Prime Time Sports Review for Friday, May 3, 2013

By Ami Angelwings

4pm hour – Bob McCown hosting

First segment: Interview with Neil Smith, Sportsnet hockey analyst

  • Bob thinks the Gryba hit did not warrant a suspension, Smith says that the hit should be made illegal because the rules need to be changed to prevent big guys from hitting small guys at high speeds that didn’t happen in the past
  • Bob says the problem isn’t that players are bigger now but that there’s been a philosophical change in how the game is played, that in the past checks were to get pucks away from players, and now checking is to punish and take out other players
  • Bob does his usual rant about how the NHL doesn’t want to change things, and the NFL changes rules all the time and nobody angsts about how you can’t change the game
  • Neil Smith talks about how boarding is no longer called the way it should, and agrees with Bob that the culture needs to change and the rules need to change to change the culture

Second segment: Interview with Glenn Crouter, Woodbine Racetrack senior Vice President of media relations

  • Crouter talks about the new season of horse racing at Woodbine and what to look forward to

5pm hour – Roundtable discussion with Bob McCown, Stephen Brunt, John Shannon and Tim Micallef

First segment: NHL playoffs

  • Bob thinks that the Leafs have no shot against the Bruins, Brunt says he wants to wait until game 2 to make a decision
  • The roundtable don’t like Vancouver’s chances against San Jose

Second segment: The Toronto Blue Jays’ poor play

  • Brunt says there isn’t anything you can really do to fix the Jays right now outside of bring up Jim Negrych from AAA and seeing how he does in the Majors, but it would mean giving up on Izturis
  • Bob wonders about firing the hitting coach, Brunt says the hitting coach can’t make the players hit

Third segment: Was Clay Buchholz cheating?

  • Bob thinks Buchholz was doing something illegal and wonders why the umpires don’t do anything, Shannon says that the umpires won’t do anything without a protest from the opposing team

6pm hour – Roundtable continues

First segment: Should the NHL have suspended Eric Gryba for his hit on Lars Eller?

  • Bob and Shannon think that it didn’t warrant a suspension and the NHL suspended Gryba because of how bad it looked
  • Bob yells about referees being blind and missing the Grabovski hit

Second segment: Jason Collins coming out

  • Shannon hopes for a future where being gay is no longer an issue
  • Bob wonders if we still are waiting for a star athlete to come out for stuff to change
  • Brunt talks about how he was going to do a biography on a gay athlete but the project fell through because there still isn’t a comfort level of talking about gay athletes, he refuses to give more details as Bob presses, but will only say that the athlete was fine with the biography and it was cancelled elsewhere in the chain

Third segment: Prime Time Bullets

  • First bullet is about Kobe Bryant’s mom selling his memoribilia that he didn’t want, and Bryant trying to buy it from her, some jokes are made
  • Second bullet is about Mickey Mantle’s bat going up for auction and being x-rayed and cork being discovered, some jokes are made
  • Third bullet is about the Cubs wanting to put a video screen in Wrigley Field that would block rooftop viewers from watching the game, Bob thinks there is a compromise to be had


Bob got to talk about his favourite topic again today: violence in the NHL, and he hit all his usual notes about the culture of the game, about how the game was played back in the day, and about how the NFL got rid of hitting the quarterback late by punishing it.  And he also added in his new favourite hobbyhorse: that the NHL referees have no clue what to call a penalty, and got into it with Shannon about it, as they always do whenever Bob brings it up.

I found Tim oddly quiet today, probably because a lot of topics were dominated by Bob, Shannon and Brunt.  Bob seemed extremely animated on a lot of topics and was pretty loud.  He seemed particularly combatative about his certainty that the Leafs would lose to the Bruins.  Brunt wasn’t even disagreeing with him, just saying that he needed to see a second game before deciding that the Leafs are outclassed, and Bob seemed to argue that.

Brunt’s reveal that he wasn’t allowed to do a standard biographical piece about a gay athlete where it would just casually come up that they had a same-gender partner (not overtly, just mentioning their partner, as you’d mention the wife or girlfriend of a straight male player or husband or boyfriend of a straight female one), was interesting, possibly even more so because he was so circumspect about it, which implies he’s afraid of getting in trouble about telling more.  Bob tried really hard to get more out of him but Brunt wouldn’t say more, except that it wasn’t from the athlete’s side that the resistance came from, which appears to imply that it was production/management side.  It is disappointing that he wasn’t allowed to profile a gay athlete the same way he’d profile a straight one though. :\

I think we may be reaching that time of year when it starts to get hot and Bob is clearly just itching to go on summer vacation.  Usually he gets grumpier and grumpier as we get closer to June and July.

