Toronto Sports Media Mish Mash


Pardon the delay in posting, perhaps better late than never.

With the added time comes some added thoughts.. So, here we go.

While I didn’t really care all that much about NHL players going (or not going) to the Olympics when announced, I do find that my interest in the games is, at the moment anyway, a lot closer to zero than a ten.

If it wasn’t for The pregame on HNIC, SNL and the Superbowl networks all previewing their coverage I would not have known it was time for the games. I asked my son (you will see a theme here) if he knew when the games are starting he said, no, I don’t think they are this Now that

Now that I know, I will watch the opening of the games, I’ll admit that’s always cool. I am intrigued by an NHL free games so I may tune in if the games are on live. After that??????

If you haven’t seen I Tonya yet, the Academy Award-nominated film, you are missing out! It’s the best movie I have seen all year by a country mile. Irrespective of how truthful it all is (experts say- NOT), it’s really entertaining. With that, I will probably watch some figure skating too.

So, look for tweets and perhaps the odd column as I compare USA vs. Canadian coverage.

Mike in Boston asked readers to chime in on the changes in media over the years. Well here is one I was not aware of. My son and his peers check Instagram every morning for their sports news. No, not Youtube. Not Facebook. Definitely not ESPN (mobile or TV) and no, not Twitter. They go right to Instagram. That is a change. If you get your news on Instagram, who do you follow?

Philly nation has a major beef with Chris Collinsworth it would appear, post-Superbowl. Now the rest of the sporting world knows how Maple Leafs fans feel when they get repeatedly tortured with Jim Hughson every week.

Michael Landsberg continues to fly solo-ish. Do they need a co-host for real? If so, who do you want?

Kudos to Jim Tatti, who seems to have limitless lives and never age.

James Christie was one of the first members of the media who reached out to me when I started this site. He could not have been nicer or more helpful in the early days, encouraging me to keep writing as others in the mainstay fell off. Although I never met James, I always appreciated his unsolicited encouragement and friendship. RIP James.

The NBA is on the verge of their trade deadline day. Not much Raptors talk. That must be a good sign right?

Even ESPN has taken notice of the team, ESPN, the network unavailable in Canada… WOW>

It appears the Athletic Detroit has parted ways with the Jeremy Birmingham, after he was outed on The Detroit Sports Rag. It took a while but he’s gone from the website and he’s removed the paid outlet from his @brim Twitter handle too.

Gregg Zaun was on the Andrew Krystal show last week. I will say that again, the Andrew Krystal show. Krystal has reincarnated himself on Sirius Canada- who knew? The duo talked about Roy Halladay and the conundrum facing the Blue Jays between filling the stands and retooling. Zaun stated that the Jays should deal Josh Donaldson to reboot the retool btw. As for anything surrounding his departure from Rogers? Not asked, not discussed. It sounded like this could be a regular thing for Zaun, or at least as long as Krystal has a show it will be. So maybe they will get around to it. I wonder if McCown makes an appearance.

I am told that there are shows on XM where the host had to sell their own airtime. I wonder if that’s the case with Krystal. If Krystal got a gig there, why not Mike Richards?

It doesn’t appear Rogers had replaced Zaun yet. Will they? Who do you want?

The coverage around MLB has been quite amazing of late. The dead winter has caused all kinds of talk from the agent side to the pro-players side which should make for an interesting spring training.

“RSNs are going to start putting dynamics in their contracts,” Boras said. “You may see lawsuits where the RSNs are saying you in good faith promised us competitive performances. You’re not delivering that. You’re tanking. The audience knows you’re not trying win.”

No one defends his clients like Scott Boras. Those lawsuits will have as much merit as the owner going after a player saying, you in good faith promised a competitive performance.”

“Boras attributes baseball’s attendance drop to an increase in non-competitive teams, predicts fans from perennial losers will increasingly stay away from ballparks until ticket prices are cut and says regional sports networks will negotiate lower rights fees with teams going into rebuild cycles.”

While there is some merit there, attendance drops could also be because I don’t know the season lasts forever. The only thing longer than the season is some of the games. If the league is serious about cutting down times of the game, restrict the length and frequency of tv timeouts (good luck with that). I live for the day when the players and owners agree on a season that is 20 games shorter. The owners agree not to jack up ticket prices to cover the loss and the players agree to take a hit in pay.

