Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston [hatemailaccount /a/t/ gmail /dot/ com]

 

American college sports

 

One of the things for which I am grateful as a Canadian is that we seem to have the right attitude towards college athletics. Universities offer modest scholarships that allow students who want to pursue athletics to do so, but this does not alter their primary status within the university. The opposite is true at many U.S. colleges and universities. Athletes are treated as celebrities and they have a posse of people whose job is to make sure they don’t have to do any school work. This is not true everywhere, and certainly not true of all sports. But where it occurs, it is toxic both to the university and to the wider community.

In that vein, I give to you two stories. This one involves a mother who fights a group of fans on behalf of her son. I’m mostly posting this so you can see the amazing video where she channels Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka and leaps from above on to her opponents.

The second story comes out of the decision by Bill O’Brien to leave his job as the head coach at Penn State. O’Brien replaced Joe Paterno in the wake of the cover up by members of the football program and the athletic administration of the sexual abuse of children. O’Brien references “Paterno People” in this story – people who are still trying to control the operation of the football program to show loyalty to the now deceased Paterno. His comments speak to the horribly nepotistic and corrupt nature of Division I college athletics. This same effect was seen when a billionaire benefactor of the Texas football program spoke out on their new hiring decision.

Everyone agrees that college sports is a broken system. These programs make tons of people fabulously wealthy, while the athletes themselves don’t get paid. To compound the insult, the athletes are given means to avoid actually learning anything while in college. At some point people will have to tally up the real costs of this system. One of these costs is thousands of 20 year olds with no university education and who have not been paid for their work. Somehow this consequence always slips through the cracks.

All that to say, Canadians should be thankful we have been spared this brand of exploitation and cultural insanity.

 

Gay rights and the NFL

 

The major “sports and social issues” crossover story this week was ex-kicker Chris Kluwe announcing that he believes we was drummed out of the NFL for supporting marriage equality and gay rights. The accusation comes as a shock to no one – locker rooms are notoriously homophobic environments. What is odd about this story is that the owner of the team reportedly backed Kluwe’s stance and encouraged him to continue to speak out on this issue.

Kluwe appeared on TSN Drive with Naylor & Arthur (Jan 6th, hour 3) who conducted an excellent interview. Kluwe comes across as articulate and intelligent (at least relative to his peer group). The hope is that by shining a light on how members of the coaching staff openly spoke about “nuking” gays, more owners will enforce tighter controls on how their teams are run. We’re still years away from changing  anti-gay views in sports, but this is a step in the right direction.

 

Hall of Fame voting

 

Dan Le Batard (ESPN personality) allowed the readers of Deadpsin to fill out his HOF ballot. He revealed this fact after the ballot had been cast. There have been 3 camps of response: 1) people who are morally outraged that he would besmirch the hallowed halls of the baseball HOF in this way, 2) people who regard this as an act of political protest not seen since Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus, and 3) people who are annoyed at Le Batard for being such an attention whore.  I suspect that the truth is a little of camp 2 and a lot of camp 3.

In my view there should be term limits on being a voter – something like 10 years after you gain eligibility. As we see in Toronto, guys who don’t follow baseball  or guys who are relying on outdated information or personal biases waste part of their votes every year. Get rid of these guys and a lot of the problems with the HOF will go away.

 

NHL v NBA attendance

 

Apparently the NHL sells out more of its buildings than the NBA. To me, this says two things: 1) the NBA has an attendance problem in many markets, 2) the NHL can have another lockout in 8 years and the fans will probably flock back. I don’t think this shows that the NHL is on its way to becoming a major national sport in the U.S.

 

End of Year Awards – Radio Edition

 

In the past we have handed out MSM awards on this site. I’d like to nominate some people in various categories. Please add your own suggestions for awards and nominees below.

 

Best newcomer: Walker (SN morning show), Jeff O’Neill (TSN). I’m mostly basing this on reading other people’s comments.

 

On the way up: TSN Drive. What did we do without you? It is great to finally have a true PTS alternative. The show needs to become less hockey-centric, and focus on more general interest sports stories, but they are a welcome addition

 

On the way down:

 

  • Tim & Sid. This one pains me, as I was a big fan of the old Score show.  I still have hope that the show can rebound, but the intelligent and quick debate that characterized the previous version of this show is not there anymore, at least not to my ears.

