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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