Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

 

 

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

 

Good morning readers. Busy week so I have not had a chance to listen to much radio, but a million thanks to those of you who tweeted at me or commented here to point me to interesting interviews and segments. I really appreciate it. If you hear or read something this week you think we should all be discussing please drop a comment below. On to this week’s sports and media news …

 

Adieu 2014 Blue Jays

 

In the 20+ years since the Jays last made the playoffs it would be hard to come up with a pair of seasons that were more disappointing than the last two. The lead up to 2013 brought a flurry of major deals that radically altered the composition of the major and minor league league rosters. Jays fans finally were at the centre of baseball’s consciousness. The 74 win season that ensued — one more than the year before — was a heartbreak to Jays fans, and a real head-scratcher to the bevy of experts who picked the team to go to the World Series.

 

But many people reasonably asserted that this roster was too good to have performed so poorly, and that in 2014 luck and injuries would have to balance out. This narrative kept fans warm during the lonely losing months of August and September, as well as the cold and harsh winter. The agenda for the 2014 season was clear: improve on a bottom tier starting pitching group, plug the black hole at 2B, and bring in a catcher who can hit his weight while playing good defense. These priorities were repeated by both management and those that covered the team.

 

Then we waited … and waited. The mostly quiet off-season ended with a bang with the news that Jays players volounteered to defer salary to give management wiggle room to sign a much needed starting pitcher. The cat was now out of the bag: Rogers had imposed a salary freeze on the team, and that all the talk in 2013 of being “all in” on the team and that the salary commitment in 2013 wasn’t a “one-time deal” had not been endorsed by the new Rogers CEO.

 

Nevertheless, the team’s torrid record in May of 2014 vaulted them into 1st place with a 6 game lead. Then the 2013 Jays re-emerged and proceeded to fall out of the divisional lead and then out of the Wild Card race with a few weeks to go in the season. Media and fans were left to debate whether this counted as meaningful baseball in September. Steve Simmons (who?) has a nice postmortem.

 

We are now into the off-season and the 2015 machine has kicked into high gear. Lame duck (in the technical sense) President Paul Beeston was on with Jeff Blair to discuss the plan going forward. Bluebirdbanter has a rundown of the highlights.

 

The main item is that there will be more money from Rogers for 2015. If true, that’s great. But if true, then one has to wonder why that money was not available last off-season or at this year’s trade deadline when the team was still in striking distance.

 

It is astoundingly bad business to spend a ton of money and prospects to build a core veteran group and then take a year off from filling holes only to continue spending a year later. These are all smart people and presumably Alex made this case to ownership. Something doesn’t make sense. I see two possibilities for the coming months: 1) The Jays will dump their prized veteran assets (perhaps in response to trade demands) and rebuild around the young core, 2) The 1 year salary freeze is over and the Jays will continue to spend to build a winner. If I spent money on season tickets for 2014 then I am going to think very carefully about whether I want to renew right now.

 

My question for you is this: do you trust AA/Beeston? Both men have been here long enough to have a track record of what they say vs. what actually happens. For example, AA went in to last off-season talking about how they needed to upgrade 2B, then waxed about how amazing Ryan Goins is during spring training only to send him down in the 1st month of the season. We can spend endless hours debating semantics and excuses, but at the end of the day, do you believe that AA and Beeston actually say true things when they speak?

 

Zaun Cherry goes off

 

Zaun appeared on PTS this week to talk Jays and delivered one of the most amazing segments from this past week. Go listen … it’s spectacular. Some of the highlights:

 

  • Zaun believes he is part of the last generation of players to play the game the right way

 

  • This team has a culture problem that begins with “the third baseman”

 

  • The young guys are the inmates running the asylum, and Gibbons is too much of a player’s manager to do anything about the country club atmosphere

 

  • Zaun thinks that the team has a bad personality and needs to make cultural changes

 

  • Zaun doesn’t spend much time in the clubhouse but can guarantee that the chemistry is wrong

 

  • It is “inevitable” that Melky will leave

 

  • Part of the reason why Reyes has struggled defensively is that he doesn’t take care of his legs since he has a big fat guaranteed contract

 

Wow. For a player that thrived in the PED era and was implicated in one of its scandals, some of these claims are hysterical. Bob expertly egged Zaun on, while Brunt mostly clammed up except for a few exasperated corrections to some of Zaun’s assertions. To be honest, I’m glad that Zaun still has the energy to have this fight. I don’t care much for his brand of analysis but I do respect his candour.

 

The more general trend here is that we are now building a roster of guys who don’t spend much time in the clubhouse who are taking shots at the players. Damian “gotta ask the question” Cox, and Steve “who are you and why are you talking to me” Simmons are both known quantities in this town when it comes to the Jays. Zaun was called out last year by JP Arencibia.

 

This prompted me to ponder the following: Who gets tougher coverage from the local media – Leafs players or Jays players?

 

Quick Hits

 

PPP has added the Score’s Katie Flynn to its roster of talented writers. Her first piece on Rogers’ approach to using women on HNIC is really strong. The issue of women in sports media is a topic I have covered extensively in this space, and I’m really glad that Katie is going to be on this beat. I highly recommend reading her piece as well as the comments section for some further points on both sides of the debate. For other reflections, see my interviews with Chris Zelkovich and Nelson Millman.

 

Here is Damian on the Senators’ Ryan signing:

 

https://twitter.com/DamoSpin/status/517662951294382081

 

If you click on the Tweet you’ll see a bunch of responses indicating that Dreger at TSN was actually first. Damian has to know that by knowingly tweeting out false information he is inviting the “TSN DID IT FIRST!” response. What does this tweet accomplish other than making Friedman look bad? With friends like Damian, Friedman doesn’t need enemies.

 

Chris Zelkovich has a report on some GoPro style cameras that will be added to Rogers’ NHL coverage this year.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Naylor had a really good point a few weeks back about how this Jays team has performed most poorly when the pressure has been the highest.

