Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend 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. The mid-week thread can be found here:


Cathal Kelly can’t seem to make up his mind about the League of Denial documentary


I don’t “get” Cathal Kelly. Here’s his premise: the documentary fails because it’s not going to rattle the NFL’s cage. Here’s the problem: that’s not what the doc aims to do, so all it has failed to do is live up to some arbitrary standard Kelly has decided to set for it.

Mark Fainaru-Wada was on T&S on October 10th in the 3pm hour as well as PTS on October 15th. In both interviews he repeatedly stresses that he loves the NFL and isn’t trying to bring the league down etc. He’s just trying to get the science out there so that the issue can be studied more closely, and so that parents can make more educated decisions about letting their kids play high school football. He also raised some really interesting points about ESPN backing out of producing the project while still supporting his story.

Kelly seems to be trying too hard to make himself the story. I think he’s OK on TSN Drive, but I have never been able to enjoy his writing.


Water is wet, and Don Cherry keeps saying casually xenophobic things


I don’t want to waste any words on Cherry. He’s a known quantity at this point in time — he’s known as a relic from a much more ignorant time in human history. But I’ll ask the question again: if you’re SN or TSN and you take over HNIC, do you keep Coach’s Corner? If you don’t, do you keep McLean in some capacity? If I’m McLean, I need to start thinking about my own legacy. Cherry is an embarrassment, and McLean comes across as his enabling side-kick.


NFL receiver Brandon Marshall gets fined …


… for raising awareness about mental illness. The reason this is interesting is that news broke this week that the NFL is giving away less than 10% of the profits that come from their pink merchandise. These are supposed to fund breast cancer research, but since most of the merch is sold via, the league acts as the retailer and gets to keep most of the profits. Link I’d like to see the league be more diverse in the causes it supports. But I fear that the pink thing is here to stay given how profitable it is for the league.


The R-Word


Alan Yelsey, representing the American Indian Movement, was on PTS on October 16th. He made a pretty compelling case for why “redskin” should be on a par with other racist slurs that society (rightly) no longer tolerates. His group is trying to use state laws to fight against the name. Legal pressure via anti-discrimination statutes is an interesting way to fight back. Public employees/institutions are bound to higher standards than private companies, and so this is potentially fruitful.

One telling quote from the above link: “The Redskins name doesn’t stem from skin color, but from the blood running down their bodies after they were scalped by European settlers.” If that’s the origin of the term, then it’s no different from symbolism surrounding lynchings in the southern US. Neither should be tolerated.


Cheap Shots in the NHL


If CBS sports is writing about it, then the NHL should be concerned. This is bad press from a sports outlet that rarely covers the NHL. The author does a nice job of laying out some possible ways of getting rid of cheap shots. I like the roster or cap hit approach – if you can’t bring a guy up to replace the suspended player, or your available cap space goes down as a result of his suspension, then this will hurt the team as a whole. As we saw with Brian Burke’s requiem for Colton Orr, some GMs are addicted to goons. People like Burke will always find ways to keep goons in the game. The league needs to intervene to stop them.

Grange was on with Tim (no Sid) on October 15th and they had a fantastic discussion about the dirty hit issue. Really great back and forth. Some notable points: 1) Tim can sound pretty intelligent when paired with someone like Grange. 2) It’s possible to discuss an issue without trying to force jokes in every 3rd sentence,  without laughing hysterically at your interlocutor, without using the word hashtag, and without relying on morning-zoo sound effects. I like Tim&Sid but they have become a cartoon version of their former show. I still have hope that they can find the right balance though.

Grange and Tim also had a very interesting discussion of sports celebrations in baseball and hockey. Grange made a nice point that this issue seems to have a racial undertone since it’s mostly white players complaining about Latin players. This mirrors Don Cherry’s casual racism/xenophobia when he talk about certain players “not knowing any better.” It’s interesting that both MLB and the NHL are encumbered with this albatross of “playing the game the right way” or “respecting the game” or “the code” or “the unwritten rules.”

The NFL has done a great job of making the evolution of the game a priority. They are by far the most popular league.


Low Hanging Fruit


Every now and then I will try to pass along some feedback to the people who fill the airwaves or news pages on a daily basis. I don’t claim to speak for the audience as a whole. Opposing views are welcome.


PTS is trying out some new segment where the co-host takes the lead and asks questions and Bob gets to answer them. In a strange and unexpected twist, the real positive to come out of it is that we get way more Brunt. He’s very quiet on PTS – usually because he’s ignoring some dumb discussion about potholes or fishing, or because he’s choosing not to get baited into a useless argument about sports. The loss is to the audience, since PTS ends up wasting their best asset. But this new segment gives Brunt some free rein to frame an issue and lay out some thoughts about it. Great stuff. My one request is that this segment be limited to when Brunt is on.


until next time …

mike (in boston)

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October 19, 2013 1:50 pm

The perfect word you used in the Redskin issue was “if”. Nobody has a clear origin or even meaning of word. This gives the holdouts who oppose a name change something to hold on to. Each side will give the definition that helps their side out he most.

October 19, 2013 3:32 pm

Agree with you on Brunt and the last segment Mike, totally. Nice work on the post!

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
October 19, 2013 5:14 pm

Isn’t Bob the best asset of PTS? He’s made the show work with Watters, Jim Kelley, Cox, Shannon, Brunt, etc. When Brunt left for CHUM it was apparently a disaster. It’s Bob who signs the adhesion contracts with Rogers.

