Toronto Sports Media From May To June


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks sports media fans and I finally have a few minutes to settle down for a few minutes and put fingers to this keyboard.

No major items to break, so just some random thoughts:

A reliable source tells me that things are 50/50 at best on Bob McCown re-signing with the Fan 590. Not that I don’t believe the source, I do, but I can’t imagine for 1 second Bob doesn’t come back. Obviously, I could be wrong, but I have Bob re-upping with Rogers in some way or another.

Growing up a sports radio fan I have had my personal favorites and those I don’t really care for too. While I haven’t appreciated the 24/7 NFL banter on Mike and Mike on ESPN radio, I have nothing but respect for the show these two guys have created and more importantly the brand they built together.

It was stunning to read that the duo was “breaking up” over the last couple of months. Richard Deitsch has an incredible play by play on the erosion of what I suspect many believe is the most stunning sports radio divorce ever.

Like other splits it sad that the duo is going their own ways. What is really sad, however, is that they splitting this way.

My take, given the Deitcsh article, Greenberg is a sleaze. I have no issue with him wanting to do other things. All he had to do was share this intent with his long time co-host. If that really didn’t happen shame on Greenberg. I won’t watch his new show.

Speaking of Deitcsh, James Duthie was on his podcast this week.

As always a great use of time if you are into this kind of stuff.

I am a huge Duthie fan and he does not disappoint in this interview. The highlight for me, no joke, was Duthie having to excuse himself while his dogs were antagonizing his neighbor. Here are some things that stood out for me in the interview:

On the topic of Canadian sports media vs USA:

Sigh- everything is smaller, 10:1 scale on everything. More people, bigger budgets, everything to scale. Kinder and gentler in Canada not as much yelling and screaming.

On Adnan Virk, massive Canadian mistake to let Adnan go. He never really got to be on a sports network in Canada.

On Jay and Dan heading to the USA:

It was too good an opportunity for them to pass up.

On his opportunities to head south of the border:

Been occasions over the year to go to the USA, he’s always thought really small. He aspired to be a local sports anchor in Ottawa and thought that would be as high as it could get. He really likes what he does at TSN. The chances to move to the USA that have come up just didn’t work out. He hasn’t been pursued very much, one network did and it was a ludicrous offer. A prominent anchor left a netowrk and they called him and he said to the guy- “you are nuts, America would say what the hell is this guy doing on the show – I talked him out of it by the end of the call.”

Great hat tip to Deitsch for recognziing that the NHL draft is the best of the bunch in terms of tv coverage. He says, TSN coverage of draft is blueprint for what USA networks should do for drafts.

Duthie said It’s really Bob and Darren to do the hard work on the draft. One of the hardest part of losing rights to Rogers was the NHL Draft. It’s one of the happiest days of the year, everyone is happy.

When asked if he thought the audience for hockey had peaked in Canada he said, “I can’t see the audience size in Canada being much more than it is now. My kids don’t watch games, they watch Snapchat stories.”

Duthie on his approach to broadcasting “Nevertake it too seriously on air, its not life or death”

My take on listening to this interview and what others have told me about Duthie, he follows the McCown edict of “don’t mess with happy”. So while he probably could have left and made more money elsewhere he’s very happy doing what he does, with those he does it and for who he does it for.

Right or wrong, is only for him to say and I respect that.

Mike Wilner was on the Fan radio show this week and was asked to offer an opinion on when he thought it might be time for the Blue Jays to start trading assets to rebuild ( i am paraphrasing). Wilner refused to answer the question. Despite numerous attmepts to get him to answer he would not.

Compare that with John Paul Morosi who was on with Blocker Blair who said dont’ be surprised if Shapiro acts swiftly in making moves.

Kudos to Mark Spector over at Sportsnet for writing this column on the pathetic response to the homophobic slur uttered by Getzlaf this past week.

Truth be told it was a valid response to a shitty episode. It follows the equally as awesome article written by Damien Cox last time this issue raised it’s ugly head.

“It’s 2016. Enough.”

Right on, one year later and it’s still enough.

What I don’t get is why no one wrote a similar article about Toronto Blue Jay Kevin Pillar doing the EXACT same thing.

I don’t want to hear the Rogers crap.

Rogers owns 50% of the Leafs, has naming rights in the NHL and pays the NHL a massive amount of money for hockey rights.

Rogers owns the Blue Jays wholly.

I heard the Fan morning guys, the TSN moring and drive home guys tackle the issue on Pillar.

