Prime Time Sports Review for Tuesday, October 23, 2012

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Listener calls with Bob McCown

  • Calls are about John Farrell, many are angry about what happened and blame the Jays
  • Bob thinks that the Jays shouldn’t have let Farrell go and just told him to finish his contract
  • Bob mentons to one caller that all the Jays did is replace one second baseman who strikes out a lot with another second baseman who strikes out a lot

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

First segment: Talk segment

  • Bob and Cox talk about John Farrell, Bob isn’t angry at Farrell’s words, he thinks the blame is on the Blue Jays for not playing hardball

Second segment: Interview with Mark Sommer, The Buffalo News

  • Sommer talks about proposals to build a downtown stadium in Buffalo for the Bills

Third segment: Talk segment

  • Nick Kypreos was supposed to be on, but was cut for time, Cox and Bob argue about whose fault this is
  • Bob and Cox briefly discuss the NHL lockout

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

First segment: Interview with Bob Ryan, sports reporter for the Boston Globe

  • Ryan talks about the John Farrell situation
  • Cox talks about how the situation has made Toronto fans feel as if Toronto is a 2nd class team that develops managers for others, Ryan says he understands how Jays fans feel
  • Ryan says that this is a very specific circumstance and Farrell understands the environment of the Red Sox
  • Ryan says that some people in Boston are unconvinced that Farrell is a good manager, and that very few pitching coaches become good managers
  • Ryan discusses the World Series and that the Tigers shouldn’t take the Giants lightly
  • Bob asks Ryan if he would give Lincecum a start in the World Series, Ryan says he believes Lincecum has peaked and he wouldn’t start him
  • Cox asks Ryan about Prince Fielder, Bob talks about his love of fat players, Ryan and Bob reminisce on how pitchers were tougher in the past

Second segment: Interview with Chris Nilan, former NHL player

  • Nilan is on to discuss his participation in the documentary film, The Last Gladiators
  • Nilan talks about how the difficult part for him wasn’t the fighting, but to become more than being a fighter, to learn how to be a hockey player

Third segment: Interview with Chris Nilan continue

  • Nilan talks about how he slowly got addicted to drugs to cope with his pain, and got onto heroin
  • Bob asks him when the turning point was, Nilan says it was when he woke up on the bathroom floor with a needle in his arm and blood all over him, and he got desperate and called the League’s substance abuse counselor

Thoughts:

I was right.  Yesterday, I said that on top of Zaun being wrong about Aviles striking out as much as Kelly Johnson, it was going to affect how Bob talked about Aviles when taking calls.  And today, he told a caller that Aviles strikes out as much as Kelly Johnson.  The only reason he “knows” this is because Zaun said that he did, and Bob took him at his word as an “expert”.  And now people listening in will take Bob at his word, and it’s going to be common knowledge to a bunch of Jays fans that Aviles strikes out a lot.  Oh well, more work for Mike Wilner.

I find it interesting that Bob places the blame for Farrell’s behaviour on the Jays for not having dealt with him well and for hiring him in the first place.  It isn’t that I think the Jays handled it properly (or didn’t handle it properly), it’s just that it plays into an attitude that’s been brought up on PTS before: Toronto sports fans and media tend to go after management rather than a player, or in this case a coach.  In other cities, like Montreal, there’s a lot of pressure on players to perform, and if they catch players clubbing, there’s anger about them, and anger at the players for not playing well.  In Toronto, while there are players that become scapegoats, it’s more that poor performance or poor discipline gets heaped onto the General Manager for hiring the wrong people.  For example, if a player is lazy, fans seem to accept that this player is just lazy, and that’s his character, and the anger is more on the GM for hiring such a lazy person.

The Farrell situation is the same way.  While many people seem angry at Farrell, there seem to be a lot more people making it more about the Jays hiring the wrong person and dealing with him wrong.  Like “yeah we know Farrell’s a two-faced jerk, but it’s Alex’s fault for hiring such a person in the first place!”  In the same way that “yeah Kessel’s a soft player, but it’s Burke’s fault for trading for him in the first place!” is the attitude among the Leaf fans.

