Toronto Sports Media Mid Week Thoughts


I was going to wait until the weekend to put together some thoughts, but man there is so much going on right now it’s hard not to jump in and comment.

Let’s review what has gone over the last couple of days first:

The Maple Leafs made two trades, one Sunday and one Monday as the cleansing continues.

The Maple leafs have also played a few games

The Toronto Raptors destroyed the Knicks in New York

The Blue Jays pitchers and catchers arrived for spring training

Jose Bautista dropped the hammer, making it abundantly clear that he’s not going to negotiate with the Blue Jays with respect to a new contract, he’s told management what he wants and he thinks it’s up to ownership to realize why he deserves every penny. Rick Westhead opined that Jose asked for $150m over 5 years, a number which Jose refuted(not surprisingly)

The Jays were linked to a three team trade rumor Monday night that apparently fell apart due to the health of a Jays minor leaguer

So, TSN 1050’s new morning, leafs lunch and afternoon drive plus Andrew Walker have had a ton to talk about since they all debuted on Monday.

Add to that the normal nuttiness leading up to the NHL trade deadline and it’s been as busy a time in Toronto sports as I can remember.

Despite what Numeris studies show, sports talk radio is the topic that generates the most passion on this website.  So as no players or managers pay attention to the media, nor do readers of this website listen to sports radio.

Because there is SO much commentary here and on Twitter and I keep getting asked, here is my 2 cents review of all the new shows:

Naylor & Landsberg: Day 1 was too much about it being day 1.  Whatever, they’ve move on.  There was too much talk on all the shows about what the shows were going to be about but I get it.  Here’s why I really like the show already; two guys talking sports intelligently is better than 1.  Simple as that.  I have 2 tests for a show, am I entertained and did I enjoy the banter.  Both days for the times I listened I was.  The breakfast club feature this morning which brought on Bruce Arthur and Steve Simmons which focused on Bautista was great.  It was four talking heads, each with opinions talking about the issue of the day.  I’m relatively easy to please.  It was engaging. Let’s see where we are at in 2 weeks when news is scarce.

New Leafs Lunch: I’m impressed.  The best radio hosts in mind know how to drive, when to speak up, when to let the experts run and when to rein them in.  Andi Petrillo has done just that.  It’s her show, she is driving, however she doesn’t unnecessarily interject or opine when it’s not warranted. But but but I hear you saying I loved the old show with the old guys. Yeah, I hear you, but those guys are in a bigger time slot with a bigger audience.  Anyone who tells me that in 2 days the lunch show is any less compelling wouldn’t be happy with any change.

Andrew Walker: As I stated above, sports radio in pairs is more compelling than when one person drives solo.  So while Walker is doing his best to appeal to the every fan, it’s going to be really hard to sustain solo over time.  His lists and features are fun and it’s the perfect recipe for the mid-day 1-4 slot.  I like Walker bringing in interesting guests like he did on day 1 as opposed to the player who scored the night before who has nothing compelling to say.

TSN Overdrive: Same comment as on Naylor, too much banter early on dedicated to what the show will be about but that was day one.  The guys have proved they’ve brought their lunch time show to prime time.  Hearing Ray Ferraro talking baseball was, um, interesting but let’s be patient and see where it goes.  This show remains a bunch of guys, similar to the guys I went to college with talking sports. I like listening into to that.

I’ll admit that I haven’t heard a minute of the Fan morning show this week.  I did catch a clip of the Fan hockey show at lunch yesterday and it was the same as always is.  Good talk, high energy especially around the deadline.  I saw Richards tweet out a Victor from Y&R today as I was about to listen in and decided against it. I have been listening to McCown as I always do, depending on the topic and of course co-host (I’m a fan of Arash Madani).  Bob remains the best when Bob is engaged on a topic. Today he was talking about which Canadian teams in the NHL were going to be sellers and you can tell he could care less. When he talks Jays, their payroll and Jose, nobody does it better.

To those throwing any of the shows under the bus, Id suggest you give them all some time to find their way.  At the Fan, give Walker a shot to figure out what life looks like driving solo.  At TSN, with the exception of the mid morning show everything is new.  Let them all settle in and figure out which things work and don’t before declaring anything a bust.

On the topic of Jose, wow has there been a ton written and said about the topic:

Michael Grange has a great take. “If ever there was a team that needed spring training to be over like, yesterday, it’s the Toronto Blue Jays. The six weeks between now and opening day? There’s no upside to continuing with the charade. Give the pitchers a throwing program and tell everyone to reconvene for a couple of exhibition games in Montreal in early April and be done with it.

