Saturday Toronto Sports Media Roundup

By TSM @yyzsportsmedia

Happy Saturday

With the World Juniors being overseas I’ve decided to hold off on the QA with Ray Ferraro until the New Year.

Couple of things that have interested me over the last couple of weeks in the world of Toronto sports and Toronto sports media:

– Mark Shapiro continues to throw cold water on the relationship between the Toronto Blue Jays and it’s fans. Cathal Kelly wrote a really good article on what life has looked like post Anthopolous:

Shapiro’s been on the job for a month and the guy’s already moved beyond ‘next year’ talk to ‘the year after next year’ talk. That is some solid businessing right there. If Rogers has an employee-orientation handbook, it ought to be titled What Sisyphus Can Teach You About Management.

Shapiro went a step further in throwing sand in Jays fans when he proclaimed that the Paul Beeston led project to finally bring real grass to the dome wasn’t a priority in his mind.

Rightfully or, more likely wrongfully, since his arrival to Toronto Shapiro has been blamed for Anthopolous’s exit and it’s been a downward spiral since. Even McCown has been especially critical of the current state of the Jays, with a special focus on his bosses at Rogers, the owners of the club.

Interestingly enough, it appears to my feeble mind that Shapiro has been following Tim Lieweke’s playbook on how to get a new city to hate you from day one almost word for word.

Today, Kelly has an interesting read on the short time Lieweke has in Toronto and it feels very Shapiro to me still.

Having got used to a string of vanilla executives, Toronto didn’t know what to make of this slick visitor. He was instantly a love/hate proposition. That tension flowed up, as well as down.
“I probably should have fit in better to the culture, rather than thinking the culture was going to fit better around me,” Leiweke sighed.
“He made one mistake while he was here,” former Blue Jays president and friend Paul Beeston said. “He didn’t own the company.

– Dean Blundell had a very funny bit this week in response to the new Blue Jays regime announcing that it was most happy about how well things were going with the office staff at the Blue Jays. “ They have the best staples!” it was a funny bit and summed up pretty well the Shapiro experience so far.

-The Fan issues listener surveys every once in a while where those who have provided emails to the station are presented a list of on air talent and guests and asked if the listener is aware of the person, and then if so to rate the person.

So, for example it could ask, “ Are you familiar with Mike Wilner”. If you answer yes, it would then give you 4-5 adjectives to describe how you feel about Mike Wilner, things like, “Want More”, “Trusted”, “Dislike” etc. Lastly it asks for comments about the person.

What was interesting about the one they issued this week is that it started with Jeff Blair who has been experiencing some ratings pains of late. In addition to the full list of hosts on the fan and the regular guests, this panel also included all the TSN 1050 hosts too.

There’s a survery I’d love to see the results from…..

– On the topic of Sports Radio, did you happen to catch Fan regular Richard Deitsch’s article in which he interviews producers from the top radio programs in North America including the current producers of PTS Matt Marchese.?

It’s an interesting read for sure and provides an interesting look behind the glass at some of the best sports radio shows around.

For the PTS fans out there Marchese sheds some more light on what occurs in McCown land:

Deitsch asks the producers to explain in their own opinion how important the role of the producer is to their shows. Here is Marchese’s response:

The role of the producer on Prime Time Sports is extremely important, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in that position. My predecessors would agree that Prime Time Sports is a totally different animal in the sports radio industry in that the host has no idea what’s on the show until he gets there. Bob shows up about 15-20 minutes before the show starts and has entrusted Jeff, myself and all the other producers before us to be creative and put together the best show possible every day. When news breaks, then Bob may give his input on who we should get on, but for the most part, he stays clear of booking the show. I can’t recall in my four-plus years on the show ever having a pre-show meeting.

– Did anyone happen to hear Nick Kypreos on with Andrew Walker a few weeks back? Walker asked Kypreos what the NHL insider thought of the Jays not resigning David Price.

They totally blew it!” was Kypreos’s surprising response.

Kypreos went on to say that in his opinion Price was the rare superstar who everyone on the team loved. He wasn’t a polarizing figure in the room and all the players around him appeared to really like him.