This isn’t me saying whether the anger misplaced or not, I just find it an interesting extension of conversations I’ve heard on the subject on PTS in the past.  Just like anger at Vernon Wells became anger at J.P. Ricciardi, anger at Farrell seems to be turning into anger at Anthopolous.

I do agree that you COULD have played hardball with Farrell, but it sounds as if he really had his heart set on Boston, and given that he wanted out one year into his contract, I really wonder if he ever wanted to be here in the first place, or if it was just something to do and he never anticipated that Francona would be turfed so quickly.

I would prefer more honesty from Anthopolous on this situation, especially since the Red Sox and Farrell aren’t cooperating with his spin.  It ends up making Anthopolous look silly and like he got played.  I think he expected that Farrell would stick to the script even after he left Toronto, and today, Farrell obviously didn’t (by revealing he had wanted out as early as last year).

As I said yesterday, I really don’t believe Anthopolous had NO IDEA this would happen like he claims.  If he really didn’t, and honestly hadn’t even thought of managerial replacements until yesterday, then he shouldn’t be the GM of this team.  And since I’m sure he’s not that naive, and since we now know that the Jays knew about Farrell’s interest in leaving a year ago, it means that Anthopolous was spinning (or lying, depending on how strong a point you want to put on it.)  And he must have started his managerial search, if not officially, then at least thinking about it and discussing it with his assistants at least a few months ago.  As a Toronto Blue Jays fan, I hope he started a few months ago anyway.

From Bob Ryan’s words, it seems as though Boston is not entirely convinced of Farrell’s worth either.  While listening to his press conference today, I wondered if that’s why Farrell seemed to be making the Jays out as a training ground, and also why he implied certain decisions were management’s fault.  I don’t think he really meant to slight the Jays, I think he’s trying to convince the Boston media and Boston fans, that the mistakes he made in Toronto won’t be repeated here, and that the poor record of the Jays under his tenure does not reflect badly on him.  He’s basically saying “look, some of those mistakes, I had to learn, and I won’t do them now, and others were forced on me by management.  Don’t worry, I’m a lot better than it seemed from afar.”

Is it just me or is Bob’s love affair with Beeston, the President (not Beeston, his friend), over?  He said on the last roundtable that his issue with the Escobar situation is with Beeston, not Farrell.  And today, he seemed to be suggesting during the call segment, that the real person to blame for this situation is Beeston, not Anthopolous.  I don’t think he has lost any respect for Beeston or anything, but it’s been the first time since I’ve been listening to PTS that Bob’s been critical of him and not saying “I’m sure he has a good reason for it.”

I think it’s because he has such a high opinion of Beeston, that he feels let down by what he sees are really bad decisions on the part of his friend.

The Nilan interview was incredibly heartfelt and both drew me in, and at the same time was difficult to listen to because he’s sharing such a personal and painful story.  I’ve dealt with my own issues with trauma, addiction, and self harm, and I was really impressed with how honest he was about it.  It’s not easy to admit these things sometimes.  I think Bob and Cox did a good job of handling such sensitive material.

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Derrick
Derrick
October 24, 2012 9:45 am

That’s the best Bob Ryan has sounded since he started coming on to the show.

Roger
Roger
October 24, 2012 10:27 am

I know I keep
harping on this but I sent an email to Sportsnet/590 audience relations mailbox
asking them to remind Bob McCown (despite his over 35 years in broadcasting) to
identify the interviewee once in a while. its been over a week and NO
response.

I did the same to
am640 complaining about Arlene Bynun, and PD Gord Harris emailed me back within
5 minutes.
Just proves, Rogers like their Blue Jays really does suck.

Abe Frohmann
Abe Frohmann
October 24, 2012 11:20 am

Totally agree about the Nilan interview. Very compelling.
As an aside, I noticed on TSN Radio during the Nilan interview, Cybulski and Co were spending 20 minutes on “…give me a name of a so-so (mediocre)Toronto sports personality…” VERY non-compeling. (20 minutes, are you kidding me???
That entire show needs to be put out of it’s misery. Obvious that Bell Media has simply given up the time slot. The show is a waste of time. Poorly produced and presented.

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