Well, we did it again.
You folks rallied late, I was preoccupied on Friday so got nothing really accomplished (the Wing Fest was freaking outstanding and we’ll have a lot more of it on Monday) so there’s this now, a Mighty Navy Tigers practice at 9 a.m. and we’ll be back tomorrow with a boatload more.
On this, the anniversary of his death, we need some Bob, don’t we?
Do you ever get remarks from the Raps front office staff about articles you write. I cannot believe that Brian or one of his minions does not read every word about the team that you put out. For instance, they must realize that your blog gets read by a lot of fans, and in return gets a fair number of comments.
It, along with your normal articles, and other writers articles would give them a fairly good idea of how their fans, especially outside of Toronto, are feeling about the team. I just wondered if some of your articles or blogs have either drawn favourable or unfavourable remarks from the folks in the team’s headshed.
I realize most players are not going to worry about what they
may read in articles about themselves, but I wondered if you know how much of the news reports are seen by management.
A: Every morning, one of the hard-working staffers deep in the bowels of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment cubicle-land compiles a package of that day’s media ramblings; it includes anything written here or anywhere about the team and it is distributed to a Henchman list that’s as long as your arm. And to Bryan, too.
How closely any of them reads it is unknown but I know more than a few of them look at it quite closely to check that day’s temperature.
I don’t think the comments section here is included in the package that goes out but every now and then, either I will send a particularly bad or good one off to someone but usually it’s with the tagline: “These are my people.”
Q: Hi. So Bennett won't be available for Canada this year. Perhaps he could warble "I wanna be around."
Why can't the refs wear shorts in the NBA? Why can't PGA members wear shorts in the ridiculous temperatures they sometimes play. (The caddies can) What about sports scribes, are mandatory pants clauses in their employment contracts?
Should pitchers be forced to wear batting helmets, or the equivalent? Anybody remember Gil Mcdougalld's line drive to the right eye of Herb Score? (I don't)
All the best!
Bob E, Kanata
A: Some of those refs are basically Men Of My Certain Vintage, I don’t think we want to see them in shorts, do we?
And if golfers wore shorts, wouldn’t that take away one place they could sell sponsorships?
It used to be accepted, and commonplace, that some baseball writers would wear shorts; the look became at some level too casual and the writer’s association has instituted guidelines but other than that, the only thing scribblers are asked to is be presentable, and most of us are.
The terrifying accident involving Happ was ugly and scary and dangerous; it was also an anomaly and I don’t know if some kind of faux helmet is doable. But since they did it with base coaches, I’m pretty sure they’ll think of it, perhaps grandfather it in some way.
Q: Hi Doug
Several questions for you:
When players talk to the refs after what they perceive to be an incorrect call, what do they usually say and do the refs find it irritating? Do calls ever get reviewed as a result?
Do you think any of the Raps players read your blog, and if so, do they ever comment on it to you?
During the offseason, especially now with the rumors swirling around the Raps mgmt, do you think the Raps players follow all the blogs and online articles like we the fans do? How do you think they feel about the hiring of T.L?
A: Most of the players are respectful, they’ll say whine in strong terms but not over the top with things like, “Hey, man, that was/wasn’t a foul” or “you missed that one” or “he hit me, how could you not see it’ and while they don’t get calls reviewed on the spot as a result what sometimes happens is a ref will go look at tape at, say, halftime, and then discuss it with players or coaches. I have heard refs admit, ‘yeah, I blew that one’ after taking a second look.
I’m not sure too many players read regularly but I am sure their people do and they have an idea what’s been written; don’t get too many comments although Rasho used to bust on me good naturedly every now and then.
Same with the Leiweke hiring, they would have heard about it through channels and their first reaction would have been what does it mean for Bryan and Dwane but Tim’s gig is so far above the players – he’s running a billion dollar company with four sports teams, a couple of arenas, condos, restaurants and TV stations – that his impact on their day-to-day lives will be minimal, and I think they’re just fine with that.
Q: Hi Doug
Any chance Phil replacing Bryan,bringing brian shaw and coaching home games only and brian shaw taking over away games until next season(2014-15) when he takes over full control of the coaching?
A: Less than zero.
Q: Hi Doug,
In the two series in the Western Conference, I think both lower-seeded teams have a significant chance at an upset, with OKC's loss of Westbrook and the emergence of Steph Curry.
It seems to me that a 1 vs 2 or a 1 vs 3 or a combination of the sort tends to be the match-up for the Conference Finals. Do you remember any 5 vs 6 conference finals of significance?
Personally, I think it would be good for the game to have an underdog team make it to the Finals.
I'm not a pucks fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I find
the unpredictability of the playoffs fascinating and I wish that would translate to the NBA a little bit more.
In your entry today, you brought up the Curious Case of Ricky Romero. Do you remember any HOTH who thrived for a couple of years and "lost it", à la Romero? As a big TOD fan, I hope as much as anybody that he regains his swagger from a couple of years ago!
Hope the Wings were delicious!
Alex H, Toronto
A: Without going back year-by-year because there’s a lot to do here, I’ll give you a couple of low seeds that did okay:
The Houston Rockets, in the “Never underestimate the heart of a champion” title season,, were a sixth seed, I believe and won four straight series in which they didn’t have homecourt advantage.
And the Knicks, in one of the lockout years, got the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed but that was a bit of an aberration because of the shortened season.
A player losing it? Honestly can’t remember one here but I guess you could say Landry Fields – for physical reasons contributing greatly – lost some of his shooting skill before he got here.
Q: H e l l o , M r . S m i t h . H a p p y S u m m e r . Lots of time to think about inane miscellaneous stuff and drum up nifty lists, so how about some head-scratchers.
In hockey, why do announcers go through all that mental torture of calculating how many minutes and seconds it’s been since the period started. If there’s 0:15 left on the clock, why not just say “with 15 seconds to go” instead of going to the troubling of explaining to us that it’s at the 19:45 mark. And if the 19:45 thing is that important, why don’t they just run the clocks forward instead of backward so the fool thing reads “19:45” when there are 15 seconds left and the poor announcer doesn’t have a headache?
There’s no set standard for soccer pitches so why not scale them down to something a little less daunting than a polo field or small municipality in Europe? Wouldn’t a smaller field promote a far more entertaining game for all involved, including the fans? I mean, even the TV kingpins must see built-in moneymaking opportunities there, with more play stoppages, right?
And what’s with the “love, 15, 30, 45” in tennis. “Advantages” I kind of get but why not your basic “gotta win by two?”
T h a n k y o u f o r y o u r c e r e b r a l i n s i g h t s , a n d f o r a fine blog.
David M, Ottawa
A: I was once at a news conference with the world’s press at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for the Dream Team.
A gentleman of the global fifth estate asked Karl Malone a question that went something like this: “Why are some baskets worth one point, some are worth two and some are worth three?”
Malone, droll, said: “That’s just the way it is, my man.”
That’s about all I’ve got for you.
But I will mention that since soccer is the world’s most popular sport, I think they’re quite okay with pitch size.