Seen & Heard – Mid-Week Edition

by mike (in boston) hatemailaccount )at( gmail  dot com


Rather than having links spread around the various line-up threads, I’m hoping we can have regular mid-week and weekend posts where we talk about what we’re reading and hearing. Please post any interesting links in the comments. I’m also hoping we can find a way to pin this thread so it stays up on the front page until the next edition of Seen & Heard. Thanks to Rob G for letting me use his title, and thanks to TSM for lending me the keys to the car.


Jays Talk:


The Jays are keeping tickets price the same for 2014: link


Good on Beeston for seeing the season for what it was. You can bet the Jays planned on raising ticket prices in 2014 at the start of 2103. The trendiness of the Jays is great to see but this fan base still needs to be convinced to come out. This will help. The new bar on the 200 level is great, and there is a lot of value in buying a cheap flex pack and just hanging out there rather than the 500 level seat you’re actually paying for.


The Jays also let one of their hitting coaches go while the other retired. Lott has a good write-up about Mottola’s firing: link


Odd that the hitting is the focus of the firing squad, given how bad the pitching has been. My own opinion is that they should be looking for a veteran manager with a history of coaching winning teams this off-season. The Gibbons hiring was more about familiarity than managerial credentials. It didn’t work out and there is now a chance now to fix that mistake. The Bautista leadership/temper saga has been exacerbated, in my view, by the fact that the Jays lack a guy at the top with the track record to demand accountability and professionalism. This is two years in a row now that fundamentals and attitude have been among the lead talking points. But Gibbons also lacks the ability to handle the media. People often talk about managers and coaches doing things to take the heat off their players. This has not happened during the Gibbons era. Instead, his press conferences make it sound as if a bounce here or there and this team would have won 90 games. He made things worse with his “that’s just baseball” attitude.


This is a team that needs to get better. There is room for an upgrade at the manager’s spot. The Red Sox went worst to 1st with a manager change and some smart free agent signings, as well as bounce-back years from their pitchers. That could be the Jays in 2014. Jim Lang has a new blog (thanks to Mike S. for the link) and draws some comparisons between the Jays’ ex-manager and the current one: link


Rays pitcher David Price went after TBS commentator Dirk Hayhurst on Twitter:  link


As Griffin points out, Hayhurst seems to make enemies wherever he goes. Hard to know if it’s his crippling obsession with the word “narrative”, his way of talking that suggests he has no real need for an interlocutor, or his lousy major league stats.


I can see how Hayhurst’s know-it-all approach about baseball would drive a current major leaguer crazy, but you can’t go there. Whenever a player goes after a media member because they either “didn’t play the game” or “couldn’t play at this level” the player is admitting defeat. Either argue the case or shut up, but don’t attack the source. The audience can tell when an announcer is being obnoxious (see Skip Baylis) to cover up for lack of intelligence or insight. We’ll make up our own minds about who is and is not credible. Price issued a non-apology later on. Link (warning auto-play video)


Healy & Friedman trade barbs on HNIC: Link


Have a look at the clips linked at The Star. Healy’s line doesn’t really make sense, and was just a pretext to bring up the fact that Tortorella was recently fired. Friedman doesn’t need to embarrass Healy by calling him a “14 year old”, but I’m OK with it in this case. Someone has to speak on behalf of the viewer, and Healy was clearly letting his personal issues get in the way.


Question: if the CBC loses HNIC, who is let go and who is retained by TSN or SN (assuming one of those two takes over)? Each has its own stable of NHL “insiders” and so some of the current HNIC would presumably be redundant. Who are your top 3 and bottom 3 from CBC’s hockey people?


Schilling being sued: Link


I know I shouldn’t delight in the misfortunes of others, but this couldn’t happen to a more deserving Masshole. For a (clearly slanted) background on Schilling’s shortcomings, see link



Low Hanging Fruit – Radio Edition


Every now and then I will try to pass along some feedback from the audience to the people who fill the airwaves or news pages on a daily basis.