There was no similar article written,that I saw on Sportsnet like these two masterpieces…

Why the @!#@[email protected] not?

Did McCown really say, wrong guy wrong time???

Look, calling out Pillar doesn’t mean you banish him to hell forever.

Good people do dumb things sometimes and yes, it’s okay to say it.

Richard Griffin said as much on TSN radio this week.

Scott MacArthur dealt with this issue on his show and issued this opinion too.

As did Cathal Kelly in the Globe and Mail.

Yes, the Jays management handled it like pros. Kudos to them.

But Damien is right. It’s enough. It would be nice if those who cover the team had the (base)balls to say it too.

I’ve talked to NHL officials about this issue and they tell me two things of interest (one related and one not):

The ice is the most foul-mouthed place on the planet. This one official specifically told me that he doesn’t believe the guys mean (and may not even understand) 90% of the stuff that comes out of their mouths on the ice. While I don’t agree with the sentiment, he told me the issue is the cameras because you will never clean up “schoolyard”.

I asked this official by the way about all the instant replays. Why, I asked him, don’t they just make the call “in Toronto” and take the on-ice officials out of it. “We wish they would” he told me, shooting down my theory that the on ice boys want to maintain control. “The problem is, that for the most part, the guys in the room are not the decision makers. The big guys are rarely in the room. The guys in the room have the best jobs, they are buddies with the big guys, they sit in a cozy room with dozens of screens and they have no accountability.”

BTW, Wilner tweeting that he hoped MLB would handle the Tomahawk Chop at the same time as dealing with Pillar was, in my mind a total joke.

The Chop issue deserves to be discussed and debated on its merits alone. Marrying it to this issue disrespects BOTH issues. Once again, no reason no to call out Pillar one his own for the despicable thing he said.

Having Sirius XM radio I get to listen to a lot of new baseball play by play crews. I know I am going to take shit for this, but man there are a lot of BORING crews out there. I know it’s baseball, but wow, it’s like these guys are describing a funeral. Say this about the Jays crew, they at least sound interested.

You may not have seen this article, but wow did ESPN undress Richard Sherman and my Seattle Seahwawks this week.

This is a must read for sports fans.

The story was ripped to shred by Bennett and others on the Hawks. You know me, where there is smoke…

Radio ratings come out June 7. We will hope to get them for you when they come out.

You know I love me my TV shows, I just caught up on the Leftovers. Wow…what a ride. I am also loving the latest season of Silicon Valley.

Thinking of catching the Jays when they are here in Seattle. Is anyone going to be out to see any games?

It’s a holiday weekend here so I am going to enjoy the SUN

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May 27, 2017 5:09 pm

Thanks for the read and keep up the good work. I’m with you on McCown can not see him going any where as well , might not be in his curtain role be it part PTS and also a weekly tv show as well unlike The Business of Sports. Richard Deitcsh is always a must listen to anytime he has a Canadian media member like Duthie on his program.

May 27, 2017 5:12 pm

Wilner has zero ability to look at this team objectively. He is a fan, not a critical observer. That doesn’t mean you rip them at every opportunity, but sometimes there are just no silver linings.
also curious for feedback from others. Are there any voices that when you just hear them, you turn them off? For me, it’s Ben Ennis, George Rusic, Michael Landsberg, and Gord Miller.

I'm not Wilner
I'm not Wilner
May 27, 2017 5:35 pm

“What I don’t get is why no one wrote a similar article about Toronto Blue Jay Kevin Pillar doing the EXACT same thing.”

This is just willful ignorance on your part. What Pillar did was widely discussed on PTS, Tim & Sid, and also written about.

This a joke that you would ignore all that in favour of making a swipe at your former employer.

And as for Wilner not being willing to say the Jays should sell, they have just won at least 2 out of 3 from the Rangers. Their record is similar to what it was last year and the year before. Why the hell would ANYONE say the Jays should do a sell-off? Only media trolls like JPM and Cox would do that. And, yes, JPM is a troll. Just go on any large baseball forum, such as /r/baseball. He has very little respect from baseball fans. He always goes for clickbait opinions.

Mike S
Mike S
May 27, 2017 8:23 pm

Deitsch has had several Canadian sports people on his podcast in the last few months………..Friedman, Mirtle, Arthur, McCown, Duthie, etc………he definitely follows the Canadian sports media scene quite closely, probably as a result of being on 590 each week and traveling to Toronto more than once to be co-host for a week

I haven’t listened to his podcasts with McCown and Duthie yet but I definitely will………….the podcast with Friedman was excellent, especially when he talked about the infamous Phelps/Lochte race call from the Rio Olympics

May 28, 2017 2:53 pm

There are some signs that one of the best known Cdn sportscasters is on their way out of the closet. How much of an issue is this in 2017?

