Prime Time Sports Review for Monday, October 22, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Bob McCown hosting

First segment: Interview with Michael Heistand, US Today

  • Bob talks about listening to Beth Mowins do play by play for the Purdue/Ohio State game, thinks that she was saddled with a terrible colour commentator and so he couldn’t tell just how good or bad she was
  • Bob and Heistand talk about Jeff Van Gundy claiming that the NBA blocked Stan Van Gundy from getting an ESPN job
  • Heistand talks about CBS creating a “60 minutes” sports program on Showtime
  • Bob and Heistand discuss Erin Andrews, Bob doesn’t think she can carry her show as host, Heistand points out ratings are up since she started hosting

Second segment: Interview with Jeff Blair, Globe & Mail sports columnist and host of the Jeff Blair Show, FAN590

  • Blair and Bob talk about whether the Tigers having a lot of time off between series is a bad thing, Blair says as long as you keep your pitchers pitching in the off-time, there’s no problem
  • Bob says therefore there should be no problem playing a longer series for the first round of the MLB playoffs (rather than a one game play in), Blair says that the issue is more that stretching it out will lead to colder weather in the later series
  • Bob and Blair discuss whether the Giants or Cardinals have more star power
  • Bob asks Blair about John Farrell being traded to the Red Sox, Blair thinks Alex had to do it but is concerned that Alex claims he didn’t know Farrell wanted to leave until the last minute

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

First segment: Talk segment

  • Bob and Cox talk about the John Farrell trade, Cox thinks this gives Anthopolous more time because he can say the new manager needs a year to get into the job, Bob says that fans won’t buy it
  • Bob thinks that the Jays should have held out for more

Second segment: Interview with Rob Becker, lawyer and legal analyst

  • Bob and Cox talk with Becker about an ex-Pittsburgh Steelers doctor being charged with distributing steroids, Becker says that while the players may have taken steroids, we tend to go after dealers more than users of drugs
  • Becker discusses Lance Armstrong being banned by the Cycling Federation and having his titles stripped, says that Armstrong doesn’t really have any legal argument since he chose not to contest USADA’s evidence, thinks Armstrong will fade away
  • Cox asks if the investigations against Armstrong, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were part of a concerted government effort, Becker doesn’t think so, points out that the Feds have gone after Armstrong before and dropped their investigation, if they were working with USADA they would have used their evidence
  • Becker discusses a judge looking into whether OJ Simpson got good representation in his trial, and that he’s doing so because Simpson’s defense lawyer may have not passed on a deal to OJ

Third segment: Interview with Gregg Zaun, Sportsnet baseball analyst

  • Zaun thinks the Jays got too little for Farrell and handled the whole situation badly
  • Zaun says that the Jays should have played hard ball with the Red Sox to get John Lester or Clay Buckholtz, or even trade Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar with Farrell for Pedroia
  • Zaun thinks that Farrell didn’t manage the clubhouse very well

6pm hour – Bob McCown hosting, Damien Cox co-hosting

  • First segment: Interview with Alex Anthopolous, Blue Jays General Manager
  • Anthopolous maintains he didn’t know of Farrell’s interest in leaving until a few days ago, that he had no plans to trade Farrell
  • Anthopolous says that he hasnt thought of who would replace him until now
  • Bob suggests that Anthopolous should have played hard ball with Farrell and told him he would sit and not be manager if he insists on wanting to leave, Anthopolous says that they could have, but that would have made the Jays look like a mean employer and done nothing except be spiteful
  • Anthopolous mentions that the negotiations were done mostly by Paul Beeston, but then says that everybody was involved and it was no different than any trade
  • After the interview, Bob and Cox find it disturbing that this whole trade may have been engineered by Beeston and wonder who is in charge of the Jays

Second segment: Interview with Don Banks, Sports Illustrated football reporter

  • Bob asks Banks about coaches being traded in the NFL, Banks notes some previous trades of coaches such as with Parcells and Gruden
  • Banks gives his comments on John Farrell, thinks that the Red Sox didn’t want to give up very much for a manager whose team has finished in 4th place two years in a row
  • Banks talks about the New Orleans Saints, and that they now have some hope
  • Banks talks about Carolina firing their GM, says that a mid season GM change doesn’t really affect very much
  • Bob asks if the Texans victory makes them a favourite to make the Super Bowl, Banks thinks it’s a big step to that

