The 2016 Jim “Shaky” Hunt Sports Media Awards

by mike in boston @mikeinboston and TSM @yyzsportsmedia


With 2016 coming to a close we here at TSM HQ sat down and took a look back at the year that was in Toronto sports media. Here are our our picks for the Shakies in 2015.  Add yours below. You can check out last year’s winners here.


Best Overall


Mike: The AthleticTO. This is the first new thing to happen in Toronto sports media since Sportsnet Magazine (RIP), and the first thing to break a mould since … radio streaming? Daily podcast feeds? Regardless, it’s a big deal because it’s something that hasn’t been tried before. Sports media is a very conservative industry which is why TV, radio, and print have all been selling the same thing, essentially, my entire life.


Whenever I write about TheAthletic I get snarky notes from traditional media folks, reminding me that their concept is not proven, and that most of their staff were available for a reason. I don’t want to debate that here (I have a post coming down the road on that). I do agree that TheAthletic should probably tone down their slogans advertising that they have the best writers in Toronto. That’s the sort of thing other people should be saying about you before you start saying it about yourself. Also, there are some pretty darn good writers at other places.


Slogans aside, the concept they are trying is just right: compete with both the newspapers and the blogs and hope to draw from both installed user-bases.The business side of the model is a little more speculative: they need to prove their value over the value of “free”, and there is plenty of good quality free stuff out there. I can fill my morning reading with free content almost every day of the year.


Part of their strategy to get people to pay is to provide “unique” content. (You can read my interview with Editor in Chief James Mirtle here.) To be honest, I have not read anything so far that meets that high bar. In fact it seems like most of their writers are doing basically what they were doing at their last employer, just more of it.


Further, they advertise themselves as a “mobile first” publication. Their iOS app basically works fine on my phone but it is actively unpleasant on my iPad. If you do most of your reading on yours, you might find yourself using the website exclusively (as I am). Lots of work still to be done there.


Given those criticisms why are they being fêted here? One very big reason: they are not an established media outlet. Here is why that matters. During my lifetime I have witnessed:


  • All Toronto sports teams fall under the control of 2 media companies who, in most cases, own the teams together.


  • Those same 2 companies establish media empires whereby they control all the broadcasts of all the sports teams in Toronto.


  • Sports journalism cut and slashed at traditional outlets.


  • The remaining journalists either supplement their incomes by going to work for those same 2 companies. Or they jump ship altogether to work exclusively for one of those 2 companies covering the teams those companies own.


Let me be clear. No one asked for this, and this is no one’s idea of a healthy media environment for objective sports journalism. I am not blaming anyone in the media for the choices they have made.


My point is rather to remind the audience: it wasn’t always this way. There was a time when there was genuine competition for broadcast rights. The Score, CBC, Global, AM640, AM1010, CHCH … all used to carry games or be in the bidding for rights. There was also a time when we had (much maligned) individuals as team owners. There was even a time when almost none of your favourite writers worked for an employer that owned the team they were covering. That time wasn’t that long ago.


Therefore, the reason I am most excited about The Athletic is that they are independent. Yes, Mirtle is still affiliated with TSN for the time being. But overall their operation is free of corporate meddling due to worries about losing or gaining rights. As such, their writers are going to be far less encumbered when they do their jobs.


Whether The Athletic will use this unique position in the market to write stories others wouldn’t is yet to be seen. Whether they will be able to survive without capitulating to corporate media coercion is also yet to be seen. Fingers crossed.


That is why I am a subscriber. It’s not because I think all their writers are worth paying for (I don’t). It’s because Toronto sports fans should be rejoicing  at the presence of an independent voice in Toronto sports media. That is why The Athletic is my winner for Best Overall.


(p.s. – I wasn’t going to say anything nice about them but they gave me a cool t-shirt on Wednesday.)


TSM:  While I am totally geeked about The AthleticTO  I am not prepared to give them the crown.  To me there were two contenders for best of the year in the Toronto Sports Media world and that would be, collectively the Blue Jays Beat and the Toronto Raptors Beat.  Perhaps it’s a cop out but covering winning teams is likely easier than covering losing franchises but in my mind those who cover the teams day in and day out for these two teams hands down deserve the credit.


On the Blue Jays side you have the radio crew at the Fan 590, the Sportsnet TV guys and a slew of newspapers and website writers.  Buck Martinez, Jerry Howarth, Mike Wilner, Pat Tabler, Dan Shulman, Jamie Campbell, Gregg Zaun, Joe Siddall, we can add in Shi Davidi, Barry Davis and Hazel Mae there are too many Jays writers.