 

  • Blue Jays broadcasts. We lost the excellent Alan Ashby a couple of years ago. We lost the mostly good Dirk Hayhurst recently. There is word that Jack Morris may not be back. This leaves us with Jerry and Wilner. Jerry has been around forever and his voice is as natural as it ever was. But he has recently been saying some really crazy things. Earlier this year he claimed that Bautista is not a good leader, and that he is a bad influence in the clubhouse. Wilner has been bringing his contemptuous and contemptible act to the broadcast booth, rather than reserving it for his self-selected audience on JaysTalk. Hopefully someone at Rogers is listening, and can see that it might be time to start over.

 

The Shanny [award goes to the person who continually makes you ask “why do you have a job in radio?”]: John Shannon, whoever does the overnight shift on CBS radio

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Brian Burke needs to learn how to build himself up without needing to tear other people down. The overwhelming sense I get of this guy is that he needs someone to bully in order to be happy.

 

  • Not sure if someone is trolling Bob McCown but he used to run a group blog at Fadoo dot ca. That was a bit of a failure and some other project of his now occupies the domain at Fadoo dot com. Fadoo dot ca has been replaced with some highly NSFW material. Click at your own risk.

 

  • I joined Twitter purely so I could ask Bruce Arthur/TSN Drive why they don’t post full shows when he is on. Amazingly, they responded by doing just that this past Monday. @ZSommers is the guy to contact.

 

  • Three podcast recommendations: 1) Awful Announcing had an interview with the always entertaining Richard Deitsch (warning: low production values, but still worth it),  2) Slate’s Hang Up & Listen hosted a fascinating roundtable featuring journalists who had been embedded with the New York Jets. Amazing insight into Rex Ryan and what the inside of a locker room is really like. 3) Steve Moore was on TSN Drive on Jan 6th/Hour 3. For a guy whose career was ruined and has not been able to work for the last 10 years, he is remarkably free of bitterness. Great interview.

 

 

thanks for reading and commenting,
until next time …
mike (in boston)
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Another Steve
Another Steve
January 11, 2014 12:01 pm

It seems to me that you have a strange definition of crazy if you think what Jerry Howarth said was crazy.

Joseph
Joseph
January 11, 2014 12:55 pm

Mike (In Boston)

These moves are very different. Frings was 35 when he came over and was on his last legs. Defoe is 31 so he should have a few good years left. He came on as a substitute today for Tottenham and scored. Bradley is just coming in to his prime at 26. He has been playing at a good club, Roma and he also had offers from Serie A and EPL clubs. Bradley is probably the most important player for the U.S. team and his return to MLS is huge for the league. De Rosario is also back and even at his age he can still contribute. They also bought Gilberto but not being a follower of the Brazilian league I don’t know how good he is. For those of use who have followed TFC since its inception its finally nice to have a positive feeling heading into a season. Of course you never know how the team will do but it should be a fun season.

Darrell
Darrell
January 11, 2014 1:15 pm

Keep Jerry Howarth; blow up Dirk Hayhurst (below average major league pitcher at best) + Mike Wilner. Howarth brings a level of maturity + professionalism unlike Wilner + Hayhurst.

Daniel
Daniel
January 11, 2014 3:18 pm

Nice job Mike. Maybe you should be the one who has a sports media blog. 🙂

I’m a huge Lebatard fan, and at this point, I probably listen more to his show on podcast than any Toronto shows. After listening to him explain himself, I genuinely believe he had the right reasons for giving his vote to Deadspin. I mean really what did he do? He got fans to choose their picks for a ballot, (which ended up being a totally reasonable and well thought out one). Meanwhile you have guys only putting Jack Morris on their ballot, voting for Armando Benitez and leaving off Greg Maddux etc for no defensible reason.

Obviously the way LeBatard went about it was a bit sensational, but I think he wanted to do something to embarrass the sports writers who can be so self righteous and arrogant about the whole thing. I think it’s so ridiculous when guys like Perkins of Simmons talk about leaving guys off their ballot because ‘they didn’t seem like Hall of Famers to me’. No evidence, no stats, just didn’t ‘seem’ that way. Ugh. I think what LeBatard did was awesome.

Daniel
Daniel
January 11, 2014 3:19 pm

The Jays radio broadcasts have generally been really good since the Warren Sawkiw days, so I’m willing to give them a chance and see who they get to replace Hayhurst and (possibly) Morris before assuming they’ll take a step down. This time last year everyone thought Morris would be brutal. Ended up being pretty good.

