Prime Time Sports Review for Wednesday, September 12, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Bob McCown hosting

First segment: Interview with Stephen Brunt, regular co-host of Prime Time Sports

  • Brunt explains that the likely scenario now is that Canada will have to go into their final game against Honduras looking for a tie, unless they score a bunch of goals against Cuba
  • Brunt says that Honduras will be a hard place for Canada to play in because it has a high murder rate, and its fans are very noisy and passionate
  • Brunt says he’s not trying to excuse Canada, but losing Dwayne DeRosario was fatal to them yesterday
  • Bob switches topics to the NHL CBA negotiations, Brunt thinks that nothing will happen until January approaches
  • Brunt says this lockout is different than the 2004 one and that the entire season won’t be lost
  • Bob asks if there’s a deal to be done if the current contracts are grandfathered in but future contracts are harshly cut back, Brunt says that it’s always tempting to throw future players under the bus
  • Bob wonders if the players wanting front-loaded contracts is so that they can get the majority of their money before a new CBA rolls their salaries back

Second segment: Interview with Rob Becker, sports lawyer

  • Bob is confused about the NFL suspensions of New Orleans players being overturned, Becker explains that the panel ruled that the commissioner can suspend people for actions on the field, but not for taking “bounties”, and so they need Goodell to explain whether he suspended the players for their actions on the field or because they took money off the field
  • Becker thinks Goodell is just going to say that he suspended them for trying to injure people and that the suspensions will be upheld
  • Becker says this is worse for the players, especially Vilma, because the suspensions won’t overlap with his injury
  • Bob says that Goodell suspending the coaches for organizing the bounty system should show that he was suspending the players for the bounty system, not for the hits they delivered on the field, Becker doesn’t understand Bob’s argument and then confuses Bob so Bob forgets what his argument was
  • Bob asks why Goodell can’t just say that he’s doing it in the best interests of the game and ignore the panel, Becker say there’s no reason for him to do that because he can just say that he’s punishing the players for actions on the field
  • Bob asks if there might be a lawsuit coming, Becker says that the only lawsuit is the libel suit by Vilma and Becker thinks that won’t go anywhere

5pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Elliotte Friedman co-hosting

First segment: Talk segment

  • Bob shares his thoughts and memories of Don Fehr, believes Fehr found a balance with Bud Selig
  • Friedman doesn’t think the majority of the owners want to play, but that the GMs do
  • Bob thinks that Bettman is right that the owners need to be protected from themselves
  • Bob and Friedman talk about Madonna

Second segment: Interview with Jamie Campbell, Blue Jays analyst for Sportsnet

  • Campbell says that Romero doesn’t think getting a start off is a big deal, and understands that he’s been pitching poorly
  • Campbell says that he thinks Romero being put as #1 on the staff is a reason why Romero is having such a bad season, because the pressure was put on him to win every start
  • Campbell thinks some of it is bad luck, because Romero has had some good outings but have lost those, but if he won them  things might look and feel different
  • Friedman asks if there’s a person like former Jays pitching coach Mel Queen to fix Romero, Campbell says the issue isn’t mechanics but mental
  • Campbell thinks Romero needs to get off Twitter and stop getting upset at every single person who says anything bad about him

Third segment: Interview John Murphy, play-by-play voice of the Buffalo Bills

  • Murphy says that the report that the Bills have signed a one year lease with Erie county is premature and there is no lease right now
  • Bob asks if this means that a longer lease will be negotiated, Murphy says he doesn’t know that that’s necessarily the case
  • Bob asks Murphy how bad week one was for the Bills, he says that even the players were stunned at how poorly things went
  • and that turnovers killed them
  • Murphy says the Bills are trying not to think of this loss as part of a pattern extending from last season

6pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Elliotte Friedman co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Paul Henderson, former NHL player, 1972 Summit Series hero

  • Henderson talks about the new book and hints at what might be in it
  • Bob asks if this was about “our system vs theirs”, Henderson said it didn’t start as that and didn’t become a battle between cultures and systems until Canada started to lose
  • Friedman asks if Henderson ever watches the games on DVD, Henderson says he occasionally watches them
  • Henderson says that at the 6 minute mark of the first game, Team Canada realized that they were equally matched if not overmatched and this wasn’t going to be easy
  • Henderson says that the Russians broke all the “rules” that the NHLers had been taught about how to play the game, like turning back when they had the puck
  • Bob asks if after Canada won game 2, did their confidence rise, or were they still worried, Henderson said that even though they won, they still understood that their physical conditioning wasn’t as good as the Russians
  • Bob asks how the hospitality was in Soviet Russia, Henderson says that it was awful because the communist system meant that people on the bottom had very little and a few at the top had a lot, says that even the players were abused by their coaches
  • Friedman asks if Henderson has ever thought about what would have happened had he not scored the winning goal, Henderson says the goal has given him a profile and a life he would never trade with anybody

Second segment: Interview with John Shannon, Sportsnet hockey insider

  • Friedman thinks that the NHL’s message was that if the players wanted to go to 50/50 revenue sharing, the NHL would go for it, Shannon thinks that Friedman is right, but the question then becomes what counts as revenue to be shared
  • Shannon says there’s not much hope, but there’s more hope today than previously
  • Friedman asks what the chances are of the owners rolling back contracts that had already been signed, Shannon says it’s a huge issue

