Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston @mikeinboston

 

Sorry for the lack of a column last week. I’m on the road and will remain so for the next few weeks, so my posting might be a little erratic. As always, the comments are what really drive this site. I read every one, and I know TSM does as well.

 

Since I started writing this column several people who work for the main employers in sports media  have been in touch to let me know that pretty much everything that gets written here is read by the people we talk about. Thanks to everyone who keeps that conversation going. For better or for worse, this is one of the main ways that feedback makes its way to the ears of the people in charge. I doubt that the dead weight legacy personalities care very much what people say about them here, but I know their colleagues and bosses do.

 

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Please post any interesting links in the comments.

 

Sports & Racism

 

We have seen two angles on this issue over the past few weeks.

 

The Sterling story brought out that one can still get rich in America while being a huge racist, but once that goes public then the jig is up. The reason the NBA came down so hard on Sterling is that his actions started to hurt the brand of the NBA. I have no doubt that he has said racist things to the other owners, and that David Stern knew how bad a guy Sterling is and was.

 

The PK Subban story brought out that sports is still a home for racism, despite a concerted effort by most leagues to use sport as the great uniter. If the Canadiens were facing Detroit and Subban’s goal prompted racist tweets this would be less of a story. There are idiots in all walks of life, and every fan base has some dullard who will shout “nigger” or “faggot” if given the opportunity. The problem is that this is Boston, and this is not new. This was the last city to integrate in MLB. This is the city that had race riots when schools were forced to welcome blacks.

 

So, from both the executive level to the fan level, racism is alive and well in sports. One question I wondered this week was: how much racism is there amongst the players?

 

The Miami Dolphins bullying story this year gave some insight into the locker room culture. It sounds like a tough and fractured environment that, in some ways, mimics cultural and racial divisions. Sometimes that can be a positive PR thing, as we see with the “Dominican Jays.” But I wonder if that can also lead to racial tension when things go poorly.

 

International soccer has been fighting this battle (unsuccessfully, in my opinion) for decades. North American sports has been insulated to a certain extent. One thing that will hopefully come out of these very public incidents is a recommitment by all leagues to promoting anti-racism initiatives within their own cultures, and in the culture at large. All leagues and teams should be doing more to publicly denounce racism.

 

TSN spreads its wings

 

The news broke this week that TSN will be expanding to 5 channels in the coming months. I highly recommend reading Simon Houpt’s article, as it has lots of details about the kind of revenues TSN and SN get from these channels.

 

Zelkovich asks the right question about all of this: what can they show on these new channels, given that Rogers owns the rights to the Jays and most of the NHL? The answer is more NBA, more soccer, and more NFL. They could also start showing NCAA football on a regular basis. One other thing that TSN can do is show more programming from ESPN. I have little interest in the original content that comes from Skip Bayless’ network, but it is worth pointing out that ESPN’s shows are hugely popular in the states.

 

As a consumer, I don’t care which channel shows the games. I know some people are very loyal to TSN or SN’s coverage, but at the end of the day people will watch what they want to watch regardless of which channel it is on. The great victory here is for Canadian cable subscribers who now will be able to watch over a dozen sports channels, if they can afford it. TSN claims that there will not be an additional fee right away. If they are going to be buying new content to put on these channels then you can bet that new fees are not far off. History confirms this: Sportsnet One was free for a while, but now you need to buy an extra package to see all the Jays games.

 

While SN will certainly increase their viewership as a result of the NHL deal, I wonder if they will overtake TSN by the end of the deal 12 years from now. TSN has been crowing about their ratings for deadline day and July 1st for years now. Will the fact that the NHL is mostly on SN change the average fan’s judgments about Bob McKenzie’s credibility? I don’t think it should, but I suspect SN’s insiders will rise in prominence in the years ahead.

 

My hope is that Canadian networks try to wean themselves off their NHL-addiction.  So long as the perception remains that the path to financial success is via the NHL then you can bet that the next deals are going to be even bigger. Some people have reported that Rogers will lose or barely make money on the new NHL deal. I doubt that, but I do know that the demographics of the country are changing. While hockey is not going anywhere, other sports are rising in popularity. The smart network is the one that is going to be poised to cash in on what the landscape looks like 10 and 20 years from now.

 

Quick Hits

 

  • A journalist was fired for making up quotes to go with his story. I wonder how often this happens.

 

  • DGB has an amazing post on where the current Leafs futility ranks relative to other recent failures. My guess is that Mr. Lieweke underestimated how hard it would be to change 45 years of losing culture. The evidence so far is that he has succumbed to it himself.

 

  • Bruce Arthur has a decent post on the Carlyle extension. He questions the sanity of rewarding the coach with a new contract when the evidence is pretty clear that he couldn’t get the team to do what it needed. That’s a fair point, and I wonder what the answer is.

