Go to it:
Q: Hey Doug. Here are a couple geeky grammar questions, one specific and one general that I’d like to hear your thoughts on.
Something that’s always bothered me is the use of the term “over .500”. To me, I think it’s used incorrectly. Here’s an example:
Let’s say it’s the end of a 100 game season. If a team finishes with 60 wins and 40 losses, I feel sportscasters/writers would say that they are 20 games over .500. Isn’t a more correct statement that they have 20 more wins than losses, as a .500 finish to that season would have been 50/50 which would mean they finished 10 games over .500? Thoughts/opinion on the matter? Should I get a life and ignore stuff like this
Do you have any favorite “words” or terms that sportscasters use that make you cringe? Describing someone as being “literally on fire” drives me nuts, as does “physicality”. Any gems that you’ve heard over the years?
Heath M, Toronto
A: If I never hear another basketball person talk about a players’ ability “to score the ball” it will be too soon.
And if a baseball player “goes yard” I might “lose it” and because that’s not “staying within yourself.”
There are a gaggle of other clichés that get to me but those come quickly to mind.
The over .500 debate will forever rage; I can see your point but with my limited math skills, I’m not sure I can engage in the discussion. Suffice it to say, I think readers know what we’re referring to.
Q: Doug, seems to me there is a reluctance of the local TV commentators (media) to be critical of the home teams. They seem to be quite knowledgeable and well informed of the limitations of the visiting teams.
Is this a case of not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them?
Can you comment on the relationship between the TV media and their bosses/audience/sponsors ?
Does this situation apply to other basketball media coverage (radio, print, etc.)?
Mike S, Toronto
A: Not in my situation, that’s for sure. I’ve never had a boss tell me what to write or how to write it in the years I’ve been covering these guys. And I’ve never heard of it happening anywhere else in this market, either.
But I can’t really speak to the television outlets or team broadcast “partners.” It would seem to me there might be some kind of implied relationship that tempers overly-harsh criticism.
Q: Hi Doug! Have you ever wondered why it is that so many GM-level commenters to your blog have not been hired? Do you think it might help their chances if they at least spelled the players' names correctly? :>)
My real question: I read a story (I believe it was the "Favre is retiring, Part XXV" story) where the report said that is was based on a source who wished to remain anonymous, since he was "not authorized" to comment on the situation.
To me, that sounds immoral, if not illegal, for a news outlet to use an "unauthorized" source to publish a report. You've mentioned several times that you won't report 'rumours' unless you can get two reliable sources. What do you think about reporters who use sources that are "not authorized" to speak on the subject?
Thanks for all the great work!
Tim H, Windsor
A: I think what’s meant in those circumstances that an assistant GM or a coach or someone else in authority but not the ultimate authority, passes along information that is supposed to come from only one “authorized” voice. I would expect that any professional journalist would have at least two confirmations of any piece of information they publish or broadcast.
Q: Hey Doug. Any idea if the team Canada games will be on television? I'm guessing the exhibition games are doubtful but am really hoping to watch the games in Turkey, will I be happy?
Dave W, Toronto
A: I think you will be happy but nothing has been finalized about the world championship broadcasts. The good folks at Canada Basketball are trying to firm up details and contracts as I type.
Q: Do you have any concerns with the American "Young Guns" blending with the international players on the Raptors. Not just co-existing but really gelling and redefining this team. Do you see much interaction off the court between the players ie: Bargnani, Derozan, Johnson, Calderon.
Derk S, Centreville
A: There was some but, really, it’s not that big a deal as long as they play hard and respect each other on the court and they do. But as for team dinners and nights out on the town? Didn’t hear of many last year and don’t imagine I will this year; these are grown men with other tugs on their lives.
Q: Hi Doug. Further to a question a reader asked about Raptors/teammates liking each other on/off the court, I wondered if there were examples of Raptors or any players in the NBA who really despise one another but still mesh well enough to play successfully?
Obviously it would be great to have a lot of love in the dressing room but as these are all paid professionals who get thrown together by the GM/management, have there been instances where there are huge personality clashes in the background but success on the court?
Steve S, Hong Kong
A: I’m not sure “really despise” would be the right phrase but a good example may the fact Kobe and Shaq weren’t exactly in love with each other as they were winning three straight championships at the start of the 2000s. That’ s probably the most recognizable – and recent – example I could give you.
Q: Hey Doug. I seem to remember last year that the Raptors mentioned to the league that they had an unfair number of games in back-to-backs against very well rested teams who came into the games with 3-4 days off prior. I agree that this is unfortunate and maybe unfair, but this seems like the kind of thing that is too difficult for the league to plan around. Do teams get a sneak-peak at the schedule and a chance to flag some games that they consider worth changing or does everyone get the same list at the same time?
Paul C, Brantford
A: They do get a look at a draft schedule and teams have been able to get particularly arduous trips changed, mainly based on arena availability and the travel of the opponent. It probably happens with one or two games for a handful of teams per year.
Q: Hey Doug, I read your blog every weekday. Thanks for making it seem much like a roundtable conversation over some brew. I don't even bother reading the basketball section anymore, just come to you.
Quick question. Why do you call regular readers "irregular"?
And one more for ya. With absence of Chris Bosh and Turkey-Glue, who on the current roster can you really see blossoming and coming to their own now that there are more touches and shots to be distributed?
Atif K, Toronto
A: Every weekday? What’s wrong with Saturdays and Sundays? (I joke)
I figured we needed a pet name for the cabal we have here and Irregulars just came to mind. I know it’s stolen – or an homage to – the Baker Street Irregulars but there you go.
And I would think DeRozan and Bargnani might benefit with more shots, and responsibility, this season.
Q: From your reporter perspective, how much fun do you think it would be to cover the start of a potential NBA powerhouse? If you could do like Bosh and leave Toronto after 15 years of covering a franchise with just one playoff series win, assuming your family would come to and equal pay, would you take your talents to South Beach?
Robert S, Toronto
A: Considering my expertise in the alternative, I think I’d quite enjoy covering a team that wins huge because there’s always less angst and pressure under those circumstances. Or so I’m told.
And, no, I would not take my talents to South Beach, I’m very much not a South Beach kinda guy. I’d be more Chicago-Boston as big cities to live in.
Maybe Phoenix but I’m not really built for the heat, either.