Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition 5 Questions with Scott MacArthur

<span class="entry-title-primary">Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">5 Questions with Scott MacArthur</span>

photo credit: National Post

by mike in boston (@mikeinboston) / hatemailaccount a.t gmail

 

Hi Damien! Thanks for reading.

 

5 Questions with … Scott MacArthur (TSN1050)

 

If you have not listened to TSN1050 Jays beat reporter Scott MacArthur’s interview with Colby Rasmus, go do it now (iTunes link, I’d add a direct link to TSN’s website but I can’t find one). As you may know, Colby is almost certainly going to be a free agent after this season. His year has been a disaster and he has been relegated to being a bench player for the first time in his career. The interview is one of the most amazing athlete interviews I have ever heard. Colby is raw, emotional, honest, and blunt. I reached out to Scott to talk about how this came together and here are his answers.

 

Q: How much time had you spent talking to Colby prior to this interview?

 

Scott: I don’t want to say that you ever get to know a player really well, because all the time you have with them is the time together in the clubhouse. But I would say that I started to have pretty good conversations with Colby late last year and that carried over into spring training. One of the things I try to do to bridge gaps is to talk about things that interest the players. Colby is a huge Auburn Tigers football fan and I love college football as well, so that is something we have gone back and forth on, and it seems to have brought a barrier down. So over the course of the season we spoke about that, as well as getting in to other things like his hitting and other experiences this season here, as well as experiences elsewhere, and growing up.

 

 

Q: Could you tell that he was in the mood to talk when you sat down to talk?

 

Scott: I have a lot of experience talking to the players and then giving my opinion or analysis but it’s very different from just letting the player say what he wants to say in his words without interpretation. I have covered the Senators, the Leafs, and this is my 2nd year on the Blue Jays beat, and Colby is one of the most interesting athletes I have ever covered. I had no idea what he was going to offer me in that interview but my goal was to keep the questions as basic as possible … less of me, more of him … and see what he felt like saying in the moment. You can sense when a guy wants to get something off his chest, but that wasn’t what I was going for. The Colby that I have come to know just from walking up to his locker and shooting the breeze with him is far different from the Colby that most people perceive him to be. So the goal was as much about that as anything else, knowing that his time in Toronto is coming to an end. I just wanted to give people another opportunity to see the side of him that I had come to know.

 

Q: Colby mentioned his father several times in giving his answers. The “meddlesome father” narrative more or less was a non-issue during his time in Toronto, unlike in St. Louis. Did you get a sense of how Colby views that relationship?

 

Scott: I want to be very clear here that this is my opinion now. Colby never said anything on or off the record negative about his father. I do not  have a psychology degree and I won’t pretend to play one, but in my opinion Colby’s difficulty with the sport of baseball goes back to his childhood. I think that at some point during his developmental years, his father – who was very hard on him – made his appreciation for the game more difficult. I think at some point the sport became associated with some of the difficulties he went through as a youth. He’s been given these gifts to play the game at the highest level, but I’m not so sure that under any circumstance – and this is what is sad about it to me – he’ll be able to truly maximize his enjoyment of playing the sport

 

Q: The parts of the interview where he talks about carrying weights up the hill and all the other training he did as a 15 year old were incredibly emotionally raw. It’s clear that he’s talking about something that is still an exposed nerve.

 

Scott: That’s right. I think at some point his ability to enjoy the sport was capped. So when he goes out there everyday, I think it’s hard for him because the sport and his hard father are fused. That’s strictly my opinion. He hasn’t said that to me, and I’m not sure how much time he has spent thinking about these issues. He’s a smart guy, which may surprise some people, because we up here in Canada sometimes have a tendency to view people from the South as bumpkins. He’s smarter than people give him credit for.

 

Q: You asked him about how he imagines his “dream season” and he said that last year was in many ways a dream season for him. Why did it go so well for him last year (amid a brutal year for the club)?

 

Scott: Well, he got along so well with the hitting coach Chad Mottola. And I think he gets along with Kevin Seitzer, but in a different way, and in a way that doesn’t necessarily work as well for him. Again, I want to be very clear that I’m only giving you my own opinions here. I believe that Mottola’s style was more to take what the hitter was  comfortable with and to work within those confines. Kevin Seitzer, by contrast, is more of a true coach – “here’s what is going wrong, do this, make this adjustment” – and I still believe that Colby has other voices in his ear coming from home. Because Motolla was willing to work with Colby on those terms, I think it satisfied the other voices in Colby’s life and therefore made Colby’s life more peaceful. That’s a long conclusion to draw, but that’s how I view it. Just as an example, Seitzer had expressed specifically that he wanted Colby’s hands closer to his body. After the All-Star break Colby came back and his hands were right out over the plate. Where did he spend the break? Back home.