 

  • In classic “that’s so TSN …” fashion their new website broke podcast compatibility with iTunes. The problem was fixed over a week later, because making sure that people can actually access the radio shows your website is promoting isn’t that important … right?

 

  • Good get for Brady&Walker in having an interview with Vin Scully. I reckon lots of the credit should go to their producer Ryan Fabro. (Sportsnet won’t let me direct link to the interview on their website, but here’s the iTunes link to the full hour)

 

  • Mike Richards has a book coming out next week called 100 Things Everyone Else Is Wrong About. Judging by the book cover one of those things is the view that scotch, poker, and raw meat don’t go well together. Mike sets the record straight.

 

  • Scott MacArthur has an interview with soon to be ex-Jay Casey Janssen in which he says he would give up closing to pitch out of the bullpen on a winning team. Says a lot about Casey’s priorities at this stage in his career. I wish him well with his new team.

 

—–

 

have a good weekend everyone,

thanks for reading and commenting.

mike (in boston)

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 84
  • comment-avatar
    Sam 3 years

    Great column, MIB

    Favourite part:

    Steve “who are you and why are you talking to me” Simmons

    To the question:
    (D)o you believe that AA and Beeston actually say true things when they speak?

    To paraphrase George Costanza: “It’s not a lie, if (they) believe it”.

    Listening to TSN podcasts on my iPhone this week has been a nightmare… hard to navigate to, then they don’t play when they get there. Historically I’ve not bothered with their iTunes feed because I have to download so much crap to get the very small number of segments I’m interested in. As well, I find their iTunes feed does not get updated fast enough after segments are recorded. Can anyone give feedback on how fast that’s happening since the website update?

    Hope the HTML tagging in my post works. If not a link to a decent guide of how to do it would be much appreciated!

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    Good get for Walker of Brady&Walker in having an interview with Vin Scully.

    It felt kind of weird to me watching the Dodgers last night without Scully commentating.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 3 years

    Surprising that Penguin Canada is publishing Mike Richard’s book. I see from Amazon.ca that one of the topics he will discuss is why “…tennis isn’t really a sport.” Good to see he’s not holding back even though TSN has all the tennis majors.

    Penguin is also publishing Gordie Howe’s “Mr. Hockey” on October 14th. SN and TSN may do a special on him. He’s 86 so this is the swan song.

    http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/978067006872/mr-hockey#9780143192800

    I guess a Scott Moore twitter parody account would now be redundant.

    “Scott Moore @MooreScottmoore · 22h
    Awesome ALDS game on @sportsnet, while NLDS is on @sportsnet ONE. I love having 6 monitors in my office. (Watching @timandsid as well)”

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 3 years

    According to Doug Smith there will be a change with the Raptor’s broadcasts on 590.

    “Yep, Alias Smith And Jones are swapping places, I’m told, with Eric Smith moving into the play-by-play role and Paul Jones doing the analyzing.”

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/doug_smiths_sports_blog/2014/10/bit_of_change_coming_to_raptors_broadcasts__at_least_on_the_radio_side.html

  • comment-avatar
    Bobby Digital 3 years

    How will Mike Richards be able to stretch “Duhhhhhhhhh….racist stupidity…….duhhhhhh….terrible impersonation of Paul Stanley” into a whole book? And who the hell would pay money for it?

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 3 years

    I’m a fan of PTS, and I think McCown is super entertaining, and still excellent on sports business/big picture stuff.

    But man. His takes on baseball and the Jays have really become hard to listen to. His only frame of reference seems to be the 92/93 teams, and he constantly brings up totally useless stuff like pitcher wins and suggesting teams go to 4 man rotations. It’s almost as though his takes on the game stopped in 93 and he keeps reusing them.

    Earlier in the week Blair had a baseball roundtable with Wilner and Davidi that was EXCELLENT. Really informed, interesting takes and discussions. And stuff that seemed like genuine inside info. Made the baseball discussion on PTS with McCown, Perkins, Kirke etc seem totally laughable in comparison. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard McCown refer to a guy as a ‘.500 pitcher’ and then have Brunt explain to him why pitcher wins are irrelevant.

  • comment-avatar
    Kamlesh 3 years

    Earlier this week Richards said he had audio of Natalie from the old TV show “Facts of Life”, walking backwards and then played the following sound effect.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBoM6MrKWwI

    Brady, Walker and Fabro must have been listening to the podcast because they spent a good deal of time on Thursday or Friday making fun of the weight of Christina Aguilera and Melissa Mccarthy.

    And so the battle for morning supremacy goes on….

  • comment-avatar
    Robert 3 years

    Can anyone explain how I can get the TSN RSS feed back?

  • comment-avatar
    Baz 3 years

    Andi Petrillo should have got a job somewhere at Sportsnet..would rather her than Cox, PJ Stock or Jaffe. however, she is a host not an analyst. She would probably be a better analyst than John Shannon though. He needs to go back behind the camera.

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    I agree with Daniel regarding Bob’s tiresome baseball arguments. I listened to the roundtable on Friday (it was dull as dull) a lot of hockey talk with guys who don’t usually cover or even like hockey. I mean, if you have Madani and Perkins there, and this is the first roundtable since the end of the baseball season, why wouldn’t you get their analysis of the Blue Jays’ season. Maybe that’s been done to death this week, but to hear Bob drone on about his four man rotation idea and how pitchers are babied compared to 40 years ago was a good cure for insomnia.

    Anyway, to the questions. I trust Beeston about as much as I trust any corporate yes man. I do think that AA has good intentions, but I don’t think he is good enough as a GM. Yes, his hands were tied in the off-season and at the trade deadline by an ownership that all of a sudden weren’t “all in”. But he did spend a lot of cash on players who aren’t the difference makers he or most of us thought they were at the time (Reyes at $22 million for another three seasons – yikes.)

    There are a lot of problems with that team and plenty of blame to be shared between Rogers, management, and players. I wish I could have heard Perkins give his informed, if not so subtle, opinion on all of the above.