Third segment: Interview with Diana Swain, investigative reporter for CBC

  • Bob is interviewing Swain about the Canadian Soccer League match fixing scandal where players for Toronto in a match against Trois-Rivieres accepted money to throw the game
  • Swain says that what happened was that the police were investigating a gambling related assault in Germany and in the course of wiretapping people, discovered the match fixing scam
  • Friedman wonders why people would bet on such a small game, Swain says because these small leagues are easier to fix and less people follow it to notice if anything is off
  • Swain says that there’s so much demand for gambling on soccer that people will bet on games anywhere in the world, even semi-pro Canadian league games
  • Swain says there’s no charges or investigation pending in Canada, this is all about a case in Germany
  • Bob asks if Canadians should be appalled that the Ontario police is not investigating this, Swain says that we should be appalled, says that the police claim that nobody has complained about this so they haven’t acted
  • Swain says that while some might say this is a victimless crime, if organized crime is involved, this could expand into other crimes, Friedman says there’s also potential of assault if somebody can’t pay up, or doesn’t want to throw a match
  • Bob asks if we should be surprised that the CSL hasn’t tried to clean up their league, Swain says that they should be doing it, but aren’t and say they’re waiting for FIFA to tell them what to do

Thoughts:

I really liked the 6pm hour, a lot more than I thought I would, actually.  When the Henderson interview started, I was pretty sure after the first couple of questions that this would be a terrible interview because Henderson punted the questions to his upcoming book, twice, but the interview really picked up after that.

As I said in my review of Friday’s show, I wasn’t anywhere close to being born yet when the 1972 series was played, and I really would like to hear more about what people thought and felt back then, and this interview really provided that.  I liked how Bob basically took us through Henderson’s thoughts and insights from each game forward, and we got to hear what Team Canada was thinking after game 1, and game 2, and so on.  It was a very fascinating interview for me.

The Shannon interview was boring, and the CBA stuff is just talking about the same things over and over.  Thankfully, it was short.

I’m glad they devoted more time than they usually give for a final segment for the Swain interview.  I think very few people listening to the program knew much about this case much less knew what it was about and I think Swain did an excellent job breaking it all down, and Bob did a good job asking the right questions.  Swain really knew her stuff and never seemed lost at all about giving us the information, and this led to a great and informative segment.  Bob seemed very interested too, and never once sounded bored or slacking in his questions as he sometimes does in soccer interviews.

I liked that they focused the entire Campbell interview on Romero because a) there’s nothing else really to talk about with the Jays and b) Campbell actually had a lot of thoughts about the issue, and some were pretty unique.  I’m glad that Campbell didn’t just go with the usual “oh he has to just get over this season and get back in the saddle” thing that almost every other Jays analyst has been saying for the past few weeks (and months) and actually gave some new ideas.  The one that impressed me most was that Ricky needs to get off Twitter and stop caring what every single random person says about him.  I think a LOT of celebrities (and journalists *cough*DamienCox*cough*) need to take this advice too, because they just don’t have personalities suited to handling reading thousnads of opinions about themselves.  It’s something I haven’t heard people point out a lot (at least not this specifically) and I’m glad Campbell did.

The John Murphy interview was just him saying that he doesn’t know the answer to Bob’s questions and reminded me a lot of the interview with the Seattle radio host yesterday.  Both interviews were just Bob asking the person to speculate on things that hadn’t happened yet, and might not happen, and they tried their best to provide something.

As much as I like Brunt, I wasn’t that into his interview.  The CBA stuff, as I’ve said, bores me, and I didn’t really hear much in the way of analysis about the game yesterday, or what Canada’s chances to advance are.  Brunt basically said that Canada played badly yesterday, and that they can advance if they play better.  Bob seemed oddly interested, at least to my ear, and like he wanted Canada to advance in qualifying.

The Becker interview was usual Becker.  It seems like sometimes the Becker interviews are great, and sometimes Becker and Bob just confuse each other so much neither knows what the other is talking about, and today’s interview was the latter.  The part that really stuck out for me was when Bob was asking if Goodell’s punishment of the coaches could be used against him to show that he is indeed punishing the players for their off-field behaviour, not their on-field, and Becker so badly misunderstood the question that even Bob got confused about his original point.

This is something I’ve noticed about Bob lately though, he’s having trouble remembering or sorting through his original thought processes.  He’ll start with a point that I completely understand, but if the other person disagrees or misunderstands it, Bob starts to act lost about what he was originally saying.  I’m not sure if it’s because disagreement on a point Bob is iffy on makes Bob unsure of how good his point was, or because Bob just forgot where he was originally going, but it’s pretty awkward.

Becker’s style of speaking isn’t exactly conducive to easy understanding either, especially when he’s trying to flesh out his own thoughts, so that part of the interview got really hard to listen to.  It was doubly frustrating because I actualy knew exactly what Bob was originally trying to say, but both of them completely lost the point.

All in all, I generally liked this show, and I think a strong 6pm hour really saved it.  I learned a lot, and was fascinated by the Swain and Henderson interviews and was almost sad when they had to go.

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