 

Q: How would you characterize the culture of the locker room right now? Has your job been harder since the losing set in back in August?

 

Scott: It’s been fine, you know. These guys have been no more or less accessible than when things were going great back in May. Now obviously the subject matter is a little different. And sometimes the answers are a little more touchy because they are sick of answering the same questions over and over again about why things aren’t going well. But this is a pretty accessible group. The top players have been accessible all year … you can approach almost anybody. Sometimes it’s hard to find them as they have a lot of space that is off-limits to the media in the home clubhouse, so you have to make a request for a PR guy to back and get someone. But when they are with you I’d say that not much has changed.

 

Q: What has been the most interesting aspect of doing your job over the last 2 years?

 

Scott: I covered hockey before but baseball is my first love and has been since I was in diapers. I played, I umpired, I coached … I came to a lot of Blue Jays games growing up. I remember the World Series years. For me, being in this sport where there is only one professional team in the whole country, and having the opportunity to be on the beat every day, I consider that a great fortune. And the personalities of the baseball players fascinate me too. Unlike hockey where most guys are small-town Canadian kids, in baseball you’ve got players you’re dealing with who come from poor backgrounds in Latin countries, or in Jose Bautista’s case, a middle-class background, Colby from the deep south, John Gibbons who has Massachusetts roots but is a Texan through and through. When you talk to them and how they came up through the game and they share their experiences, that sort of thing really fascinates me because they all have hugely varying stories.

 

Q: Do you think there is more value in having a beat reporter in baseball than in other sports?

 

Scott: No. I think there is tremendous value in having someone with the team daily in all major sports. My radio station TSN 1050 has Jonas Siegel on the Leafs and Josh Lewenburg on the Raptors … so we have the 3 big teams covered on a day-in day-out basis. One of the things that has really helped me maintain my relationships with players is that TSN has put me on the beat everyday. So, players see me both at home and on the road, they know that I’m with them through the daily grind, and they know where to find me if they want to talk about something I wrote or said. So I think there is a real benefit to being seen as often as I am. They know that I’m not going to come in, write something, and then disappear for 3 weeks and leave something hanging. I don’t throw darts from a distance. So, I think the daily aspect of the job is important.

 

Q: Do you find it difficult to have to talk about baseball every day, given that baseball is such a long season and no one game is going to matter all that much in the end?

 

Scott: I’ll be honest I have my days where fatigue sets in. You have a 6am wake up call to get to the airport after a night game. That’s tough. But I never get tired of talking about baseball. Maybe that’s a defect in my brain, but I truly love the sport and I wear it as a badge of honour that I get to do this. My deal is to do 162 games and assuming nothing bad happens in the next few days, I’m going to do all 162. You always find things to talk about and I look forward to it everyday. I love it.

—-

A million thanks to Scott for his interview with Colby and for talking with me.

Here are a few observations:

  • Why didn’t Wilner or Davidi or Griffin or Lott get this interview? Pretty amazing that the new kid on the block is the one to deliver.

 

  • If you questioned the value of having a beat reporter, this more than justifies the expense in my opinion. For the dozens of inane “how important was it to …” questions and the predictable “110%” answers to which we have all become so accustomed, this is proof that the athlete interview is not always a waste of time

 

  • Nice to hear that the Jays players are keeping a professional locker room despite the terrible end to this season.

 

ESPN suspends Simmons

 

ESPN suspended one of its most high profile personalities for daring the network to punish him for calling Roger Goodell a  “liar” and describing the league’s claim not to have seen the Ray Rice video “fucking bullshit.” The always insightful Richard Deitsch reports, as does Andrew Bucholtz at AA. This is really dangerous territory for ESPN, who has already been criticized for cowing to NFL pressure by backing out of the League of Denial concussion documentary.

 

I have no idea what Simmons’ real motives were for this political action.  Maybe he is sincerely morally outraged or maybe he’s trying to build up his brand as a rebel. I don’t really see how publicly calling out your employer serves much purpose when you could just address the issue in private. But he works there so he know the culture — it’s entirely possible that he was reacting to restrictions on journalistic freedom at the network.

 

ESPN has a credibility issue when it comes to reporting on its partners. The one thing that could drive viewers to Fox or Comcast or NBCSports would be a loss of trust with viewers. Or maybe viewers don’t care and just want to see the games. This will be interesting to watch over the next few months and years.