  • comment-avatar

    The co-host on 1050 tonight is Mike Toth………….not sure if this is a one time thing or if it will happen more often…………he also showed up as a panelist recently on Off The Record on TSN…………….he works for a station (1010) that is also owned by Bell so I guess it’s not a huge surprise to hear him on 1050

  • comment-avatar

    @ MIB

    As always, a great read. Thank you.

    Do I trust Beeston? Not one bit. He’s been talking out of both sides of his mouth for 37 years now – and none more so than since he became a Rogers man.

    Do I trust Anthopoulos? To do what he genuinely thinks is correct? Yes. To get this right? Still not convinced.

  • comment-avatar
    Billy Bob 3 years

    About the Cox thing…Dreger speculated it could be Ryan, Friedman was the first to say it was Ryan (with the term and the approximate salary). McKenzie had the exact contract a few minutes later.

    So, Cox was not wrong. Although, it is ridiculously stupid for all these guys to be counting who is first. Might as well check who has the biggest cock.

    Agreed, the Blair, Davidi, Wilner conversation was great. I was wondering why Beeston was on Blair instead of Prime Time or the Morning Show. Strikes me that The FAN would want him on one of those two, as their flagship shows.

    I read that piece you linked to on women in broadcasting. If you think that’s a good article, your definition of “really strong” is much different than mine. That piece said Carly Agro was not hired. That’s really interesting, because I’m watching her on Connected right now.

    As for the I-desk, didn’t Friedman do it before Petrillo? Standing at a desk? (Thankfully, they didn’t show his ass as much, though.)

    Other than that, I’m sure it’s all accurate.

  • comment-avatar
    RichieD 3 years

    The women in sports article was anything but strong. Mind numbingly eye rolling.

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 3 years

    I think Marek and Morrison were on the i-desk before they went to Rogers. And then i think someone else and then Petrillo.

  • comment-avatar
    Drumanchor 3 years

    Another enjoyable read, mike in boston.

    As for the question of the week, in “do I trust AA/Beeston or do I believe they are speaking the truth”, I’m afraid I don’t.

    Like most people, I have always liked Beeston and his amiably pleasant personality. I like how he comes across as laid back and personable in how he runs a major league team and, thus, I have always given him the benefit of the doubt. That being said, I just don’t know what he does anymore. To me, he is now little more than a figurehead and Rogers mouthpiece who offers token soundbites while articulating the company line in how everything is going to be just fine down the road.

    As for AA, I have never been able to rid the feeling that he holds his position as a GM of the team because “he’s a nice Canadian boy” and the fans and media like that. I’m sure that he is quite knowledgeable and well qualified for the position, but talk is cheap. Nothing is being done. I applaud the work he did in revamping the team 2013 but it’s clear that there is much more to do. Aside from sifting through scraps on the waiver wire and being lucky in having some success with rookie pitchers, very little has been accomplished. I don’t see that changing any time soon no matter what he and Beeston say.

    These days, it is virtually all about optics and they show me that this is just more BS.

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    It was rather odd, and disappointing, that Game 2 of the Cardinals-Dodgers series was not available to much (most?) of Canada. My provider doesn’t even carry the MLB Network. I thought I heard Sportsnet bragging about having exclusive Canadian rights to MLB.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    On Friday’s call in hour of PTS, Bob acknowledged that it’s been two decadeds now since a canadian team won the stanley cup, he went on to ask listeners their take on this fact. Callers sited Poor drafting, Players not wanting to play in Canada etc… To me America has always strived to be a nation that dominates no matter what, they’ll do anything to be at the top and this mentality may spill over into pro sports, When I picked up the paper this morning and looked at the business section I came across a column entitled: The NHL and The Reivention of Rogers. After reading the aritcle I viewed some of the comments and came across an interesting comment that may have alot of merit as it pertains to Bob question on Friday’s PTS, here are the comments

    llitronic
    Isn’t this conflict of interest? Rogers is an NHL team owner making deals with the NHL? Nepotism is so ingrained in this town, even the NHL can’t help themselves when the Boys Club comes calling. If the NHL had any ball* at all, the GTA would have a second hockey team giving people an option to support a team that isn’t a completely full of it!!!! The Leafs are a beacon of everything wrong with Toronto

    1 day ago 2 Likes
    Personal Jesus

    @llitronic the NHL is and always was the Queen of nepotism. Since the “original six”. How’s this for you? Detroit Red Wings owner James Norris also owned the Chicago Black Hawks and was also the largest stockholder in the New York Rangers. He also had significant influence over the Boston Bruins by way of loans extended to the team to help keep it afloat during the Depression. I call this an “old boys club”. Back then as I remember before 1967 expansion the NHL was sometimes called James Norris’ personal house league. Hockey was pretty much fixed back then. It was like a travelling ice show pretty much.

    to compound what the second commentor mentioned

    From an overall pro sports standpoint The Jays have the longest playoffs drought, The raptors have the longest playoff series drought, At the end of the 2012 season leafs had the longest playoff drought and overall
    Canadian hockey teams have the longest steak without a cup. The streak stands at 2 decades. If this is a coinsidence it’s a pretty big one.

  • comment-avatar
    Stan Khoe 3 years

    I love how you link Damien’s tweet, but then refer to him as Damian throughout. Solid journalistic fundamentals

  • comment-avatar

    thanks for the correction Stan.

    Richie D and Billy Bob – I can see the weaknesses in Katie’s argument, which is why I suggested people read the comments at PPP where a decent discussion emerged.

    But I think her broader point is unassailable. With the acquisition of HNIC Rogers had a chance to make a statement about the role of women in broadcasting and chose not to. As I have written in the past, after years of relegating women to sideline roles American broadcasters have found a way to give women more prominent roles. I think pressure should be exerted on Canadian networks to do the same.

  • comment-avatar
    Mullah_Kintyre 3 years

    Could someone in local media try to get a weekly list of TV ratings for sports events in just the Toronto market from Numeris (the former BBM) or indirectly from some other source? Surely the information must be available somewhere, since during the Raptors playoff appearance it was mentioned that one game had reached a new high mark for them with the number of GTA TV viewers.