 

  • Scott McArthur (TSN baseball reporter) has started a podcast. I have not yet listened to it, but I really enjoy his work, as well as the other baseball people (Griffin, Hayhurst, Shulman) TSN has on their roster.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Sportsnet sent out a press release announcing the arrival of Cox as their signature insider on all things hockey. Many people will wonder what this means for his future as PTS co-host. I have sworn off PTS unless Brunt is on, regardless of the quality of the guest, so I am someone who hopes that Cox transitions to being a guest so he can ruin segments rather than whole shows.

 

  • What has happened to Elliot Friedman? I had assumed that his role within SN would have been solidified by now. Is he less well-regarded than we have assumed or is it just not a priority given that he is still under contract at CBC? I wonder if his less than stellar performances on PTS have had an effect on his negotiations with Rogers. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get his own radio show (maybe instead of Blair?) and let him develop for a while. I think everyone agrees he has talent as a host.

 

  • I was in Toronto recently for work, and spent some time watching the “breakfast TV” highlight shows on both channels. As someone who lives in the states for most of the year, this is not something to which I have any previous exposure. The SN one features the awkward Cybulksi and some woman, while the TSN features Kate Beirness and some guy. I know TSM recently asked if people watch highlight shows, but here’s a slight variation on that question: do you like the semi-scripted mixed gender banter shows?

 

  • Lastly, many people asked “how bad do have to be in order to get fired from the Leafs” in light of the Nonis,  Carlyle, and Phaneuf extensions. I’ll ask the same question with respect to hockey insiders. That pool keeps growing and growing, but I can’t think of the last person to flunk out of the job. Can anyone remember some names? I seem to recall ex-Leaf Mike Johnson being one. Is he still working?

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (in boston)

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 85
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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Mike In Boston, another great read, and I have no doubt in some way your posts and the comments are resonating with the right people. The issue, as you alluded to, is actual corrective action taken to improve the product.

    For some reason Tie Domi comes to mind, and I found this from Chris Zelkovich from September 21st, 2007: TSN UN-TIED: As reported here last month, Tie Domi’s role at TSN has been severely reduced. Domi will no longer be a regular on NHL broadcasts and will appear only occasionally to comment on the physical side of the game. TSN says Domi couldn’t fit a regular TV job into his schedule.

    It appears that this was a graceful way by TSN not to damage Domi’s ego and future endeavours, when we all know how brutal he was on the air, which coincidentally, coincided with his hockey career, outside of short periods.

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    Thanks, Mike. Curious though that you mentioned that the bosses of people who are regularly criticized here (e.g., Cox, Shannon) read the comments on this site and that it serves as a main source of feedback for them. I don’t doubt that’s what you’ve been told, but it begs the question why these guys, particularly Cox, are not only retained but actually promoted. Perhaps there is a “silent majority” that actually appreciate these guys? (Don’t know how that is possible.) From what I read here and from what others I talk to say, the channel changes when someone like Cox is on the air. Weird.

    On something completely unrelated, it sure looked like Friedman was wearing a cannabis tie the other night on the HNIC panel. Groovy man.

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    Quick Hits,,,,
    I don’t get the love on this site for fat faced Friedman! To me, he is a channel changer whether it’s on PTS or (especially HNIC). He and Stock would not make my cut for next year’s SN NHL coverage, not even close. Isn’t Mike Johnson TSN’s #2 color guy? In a world where Damien Cox gets any type of promotion is a world I don’t need to be in. Hopefully the new TSN channels show more MLB from ESPN as well has NCAA Hoops when that season rolls around.

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    No offense to you Mike, or to the recently returned from Seattle TSM, but shouldn’t someone from Toronto actually be writing this? I mean, you can’t really monitor Toronto media from Boston. As an example, those of us in this country are aware Mike Johnson is still very much a part of TSN’s telecasts. It’s also pretty insulting ( or ignorant in the true definition of the word) that you wouldn’t mention the co-host of Sportsnet’s morning show ( Caroline Cameron) or the co-host with Kate (there are several). The fact is, you don’t know. If this were on one of their platforms you’d be ripping them for it. Maybe I’m being touchy about this but that kind of stuff should matter. Most of the posters here have put some thought into it, and have been paying pretty close attention to things. You’re not here, so you can’t.
    It is true that a lot of people in the business check this site but I doubt very much it influences decisions. In fact I know it doesn’t and never will. What does impact decisions is numbers. Many people here are tired of the FOBs that McCown has on, but until you stop listening, the bitching and moaning means nothing. That’s the bottom line.