May 28, 2017 6:01 pm

Andrew – doesn’t seem like a huge deal. No idea of whom you speak. It might be easier if the person is a woman, but I may be wrong on that.

The Wilner thing is so weak – trying to deflect. Just stop the advocacy at some point.

Mike and Mike – sad end for two guys who seemed to be actual good friends. They had a remarkable run, and this is just poorly handled. Based on everything I’ve read, Greenberg and the network just needed to be more up front.

New Twin Peaks is trippy. Not sure if it is good.

PSA: TSN is broadcasting most important or all of the British and Irish Lions tour of NZ.

Mike V
Mike V
May 29, 2017 5:54 am

Not sure why you think the Wilner tweet was a total joke. The chant is for the team playing in the exact same game, how are you not supposed to address it when talking about an offensive slur? By claiming it’s different or a separate issue, it’s been generally ignored and allowed to continue for decades. It also diminishes the intersectionality of the issues.

Andrew, also have no idea who you are referring to. Maybe that’s a sign of the times as it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Three things I would look for in that new radio book:
1) How did Brady and Price do compared to Blundell?
2) What effect did the Leafs run have on 1050? If they can’t get an uptick from them in the playoffs…
3) Did adding Ben Enrie do anything for the Walker Show? If his ratings still struggle does Rogers consider sending Andrew out to Vancouver in the fall for a fresh start? He’s originally from the west.

I’ve said it before but the FAN shouldn’t be afraid of Bobcat leaving that they’d give him anything. If it doesn’t work out, let him retire and revamp PTS.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
May 29, 2017 1:30 pm

There’s zero way Ennis affected Walkers ratings. It’s not like he’s a name coming into that show. He’s the ultimate foot soldier. I would love if they sent him and Walker to Vancouver, but I doubt it. Until they actually have competition at that time, They’ll let them do their thing.

How sad was it to have Dreger tweeting about IIHF world championships during epic NHL semi final. One day the tide will be corrected and both networks will have playoffs rights.

Mike Wilner is not good at his job because he won’t ever even acknowledge the other side of an argument let alone contemplate it and even admit he could be wrong. A true professional is opinionated for sure, but also smart enough to listen.

May 29, 2017 4:20 pm

@Original Mitch

If he brings in ratings and reaction, which he seems to do, then he’s good at his job. You may not like how he does it (I don’t either, I don’t listen), but if he hits his numbers then he’s doing what his bosses want.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
May 29, 2017 7:58 pm

I doubt Wilner brings in ratings but I don’t disagree with you. His bosses clearly like him enough to keep him employed. Doesn’t mean he’s good at it, but he’s there. He reminds me of a filet o’ fish. A macdonald staple that nobody has ever liked or ordered. But it’s there!! (I think)

May 29, 2017 8:07 pm

@Original Mitch

Look at the media landscape right now, if he wasn’t delivering, hed be gone.

Mike in the Junction
Mike in the Junction
May 29, 2017 8:37 pm

Mike Wilner is not good at his job because he won’t ever even acknowledge the other side of an argument let alone contemplate it and even admit he could be wrong. A true professional is opinionated for sure, but also smart enough to listen.

Mitch knocks it out of the park. This is exactly why I don’t listen to Jays Talk anymore. Sports talk is about debate. It’s no fun if the host thinks any opinion other than his own is wrong. If I wanted that I would listen to American right wing talk radio. There’s a reason why the callers are so bad to Jays Talk: anyone with a brain knows this is not the place to go for intelligent baseball talk.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
May 29, 2017 10:12 pm

Frank Deford passed away today. If you have a moment, google and read some of his work from Sports Illustrated. He was a fabulous writer and by all accounts a gentleman. He was a giant from a different era in sports media.

May 29, 2017 11:26 pm

I’m going to just come out and say it. The media response to the Pillar incident seemed way over the top, and came across as thick. Was it a poor lapse in judgement? Absolutely. But for Landsberg to say he was “personally offended” and Brady and Price spending the better part of two days on it as if he committed the world’s biggest crime came across as contrived.

