The end of the weekend mail, again
Once again, you've come through with some solid stuff and once again I'll say thanks.
You folks are good at what you do.
Q: Hello there, and good luck to the Mighty Rockies this weekend.
In lieu of the "man in the white shirt" scandal that hit the Jays this past week my question to you is this, what is your opinion of anonymous sources and how do you decide to use them in an article? There was a good piece written about that very issue in a article this week and there seemed to be differing opinions even from writers in regards to this, and also does your editor specify instances of when and if they can be used?
To me it's a tricky issue but if it were me as a writer I would try to limit their use as there has to be some sense of credibility to a article.
Doug B, Toronto
A: Thanks, Mighty Rockies lost a heart-breaker Saturday, weather-permitting we’re playing for all the marbles later this morning.
I have a somewhat lower opinion of anonymous sources, although I do admit to having used them on more than a few occasions.
My general rule is that they truly have to add something of significance to a story and couldn’t be used with attribution for some very legitimate reason. It is a hugely tricky issue, which is why I involve my bosses each time and make sure they are okay with having it in the story.
And, by extension, that means someone higher up the food chain knows who the source is and I can’t just fabricate things.
Q: Doug, The best use of modern technology in professional sports today comes from Iris in tennis. Horse racing picture finish a close second. Arguments about missed calls and McEnroe rants have left like the dodo bird. Might the next best use of modern technology not be best used in baseball to call ball & strikes? Would the game of baseball not be better, and would it serve the umpires with some humble pie to have calls reviewed and changed?
I like the potential modern technology brings to today’s professional sports and I can't understand the resistance. In my opinion the poor excuse that the human elements is required in today’s game should follow the dodo bird. I think a better argument can be made that technology works and that the human element is corruptible and can be influenced from so many angles that it can and does compromise todays game.
Any chance you someday change your stance regarding modern technology?
Steph R, Glencoe
A: I will give tennis full credit for developing what seems to be the perfect system but it is only there because the clearly-defined boundaries that make it easy, it’s super quick and doesn’t ruin the flow of the game and the number is limited. So I guess I’m quite okay with that one.
So, if they could develop one in other sports that works as foolproof that with things like strikes-balls, I’d probably be okay with it.
Q: Hey Doug! So, you've got a gloomy mailbag? Well, didn't that old stalwart of medical offices everywhere used to provide us with a monthly feature: "Laughter is the Best Medicine"? (So, why did we all still stick around for our appointments if that was the case?) Yes, Reader's Digest was right. I even think it's good for the cardio. So, that being said, I'd like to say what a treat it was having both you and Griff entertain us with the first Two-Man-IGBT. As a team your comic timing and delivery were very good (although I wasn't sure which one of you was supposed to be the 'straightman') and it made me think back to other comedy teams. Who were your favourites, Doug? Past, present or even literary! And speaking of comedy, they say you can tell a lot about a person by their Favourite Joke. (Mine is: Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To see his friend Gregory Peck! I swear, 40 years after first hearing it still makes me laugh.) So, what is your favourite rib-tickler? The one that makes you chuckle - if not outright guffaw - just thinking about it! Cheers! And Chuckles.
Lorie P, London
A: Good one?
Horse walks in the bar.
Barman says: “Why the long face?”
I swear, I chuckle every time.
But let’s leave the top comedy teams at a short list of three right now and we’ll get more into it during the week one day, shall we?
Rowan and Martin.
Martin and Lewis.
Burns and Allen.
Now I’ll spend some time probing the deep recesses of my mind and see where we can go from those three.
Q: Hey Doug, have written a couple of times before but haven't noted our similar pasts (this can be on or off the record). I was born in Niagara Falls, went to the evil arch-enemy Myer (one year behind Jay) and spent one summer, 1978 if memory serves, as a security guard at Marineland.
As a question, what type of labour deal do you think would be best for the Raptors, both from a business and competitive perspective? For example are they a franchise that would have a better chance of winning with a relatively high cap? Length of contract guarantees? Franchise player designation? And as they participate in negotiations, how much do the on-court considerations weigh on their input? Or is it all about cost containment?
Gary M, Ottawa
A: Myer? Myer’s like Wollerton to a guy from Stamford but time heals all wounds so we’re cool.
I haven’t had a chance to have a long, serious discussion with Bryan or anyone else about what kind of perfect system the Raptors would want yet.
