On Bob McCown, Tim & Sid, Mark Shapiro and Roy Halladay

photo from here

By TSM

Greetings and salutations (are you a Heather?)

Little TSM is at driving school, which means I am up early(ish) and I have some free time to type away. BTW, I am sitting in front of our very old desktop computer, and I have to admit, despite being a gadget geek with enough devices to keep a small country connected, I still love doing this on a desktop computer.

Anyway…

A ton of stuff to go over and not that much time to do it in, so here we go:

Maybe you follow me on Twitter, maybe not, I will say it’s the easiest way to get in touch with me and good, bad or indifferent it’s where you certainly get my up to the moment thoughts and I guess where you get to learn more about me and the twisted way I think.

A friend who I met on Twitter once said to me, “why do you reply to people who tweet to you when they only have like 3 followers?” The reason, to be honest, is that I’ve always felt like it’s no different then someone stopping me on the street. If someone reaches out I respond. I’ve never looked first to see how many followers they have.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, I tweet about a lot of topics, mostly sports related and there are those out there who think I have a slant or bias in my tweeting. Clearly, it is those who don’t follow me regularly or read this site. This comes up a lot when it comes to the Toronto Blue Jays most (and why I bring it up here).

Winning cures all.

That is a fact.

All is forgiven when a team wins. Dumb signings, bad trades, stupid comments all don’t matter when a team wins. By the way, we live, more than ever in a results-oriented world where winning means the whole thing. The Championship. That doesn’t mean anything short of that, at least in my mind.

Until the team wins, all moves can and should be questioned.

You are entitled to your opinion on that and I presume you will grant me mine.

So when I look at the recent moves, comments etc by the Blue Jays brass and speak out against them, I am not implying I am no longer a fan of the Blue Jays, but rather voicing frustrations with the item du jour. Should they win the World Series all is forgotten.

No, I do not subscribe to the fact that a true fan supports their team no matter what. Once, and only once in my life have I cheered for a team I call my own to lose games, and that was the Leafs brutal season prior to their drafting Matthews. I hated the players on that team and wanted them to bottom out.

There is a difference between vocalizing disdain and throwing in the towel, in my opinion.

Since taking the reins of the Toronto Blue Jays, it appears that Mark Shapiro has done everything he possibly can do to alienate himself from the fan base.

Winning cures all.

If he wins a World Series all will be forgiven.

In the interim the debate rages.

To me, the sad passing of Roy Halladay was a silver platter moment for Shapiro and Atkins.The playbook says, like 30 minutes after the news was released, you get in front of cameras (your owner happens to be the largest media company in Canada) and say something like the following: The Toronto Blue jays, the city of Toronto, the country of Canada and the entire Rogers family are saddened at the tragic loss of Roy Hallad. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family. Rest assured we will be coming back to you soon with our plans to pay tribute to one of the best players to ever wear our uniform as soon as we have finalized them.

That’s it.

Not hard right?

Instead?

Crickets…

How flipping hard would that have been?????

Consider this, Bob Elliott, the grandaddy of baseball writers in Canada released a story that Shapiro not only made Halladay apply for a job but also turned him down! Shapiro came out after the fact and denied that story. That’s pathetic. The fact it ever got to that point is beyond bizarre. It’s sad.

There were a ton of tear jerking, quality pieces written about Roy Halladay and I urge you to watch the tribtue to him online when you have time.

John Lott‘s piece in the Athletic ( subcription required) is, in my opinon the best piece Lott’s ever written & without question the best story to ever appear on the site.

Richard Griffin, Steve Simmons and Bruce Arthur all hit the right tone too.

The Aforementioned Bob Elliott wrote as only Bob can. Beautiful.

The story was everywhere. Literally.

The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Today Show, SI, People Magazine, FiveThirtyEight, and yes, even Rolling Stone

Every paper in Toronto had a piece, they are all wonderful tributes to, in my opinion, the best player to play for a Toronto team who started their career with the Toronto team and achieved greatness with the Toronto team during my lifetime. No Raptor, Maple Leaf, or Blue Jay who played game 1 of their career did more as a Toronto playing team then Roy did, at least not since 1972.

While on the topic of the Blue Jays, the Blue Jay Hunter has an interesting read on the organization I thought you’d enjoy.

I will say it again, hiring certain people, firing others, breaking with tradition, making comments, staying silent all may lead to a World Series. Until they do, the manner in which business is conducted is fair game.

“There’s a significant chunk of the media that wants you to fail.”

Brian Burke on the Toronto Sports Media.