    I know Zelkovich blogs weekly about purely national ratings with info he has acknowledged is supplied to him by the CFL, but even if accurate, presumably a list for just the Toronto market would be more relevant for us. Nothing against the rest of the country, but sometimes the things watched (curling, CFL) by the approximately 30 million Canadians outside of the GTA does not necessarily seem to match Toronto tastes, while I assume Toronto may pay more attention (at least proportionally) to some things (Raptors, Blue Jays, etc.) than the rest of Canada.

  • comment-avatar

    I suppose the Toronto-centric version of the big media news of the day would be “National Post acquires Toronto Sun”. I am, broadly speaking, in favour of whatever allows the newspaper industry to survive. So I guess I am happy about this news, but this – “Postmedia said it expected to find $6 million to $10 million in cost savings per year within two years” – sounds like bad news for a lot of people. When combined with the massive layoffs at the CBC, this has been a terrible year for people working in the media.

  • comment-avatar
    Billy Bob 3 years

    Mike,

    Come on. People on this site rip on-air personalities for the smallest mistake…yet she makes some brutal ones and the rest of the piece is ok? If Simmons or Cox or someone made those kinds of inaccurate comments, you’d be shredding them. Suddenly, the rest of the article is okay, despite at least three glaring factual errors. (She also said Amber wasn’t hired. Wrrrrrrrroooooooooong, too.)

    Yeah, you’re consistent.

    Anyway, I reject Nolan’s argument. I was at an event where Friedman spoke last year. A college-age female said she wanted to become a sports reporter, but she was worried she was the wrong sex. Friedman told her she must not watch sports TV, because she would notice how much opportunity there is.

    Look at TSN: Beirness, Hedges, Natasha S, now Tessa Bonhomme. (All in prominent anchor roles.) Sportsnet: Mae, Gaillard (returning from mat leave), Osmak, newly hired are Agro and Hextall. (All in prominent anchor roles.) Christine Simpson has the primary profile role, Cassie Campbell. There’s also Jackie Redmond, Sophia J., Laura Diakun (sp?).

    Friedman said there was one point at The Score where if you weren’t female, you weren’t getting hired on-air.

    This whole idea that there is no opportunity for women in TV sports is so stupid. Beirness can write her own ticket. Sarah Davis went from here to NESN, just like Hazel did.

    Now, if Katie wants to make the point that women are differently than men AS THEY AGE, there’s something you can argue. Because I see a lot more old men than old women. But, to say you can’t get in? That’s lazy.

  • comment-avatar
    Pudge72 3 years

    I lay most of the blame for the Jays ills at the feet of the ham-handed Rogers ownership. Passing the hat for Ervin Santana was the low-water mark in that regard.

    If you want to blame AA, don’t forget that he is rebuilding the Jays from bottom to top. JP Ricciardi left the team in shambles when he was let go. AA has had to make the MLB team competitive while rebuilding the minor league system almost entirely, so that it can supply the MLB team with talent in the future. That talent (Stroman, Sanchez, Norris et. al.) is just now starting to get to the MLB level.

    If I was Rogers/Beeston, I would not consider AA’s job unsafe for at least two more seasons. He definitely needs to re-sign Melky and address two of CF/3B/2B for 2015.

  • comment-avatar
    Tanner 3 years

    Good article by Katie but I think there’s some issues without too. For one thing, let’s give credit to Rogers for keeping Simpson on as their top reporter. They could’ve gone the FOX route and demoted her for someone more inexperienced. They didn’t and their broadcasts will be better for it. And while CBC and Rogers have put women on their hockey telecasts (granted Simpson was about it for Rogers but she had some high profile gigs) TSN has almost always treated women as nothing but locker room reporters. Sure, they might have one at the update desk but any long form interview always went to someone else. At least Rogers would use Simpson.

    That leads to Petrillo. How do we know she didn’t choose to leave? When she joined HNIC, it was clearly for eye candy. She got some better jobs but that might’ve been in the back of her mind. Landing a job as EPL host on TSN isn’t exactly a bad gig especially when you have the soccer background that Petrillo has. On top of that the last person to be the lead host at NHL Network (Kathryn Tappen) is now a full time employee at NBC working football games and Olympics among other things. Perhaps that’s where Petrillo sees her future. Why be in a cast of thousands at Sportsnet when you can be the lead horse somewhere else? It paid off for Tappen. Maybe Andi is next.

  • comment-avatar

    A few of us here have lamented the ho-hum approach that Bob McCown seems to take most days at this point in his career. But when the subject matter is truly serious, there’s still nobody better in this country. Today was one of those days. He handled the in-studio interview on the OHL’s new mental health program with care and smarts, yet without coming across as maudlin or condescending. He asked good, even tough questions … and didn’t shy away from some tricky spots in the conversation.

    Yes, most days, McCown pretty well sleepwalks through his show. But every so often he reminds us why he has achieved what he has.

  • comment-avatar
    (another) Bob 3 years

    @Mullah Kintyre

    Same tired post. Do you have your comment saved on msWord and then just copy paste. Let’s see you have issues with the national CFL numbers and Toronto has different tastes. Thanks for the insight.

  • comment-avatar
    GoJays 3 years

    Look folks, the truth is that the Jays under AA and Beeston are way better than they were under Riccardi. The record may not show it but only idiots think you can judge a team by its win-loss record. You have to dig deeper and look at the amazing farm system AA has built. The Jays are poised to dominate for years to come.

    … As for Zaun, he’s just playing a character like Bob McCown does. If there was a culture problem on the team then Mike Wilner would have mentioned it by now. But he says the young core is really tight and that’s what matters. Good riddance to the players who can’t get excited about this team.

  • comment-avatar
    Claire A Fye 3 years

    @GoJays What are you smoking? Jays farm system is pathetic. They couldn’t develop a Polaroid.