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    (Another) Andrew 6 years ago

    This is the city that had race riots when schools were forced to welcome blacks

    No, they were welcomed in public schools in their own areas – though the schools weren’t as good. The rioting was over the busing of black kids to schools in white neighbourhoods where the locals didn’t like blacks and with similar numbers of white kids forced to attend schools in black areas where they were bullied every day. That said, the overall point about it being a bigger deal in Boston due to its general history (80s Celtics for example) is probably true. 40 Years Later, Boston Looks Back

    do know that the demographics of the country are changing. While hockey is not going anywhere, other sports are rising in popularity.

    Even leaving aside demographic change I sense that even the younger born-and-bred Anglo-Canadians are not as into hockey as previous generations and more open to soccer and basketball. Of course I’m going by a small Ontario sample size of people I know and observe so it might not be an accurate reflection of what’s happening, but with our sports media failing (intentionally?) to provide us with further information, such as BBM age and regional ratings breakdowns, it’s all I have to go on.

    I know some people are very loyal to TSN or SN’s coverage

    I’ve encountered these people on online forums but never in real life. The partisans are probably employees of the broadcasters.

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    (Another) Andrew 6 years ago

    Thanks to my other half I was forced to watch a few episodes of Mad Men this week. (It’s actually quite good). There’s a character in the show called Roger Sterling. In the episodes I watched this character didn’t really seem to do anything at the office, and spent most of his time disrupting others and making wisecracks. He put me in mind of Damien Cox.

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    I think you are being a little touchy, Clair. Mike is a solid contributor to this site and posts a lot of interesting stuff. Are you going to be so pedantic as to pick apart a post because it doesn’t refer to a babbling talking head by name? (There are a lot of those in the sports broadcasting world.)

    Regarding the Toronto angle, the fact is you don’t really have to be in Toronto to monitor Toronto media anymore. Aside from some local radio, everything broadcast from Toronto finds its way around the country and likely beyond. They also have this thing called the internet where you can find all sorts of Toronto-based publications and podcasts – even live radio. That said, I do think this site could do with a name change. Perhaps something like Canadian Sports Media? Whatever.

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    Don’t be a jerk Curt. I’m fully aware of the internet you condescending prick. The point, of simpletons like yourself, is it’s Toronto sports media.

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    Oh, chill out. You drop in here and state your opinion – in a “condescending” way, I might add. I disagreed and stated mine. Maybe forums aren’t your thing.

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    Wow, Bitch anyone? Thanks for droppin by Clara and speaking on behalf of most or is it all Canadians?

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    Claire A Fye 6 years ago

    Oh I’m okay with forums. Quite enjoy reading the comments here. Even the uninformed ones. I think I respect opinions other than my own What I took exception to was your “they have this thing called the internet” comment. That was unnecessary. My comment might have been construed as a little “touchy” as you put it, but there was nothing condescending about it. The word you were looking for was critical. I’ll own that.
    The point I was making was very simple. Yes you can monitor the media in another town on the internet. ironically that’s something I do in regards to Boston. I’m not as into that city is as Mike is here, but I read both dailies regularly online and I listen to 2 of their sports stations occasionally. I’ve been there numerous times and really like it. But even with all that, I don’t have a good sense of what the media reacts to, the day-to-day goings on in New England that impacts how they see things. That’s what I was referring to. Mike can’t do that because he’s not here.
    Let me add, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t make some valid points in his columns.

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    Well, actually “touchy” was your own description of your post. I just agreed. To suggest that someone can’t be critical of the Toronto sports media because they don’t live there is actually a little condescending (Toronto-centric perhaps?). I live in Calgary, but because the bulk of sports media in this country is generated from Toronto, I like to drop in here and see what people are saying about it. And I too have opinions that I occasionally like to share. Should it matter that I don’t live there?

    It’s not my job to defend Mike, but he has done a lot of work on this site, including doing interviews with people who are directly connected with the Toronto media, and has posted about them. I don’t see anyone else doing that. So, should we all say, “Thanks Mike. But you’re contribution is no longer required because, well, you don’t live in Toronto.” Seems ridiculous to me.

    Besides, this blog often transcends the Toronto sports media scene anyway. There are a lot of good discussions that go beyond the boundaries of the GTA. What’s wrong with that? (Rhetorical question, btw. I don’t want to keep this pissing match going.)

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    adam w 6 years ago

    I’m not too shocked that they’re offering TSN3, 4 and 5 at “no extra fee”, given the previous ire raised by both Bell and Rogers with the launches of their TSN2 and SN1 services. However you have to wonder how they can sustain that if they’re going to be having different versions of Sportscentre on each – the effort to produce two or three new versions of that content isn’t going to be free and there’s no evidence to suggest that cable or telcos are actually listening to the quoted report about cable price increase fatigue.

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    Re the aptly named “Baseball Podcast” with Macarthur… Started with the most recent, #3 with Griffin. I like it. 30 minutes of no-nonsense talk. Now I just hope they put it on its own feed in iTunes.

