The End of the Reporters, Remembering John Candy


Al Gore’s internet is a funny place. I wrote a story last week, and in it I apologized for the delay in writing a story because I have been living in my car, driving back and forth to hockey rinks as both my kids are “playing competitive hockey”.

Most of this audience has been with us for a long time. If you read my work you know I certainly don’t take myself very seriously, and while I love my kids VERY much and am guilty about talking about them too much, I am proud of the fact that both their mother and I are beyond grounded in reality when it comes to their capabilities- academic, athletic or otherwise.

I was surprised when I received this email from a reader:

“Lol. You are like every parent who thinks their kid is a superstar. All kids play competitive hockey. Yours will be able to buy NHL tickets like all the rest. “


I don’t want to spend any more time on this topic than necessary, but its stuff like that makes me wonder why the hell I do this at all. First, I am not sure why I apologized in the first place, it’s not like I owe anything to anyone. Second, when your kids are on the ice 3-4 times a week, and not simply playing 1 game per week, it is still okay to recognize that as being “competitive” is it not? I mean is it not possible to say your kids are doing something at a higher than basic level while not intimating that they are going to ever achieve ultimate success in it is there not? Can’t I say my kids play competitive sports while remaining fully aware that neither of them is going anywhere in either sport?

I am starting to ramble, and that wasn’t the point. Just frustrating I guess.

In any event…

Couple of things to type about that are on topic.

In 1988 Gary Thorne entered American living rooms as a host of a new weekly show called The Sports Reporters. Thorne was quickly replaced by Dick Schaap who carried the torch until he passed in 2001. John Saunders took over as host until he too passed away in 2016.

The regular rotation in the early days of Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica, John Feinstein, Michael Wilbon, Bob Ryan, William C. Rhoden and Stephen A. Smith represented the biggest names in sports journalism of those days. This grew and morphed over the 30 years the show aired covering all the hot topics of the day on a weekly basis. The Sports Reporters aired for the final time on May 7, 2017, with Lupica hosting, and Ryan, Rhoden, and Albom as the panelists. All good things must come to an end.

This past week, the Canadian counterpart to that awesome show also aired for the last time

Up here, Dave Hodge was the host for the show that ran for 15 years in Canada on TSN. Along with Steve Simmons, Bruce Arthur and Michael Farber the show focused on issues on both sides of the border always bringing a uniquely Canadian perspective.

I used to watch both shows religiously. For my two cents, and not always, the Canadian show did a better job on issues pertaining to Canadian teams- especially hockey (and CFL football if that’s your thing)- bringing issues that would never have aired on ESPN’s show.

All good things must come to an end, and so too does the Canadian version.

I had the chance to catch the Toronto Maple Leafs play in San Jose Monday night. Without question, the San Jose NHL experience is amongst the best in the NHL (if not all of sports). The walk up to the arena was fun, the fans were good natured and poked fun at us in a warm way for wearing Leafs gear. The arena alone is spectacular. The fans are into the game, the in-game presentation blows the ACC out of the water too. The reception for Patrick Marleau was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen live. Long story short, if you have the chance, go check out a game in San Jose.

Don’t be surprised if Todd Shapiro settles into the seat formerly held by David Naylor on the TSN 1050 morning show. Not a tried and true, x’s and o’s sports guy, he has a history in sports and is entertaining. As one person said to me this weekend, Shapiro would be the Derringer to Landsberg’s Marsden.

The news media world here in the USA may not like Donald Trump, but The Donald’s been a boon for the news business. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have all seen growth in online subscriptions since the YUGE guy took over.

Did you hear this week that Hulu, one of the first tv/movie streaming services has now joined forces with the Washington Post? For $99/year you get subscriptions to both!

What a brilliant idea.

T-mobile now includes Netflix with a mobile account, AT&T includes HBO so why not offer a newspaper subscription with a media subscription too?

I asked my followers on Twitter which Toronto newspaper they would subscribe to if the subscription included say a Netflix account.

I was surprised that 46% of the 180 votes were for the Globe and Mail. Why was I surprised? Mostly because we cover sports here and the Globe doesn’t have much of a sports presence anymore. Clearly, the interest would be in topics other than sports.

Not so surprising that the Toronto Star received 32% of the votes, followed by The Toronto Sun with 16% and the National Post with 6%. Obviously, you could say those who responded went with the value play as the Globe is the only outlet with a “true” paywall. While some articles are free, others are only available to paying subscribers. The other papers offer everything for free, with the Sun limiting the number of articles one can read in a month.

If I am running one of those papers I am trying something like this. Online eyeballs are getting harder to come by for the traditional outlets and as we’ve spent a lot of time talking about, paid online subscriptions in the content world are all the rage right now.

Perhaps one of the Toronto papers would really close their sports department and include a subscription with the Athletic if you signed up for an online subscription to the paper.

Fascinating get by the folks over at The Toronto Blue Jays are, according to the outlet paying for advertorials in, of all places the Toronto Sun.

“OK Blue Jays! Sun readers declare Toronto a baseball town” is an odd enough headline for a Sun story, but digging in reveals a tone wholly unexpected from that shop.

Lo and behold, notice the disclaimer at the top of the story. “This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of a client.”

Paying for eyeballs is nothing new. This dinky little site you are reading right now gets offers multiple times per week offering to pay for us to host content right here. I am not sure if I’ve seen a sports team paying for content in this ever before (I am not suggesting it doesn’t happen- I just don’t recall seeing it). I am thinking that this would be the first time a team that’s owned by a media outlet itself is paying for sponsored posts as the Jays are here with the Toronto Sun.

I hate to say this, but someone must be pretty damn desperate for a positive spin to pay for it in a newspaper in this day and age. I am curious to see if this continues and if it becomes more common in sports.

So, while on the road I was given free copies of the USA Today. Wow has that paper shrunk???? The sections are tiny, the print is huge and while it used to take 10 minuted to read cover to cover it now takes about 5 maximum.

Finally, today, Halloween would have been John Candy’s68th birthday. Here’s my list of favorite movie characters played by Candy:

  1. OX – Stripes 2. Freddie Bauer- Splash 3. Del Griffith, Planes, Trains & Automobiles 4. Frank Dooley- Armed and Dangerous 5. Chet Ripley – The Great Outdoors 6. Uncle Buck, Harry Crumb, Lasky ( The Security guard in Vacation)

And from SCTV:

  1. Johnny La Rue, 2. Dr. Tongue, 3. Tommy Shanks, 4. Yosh Schmenge, 5. William B. Williams.

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