Kypreos opined that the Jays likely would have gotten some sort of home town discount but more importantly stated that if Price was able to get the Jays back to the playoffs for 3 years the money Rogers would make would make the price of the entire contract manageable.

It was a good interview for two reasons. First, in my opinion it showed again that Walker and Brady are better when split up. Secondly I had no idea Kypreos could talk about anything more than pucks.

-While driving to work this week I mistakenly landed on Am 1150. I was very pleased to hear Mike and Mike as a new sports alternative on my morning drive. It is really fascinating how radio programming can differ so dramatically between two neighboring countries. I flipped back and forth between 590,1050 and 1150 all week and there was next to no duplication of coverage between the two Canadian stations and ESPN. I know the why… no need to tell me that. ESPN spent an entire hour talking about an NCAA basketball coach surprising mid-season retirement. The story wasn’t alluded to on either Canadian network. Oddly enough the “Bernier can’t stop the puck” clip that both stations played all morning up here never was discussed on ESPN. Not better, just different.

-With the holidays upon us it’s an interesting time of reflection. So, let’s get this straight:

The Blue Jays were 1 game away from the world series yet their fans are depressed and stressed out about their future.

The Raptors were a playoff team, and are above .500 but still there is not a ton of confidence in their ability to win

The Maple Leafs are literally at the bottom of the league, where they said they would be, but the fans are perfectly content with the nature of things.

What a city.

Lastly, first it was TSN and Rogers that cut employees then it was CHCH. Mark Hebscher a long time presence in the Toronto sports media scene has a chilling account of his final hours at the station. It’s a great read.

For all who were let go in the business over the last couple of months may you find enjoyable work soon.


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December 19, 2015 12:52 pm

I assumed Blair was first because it was alphabetical. Maybe i wasnt paying close enough attention. 🙂

December 19, 2015 2:07 pm

If I were with TSN 1050, I would not bolt over to Sportsnet 590.

I got one of those survey things too and I was surprised at the number of TSN personalities.

TSN is definitely the better network for NHL or Olympic Hockey vs. the FAN 590 and Sportsnet and Greg Millen’s “wonderful work” as an analyst.

Bill Hunt
Bill Hunt
December 19, 2015 4:27 pm

Shapiro is not being given a fair chance in TO. AA had a good six weeks as a GM in five years on the job…his Donaldson, Price and Tulo deals paid off but even with Donaldson they were ordinary for half a season until the other deals were consummated. AA was a good guy…we get it. Accessible, friendly, Canadian. OK. But he could have stayed and chose not to. So you move on. Beeston was retiring anyway. They needed a replacement and hired Shapiro, and, because he has business and baseball acumen (according to those who hired him) and wants to exercise both, he’s the Anti-Christ. Let’s see how the team does on the field, whether its grass or plastic, next year. But of course, the AA booster club will say it was all AA’s doing anyway. Heard McCown moaning about how Shapiro doesn’t know the market, doesn’t know the history, etc. etc. Guess what? The history ain’t all that great over the past 22 years. And the market is typical: Win, and the bandwagon fills, just like everywhere else.

Uncle Slick
Uncle Slick
December 19, 2015 4:33 pm

Roger Lajoie is one of the few on-air personalities in Toronto sports radio that I actually try to make a point of not missing. Interesting man, generates good discussion.

Blair is an excellent writer. And when he talks baseball, he’s easy to listen to. When it’s not baseball, not even Brunt can’t save him.

I just submitted my second listener survey from the Fan, and much like the first, I wasn’t kind to 590’s on-air talent. This time, I gave just about every TSN host a better review than each of the Fan’s hosts, that one exception was Andrew Walker.

Walker reminds me a lot of Dan Patrick.
Unfortunately, I just can’t listen to the Fan’s mid-day show because Brady
has proven to be nothing more than a whiny, petulant, man-child who sits
in front of a mic.

I’ve pretty much abandoned the morning shows from 590 & 1050, my morning preference is now 1150 with Mike & Mike. I also stick around to listen to
Dan Patrick who follows Mike & Mike.

