Seen & Heard – Thursday, February 21, 2012

by Rob G

Welcome to round 3 of Seen and Heard. Today delivered more meat on the bone from my perspective, so here we go.

New Leafs GM Dave Nonis was interviewed by Brady/Lang this morning on Sportsnet the FAN 590 in the 8:20am block. While the interview didn’t deliver anything earth shattering, what I discovered is I don’t miss the bluster of Brian Burke. Nonis deftly handled all questions, giving up enough to make you think you learned something, without giving up much. My take is he’s a much better fit for the corporate culture of the Rogers/Bell (or is it Bell/Rogers) ownership. Furthermore, through his answers, my sense is his only focus is regarding the job of improving the team. With Burke, while I never questioned his goal of making the team better, I always had the feeling there was another agenda at play.

It’s early on in TSN’s broadcast of Richards in the Morning and TSN Drive with Dave Naylor, but one adjustment I’ve noticed since earlier in the week is seeing more of the hosts and less of the microphones. It’s only fair to give them time to work the kinks out, but it’s also fair to say that Sportsnet delivers (currently) Prime Time Sports on television better than TSN’s presentations of their radio shows. The camera angle is from a higher vantage point on Sportsnet. I’m sure TSN will work the kinks out.

Jeff Sammut is sitting in for Jeff Blair this week in the 9-Noon slot on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. As TSM has mentioned in other posts, Sammut is finding his way as a host, however, I found the discussion surrounding whether J.P. Arencibia would start on Opening Day irksome. Sammut couched the situation as to whether Arencibia would start or would it be Henry Blanco. If I tuned in late, I apologize, but at no point did I hear mention of the all but certain Opening Day starter R.A. Dickey’s catcher from last season, Josh Thole. While Blanco has caught Dickey in the past (2010), one would think that the catcher from Dickey’s Cy Young winning season would be part of the dialogue. My understanding of the Blue Jay’s signing of Blanco was that it would be organizational depth.

Bruce Arthur joined the discussion at 4:30 today on Naylor’s show. They dived into tennis player (or former tennis player for the time being) Rebecca Marino’s battle with depression and the side issue of her challenge with some of the “kind human beings” (my words) on social media. The discussion was excellent, and while I might be stating the obvious, Arthur is almost as good on radio as he is with the written word. He has an economy of words, while stating the point, both in print and on radio. If Sportsnet/McCown had a choice at the time, I think they made a mistake not choosing Arthur as one of the rotation of co-hosts for Prime Time Sports. The good news – it sounds like Arthur will be the regular co-host on Mondays at TSN Drive with Dave Naylor. The bad news – he won’t be the co-host any of the other days. I like the idea of rotating co-hosts, but Arthur should be a bigger part of the mix.

If the NHL has one thing over the NBA, it’s their trade deadline day. You can count on the NHL to have a number of important moves for analysis, but way too much time is devoted to the NBA’s deadline by all media outlets, when the evidence shows historically that few significant trades ever occur.

I found Bob McCown’s return (from illness) to Prime Time Sports today humorous during the 4–5 pm hour. As I expected, McCown played the “I’m not sure I should really be here” card, and suggested he’d need help from callers in the first hour to keep his voice intact, and yet twice he went off on lengthy soliloquies just before commercial at 4:20, as well as late into his second block. No harm – just found it funny that he was worried about his voice, yet off he went.

Harking back to the Rebecca Marino story, McCown, with co-host Elliotte Friedman, conducted a touching interview with her in the 6:20 block. Friedman interviewed New York Times writer Ben Rothenberg earlier in the week, so he had a thorough understanding of the story, and McCown showed his sensitive side in asking the right questions with the velvet touch. It was respectfully handled, while fleshing the story out.

Former NBA guard Gary Payton was on Off the Record with Michael Landsberg late this afternoon on TSN. He’s a regular on OTR, and I’m sure he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy the banter with Landsberg. He isn’t afraid to answer Landsberg’s questions, and his delivery is unique.