Ami Angelwings
January 11, 2014 4:08 pm

Wow that Roundtable was so terrible. o_o Bob was the “expert” on soccer based just on his peripheral Spurs fandom & the other 3’s professed ignorance of soccer. He said so many incorrect things too and they didn’t know whether he was right or wrong.

Damien & Elliotte spent most of the roundtable sniping at each other as usual, and nobody seemed to know very much about any of the topics. Damien thought there was a cap on the contract a team could offer Tanaka, Friedman kept calling De Rosario, DeRozan, and nobody knew what the Europa league was. It was pretty painful to listen to.

Oh, and Bob did a bad Japanese accent whenever he pronounced Tanaka’s name.

Sam
Sam
January 11, 2014 4:29 pm

I’d love to see 1050 do a Friday roundtable to go head to head with 590. Perhaps that would encourage Bob to get his head out of his ass.

Curt
Curt
January 11, 2014 4:59 pm

Bob couldn’t name one Spurs player if he had to. Earlier in the week, he was talking about who Tottenham’s main rival might be. He guessed Chelsea because, well after all, they’re from London too! (It’s Arsenal, btw Bob. You know, the other North London club.) Yup, a real supporter…

I found it funny how Jerry Howarth criticized Hayhurst during the whole Arencibia blowup last summer; insinuating that Hayhurst didn’t have the right to do be critical of a player if he’s not hanging out in the clubhouse with the team. Meanwhile, he throws Bautista under the bus after the season is over and after he’s flown back to Florida or wherever. A tad hypocritical, I would say.

GreyCountyMike
GreyCountyMike
January 11, 2014 5:01 pm

Mike (in Boston): I could not agree more about the Jays’ radio broadcasts. It always seems to be the person who should be staying who ups and leaves … and baseball fans in this market are left with the puerile Wilner in an ever-expanding role.

Daniel
Daniel
January 11, 2014 5:21 pm

@Curt – I didn’t realize Jerry criticized Hayhurst last year. Wonder if that had anything to do with him not coming back.

Justin
Justin
January 11, 2014 6:55 pm

I used to like Mike Wilner but he’s been grating on me over the years. I admire his inside-out knowledge of the Blue Jays and often first look for his take when big Jays news breaks. But I can’t stand how he desecrates any caller who dares to say something negative about the Jays. He’s a team-hired shill. It’s annoying.

Dave S
Dave S
January 11, 2014 7:26 pm

I wouldn’t mind seeing a new Jays broadcast crew. Fresh voices might be a nice change. As far as Wilner goes I’m not in the camp that total hates him.He’s definately more of a new age stat-head while most of his callers are old school seam-heads. I’d be a little snarky with callers too if I’d had to do that job as long as he has with a team as bad as the Jays have been. That said he could turn down the douche meter.

Alex
Alex
January 11, 2014 8:35 pm

Speaking of lgbt issues in sports, a german footballer came out this week after retiring. Lots of media coverage in england, since he had played in the epl.

alex
alex
January 12, 2014 12:04 pm

I used to be a big fan of lebatards show until the NWO Heat era took over.

And with hoch maybe going to the other station, i guess the show wont be the one i loved so much.

Suey.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
January 12, 2014 8:29 pm

ex-kicker Chris Kluwe announcing that he believes we was drummed out of the NFL for supporting marriage equality and gay rights.

His replacement is getting only a quarter the salary that Kluwe was getting. His stats for the last season or two weren’t good. I think Kluwe is an opportunist.

Brian Burke needs to learn how to build himself up without needing to tear other people down. The overwhelming sense I get of this guy is that he needs someone to bully in order to be happy.

He comes across as a goon in a suit.

(Another) Andrew
(Another) Andrew
January 12, 2014 8:36 pm

Wow that Roundtable was so terrible. o_o Bob was the “expert” on soccer based just on his peripheral Spurs fandom & the other 3′s professed ignorance of soccer. He said so many incorrect things too and they didn’t know whether he was right or wrong.

Did any of them ask why Michael Bradley, at the height of his career with a team almost certainly going to the Champions League next year, would leave for the MLS? Because that’s what just about every soccer fan on earth is asking.

Ami Angelwings
January 13, 2014 3:34 am

They didn’t talk about Michael Bradley much. Bob mostly talked about Dafoe, how terrible Bob thinks he is, and then general TFC talk happened in between all the joking about how little they know about soccer, and Damien & Bob implying that Arash Madani should know about soccer because of his ethnicity.