 

Newspaper Quick Hits

 

Cathal Kelly has a journalistically vacuous piece about the Jays’ failures that delivers a few good one-liners. If you’re into that sort of thing, I’m sure the Globe will be happy to see some returns on their investment in Cathal as their leading sports columnist.

 

Sean Fitz-Gerald at the National Post, in what I’m guessing is a first of its kind piece, profiles Twitter user Hope Smoke whose claim to fame is live-tweeting radio interviews.

 

Scott Stinson, also at the NP, is starting to shine. His piece on Simmons-Goodell is an excellent read.

 

Low-Hanging Fruit

 

  • Good news no one! Buck and Tabby are back for another 5 years doing Jays TV on Rogers Sportsnet!!! The best thing about MLB.tv is the ability to listen to the opposing side’s announcers. There are a few duos who are worse, but plenty who are much much better. This doesn’t bode well for those of us hoping for positive changes on the radio side.

 

  • TSN revamped its website finally. It’s better, but still needs a lot of work. Podcasts have disappeared for one thing. Another is that they list pretty much everyone who works for the company as a columnist, which makes locating the good writing rather difficult. Also, what the hell is BarDown?

 

  • According to numerous readers, Stephen Brunt will not tolerate negative comments about the Jays on his Sportsnet opinion pieces.

 

  • Bob and Brunt were discussing NHL relocation earlier this week. No topic as been covered in greater depth on that show, and listening to the two of them is like putting on your favourite sweater. It fits just right.

 

—–

 

Thanks for reading and commenting,

Now get outside everyone!

mike (in boston)

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 50
  • comment-avatar

    Great insight into one of the most intriguing, confusing, frustrating and apparently misunderstood Jays’ players of all time. Kudos to Scott MacArthur … and Mike (in Boston).

  • comment-avatar
    Dustin 3 years

    The new TSN page is awesome in my mind as it’s definitely designed with modern in mind. It’s clean and simple. Things are missing, but I’m hoping they add that smartly and not just throw it in with a bucket like the last page. Comparing it to the new sportsnet nhl page (which apparently is a beta for a site redesign)… It’s way better!

    Bardown… What a weird concept for a Canadian company, but I’m starting to look at it every day. Lots of odd topic news items make it in there, and it seems like more and more it has videos I want to share.

  • comment-avatar
    HRM 3 years

    Great post….love the greeting at the beginning…lol. MacCurthur is one of the better beat reporters in my opinion. I really value his reporting on the Jays….more so than some others.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 3 years

    The Colby Rasmus interview can be complemented with this excellent one with his father on Macko and Cauz.

    http://audioboom.com/boos/2371956-tsn-1050-mike-richards-in-the-morning-august-3-tony-rasmus

  • comment-avatar
    WTF 3 years

    First I should say that the only reason I follow the Blue Jays is Colby. Have followed him since the minors. He has had a disappointing season, but if he had 500 At bats, at
    this years lackluster pace he would have 26 HRs. Getting away from Toronto`s concrete
    baseball field will do wonders for his physical and mental state.
    To hear Toronto talk he is the Jose Reyes of Center field. But, he has made one error,
    and I still see highlight reel catches.
    The best is yet to come for Colby Rasmus don`t let the Turkeys get you down!

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 3 years

    MacArthur definitely does a great job. TSN 1050 basically ignored the Jays in their first year, but their coverage has gotten much better with MacArthur following the team.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 3 years

    Tabler + Martinez are not the greatest duo but they are hardly the worst in T.O. Martinez is better as an analyst vs. a lead guy. For Toronto baseball, Mike Wilner by far is the worst voice of the team. Whether you are a Jays fan or not, even single sports fan who has a favorite team can see pluses + minuses in the team they root for. Mike Wilner only sees positives and callers can never call in and complain about a frustrating two seasons and I am sorry the GM, manager and yes Mike Wilner are just three reasons why the team who had disastrous back to back seasons will never win. The D-Backs fired Gibson yesterday, why? They won’t settle for insufficient success over 162 games.

    TSN Radio is definitely doing a lot better for radio listening, at least when it is referred to the Blue Jays.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    Great interview, Mike. And thanks to Scott for doing it. He’s one of the good ones. I think Shi is pretty good also, considering who signs his cheques, but for truly in-depth reporting on the Blue Jays, Scott has shown that you usually have to go outside of the Sportsnet gates.

    I listened to the Bill Simmons podcast before it got yanked, and personally, I thought Bill was sincere in his outrage. It started out with Bill and Cousin Sal going over the betting lines as they do every Monday, and I think Sal mentioned something about the NFL “Pink” campaign beginning soon. To which Bill facetiously said, “Yes, the NFL really cares about women don’t they…” Then he went off. I don’t think he planned it – I think it was spontaneous. Either way, I applaud him for it. Even though he’ll likely be sued, at least he had the guts to say what most of us are thinking.

