The start of the weekend mail, as usual
All right, everyone.
You did pretty well getting us through today and I see a fair bit left over for tomorrow, which is good.
Still, we’ll give you one last shot at it, click here and get it done.
Q: Hey Doug! Was listening to the local (sort of - Detroit) sports talk radio about the appropriate 'dress code' for reporters doing a scrum/interview. There was two differing views - casual (shorts and a T-shirt) was OK; and a little more 'dressy' was more appropriate.
What is your personal dress code?
Tim H, Windsor
A: It really changes and depends on the typical dress of the event I’m covering and the comfort level necessary. For basketball, or even – egads – the pucks or other indoor winter events, I’m pretty much always in a shirt and tie but no jacket because it’s too restricting to type, I find.
Now, the baseball’s a bit more relaxed, I think primarily because of the weather and working conditions so shorts – nice shorts, of course – and a golf shirt are the usual dress.
Olympics? Shorts and t-shirts all the way, and that’s fine with everyone.
But it is a matter of personal taste; I’ve seen t-shirts and casual attire at basketball games and I’ve seen shirts and ties at the ball yard.
Q: Hi Doug. I seem to remember a minor league basketball team playing out of Toronto in the early 80's. At the time I worked at a radio station in Barrie and recall the coach and a couple of the players coming up for an hour long interview on some sports show the station aired.
For the life of me I can remember the teams name - or the players involved.
Do you have any knowledge on the team - the league they played in - and any other details. Cheers
Michael D, Barrie
A: Oh, I’m sure that would have been the old Toronto Tornados, who played in the old Continental Basketball League for about three years in the mid- to early-80s. Played out of Maple Leaf Gardens in a league that spawned such NBA coaches as Phil Jackson and George Karl.
Q: Dear Smitty. Other than CBC Saturday night, will pro sports ever be offered "over the air" again? I would quickly give up satellite/ cable, if I could get a couple of games a week on the old antenna. (now available digital)
Some smart TV and/or advertising guy must realize that there is a market out there of fed up people, who want free sports, over the air.
All the best!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Man, I wish. Wouldn’t it be nice to say screw the cable provider, take the cheapest package available and see sports?
Alas, my man, can’t see it happening. In fact, I’m afraid all signs point to leagues and teams moving all their stuff to higher tier networks and bleeding fans even more.
Q: Hi Doug. A bit of baseball question for you. Last week, Bob McCown and one of his guests had a interesting discussion as to why so many young pitchers in the major leagues break down with arm trouble now a days. Bob's theory was that it was caused by the fact that from a young age, the modern pitcher is not conditioned, both physically and mentally, to go out and pitch 7+ innings each outing. What do you think? Do you agree or do you think it might simply be a case of bad luck or bad mechanics. Thank You.
Joe D, Mississauga
A: There is no doubt that more kids and minor leaguers are coddled beyond belief in comparison to the olden days. But there are a couple of reasons that it kind of makes sense:
There is such a financial investment in young arms that protecting them makes business sense as it does baseball sense.
And there’s one other thing to think about: Back in the day, the players really had no options, they had to pitch through pain because there were no guaranteed long term contracts and they were as complicit in it as the teams were.
Now, should kids be “stretched out” at a younger age so they build arm strength as youngsters? Probably, yes, but I still do know that it would make much difference at the high minors or major league level when everyone’s protecting an investment.
Q: Greetings, pondering our National Basketball League this afternoon. If you were given the task of selling this sports undertaking to potential sponsors, whom, and how, would you be approaching them for support? Is there a particular demographic that stands out as a prime target to build support from? No negativity intended just have to think it would be an uphill battle. As always, thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: I’m sure that in some ways it will be a difficult uphill slog. But if I was doing it, I’d find local, local, local people who can “adopt” a team. It would be the usual big-ticket places like breweries and car dealers but I think you have to reach out to local restaurants and bars, local corporations and sell them on the idea of being intimately involved with a first-time venture in a city. One thing I’d do more than anything: I’d find a way to get the local media on-side, as much as you can, because having the local paper or radio station or television station writing and talking about you creates a buzz that has to help.
It won’t be easy, I’m sure there will be a lot of skepticism in some circles but hard work, being honest, developing mutually-beneficial relationships by getting players, coaches and executives out in the community is a must.
Q: Hi Doug. Last week (I think) you mentioned that the Raps would probably like to see a reduction in the length of free agent contracts as part of a new CBA. While the cynic in me suggests this is due to the one area where BC hasn't really hit a home run, I do wonder if the Raps, or any other NBA team have considered the other side of this sword. A team could sign a free agent for, say three years, feel he is part of their growing core, and then, lo and behold, off he goes to the highest bidder.
Any thoughts on that? Thanks as always for considering the question.
Sohail G, Collingwood
A: I can see and understand your skepticism but I will only say this:
It is much easier to convince guys to stay if things are going well than it is to get rid of them if things are going bad.