On the Raptors side you have radio crew at both TSN 1050 and Fan 590, TV on both TSN and Sportsnet and then the same newspapers and website writers.  Eric Smith, Matt Devlin, Jack Armstrong, Paul Jones, Rod Black, Sherm Hamilton, Leo Rautins, Sam Mitchell, Josh Lewenberg, Meghan McPeak, Duane Watson, Doug Smith, Mike Ganter, Ryan Wolstat, Eric Koreen, Rachel Brady, Michael Grange,


To me, after much consideration I’ve voted for the Raptors reporters.  I admit, with the team winning and going deeper into the playoffs I found myself watching more and games, listening to more interviews and games and reading whatever I could about the league and the team and I can say that Raptors fans were really well served in 2016!


As you now I spend a ton of time on the road and I get to watch and listen to many teams play by play teams and I am happy to report that I would put the Raptors crew up there against most other NBA teams reporters.


It’s a really long season with tons of peaks and valleys, we don’t always win and we have a GM who has been, for the most part, hands-off.  There haven’t been a ton of trades, there’s not a huge amount of rumors and yet the coverage is really good.  More importantly it’s really good consistently.


Especially important the coverage is REALLY good in a town that is Maple Leaf first and second and Blue Jays third.  The Raptors had yet to advance in the playoffs before last season and many a fan had a ‘show me’ attitude.  So, despite lots of content and information from the journalists, fans were skeptical. So, in my mind I think those who covered the Raptors join in the award of Best of 2016.


Most Improved


TSM:  Damien Cox (FAN590) I will admit I, like others found Damien’s appointment to the perma-co-host chair of PTS a curious move given is history on the show.  Well, consider me convinced that Damien the radio co-host is damn good at his job.  PTS with Mccown and Cox at his side is really good.  They are no longer all negative all the time.  Much of what was wrong with the show when they appeared together before is now nonexistent.  They feed off each other well, they complement each other well in interviews and truth be told they are equally as insightful in their “monologues” as they are with guests.  What surprises me the most is that they both seem to be really enjoying what they are doing.  The knock (more on Mccown) is that of boredom and being tired.  At least when these two are together I don’t get that sense at all.


Mike: Arash Madani (Sportsnet). Improved is not really the right word here. Arash has always been a good journalist and a good broadcaster. What I mean is that in the last 3 years or so his profile has rocketed to the top of Sportsnet’s power rankings. Since 2012 he has covered 3 Olympics for Sportsnet, the Superbowl, in addition to regular coverage of tennis, CFL, Jays, and hockey. When Sportsnet NWO’ed Hockey Night in Canada he started appearing across the country as a rinkside reporter. He has also slotted in as a regular co-host on PTS. Finally, he does play-by-play for university football and basketball.


I can’t think of anyone at any network who is as versatile as Arash. I’m not competent to evaluate some of his portfolio, but for the parts on which I can comment he is (in my opinion) doing a great job. As someone who cares a lot about radio, Arash has been a breath of fresh air on PTS. He nicely avoids getting sucked in to Bob’s favourite sports: arguing about nothing. He’s almost as good when it comes to Bob’s second favourite sport: making his co-host debate dumb positions no reasonably intelligent person holds. Bob is yet to meet a straw man he didn’t want to spend hours fighting. Arash also avoids the common PTS co-host flaw of trying to sound like the smartest guy at the table by talking over everyone. In short, he’s very good at radio. I think he can be even better.


Sportsnet is not always great at putting people’s talents to best use. They deserve a ton of credit here for how they have handled Arash. (Aside: you can see them doing the same good thing with Arden Zwelling now. He could be a star at the network.) In 2017 I would like to see them streamline his duties and make him a regular voice on the biggest stories. Keep him far away from Tim&Sid and Dean Blundell and Ken Reid.


There are few people in Toronto sports media who I think couldn’t easily be replaced. Arash Madani is one of them. That is why I am awarding him Most Improved in 2016. (Just stop taking sideswipes at the CFL on Twitter.)


Best Article


TSMI have a few to add in here, I really like this one by Doug Gilmour of all people. This from Shi Davidi (Sportsnet) was a gem too. I really liked this piece by David Shoalts (Globe) too.


Mike: if I had to pick one, I would probably go with this one from Bruce Arthur (Star) on the growing pains in the Jays fanbase. It very nicely captures the sense in which the “torture” of 2016’s wildcard race is part of what we have missed all these years. I’m also partial to it because I lived in Boston when the Red Sox broke the 86 year curse. Jays fans are only 25 years — less than a 1/3rd of the way — into their own World Series exile. As I have quoted here before, in the words of Cormac McCarthy: “There are no absolutes in human misery and things can always get worse.” Let’s not get too satisfied with making the AL finals.