Dan Shulman should be McCown’s replacement on PTS.

There’s a reason why Edward Rogers got squeezed out from the adult table
at Rogers and dropped to the children’s table that is the Blue Jays. Certainly seems justified given the manner in which Young Edward totally butchered finding Beeston’s successor. 1st there was awkward recruiting/poaching of Kenny Williams; then the bungling courtship of Dan Duquette. When the dust finally settled, we get Mark Shaw-PIE-row jumping at the chance to be Edward Rogers puppet.

The early returns on the Edward Rogers/Mark Shaw-PIE-row tandem suggests a gong show with the potential to be a full on train wreck, so buckle up and have your popcorn ready.

I’m guessing Mark Hebscher is already fielding offers from both TV and radio. A man as talented as he is, is only not working for the amount of time that he doesn’t want to “work”.

Rob J
Rob J
December 19, 2015 5:05 pm

Its good for Tor sports fans to listen to a different type of show just to become aware that the fate of a backup goalie of a last place team is of little importance outside of the bubble (no offense, Leafs Nation)

December 19, 2015 7:03 pm

Mccown was on fire yesterday’s roundtable sounding off on Shapiro. To paraphrase, he said that “AA left because he knew he couldn’t work for an arrogant egomaniac like Shaprio.”

According to Bob, Shapiro’s moves thus far reek of arrogance. Talking like he’s the smartest guy in the room; refusing to spend a year getting to know the market and personnel before deciding whether to bring his own people (like Shanahan did); lecturing Toronto fans on why grass isn’t important; doing things in a way that screams “my way or the highway” since taking over…it all screams arrogance.

I know Bob is very well-connected within the Blue Jays organization so I wonder if this commentary is from his own personal observance from afar or from well-placed sources within the organization. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Shapiro was gone in 2 years, and that Rogers replacing Beeston has been a complete trainwreck.

Beeston will be on PTS on Tuesday, and Shapiro is apparently coming on in the 2nd week of January. 2 interviews not to miss.

Mike V
Mike V
December 19, 2015 7:55 pm

I can’t remember the last time Cathel Kelly wrote a really good article. The Globe sports section has gone so downhill with him there.

I wouldn’t say Bob McCown has great sources inside the Blue Jays organization; remember his big scoop this year was dismissed as a “complete fabrication” by AA himself. I suspect his little rant came more from still being pissed at how Beeston was dealt with (and just trolling the Toronto sports fan) than any actual information. Typical Bob.

Kipling Birchmont
Kipling Birchmont
December 19, 2015 10:01 pm

By January 2017 “Shappy” will not be employed with the Blue Jays.Sadly,it will take years and years to repair the mess he created both with the on-field product and off-field fan relations.

December 20, 2015 12:45 am

‘I wouldn’t say Bob McCown has great sources inside the Blue Jays organization; remember his big scoop this year was dismissed as a “complete fabrication” by AA himself. I suspect his little rant came more from still being pissed at how Beeston was dealt with (and just trolling the Toronto sports fan) than any actual information. Typical Bob.’

Ding Ding, we have a wnner….

December 20, 2015 10:55 am

Hebscher’s account sounds less “chilling” and more amusing when you hear him telling the story instead of reading it. His part starts at about 58 minutes, and they get into the CHCH events at about 1 hour and eight minutes.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
December 20, 2015 2:15 pm

I thought the Cathal Kelly piece was so terrible that it was difficult to know where to start a critique. Thankfully, Andrew Stoeten tackled the chore of commenting upon the Kelly article.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
December 20, 2015 2:18 pm

Andrew Stoeten has reported that the Jays may have a dirt infield in 2016.

I’m anticipating that Shapiro-bashers in the media will claim that Shapiro will get the dirt from the Rainforest. They will also likely note that Beeston and AA would have acquired the dirt from Habitat for Humanity builds, which the two of them would have constructed themselves with their bare hands.

Rob J
Rob J
December 20, 2015 2:56 pm

@Bob Canuck
Thanks for sharing the critique of the Kelly column. I thought I was the only one who thought it was trash from start to finish. Hopefully he does better work in 2016.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
December 21, 2015 9:37 am

I thought Andrew Stoeten critique was just as bad…depends what you want to hear I guess.