    On the “no extra fee” – this from the industry that likes to try to lure you into additional services with 6 months at a reduced price, then switching you to full price. I wouldn’t expect anything different here.

    I had a good laugh at this line – I think I took it in the spirit it was intended – “The SN one features the awkward Cybulksi and some woman, while the TSN features Kate Beirness and some guy.”

    On MIB’s q “Do you like the semi-scripted mixed gender banter shows?”. I would say that I like banter shows where its genuine and to my taste. For instance, I used to like the old Sportsline with Tatti/Hebscher although banter at that point was not a signficant part of the show. While I don’t think I ever actually saw it I imagine Olbermann/Patrick set the standard. The Dan Patrick Show is very good. Leafs Lunch sometimes esp with Ferraro can be enjoyable. However none of these are even semi-scripted I would say. None are mixed-gender – but I think that’s more a function of mixed gender shows not having been around for long.

    I think this gets back to the fundamental question of what need are these shows filling. It used to be that people actually got information from these shows. Nowadays it all comes from the internet. So these shows have to be more entertaining. Which they can be. However, and ESPN especially, sometimes networks seem to want to have interchangeable (and presumably inexpensive) hosts/parts on these shows with none of them getting too big. But this doesn’t let the hosts build up the bond between themselves and the viewers. Back to the question of what need these shows are filling… is it mainly just to have on in the background when you’re doing something else? I’ve noticed at the gym that SN (I think) has something called a Morning Rush which is just a quick recap of the highlights that runs during Corrected. I’m guessing it runs right after commercials as a way to lure people in, much like reality shows that recap after every commercial break (!). Ok, will stop this stream of consciousness now.

    An aside – how do we bold / italicize text in comments?

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    WestdaleRocks 6 years ago

    Re: Racism. While we are not exactly ones to sit on a perch and preach in Canada (witness the banana throwing incident in London, ON with Wayne Simmonds a few years ago as one example), the truth is that Boston has been notorious for this stuff. I remember Jim Rice talking about it back in the 80s. Even the legendary Celtic teams were targeted, and Bill Russell has spoken out on it many times. Boston isn’t much different than Alabama was in the 60s.

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    WestdaleRocks 6 years ago

    Re: TSN and new channels. Bang on question about what will they show? Looking back 20 years ago and comparing to today would be as much a learning experience as trying to predict what will fly 20 years hence. TSN has had its share of home runs (CFL and curling are probably the top two). CBC started the World Junior juggernaut rolling back in the 80s, and when TSN grabbed the rights, the event took off. IMO, Scott Moore and Keith Pelley are the two smartest people in Canadian sports media. A lot of what is now appointment viewing, was programming they initiated. The question is, what will it be? Again, IMO, soccer will become even more prominent. MMA, UFC etc seems to have peaked–I don’t believe networks will increase this coverage. I think the one area ripe for expansion for viewership is, believe it or not, select amateur sports. Look for ones that are popular in the Olympics: Beach volleyball and freestyle skiing. Events like XGames will probably feature more prominently and be given greater priority. They’ve failed in the past, but only because they were haphazard viewing–weekday afternoons, etc.

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    WestdaleRocks 6 years ago

    Re: cost of NHL hockey and TSN’s new channels. Anybody who thinks some of these costs won’t be passed on to the consumer in some way or another, is delusional. I believe NHL Centre Ice will be neutered in many ways, but the channels Rogers will put the games on will likely be spread over 4 or 5 “packages”.

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    WestdaleRocks 6 years ago

    Re: Elliott Friedman. Funny, I was thinking the same thing. Things are quiet on the Elliott front. It would be smart for Rogers or TSN to sign him. Elliott may not be quite up to a Darren Dreger or Bob McKenzie, but he’s not far off. IMO, he’s wasted on the CBC panel because he shares it with a dinosaur and three “You Don’t Know Anything About The Game Unless You Played It” morons. I used to have a lot of respect for Glen Healey, but the way he treats Elliott on that desk is an embarrassment. PJ Stock and Kevin Weekes are useless. Get Healey on games only–he comes across as a grumpy young Don Cherry on the desk. Elliott should be given requisite airtime as a journalist….not someone to be cut off by three ex-players and McLean.

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    Drumanchor 6 years ago

    More sports channels = more hockey.

    Hockey in Canada seems to be no more than just a game. For some reason, it has now fused into what deems someone to actually be a Canadian. Haggard and delusional parents spending tens of thousands of dollars on their kids travel teams and the bi-weekly “tournaments” that they are compelled to attend. All in the vein hope that their Connor will be rich, rich, rich and on one of the hundreds of sports channels that talk and program hockey 12 months a year.

    The networks? They get money for every cable channel they own through our own monthly fees, so I suspect they are thrilled.

