Prime Time Sports Review for Wednesday, September 19, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Listener phone calls with Bob McCown

  • First few callers disagree with Bob about his stance on the Escobar situation, one caller accuses Bob of assuming intent then hangs up while Bob is trying to talk to him
  • Bob says that the reason he isn’t having GLAAD on the show is because they accepted donations from the Escobar suspension and therefore are not an unbiased party
  • Many of the callers at the end agree that the suspension should be harsher and are disappointed with the Jays
  • Bob points out that if Escobar had written advertising on his face, he definitely would have been told to take it off and that the Jays shouldn’t be letting anybody write things on their equipment or eye black

5pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Stephen Brunt co-hosting

First segment: Talk segment

  • Bob and Brunt discuss the reaction to Yunel Escobar, Brunt thinks art of the angry reaction has to do with being angry at the Blue Jays in general for the bad season
  • Bob thinks the press conference yesterday was a clown show, still believes Escobar should have gotten more games
  • Brunt says people have looked back to see how often Escobar wears eye black with words on it and have found very few examples
  • Bob says does it matter what he wrote on his eyeblack, the Jays shouldn’t be letting him write things on his equipment for games

Second segment: Interview with Jon Paul Morosi, baseball reporter for FOX Sports

  • Morosi says that the 2nd wild card is rewarding mediocrity in the National League, but is working well in the American League, and that Selig can say the first year is a success
  • Brunt thinks the one game playoff won’t be as satisfying as a series because fans will see their teams make the playoffs and then get out after one game, Morosi agrees but thinks that one game playoffs can also be very exciting
  • Bob agrees that one game playoffs are dramatic and that kids these days probably can’t keep their interest for much longer anyway

Third segment: Interview with David Branch, CHL President, commissioner of the OHL

  • Branch is on to discuss the OHL making a new rule that if a player gets 10 fights they are suspended for the rest of the season
  • Branch says they are trying to get rid of one dimensional players from their league, and reduce fights in the league
  • Bob asks if the ceiling will come down over time, Branch says it might as they re-evaluate after this year

6pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Stephen Brunt co-hosting

First segment: Interview with Paul Beeston, President and CEO of the Blue Jays

  • Bob asks about the sequence of events that led to the press conference, Beeston said that the Jays found out at 6pm, Toronto GM, Alex Anthopolous went to New York & met with Yunel who was scared, they decided on a 3 game suspension, the next day they met with MLB which approved their punishment, and then announced the press conference
  • Beeston says that as CEO of the Jays, he takes responsibility for the punishment, stresses that Escobar loses 3 days pay and has to take diversity training
  • Bob asks if it’s true that MLB suggested 0 games, Beeston says it’s not true and MLB never made a suggestion
  • Brunt asks in Beeston’s mind, what did Escobar do, why did he do it, and why didn’t anybody notice it?  Beeston says that it’s poor judgement and that Latins have a different culture, and that he has no idea why Escobar did it, and nobody saw it on his face
  • Bob asks if the Jays should have gone to Escobar previously and told him to stop writing things on his face, Beeston agrees but says that it’s obvious only in hindsight
  • Bob points out that if Escobar had written advertising on his eyeblack, somebody would have noticed it and told him not to, Beeston says that they don’t know how often Escobar writes things but will find out
  • Brunt says that the Jays have the option to pay him but not let him play for the rest of the season, Beeston says that they have the ability to do that, but as Canadians we should be forgiving and that professional athletes give so much and Escobar would sign an autograph for a sick child
  • Beeston says if Escobar gets booed for the rest of the year, those are consequences for his actions
  • Bob asks if it’s different if this happens on Junior Jays saturday, with kids involved and meeting the players, Beeston says it doesn’t matter
  • Bob asks if he’s crazy that he thinks the suspension is too light, Beeston says that’s his opinion, and that Beeston says some people thought he shouldn’t suspend Escobar at all
  • Bob thinks there might be an issue in the club house, Beeston says that one person’s error in judgement doesn’t show anything is wrong with the club house
  • Beeston tries to take full blame for the press conference saying that he wasn’t there and should have been there
  • Bob asks if Farrell chooses to sit Escobar for the rest of the season will Beeston oppose it, Beeston says no
  • Brunt asks if Escobar is just another player now, or is what he did going to be factored in to keep him on the Jays, Beeston says we’re all products of our behaviours
  • Bob reiterates that he and Brunt disagree with Beeston’s punishment for Escobar

Second segment: Interview Bill Shaikin, reporter for LA Times

  • Shaikin is on to talk about Philip Anschutz putting AEG sports and entertainment up for sale
  • Brunt asks why he’s doing this, Shaikin says he doesn’t know, but he thinks it might have to do with Shaikin realizing he won’t be able to get an arena built in LA and therefore woon’t be getting an NFL team in LA
  • Bob asks who the potential suitors are, Shaikin names a couple but says more will show up and sometimes the quietest ones end up being the ones who buy it
  • Brunt asks what happens to AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and if he has any equity, Shaikin says he doesn’t know if he has any equity, and what happens to him will be determined by new ownership
  • Brunt says it feels that they’re a lot further from an NFL team in LA than before, Shaikin says Leiweke did an excellent job making it seem as if the team was imminent but it’s not
  • Bob asks how important local ownership is, Shaikin says that it’s preferred but if non-local ownership will help the team win, people would be fine with that

