Weekend mail on a Tuesday? We're all messed up here
Yeah, we’re a little bit late here but the weekend was full of real stuff too good to pass up. And yesterday was dead.
Have fun with this and there are lists and things left over to help get us through the rest of the week.
A week, I might add, that includes a couple more trips to the ballyard and I think we need to get back to the IGBT since I know how things operate here.
Anyway, enjoy this while I go deal with the fact I’m now a parent of a 15-year-old on Super Son Day.
Q: Good morning Doug.
I know this has been discussed already, the 'no communication allowed' between teams and their players during the lockout. However, I was just wondering how strict it actually is. For instance, if a player is getting married and was planning on inviting the coach/gm, or another player's going to become a father again, etc. Are congratulatory phone calls or attending personal events also off limits? I understand discussing league matters being off limits, but if it extends to personal events, etc, does it not seem a little extreme?
MLSE often gets a bad rap as owners, but I believe that sometimes it's misplaced. They have their Team Up Foundation that seems to do excellent work, they're investing $20 million in TFC academy program, etc. Have there been instances where you feel as a reporter that they've been unfairly targeted or blamed? Were there times when you felt that the fans wrath was likely justified?
How's the new barbecue working out? Have you been able to spend as much quality time with it as you had hoped?
Well, thanks for tackling these and for keeping us entertained.
Dominique K, Ottawa
A: It’s pretty strict, actually. I know the Mavs had to get special dispensation from the league so that Mark Cuban could join the players at a TV awards show and franchises would have to make a great case if there was another away-from-the-court event that had been scheduled.
Now, I do think that if “friends” wanted to stay in touch – like equipment managers and players – they may in fact do so but, truth be told, there isn’t an awful lot of social interaction between management and players in the summer anyway.
Now, I am a big fan of the Foundation, actually. Was a bit bigger supporter when each team had its own and could do some sport-specific work but they do a very good job that kind of gets lost every now and then. But I think people can distinguish between the charitable work and the on-field performance of the teams, laud one and perhaps criticize the others.
The barbecue has got lots of use, not as much as I’d like thanks to various nights and weekends at the ballpark but it was a solid investment.
Q: Hi Doug. Seeing the news about the Hawks getting new ownership, wondering what kind of effect the lockout is having on the Teachers’ chances of selling the Raps. Does the lockout make this more of a buyer’s market? Sellers market? Limbo market? And could you take a wild stab at it – who do you think might actually buy this team?
Also wondering – how do owners/managers make use of their time during the lockout? Are they working the phones to get free agent deals penciled in? Or are they just sitting on their hands, waiting? (for example, Colangelo hiring a GM – will that just stay on hold until there’s a CDA settlement?)
Thanks for the great blog.
David M, Ottawa
A: Because the sale is so much bigger than just a basketball team headed to a new economic situation, I’m not sure there’s much of an impact at all; the folks at Maple Leaf Sports are peddling a rather significant package. As for the general feeling, I’d say it’s a bit of a buyer’s market solely for basketball, given the owners seem bent on getting an economic system much more favourable that the one that exists now.
A buyer? Your guess would be as good as mine, I suppose. I keep hearing the usual suspects, Rogers, the Thompsons who have a stake in the Winnipeg pucks and BellGlobe Media. But that’s a predictable list.
I hear a lot of GMs took advantage of the downtime to get some vacation and should be stumbling back in offices this week or next. The search for a new guy here – whatever he’ll be called – will pick up steam in the next two or three weeks, I’m told.
Q: Hello, Doug. Thanks for keeping the Blog going through the summer.
I haven't been following as closely since the draft, so I apologize if you've covered this:
After the Raps drafted Jonas V., the predominant commentary in the media was that he was arguably the most talented player in the draft, but teams were scared off by his contract status (the inference being the Rubio situation).
Yet, days after being drafted, the Raps completed his buyout.
My question is:
Is this an example of the Raps management having an advantage in negotiating a deal, or was the real concern among other teams that he wouldn't be available to them for the 2011/12 season?
Joe U, Markham
A: It’s an example of the regard with which Bryan and Maurizio are held in Europe, no question. The day Jonas was drafted, he did not have a buyout agreement addendum to his three-year contract with his club team over there; it took less than 48 hours for the Raptors to negotiate a deal that frees him after one year.
Whether they would have happened with another organization, I can’t say but I do know that some of the teams drafting above Toronto – Minnesota, Cleveland and Utah – had concerns about when they might get him. The Raptors were confident that their relationships in Europe – forged of years of just being there and creating a good relationship – would help them. It did and that’s why you have people like Bryan and Maurizio in positions of responsibility.
Q: Hi Doug. You've mentioned a few times over the last little while that you worked in St John's for a spell. I just spent a week there on vacation and noticed that aside from the introduction of the new AHL Hockey team (The Ice Caps?) there wasn't a lot of sports to be found.
Cod, Music, the republic of Doyle and Russell Crowe sightings seemed to be the big topics of discussion. A friendly Barkeep did ask about the Blue Jays though..._Was your Gig as a sports writer and how big a part does Sports play in the Newfoundland culture?