Shi David has been all over this story and continues to deliver top notch opinion.what they do with the all-star right-fielder is really about the direction the team plans to take in 2017 and beyond, the outlook on the competitive window it’s in right now, and how much they plan to spend on players moving forward.

Richard Griffin offered a unique look at what Jose is allegedly asking for. “Blue Jays ownership has now found a way to fight back in the court of public opinion and it will be interesting to see where this battle goes from here and how it affects the clubhouse, with Edwin Encarnacion also looking for an extension by opening day. Players in the clubhouse understand Bautista’s importance is more than just when he steps into the batter’s box.

Bruce Arthur offers a good look at what’s really going on here. “Jose Bautista appears to have made it too easy to say no. He is 35, and he will be a free agent after this season, and the Jays are still in the unexpected window of contention that opened last season. Naturally, he wants to get paid. TSN’s Rick Westhead reported the demand as US$150-million over five years; Bautista, in Dunedin, denied it. A team source, tellingly, let slip to the Star’s Richard Griffin that the number was actually higher.

Steve Simmons states it is how it is right out of the gate. ” Jose Bautista’s bat flip of a contract non-negotiation has made it easy for the Toronto Blue Jays.This will be his last season in Toronto.

Cathal Kelly follows the bouncing ball to connect the dots too. “So where’s the info coming from? It could be a Rogers exec trying to put pressure on Bautista, and going through their main rival to provide distance. It could be a semi-informed busybody passing on gossip masquerading as fact. It could be Bautista’s camp planting misinformation. It could be a Blue Jays staffer. There’s huge interest and a lot at stake – the perfect mix for all sorts of shenanigans.”

Buster Olney hit it right on in his article on ESPN. “But the public negotiating play by Toronto right fielder Jose Bautistaactually took pressure off the Blue Jays’ front office. He did Shapiro and Atkins a huge favor by making hard demands for his next contract. Giving a 35-year-old player — Bautista turns 36 next fall — a four- or five-year top-of-the-market deal does not make sense for the Blue Jays. Making that sort of deal is not quite like banking on winning the lottery to fund your retirement, but it’s close.

Credit, though to Jeff Blair who gives an opinion on what he thinks the Jays should do. “If I were Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, my inclination would be to ride this out with Bautista. Keep him on the contract, suss things out at the trade deadline, offer him compensation then take the draft pick and move on. If Bautista wants $25-$30 million five years down the road, he’d better earn his $16 million this season. And if he does … chances are the Blue Jays have had a good year.

Bottom line, all that’s been written, all that’s been said no one I have read, seen or heard has suggested the Blue Jays should or will pay Jose what he’s going to want.  Almost all media members from both Toronto and elsewhere are suggesting this is the beginning of the end of the Jose run in Toronto. I know they are all saying it won’t be a distraction to the team, I simply find it hard to believe given how crazy it’s been 1 day into spring training that it will settle down any time soon with one caveat.  Winning.  If the Jays fly out of the gate there will be no distractions.  If the fall out of the gate or stumble buckle up.


Happy hump day.



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Rob J
Rob J
February 23, 2016 11:43 pm

Nice summary, TSM. Crazy few days for a fanbase in desperate need of some sustained success from their teams.

February 24, 2016 3:18 am

I am really enjoying the last few days with all that’s going on and off the field , the ice and the media. Great time to be a sports fan and a very good read , let’s all enjoy it.

February 24, 2016 7:15 am

Landsberg and Naylor are RAPIDLY growing chemistry.

We have given Blundell, what, 6 months?? TSN found more chemistry in 3 days…

February 24, 2016 8:05 am

I keep saying I wont. but this morning I gave Landsberg and Naylor another chance. Only because Blundell is so awful.

listened for about 15 minutes. That was enough. They suck. Naylor is boring and Landsberg is arrogant and unlike able. I just don’t get what people see in either of them.

I switched to WGR 550 Buffalo. They were trying name all the Sabres named Mike, Micheal or Mikhal since 2000. I know it sounds like brutal radio. but I enjoyed it a lot more than either TSN 1050 or the Fan 590s morning show.

After that they went on to discussing the trade deadline and the Sabres needs. It was pretty good.