Photo available here

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Blue Jays Devotee
Blue Jays Devotee
May 4, 2013 7:54 am

So true! Bob gets grumpier and grumpier until he can start playing golf without any distractions, and the beautiful golfing weather now is not helping the situation.

May 4, 2013 8:26 am

At the start of the baseball season a writer from the Globe criticized Brunt for his homerism regarding the Blue Jays. As I recall Brunt said he was only sensored once in his career and it was when he was writing for the Globe. When I heard the segment yesterday regarding his profile of an olympic athlete I wondered if that was the instance he was talking about.

Ami Angelwings
May 4, 2013 8:31 am

D, no that wasn’t the instance, because he said that one was when he was a political reporter for the Globe really early on in his career, and he was assigned to write a piece on a political candidate that was of the party that the Globe supported, and in the course of his work, he discovered some unflattering things about the candidate, and the Globe gutted his article because they didn’t want the candidate to look bad.

And given his reluctance to mention ANY details about this, it sounds as if this involves Sportsnet, because Brunt’s already shown he’s willing to mention the Globe and Mail by name.

May 4, 2013 9:01 am

Thank you for clarifying that Ami. I will have to listen to the segment again but it sounded as though Brunt was told not to write the profile the way he wanted to. Seems like sensorship.

Another thing I wondered when I heard this was how often has this happened? How often has a writer tried to do a piece on a gay athelete where the athlete was cool with it and the employer said no way?

May 4, 2013 9:03 am

Did Brunt say which recent Olympics (Vancouver or London)?

I wonder if it may have been someone from the Consortium that’s not at Sportsnet.

Ami Angelwings
May 4, 2013 9:04 am

Just to clarify, by gutted, I meant that they heavily edited his article from what he originally wrote, so yes, you’re right that he said he wasn’t allowed to write what he wanted to.

Ami Angelwings
May 4, 2013 9:05 am

@Alex, I’ll have to listen again to see if he mentioned which Olympics. That’s a good point. It could have been a member of the consortium and not somebody at Sportsnet.

May 4, 2013 10:42 am

At least when Brunt was censored by the Globe he resigned on principle and started his long career with the Star.

May 4, 2013 11:04 am

A typically stupid comment from Brunt when Mickey Mantle was brought up. His vulgar pedestal-wrecking lacked any context. Apparently he half-heard tidbits from Jane Levy’s book on Mantle, “The Last Boy.” What Sportsnet’s leading buffoon didn’t mention that Levy does(along with Mantle’s crudeness and embarrassments)in her warts and all bio was:
1) “Mantle was sexually abused as a child and experts tell me that many of the destructive behaviors he manifested are seen in victims of childhood sexual abuse.”
2)Bowie Kuhn banned him in 1983 because of his affiliation with the Claridge Hotel and Casino. This was a job he had taken to pay for his son Billy’s treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Steinbrenner refused to help out.
3)”He was a decent man who was genetically pre-disposed to alcoholism and enabled his whole life by the trappings of his celebrity.” (from an interview Levy did with Bill Madden.)

I knew Brunt didn’t know anything about present day sports, now we know his boundless vacuity extends back decades.
When he’s not carrying the Olympic torch or shilling for Sportsnet, Brunt might want to read a book or at least get someone to read one to him.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
May 4, 2013 1:05 pm

In the first segment I thought Neil Smith was kind of intimidated by Bob.

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
May 4, 2013 1:58 pm

Thanks for the review,since shannon was present,I did NOT listen or watch.
I think I was not alone.

Mike S
Mike S
May 6, 2013 12:22 pm

I enjoyed this roundtable but once I again I wish that they would have at least one non-Rogers person………… seemed like Micallef was on PTS this past week almost as much as McCown

Since May 4 & 5 were on a weekend this year I was hoping McCown would avoid the “May The Fourth Be With You” and “Cinco De Mayo” references but he managed to work them both into the first 5 minutes of the roundtable…………..however at least this year we didn’t have to hear the mariachi band story

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