Michael D, Barrie
A: Actually, when I was there I was a news guy. Started as a slot/desk guy (involved in the process of deciding what went where in the paper) and eventually evolving into an assistant managing editor. Sports was fun but not my gig, although the Newfoundland senior hockey league was big, big news back then, and a lot of fun to follow on weekends.
Oh, that and Regatta Day.
Q: I'm enjoying all your baseball related writing lately. To be truthful, as much as I love basketball and the Raptors baseball is number one for me. Anyway, two questions.
What is the schedule for the Jays players on a typical day when they play a night game? For example, what time do they arrive at the park and what do they generally do when they get there until they start the game?
What are some of the better books about baseball. I appreciate that this may not be your area of expertise but maybe some of the irregulars have some thoughts or perhaps Griff might have some recommendations. I'll even offer one myself. The Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball by Leonard Kloppet. I bought this a number of years ago and it's an extremely interesting read for someone looking to know more about the game.
A small aside. I have the 2004 edition which has a foreword written by none other than Pat Gillick in which he makes mention of a number of writers that he has followed during his career including some fine Toronto writers such as Wayne Parrish, Trent Frayne, Milt Dunnell and one or two others whose names escape me right now. Definitely worth picking up if you can find a copy.
Stephen G, Kitchener
A: I’m going to save the best baseball books for a regular morning offering this week, if you don’t mind. That’s a great list to do.
As for a typical day for a ball player with a night game, they tend to get the park somewhere between 2 and 3 to hang around, maybe get some extra hitting in, work out, lounge around the clubhouse watching TV, playing cards or goofing around. Stretching and batting practice starts around 4-4:30 at home and that’s when the real work of the day starts.
Q: Try Obricke's (spell check) for crabs in Baltimore.
Also, a baseball question - why didn't the Blue Jays have the schedule people have a game on Monday? Gave up a lot of revenue with a possible 25,000 +/- fans in the seats.
Howard R, Toronto
A: No idea why they didn’t – I’m not that familiar with the MLB scheduling system – but I would insist every single year on having home games on the August long weekend, Canada Day and May 24 weekend. You’d think the folks at MLB headquarters would be amenable to that plan, that’s three Mondays of big crowds they wouldn’t normally get.
Q: Hi Doug. In these slow days of basketball reporting I was wondering if you and Mr. Grossman could get together and make up a list of Canadian prospects that are in a Canadian or American university program and also on the depth charts for the National Program.
Thanks for the reporting on the women's team in Chile. I wish we had more of this. (But I guess that is really up to "us" to support them with dollars, attendance and/or attention.)
Kevin M, Maple
A: Here’s the thing: We no longer have Mr. Grossman and that’s an undertaking I’m not quite ready to undertake at the moment. Maybe as we get closer to the start of some college season but at the moment, I’m afraid that’s a request that can’t be filled.
Q: Doug - Reference Solomon Alabi or other second round picks - could the Raptors have made a deal with a Euro team to send Solo to Europe to get his play up to where he could come in and start helping the team. Would that be either illegal or impossible to arrange. Were they legally committed to either signing him to a contract or cutting him loose for some other team to pick up? Thanks
Gerry T, Halifax
A: Impossible to arrange since he was, and is, under contract here. Now, in the lockout era I suppose he could find himself a job over there but there’s nothing the Raptors can do now to facilitate it.
If they had done something before they had signed him to the original contract, that would have been fine. Now? Nothing they can do but use the D League when they come back as a training ground.
Q: Greetings, couple of random thoughts. Firstly, regarding correct usage of the Queen's English. At home we are a blended family, mine, hers and ours, all ranging from just under two to twenty-nine. (Not that all still abide in the family abode) Anyways, the fifteen year old has from somewhere developed quite the notion to gallop to the defence of our wonderful language. More times than not he is very much correct in his contributions to his siblings (and parents) use of the language. The twenty-nine year old is also pretty good with the written and spoken word, which sets the stage for some lively debates around the dinner table. The five year old, on the other hand, has very little use for "Bubby" feeling the need to correct her in the use of our language. As a parent I am just thrilled that there is use of language beyond grunts, text shortforms and language suitable for the average dockworker.
As the day’s second thought or question, I wonder if finding Jay in the Falls was coincidence or, perhaps, maybe he has been following the blog?
As always thanks for what you do.
Doug T, Brantford
A: Oh, strictly coincidence. We’ve both got some family things cooking down there and happened to be in town at the same time. And where else are you going to go in the morning to meet people or hang out other than Starbucks away from the madding horde of tourists?
Q: Dear Doug, Thanks for the videos of Rasho and Bubba.
A Rasho story. Superwife and I were touring the Galapagos five yrs ago (my 60th., our 35th.). On the boat was a teenager who had different NBA gear on daily and his dad. We got to talking, and they were from Slovenia. Dad was the first economic minister after the Yugo breakup, and then was the pres of the B-Ball Association. He talked about Rasho in the most glowing terms as a person rather than as an athlete.
All the best in health
Frank B, Toronto
PS: Before you're too old, go to the Galapagos with Super Wife and son. Literally nothing like this on our planet.
A: I add this because it’s a very cool story and I think others should heed your Galapagos advice; it’s always been on my list of things I hope to do.