I have issue with Rogers – always posting the small market budget, in a large market. Shapiro – I will wait and see.

I do know an “insider” affiliated with another MLB team that said the Jays are “old fashioned” and out of date in a number of ways, the least of which was some of the training and physical components.

That’s one informed guys’ opinion, but it came to mind when I read about Beeston not using email….

Dileno B
Dileno B
December 21, 2015 9:40 am

I also filled out the FAN questionnaire – it was around 100 questions, mostly because they ask 3 questions for each media personality and this time there were around 30 people as they included TSN radio as a previous poster mentioned. I tried to be objective and the only 2 I criticized were Greg Brady and Mike Wilner, my 2 least favourite people at the FAN, although I tried to say something positive as well. When they ask if you are aware of someone, it takes you to the next question to rate them but sometimes I’m aware of someone (because I read the TSM blog) but am not actually able to listen to them enough to have an opinion (like Cauz, Wheeler, etc.)

December 21, 2015 10:58 am

‘I thought Andrew Stoeten critique was just as bad…depends what you want to hear I guess.’

Certainly fair, but the original article by Kelly was simply atrocious.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
December 21, 2015 11:04 am

Listened to Bob’s rant about Shapiro. Outsized is the adjective I’d use to characterize it. I’m not sure he wasn’t just posturing, but if he was it wont change the fact he may have already killed any potential relationship with the new Prez. I still think you have to wait for the season to start making judgement calls. Fact is Bob says that all the time too. So maybe he needs to lighten up and quit taking the whole thing so personally. You know Beeston won’t be so derisive when he’s on, and he was the one who got pushed out.

I wonder why the fan sends out those surveys on a regular basis. Surely they know that they have little to no statistical validity so using the data to make personnel decisions would be a bad idea.

I listened to the Hebscher story on Toronto Mike. He’s an interesting listen. Found it funny that him appearing in the wrong room happened to a colleague of mine when an A and B room scenario happened at a place I once worked. He had a plate of food and was heartily enjoying it when he got the tap and was asked to move to the other room. First question people had when he got to B was “where did you get the food” given that all they got were manila envelopes and a request to leave ASAP. Such is the state of the modern workplace. On a personal note I was supposed to be in room B. But I was the only employee exempted from attending as I had a rather substantial deal about to close and was in another city. I reached my boss by phone in the early AM before the meeting, and was told yes you’re out, and don’t do anything to scuttle the deal. Which was classy I thought.

Rob J
Rob J
December 21, 2015 11:20 am

Stephen Brunt has a fair and balance and rational opinion on the Shapiro-phobes on

December 21, 2015 12:45 pm

‘ I still think you have to wait for the season to start making judgement calls. Fact is Bob says that all the time too. So maybe he needs to lighten up and quit taking the whole thing so personally. You know Beeston won’t be so derisive when he’s on, and he was the one who got pushed out.’

If it wasn’t Beaston who was let go, he wouldn’t care. Obviously personal here.

December 21, 2015 1:00 pm

The timeline in Cathal’s Leiweke piece is bizarre. He notes that Leiweke wanted to sell Defoe in the “2013-14 Christmas transfer window”. Which is the transfer window TFC bought Defoe in. Did Cathal screw up his timeline or is he suggesting Leiweke had instant regrets and wanted to get rid of Defoe as soon as he got him?

Rob In Aurora
Rob In Aurora
December 21, 2015 1:34 pm

Cathal Kelly’s column on Tim Liewicke was well done. If you disagree with him or have trouble comprehending his writing style doesn’t make it a bad article or him a bad columnist. If you don’t understand a comic’s humour, it doent make him a bad comedian. I really enjoy Kelly’s work and find him entertaining. I wish he wasnt an exception to the rule in Toronto

Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
December 21, 2015 4:26 pm

McCown has gone off on people before during his show only to put on the warm and fuzzy, lovey-dovey act when they sit beside him in the studio.

My guess is when Shapiro shows up in-house at PTS, Bob will be entirely different.