I think I’ll tune in again tomorrow. Looks like I’m all about WGR 550 in the morning now. Atleast until the Fan replaces Blundell.

mickey b
mickey b
February 24, 2016 8:38 am

Just my 2 cents. Blundell is definitely not my style. I’m sure he’s doing just fine but wow has he ever fallen from the top in terms of being relevant in the radio scene. No need to say anything more about that. Landsberg and Naylor are very refreshing together. Landsberg is extremely intelligent and if he comes across as arrogant to some just remember what the whole shtick of the king of Toronto sports radio is and keep in mind how well respected and connected he is in the sporting world. He knows what he’s doing. Naylor seems totally rejuvenated with the new show. Hope it’s not just the adrenaline of the change and it’s more to do with the energy of Landsberg bringing out the best in him. I see a lot of potential for this show.
I know if you ever say anything positive about tsn or negative about rogers, a rogers guy will go all rangy here so have to say something negative here about tsn… and I know I’m beating a deadhorse here.. wheeler just isn’t suited for Toronto radio. he sounds much more suited for a small town Ontario local cable show. he’s just way in over his head here in Toronto. I think Cauz is more intelligent than he lets himself come across. No need to always sound like you’re going for the big joke/punch line.
Leafs lunch- andi petrillo is really good. dave poulin is extremely underrated. I know he’s not flashy and not a guy who’s going to get a lot of ratings when he’s on since he can sound dry. However, to anyone with a high hockey IQ, he’s really the one to listen to. He’s enormously respected in high hockey circles (I saw someone once post here that he was responsible for Clarkson contract- hope he was joking or I guess just severely misinformed). Love listening to him.
Overdrive… gotta give o-dog a lot of credit. he’s not the lazy slacker guy that he portrays. anybody who makes it as far in hockey as he did or is as good at golf as he is, is definitely a highly driven person. I’ve seen it with his radio career. he’s jumped in full force and has put in a lot of time and effort in this new career. it’s really nice to see a former athlete work as hard as he does in this field and put in the dirty work (e.g. late Saturday meaningless leaf games taking ridiculous calls after blow outs). In all honesty, I never understood the radio ratings but I guess I’m placed in circles that are not the mainstream because the only radio show I ever hear people speak about religiously was leafs lunch. there’s certainly a lot of buzz about this overdrive show and I wish the guys the best. yesterday went really well with odog, hayes, and beirness subbing in too. hope this show does well as it gives me and the beer league hockey guys fun times to talk about.

February 24, 2016 10:07 am

Leafs Lunch was by far the best radio show on Toronto sports radio and had been for some time. Now that they’re in the 4-7 slot I doubt I’ll ever listen to Mccown besides the Friday roundtable (appointment listening for many years now that is not about to change). Hayes, Noodles, and O’Neal simply have the best chemistry of anyone on sports radio and it’s not even close. Very happy I get to hear more content from them now.

I’ve also been listening to Naylor/Landsberg everyday and give them a solid 7/10 out of the gate. Blundell is unlistenable and Richards was very meh (I only listened in the mornings due to lack of a better option). Was never a fan of Naylor’s 4-7 show but he’s much better when paired with Landsberg. I’ll be excited to see how the show grows in the future. Happy to say Toronto sports fans have a legitimate option in the mornings again.

Credit to PD Jeff Macdonald, he’s done a great service for Toronto sports radio fans. I listened to 1050 more than 590 before this switch (ever since they blew up their morning show and moved T&S to TV) and will listen to the station even more now. There’s increased competition in the game and the FAN will have to step it up or see their ratings decline in my opinion.

February 24, 2016 10:28 am

It seems more like Bell has just given up on 1050 for now, and these are just temporary situations for a few months until they figure out and start implementing a plan for what, if anything, they may want to do with it further down the road.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
February 24, 2016 10:31 am

So much going on – who needs the actual games to keep a keen interest?

Interesting negotiation ploy by Bautista. A+ for originality. F for humbleness.

I liked Walker’s first show – missed the second. He did start down the low path of saying TML took the wrong guy at the draft – hope he doesn’t take that tact to often. Cheeky way to garnish interest and below a knowledgeable sports mind, IMO

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
February 24, 2016 11:00 am

I thought it was pretty funny how the 4 o’clock hour on the Fan started with Bob and Blair both apoplectic about the numbers Westhead reported. They couldn’t have been more dismissive. Yet they had a four man panel on to talk about it. And then Bob started the 5 o’clock hour again dismissing the numbers with pure disdain, claiming he “knew” the numbers were completely wrong. Then went on to discuss the numbers with Madani. I do wonder if Davidi had reported the demand if they would have been so dismissive, or if they would have been reporting it as a scoop. I’ll bet the latter. Such are the egos of the guys who can’t take being upstaged. Debate the numbers, but really, quit sounding like babies about it.