Third segment: Interview with Doug Smith, Toronto Star basketball reporter

  • Smith discusses about talking with Steve Nash and how Nash really does think going to LA is a better fit for him and his family situation but that he was close to joining with the Raptors until the Lakers showed up
  • Bob asks if the Raptors would be significantly better now with Nash, Smith says he doesn’t think so, that the Raptors might have been better in the short term, but not in the long term

Thoughts:

Yay, John Farrell has been traded, now there’s something new to talk about!  And it definitely seemed to be the focus of the programs as Bob talked about John Farrell to some degree with every guest except Rob Becker and Michael Heistand.

I think Zaun comes off sounding like a guy calling into Jays Talk when he talks seriously about how the Jays should have traded Adam Lind and Yunel Escobar with John Farrell to get Dustin Pedroia.  He also was acting as if the Red Sox absolutely 100% had to have John Farrell at any cost, and Anthopolous let a bigger deal go.  I suspect that if the Jays had insisted on one of their top players, the Sox would have just taken their managerial search elsewhere.  I do think that this doesn’t make the Jays look very good, optics wise, though.

Also, I really dislike when an analyst like Zaun comes on to PTS (or any show) and says something that’s untrue, and is taken as true because he’s the expert, and then the hosts just remember it as fact.  Zaun said that Mike Aviles strikes out as much as Kelly Johnson.  That isn’t close to being true.  Aviles struck out 77 times in 512 at bats last season, Johnson struck out 159 times in 507 at bats.  Johnson strikes out twice as much as Aviles.  Zaun either badly misremembered the stats, or he never knew them, and just said something he assumed to be true, as fact, and that’s really problematic for an “expert”.  If you don’t know something, you shouldn’t comment on it, much less speak it as fact.  More disturbing is that Bob is probably going to use this in the future, like with call-in segments because he assumes Zaun knew what he was talking about.

Anthopolous was definitely dissembling during his interview.  I know that some of the stuff he said, he basically had to, because everybody involved in the deal has to pretend that nobody said anything until recently or there’d be issues involving tampering, bad faith, etc, but it’s still spin.  For example, I think Anthopolous would be a pretty bad general manager if he honestly hadn’t thought about who would replace John Farrell until today.  Even if he honestly didn’t think Farrell would force his hand to make a trade, with all the rumors swirling, it’d be stupid to not simply have a back up plan ready.  Especially since Anthopolous is probably going to be hiring a manager pretty quickly before free agency begins, I doubt he just started the process of thinking about a replacement now.  If that’s TRUE, then he’s an extremely naive GM, and I don’t think he is.  But, that was something he said I really didn’t believe.

I think Anthopolous got a little heated (in a passive Anthopolous way) with Bob when Bob suggested he should have threatened Farrell with being removed as manager of the Jays but not traded to the Red Sox.  He sounded a little combative there.  I think Bob explained what he was trying to say badly though.  To me, it sounded as if what Bob meant wasn’t that you WOULD do that to Farrell, but you would say “hey look, you’re our manager, we’re not letting you go, if you cause trouble we’ll deal with it, but we aren’t trading you to Boston” and that with Boston off the table, Farrell might just accept being the Jays manager.

I’m not sure if Heistand meant to or not, but he did a great job distracting Bob away from talking about female broadcasters in sports when Bob seemed to be on the verge of an ill-thought out rant.  It just seemed like right when Bob was about to continue, Heistand went “hey, so what about that NBA/ESPN/Van Gundy situation?” and Bob lost interest in the original topic.

I still don’t understand this fascination with Erin Andrews.

I think Becker was really clear on Skype today, and so far, I’ve thought the Becker/Skype segments have been a lot clearer to listen to than when he’s on the phone.

