keri talk about Keri’s upcoming book on the Montreal Expos

Second segment: Interview with Nelson Millman, former general manager ot the FAN590, current executive producer of studio productions for Sportsnet

  • Millman reminisces about his memories of the FAN590
  • Bob mentions the TEAM1050, and asks Millman why they failed against the FAN, Millman says if you want to compete against the incumbent, you have to be a lot better because you need to pry listeners away from their habits
  • Bob admits to being scared when the TEAM debuted because he didn’t think that there was enough room for 2 sports talk radio stations in the market

5pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Damien Cox co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Tom Anselmi, new CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment

  • Anselmi says it’s a huge honor, he’s excited about doing it and thinks that the teams will start winning again because sports are cyclical
  • Bob asks him if he knows much about the process of hiring him, Anselmi says he doesn’t
  • Anselmi says it’s important for fans to believe that MLSE is focused on winning
  • Bob asks what’s different between him and Peddie, will he be hands on?  Anselmi says that everybody’s different, and that it’s difficult to know what to do
  • Cox asks Anselmi how he responds to criticism that he was in charge of TFC and TFC has been a huge failure, so why should fans trust him to run other teams? Anselmi says that sports is cyclical and that TFC was at a disadvantaged when they were created, denies meddling in the running of the team
  • Bob asks what his relationship is with Bryan Colangelo and Brian Burke, Anselmi says it’s terrific, they’ve known each other for a long time and are teammates, doesn’t think the relationships will change

Second segment: Interview with Dan Shulman, former FAN590 personality, current baseball reporter for ESPN

  • Shulman reminisces on his memories with the FAN590, how excited people were about the Blue Jays during the early 90s when it started
  • Shuman says part of the initial popularity was the post-game phone-in show gave the fans a chance to air their thoughts on the Blue Jays, which they couldn’t do before
  • Shulman says even though he now works for ESPN, he still gets a lot of people who tell him that they remember him from the FAN590
  • Bob recounts the story of how he first heard Dan Shulman doing updates on the FAN590 on the radio, and went into the studio to meet him, and told him that he has a real future in the business

Third segment: Talk segment

  • Cox talks about some of his memories of working at the FAN
  • Bob talks about how sports talk radio changed from phone-in shows to interviews

6pm hour – Roundtable discussion with Bob McCown, Damien Cox, Stephen Brunt and Elliotte Friedman

First segment: Memories of the FAN590

  • The roundtable share their memories, tries to remember how Brunt joined Primetime Sports
  • They remember the ill-fated National Sports Radio, share stories about that station, how it was before its time
  • Talk about how people used to get their sports scores a day behind, but Sporstline changed things, after that, fans wouldn’t tolerate anything but same day scores

Second segment: The effects of sports talk radio on newspapers

  • Bob talks about how newspapers used to be seen as the medium that breaks news and radio was seen as ripping them off
  • Brunt says the biggest effect was that newspapers were supplanted by radio for opinionating on sports, and that fans started to want instant feedback rather than reading the opinion of the game the day after
  • Cox points out that in the past, only writers got to have public opinions, then radio call-ins allowed fans to, and now social media has allowed everybody too
  • Brunt talks about how hot sports in Toronto was when the FAN started because of the Jays and Leafs success, Friedman talks about how tenuous the ratings were a couple of years later because of the baseball strike and hockey lockout
  • The show ends and a montage plays recapping the 20 year history of the FAN590, and the events they covered in that time


I thought I was going to roll my eyes at this show just because of how almost the entire thing was about the FAN590, but I actually really enjoyed it.  I think that had a lot to do with Bob and Brunt being back and listening to them on the roundtable.

I was right about Jonah Keri.  Bob didn’t ban him from the show, it’s just that they wanted more local Jays analysts on during the summer because of how hot the Jays are right now, but as the Jays fall off and the playoffs approach, I predicted Keri would be back, and he is.  I liked their interview and if Keri lost any points with Bob for saying that pitcher wins were bunk, he gained them back by going with one of Bob’s favourite baseball saws: beginning young starting pitching in the bullpen.

The Millman interview was way more interesting than I expected.  I feared it would just be Millman and Bob insulting and joking with each other, but instead Bob really interviewed him and I thought it was really interesting.

I was very unimpressed by the Tom Anselmi interview and found it boring.

The obvious question to ask Anselmi would be how he sees the Raptors and Leafs winning again?  Sports ARE cyclical, but only because the bad teams eventually get high draft picks and stumble onto a superstar.  Both teams have eschewed doing that, and so you can’t just say “sports are cyclical” as a reason why the Leafs and Raptors will start winning again (and by winning, presumably the standard has to be competing for championships, not just having an over .500 record.)  I found it interesting his statement was just allowed to stand like that.

In general, the entire Anselmi interview was spin and generic platitudes.  It sounded a lot like they were interviewing an athlete, actually.  Anselmi just kept saying they have to be positive, things will get better, have to win over the fans, etc etc etc… all the generic “we need to do good things because they are good” stuff you hear from athletes.  Bob asked a couple pretty interesting questions, I thought, and Anselmi dodged them all by saying a lot while revealing almost nothing.

Hey, Dan Shulman is back!  I know this is probably a one time thing that was allowed by Sportsnet (and TSN if they have any exclusivity to him, which I don’t know), but I enjoyed hearing him and Bob talk once more.  I wish Cox would have laid off the childish teasing for one interview.

The roundtable was my favourite part of the show and I love hearing Bob and Brunt’s thoughts about not just the history of the FAN590, but the history of sports talk radio in general, how it started, and how different things were before.  Both have so much history with various mediums and I love hearing them talk about that history, from their point of view and also analyzed from a greater perspective.

I found it funny that Cox recognizes that social media has meant that the unwashed masses can have our voices heard without having it approved by the newspapers or radio.  I just wish he would also recognize that why he gets so bent out of shape about Twitter and internet commenters, is that he’s so used to being the special media guy who has a platform and it bugs him that his critics, and others he may disagree with, can have a platform just as big, or bigger, now without the approval of the media class.

The montage made me smile, and I loved listening to it.  Bob sounds so different in the past.  I’ve seen and heard him on youtube before, so I know what he sounded like before, but it took me a few seconds to go “oh wait, that’s Bob!”  “Greetings and salutations” is quite an old thing with him isn’t it? xD

All in all, I liked this show, and loved the roundtable.  Somebody who is much older than me, and have more memories listening to the FAN590 might feel different, but I loved listening to their memories because I wasn’t there.

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