Mike: Worst Article: No contest. This article by C-Kelly (Globe) on Tim Raines is the perfect combination of pretension and condescension. Here’s a taste:

“I’m going to do you the favour of assuming you have real problems. If Tim Raines’s hall-of-fame tragedy ranks near the top of that list, then congratulations. Your life is blessed beyond measure.”


Twitter Awards


Best Follow:


Mike: To be honest I probably unfollowed more accounts than I added in 2016. So without anyone specific in mind, let me give this award to those of you who don’t tweet out scores or “Bautista bomb!!!” while you watch the game on TV. It is very much appreciated. Anyone who is already watching the game knows what happened. Anybody interested in the game but not watching probably follows the media who are at the game giving live updates. Those tweets are both redundant and an active nuisance. No one is going to retweet them. This award is for those of you who exercise a modicum of restraint on Twitter. You are the real heroes.


TSM: Jon Morosi and Bruce Arthur immediately came to my mind, however the hands down winner for me this year is Richard Deitsch.  A favorite to listen to for sure, however his focus on media and business make him a big favorite of mine.


Best Tweet


Mike: Leave it to Bob McCown to perfectly express this thought. Whenever I find someone cluttering up my feed I check their tweets to followers ratio. If you have 1000 followers and 46,000 tweets might I suggest re-thinking your social media strategy. Give “less is more” a try.



TSM: Tie goes to:


  • Rosie: you make it easy to love hate you:



  • Mike Commodore after Donald Trump won the election



Worst Tweet


Mike: this was hotly contested all year and ended in a tie with two very deserving candidates




TSMSorry Mike, Naylor wins hands down.


Most Annoying Media Twitter habit:


Mike: when several people at the same outlet retweet every single thing one of their colleagues writes. This clogs up my feed with the same content, each time enhanced by your comment that this is the most important thing I’ll read today. This makes me less likely to read it.


TSM: Media members who go on blocking binges.


Mike’s Miscellaneous Awards


  • The Buffalo Bills award: TSN1050, because there’s always next year. Seriously, you would think that just the law of averages would have helped their ratings at some point. That said, I have been doing some digging on PPM technology, its history and its outcomes. I also have been fed some serious dirt on Numeris that I’m mulling over. Watch for more radio ratings talk in 2017.


  • Worst Sports Department: The Globe. I have no idea what they are doing. More than ever I am leaning towards them just shutting it down. Roy MacGregor wrote the early contender for best article in 2017. Heartbreaking. This story has been told before, but never better. New idea: the Globe should forget about a daily sports section and just publish one big one on Saturdays filled with content of this quality. Heck, make it a bi-weekly or monthly digital magazine. I’d subscribe.


  • Best New Regular Guest: Marcellus Wiley on Overdrive. Great analysis from a player’s perspective. The fact that he was a defensive end rather than a QB/WR/LB/CB makes him really unique. Smart get by TSN1050.


  • Worst Interview: Kristina Rutherford interviewing Gary Bettman for Sportsnet Magazine. Looking at the body of work I see that fun profile type interviews with athletes is her thing. Cabbie (170k followers) does the same kind of thing for TSN. Nothing wrong with that. But you’re interviewing Gary Bettman, one of the most controversial figures in hockey, for a Canadian audience in a magazine that focuses on journalism. Do you think Ron MacLean or Stephen Brunt would ask Gary how well he skates? If Gary is not going to let you conduct a proper interview then why bother printing it? Rutherford is clearly capable of doing excellent journalism, for example this beautifully written piece. To give her a cupcake interview with Gary undermines her credibility, and reflects poorly on the magazine and the network.


  • Best commenter on TSM: whoever called Jonah a department store lawyer. That one is framed and on the wall at TSM HQ. Makes me laugh every time. In all seriousness: this award goes to all of you who can disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks for commenting on my columns.


  • Worst aspect of TSM: the number of people in the industry who come here to anonymously slam others. Venting is healthy but I would much prefer you do that on your own website. We like that you read us. Please don’t use the comments to troll each other.


  • (Jonah)I’ll add … Those come here and change their names and think we don’t know who you are.  Secondly, attack us all you want, but to run and hide when we respond, not cool.