May 30, 2017 1:15 am


Welcome to 2017, where virtue signalling and progressive one-upmanship matter far more than substantive conversation and debate. What Pillar did was wrong, but I found the reaction to be way out of whack. It was as if the MSM was trying to one-up each other to show people just how offended they were by Pillar. Cathal Kelly’s column in particular was extremely odious, where he irresponsibly painted Pillar as some sort of monster in the face of all evidence from Kevin’s preceding reputation and characterized Rogers as evil for letting him off easy. It’s a tiresome act.

Kevin Pillar made a mistake, apologized, got suspended, and we should now all move on. Just as I’m sure he is self-reflecting after the fact, the MSM should do some reflecting on how poorly they covered this issue.

Big G
Big G
May 30, 2017 3:36 pm

@Mike in the Junction

“If I wanted that I would listen to American right wing talk radio”

You mean you would listen to cnn, the network that coaches their panels on what to say and has been caught using their employees to stage protests.

May 30, 2017 4:50 pm

@Justin @Pete

i find myself wondering why I even bother with media lately. I love pure sports talk but you guys are right on, enough with the sensationalism. Look at the Tiger Woods coverage the last few days, with more than a few in the mainstream sports media using the ultra hyperbolic “Has anybody fallen further than Tiger?”. Seriously? Does the name OJ Simpson come to mind? Or even Aaron Hernandez for the younger crowd? Welcome to TMZ sports radio I suppose.

May 30, 2017 5:08 pm

I do a lot of lurking here, and check in every week to see what I may have missed on the dial – and how those who pay attention to such things are reacting to it.

Thanks for a usual interesting read, including the comments.

It may speak to my maturity level a bit here, but I’ve really enjoyed Overdrive since it started, and the Leafs Lunch slot with the same crew. I know some have an issue with their nonsports banter – Brazzers, etc – but I haven’t found it to be that out of bounds for the most part.

But today….not sure what they were thinking. I guess they came across a story from Florida that they thought would fit their banter criteria….involving strippers and serious bowel malfunctions…but they even identified just prior to reading it that it looked like
It could be “fake news”. The story itself was – as they all identified – horrifically gross in its detail. But it was also easily proven to be completely fake.

It’s fair to question sharing such a story – no matter how amusing they thought it was – on a daytime sports show. But to do so when it was so clearly identifiable as “fake news” is a serious lapse of judgement in my opinion.

I’m all over crossing the line from time to time, but sharing fake news simply because of the gross out factor only gives your detractors ammunition.

May 31, 2017 1:53 pm

Not Really a Toronto story but… TSN has regained the regional TV rights for Montreal Canadiens games. Sportsnets 3 year deal has expired and they tried hard to keep Habs games. However Bell is part owner of the Habs and has the right to match any offer for TV rights which they did.

TSN already has the Sens, Jets and half the Leafs Schedule along with the French regional rights on RDS for the Habs and Sens.. so adding the Habs is a nice pick up and should help in their battle to keep Rogers from dominating hockey broadcasting.

Rick in Barrie
Rick in Barrie
May 31, 2017 2:14 pm

@Art – makes you wonder what Rogers is paying for with these ‘national rights’. In my personal opinion most fans watching hockey do so from a regional stance. As a result Rogers has the playoffs and weekend games. Are those worth billions? I can’t imagine so. I thought once Rogers got the hockey rights it would be hockey overload across their network. I can still flip on the tv multiple nights throughout the reg. season and Rogers is not showing a single game. And don’t even get me started on blackouts. (Which is all fine by me…the TSN hockey product is 100x better)

May 31, 2017 6:02 pm

Wilner must be a happy camper – With the new rules from the Ontario Government Rogers will finally have to pay him minimum wage –

May 31, 2017 6:12 pm

A poster here commented recently about how well Adnan Virk is doing at ESPN. Just wanted to echo that. They’ve started featuring him on the Lebatard show recently and he’s been great. He’s clearly very informed and a really good broadcaster. Also very vocally proud to be Canadian.

Pretty damning for both TSN and Sportsnet that they never gave him a decent platform here. Especially with all the talk about how the sports media here is so overwhelmingly non diverse.

June 1, 2017 11:46 am

Re your Mike Wilner point – people gave him a lot of grief for not declaring the season over in April, but you have to admit, he was right to say ‘it’s early’ this time. The Jays are 2 games out of the Wild Card with 4 full months to go. They may not make the playoffs, but they are definitely back in the conversation.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
June 1, 2017 12:50 pm


It’s not the fact that he said it’s early that’s the issue. Everybody knows it’s early in baseball until mid august. Everybody knows you win 60, lose 60 and 60 are up for grabs. Everybody knows baseball seasons are absurdly long and all you have to do is hover around .500 until august. 1/3rd of the the teams make the playoffs now. It’s not really that hard to accomplish.