And that’s why I think they should think that shorter is better.
Q: Hi Doug. Stern's now talking the big "C", Contraction. I could see that being a real plus for the league in upping both the level of talent and competition.
But how about you? Do you see this playing out? If so, when do you think they'd pull the trigger, and how many teams could you see getting axed? Do they drop two teams, to bring it to 28? Six, to make it a neat 24? If it's two to four, what happens to the currently neat five teams in six divisions format?
Which teams do you see as the most likely to disappear? And how do you see Toronto making out in the big picture?
David M, Ottawa
A: I’m pretty sure the contraction talk is more negotiation sabre-rattling but if they could sell it to the union they probably would.
I could see them dropping maybe two franchises to get to 28 and maybe doing some major realignment.
Which ones? Hard to say but you’d have to look at ones with ownership issues or other pressing problems. There is no owner for New Orleans and as much as that city needs a team, I’m sure people would look at it and if they can’t get an arena deal done in Sacramento, isn’t that a logical one? Maybe Memphis?
Toronto? Toronto would be absolutely fine; solid ownership, good fan base, a money-maker. No way it’s on anyone’s list.
Q: Hi Doug. Got a baseball question for you since basketball is pretty much dead (except for the daily reports that some NBA superstar is in negotiations with some team in Turkey even though we all know he'll never sign):_In the light of Tyler Beede not signing with the Blue Jays, I was wondering why some players still declare for the MLB First-Year Player Draft even though they have already committed to a college?
Hamza M, Mississauga
A: Without a whole lot of first-hand knowledge, I think it’s just common sense to leave as many options open as possible and to give yourself a hammer to play in negotiations, as the Beede kid did. And trust me, I can almost guarantee that if the Jays has met his number, he would have kissed Vanderbilt goodbye in a New York minute.
Q: Two questions.
The rumors are Rudy has "already signed" a contract for when his contract is over with Dallas. Is this legal/allowed by FIBA? (I know the NBA sort of does it with draft choices, but I know they can't do it before a contract is up.)
Second, what is the greater danger, players getting injured in other leagues, or players looking ordinary? I can't imagine it is good for the NBA if Williams averages 16 and 8 in Turkey.
Bruce M, Winnipeg
A: Oh, no, it’s not legal at all. And I’ve heard so much posturing from Rudy Fernandez and his agents that while I don’t imagine anything is “signed” it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s got a “promise” with a team in Spain for as soon as he can go. But as for legal? Not at all.
And the greater risk going to Europe in most certainly injury because the game is so different, and roles might be different, that numbers can’t be transferred from one league to another.
Q: Assuming the Canadian men qualify for the 2012 Olympics, how likely is it Steve Nash joins the team? What increases that likelihood?
K J, Toronto
A: Not likely at all, I don’t think. Steve would be, what, 38 years old at the time and perhaps without an NBA contract. I know there’s a sentimental part of everyone that would like to see him out there for one last shot but in the unlikely event that Canada qualifies, I don’t see a reason to think he’d take part.
I could be wrong, but my read of the situation comes from a sense of Steve, and history.
Q: Hi Doug, it's getting to be a "tough read" with the lockout on top of regular slow summer stuff - but you're doing the usual admirable job with the baseball throw-in stuff - keep it up! (no I'm not a relative).
A visiting friend to the cottage this week discussed Dave Smart, Carleton's outstanding bball coach (7 out of 9 last years national university champs)and Basketball Canada's recent attempts to improve Canadian international results - why don't we see them working together (or even hear about him as "guest coach" etc)?
Barry P, North Bay
A: We did, actually. He was on Leo’s staff for a couple of years but that relationship ended and I haven’t heard an inclination from either side to have it rekindled.
I know Dave a little bit and am quite impressed with his coaching abilities – and you can’t knock his record in the CIS, that’s for sure – but the international thing with Leo’s staff just didn’t work out.
Q: Greatest golf movies, Doug? How about Follow The Sun (1951), the inspirational Ben Hogan story or The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005), the incredible story of Francis Ouimet? Not to mention The Legend of Bagger Vance - the list goes on and on..... dog days indeed. Cheers!
Ernie A, Vernon, B.C.
A: Those are three great ones indeed, the Hogan movie is one of the great sports flicks of all time and I know there’s no question here, really, but I need to run this as a service.
Q: What did you think of that fairway along side of the 401 at Doon Valley?
I had a fantastic drive from the tee the one time I've played there, but must of shot a double bogey because the vehicle noise was SO disrupting!
Steve C, Waterloo
A: Weird, isn’t it? Now, I had nothing but a good time at the tournament and the people at the course couldn’t have been nice but driving under a super highway to play a few holes is a bit strange. And there was a “sameness” to the holes over there that didn’t make it memorable.
Great day, though, and I’d go play there again if the chance presents itself.