  • The “Because it’s 2016” award: TSN/TSN1050 for hiring 3 women to do something other than narrate highlights or read traffic updates: Andi Petrillo (Leafs Lunch), Kristen Shilton (Leafs beat), Meghan McPeak (Raptors 905)


  • Co-Worker of the Year award: Dean Blundell (FAN590). Look forward to Shi Davidi’s next appearance.


  • Best Media Coverage award: easy, Jack Todd (special to the Montreal Gazette) — this is, after all, his field. He had so many unforgettable sports media columns in 2016. I couldn’t pick a favourite.



  • The “Milford Academy” award: MLSE’s new CEO. He was neither seen nor heard in 2016.


Jonah’s Miscellaneous Awards


  • Mulligan award: Knee jerk reaction to sh!tty ratings on HNIC and Rogers in general that led to a blood letting, the flogging of George Stroumboulopoulos and the return of Ron Maclean.  Lousy Canadian teams, too much hockey were what plagued ratings. Screwing with people’s careers is not cool.  Funny how those who make bad deals don’t seem to pay the price. Ratings may go up, it will have nothing to do with the change in on air talent.


  • ¡Ya basta! award:  I get that the industry is in deep trouble.  I get the papers are all but dead. I get that Mike and I and a few others are the only ones who listen to sports radio. I get that digital has not caught on in the newspaper business. I get all of that.  What I can’t accept is that the only answer ownership has is to lay people off.  It was one thing to cover the media business when all they did was rip on my teams.  I despised the negativity but I got it.  This, I can’t stomach anymore.  Shame on those outlets who did little more than let good people go this year. Find away to cut costs in ways that don’t include severance checks. Find ways to grow revenue.  Take your collective heads out of your a$$e$$ and recognize that times have changed and you need smart(er) people to figure this out.


  • Bo Knows award: 2016 was a crazy year for much more than sports. 2016 was the year that the world watched in awe horror amazement as the Donald run for and then got elected President of the United States. Several sports personalities took the time, and lots of it to comment on the political games.  Like or hate what he had to say, no one in Canada on the sports side owned the election banter like Bruce Arthur. Arthur is a must follow on Twitter for all things current events.


  • And The Oscar Goes to:  Lots of outlets spend big bucks on video.  They think that’s what we the consumer wants to consume all the time.  While they are wrong on many accounts, it’s a tad ironic that the best video piece in the sports world this year is the “low budget” looking SCTV meets Carpool Karaoke piece by Elliotte Friedman with Bruce Boudreau:​


  • Worst sports website: Tie — Toronto Sun and TSN. Both are embarrassing. Yes this is a repeat from last year’s Shakies but neither outlet has done F all about their lousy platforms.


  • Rookie of the year:  Mike’s covered it above in great detail but without question The AthleticTO is the runaway winner for this award.


Those are our awards for 2016. What are yours?  Also feel free to give out any awards we missed … Best traffic updates? Best new radio show? Best sports editor? 



Happy New Year everyone.

Thanks for reading.

Consider making your new year’s resolution a commitment to commenting here more often. Discussion is what keeps us motivated to write.

Mike and Jonah/TSM

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January 14, 2017 9:19 am

Great post as always. First time, long time, etc.

This site is my go to every Saturday morning, and posts like this are the reason why.

My mostly irrelevant $.02…..I’m a TSN radio fan. I refuse to listen to the Fan after the way they treated their on air talent going back to the Stellick/Landry terminations. Maybe it’s my ignorance about the business, but they’ve made so many changes since those days – without improving the quality of their product in my opinion – that I just can’t get attached to them anymore.

Having said that, I think I’m fortunate to not be on the road as much these days. What I’ve heard of the TSN day time talent hasn’t been particularly engaging either. The 12 year old in me loves Overdrive, though maybe it’s because I think Bryan Hayes may end up being the heir apparent to the top spot in Toronto radio.

Again, just my $.02….looking forward to interesting Saturday mornings in 2017.

January 14, 2017 9:24 am

Nicely done. However… when you suggest that The Athletic is one of the few media outlets in Toronto that can practice free speech without worrying about corporate overlords, you are making a massive oversight. It's a new shop. And internet based. And that means their media credentials (their lifeblood) is far from guaranteed. So if there are enough critical stories about teams or leagues, it would be easy for teams to pull those credentials, and who is left in the media who would go to the wall to defend them? (no one)

Mike V
Mike V
January 14, 2017 11:49 am

“I get snarky notes from traditional media folks, reminding me that their concept is not proven, and that most of their staff were available for a reason.”

Well they were available because the geniuses running your company keeps employing hot taking dinosaurs like Steve Simmons and Rosie DiManno, paying them ungodly amounts of money in this day based on seniority leaving the “lesser” talented people with pink slips.