The best guy covering the dead winter in my opinion has been Ken Rosenthal:

“but the union informed the players that an organized action of that sort would constitute an unlawful strike in violation of the CBA, and the players dropped the idea, sources said.”

While others were chicken littling the threat of a boycott, Ken had that gem.

Here is where Ken earns the $$, in my opinion:

“As I’ve written previously, the players have only themselves to blame for signing off on a collective bargaining agreement that enabled the owners to clamp down on free agency—not so much on players such as Yu Darvish and Eric Hosmer, who will get deals close to or at market value, but on those like Logan Morrison and Jon Jay of the middle class, who are getting squeezed by the seeming preference of clubs for minimum-salaried rookies over established 30-somethings, skill and experience be damned.

The arguments of the clubs for greater efficiency are not wrong—the foolishness of awarding expensive contracts to declining players is well-documented. But the clubs, too, bear a responsibility for labor relations. Even if they are correct in every single free-agent valuation—highly doubtful—players perceive their overall approach to the market as overkill. And if total payrolls decline from a year ago, as Craig Edwards suggested in a recent article for Fangraphs, the players’ fears will prove well-founded.”

Compare that if you will with the local writer for the same outlet who wrote this:

“It’s also about greed. By shying away from paying established stars for a projected production decline in their late 30s, owners are simultaneously relying more on young players – indentured servants under team control for their first six big-league seasons.

Those players come cheap. Many are paid well below their market value because they have no leverage.

It may make business sense for owners to reject those rich, long-term deals to which veterans have long felt entitled. But the owners are having their cake and eating it too, at the expense of young players who, by their own analysts’ estimates, are more valuable than those guys in their late 30s.

That may not equate to collusion. But it does add up to inequity.”

I find the whole thing funny. For years some in the media, and many in the stands have BBQ’d teams for dolling out big money for has beens. Paying for past performance if you will. For years many called upon teams to rely more on analytics when doing their shopping. Now, suddenly the teams are doing that and there is an uproar.

I love the collusion claims the most(not from the media).

It’s okay to say that we live in an era of copycat sports. Teams copy each other on the field/ice/court- especially the winners all the time. Now they are doing it on the contract side and it’s collusion. LOL.

We’ve seen the shift in age in hockey already. Sports is a young persons game. The life span of a pro athlete has gone from short to incredibly short. This trend will continue.

That brings us to the local team. The Blue Jays.

I have admitted repeatedly I am not a stats guru when it comes to baseball. Those who are I am in awe of, especially if you don’t do it professionally. Either way you are, take a read of these two articles:

One, written by Damien Cox, who I think we will see more of in the Toronto Star.

“As it stands, however, it’s very hard to look at all Shapiro and Atkins have done since they arrived and see a single move that has made the Jays better now or for the immediate future. Maybe eventually it will be right-handed pitcher Nate Pearson or shortstop Logan Warmoth, both drafted last year. We’ll see. But they’re far away.”


The counterpoint by Andrew Stoeten:

“If there is one genre of Blue Jays article that will, without fail, get my blood boiling, it’s the one where a tourist columnists feigns ignorance of — or is actually ignorant about — how the club is trying to build and improve and grow, but doesn’t let that supposed ignorance stop them from smugly asserting that they have the answers, or, worse, sarcastically intimating that the problems are clear, the answers are obvious, and the people in charge are clearly and obviously derelict.”

I am not sure there has been a more hated personality in sports, certainly Canadian sports than Gary Bettman. With that in mind, we give The Star’s Kevin McGran an award for this awesome piece on Bettman. The story, so good almost makes him, dare I say likable.

Finally, as you may have heard Seattle could be vying for NHL team. If they do land a team, I wonder who would be in line for media jobs. Geoff Baker is local. I wonder if anyone in the Toronto market would try to head northwest in search of greener pastures. I’ll take nominations, who would you hire if you run either the outlets or the teams?

Beat reporters?
Radio play by play?
Tv studio?
Tv Play by play?

The talent pool here in Seattle right now is very shallow.

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