    Buck and Pat must work for peanuts. It looks like MLBtv for me for the next five seasons.

  • comment-avatar
    TO Sports Guy 3 years

    Who would you prefer beside Buck and Taby? Don’t even say Dab Shulman. They aren’t perfect but you try talking about this team game after game.
    There are very few top tier pxp and colour guys in this business but they certainly are not in the bottom of their league.

    At the end of the day we should be happy with what we’ve got.

    PS. If anything there should be more of an outrage with the two bozos on the pre game show.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam 3 years

    @mib according to @hayes590 on Twitter: “For those asking about Podcasts – we’re working on getting them up on iTunes & they’re up on our website. Also tweeted out by @TSN1050Radio”…
    IMO they could still be more accessible though the previous website was no hell. Wish they’d just put a podcast link on the front page.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam 3 years

    To be fair there is a link to “audio” on the top of the TSN 1050 Toronto page… so perhaps I spoke too soon.

  • comment-avatar

    @ Curt

    Good point about Shi Davidi. I have been as quick as anyone to paint Rogers’ staffers with a single wide brush, but you are absolutely correct on Shi. He does a solid, fair job on the Jays’ beat. He doesn’t seem to conveniently miss, avoid or downplay certain storylines like so many of his Rogers’ brethren do. I do take what he writes and says as sincere, honest and credible.

  • comment-avatar

    Loved the Scott Arthur interview. so much credibility!

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    I think it’s so ignorant and Glass half full to talk about jays injuries as being a main contributor to the Jays season this year. To the homeristic fans and media who use this as the basis of their argument for why the jays did not succeed this year is outrageous. Not only did the orioles have injuries to a key part of their defence and offence in Machado and Weiters, two of their heavy hitters had Colby Rasmus type years. People want to ignore, that despite Lind,Encarnation and .240 hitting Brett Lawrie being out, Jose Bautista,Reyes,Cabreara and Navarro were still in the lineup and this is a lot better lineup than what Baltimore was throwing out there. So what was the difference people ask? Baltimore had a better pen, had a more defensively sound team and understood how to execute the fundementals of the game. These area’s are important when your short handed and jays just did not execute these things. A number of times this year Reyes made bad throws, a number of times jays got thrown out stealing at in opportune times a number of times this year there have been poor throws from the outfield a number of times this year the jays failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt a number of this year they have failed to score a runner in scoring positon. Injuries have very little to do with these things. injuries is a frontline excuse from the blue jays pr deparment,spin doctors, and brainwashers sportsnet 590 and sportsnet.
    Please people stop with the injury garbage. Last year it was they did not do well because of the baseball classic this year it’s injuries next year it will be the jays pitchers are still young. Enough already, team and management especially management needs to be overhauled. Another thing. There is a popular argument out there that the manager does not matter. Let me say this weather a manager matters of not I will take my chances with a manager that has had some success in the majors either as a player or a manager. John Gibbons was selected to manage this team out of pure friendship. John Gibbons and jp Rihardi were inspearable, Richardi only let John go as a result of Media Pressure after a huge slump in a high expectation season, nonetheless John was brought back by Richardi’s then assistant a now current Jays GM Alex Anthopolous. Why people are so in Love with Gibbons I don’t get it.

  • comment-avatar
    Drumanchor 3 years

    I want to be careful in saying this as I am about to dabble in amateur psychology and that can be a dangerous thing.

    However, I can’t help but feel that for the last couple of years every time I see a closeup of Colby Rasmus’ eyes, he looks medicated – overly so. Given his history with an overbearing father, I realize that might be unfair to make that assumption and jump to that conclusion.

    Yet…

    Look at his play. Look at his attitude. Look at his face. As we all know, this is a player heading into free agency yet appears to be doing everything he can to minimize his opportunities. One can’t help but wonder why.

    I just can’t help but feel that one day, maybe sooner than later, we will learn that this very talented athlete is, perhaps, also a genuinely depressed athlete. For all one knows, he may just want to forget about baseball for a while, deal with his anxieties away from the game, get healthy and come back and play again on his own terms.

    Ultimately, that might be best for him in the long run.

  • comment-avatar

    […] If you’re a fan of TSN Radio Toronto’s Blue Jays beat reporter Scott MacArthur, Toronto Sports Media have a Q&A interview with him discussing his recent interview with Colby Rasmus and the […]

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 3 years

    @Neil – I don’t blame Gibbons because looking at this team I think it probably has about the talent of an 83ish win team. Going into the season I thought they probably wouldn’t make the playoffs, but might have a chance if everything broke their way.