I don’t know if this new segment is going to work whoever Bob is on with. If the topics discussed are so interesting why won’t they be talked about in the preceding 2 hr 45 minutes with a guest who actually knows something about said topic. This just saves 590 from paying a guest.

Was Brunt quiet because there was a discussion about hockey? He mentioned when the baseball playoffs were about to start that he doesn’t pay close attention to hockey until “it gets cold”(Dec. 1, I think he also mentioned). The Leafs will have played only 27 games by Dec. 1. So basically Brunt is kissing off the first third of the season, even though he works for an all sports network. In Canada.

October 20, 2013 11:20 am

I’m really enjoying these. Interesting, thought provoking comments that should be worth discussing amongst those that follow this site. For too long it has been dormant, so way to go Mike (in Boston).

Wanted to offer a follow-up to the last post, re: Jeff O’Neil.

I think he offers some very decent hockey observations, but as a broadcaster, he needs to be coached – or, at least, listen to the advice.

He comes across as an angry, self-obsessed ex-athlete who enjoys talking down to those who he deems as not as successful as himself. His interruptions are more annoying than his “jock” terms and I suspect he still harbours resentment over the fact that he is no longer talented enough to play.

Hope he tones it down enough to continue on air, as he has talent.

October 20, 2013 5:43 pm

Cathal Kelly: The next Cox.

CBC: The sooner they lose their NHL rights and/or Cherry gets taken out to a pasture and shot, the (slightly) better Canadian hockey coverage will be.

Tim & Sid: I don’t listen anymore as I don’t have time for a three-hour podcast every day, but the random times I have listened, their SN show is so terrible compared to what they used to do at The Score. The only guests I ever hear are boring athlete interviews or horrible fellow Sportsnet employees.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
October 20, 2013 10:07 pm

Any predictions until TSN 1050 over takes 590 as the #1 radio station in Toronto? Bc i’m really enjoying 1050 a lot more then 590 anyone else?

October 21, 2013 7:53 am

Apparently, the regular tim and sid audience had no time for marek and wysjynski aa fill in hosts on friday.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
October 21, 2013 10:21 am

Mike in Boston – Thanks!
Good post(s), worth the read and the visit to TSM.

October 21, 2013 11:07 am

@Mike (in Boston).

Interesting thoughts on comparing O’Neil and Zaun. I can’t really see how Zaun would rub people the wrong way. His style IS articulate, informed and, although pointed, right on for me. He seems like the real deal and I bet he is generally well liked by viewers.

O’Neil? Too jock contrived. Jerk-like. Zaun would never derisively say to his co-host, “Dude, I live in a mansion on the Kingsway.”

Well, whoop-dee-doo.

October 21, 2013 12:51 pm

Personally, cant stand zaun. Comes off way to arrogant and opinionated and doing a gimmick.

Much prefer hayhurst of the 590 analysts.

October 21, 2013 1:27 pm

There is way too much either sterile analysis or people trying to guess what is going on in he locker room. It is nice too have an O’neill acting the fool. TSN has found a perfect 3 man unit for Leafs Lunch. At least they have no problem telling O’neill when he is being ridiculous. Half the players in hockey are “Bros” just like O’neill so why do we want to act like they don’t exist? You really only want guys broadcasting that are good at being fake?

October 21, 2013 3:39 pm

Zaun has a good gimmick. He’s Chael Sonnen/CM Punk. Baseball in this country is lacking the jerky jock – a Glen Healy or Aaron Ward type. Buck and Tabler while solid are vanilla.
I’m in the younger demo So I get all the Tim and Sid schtick. I know the rap songs they reference and their general pop culture peppering. Bobcat often says that the Fan is a sports station, but more so a male lifestyle station.. and speaking of Bobcat, while yes he doesn’t watch the games or modern society in general – I still find his show comforting. Tell us a story about when you lived in Vegas Uncle Bob, talk to us a bout 70s jays and 60s Browns, about your big TV….etc etc.

Mike S
Mike S
October 21, 2013 3:47 pm

A lifetime achievement award for McCown…………….love him or hate him, no one can argue with his success…………….there are plenty of things I don’t like about him but I am still a regular listener

October 21, 2013 7:12 pm

Have to say I enjoyed this interview with Brady interviewing McCown this morning. It is so cool when the tables turn on Bob and he gets asked questions. The news value out of this is that Bob is “considering” an autobiography. It’d sell a lot more copies than anyone would think.

This is a strong listen and Brady gets more out of him than I would have given him credit for. No endless jokes like when he talks with Tim and Sid.

Nan Young Lee
Nan Young Lee
October 22, 2013 9:48 pm

In the battle of the Richard Peddie interviews, the Naylor/Hodge one was easily better. Bob wasn’t up to his usual standard, wasting time about Peddie being live on 590 and why was he(Bob) only mentioned for 1 page in the book. These business of sports interviews are usually in Bob’s wheelhouse so today’s mess might be the result of the after-effects of celebrating his award yesterday.

On Naylor’s show, Peddie hit the usual topics such as a 2nd NHL team in TO but also touched on many other points including David Stern’s temper vs. Bettman’s temper, not vetoing the Vince Carter trade, Tie Domi off ice, “the smiling assassin” Isaiah Thomas, the mess of Anselmi and TFC, starting (who knew), etc…

Thanks to the Naylor/Hodge interview, I look forward to reading Peddie’s book.

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