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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