    But is this all sustainable?

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    Dave in Bolton 6 years ago

    I really wonder if new Rogers CEO will make the call to sell half of the new NHL package to Bell. as the cost is even steep for Rogers and like the ownership of MLSE a split between Bell and Rogers seems like more manageable for Rogers rather then taking on the whole cost.

    As for Freedman I really hops he jumps to TSN bc watching him play second banana to George is insulting.

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    Why Canadian’s with a tenth of the population of the USA need more sports stations then the US is puzzling. I am not certain how the CRTC has approved all these licenses, but do know there has been a lot of bait and switch going on. Get the licence under the guise of something, then switch it to a sports station.

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    Re the new baseball podcast: Great news! Anything that offers an alternative to Mike Wilner in this town is a welcome addition. It’s embarrassing that a town that likes to beat its chest about being “world class” offers up such a mean-spirited, offensive, absolutely delusional person as its voice of baseball.

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    I am wondering if Rogers is going to actually carry the extra TSN channels. If I recall correctly SN1 wasn’t available on Bell for a while. I wonder if Bell is going to play hardball with Rogers.

    It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

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    @Ken

    “Why Canadian’s with a tenth of the population of the USA need more sports stations then the US is puzzling.”

    I’m guessing your knowledge of US sporting networks doesn’t extend past ESPN, as I can think of at least 20 national networks and 20 regional networks south of the border while Canada doesn’t even have 20.

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    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    I have stated this before but it needs to be said again.
    Steve Simmons of the Sun has gone from a “Must read” to a “must i read? ” very very quickly.

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    thanks for the link (Another) Andrew. That was an interesting read.
    .

    Sam in Scarb – Simmons’ Twitter persona has turned me off any desire to read his column. I think he’s totally fine on the radio (when he sticks to things he knows something about), but for some reason he feels the need to say idiotic things to get a rise out of people on Twitter. It come across as really pathetic.

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    Sam – use HTML’s [b]text you want to bold[/b] and [i]text you want to italicize[/i]. (replace the [ ] with < > though)

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    Cox and Simmons really are twin sons of different mothers, arent they?

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    Dave in Bolton 6 years ago

    TSN should create their own 30 for 30 and dive into the behind scenes of the sporting world. First episode should be the disaster of TV deal with Rogers. I really hope TSN goes all 60 minutes on the NHL ass.

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    John in Bolton 6 years ago

    Agree with the criticisms of Friedman. Never could stand a guy who sounds like that old Snagglepuss cartoon character. Waiting for him to make an “exit, stage left.” “Heavens to Mergatroyd!”

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    Jonathan Giggs 6 years ago

    Elliotte Friedman, not Elliot.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    Woah. Woah. Woah. Nobody likes Damien Cox? I actually enjoy his columns (on hockey, don’t care much for tennis) and his appearances on PTS. Do I always agree with him? No. But that’s the beauty of sports media isn’t it? I don’t mind hearing people say things I disagree with.. I find I’m actually more engaged as a listener that way. At least when it comes to sports. I couldn’t listen to conservative talk radio for more than 30 seconds without getting completely enraged.

    As for TSN the ‘Ocho’ I’d like to see them use their vast resources to really get behind Canadian MMA. Would love to see up and coming Canadian fighters mixed with a few recognizable veteran fighters fighting regularly on TSN.

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    I don’t watch MMA, but isn’t Sportsnet / The Score already involved in Canadian MMA? If not, why would TSN bother showing up and coming Canadian fighters, only for them to hit the big-time and be featured in UFC, which SN owns rights to?

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    Why would TSN air World Jr Hockey Championships only for a lot of those players to hit the big time and end up the NHL on SN?

    I could see an MMA promotion with the weight of TSN behind it being a sort of CFL type promotion. They could create Canadian stars, some who may get shots in the UFC, others who may end up going back and forth. But at the end of the day, if they put on quality fights, people will watch. At least I’d like to think they would..

    The Score used to put on MMA cards in Canada but since the Rogers sale that has ended. SN is now 100% UFC.

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    Does anyone in Canada show Bellator, who i would guess by default, are the number 2 MMA promotion in the US?

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    Basically, Butch is concerned that with the introduction of an openly gay player into the NFL, that the openly christian players (those who like to pray in the end zone and thank Jesus for everything) aren’t going to be marginalized in the locker room. Really Butch?

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    Nan Young Lee 6 years ago

    I wonder if Keith Olbermann will be back on one of the TSN channels. Dan Le Batard? Sunday Supplement?