  • comment-avatar

    Anyone who believes the Blue Jays are just a few simple moves away from contention are fooling themselves. Check out the great piece by Shi Davidi on what ails this team: http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/lack-of-trust-contributed-to-blue-jays-2014-struggles/

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    Agreed, GCMike. That’s a great article by Shi. He describes an organizational lack of trust as a reason for the struggles over the past couple seasons, with words like “toxic” being thrown around. The only thing that I would disagree with him on is that he says firing the GM or manager (or president?) would only constitute “easy answers”. IMO, these are the guys who are responsible for this organizational lack of trust (well, them and Rogers ownership). With these pieces coming back next season, does anybody really expect a different result?

  • comment-avatar
    JP 3 years

    It’s unreal how much time Ken Reid gets to push his book on the radio. Who’s his uncle?

  • comment-avatar
    Nan Young Lee 3 years

    What an intelligent interview Bob did with Bob Ryan at 6pm. Could have been a bland restatement of the highlights in Ryan’s memoir but Bob cleverly focused on the writing process instead, and made it interesting. Since coming back from summer vacation Bob seems to be recharged and better than he has been in the recent past. That these shows have been without Damien and Brunt for the most part makes this rejuvenation more impressive.

    I hope Strombo knows more about hockey than he is exhibiting in those spots with Marek on the Brady/Walker show. Dreadful.

    Good news for American hockey fans:

    “TSN’s insider duo has been retained by NBC Sports Network to make appearances during NHL broadcasts this season, according to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. McKenzie has been hired as a full-time contributor and will appear on NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry broadcasts, in addition to making appearances on NBC’s All-Star Weekend, Stanley Cup Final and NHL Draft shows. Dreger will also appear on NBC programs but Deitsch did not expound upon how extensive his presence will be.”

    http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2014/10/7/6935735/bob-mckenzie-darren-dreger-nbcsn-tsn

  • comment-avatar

    @ Nan Young Lee

    Great news, indeed! As a Canadian guy who spends a lot of time down south, I am thrilled I’ll see and hear more of McKenzie. He’s going to add a lot of credibility to the NBCSN presentation this year.

  • comment-avatar
    Bob 3 years

    A change of topic:

    Another NHL season is starting and “Crazed Leaf Fans” are starting to come out of the woodwork on talk shows and other media. I am worried about the poor devils! There is a web site to help them, but maybe they don’t realize that they are Crazed ‘Leaf Fans! ….. Here is a self test.

    You may be a “Crazed Leaf Fan” if:

    You packed up your family and moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario ….. so you could get a license plate with a Leaf logo!

    You were once on a game show and your question for $100,000.00 dollars was name one of the three tenors. Your answer was …. Joe Bowen!

    You can watch a Leaf Game, holding your remote in one hand and PVR replays, hold a cold beer in your other hand, and take off your wife’s bra at the same time!

    You once stood up “Miss Nude Stockholm” to stay at home to watch “Coach’s Corner”!

    You are saving your beer empties so you can afford Leaf’s TV.

    After too many overpriced beers, you once asked a member of “Toronto’s Finest” who was on duty outside of the ACC, for his autograph; …….. because you thought he was one of the “Village People”!

    You have wet dreams thinking of Connor McDavid!

    You named your beautiful first daughter “Wendel”!

    You took the door off your bathroom so you could watch Leaf TV while sitting on the throne!

    Your first pet was a sapling!

    You Yell “Go Leaf’s Go, Go Leaf’s Go, Go Leaf’s Go” at the top of your lungs, while having sex! ……….usually with yourself!

    For help go to http://www.redwings.nhl.com

    Feel free to add.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 3 years

    Variation to a question asked last week. We all agreed that the Raptors won’t become more popular than the Leafs in Toronto anytime soon. But, when this new TV deal with ESPN/Turner kicks in, will the Raptors be bringing in more revenue to MLSE than the Leafs and become more important when looking solely from a business valuation perspective? I’ll still say no initially because of the Toronto market premium the Leafs can obtain but that answer isn’t so clear cut to me.

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    Good post Tanner.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the return of the Leafs. This will be the 1st season in 20+ (?) years that the FAN is going without a beat reporter.

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    Don River 3 years

    Last ratings period before hockey takes over:

    1. CFL, Stampeders at Roughriders, Friday, TSN: 913,000

    2. NFL, Chiefs-Niners/Jets-Chargers, Sunday, CTV: 811,000

    3. NFL, 1 p.m. games, Sunday, CTV: 782,000

    4. CFL, Eskimos at Argonauts, Saturday, TSN: 707,000

    5. CFL, Lions at Tiger-Cats, Saturday, TSN: 705,000

    6. CFL, Blue Bombers at RedBlacks, Friday, TSN: 586,000

    7. MLB, Giants at Nationals, Saturday, Sportsnet: 504,000

    8. NFL, Bengals at Patriots, Sunday, TSN: 484,000 (NBC viewers not measured)

    9. MLB, Royals at Angels, Sunday, Sportsnet: 428,000

    10. MLB, Tigers at Athletics, Sunday, Sportsnet: 400,000

    11. MLB, Cardinals at Dodgers, Friday, Sportsnet: 396,000

    12. NHL, Red Wings at Maple Leafs, Friday, Sportsnet One: 337,000

    13. Auto racing, NASCAR Casino 400, Sunday, TSN: 313,000

    14. MLB, Giants at Nationals, Friday, Sportsnet: 309,000

    15. NHL, Oilers at Canucks, Saturday, Sportsnet: 259,000

    16. MLB, Royals at Angels, Friday, Sportsnet: 237,000

    17. MLB, Tigers at Orioles, Friday, Sportsnet: 228,000

    18. NHL, Senators at Canadiens, Saturday, TSN: 220,000

    19. UFC, MacDonald vs. Saffiedine, Saturday, Sportsnet360: 212,000

    20. NFL, Cardinals at Broncos, TSN, 175,000 (Fox audience not measured)

    21. Soccer, Manchester City at Aston Villa, Saturday, Sportsnet: 150,000

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    p.s. – podcasts still broken over at TSN as of yesterday. I complained last week and was told they would fix it. They must have manually uploaded 2 hours of Naylor to shut me up. I mean, it’s not like this is a big week for Toronto sports radio. Who cares, right?