Radio Reminder #1: No matter how funny or sarcastic you think it sounds coming out of your mouth, no one wants to hear what you think about the chances of the Leafs going 82-0 (see also, will Jose Bautista finish with 162 HRs?). It’s never funny, or witty, or ironic. It’s just dumb and you sound dumb by asking the question.


Radio Reminder #2: No one cares about your NFL picks. No one. Same goes for your fantasy football team. If you’re bringing those things up you either lack the kind of filter needed to be a good radio host, or you have not done enough show prep. Either way, the audience would really appreciate it if you were to knock it off. We don’t care.


Special Memo to TSNR #1: there is a reason PTS doesn’t have ex-athletes as co-hosts. Jeff O’Neill is coming along nicely but is like a fish out of water discussing anything other than the NHL. His conversation with Naylor about the NFL was painful. Example: everyone who watches the games knows that teams have moved away from having a “feature” running back and now share the load between 2 or 3 guys. The league has been a passing league for several years now, yet this came as a revelation to Jeff. Painful radio.


Special Memo to TSNR #2: is it really that hard to post full podcasts of TSN Drive on a regular basis? Your podcast feed is an inconsistent mess. If you want to build an audience for the show, allowing people to access it regularly would be a good 1st step.


Until next time …

mike (in boston)

About the Author
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
October 15, 2013 2:29 pm

Thanks for taking the initiative and hope that you’re able to execute the format as you’ve outlined.

Rob In Aurora
Rob In Aurora
October 15, 2013 2:41 pm

I love O’Neil on air at noon with Jamie McLennan. He is entertaining and knowledgeable and sooooo much better than the clown act on 590. McCown avoids ex athletes on his show because he doesn’t want people to realize he’s a blow hard with no hard knowledge about any sport he discusses. (I hate everythng Sportsnet or Fan 590, so I have biases)

Naylor is weak and needs help in the other chair. I’m not sure that Naylor isn’t worse than James Cybulski ever was. I do know that Bob Mackowicz is better than most if not all the co-hosts that sit in with Naylor…

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
October 15, 2013 3:51 pm

Rob in Aurora the reason Bob doesn’t interview athletes is because their useless and have nothing real to add. I agree with the Bobcat about athletes nothing gets me to change the channel faster then a interview with athletes

October 15, 2013 5:58 pm

Many years back there was media column in the Star (or Sun or whatever) that criticized Bob and the Fan. The next day Bob was on the air complaining that a newspaper guy wasn’t qualified to discuss radio because they had never done the job and wouldn’t know the ins and outs. I’m a HUGE Bob backer and the hypocrisy was astonishing to me.

I understand the point about arguing the case, but never doing the job seems like a pretty good counter argument to me. When somebody that has never done my job starts mouthing off (and it happens all the time) I just roll my eyes. They are so off base it’s not even worth getting into it and it’s probably not worth it for David Price either.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
October 15, 2013 9:44 pm

Last week Bob had a chart for the World Series ratings, today he had a list of games goalies have played. Has Bob started to do research for the show!!??

Dan Patrick doesn’t seem to have any problem having athletes on his show and doing entertaining interviews with them. Maybe because he’s well known in the US and athletes are more relaxed with him.

lolololololololo, Arthur nails it:
Bruce Arthur ‏@bruce_arthur
The Leafs are like a Terminator sent back in time to destroy shot-based hockey stat analysis before it can win the war.

Meanwhile somewhere in Hamilton, Brunt hears all the talk about the Leafs and Corsi. He slowly takes off his glasses, squints and wonders what the relationship is between hockey and Queen Elizabeth’s dogs.