Rob J
Rob J
February 24, 2016 11:08 am

@steve in waterloo
Are you Leaf fans so sensitive and delicate that you can’t handle a legit opinion that there’s even an outside chance that Sir Mark may have picked the ‘wrong’ 18 year-old? Kudos to Walker for implying what so many non-Leaf fans believe: the Leaf management team just may not be infallible and this whole ‘plan’ thing is built on a dozen assumptions which may or may not pan out, just as it is for the other 29 teams.

February 24, 2016 11:09 am

Naylor & Landsberg were better today, Naylor just has to stand up to Landsberg who often seems to be bullying him. Naylor has a ton of experience and can easily back up his arguments when Landsberg disagrees – Naylor went back at him a lot today on the Bautista issues. Beirness was good on Overdrive but 2nd day into the show and it has the problem I mentioned when the show was announced – attendance. Noodles missed the entire show on his way to Edmonton to call a game. And O’Neill left at 6 to do the TSN Panel.

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
February 24, 2016 12:41 pm

I really use to enjoy Shi Davidi in the past.
But,I guess over the winter and now full force he has just
become a cheerleader/wordsmith for his almighty employer.
It really is too bad,thought he was a good writer and reporter.
In the past 6 months he has changed a lot. Maybe someone had a chat with him.

Mike S
Mike S
February 24, 2016 1:52 pm

Yes it was pretty funny to hear McCown dump all over the Westhead report about Bautista, without mentioning Westhead by name of course……..he said the numbers were “made up”

It seems like every time Westhead has a report about the Jays the people at 590 waste no time in dismissing it………it happened in October when he reported that Shapiro expressed disappointment to AA in their first ever meeting about all of the prospects that were traded away………Wilner couldn’t wait to get on the air to call that report “completely untrue”

Mike V
Mike V
February 24, 2016 1:54 pm

Wonder what Bob’s reaction today will be after multiple sources are saying Westhead’s numbers are too low.

Simulcast in Mississauga
Simulcast in Mississauga
February 24, 2016 3:20 pm

I have enjoyed PTS for many years however Bob hasn’t been fully engaged every day for some time and it is noticeable. Perhaps TSN’s new Overdrive will encourage him to not mail it in as much and shake up his cohost roster. When Bob is into a story, nobody on sports radio is better. Incidentally, I predict that Hayes (really the only professional radio person on Overdrive) will switch networks and be Bob’s new cohost next year over at PTS as Bob phases himself out to retirement with a last two year deal.

I’ll miss Leafs Lunch with Hayes and the boys (I used to flip back and forth with Hockey Central at Noon which also needs a major refresh…..perhaps bring in Leah Hextall as host). Andi Petrillo will do an excellent job on Leafs Lunch. She demonstrated strong ability in the host role during an obvious tryout of the new format about a month ago when she did Leafs Lunch for two weeks while Hayes was off/working drivetime. It’s great that Andi will finally get a chance to do something meaningful. When she was on HNIC, the CBC tarted her up with non flattering cloths/makeup and then made her read Twitter feeds…..what a waste! By the way, why has TSN pulled the new Leafs Lunch from its TV schedule??

Jeff Blair knows his baseball but he and Brunt should expand their coverage to other sports. NFL, motorsports, golf, tennis, the business of sports, and yes more hockey. If the double Bees plan to take over from Bob on PTS, they now have a forum where they can’t do themselves much damage if they try something different since mid morning ratings are low anyway.

Rogers is still the champion of sports talk radio by a huge margin according to the ratings. TSN appears to be in for the long haul with its national sports radio coverage but if the recent TSN1050 changes do not increase ratings, and I frankly expect a decrease overall, you have to wonder if a major shakeup in format is coming down the road.

William D
William D
February 24, 2016 5:08 pm

Did anyone here the exchange between Wilner and Blair yesterday?

Wilner is highly opposed to bringing in Jay Bruce at the proposed price and Blair is fine with it as he says there is no other viable option to play right field if Bautista leaves. Things were getting testy. During the call in segment Blair said to a caller, “I really appreciate fans and there viewpoint better then some so called insiders” Jeff went on to make little in direct comments as the segment went on.

February 24, 2016 8:27 pm

I haven’t had a chance to hear the rest of the new TSN programming but I have enjoyed Andi Petrillo on Leafs Lunch with Craig Button but could do without Poulin.

I am not a fan of Andrew Walker, HOWEVER, the little that I have tuned into him he has dialed down his arrogance and homerism toward the Toronto Blue Jays and because slightly less annoying to hear.

Still waiting for the day when Mike Wilner is fired and Scott Ferguson is back hosting Jays Talk.