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    Daniel 3 years

    Here’s hoping the new NHL deal doesn’t turn The Fan into all hockey all the time from here on in.

    They didn’t overdo it in the offseason, so hopefully they’ll keep it from getting too over the top.

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    Daniel 3 years

    The Shi Davidi piece was really interesting. Good to see him questioning ownership and how much money they made available.

    As for Beeston/AA – I trust AA. I think he’s doing the best job he can. He came into a barren farm system, made it a top system very quickly (then traded a bunch of them), and already the system seems to be giving some nice looking players again in guys like Stroman, Sanchez, Norris and Pompey. It hasn’t worked out in his tenure, and he’s made some bad moves, but I think he’s smart and I like his vision.

    Beeston? Meh. I think he BSes. I want someone to run the Jays saying things like Leiweke did in his short tenure. Major market, big goals, win or bust etc.

    I totally blame ownership for the Jays situation. Totally underfunded the team for most of the 2000s. Then after letting AA take on payroll, they immediately put the brakes on despite the massive increase we saw in attendance, tv numbers and general interest. The payroll is healthy, but should be higher. And the fact that the players had to pass a hat around to try to sign Santana in the winter is an embarrassment.

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    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    The Fan was difficult to listen to today. They seem pretty confident that Sunday will replace Saturday as main hockey day in Canada but I’m not so sure.

    It seemed kind of weird after all the build up to tonight to see not Ron and Don on the country’s national network but Kypreos, Cox, and Doug Maclean. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a big occasion. Even the boring Sportsnet hockey them is the same.

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    Neil 3 years

    Daniel,

    Rogers is a communications conglomerate and a publicly traded company that could care less about the team itself and I donèt blame them. This teams value is reflected in the numbers on radio and tv nowhere else, and ownership knew then and even know now that regardless of how jays do there will always be healthy numbers both on TV and radio benefiting Rogers sportsnet and advertisers. If the owners of this team truly cared about the team itself, Roy Halladay the best pitcher in the league at the time would have never been traded, Carlos Delgado one of the best hitters in the league at the time would have never been able to walk away from the team for nothing, Bautista and EE the best hitters in the league now, would be on longer term deals for more money. At this point Rogers does not need the headache of running this team and worrying about the baseball operations and I truly believe this is going to be there mentality going forward, as they build there stable of sports rights with mlb, nhl, WWE and Indy car racing. The major conglomerates out there Fox Espn Turner Disney these guys are no longer in the business of owning sports teams but rather owning the tv rights which as everyone knows these days is much more lucrative.

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    Great to hear Bill Watters on Macko and Cauz this morning. Hope he’s on the radio more. Today he graciously paid tribute to fathers of Macko and Cauz before expounding on Shanahan’s Leafs. His showed his nonpareil Leaf knowledge when talking about Pat Boutette.
    Brilliant.

    http://www.tsn.ca/radio/watters-everyone-will-see-shanahan-s-integrity-and-honesty-1.102862

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    “jonah @yyzsportsmedia · Oct 7
    Heading to India next week for first time. Who’s been – any advice?”

    Yes, don’t watch this.

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    “Hit the gas TSM, he’s got a street light in his hand”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUYa5aTdjfI

    That’s what the new hockey team at Sportsnet needs – the streetlight treatment followed by the belt.

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    Dogpounder 3 years

    Hockey season = Waaay more time listening to 99.1.

    It’s done to death. I can’t take it anymore.

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    Billy Bob 3 years

    Chantal Desjardins. Host of Canadiens games on Sportsnet. Debuted last night.

    Looks female to me.

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    Ken 3 years

    Is it just me, or is every other segment on The Fan an infomercial to sell channels in the guise of interviews? I feel like I’m being sold a Sham-Wow. It’s rather pathetic. Sure I get they paid 5.2 Billion, but at least have the decency of renaming The Fan a promotional vehicle for hockey.

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    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    Is it just me, or is every other segment on The Fan an infomercial to sell channels in the guise of interviews?

    Nope. It is not just you.

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    Curt 3 years

    And it’s only Week 1…

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    Chris 3 years

    @Ken – If you are looking to try a new drinking game, listen to the Fan.

    Take a sip every time an NHL game is mentioned to be on Sportsnet or one other Rogers channel (CBC Hockey Night is included because the real Hockey Night died following last season).

    One sip if 12 years is said.

    One sip when Stroumboulopoulos is discussed.

    Two sips if they mention 5.2 billion dollars.

    Two sips if new set is spoken about.

    Whole beer if something to the effect of ‘watch the game like never before’ is said.

    I guarantee you’ll be tanked within an hour. You would be hard pressed to go two straight segments without at least one of the above mentioned.

    I understand they invested a ton for the NHL, but we don’t need to be constantly reminded and hit over the head with it.

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    Sam in Scarb 3 years

    @ Chris… also may add the plugs for Sportsnet magazine.Seems every article is amazing or great or insightful or fantastic.

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    I’m traveling this weekend but if you have 10 minutes I can’t recommend this story by David Shoalts highly enough. Fantastic piece of journalism on how the CBC were partners in their own demise. In light of how many people lost their jobs due to the loss of HNIC, this story shines an important light on astounding incompetence from CBC management. Great work by Mr. Shoalts.

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    Claire A Fye 3 years

    I got a new driver in May. I would use it in situations I normally wouldn’t, but I’d spent a lot of money on it and told everyone I played with how great it was. My swing was better, the ball went farther and straighter and I would mention that after every drive. It got pretty annoying…until everything went back to normal. Now I don’t talk about it anymore, nobody is impressed and I don’t golf much either. The Fan and Sportsnet just got their new driver and they paid a lot of money for it. Things will go back to normal soon enough. No matter what you do or what you say, Kypreos is still Kypreos, Millard is still Millard, and Sportsnet is still Sportsnet. Or as some might say, you can put lipstick on a pig…

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    Sam 3 years

    Thanks for the link, MIB. Good read.