    I blame ownership completely. They were probably a second baseman and half decent centrefielder away from being right there, but it seems obvious AA wasn’t allowed to add any money.

    I get the Jays have a good sized payroll, but if you’re a couple pieces away, you want ownership to go that extra mile to give the team a chance.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 3 years

    It constantly amazes me how you Blue Jays fans, defend Alex Anthopolous and John Gibbons like they were your relative or you had some financial stake in the team (“Great to get player X as he is under control going forward” a caller would say).

    As long as Rogers owns this team they will NEVER win or ever see the light of day in a playoff position and it is crying shame because this city of Toronto has all the teams in disaster mode and none of them close to a championship.

    I somewhat agree with Daniel above, they needed a second baseman and center fielder but I will add that they needed an upgrade at third base with or without Brett Lawrie. I am sorry but Juan Francisco and Danny Valencia hardly scream you are running for a playoff spot to your fan base or your team.

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 3 years

    I wonder what your guys thoughts are on this:

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/09/28/toronto-raptors-have-a-chance-to-dethrone-maple-leafs-as-kings-of-the-city/

    Obviously Leaf ratings and revenues make the Raptors look totally insignificant. But it is interesting that the Raptors, Leafs and Jays all have around the same number of facebook likes. Totally circumstantial, but I’m around 30 and live downtown, and I’d say I know roughly the same number of Leafs, Jays, Raptors (and probably NFL) fans. I don’t know what it all means, but I think it’s possible the Leafs don’t have quite the stranglehold on the younger generation that they’ve had for previous ones.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Daniel

    Going into the season we knew that yankees were going to be missing Sabathia, Texieria, Robinson Canoe and Penieta. We also saw at the beginning of the season, Baltimore lost Weiters and Machado to injury. Tampa Lost Matt Moore early, Jeremy Helickson was out, eventually David Price was traded, their super utility man Ben Zobrist Didn’t start the season. Boston Lost Jacoby Ellsbury in centre field and Saltilimakia their world series catcher. With all the adversity other teams in the AL East was facing Jays started the season with three best hitters in the majors in Jose Bautista and EE and Melky one of the best defensive third basemen, and a killer of right handed pitching in Adam Lind. Not to mention a cy young knuckballer and an experienced consistant 200 innings guy. I’m not sure what all this talk is about at the begining of the season Jays being picked to finish last. At the beggining of the season who in this division did you pick to totally outpitch the jays, with the exception of Tampa with Price. The reason people did not pick the jays is because at the end of the season those same people would not have to call for heads to roll, and so as it stands now everyone wants the man who has proved nothing in the majors back to coach this team and the gm who has clearly mismanaged company money with aquisitions that have not equated to wins and inflated payroll, back to oversee this team. So let’s sum it up. The Jays in one of the most down years this division has ever seen failed to make the playoffs making them the last team to not make the playoffs for the last 23 years.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam in Scarb 3 years

    So..The Blue Jays missed the playoffs by 5 games,basically 1 more win per month of the baseball season.
    I do not agree with playing the injury card,all teams have injuries over the year,some teams worse than others.The Blue Jays did not have the worst team injuries in baseball,not by a long-shot.
    Did John Gibbons lose 5 games for the team? I did not see that.
    So if there is blame whom might it be?

    All season long the Jays tried to plug holes with cheap recycled ball players at different positions. (really to many to mention Francisco,Reinbold ect.

    Over the past 2 seasons the player who played the most games at 2nd base over that period did not even make the starting roster out of spring training either year Munenori Kawasaki.

    rogers owns 100% of the team & building.
    All ad revenue is theirs (how they handle or mishandle it)
    100 % of ticket sales is theirs.

    Yet,somehow rogers was able to hire over 25 play-by-play announcers and talking heads for their hockey coverage !!!!

    Something smells on the barn floor and it is starting to creep out of an open door.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Sam in Scarb,

    The jays give Rogers no massive return on investment, in comparison to what they will get from the NHL package. Although the NHL on Rogers has not kicked off in full swing, it will likely quadrupal that of the jays within months. I will remind you that Rogers controls all NHL content in this country. IF Im going to pick where to put my money, it’s an absolute no brainer. I would not give Alex a penny more, When Alex made the trade with the Marlins he knew that the saleries of the players acquired were going to jump signifigantly ultimately tying his hands for the next fiscal year. Rogers did their job in backing the trade with all the inflated saleries coming in. Many people like to say that Gibbons is not to blame simply because he was not playing, however the manager is responsible for putting the players in a position to win the game.For example constantly platooning players is counterproductive, putting Edwin in left field in Oakland(the same game Edwin got injured in) is counterproductive.