I disagree with Cox that Alex has more leeway going into next season now because he can say that a new manager needs time to settle in.  Given everything I’ve heard from the callers, from the media, and that I read online, I think, if anything, Anthopolous’ rope has gotten tighter.  As I mentioned before, I think fans going into this season were ready to jump on the Jays and Anthopolous if they didn’t have a good season, but injuries mitigated that and it frustrated fans that they couldn’t really be angry.  I don’t think they’ll buy another year of “this doesn’t count” simply because the Jays have a new manager.

I also think that many people don’t see this as a neutral situation for Alex, like they do for the injuries (i.e. he can’t be blamed for them).  I don’t think people will go “oh okay, he needs to hire a new manager, so the Jays get another year grace  period”, I think if the Jays DO struggle because of a new manager, they’ll place the blame solely on him for what they’ll see as mishandling of the Farrell situation and needing to get a new manager on the fly.

On the bright side, now we get new things for Bob to care about, and for Zaun to rip the Jays about.  As a Toronto sports fan, I’ve basically gotten used to teams not winning, so I find my entertainment in fan anger and controversy.  At the very least, this isn’t going to be a boring off-season media and fan reaction wise.  If the Jays do nothing, people will be pissed.

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Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
October 23, 2012 5:21 am

Looking back on the past 6 months and up until yesterday AA has shot the Toronto media a whole pile of crap/lies. He always got away with it but yesterday HE made himself look inept.From this day forward personally,anything AA says I will assume is bull or a lie.
Re: Farrell

“Anthopolous says that he hasnt thought of who would replace him until now.”
If that statement is indeed true then The Toronto Blue Jays have made a huge mistake with AA and time to cut bait OR was he lying ???

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 23, 2012 7:25 am

haven’t listened to the show yet but it sounds like this is the day AA became JP Riccardi.

Sam
Sam
October 23, 2012 9:51 am

Ami – I noticed that with Hiestand as well too – a well timed (mis) direction of the conversation to another topic. Other co-hosts take note. ALthough others have tried to get him off the topic and he won’t. Perhaps he knew / was too chicken to try to run over Hiestand in his usual way.

Derrick
Derrick
October 23, 2012 10:35 am

So I listened to Keith Law on 1050 to get his opinion on the Farrell situation b/c he’s a pretty well respected baseball insider on the MLB and his insights are normally well thought out.
Essentially, he said that John did the Jay’s a favour – they got a useful bench player for essentially nothing, John’s on field tactics were not what he sold them on when he interviewed with the team, and now they have an opportunity to get someone (he actually offered some examples, i.e. Manny Acta) who is more in line with the team’s philosophy. He also said that Toronto would be the better team to manage in the short term because they have better players in the minors and Toronto is more open to experimenting in how to play the game, vs. Boston’s method’s and the pressures from the media and fans.
Also, the hosts seemed to be more hostile to Farrell and how he lied to the team rather than attacking mgmt for making poor decisions (however I only listened to the Law interview, so I can’t speak as to what the hosts whole opinion to the situation may be).
So the Fan (who is owned by the same Co. that owns the Blue Jays) attacks management for making poor decisions and how this makes the team look, whereas the MLB insider on 1050 essentially says “Meh, let him go, take the asset, there are better options out there.”

Curt
Curt
October 23, 2012 2:38 pm

Good catch on the strikeouts fib, Ami. But, I still think Zaun had a good point about what the Jays should have done regarding Farrell. Would the Sox have given up a significant player in exchange? Highly doubtful. But, why did the Jays have to make it so easy for them and Farrell?

The Jays owe Farrell nothing and owe the Red Sox less than nothing. Farrell comes to Beeston and says “I wanna go to Boston – it’s my dream job.” If I’m Beeston I say, “Okay, John, we’ll see what we can do.” Then, after the Red Sox have given up on Farrell and move on and hire someone else, I call him into the office and say, “John, I’m sorry, but we couldn’t work out a fair deal with Boston and, by the way, I don’t feel you’re committed to this club. I’m sorry, but we have to let you go.” Is Farrell pissed about it? Absolutely. Should Beeston care? Nope. And in the process, Boston doesn’t get what they want and the rest of baseball knows that you can’t push around the Blue Jays. Farrell wanted to jump ship last season for god’s sake – after only one year of a three contract. **** him.

cam
cam
October 23, 2012 2:53 pm

I think Doug Smith summed it up best with his marginal manager for marginal player comment.