Who needs a soccer thread from Alex to post the wisdom of KJ. Here he wonders if Bob Bradley might be a fit to coach TFC:

You’re free to link to soccer articles on Sportsnet that are interesting. Oh yeah, there aren’t any.
Funny, when you link to Sunday Supplement, Cathal Kelly, Chris Johnston you’re not propagandising for SkySports, TorStar or SN.

October 15, 2013 10:19 pm

Funny. I like brunt, cathal, devos/jack, the guardian, men in blazers, beyond the pitch, espn fc, bbc 5 live and a bunch of other futbol sites.

Don Mandrie
Don Mandrie
October 16, 2013 11:32 am

It’s up to the host to get the most out of the athletes he/she interviews. Does anybody other than Bob or the people who run Sportsnet really believe we’d rather hear Damian Cox talk baseball than a current or former player? McCown is great in many ways but his policy of not talking to athletes smacks of biting the hand that feeds him.

Put Naylor with Mitch Melnick full time and you have a radio dream team that could put a real dent in The Fan’s afternoon dominance.

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
October 16, 2013 1:26 pm

Damien Cox talking baseball, or any other topic, as far as I’m concerned.

October 16, 2013 5:41 pm

I wasn’t insulting this website if that is how it read. I was making two separate points.

#1. I roll my eyes whenever Bob bashes an athlete for saying “you’ve never played the game” because he made a similar complaint when he was criticized by someone outside of radio. When he makes that argument it is silly because his job is to entertain listeners and the listeners would be the best judge of how successful he is or isn’t.

#2. I think there are (rare?) occasions when an athlete saying “you never played the game” is a valid response. I take it as another way of saying “you don’t know what you are talking about”. If the person actually doesn’t know what they are talking about I don’t see why pointing that out is wrong.

sam in oshawa
sam in oshawa
October 16, 2013 6:56 pm

Finally some content worth reading at this site. Out fucking standing MIB, SOME HOCKEY TALK, toe curl. Will not comment again just read…

Steve Clark
October 17, 2013 1:12 pm

Some interesting points in regards to Hockey Night, and Mike’s question about Top 3 Bottom 3 CBC Personalities. My list is not a commentary on the relative talents and on-air ability, more about on a “need” basis and how attractive they would be should Hockey Night not go back to CBC

Play by Play
Jim Hughson- would be attractive commodity for ANY network
Bob Cole- likely retires as he would be near 80
Mark Lee- value is to the CBC for Pan Am and Olympic Games
Rick Ball- Value to a competitor and also with Vancouver

Craig Simpson- where Hughson goes, Simpson likely follows
Garry Galley- Well regarded in Ottawa- has value
Kelly Hrudey- improving colour with name recognition and value
Glenn Healy- depends which Healy we get. Is it the guy with the gruff sense or humour, or the guy who is negative? A bit of a polarizing figure, but lots of name recognition

Panel Guys/Hosts- in general less need as all the networks have stocked panels already. If I had to pick three that would go to a competing network

1. Ron MacLean- polarizing but likely the most well known name
2. Andi Petrillo- polished and professional
3. Elliote Friedman- Regardless of whether CBC gets Hockey Night back, I can see him jumping back to Rogers.


(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
October 17, 2013 4:33 pm

Bob’s wrong about Obama being a sports fan and Bush not being one. When campaigning Obama was interviewed in the booth of a local Cubs game and was asked to name his all-time favourite Cubs player. After a few cringeworthy seconds it became clear he couldn’t name any, then he doubled down by proclaiming “I’m also a White Sox fan too”. Bush, OTOH, according to ex-adviser/speechwriter David Frum, only ever got passionately involved in White House discussions when baseball came up! I very much doubt either of them like hockey. (Remember Clinton trying to pronounce “Yzerman”?)

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
October 17, 2013 4:37 pm

I’m sure John Shannon thinks his car noises and interruptions add to PTS.

Speaking of Shannon I don’t think I’ve seen him or even heard his voice in months. Has he been given the chop or am I just getting lucky by tuning in on the right days?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x