    From the link below, some interesting US TV sports numbers:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/which-sports-have-the-whitest-richest-oldest-fans/283626/

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    Dave in Bolton 6 years ago

    @alex Bellator is on Spike TV And its available in Canada

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    I’m a bit surprised that Friedman’s role with Rogers (if any) next season hasn’t been clarified………..but as far as I know the only people that have been formally announced have been the hosts (Strombo, Ron MacLean, Marek, Millard), Don Cherry, and Damien as one of their “insiders”………..many people think that Jim Hughson and Paul Romanuk will be their two main play-by-play guys but as far as I know that hasn’t been announced yet

    If I had to guess I would say Friedman will end up on the Rogers panel and doing features, along with doing some radio work on 590

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    Agree, Mike S. I wouldn’t worry about Friedman until Rogers releases more names on the broadcasts and he’s still left out. Their fall upfronts should be in the next 2-3 weeks so I’d expect an announcement around that time.

    Interesting that Arash Madani at Sportsnet has been breaking all the news about this. Nothing on TSN’s website so far.
    http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/cflpa-preparing-for-potential-labour-stoppage/
    Who would have thought that the CFL would be stingier than either the NBA or NHL in negotiations?

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    Sam in Scarb 6 years ago

    Come September at 590 Brady and BB bbair will be toast.Tim & Sid in the morning drive..Walker 9-12 Friedman 1-4 (With a co-host) it will be Hockey,Hockey Hockey all the time.

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    Nan Young Lee 6 years ago

    The Blue Jays are not the only ones being squeezed by Rogers. It’s also their
    Netflix customers:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/netflix-speed-rankings-place-bell-1st-rogers-last-1.2639965

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    Mike V 6 years ago

    That Netflix list is really confusing to me. I’m on Teksavvy, which just rents the cable lines from Rogers and yet it’s somehow 65% faster than a Rogers customer in the exact same pipes.

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    There could be more coverage of car racing. We get to see the races but very little coverage of the background material. It’s almost like we have gone back to Wide World of Sports for those of us old enough to remember that.

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    A great read on the plight of minor leaguers by Dirk Hayhurst

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2062307-an-inside-look-into-the-harsh-conditions-of-minor-league-baseball

    We talk a lot about the NCAA refusing to pay its players, knowing full well that most will never make money as pro athletes. It seems baseball has a similar policy of exploiting people chasing a dream few will ever attain. With the amount of profit generated by the league, it seems wrong to refuse to pay players a living wage at the minor leagues. Those leagues are essential to the development of the players who make it to the bigs.

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    I assume Don Kollins must check this blog out from time to time.

    Don. Please, as someone who still enjoys PTS – listen to opinion on this board that has probably had more consensus than ANY other.

    John Shannon should not be a cohost. Either on the 4 o’clock hour, 5 o’clock hour or roundtable. I’m sure he’s solid as a hockey panel analyst, but as a cohost, he just does not work.

    It’s such a good show with Brunt in there still (in my opinion). Others are decent too (Friedman). Why ruin it half the time?

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    Ever since they started having a co-host on PTS in the 4 PM hour I don’t remember Grange ever doing it very often if at all………..I usually only hear him as a guest on 590 maybe once a week, twice at the most

    I’m a bit surprised they don’t use Grange more on radio………..his voice for radio is not ideal but he usually provides decent insight…………..he was co-host on Blair’s show for a couple of months and he sometimes is co-host on PTS from 5 PM to 7 PM in the summer but other than that I don’t hear him much on 590

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    It almost seems like they’re deliberately trying to kill the show. Cox and Shannon have been ragged on forever – for good reason, but now it seems that Dr Hibbert, er, Butch Carter is going to be a regular co-host now? I know some may not care for Grange or Friedman, but do you prefer Butch? Awful.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    I still don’t get why people hate Damien Cox so much. It just sounds like haters to me. Personally, I really enjoy Butch Carter’s insight and as co-host I really enjoy the topics that he and McCown discuss in the first segment. Having said that, it sounds like they are tailoring that segment to Butch’s strengths, not necessarily to topics that Toronto sports fans might be talking about.

    For example, yesterday they talked about pot in the NFL, an enjoyable conversation but the Leafs fan in me was really hoping to hear something about the Phanuef trade rumors in that segment. Would McCown have tackled the possibility of trading Phanuef with Brunt or Cox? Maybe not but I knew as soon as a I heard Butch, it wasn’t likely to come up.

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    To each their own, Chunky. You seem to be in the minority on Cox, but if that’s what you like, so be it.

    The term “hater” though is one that really gets on my nerves. It seems, these days, you cannot be critical of anything or anybody without being labelled a “hater”. It’s cheap and a cop out to use that very loaded term, imo.

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    I agree on Grange, Mike S. He’s insightful.