But I would think they would want absolute cost certainty that wouldn’t allow other, more spendthrift, teams to stockpile talent, spreading it around more equitably. I think they’d probably want shorter, non-guaranteed contracts so that they could get out of mistakes more easily (a feeling held by every franchise, I imagine) and the on-court impact (what kind of team they may be able to build and how, how their current roster would be impacted by a new deal) would, I imagine, be a very large part of the considerations.
Q: Hi Doug. I am hoping the NBL does well when it starts it. Two questions for you about it. Will this league help at all for players hoping to get to the NBA? I'm thinking it is more likely to help with creating depth at the national team level.
Secondly, will the Raptors provide any type of support (openly or behind the scenes) with this league? It seems to fit the mandate they have created for themselves in helping develop Canadian basketball.
Kevin M, Maple
A: I don’t think anyone sees this now as a path to the NBA, not with the D League and Europe far more viable. If it does provide a better level of competition for Canadian kids and deepen the national team talent pool, that would be about perfect, as well as giving basketball fans in smaller cities a home team to cheer for and support.
Now, I can’t give you any specifics because it’s so early in the venture but I can be near certain that the Raptors would be glad to help out in any way they can, they do it with the national team program to advance the game, I cannot think why they wouldn’t do it – within reason – with the league.
Q: So, for you, when it really comes down to it, is it basketball or baseball?
K J, Toronto
A: Oh, it’s still basketball. I like the pace, I know the game a bit better, I much prefer losing nights to work in the winter rather than the summer. That said, having covered a dozen or so ball games so far this year has been a lot of fun. And I don’t think I’ve embarrassed myself too much by having to write a sport I haven’t written about in a couple of years.
Q: Over the last 5/10 years I have sensed a concerted effort by the NBA to be a 12 month a year enterprise. Now with the lockout they have regressed to being an October to May league. And of course in the case of the lottery teams a much shorter event then that. So when the new CBA is signed do you seem them trying to get back to the level or has the damage been done. In other words I see you covering Jay's games in July/August for years to come :-)
To make this question complete I would also need to throw in a question about the grill (hope it's busy) and music but both escape me at the moment.
John P, Minneapolis
A: Once this thing gets settled I’m sure we’ll be back to the same old schedule. That’ll be regular season late October to April, playoffs until mid-June, draft, free agency, summer league, downtime in August and getting back at it with informal camps in September before the real thing starts again.
So, I guess I could be free to do some ball in August but I think next year I’ll be spending three weeks or so in London doing Olympic things.
Q: Since you say the mailbag is light, I'll try these two:
You mentioned that the NBA players, if they planned properly, should be OK financially during the lockout. What about the players selected in this year's draft? Are they on their own (like the rest of us)?
Assuming there had not been a lockout, when would the Raps start paying JV? If he wasn't going to get paid until he actually got here, would that have given the Raps extra space under the cap/tax, for one year?
Thanks for everything - BBall-related and otherwise - that you do for us!
Tim H, Windsor
A: Oh yeah, kids who were picked in June’s draft didn’t get a chance to sign their contracts so they are entirely on their own at the moment. Wonder if they’re scouring the Help Wanted ads?
Because he was going to stay in Lithuania for a season, the Raptors wouldn’t have signed Valanciunas anyway so they would have no cap-tax obligations for him. He would – and will – come under the rookie salary slots whenever they get a new deal done and he now won’t sign before the start of the 2012-13 season, which is when he counts against Toronto’s cap figure.
Q: I haven't seen your analysis of big Val and the Russia-Lithuania game as promised? Did I just miss it?
Hassam K, Vilnius
A: No, you didn’t miss it, kind of slipped my mind. Sorry.
But I can tell you Spain beat Lithuania 90-78 in a warmup game on Saturday and Valunciunas had 10 points in a losing cause.
Q: Hola Doug. In the case where the whole upcoming season is lost due to lockout, what happens with regard to Bryan and Dwayne's contract? Is the loss season counted as one of the three they have been contracted for? If it is, does the current management and coaching team have enough time to show tangible results to ownership (whoever that may be) to retain their jobs?
Marc G, Panama City
A: Oh yeah, it’s counted. They’ll find something to keep them busy somehow but it’s not like they’ll get a free year at the end of their deals to make up for this one, if indeed it’s lost.
Would two years be enough? It’s certainly not a perfect scenario but I do think you know after a couple of years whether things are working or not.