The Toronto sports media group is a funny bunch. Maybe it’s because the Leafs sucked for so long, and the rare moments of hope were pre-social media but it really wasn’t until the arrival of the current brass and 34 that this reader would see “cheering” for the team on social media and positive coverage of the Leafs that we’ve seen of the Raptors and Jays over the years.

I’ve written this before, but the relationship between media and Raptors has a certain us vs. the world mentality. The Raptors aren’t the Leafs in a Leafs market and they don’t have the championship feather in their cap as the Jays do. The team and the media to a certain extent jointly fight the second class citizen coverage in a very positive way. The media aren’t homers, but they do understand the fight the team and their coverage has for eyeballs.

The Jays “beat” is somewhat similar and was certainly upbeat during their most recent upswing.

I think that Burke is right if read literally.

There is no question in my mind that certain members of the media had it out for him and, he for them too. If the team’s failing reflected poorly on him, I think certain media members took pride and joy in that.

Put another way, it was, and it can be personal.

With Burke it was.

I had Brian in one of my Pressbox interviews and I read him a dandy of a quote by a certain former Leaf beat guy, asking Brian for a response:

“Who wrote it?” Burke asked me

Howard Berger” I told him.

“Next question!” Burke replied.

So, yes the media wouldn’t dare take on Shanahan et all right now. Things are going very well. It feels more Raptors/Jays esque at present. At least at most, it isn’t personal with the current brass.

Ok, you all are asking me to comment on the most bizarre article I’ve ever read by Mr. Berger.(I refuse to link to it).

My response to everyone is the same.

Sad.

Not that you care, but the Seattle city council is set to vote on Tim Leiweke’s proposal to renovate Key Arena the former home of the Seattle Supersonics. By all accounts, the city won’t screw this one up, and Leiweke’s group will start renovating the arena in January of 2018 with an eye to a 2020 opening. Behind the bid sits a hungry, experienced group of investors dying to bring the NHL to Seattle first, with hope of an NBA team to follow. (If you are interested in this stuff, Geoff Baker, former Toronto Sports Media member is on the beat and a good read/follow).

So, as we sit here today the NHL has significant interest in Quebec, Kansas City, Houston and perhaps, finally in Seattle.

Seems like a good start to me!

Word on the street is that despite telling David Shoalts that he doesn’t want to do this anymore, the allure, or need for the mighty dollar is going to land Bob McCown a shiny new 3-year deal continuing his gig at The Fan 590. Close, but not yet signed is what I am told from multiple people in the know. Details, of course, are not clear, but it sounds like McCown will be in the same slot for approximately the same number of weeks for at least the next three years. All of this could change until the ink is dry on both sides.

Let’s face it when Bob is on he’s as good as it gets (on both sides of the border by the way). When he’s not interested he’s as bad they get too.

For now, both sides need each other. There is no heir apparent for the drive home slot at the fan and the numbers are strong.

While they may not like each other all that much, it is a mutually beneficial relationship for both.

I still look for Dan Shulman to play a bigger role at 590.

Mike and Mike officially broke up this week. We’ve survived Jerry without Tom. We have Curb Your Enthusiasm on hand and Seinfeld on the other.

Could we be headed for another split?

Word is that all is not rosy in the world of Tim and Sid.

It appears that Sid’s deal is near expiry and neither party is all that cozy with the idea of a new deal. Is a divorce inevitable? I don’t know. Is this a grand game of chicken? Maybe. Can one exist without the other? Of course. Can they both succeed without the other? That, my friends, is the question.

It could be a fascinating couple of weeks to be sure.

I don’t have the data to back this up, but several bird dogs tell me that the Blue Jays lack of success has been a boon for the folks over at Bell. TSN is apparently supreme once again on the TV side with the Jays last season demise.

Still, with Bell, they gonged what’s left of their local sports crews this week.

Joe Tilley and Lance Brown are among those laid off in a series of job cuts. As many as 50 jobs have been cut at 15 television stations across Canada.” More apparently followed on radio too

I know local sports is dead. It is really sad to me that guys who I grew up watching are on the outside looking in. I hope all of those laid off find meaningful things to do and quickly.

I’ve been listening to Howard Stern’s interviews while in the car recently. The podcast downloads are limited so I went hunting for full downloads of the interviews. Personally, I love his interviews. The bits in between not so much.I was told that the interviews are available in full via the Sirius/XM mobile application. I downloaded it and have to tell you it’s the worst, most amateur app I’ve ever seen. I mean really! It’s embarassing how bad it is.

Finally, many people ask me why I don’t post clips or comments on Sportsnet TV highlights. The reason is simple. They are geo-blocked here in the USA.

Happy reading.

You can tweet me or email me.

Jonah

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