  • comment-avatar
    Mullah_Kintyre 3 years

    Rogers does not control “all NHL content in this country” — a lot of it with the national contract, but even for Toronto, half of the Leafs regional games are on TSN (presumably TSN4 with their new Sportsnet-like regional set-up).

    I would agree that the Leafs no longer have the stranglehold on the younger generation of fans in the GTA. The TV ratings that the writers mention are almost always simple national Canadian TV ratings that they mistakenly attempt to imply also reflect on the GTA. What the other 30 million or so Canadians who don’t live in the GTA watch on TV (curling, CFL) does not necessarily always mirror what may be happening here. I would also assume younger viewers are much less likely to rely solely on the traditional TV channels for their viewing. I doubt internet viewers are included in those TV ratings.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Mullah_Kintyre

    Rogers controls the Lionshare of hockey content, particularly games that are going to draw viewers. The rights to mutiple platforms and the centre ice package sepaerates them from the competitors.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    While the Blue Jays might not make the revenue that the NHL contract will provide, it’s a mistake to say the team isn’t giving a good return on investment to Rogers and doing so without a $5.2 Billion price tag with it. To pretend that it doesn’t exist and to nickel and dime incremental salaries at this point hurts the team both from an on-field and perception standpoint, like we saw with the Santana debacle in March.

    When a player has a career sub-.600 OPS against LHP, not platooning him is the very definition of counter-productive.

    Re: Leafs/Raptors popularity – people (usually Raptors reporters) have been attempting to make this argument since the Air Carter days 15 years ago but even now I think the Raptors are still a LONG way off from being the top dog in the city. Regional Leafs games on Sportsnet Ontario were more watched than most of the Raptors/Brooklyn playoff series and as much as some like to dismiss TV ratings as becoming irrelevant, it is still the medium that the vast majority of people (including the under-30 crowd) use to consume sports and the only real metric we have to track audiences. It’s certainly more credible than Facebook likes, which is the most passive form of fandom you can be.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Mike V,

    Welcome to the world of business. Rogers communication is a profit driven company with shareholders to appease. Blue Jays have not provided a substatial return on investment since the early 90’s. That ship has sailed. Hockey has always been a cask cow hence the reason for the 5.2 billion investment, The jays revenue took a hit this year as fan attendance went down something that would never happen in hockey. IF you’ve ever watched Shark Tank” you’ll constantly hear, the only thing that matters to investors is Profits

  • comment-avatar

    Very interesting discussion. Thanks for mentioning that article Daniel.

    I think there is a strong generational element here: the Leafs have sucked for years and years. There are few people who can actually remember the glory days, and few people who were raised in households where they can remember watching the Leafs win. So there are lots of young people in Toronto who are “free agents” when it comes to their sports allegiance. The Raps are poised to draw some of those in, as are TFC. But neither of these teams have won anything either, and they also have a tradition of sucking in glorious fashion.

    My point is that the market is such that a long playoff run by *any* Toronto team will likely capture a lot of people. People want to cheer for a winner and as TSM has long lamented, Toronto has been loserville for a long long time.

  • comment-avatar

    Quantifying the value of the Jays to Rogers is hard due to the fact that they are paying next to nothing for a shit tonne of (Canadian) content for their cable and radio channels. I’m not saying anything new here, but the fact that they own the team, stadium, tv & radio network, and magazine, as well as a giant cable, internet, radio, and phone company makes the math irrelevant.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    I don’t need your intro to business Nell and also, Shark Tank? Really? The Jays are plenty profitable and provide a return to Rogers. Just the team appreciation from the purchase price is 2000 would give Rogers an annualized return of 10%+.
    Yes, attendance dipped a bit this year and no they don’t pack them in like they used to but MLB is no longer a league not dependent on gate revenue for profits like it was 20 years ago. It’s an $9 billion behemoth of rights an licensing deals. The new ESPN/FOX contracts alone is giving Rogers an extra $25 million starting this year, that more than makes up for the drop in gate. It also makes a boatload off the content the Blue Jays provide for TV and radio, content that you realize is so valuable in hockey but not baseball.