God, your print industry in DYING (in Postmedia’s case this is almost certainly on purpose) and the only go-forward business model you have is beg Trudeau to give you our money. Maybe cool it with the smack talk to the ones actually trying to appeal to sports fans. Such fucking hubris from those who shouldn’t have any.

I’m wondering how many comments you estimate are anonymous industry people taking swipes. I’ve always presumed the vast majority are on the up and up but maybe that’s naive.

January 14, 2017 12:04 pm

Thanks for the outstanding read and all the hard work I'm sure that went in to it. I totally agree Arash Madani is truly a up and coming in business and possible  successor or co host when Bob McCown does decide to retire. Lots of moving pieces in the media landscape should make it to be very interesting  in the future, all the fall out that it brings and unfortunate loss the jobs to those who have no control over those decisions.

January 14, 2017 12:24 pm

Fantastic read. A few comments:

-Can’t stress enough how great the Blue Jays coverage has been on all Sportsnet platforms. They’ve clearly sunk a lot of money into it the last couple of years and it shows. Coverage is wall-to-wall and there’s some immensely talented people covering the team, especially Shi Davidi. Sometimes they can come off as inherently biased (freakin Wilner) but people like Zaun and Mccown aren’t afraid to lay into the team when necessary. Top-notch coverage IMO.

-I highly disagree with the assertion that The Athletic’s writers are “out of a job for a reason” or whatever. Yeah – they’re out of a job because their former employers failed miserably at business management. Lott is the #1 Jays beat guy around, Koreen has been my favourite Raptors writer for years, and Mirtle is the #1 Leafs guy for me. They also aren’t really just doing the same thing as they did at newspapers – Lott’s been writing longer feature articles and Mirtle is writing longer pieces and a lot more about analytics. They’re less constrained than they were in newspapers and it shows.

-Bruce Arthur is a must-follow for current events? Lol!! His manic anti-Trump obsession is annoying and tiresome. I stopped seeking out his articles in the Star months ago because of his insufferable twitter feed – the exact thing the Star wanted to avoid. I’m not usually a fan of the phrase “stick to sports” but it really does apply to Bruce.

-Lastly, you guys are bang on about Madani. The more I listen to him fill in, the more I think he’s the top choice to replace Bob on PTS when he retires. And he’s still improving.

January 14, 2017 1:48 pm

Courage award goes to Mike Hogan for being the only one at TSN to be able to attempt and almost successfully pronounce the woman's name who does traffic and weather. 'And now for traffic and weather, here's Adwoa Nsiah-Yeboah. Brian Hayes is the one who throws it to her the most but he always wimps out and just says ‘Here's Adwoa’. Sneaky eight syllable name there -( Ad-je-wah In-see-ya Ye-bwa ) two more syllables than George Stroumboulopoulos. If O'Neill practices for a month he may be able to pronunce it. Should try. 

Paul G.
Paul G.
January 14, 2017 1:50 pm

Great piece.  Plenty of material to engage us in healthy debate. 

Looking forward to another year of TSM and MIB.

Koko B. Ware
Koko B. Ware
January 14, 2017 4:37 pm
Reply to  yaz

Really? Do listeners even need to know who is reporting traffic? I could care less if Donald Duck or Donald Trump is sharing the current traffic conditions.  That being said, I think Hayes is bang on for only saying "Here's Adwoa".  Unless he says it out of disrespect, what's the issue?

January 14, 2017 5:16 pm

What did Dean say about Shi? I sensed sarcasm in that point but don’t recall what Dean might have said about Shi. Did they get into it over something?

January 14, 2017 8:57 pm
Reply to  Koko B. Ware

You've changed, Koko.

January 15, 2017 8:26 am

You need to lay off Cathal Kelly. Just because you're not smart enough to understand his writing doesn't mean it is bad. He's the best sports writer in Canada. At this point he's passed Stephen Brunt as the best ever at the Globe & Mail. And Kelly never ran with the Olympic torch.

Koko B. Ware
Koko B. Ware
January 15, 2017 9:36 am

How do?

Koko B. Ware
Koko B. Ware
January 15, 2017 9:37 am

How so?

Mike S
Mike S
January 15, 2017 2:47 pm
Reply to  Randy


You can read about the Blundell-Davidi story here (in the Low Hanging Fruit section):

Too Much
Too Much
January 15, 2017 7:10 pm
Reply to  Jax

Jax, I too am a big fan of Cathal Kelly. The cited article in no way is pretentious or condescending. I don't always agree with Kelly but really enjoy his writing; you have to pay attention and think.