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    Where did Rogers get RefCam from?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraphtv/9764779/Rugby-Union-Sky-Sports-unveil-ref-cam.html

    Where did they get the idea for the big ‘party’ at Yonge/Dendas square?

    http://www.cbc.ca/revenuegroup/mobile/touch/cbcs-hockey-night-in-canada-celebrates-the-start-of-the-2013-14-season-with-molson-canadian-nhl-face.html

    The Olympics has been using the RailCam for swimming and sprints for year.

    The ‘ice surface’ in the new studio (which is copied from TNT’s basketball studio) just like the mini football field the US studios have been using for decades.

    Gamecentre or Gameplus has nothing that baseball and other has been doing for years.

    You wouldn’t know this from the likes of Damien and others (sadly even Brady) who act as if Rogers and SN minted all this on their own. Brady even tweeted he was honored to be working with his Sportsnet TV colleagues. Geezus.

    Why doesn’t Rogers come up with something to ripoff Netflix and pretend it was their idea? Oh wait…..

    Once again it was left to the great truth teller Dave Perkins to keep things in perspective. When Bob asked his on Friday about what he thought of the broadcast of the Leafs/Habs opener he said, “One team won, once team lost, and the referee had a camera on his head.” I’m really enjoying his appearances on the round table.

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    Curt 3 years

    I hear what you’re saying, Clair. But when has Rogers ever stopped hyping its own properties. I’d like to think it will quiet down somewhat (and normally it would), but this is Rogers.

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    Indeed, there’s way too much spin. But then again, Rogers is a media company that, above all, sells the sizzle. Just look at the Jays. The actual on-field success of the ballclub is only part of formula for Rogers; just as much if not more hinges on cross-property messaging and content.

    We just to live with it, I suppose.

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    @ Kamlesh

    Bang-on re: Perkins. The guy may not be smooth, but he’s nobody’s fool. He truly remains a breath of fresh air anytime he’s on FAN 590.

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    Dave in Bolton 3 years

    Rogers and the NHL can take their new broadcast and stick it where the sunshine don’t shine! Their stupid cam is nothing more then a info commercial for Rogers. The NHL may not of sold out to corporations on jerseys, but they sold out by commercializing their broadcast. Like Bell or not but they never used their company name on TSN. Just disgusting.

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    alex 3 years

    The referee camera was actually used way back in the 90s by WCW wrestling.

    The funny thing of course is wrestling is built around the trope of the referee not seeing things like the bad guys cheating.

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    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone. The most awesome thing about writing this column is getting to debate interesting issues with all of you. (The occasional whingeing from members of the MSM about the things I write is a small cherry on top.)

    Hoping to have some cool stuff in the weeks to come.

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    Alex 3 years

    Surprised to hear regularly staffed shows on a holiday monday – bob and a regular roundtable on 590 and naylor and arthur on 1050.

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    Antonio 3 years

    @Chris
    Try following these jokers on Twitter – if I used your drinking rules, I would be hammered within 30 minutes.

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    For some reason Damien interrupted his Sportsnet promotion to retweet this about CFL attendance.

    “Damien Cox retweeted
    Terry Jones @sunterryjones · 19 hours ago
    Attendance 28,065. Less than half what five-in-a-row guys used to draw in the big stadium.”

    Maybe Damien is upset by having to put those glass pucks in the cradle on HNIC. This unintentionally hilarious segment is what is considered innovation at SN. If US stations came up with something similarly idiotic, Deadspin and Grantland would have destroyed them (as would the formerly iconoclastic Brady and Walker). No doubt the ratings will be high great only proves fans will sit through a steaming pile of a pregame and intermissions to watch their hockey.

    I noticed there were no ‘great job’ tweet during or after HNIC on Saturday by the main people from 590 or SN. There was this from Sid.

    “Sid Seixeiro @Sid_Seixeiro · Oct 11
    Cannot believe all the Stroumboulopoulos hate on twitter tonight. Uneducated fools afraid of something new.”

    How much education is needed to appreciate glass pucks in slots or the new host looking as though he’s never held a hockey stick in his life before. That part when Kypreos was pushing Strombo from behind was as cringe inducing as whenever Dick Vitale opens his mouth. These segments must be one of those things we’ll all laugh about in 5 years. Or is it we’ll stop laughing in 5 years?

    A nice ripost to Scott Moore’s hysteria.

    “Scott Moore
    ‏@MooreScottmoore
    Habs/Flyers game going into OT. That game is national on City television as part of #HNIC”

    “Roger Desrochers ‏@rogmar1 Oct 11
    @MooreScottmoore relax Scott we’re watching”

    Or not watching…

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    Kamlesh 3 years

    Just listened to PTS’s interview about Derek Boogaard. Here is a New York Times documentary on Boogaard.

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    Nan Young Lee 3 years

    The Sunday Hometown Hockey set is appealing with the Noguchi table adding a bit of design class. The panel seems more relaxed than the Saturday one although Strombo has not been impressive so far on any broadcast. Are they going to make Ron MacLean wear that jacket all the time? I know they want a relaxed look, but does he have to wear a jacket with Rogers advertising on it? In one shot he even had the jacket buttoned to the top when he was driving his car. Pretty embarrassing.

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    Nan Young Lee 3 years

    From links on Damospin, some ratings for HNIC and Hometown Hockey.

    Hometown Hockey had an impressive 1.07 million viewers. For Saturday HNIC:

    “Game One average audience (7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT) (Pittsburgh @ Toronto; Montreal @ Philadelphia; Ottawa @ Tampa Bay; Calgary @ St. Louis; Washington @ Boston): 2.23 million viewers

    Game Two average audience (10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT) (Edmonton @ Vancouver; Winnipeg @ San Jose): 1.31 million viewers”

    I couldn’t find the opening weekend game ratings for CBC for last season but here are the ratings for last years Thanksgiving weekend games (from Chris Zelovich, 16 October, 2013)

    Sat Oct 12: Edmonton at Toronto — 2,258,000 CBC

    Sat Oct 12: Montreal at Vancouver — 1,374,000 CBC

    Zelkovitch commented: “An all-Canadian matchup between Toronto and Edmonton drew 2.58 million to CBC, pretty much on pace with all of CBC’s prime-time NHL offerings this season.”