February 25, 2016 9:50 am

Just heard the great news Brady and Sam Mutt were fired, 2 of the biggest reasons I no longer listen to FAN 590. Brady was a total unlistenable douche bag and Sam the Mutt was an unlistenable embarrassment. Another reason I no longer listen to sports radio is because I have totally excluded hockey from my entertainment schedule. Gary “Money Bags” Bettman has utterly ruined the NHL far too many teams with far too many shitty players = crappy hockey games = NO THANKS NOT INTERESTED GOOD RIDDENCE NHL HOCKEY!!!! Oh and only knuckle head Canadians give 2 shits about hockey, in the US lawn tractor racing is far more popular than Bettman’s NHL.


Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
February 25, 2016 11:11 am

I think it’s interesting (telling) how so many of the talking heads on the Fan trashed Bautista’s salary demands.

Here’s the thing. The Fan talking heads and others, can get themselves whipped into all kinds of righteous indignation, but someone will give Bautista what he wants. And here’s the other thing, all this indignation and sanctimony will give Rogers just what they are looking for, and that is the rationale to not pay Bautista and worse, to put the money back in their huge Rogers wallet and not use it on anyone else.

You need only to look at the David Price situation to see this dynamic plays out. So if you want to get all pissy about Bautista’s demands go ahead. But history shows someone will pay him and when that happens where does that leave the Jays?

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
February 25, 2016 1:12 pm

@Pants…Very well said and true.
At the end of the day JB (barring a major injury in 2016)
holds all the cards and he damm well knows it.

February 25, 2016 4:13 pm

Just read on Twitter that Jeff Sammut has joined NewsTalk 1010. Great to see the guy get back on his feet. Could not care less what happens to Greg Brady.

February 25, 2016 4:44 pm

@Justin The roundtable is appointment listening?? Not when Shannon is on, which is basically every week. On a Tuesday Bob praised Kevin Harlan and TnT for having the best panel in sports. He even described what made it great. On Friday Bob had Mr. Magoo on his panel. There must be some contractual obligation because Shannon is listener repellant.

As far as the new Naylor/Landsberg show goes, it’s getting better each day. Blundell is a flop and TSN has pounced on an opportunity to satisfy an underserved morning market. That said, I change the station at 9 am. Wheeler doesn’t do it for me. Cauz/Cohen would be better on his own.

@Simulcast The difference between Petrillo and Hextall is that Petrillo has an ideal radio voice. I find Hextall (although knowledgeable) difficult to listen to. It’s a distraction. That said, Petrillo’s show needs more than the usual TSN suspects. Button is good in small doses, same for Dreger. If these guys talk too much, I lose interest. Dreger has great information, he just runs out of it after maybe 10 minutes or he repeats what he’s said on every other TSN platform. Button just gets too excited sometimes. It can be overwhelming, if not anger-generating.

Overdrive is going well, but if anything, it suffers a little from trying too hard. The bits like “Gerry’s Percentages” have lacked the humour of previous editions. That said, I haven’t listened to PTS for more than 5 minutes all week. I’m happy for Hayes. Great voice, even if he can’t pronounce his Rs.

February 25, 2016 7:50 pm

Bob jokingly suggested today that “one of the TSNs” should carry his show.

February 26, 2016 10:01 am

Busy week but the quote of the week goes to Roger Lajoie who, at about 7:15 last night said, ‘I am sick and tired of people calling in complaining that our station is owned by the baseball team.’ Caught himself, but hello Freudian slip.

Rob J
Rob J
February 26, 2016 10:12 am

Sorry, but Romanuk was way better last night: “the hurricanes are fighting for a playoff spot while the leafs are (looong pause) in the bottom portion of the league”. Someone can’t handle the truth of his fave team’s ineptness.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
February 26, 2016 2:20 pm

Warning: Matt Cauz went on vacation after today’s show – sounds like it is for more than one week. I assume that leaves Wheeler to fly solo in his absence….If Wheeler hasn’t completely ruined that time slot for TSN 1050 already, this may get it over the top. He has GOT to go. I keep trying to listen for the guests and because Cauz is entertaining, but I’ve completely gone to Dan Patrick now. I will listen to recorded audio of Cauz on…(Richards show is Haz Mat for me. I won’t listen at all – there are no reasons to).

February 26, 2016 3:22 pm

@Rob in Aurora I too stay as far away from Wheeler as possible. Dan Patrick is a great alternative. I swear I heard Tatti on TSN 1150 Hamilton yesterday doing a “game day” show. That sounds much more entertaining than Wheeler.

Mike S
Mike S
February 26, 2016 4:30 pm

Tatti does do a show each day from noon to 2 PM on TSN 1150

I think they also have been airing an hour of The Rich Eisen Show each day after Tatti’s show

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