    Here’s an interesting interview on a podcast with Greg Brady. Very long, but he talks about his split with Jim Lang about 48 mins in. Pretty interesting actually, sort of acknowledged that they didn’t really have the right chemistry together.

    http://www.torontomike.com/2014/05/toronto_miked_podcast_episode_76.html

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    Well I think “haters” fits because I’ve never really seen any reasoning for the intense hatred of Cox other than “he’s sucks” or “he’s an idiot” that’s what haters say about people who they just generally disagree with.. It’s not reasoning generally used by rational articulate people.

    Listen, I’m no great defender of Damien Cox. To me he’s just another voice that I hear talking about sports. I’d say I have a slight obsession with the Leafs and he seems to both write and talk about them often so in that sense I enjoy his work. But I’ve never heard him say anything outrageous or even offensive so it’s perplexing to me how this disdain has grown for him.

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    You must be new here then because there are plenty of examples over the years as to why so many can’t stand (didn’t say hate) Cox. I’m not going to list them all again, but a great example was a couple of weeks ago on the roundtable and his disrespectful behavior towards Tim Micaleff. It was pretty bad.

    But again, if you like dismissive, overbearing, obnoxious, contrarian jerks then he’s your guy.

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    Cox is a contrarian and an obnoxious one at that, in the great tradition of Mike Lupica and Jay Mariotti.

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    Another Steve 6 years ago

    Thanks for the link, Daniel – I really enjoyed that interview with Brady.

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    It’s interesting – Brady talked about him and Lang getting frustrated with each other, and said that management asked if he’d be OK with a change and he was. Brady also said that if he was hit by a bus, he didn’t think Lang would have carried the show himself. Pretty open!

    I have to say, I thought Lang was really bad on the morning show. It was interesting to hear that Brady seemed to think it wasn’t the right fit either.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Fascinating interview by Brady with Toronto Mike that I caught as well. Lang on his own wouldn’t have lasted a week, as it would have been unimaginably bad radio, so no surprise there.

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    I am from Halifax and periodically watch the simulcast programs. For the life of me I can not figure out why Butch Carter continues to receive air time. It is painful to listen to him. Is someone able to help me out here?

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    Got to give Bob McKenzie credit. He was quick to own up to his mistake in reporting the Pens would fire Bylsma today. Hopefully, a number of his Toronto-based media colleagues take notice of how it’s done. McKenzie’s a pro.

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    @Daniel

    It’s simple, really. He’s a FOB (friend of Bob).

    I do find he’s getting better. Unlike Shannon and Cox, he isn’t totally disrespectful of the younger hosts on the roundtable, which is refreshing. But he shouldn’t be co-hosting for a week.

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    Sweesh 6 years ago

    PTS Roundtables should include the same people all the time to maintain professionalism, true insight, consistency and context in the face of an ever-changing sports landscape.

    PTS ratings would climb south of the border and even chart at the top of iTunes Podcast ratings if the lineup were permanently: Bob McCown, Stephen Brunt, Elliotte Friedman, Michael Grange. (fill-ins where required: Jim Hughson, Paul Jones, Jamie Campbell, Arash Madani, Mike Zeisberger)

    Just the conversations between McCown and Brunt alone are enough for the whole three hours. I don’t understand why SN insists on keeping Cox and Shannon on the air – they are unlistenable.

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    All the evidence suggests that PTS is 100% run by McCown and that he thinks PTS is too big to fail. I can’t think of another theory for the low quality FOB co-hosts and the boring blather segments. Any program director with any authority over Bob would have imposed some quality control by now.

    For me, that’s why I have gone from listening to ~10 hours of PTS a week (5 years ago) to 1 or 2 segments per week.
    .

    I’m on the road this weekend so I won’t have a new column up. Enjoy the holiday everyone.

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    Lee (Oakville) 6 years ago

    TSM, any word when you’ll be able to publish radio ratings? It’s been a while since we’ve seen them and it’ll be interesting if the landscape has changed of if TSN Radio has gained some traction.

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    I noticed The Fan broke from programming to go to press conferences in Vancouver and PIttsburgh about firing coaches etc. I get talking about these events, but does anyone actually want to hear the press conference? I barely want to hear them if it’s a team I actually give a crap about.

    Definitely concerned that this new NHL deal will turn the station into all NHL all the time. Please sell the Jays to Bell/TSN if that’s the case.

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    Chunky 6 years ago

    Did someone really say that Zeisberger is better than Cox?? Really? That’s not just being a hater? I thought the Micalef, Cox, Shannon debate was great radio. It was a real moment, with real conversation and emotion. Something that doesn’t happen enough on radio.

    As for PTS roundtable guests, I’d like to see them use Jeff Marek more if possible.. I used to always enjoy James Deacon as well.. What happened to him?

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    The last time (and I believe the only time) Marek was on a roundtable, he was treated like a little kid, and his opinions were dismissed as if he had no clue what he was talking about.

    I like Marek a great deal, but I doubt he even wants to be on that show again.