    And considering the amount of stupid stuff Rogers spends or overpays money on, like bidding $3.3B on the recent spectrum auction when the main competition only paid $1.7B combined, spending a few million more on the payroll of your ball club to compete is hardly something the Bay St. shareholders will be up in arms about.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    @Mike in B. Agreed, Rogers does very well with the Blue Jays. The ratings are apparently good, so couple that with 162 ad-laden broadcasts and playing in a stadium that cost them next to nothing to buy (thank you tax-payers of Ontario) and they come out okay.

    So it’s confusing then, when the trade deadline rolled around, they couldn’t come up with the scratch to acquire Prado or Headley. Bob made an interesting comment (repeated almost word for word by Neil) that AA tied his own hands with huge contracts on players who weren’t difference makers. I completely agree – the Marlins trade doesn’t look so good anymore. But I disagree with the notion that he shouldn’t be given one cent more. That seems arbitrary, especially when your team was still in the wild card spot at the deadline and were in obvious need of infield help. Pony up just a little more dough and maybe Prado or Headley help make up that five game difference and they’re in the post-season.

    So, is Rogers in on this team or not? Do they trust AA? Do they feel that another GM could make the Jays a playoff team with the same payroll? These are questions I’d like to hear being asked by our media.

  • comment-avatar
    Sam in Scarb 3 years

    @Mike V & Curt All GREAT points from both of you !!!
    Like I have said many times before: A good accountant can turn a 20 % profit into a 20 % loss and Robbers no doubt might have a few of them on staff.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 3 years

    Programming went down the toilet at the FAN and the Rogers kissups began the second they started with the CBS Overnight crap with Scotty “got a pencil stuck in my throat” Farrell and the thriftiness of a crappy radio station, crappy ownership and even crappier baseball franchise!

  • comment-avatar
    Nanaman 3 years

    Wow!
    The team at Rogers Sportnet has it an all-time low. The propaganda machine is in high-gear. Yes, TSN carries CFL games. But the piece entitled “The CFL: Bigger Balls, Lower Scores” is unfit for print. Really, they have a piece on their website which tries to prove that the scores in the CFL are lower. Great! However, the piece in question uses ONLY one week of data.

    Thanks for the “insight”. This invaluable data collection will be ideal for my grade three students to analyze bias in the representation of data. Sportsnet and its parent company are doing everything they can to protect their investment in the NHL. Using all media to trash the competition’s packages takes the cake. Many will see through it and thus, they will not be sucked in to the propaganda!

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/blogs/the-breakdown/the-cfl-bigger-balls-lower-scores/

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    Well looking at the season so far:
    CFL – 57 games, average points 45.1
    NFL – 61 Games, average points 46.2

    Now, it’s unclear if the NFL’s slim lead will be maintained this year, but it is a continuation of the larger trend of converging scores between the leagues that has been going on for more than a decade now. That is undeniable.

    And how exactly is this propaganda to protect the NHL? Do you honestly think they need to put out posts like this on a blog to get Canadians to watch hockey next week? If anything, it’s a promotion to watch the NFL which is broadcast by who? Oh, that contract is with CTV and TSN (outside of TNF).

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 3 years
  • comment-avatar
    Don River 3 years

    1. No Toronto team will ever supplant the Leafs in terms of popularity, revenue, and profitability. Ever.

    2. Considering that, before he passed away, old man Rogers himself said the Jays had lost hundreds of millions ($84 million alone in 2001) under Rogers ownership, I find it hard to believe the Jays are anywhere close to profitability by any metric. Or ever will be unless they drastically cut payroll.

  • comment-avatar
    CanCon 3 years

    @mike v

    If those stats you provided are for the seasons of the CFL and NFL, then the boys at Sportsnet should’ve used it. Nanamans point of the stats being skewed are clear to anyone – CFL fan or otherwise.

  • comment-avatar
    Dogpounder 3 years

    No Rogers shill here…

    But the payroll has gone from $80M to $130M in 2 years, people.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Don River

    Great point. That is exactly what Im trying to say. aI recall when Ted purchased this team. He most certainly did not purchase this team, because of his passion and love for baseball, which he most certainly did not have. At the time no investors were stepping up and Ted being the filthy Rich entrepreneur he was decided to show some Canadian pride and buy the team, Tony Viner as Ted’s Rogers Media president back then is on record for saying that he was highly oppose to the deal, due to the fact that after looking over the books Ted and Tony realized that Jays were financially hemeraging badly. To help stop the bleeding brought in Paul Godfrey who brought Jp Richardi from Billy Beans system to stop bleeding.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    Don, I have a hard time belieiving the losses were that high. The payroll was lower than that in 2001. I’m not saying the team has made money every year Rogers owned them, but the revenue streams for sports teams are drastically different in 2014 than in 2001. A stronger CAD helps too.

