Toronto Sports Media Post Edwin Wrap & More

photo from here 



Lots to talk about in the whacky world of sports media.


So, as expected since November 11:


and there you have it.

Edwin is officially gone.

This of course set off a bevy of activity before the Xmas holiday. Twitter exploded and then the real content emerged.  Some good, some not so much.

The best I’ve seen? This gem from John Lott over at The Athletic:

The deal underscored the irony in a remark Jays general manager Ross Atkins made during the winter meetings, when he was discussing, in general terms, the bidding for elite free agents.“It ultimately comes down to how much you really want the player,” Atkins said.”

” The days to come will bring widespread criticism of the still-new regime of Mark Shapiro and Atkins and the tediously familiar – and in this case, patently unfair – shots at owner Rogers Communications.”

“Atkins’ daily media sessions often left writers to read between the lines, but the GM’s murky verbiage made it increasingly clear that the Jays believed even their four-year offer to Encarnacion was risky business.”

“This is not on Rogers, which provided the resources to commit US$80-million to Encarnacion. This is on Shapiro and Atkins, whose showcase additions, so far, are named Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, and whose bullpen and outfield have big holes.”

This from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi:

“The Blue Jays moved aggressively at the beginning of November, delivering their best offer just as free agency was about to open. Encarnacion had some time to explore the open market and get a sense of what other options he might have, but wasn’t ready to commit when the Blue Jays needed an answer.”

This too was good from Richard Griffin at the Toronto Star:

“The Jays set a deadline to accept their offer, but then reportedly extended it several days in order to give the Edwin camp more time, but Kinzer believed that other teams were ready to enter the bidding for more years and more guaranteed dollars. He was dead wrong and the moment passed. The Jays are now a lesser team because of it, and Encarnacion is in Cleveland.”

I loved this from Dirk Hayhurst:

“The baseball market, for the record, never plays by Equilibrium Theory, at least not intentionally. If it did, that would constitute collusion. Instead, baseball goes by the old Adam Smith maxim of every man for himself. It relentlessly pushes for the best options, to be the best, driving up the price of talented free agents. It’s certainly what Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, expected. Which is why Encarnacion should fire him.”

This is really good stuff from Scott MacArthur over at TSN:

“Firstly, this is not a scenario in which club owner Rogers Communications should be accused of pinching pennies. The $80-million guaranteed offered Encarnacion by the Blue Jays will go down as the highest bid for the slugger this off-season.”

“Fans will be angry over the deadline imposed on Encarnacion. That’s absolutely fair. Here’s what happened: Shapiro and Atkins made Encarnacion the $80-million offer and told him they needed a quick answer. The initial deadline was extended, twice, for a total of about 72 hours, which gave Encarnacion approximately a week to consider the offer.”

“Encarnacion and his agent Paul Kinzer, however, were under no illusion. They’d been told by Shapiro and Atkins that the Blue Jays would move to make other signings if a deal didn’t get done. When the deadline passed, Shapiro and Atkins sprang into action and signed Kendrys Morales to a three-year, $33-million deal on November 11.”

The view from Cleveland:

No competitor has ever conquered Father Time, but the commitment to Encarnacion — who turns 34 on Jan. 7 — only has to persist for three years, and if his numbers are any indication, the Indians should feel comfortable with the pledge. It’s those six- and seven-year pacts that tend to truly cripple teams’ payrolls and flexibility. Encarnacion at $20 million per year for three years is much more of a bargain than Napoli at, say, $15 per year for two years.”

The most out of touch reaction?


and of course this from our beloved charged(until proven either guilty or innocent) assaulting scribe:

He had one career shot at exploiting the spoils of free agency. At that point the club had exclusive bargaining rights with Encarnacion. They could have sewn up his future fealty. But the braintrust of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, cleaving to the false idol of analytics, tried a gambit so disrespectful to a proud man that Encarnacion shut down any further discussion for the rest of the year. You can’t blame an agent who ultimately misread the market for misjudgments back in March.

This is as good as when Toth took Canadians to task for only being fans of jr Hockey during the WJC’s.

