Toronto Sports Media July Blues Semenko, More Vancouver & Twitter

Good morning sports media fans!

I was in Toronto most of the last week and am now back in Seattle. I’ve lots of plane time to think about things and lots has been going on, so without further ado, here we go:

“This game is fundamental to who we are as Canadians”

So, said new CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie this week at his hiring presser.

I totally get why someone newly minted into this role would say that, however, I made the point on Twitter that I don’t know anyone who defines their “Canadianism” by the CFL’s existence.

I’ve said this a million times, but let me re-state it once again.

I actually grew up on CFL football. My grandfather used to take us down the exhibition stadium to watch games. I knew EVERY Argo, and by the way, I am not talking about Flutie or Ismail. This is Joe Barnes, Connridge Holloway etc…

I have NOTHING against the CFL, the Argos or ESPECIALLY those who love the either the league or their CFL team.

In fact, when I started this website I fought with the Argo’s to give me a press pass so I could get a writer down to their games to cover the team.

The point of my tweet was that in my circle of friends/people I know (like really know) none of them would say part of their fabric of being Canadian had anything to do with the CFL. ( I fully blame the ownership of the ARGOS over the years for this for completely not understanding marketing or their market but that’s a different topic).

Well, that set of a complete Twitter sh!t storm.

No, the idiots that troll Twitter never surprises me (see below). What did surprise me was the number of younger people outside the GTA with whom I could actually have rationale “discussions” with who felt very passionately about what the game means to them.

I heard from people from all across the country who, without name calling, without insulting actually messaged me that in fact the CFL, their team, their experience did define part of who they were as Canadians.

Thanks to TSN vet David Naylor and ARGO season ticket holder for filling my Twitter feed so much so that my cell died 2x in one day!

Of course, I did hear from lots of Twitter Trolls this week. The highlight or one that surprised me the most was this one, a member of the Calgary Stampeders broadcast team:

Funny, when I tweeted back to him how much I am sure the CFL Hall of Fame (he is a member) appreciated him resorting to stereotypical name calling he did not respond, let alone apologize, no he just deleted his tweet.

In this era of media downsizing, one may have thought that those still with jobs in the business would become more fraternity like and “support” one another.

Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least in my experience in the Toronto sports media world.

It appears that the hatred of the other outlet has really increased over the last couple of months.

A couple of cases in point.

I noticed that ran a story on the Raptors citing “a source”. Well, the only outlet that had reported that very story before Sportsnet wrote this gem in question was TSN.

I tweeted out asking if “the source” was Tsn- with my usual tongue in cheek.

Instantly my phone exploded with comments and messages which would have made the likes of Nick Kypreos proud…

Most, if not all went something like “those fuc!ers at Sportsnet!”.

Here’s another great example from the previous week, Mike would call it bad Twitter, I call it telling:

Twitter stuff:

It seems to me that the cross-channel hatred is truly at an all-time high right now, I feel it and I am not it. That’s too bad.

What surprised me most this week, however, was how little this bomb dropping story got covered in the GTA:

“Dan Shulman says he is stepping away from ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball next season to get a better work-life balance.”

Kudos to Richard Deitsch for landing this bird.

Folks, this is BIG news.


No, it may not mean that things are changing immediately, the story says in fact that little will change in Toronto in the near future however when the Big Dog is going to be in the market more to establish a life balance that should have sent jolts through the entire market in Toronto.

I am not speculating here, and I have not heard a word about this but let us just review what we know based on the facts.

Shulman will still have a full college basketball schedule for ESPN. He will also call the entire MLB postseason on ESPN Radio (which is good news for baseball fans) and do a limited number of weeknight MLB television games for ESPN. He said he will also continue calling a small package of Blue Jays games for Sportsnet (Canada). Based on that schedule, he’ll probably be down to about 60 dates per year for ESPN.

Ok, let’s see here.

Correct me if I am wrong but the NCAA College basketball season runs roughly November-April. So, with the exception of tournaments, he’d be tied up once a week in that time period.

Come, say MLB opening day he’s pretty much done with that gig. The article he says he will do some weeknight games for MLB TV/ESPN.

While the article says he will do a small package of Jays games, that could change, right?

If, hypothetically, he wanted to do more than a small package of Jays games on TV what would stop him? Don’t you think Rogers would rearrange every chair imaginable to have more Dan Shulman?

There have been tons of rumblings that Jerry Howarth is nearing the end of his line with the Jays. Can you think of a better person to be the next voice of the Blue Jays than Dan Shulman????

Again, I am not saying any of this happens. I am saying with the guy in the market more often than not there are possibilities.

And then, of course, there’s the one radio slot that could be his too.

McCown’s contract is coming up soon.

Does Shulman’s presence in the market suddenly give Rogers the leverage to talk turkey with Bob????

Dan hosted before. He was on the air the night Sundin for Clark went down, perhaps the greatest session EVER on PTS. Would he do so again? How much more valuable would he be in that chair now after years of experience south of the border???

This is a news story that could change a whole lot in our market.

This is fascinating stuff!

Out west, meanwhile, Steve Darling, James Cybulski and Mira Laurence were crowned the new am drive hosts of the yet to be launched Sportsnet’s on Sportsnet 650, a new Vancouver all-sports radio station launching Sept. 4.

Kudos to Rogers for hiring a female broadcaster on day one. That is a very welcome news story compared to the all male Fan 590 team in Toronto.

Here’s hoping Cybulski refrains from ever using the “they call me Cballs” ever on the air, and if he does refrain, we are sure he will be much improved.

Always felt like the guy got the short end of things in Toronto.

As for the rest of the day, it seems John Shannon is no longer in the mix of things.

I keep hearing the name Andrew Walker as part of programming.

Sounds like Satiar Shah to be the mid morning host, in “The Blair slot”

Lots of rumblings that Scott Rintoul will be part of afternoon drive.

Haven’t heard more about Jody Vance either which I think is a shame.

I will keep you updated on any developments as I hear them. Dave Cadeau is trying to keep things very UnToronto (see the female hire) and under wraps so we will see what happens.

Finally, if you are anywhere close to my age (or older) the following is must see TV. As you are likely aware, Dave Semenko passed away recently and the Oilers held a tribute for him.

Of all the BS in sports, the money, the drugs, the concussions, etc at the end of it all, I always hoped it was just grown kids playing a sport they loved. If you’ve held on to that notion too, these clips will warm your heart. Not that I didn’t before, but new found appreciation for Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson and Glenn Sather.

As a kid who grew up HATING the Edmonton Oilers, because they were just so damn good, this is truly special.

Enjoy your weekend and enjoy these videos:

The David Semenko Tribute:

Glen Sather:

Wayne Gretzky:

Paul Coffey:

Glenn Anderson:

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