December 21, 2015 4:32 pm

‘ If you disagree with him or have trouble comprehending his writing style doesn’t make it a bad article or him a bad columnist.’

Sure, but conversely, just because we don’t think he’s very good at his job doesn’t mean that we don’t understand what he’s trying to do. You can enjoy him, but that doesn’t mean that those who do not don’t ‘get it’, just means they don’t like it.

December 21, 2015 4:54 pm

When you get right down to it, Toronto is really a small town in terms of sports media, despite the posturing of wannabes like Bruce Arthur, Greg Brady and Damien Cox. The whining over the apparent snubbing of “our boys” Paul and Alex is exactly the type of thing you’d hear and read about in a Junior B town.

William D
William D
December 21, 2015 8:59 pm

I’m not sure why Bob is getting slammed here for his opinion of the moves by Rogers. The fact is he is correct when he questions why Shapiro was hired, given the fact that A.Shapiro has not built a winner B. He has not worked with this kind of payroll and C. Why would we go from a two time championship winning president to a president that has won nothing. Bob’s objectivity in this matter is perfectly fine with me as is holding the owners to a high standard when coming off a good season.

Mike V
Mike V
December 22, 2015 5:08 am

Bob is getting slammed because he’s quite clearly on a personal vendetta and twisting facts around to suit his needs, especially when you consider that A. He completely ignores the core currently in place in Cleveland B. It’s foolish to blame an executive for the budget out in place by ownership (or believe that the executive is unable to work on a different budget) and C. It’s awfully generous to still credit Beeston for stuff two+ decades ago when by all accounts sports management passed him by some years ago.

This is nothing new. This is who he is and who he’ll continue to be until he gets bored enough to retire for good.

December 22, 2015 10:21 am

Mike V – Agree, seems obvious to me, he has a personal agenda, hence those who chose to call him out. Don’t like it, be less biased.

Willaim – A bit confused, correct me if I’m wrong, but months ago (I dont post on here often due to the trolling in the past) you posted how Bob was a puppet for the Blue Jays because all he did was talk positive about them. Now that his friend is let go by Rogers, he goes after them and you champion Bob as the best of what radio can bring. Perhaps its just me, but do you simply change your accusations of bias depending on who slams Rogers, because that is what it appears you’re doing here.

Rob J
Rob J
December 22, 2015 10:44 am

Yes, McCown has a ‘personal agenda’ just like literally every living breathing sports media member. Talk-radio first and foremost is to provide entertainment that draws in listeners. Amazing that so many here are fake-outraged at the opinions of radio hosts who are paid well to give them. Feel free to listen to CHUM FM or CHFI if you get that out of sorts by opinions that differ from your ‘personal agenda’

William D
William D
December 22, 2015 11:34 am

@Mike V

I have no problem with Bob defending Beeston, Especially given what Beeston has done for the Blue Jays. i.e Hire Pat Gillick, Hire Alex Anthopolous, Got the payroll increased, and win championships and divisions. Beeston not being hired by any other organization when he first left Toronto is no indication that he is not worthy of more respect than he was given by Rogers. How many other presidents have a resume like Beestons?


I’m glad that your following my comments that intensely, but hopefully not for the purposes of trolling as it kind of seems like your doing based on the fact that you have completely misquoted what I said. Where exactly did I say or suggest that Bob is the best thing on radio? I’m a fan of objectivity and free speech when fitting. Be it an agenda or not Bob has good reason here to be objective towards Rogers and their business practice, he is far from the only media person in Toronto that slammed Rogers for there handling of management after such a successful season. It appears you are twisting this to suit you claim of an anti Rogers rant. I just find it funny you’ve taken the time to follow my comments so close, I know one other poster that does exactly the same thing. Interesting!

Kipling Birchmont
Kipling Birchmont
December 22, 2015 12:28 pm

I just hope when Bob interviews Beeston on PTS today that he does not waste the first 20 minutes of the interview talking about personal stuff him & Beeston have done over the years which is of no interest to the audience at all.
He has done shirt like this before then runs out of time and says “geeze where did the time go? I have so many other things to ask you.