January 15, 2017 8:45 pm
Reply to  Jax

Bang on about Kelly – He is extremely engaging and offers a great read…Here are some words to live by:  "Just because you don't get the jokes doesn't mean they aren't funny"…Some people don't understand his writing, so they dump on him…he's extremely bright and he shows it off in his work. Nothing wrong with that as far as I am concerned

Mike V
Mike V
January 16, 2017 4:14 am
Reply to  Jax

I'm the other way on Kelly. He is so, so far below the standard that used to be at the globe 10 years ago and this quote is a good example why. It's useles trolling. Another is the article he wrote after the Blue Jays made the minor announcement that Ben Cherington had joined the front office, which looks especially dumb after the team made it to the ALCS. It's not that I don't get the jokes he's trying to make. But pompous snark to this extent is not a good look on him. 

January 16, 2017 8:30 am

@Too Much @robinaurora


Glad to hear it's not just me who appreciates Kelly. Some of us want sports commentary that is more intelligent. Haters need to consider that maybe they are not smart enough to understand what Kelly is trying to do.


I feel the same way about Rosie DiManno at the Star. She takes so much trash from people who just don't get it. She's one of the best writers in Canada. Right up there with Cathal.

Species 1967
January 16, 2017 1:56 pm

The Athletic says they are a "premium destination for Toronto sports coverage, analysis and expert opinion for fans that get it. No ads. No fluff."

I think that's mostly fine, though sometimes "fluff" is what builds a community. Inside jokes, memes, fun. I think, in the long run, you need some of that. Newspapers have always had fluff – an editorial cartoonist, comics, crosswords, odd news – because from time to time people like a break from "analysis and expert opinion" but want to still stay in the same ecosystem.

It's been two years and people still mention to me they are making James van Riemsdyk's Power Play penne for dinner. Sometimes you can be too serious.

January 16, 2017 2:20 pm
Reply to  Mike V

100 percent. Its not a lack of intelligence, I graduated from one of the most highly regarded universities in Canada, I can read and comprehend as a fairly high level I'd think (I would have never survived school without it) I can comprehend Kelly. I get what he's doing, he's trying to be a globe version of Simmons, smart and sharp worded, but talking 'hot takes' to get noticed. 

He can do what he wants, but live by the sword die by the sword, he has a lot of poor takes (on purpose im sure) to get noticed. When you make bad hot takes, you have to deal with having bad hot takes, no different than Simmons. 

January 16, 2017 6:42 pm
Reply to  Koko B. Ware


I'm with you – How little I care who gives the traffic report – I find her voice very annoying as if she has been kicked in the throat – An immediate dial change or hit the mute button –

Mike S
Mike S
January 16, 2017 6:45 pm

In the spring of 2011 Bob McCown reported that, according to his "sources", the San Diego Chargers were going to move to Los Angeles after the 2011 NFL season………….it didn’t happen then but it is happening now

Since it has been over 5 years I wouldn't say he was right about that but I guess we can say he was less wrong than he usually is……………….maybe if we wait long enough Mats Sundin will eventually play for the New York Rangers

January 16, 2017 6:47 pm

A fine article that has lots to think about – The bit about people in the business posting under assumed names I found most interesting and I didn't realize it was that common on here – I do realize that now and then someone accused another poster of being Wilner to puff himself up – If it is not classified who else has been thought to post under an AKA and what names were used?

Alex Mink
Alex Mink
January 17, 2017 8:02 am

Here's a question for you all ….. add up all the regular sports writers in Toronto. I'm talking papers, magazines, apps, websites, whatevr. That's like 40-50 people. What number of those would you be willing to pay for?

For me I struggle to think of more than 2. I can get almost everything I want from blogs and news wires. The rest is just not worth all that much. It's not like these guys (and gals) are doing hard journalism. They're mostly in the entertainment biz. Just have a look at Twitter if you have any doubts.

January 17, 2017 6:33 pm


I believe TSM is referring to the poster who actively attached him and MIB for the content on here. It was s thing two months or so ago.

Regarding the poster your referring to, I believe he claimed that 3/4 different accounts where Milner (one of them
Me), while also suggesting that MLB baseball was fixed and pre-determined, so consider the source.