Another Steve
Another Steve
January 13, 2014 8:30 am

I don’t listen to radio either – just radio criticism. 🙂

Curt
Curt
January 13, 2014 10:25 am

Regarding the roundtables, it really depends on who’s on. If it’s Brunt, Perkins, or even Friedman together, it will be pretty good. I like Arash Madani too, but if he is on with PTS Destroyers Cox and Shannon, then it’s time for alternative programming.

Mike V
Mike V
January 13, 2014 11:06 am

Would Bradley even get a say if and where he was transferred to?
Assuming he did, I’d imagine it came down to some combination of money, playing time and being much closer to home like it does for almost all athletes.

alex
alex
January 13, 2014 12:17 pm

N international footy, you really cant be traded against your wishes.

No playing time at Roma + $$$$ + new child = moving back to ML

Daniel
Daniel
January 13, 2014 12:42 pm

Oh I’d say the round tables are still sometimes very good. Depends on the guests and topics. If a big sports business story happens, it’s still the place to go to.

But yeah, Cox and Shannon are total show killers.

Mike S
Mike S
January 13, 2014 3:59 pm

I am one of the people who is annoyed at Le Batard for being such an attention-seeking whore………..it’s bad enough that he gave away his vote, but his announcement came on the same day as the HOF voting results and therefore took attention away from the guys that were elected (Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas)

Le Batard is obviously an intelligent guy however ever since I started listening to him on ESPN Radio on Sunday mornings it has been apparent to me that he is even more self-rightous and arrogant as the people he belittles………………he has always been an apologist for players and their behaviour/actions…………….he just loves to get his name out there by stirring things up………….does anyone remember when he said that Steve Nash might have won the NBA MVP over Shaq in 2005 because he is white and Shaq is not ???

I don’t disagree that there are several flaws in the current baseball HOF voting process……………but Le Batard has more high profile media platforms than just about anyone…………..there are lots of other ways he could have made his point without ditching his vote…………just because another idiot voted for no one except Jack Morris doesn’t mean what Le Batard did was right

Daniel
Daniel
January 13, 2014 9:53 pm

@Mike S – I hear you on that LeBatard should have waited to reveal that he was the guy who gave his vote to Deadspin.

But really – what’s so bad about what he did? Got fans to pick his ballot? What’s wrong with that? It was a good ballot and cool idea.

alex
alex
January 14, 2014 8:39 am

Monday is really the only day i care about full tsn podcasts, for the guestless segments w naylor and arthur.

Stephane
Stephane
January 14, 2014 2:19 pm

I think Tim and Sid are great. Finally something new and refreshing on sports radio…A shame about Hayhurst, he had the potential to be good, I thought he’d be a good replacement for Jays Talk if Wilner moved to the booth. Any idea what happended with Hayhurst? Wilner’s people skills are a little lacking in recent years…the callers are morons but he kinda sounds like a know it all sometimes.

Darrell
Darrell
January 14, 2014 2:20 pm

LOL at Stephane’s closing sentence. Mike WIlner is a know it all “sometimes”?????

Mike S
Mike S
January 14, 2014 6:34 pm

Daniel…………if you think it’s a “cool idea” to be one of the few people who is given a vote and knowingly go against the wishes of the people who entrusted you with that vote by giving it away (partly for personal gain) then we will just have to agree to disagree (again)

The issue is the giving away of the vote………….the issue is not what the fans did with that vote…………….when Le Batard gave it away he had no idea who they would end up voting for

Daniel
Daniel
January 15, 2014 2:32 pm

“Daniel…………if you think it’s a “cool idea” to be one of the few people who is given a vote and knowingly go against the wishes of the people who entrusted you with that vote by giving it away ”

I do!

Stephane
Stephane
January 17, 2014 1:19 pm

I know what you mean Darrell! I said “sometimes” because half of the things he says are border line common sense and most of the time he has a good reasons to be short with people. All the calls from guys that have clearly been getting into the sauce all night, the “trade so and so for picks” or “fire Gbby” guys must be hard to listen to night in and nght out. I actually started getting baseball chat elsewhere more because of the Jays Talk callers than Wilner being a dweeb.

Stephane
Stephane
January 17, 2014 4:05 pm

I dont really feel that it matters that much, but a Leaf hat woudn’t hurt. You could see it that he is showing leadership amongst the payers and understanding their best intentions and taking the lead on new business approaches. I don’t know, Dave Feschuk is pretty crappy and clearly a disturber ever since the Reimer story.

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