    Bob was mentioning last week he was skeptical of showing more games would ‘grow the pie’ or just keep the same audience split over more games with the extra costs of broadcasting those extra games and whatever percentage of original 5.2B outlay is applied to these games. I’m not sure what average audience is meant for this years games. Does it mean last year CBC had an audience 3.632 million viewers for 2 games and this year Rogers has 3.54 million viewers for 7 games?

    Somebody mentioned Michael Grange was much improved on PTS. Agreed, he basically took over Monday’s round table, and was much better than Kirke or Brunt.

    Bad news for the Jays? In late 2013 Melky Cabrera switched agents and is now represented by Peter Greenberg of The Legacy Agency. This is what Forbes wrote about the new agent:

    “Peter Greenberg, who, along with his brother Edward, runs New York City’s Peter E. Greenberg & Associates, tops our first ever proprietary list of baseball’s powerbrokers. The Greenberg brothers are fluent in Spanish and have made inroads in recruiting and representing Latin American players, particularly those from Venezuela, who now make up 80% of their client list. On average, Greenberg clients earn almost two and a half times the salary of statistically similar players in the free agent marketplace.”

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    Neil 3 years

    Nan Young Lee

    I think Rogers is getting ready to off the Jays. With revenue being driven by broadcasting rights, there is almost no point of a communications conglomerate or faceless entity owning the team itself and having to worry about player contracts, for the type of corporation such as Rogers it’s an uneccessary problem in the boardroom. Rogers would be much more satisfied exclusiveley controlling the content(on radio and tv). Gate revenue and player contracts can quickly becaome liabilities. Tax shleter may be the only motive for keeping this ballclub

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    Charlie Brown 3 years

    I know that everybody has issues with a ton of Fan personalities but the one guy that I think doesn’t get enough criticism for the type of show he does is Jeff Blair.

    I’m a long time Fan listener and I’ve suffered through the slings & arrows of Jim Lang & Andrew Krystal but at least they had some form of schtick. Jeff’s just an ass. He’s like McCown Lite. He loses his train of thought way too easily, his voice sounds is a slow, nasal whine, he looks like the guy who you’d want to change seats on the subway if he sat next to you and I don’t understand why Don Kollins or whatever his name is lets this guy fill in for Bob when he’s off. His ratings are down because I think people have finally figured out he’s a bit of a fraud. A baseball guy taking Leaf calls every day? Seriously? He’s a fraud and if there was a media hot seat, he’d be sweating even more than he usually does. Why does he always look like he’s sitting in a sauna?

    And why would Sportsnet allow him on TV? Yikes.

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    Baz 3 years

    @Neil

    I don’t see Rogers trying to off the Jays. With 7 or 8 channels, they need the content. Especially in the summer. After all the team does generate some est. 200+ million in revenue.

  • comment-avatar
    alex 3 years

    Quite enjoyed bob and brunt burying cox, even if it was half gimmick.

  • comment-avatar
    Nan Young Lee 3 years

    Really informative and well researched article by Rick Westhead on NHL salaries and taxes. Sportsnet could use their own Westhead.

    http://www.tsn.ca/talent/westhead-why-montreal-is-the-worst-nhl-city-when-it-s-tax-time-1.106798

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    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    Tonight the National League Championship Series is relegated to 360 (formerly The Score) as two hockey games have taken over the main Sportsnet channels. It feels tacky (old fashioned too) to be watching a supposedly major sporting event with a scroll at the bottom of the screen telling me the CHL standings.

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    Curt 3 years

    Yeah, that was inevitable wasn’t it? Once hockey started, everything else became secondary. Both Championship Series were on the Score today, with that annoying ticker blocking part of the on screen score board (ironic). Nice one, Sportsnet…

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    RichieD 3 years

    It bothers you that you’re watching It on SN360 as opposed to say, Sportsnet Ontario? Tough life you have. I wish my problems were that small

  • comment-avatar
    Curt 3 years

    I don’t live in Ontario, douche bag.

  • comment-avatar
    (Another) Andrew 3 years

    Tough life you have. I wish my problems were that small

    And yet you took time out of the tough problems in life to come to a sports media website, read some comments, and then even made your own comment on such a small problem.

  • comment-avatar
    Neil 3 years

    @Baz

    Rogers or any other mega media company does not need to be in ownership of a team to obtain the broadcasting rights. Owning the Team is a liability, especially when saddled with a bunch of bad contracts, just ask the L.A Dodgers owners. Sportsnets Value to Rogers is all about the national rights they have for the MLB and NHL. Content is King.

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    Mike V 3 years

    Owning a team is a liability because you may purposefully take on some bad contracts in a relentless pursuit to win now? Right, ok. Or you can not intentionally do that and be like the other 29 teams.

    You do realize that sports teams are the ones paid handsomely for those broadcasting rights?

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    Baz 3 years

    @Neil

    Rogers makes about 200 million in revenue from the Jays. That is about 2% of all Rogers revenue. It is a drop in the bucket..definitely not a liability.

    The way baseball works, Rogers is basically paying themselves for the broadcast rights. That is a zero sum. Then they get all the advertising money from those broadcasts, plus all shares of online and National TV money from MLB. Pure profit.

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    Don River 3 years

    @ Baz

    Revenue is not profit. I’m still waiting for someone to prove that the Jays are profitable.

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    Sam 3 years

    Dunno where to post this so here goes. Just heard a good interview of David Branch by Matt Galloway on the CBC Toronto Morning show – on the topic of should players be paid etc. Galloway’s much tougher on Branch than buddy Bob normally is. I’ll see if I can find a link later – the interview just ended.