    Can Con, no doubt its a poorly written post (like a lot of blogs) and it misses a lot of data. But the larger argument it’s attempting to make is true so far this year. It’s not just one anomalous week that is being exploited.

  • comment-avatar
  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    Good points, Mike. The dollar was at around 62 cents in 2001. No sports franchise in Canada was profitable at that time (except maybe the Leafs). And, like Mike said, this was before Rogers put their marketing muscle behind the team and created those big revenue streams. Re-branding and merchandise sales have also brought in a lot of money.

    Try watching a game these days (or next spring) and count how many Honda ads there are between batters…or Home Hardware ads…or TD ads…or all those “virtual” on-field ads. This ain’t 2001.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    A lot of people get hoodwinked When Rogers propaganda machine talks about the jays being in the top ten in payrolls in the league. What they don’t tell you is
    The payroll is largely mitigated when players get injured. Part of the salary is picked up by a players insurance coverage. By the way what team has been crying about injuries the most in the past five seasons? your Toronto Blue Jays. Now lets look at some of the names that have been injured, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnation, Brendan Morrow, Adam Lind, Melky Cabreara.
    Paul Beeston once told Bob Mcowan that when payroll goes up the funds that go into player saleries are almost most definitely not recoverable. The jays are not the Yankess who has a entire metropolitan the size of all of canada that watch the team on TV go to there games and fill every seat in the stadium not to mention people buy the the merchandise that is licensed to every tom dick and harry business in New York, Yankess cash in on royalties and licensing fees. The Yankees equivalent in this Market is no doubt the leafs.

  • comment-avatar
    Nan Young Lee 3 years

    I didn’t know Jonas Valanciunas played for the Giants:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/By6Yd1iIEAAjM9L.jpg

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    Mike V

    The Jays lost 8 million in 2002. That’s alot of money in yesterdays sports financial venacular.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    $8 million is a lot different than $84 million.

    So are the Blue Jays complaining too much about injuries when every team has them or are they so injured that Rogers is making a killing on the insurance payouts and not increasing the payroll?

    Salary insurance is a fact of all professional sports but no, it is not that lucrative for teams. It doesn’t cover shorter term injuries (Morrow is the only guy you listed that might qualify for a payment this year. I say might because Brendon has been injury prone in the past and like any insurance the team may not have found a firm willing to take on that risk or do it for a reasonable premium) and it doesn’t cover the full amount of the contract in most cases. It’s also not free, premiums can be as high as 10%.

  • comment-avatar

    On PTS yesterday they were joking about the possibility of McCown writing another book………..McCown made reference to the co-author of his first book when he said this (which I thought was pretty funny):

    “Maybe I should write another book. I wonder what Naylor is doing these days?”

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    It’s completely laughable when people blame Rogers for the state of the Jays. It’s laughable because when the Rogers ownership took over the team in the early 2000 it was broadly reported that Ted Rogers was not a fan of the game(The statue outside the Rogers centre is also laughable) and new very little about baseball, In fact Ted’s purchase of the jays was looked at as a way of rescuing the jays from being swallowed up by american investors as noone else was stepping up to buy the team from interbrew who wanted absolutely nothing to do with a sports franchise. The team was not purchased because the man with the money is passionate about the team and wants to build a winner. The late media billionaire that owns a stable of Radio stations and TV stations wanted the team in order to converge it with his radio and tv assets. Jays have always shown a high value on TV and Radio, they have the ability to draw advertisers and fans in large numbers on both platforms. Take a look at what has taken Place under Rogers ownership, this will tell you it’s not about the game or the team it’s about the content and the business. Jays loose Doc Holliday the best pitcher in the league at the time. The Jays loose Delgado a top ten hitter at the time he left no offer was made. The Jays get a huge discount from Jose Bautista a top 5 player in the game.
    They get a discount from Edwin Encarnation a top 10 hitter in the game. So here you have it you have a massive media company with a chanee to lock up long term the best players this team has every seen and in the top as far as their craft and they don’t pull the trigger they simply let them walk or beg for a discount. It’s not about the game folks it the business. Rogers does not at all feel threatened by fans, In fact they use the power of their hypnotists (Mike Wilner, Jeff Blair, Stephen Brunt Mike Grange) to keep the fans entertained and excited about a losing team and it never fails. The Jays are simply a lure for other business opprtunities for the corporation.

  • comment-avatar
    Albert Bereti 3 years

    Wow really impressed by this blog! It’s great to see authors put up valuable and engaging content!

  • comment-avatar
    simple 3 years

    I just like the helpful information you provide in your articles.