Based upon everything out there and lots of banter here is what I believe:

I think Rogers approved the budget Shapiro requested.

I think Shapiro viewed the Jays as in need of an overhaul.  I think Edwin and Jose were exhibits A and B.  I think if they had there way they would have torn things down before last season but ownership was loathe to let them do that.

Why then offer 80/4?

I think it was a genuine offer and they were okay if he took it.  I think ownership supported it. I think they knew he would not.

I think they gave EE lots of time to consider; I think the agent had feelers out there for months on what his client could command on open market and he wanted that market to materialize. Hence the rejection.

I don’t know who rejected it though, was it EE or was it the agent who told EE to reject it.

I am convinced we will learn more about that point sooner rather than later.

I think fans need to give Shapiro the chance to field his team. It is only December 23rd.

I think attendance at Jays games rises and falls with on field performance. If the Jays are winning the dome is full and life is good. If the Jays are not winning it’s back to 12-15k and I don’t care how good the farm system is it will be panic city at Rogers. Not only have the Jays been a hit at the box office, they have likely saved jobs in all sorts of places throughout Rogers Media too. Radio, TV and online media sales all have been on fire during the Jays run.  Turn off that faucet and well it won’t be the ratings on fire. While I don’t think the Jays should listen to the fans, I do think attendance and ratings are of tremendous importance.

When Rogers Communications announced its third-quarter results in October, its biggest jump in revenues came in its media division. It was up by $60 million, or 13 per cent, over a year earlier. On a conference call with analysts, executives were asked how much of that was due to the World Cup of Hockey, which was new to the September schedule and had provided dozens of Sportsnet broadcasts. Rogers’ chief financial officer responded this way: “Third quarter is generally not a big hockey impact. What you see in the third quarter is really as a result of the Jays.” He explained further what a successful Toronto Blue Jays team, one that was in a pennant race through the late summer and fall, meant to the parent company’s results: ‘We continue to see … the improvements in not only attendance and all that brings in terms of revenue, but also viewership and the associated revenue with that. And so that’s what you’re largely seeing in the third quarter.” via Scott Stinson at The National Post

Last thing, I’d be stunned if Jose comes back.


Some random thoughts:

I know many of you have wondered about by pro CRTC ruling on Superbowl.  Look, I get it.  The network completely, and unfairly had the rugged pulled out from underneath them.  They likely pre-sold the game and now have to return the money and they don’t get a refund on the rights. That last point is take.  The league should either refund them in part (and they don’t want to do that see their opposition to the ruling) or give them a share of the US ads (also unlikely).

I know many of you say who cares, you can watch the ads online anyway.  That’s not the point. The actual game is secondary to the event of Superbowl and the commercials are part of that. Canadians have been robbed of the full experience for years and I think that’s crap.  The vast majority of the best ads (and total ads for that matter) are all for products and services available in Canada too.  Why the league is not forcing the USA broadcaster to secure NA rights for their ads is beyond me.  Dorritos are available on both sides of the border. Why not give the Canadian network a small cut of the ad buy? It’s not that hard.

I am very much against the protectionism of Canadian content. Let the audience decide what it want’s to consume.

I am told the Toronto Star sports section on Thursday was all of 4 pages at the back of the GTA section.  Is this what it has come to in newspapers in Toronto?

Yours truly is going to be at the Lakers, Raptors game in LA on New Years day. Anyone else?

The USA Today today ran 52 predictions for sports in 2017. 0 dealt with hockey on the NHL. Soccer, skiing, tennis, horse racing, golf, boxing, UFC, auto racing, NASCAR all listed multiple times  but no hockey.

It’s award season or holiday wish season and Richard Deitsch has a great read on the USA side of things here.

So before I (and Mike) give you ours, lets see what you got:

In the comments fill out your ballot:

Best Toronto Sports Media Member of 2016__________________________

Best New Toronto Sports Media Member of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Radio Host of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Radio Guest of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media TV Host of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media TV Guest of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Analyst of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Play by Play of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Colour Commentator of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Columnist of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Beat Writer of 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Baseball 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Hockey 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Basketball 2016__________________________

Best Toronto Sports Media Insider 2016__________________________


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