December 22, 2015 12:59 pm

William – Im not sure what you’re going on about, but you didn’t even really address the point that I made. I spent 5 minutes looking at past comments, here, ill offer an example.

‘Bob has on several occasions defended Rogers Communications, In fact he has gone after fans(Borderline Wilnering) for suggesting that Rogers needs to raise the payroll above 130millon. Bob may from time to time criticize certain players, as he did with Colby Rasmus, however with Bob and his tight allegiance with Beeston it appears that he has refrained from criticism of the suits as far as the jays finances.

With Blue jays being one of the least profitable Rogers product Bob sounds very pro jays/Rogers to me. Take a listen to his rant on friday with Arash where he is pushing for AA and Beeston. Bob mini rants on the company are easily tongue and cheek. Fridays rant about how Beeston was treated by Rogers, was more Bob sticking up for a close friend that did so much to help a business that in the end was trying to push him out the door without a proper thank you.

Bob being the biggest part of the brand on the media side in the overall he has plenty of times shown and maintained an allegiance to Rogers and it’s properties. i.e slagging TSN, Renewed friendship with Gary Bettman, slagging the CFL. competitor product.’

That was just in one post

Now that hes aggressively going after rogers, the comments are this.

Bob’s Rant on Rogers/Shapiro leaking over from the call in segment, he ran over Madani for trying to defend Rogers. Good on Bob. Maybe all the personalities should be contractors, We’d probably see a lot more objectivity.

No trolling, I’m honestly just asking a question trying to clear something up (thats what this is about, no)…

Ill ask again, is Bob was a homer repeating what Rogers wanted him to say about the Jays in August, now hes a great independent journalist who has integrity for rallying against Rogers? I’m just trying to keep my score card straight here? Thank you

William D
William D
December 22, 2015 5:18 pm


You are really and truly starting to sound like another individual on this site, Copying comments from previous post desperately trying to prove a point
same writing style and all, and this individual is obsessed with fighting with people that are not exactly pro Rogers(Kind of creepy).

William D
William D
December 22, 2015 5:20 pm

Sorry I don’t have as much time to follow your posts or any post for that matter as absurdly close.

December 22, 2015 11:14 pm

Am I the only one having trouble with PTS podcasts lately via mobile?

Jim from Abroad
Jim from Abroad
December 23, 2015 1:10 am

They work fine on my ipad.

Matty Zero
December 23, 2015 6:21 am

Unfortunately, for Shapiro, the well was poisoned before he officially arrived, but he should stop constantly pissing in the water.

And, not being a huge basketball guy, but what the Raptors need to truly grip the nation is a star. A true NBA superstar. Hopefully, Durant.

December 23, 2015 11:00 am

William D – I don’t know you from Adam, not sure you’re motivations or issues, I simply judge you from you’re posts on here. You’re choice to attack versus actually addressing the inconsistencies in your comments (ones that are only a month apart) speaks volumes.

Your opinion of quality broadcasters very only on if they are calling out Rogers Communications. If Bob McCown is calling out Rogers on the President debockle, he’s a great example of independence! If he’s defending them and their budget, he’s a homer broadcaster. Its got to be one of the other, it can’t be both?

If you can’t see how you constantly contradict yourself (see examples above), then I’m not sure what else to say. You are more then entitled to do that, but don’t act all shocked and angry when someone does so, because you seem to be coming from a different perspective then most of us.

Have a good holiday

Not That Chris
Not That Chris
December 24, 2015 12:13 am

I really enjoyed the conversation on PTS with Richard Deitsch, today. I wish he was on in the 6PM hour more often.

There were so many ways they could have went. Shannon bringing up that every late night sports tv highlight show looks the same – a young 20 something male and a young something 20 female, which is what SN does – hell, it’s what everyone does now. Or, to the lead-in being the be all end all, if you have the content, and people sticking afterwards and watching the highlight show. I just found it to be a compelling conversation. I liked that TSN was mentioned on a Sportsnet channel without worry, or without being bashed.

William D
William D
December 24, 2015 12:48 am


As I said pretty creepy dude. NO further comment.

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