Derrick
Derrick
October 23, 2012 2:55 pm
Reply to  Curt

And the Blue Jays still need to go get a new manager, have to pay Farrell a salary for the year, and don’t have Aviles, who is at the very least an average infielder on the bench and replaces Omar Vizquel. Now the rest of baseball thinks the Blue Jays are stupid and not to be trusted. But at least everyone knows you can’t push the Blue Jays around.

Daniel
Daniel
October 23, 2012 2:57 pm

In hearing Farrell say that he asked to go to Boston after year one, it becomes a little more clear why the Jays didn’t have a hell of a lot of leverage. He wanted Boston from day one. Maybe he checked out at the end of the 2012 season along with the rest of the team.

I think AA would serve himself better in the media and with fans by not taking such a high road on this publicly. I admire that in a way, but Farrell clearly jerked the Jays around on this, and AA would satisfy a lot of fans and media by calling him out on it.

Whatever. Farrells first pitching change in the Skydome as Red Sox manager ought to be interesting.

Daniel
Daniel
October 23, 2012 2:57 pm

I think you’re bang on with your Zaun/baseball comments in this, Ami.

Curt
Curt
October 23, 2012 3:23 pm
Reply to  Derrick

The Mike Aviles’s of this world are a dime a dozen. And how difficult is it to find a new manager? Call Sandy Alomar or whomever you want. Done. Paying Farrell’s salary for a year is a problem? Are you kidding? It’s not even a ripple in the Rogers pond. And how does it look like the Blue Jays can’t be trusted? I would rather ask how can anyone trust John Farrell?

Derrick
Derrick
October 23, 2012 3:44 pm
Reply to  Curt

Curt, under your scenario the Blue Jays look petty for lying to John Farrell, and not making an honest attempt to deal him away. So the team does look dishonest. How does pissing off Farrell and also the Red Sox help the team? It doesn’t hurt the Red Sox because, as you mentioned, it’s not that hard to find a manager. And if the Aviles’ (.250/.282/.381) of the world are “a dime a dozen”, why was Omar V (.235/.265/.281) on the team?
All I’m asking is why be a jerk and get nothing and look petty and stupid when you can be a professional and at least get something?

d
d
October 23, 2012 3:48 pm

Greg Zaun’s take is ridiculous. Torontos scraps for one of the best second basemen in the league? With that logic the Yankees should trade Joe Girardi, Phil Hughs and Brett Gardner for Jose Bautista. I can’t believe there are people who actually want this guy to manage the Jays next year.

Curt
Curt
October 23, 2012 4:27 pm
Reply to  Derrick

Why was Visquel on the team? That’s a very good question. Aviles is a .250 hitter and a decent fielder. Nothing special, like Farrell, so maybe I’m caring too much. (Interestingly enough, and very quietly, Aaron Hill had a good year. Don’t think AA would want us to know that.)

Look, I guess we have a different view of it – that’s fair. Personally, I don’t think it’s jerkish to jerk a guy around who has jerked you around (the more we learn about all of it, the more we realize how checked out Farrell was this year). So, I wonder, who’s being dishonest? For me, the dishonest party in this is John Farrell (and perhaps AA for blowing smoke like he did yesterday on PTS). Farrell doesn’t deserve much regard, in my opinion.

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 23, 2012 4:37 pm

i’ll add to this thread since it’s the most recent and most active:

i cannot wait to get some quotes from the players. Was Farrell noticeably checked out this past year? Does this partially explain why the team fell apart down the stretch? Do they have a problem with trading a manager in the division? Was there tension between Farrell and Vizquel? Did Farrell stop managing the pitchers?

i’m also interested to see if the media go after Bautista hard on whether this affects his willingness to stay with the Jays. If i’m AA i’m worrying about my ability to keep Bautista from looking elsewhere and demanding a trade. If AA has proven anything is that he’s willing to accommodate exit strategies regardless of contractual status.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
October 23, 2012 4:53 pm

The bottom line ,after today it comes up JF wanted out a year ago.. AA whom had a 90% credibility for the last 2 years now has about 10% creditably with fans now.I say with the fans,with the Toronto media for some reason they ALL and I mean ALL still suck up to him like he is the next coming.Maybe the Toronto media can start doing their job!!
Going to be great,in two weeks someone in the Toronto media (the usual fantasy story-makers (cox,simmions,dowbiggin,blair) will write that they new about JF wanting out over a year ago… hummm (if you new over a year ago,why did you sit on it for over a year??)