Third segment: Interview with Dmitry Chesnokov, Yahoo Sports

  • Bob asks Chesnokov if it’s possible for Ovechkin to stay in the KHL is the NHL lockout is over, Chesnokov says he can’t because the KHL signed an understanding with the NHL to respect their contracts
  • Bob asks what it means to the KHL to have NHL players there, Chesnokov says he thinks it will help but we’ll see when it happens, notes that some of the teams have rented bigger venues expecting bigger crowds
  • Brunt asks what the rules are for KHL teams to add NHL players, Chesnokov says that each club can add up to 3 players and only 1 of those 3 can be a foreigner

Thoughts:

It’s amazing how on his game Bob can be when he’s interested, and I think he was really sharp today.  I don’t say this because we share an opinion on the Escobar situation, but because he came up with a lot of really interesting thoughts about the situation, some I didn’t even think of.

One, was about advertising.  We know that the Jays, Rogers and MLB would definitely be angry if Escobar had been advertising for a company on his eyeblack, and I think Bob was really clever to come up with that.  He absolutely stunned Beeston I thought when he brought it up and Beeston was forced to admit, yes, they probably would have been looking for that and wanting him to take it off.

Secondly, about GLAAD taking money.  I was on the fence about this, because I know many organizations do this, to the point its just become par for the course, but I’ve never really been comfortable with it.  After listening to Bob, I’m convinced this is problematic.  Since I work for an organization that provides a lot of the resources for gay and trans youth in Toronto, I know that getting donations can be something you don’t want to pass up, and I’m not saying organizations CAN’T take donations in this sort of situation.  But, I’m not really that comfortable with it.  It feels as if GLAAD and Right To Play have become the LGBT confessors, like in church.  Somebody does something bad, they confess to you, and then their sins are forgiven.

Every athlete that does something homophobic, donates to Right to Play and Glaad and swears to be a good person and we’re all happy and both organizations say all is good.  Well, of course they will, because they benefited from it.  I 100% agree with Bob that having GLAAD on wouldn’t be useful because having gotten a big donation because of this situation, can listeners will trust them to speak on behalf of the LGBT community?

I had the same issue with Sid Seixeiro on Tim & Sid today saying that if Patrick Burke thought 3 games was okay, then it must be.  Except Patrick Burke isn’t a member of the LGBT community, and his organization got money as part of the whole press conference, so there may be an element of bias.  And it doesn’t mean I think people are pocketing the money, but if you are involved like this, it’s perfectly fair that people may go “well of course you’d say that, you can’t speak ill of the process.”

I’m always a little distrustful of “advocacy groups” that try to speak for a community anyways, because they’re always the ones that people go to when there’s a controversy and there’s donations, “education”, smiles and all is good.  And rarely do these people actually represent the people on the ground.

Or maybe I’m just too cynical. XD

Beeston did a lot better job spinning than Alex did, but he was no more convincing.  He tried his best to put it all on himself, even contradicting Alex in the process.  Last night, Alex said that it was a consensus decision among many people that decided the three games, today Beeston said he decided it.  Somehow, I suspect Beeston is trying to protect everybody else, and he knows he has the credibility to take a hit and he’s going to retire sooner than later.  He can afford to take the brunt, and I admire him for trying.  I just don’t believe it’s all on him.

I don’t know if he could have made the press conference better.  It certainly seemed as if Escobar, Farrell and Anthopolous hadn’t really spoken to each other before hand, and were badly out of synch.  Maybe it’s me, but Alex just seems worn out.  He seems overwhelmed by this season and it just felt like by yesterday he just wanted to bury himself in a hole and never come out.   And does Farrell have one foot out the door?  Because if he leaves this off-season, this entire situation is going to look very different to a lot of people.

I like how Beeston says that Escobar has to face the consequences of his actions when it came to the booing when he returns from the 3 games.  So the consequences of his actions is the same as Vernon Wells’ and Francisco Cordero’s?  Really?  The Jays are now turning player discipline over to the fans apparently.

Bob and Brunt didn’t let him go easy at all.  It was nice to see.  Usually interviews with Beeston are chummy and he’s allowed to define everything, today they didn’t let him.  As I said yesterday, maybe this is where things change with the way people handle Beeston and Anthopolous?

Brunt had the same theory about the anger at the Jays as I did!

Did you know that one game playoffs are really exciting, and so are playoff races?  They are!

That’s basically all I got from the Morosi interview.  I kept thinking back and really, that was the entire interview.

The Branch interview was kind of interesting.  I hadn’t heard of this rule change so I was interested to learn more.  I ended up a little confused at the end about how some things don’t really count as fighting if you were goaded into it or something, but in general, I got the gist of it.

The interview about AEG hurt my brain.  I had a hard time following all the business stuff, and I don’t know anything about LA or the people involved, and this was one time I wished Bob had treated the interview like he treated soccer topics, or authors, because I think a 101 on the subject might have been nice for people who don’t know everything that’s going on in LA or what AEG does, or who Tim Leiweke is.

The Chesnokov interview didn’t reveal very much of anything, except that Ovechkin probably can’t stay in the KHL, but we already knew that.

All in all, I think this show was worth it just for Bob’s thoughts and the interview with Beeston because they were really interesting and Bob was on the top of his game today.  However, the other segments were pretty subpar and uninteresting or confusing.

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