I don’t doubt a few media types post on here, but I highly doubt it’s substantial

January 17, 2017 6:35 pm

Apologies, attached = attacked

January 17, 2017 8:35 pm

Overdrive should adjust their TV broadcast schedule. If the goal is to attract interest in the show, then their TV broadcast should be the best they have to offer which is NOT the 6 PM hour. If 6 PM is the only hour they can get on TV then they should rebroadcast the hockey-centric 5 PM hour or not do it at all. Hayes with Dilfer is the equivalent of showing the Zamboni clean the ice between periods of a Tuesday night Leafs game – followed by the ossified mummy McKenzie and it's a black hole. 

January 18, 2017 8:44 am

@Species 1967 

I agree 100% with your comments about fluff. It's what makes a newspaper or magazine different from a book. And it's why a lot of people like "reading" as opposed to, or in addition to, "watching" or "listening to" their news and current events. Variety is the spice of life. 

Re: Kristina Rutherford – She can obviously write well. Are you saying that the magazine pre-assigned her the questions and told her to stay on script? Are you implying that they wouldn't have done that with a male journalist? I sense that you are trying to point out some sort of double standard at work. But at the same time, it looks like a double standard is being reinforced that any "bad" journalism by a female journalist is "not her fault – her bosses made her do it", like a go-to apologia. I'm not sure that that gives the journalist enough credit (or accountability) for being able to think and act independently, and thus doesn't really get them to the level playing field where they belong. I doubt that DiManno or Ormsby would ask for such a free pass, or ever did, even when they were starting out.  

Re: Bruce Arthur's tweets. He has his right of free speech. It looks like he wants to be just as much a political commentator as sports analyst, so if you're going to follow him on Twitter, you have to be prepared for that. I'm not sure about him being a must-follow for current events, though. He represents just one part of the political spectrum, what he himself might term the "alt-left", and there are plenty of dedicated full-time journalists in that spectrum who Tweet regularly. I would rather have someone more balanced, or at least follow several people so that you get a broader view of opinions out there. But if your politics are similar to his and want your opinions reinforced, then yes, he's hard to beat.   

January 18, 2017 11:22 am

How much did Damien Cox pay you for that award? Seriously.


He. Has. Not. Changed. He still constantly interrupts. He still makes stupid jokes that only he laughs at. He still lets Bob waste entire segments talking about their last golf game. 


I'm done with this blog. Awarding Cox only proves this blog has become yet another Rogers mouthpiece. 

January 18, 2017 11:31 am
Reply to  MjwW

We shall miss all the glowing, thoughful and articulate responses you brings, god speed. 

Simulcast in Mississauga
Simulcast in Mississauga
January 18, 2017 11:38 am

Here are my 2016 sports media awards. All relate to the GTA unless otherwise noted.

Best Sports Radio Show: Prime Time Sports

Best Sports Radio Host: Bob McCown

Bob seems reenergized and PTS is in my opinion by far the best radio sports show in the GTA. McCown covers a wide variety of sports and other issues with a range of interesting guests, especially on the sports business side. PTS has no hesitancy in analyzing sports shown on TSN, a nice contrast from TSN1050 which pretends sports on Rogers do not exist. Long live the King!

Runner Up as Best Sports Host: Jeff Blair

Best Newcomer as (lead) Radio Host: Andi Petrillo on Leafs Lunch

Best Sports TV Network: TSN

Sportsnet has Jays baseball and hockey but let's face it, one can get tired of the same stuff over and over. TSN has golf, F1 and NASCAR auto racing, and tennis as well as hockey plus many other sports. I'll keep an eye on the Jays if winning but from the Masters thru the end of the F1 season, I watch TSN most of the time. Sportsnet has become old, repetitive, and boring in too much of its programming.

Best TV Sports Coverage, Individual Sport: Sky TV's coverage of Formula One as presented by TSN.

F1 is exceptionally well done on TSN. From paddock live before the race to post race coverage, the drama of F1 on and off the track is presented in a lively, knowledgeable, and cheeky manner. In 2017, Canada's own teenager phenom Lance Stroll will be driving for Williams in F1 thus after so many years, viewers will have a Canadian rooting interest.

Best Sports Host TV Canada: Ron MacLean

Ron MacLean's stunning comeback is likely the 2016 Sports story of the Year in Canada. He has taken charge of hockey broadcasting and remade HNIC in his own image. It is now so much better than Strombo's ill-fated skinny suit fake ice set attempt. I'll give Rogers a lot of credit for going back to MacLean to save its bacon on its hockey investment. Ron also is excellent in non hockey areas such as the Olympics.

Best Print Media Columnist: Steve Simmons

Steve's Sunday column is must reading for me every week. If I could only read one article a week, Simmons Sunday column would be it.

Predictions for 2017: 1) The number of daily newspapers in Toronto goes to two. 2) TSN and Rogers Television operations merge effective July 1st into one single amalgamated and renamed TV option available to all carriers.