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 23, 2012 5:12 pm
Reply to  Sam in Scarb

i wonder if we’ll hear from some “insiders” about how anyone close to the team knew Farrell really wanted out a year ago and how players in the clubhouse lost respect for him as a result. I can think of a few writers who might pull the retcon card.

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 23, 2012 5:34 pm
Reply to  Daniel

I think AA would serve himself better in the media and with fans by not taking such a high road on this publicly.

well put. his policies about not making public comments on trades make sense. this policy does not make sense.

Daniel
Daniel
October 23, 2012 5:50 pm
Reply to  mike in boston

Yeah. I mean, I do think it reflects well on him as a person. And he probably hope it frames the Blue Jays as a classy organization.

But… instead of fan anger being directed all at Farrell (where it is probably warranted) a fair bit is falling on him as a result of his super non confrontational comments.

Daniel
Daniel
October 23, 2012 6:27 pm
Reply to  Sam in Scarb

AA has done an awful job at PR since the Davish thing.

But his moves from a player perspective in his short tenure have legitimately been very strong, 2012 notwithstanding.

He turned an old, overpaid team with a bad core and bad farm system into a young, lesser paid team with a promising core and great farm system VERY quickly. That’s a long way from making a World Series contender, and obviously it hasn’t all panned out with a lot of work is still to be done, but I absolutely approve overall of the moves he has made.

I think what you could criticize him for is a LACK of moves prior to the 2012 season. They needed another starter or two badly. That also may be partly on Rogers, since I’m sure AA would have been happy to go and drop 200 million on Prince Fielder if allowed.

Itchy Butt
Itchy Butt
October 23, 2012 6:40 pm
Reply to  d

Probably the same people that thought Tie Domi was a great hockey player. And the kind that can’t wait for Coach’s Corner!

Capn2patch
October 23, 2012 7:40 pm

DRINKING GAME
Take a drink everytime AA says ultimately

Ami_Angelwings
Ami_Angelwings
October 23, 2012 8:09 pm
Reply to  Capn2patch

I’d be too drunk to write the review. Well, if we’re talking shots anyway.

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 23, 2012 8:19 pm

listened to Tim&Sid let loose on the Farrell fiasco. They had Wilner on as a guest.

Wilner claimed that he understands the outrage from a fan’s perspective but if you look a little deeper then you see that this was a good move by AA that helps advance the Jays organization both on and off the field.
the man is a parody of himself at this point. we’re reaching Andy Kaufman levels of absurdity.

Daniel
Daniel
October 23, 2012 9:11 pm
Reply to  mike in boston

I don’t think that’s totally fair. Keith Law said the pretty much exact same thing.

Another Steve
Another Steve
October 23, 2012 9:47 pm
Reply to  mike in boston

One could equally say that criticism of Wilner is becoming a parody of itself.

Then again, everything eventually becomes a parody of itself – as do I, as do y’all. 🙂

Ami_Angelwings
Ami_Angelwings
October 23, 2012 10:25 pm
Reply to  mike in boston

If the fans were delighted in the decision and that moving AA helps the Jays on and off the field, and they’re glad he’s gone, I wonder what Wilner’s response would be, because I think he’d be then pushing the other side that the fans aren’t smart enough and are too emotional to see.

mike in boston
mike in boston
October 24, 2012 10:03 am
Reply to  Daniel

haven’t seen Law’s remarks yet, so I can’t comment on that.

with so many good options for baseball analysis i have been living a Wilner free life for a while. the iPod was on in the other room so i wasn’t able to FFWD, which is why i heard his performance on T&S.

if you were to ask me to predict Wilner’s comments on pretty much any unpopular move by the Jays i would guess that he would a) endorse the decision and b) imply that fans are stupid for thinking otherwise.

this one was just too perfect.

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