The issue with Wilner is that we are told he’s a paid analysis/ blue jays expert/insider or whatever you want to call him, he’s paid to be an expert on the club and is supposed to know more about the team than you and I. So when something is wrong at any time of the season, be it April 10th or May 10th, he’s supposed to tell me why it’s wrong. He’s supposed to know more than I do as a fan so he can telll me analytically and specifically why it’s going badly at that moment. Instead all he spews is tired, fandom, obvious cliches like “it’s early” and I’m left thinking “this guy gets paid to say this???”. He comes off as a big phony is all

June 1, 2017 6:01 pm

@Original Mitch

I hear what you’re saying. I think Wilner was right in this instance, but he DOES get a bit ridiculous and contrarian sometimes. Personally I think it’s a bit of an act/character, and I think it’s funny/entertaining. You know how they say it’s better to be loved or hated in radio than neither?

But I get how he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. TSN should offer a summer Jays talk type show with Scott Ferguson or someone who has a different style than Wilner for people who don’t enjoy it.

June 1, 2017 9:00 pm

I agree with both of you. Last couple of years Wilner has jokngly said ‘It’s early’ a few times in a self deprecating manner when on a Fan radio show. He’s aware. But this season was particularly conspicuous because the Jays started at 1-7 – a franchise worst. And only 3 teams since 1974 have started 1-7 and made the playoffs. The rebound of late is an incredible turnaround by an injury riddled roster, but if the Jays make the playoffs this year? If Tatti can trademark ‘Yes guy, no guy.’ then Wilner should definitely trademark ‘It’s early.’

June 2, 2017 3:56 pm

Off topic, but I thoroughly enjoyed hockey expert after hockey expert on TSN radio shooting down Dellow’s ridiculous Parayko offer sheet article. Like a pebble in an ocean…

ps He blocked me on twitter for suggestion Martin Marincin may not have been the worst treated Toronto athlete of all time.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
June 2, 2017 5:11 pm


I thought the Tyler Dellow article was well done. Of the 30 paragraphs in the article, Parayko’s name is not mentioned until the 22nd paragraph. Prior to that, Dellow laid out four reasons why offer sheets rarely occur and how the conditions may be right for the Leafs to make such an offer. I’m not sure that I would extend an offer sheet to Parayko but Dellow’s piece is very thoughtful. Dellow spends much more time analysing the conditions under which an offer sheet makes sense and can succeed than he does discussing a Parayko offer sheet.

I thought Gord Miller in particular embarrassed himself on Leafs Lunch. It was apparent that he was critiquing an article that he had not read. Furthermore, one of Gord Miller’s arguments was incoherent. He said that it would be foolish for the Leafs to give up so many first round picks, which is a maximum of 4, with a Parayko offer sheet. Then Miller stated that the draft is the lifeline for teams and that Pittsburgh has continued to do well in the cap era because they have drafted well. However, Pittsburgh has traded its first round pick in three of the last four drafts. So, which is it? You can’t do well by forfeiting first round picks as a result of a successful offer sheet (potentially the Leafs) or you can do well despite trading first round picks (Pittsburgh)? Not a good day for Gord Miller on today’s Leafs Lunch.

June 2, 2017 6:08 pm

@bob Canuck

Seems foolish to write an entire article extolling the virtues of the offer sheet and use an asinine scenario as your example.

What Gord was saying was “Would you trade 4 first round picks for Parayko?” When you think of it like that you see how crazy it is. Leafs are in no spot in their continuing development to give up the picks for an unproven player and anyone that doesn’t play with numbers for a living knows that.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
June 2, 2017 6:59 pm


Miller did ask the question that you noted. However, if he had read the article, Gord Miller would have known that if the Leafs offered between $7.85 million and $9.81 million, the cost would be two firsts, a second, and a third. If the offer is between $5.88 million and $7.85 million, the cost is a first, a second, and a third. That is less costly than four firsts and certainly worth thinking about.

Have you read the article?

June 2, 2017 7:07 pm

@Bob Canuck

I have not read the article. The other scenarios you laid out aren’t much better in my opinion and fly in the face of what the Leafs seem to be doing organization wise. I’m sure TD is very proud of himself though.

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