January 18, 2017 12:21 pm

Great overall read.  My thoughts:

— I agree regarding the Jays coverage.  Wall-to-wall it is excellent.  The pre-game show leads nicely into the game, the broadcasts are clean, the post-game show wraps things up nicely, and there is a plethora of talent devoted to the product to make it very good.

— I still think the on air talent had some factor in the drop in hockey ratings for Rogers.  I think two things are somewhat telling: 1. The complaints this year are practically non-existant as compared to the previous two years; and 2. Rogers' puff piece a week ago stated that ratings for the pre-game show are 40+% higher than last year.  I still stick by the notion that swapping the miscast Strombo for MacLean things has dramatically improved the product, let alone making it more professional.

— Cox as most improved?  I just don't see it.  He is the same condescending, smug, annoying personality who thinks he knows it all.  The only reason I'll listen to the show is because Bob is still the best.  Bob is the saving grace for Cox, not the other way around of Cox bringing out the best in Bob.

— The Athletic.  I'm not a subscriber nor do I plan on becoming a subscriber, so I'll just go by what others say.  But one question that lingers for me — why wasn't this concept thought of sooner?

— Bruce Arthur on Twitter.  Why would anyone subject themselves to that whiny bitchfest?   

January 18, 2017 6:32 pm

I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

January 18, 2017 7:50 pm

Walker today 2 pm had an interesting and lengthy conversation with Deitsch about sports radio in Canada vs the U.S and the differences between callers, hosts, stations.

Liberty Village Bob
Liberty Village Bob
January 19, 2017 8:52 am

Patrick says: January 14, 2017 at 9:24 am when you suggest that The Athletic is one of the few media outlets in Toronto that can practice free speech without worrying about corporate overlords, you are making a massive oversight. It's a new shop. And internet based. And that means their media credentials (their lifeblood) is far from guaranteed. So if there are enough critical stories about teams or leagues, it would be easy for teams to pull those credentials."  


Bingo. It's all good to talk about being indepdent but we will see what happens when the going gets tough.  

Liberty Village Bob
Liberty Village Bob
January 19, 2017 8:56 am
Reply to  MjwW

I'm sure Cox will proudly display this award in his Twitter bio. For some reason I can't seem to access his tweets … could someone take a selfie and send it to me?

Mike S
Mike S
January 20, 2017 10:50 pm
Reply to  Pete


I agree with just about everything you wrote

The HNIC panel is not perfect but it is much better without Strombo (and PJ Stock)

Regarding Damien on PTS, I don't notice much difference (other than he seems to love golf now when he used to despise it)…………..he can be very good when he wants to be………….but when it comes to being smug and a contrarian he just can't help himself………..he is an improvement on Reid or Shannon but not as good as guys like Madani/Perkins/Friedman and is nowhere near as good as PTS Brunt used to be

Regarding Arthur on Twitter, I have a hard time referring to a guy with 225,000 career tweets as a "must follow"…………..I enjoy him on radio (and TV) but on Twitter he is often just not very likeable because he goes way overboard

January 20, 2017 11:37 pm

@TSM: The fact you think Bruce Arthur is a "must follow" really diminishes my thought of you. The same way Arthur's political grandstanding led me to unfollow him a couple years ago and stop reading his articles.

It's shocking that, a/ the Toronto Star haven't had a sit down with him and told him to turn it down a few notches, and b/ his wife hasn't divorced him seeing he never seems to not be on Twitter.

January 21, 2017 8:48 am

Re:  The Athletic


Did I really just read an article about how Stroman and Sanchez bromance might be over?  Is this the type of earth shattering content I would be getting for $4 a month?



January 21, 2017 10:15 am

Sportsnet is on a massive push to help it's partner the Canadian Hockey League try to win our support in this minimum wage lawsuit.

Few questions.

1. Does Sportsnet need to be transparent about fact it is paying CHL huge $$ for broadcast rights? Should that fact be in it's stories?

2. Is this even a sports story? These sports reporters clearly have no idea how audited/unaudited financial statements work. Is it fair to have them covering this? Is Jeff Marek the guy to ask questions to business professors and accountants? Why isn't the Globe having an ROB reporter cover?

January 21, 2017 1:35 pm

According to Al Strachan, ( @winsford99 )The Star did have a sit down with Arthur to tone down his Twitter diarrhea. And if you look at his timeline the night of the U.S. election for example – he has toned it down. Whether you agree with his politics or not, his timeline was, and still is, an embarrassment to the Star.

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