For the fans of golf, (or flog, or swing & swear), that sound you hear is NBC screaming “why me” as both Tiger Woods & Rory McIlroy were defeated today in their 1st matches of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel correctly tweeted “Lot of people commenting on potential lack of TV ratings. Uh, Nos. 1 and 2 have never reached final. Not exactly like NBC was banking on it.” That being said, when Tiger (and Rory to a lesser extent) are on the TV screen late Sunday afternoon, ratings are off the charts compared to when they’re not, so you have to know that while NBC might not have been banking on it, they remained hopeful that this year might be different. The “problem” is the depth of field in golf has never been deeper, so the true golf fan understands and appreciates the outcome whether #1 or #2 are in play or not.

I noted this evening what could be construed as a battle on Twitter between the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox and the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons. The details hold little interest for me, but it seemed bitchy from my chair. My take – it is impossible to choose sides!

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itchy butt
itchy butt
February 22, 2013 6:32 am

Thole has been pretty much pegged as the opening day starter for the Bisons, so no, he is not part of the dialogue unless he has an awesome camp. Should be J.P and Blanco all season in T.O.

I’m a big Sammut fan. He’s really improved.

February 22, 2013 7:22 am

You could be right. I know AA mentioned in January that he expected Thole to be the starter in Buffalo, but Gibbons was quoted yesterday as saying it was either Blanco or Thole. What surprised me was that Thole wasn’t part of the conversation, as he was Dickey’s catcher last year.

February 22, 2013 8:37 am

Cox is a bit cranky these days what his boyfriend Burkie leaving town.

Steve Clark
February 22, 2013 9:15 am

Not sure I am a big fan of OTR these days. They’ve gone away from the panel type discussion that served them well and have introduced more and more US content. Maybe they don’t want to be too much like the Reporters, and I understand that a show needs to reinvent itself, particularly if it has been around as long as OTR has, but I’m just not convinced this is the way to go.

Michael Landsberg does everything well, but he’s at the best when he is the ringleader in a panel discussion.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 22, 2013 9:22 am

TSN’s MacArthur has been filing daily reports from Jays spring training. I get these via the iOS app, which is very good (when it works … which is most of the time).

He seems to think Blanco is the de facto back up. Personally, I don’t see much of a point in signing him since the value differential between Blanco and Thole seems minimal. Why not stick with the guy who caught Dickey in his CY Young season last year?

February 22, 2013 4:54 pm

Naylor’s 4-5pm show with Michael Landsberg and Steve Simmons today was by far the best hour of sports talk this week, especially the second half hour.

February 22, 2013 5:05 pm

Roger really that’s it; another homophobic slur on top of your Neanderthal assaults on those suffering from mental health issues. Your reprehensible posts which continue here, unchecked, are sickening. I just cannot countenance your bigotry any longer. In my mind it is the same as if you were slamming people based on race, creed, colour or religion. It is simply wrong!

As a community we have been quick to condemn those in the media, like Perkins, or on the field, like Escobar whose comments and actions are as odious. Those who do the same when posting here should not get any less condemnation.

Obviously, it is not my site so therefore I cannot control who posts here and what they write. I can only register my contempt and move on to other things.

Sorry, TSM but no need to censure I am done.

Danny Sites
Danny Sites
February 22, 2013 7:33 pm

Cam, I’m with you, Roger is completely out of touch and I too am offended.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
February 22, 2013 7:46 pm

Cam – just about every web community has its own troll. The usual problem in a large community is that these people derail the conversation and ruin otherwise enjoyable threads.

For better or worse, this community has remained fairly small over the last 3 or 4 years and just about no one responds to Roger, so the conversation is rarely derailed.

Do what we all do: ignore and have a productive discussion with others.

February 25, 2013 1:02 pm

Wow, Cam you really are over-sensitive. My dig was at Cox’s unrelenting devotion to Burke. Perhaps you take it personal because of how I infer it but my target is Cox, not homosexuals like yourself.

February 25, 2013 1:05 pm

Mike from Boston,

Why don’t you get a life outside of listening to podcasts? There’s a whole world out there – get out of that basement and enjoy it!

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