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    I have grown weary of Bob’s antiquated views on pitching injuries. I guess Keri could try to explain the data but it would fall on deaf ears. I wish the pts staff would show bob the explanation olbermann gave on his show last week.

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    Cheers to Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons for immediately taking to Twitter to apologize for what seemed like an honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, in a column he posted yesterday. Best part, his apology seemed genuine. A lot of Toronto-based sports journalists and broadcasters, when they feel they absolutely must clarify or correct, only do it half-assed … and usually throw in some sort of shot along the way (Exhibit A: Mike Wilner). Good on Simmons for doing it correctly, as Bob McKenzie did a day earlier.

    This doesn’t mean I still don’t find Simmons difficult to listen to at times, but we have to give him credit for, in this case, being completely honourable. The guy has some professional integrity.

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    I get that Simmons’ ‘whatever happened to..’ is tongue in cheek, but a quick google search would have prevented this.. Simmons rarely puts research into his mostly anecdotal arguements. (see corsi) whatever happened to being a competent professional?

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    There are three certainties in life:

    1) Death

    2) Taxes

    3) Dave Naylor will mention the CFL in the thumbs up/down segment when he fills in on TSN The Reporters

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    Mike S: Nice. Made me chuckle.

    And pretty much dead-on, too.

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    The holiday PTS roundtable today is apparently McCown, Brunt, Perkins, and Doug Smith…………it will be nice to hear some non-Rogers people for a change

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    It was good – like it used to be. I really like listening to Doug Smith too. Knows his stuff and is funny to boot…and not a hockey guy either.

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    Nan Young Lee 6 years ago

    According to ESPN documentary, “E-60:Trapped in Qatar”, more than 4,000 migrant workers will die for Qatar to put on the 2022 World Cup:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117818/qatar-2022-world-cup-pace-kill-4000-migrant-workers-says-espn

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    (Another) Andrew 6 years ago

    Felt bad for Elliotte Friedman there on HNIC having to moderate with a hyped up PJ Stock.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    As Mike (In Boston) said, his listening to PTS has dropped off dramatically, as has mine. I still respond to the FAN surveys I get, and post my comments at the end of the surveys, in the hope that Don Kollins, who blocked me on Twitter, and has never responded to me via different mediums, will improve the quality of the show.

    I have now officially given up on it, and cherry pick my listening, to basically when Brunt is on with no other FOB’s present. I am though in the minority, and I actually enjoy Butch Carter’s views. One thing for sure that all have to agree on whether you approve or not, he brings a different way of looking at the sports world than anybody else I have heard on PTS.

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    he blocked you on Twitter? Why on earth would he do that? What does that accomplish other than breed ill-will for the station?
    .

    The striking thing about the interview with Nelson Millman was how strongly he felt that listeners needed to feel that their opinions mattered. I think the current loyalty some people feel to the Fan reflects the success of that approach. But you can’t take loyalty for granted for long before people start to notice.

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    Raptors Devotee 6 years ago

    Sadly, Kollins prefers to do his focus groups and polling anonymously, in a clinical way where he tabulates the results and comments via sending e-mails out, with no mechanisms built in for the listeners to actually reach out in any other way.

    I much prefer the Millman way, but that is in the past. It does seem that the blind loyalty of having 590 as a listening habit built up over so many years when there was little or no competition is still holding to some extent, but as you said, it won’t last forever in PTS’s current format.

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    Weirdly, it takes a good roundtable like the one they had on Monday to emphasize just how bad PTS has gotten. This was a one-off, holiday roundtable with Brunt, Perkins and Smitty. But I expect the usual FOBs and their inane ramblings will return now. And again, I will not be listening.

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    Kamlesh 6 years ago

    I wonder when Brunt will be heading to Brazil? When is Sportsnet the Magazine coming out with their World Cup preview? 1050 has been running some short futbol spots, and they aren’t even showing any games. They had one on Mario Gotze last week. On 590, nothing. On the website nothing. I’m sure they’ll do the right thing one of these days…

    With their nonchalant skill and joie de vivre these 3 might be the Cox, Shannon and Bob of the Beautiful Game. Or not.

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    Nan Young Lee 6 years ago

    If the Cavs take Wiggins maybe TSN or SN will put all their games on one of their channels (if they’re allowed to). With 3 Canadians might make sense. And if LeBron goes back as Butch Carter says might happen they might be the team of the next half decade or so.

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    Antonio 6 years ago

    Wiggins might get taken first overall – but he sure aint a number 1 pick in talent.

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    Just listening to the Toronto Mike broadcast. Nice to hear this website getting a shout out.

    Pretty interesting discussion with Brady. The hosts did a good job of setting him up to say more than he probably intended to, and Brady delivered.

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    I have some cool stuff for tomorrow’s column. Good discussion here.