The end of the weekend mail
Good job wrapping up the weekend, folks.
Q: Doug. First, thanks so much for the posting of Superman's song, took a few minutes Friday morning to just sit and listen - and watch the video.
You made a comment about the possibility of looking up
and seeing Dick Stuart on first. Now my memory needs refreshing - was he called Dr. Strangeglove or the ancient mariner - (he stoppeth one of three ) or was he the one that was compared to Michael Jackson - they both wore a glove on one hand for no apparent reason?
So this calls for a list of the best somewhat obscure nicknames for athletes. Or maybe a list of the most unathletic players ever on first base. (This would be one of the better reasons for the existence of the dh)
Have a good summer
A: Dr. Strangeglove he was, for sure. Can’t anyone here play this game was the standing line about that team.
And let’s turn this around, what have you folks got on the obscure nicknames list?
Me, I’d live to watch Boog Powell play first, or Harmon Killebrew. And not for their gracefulness.
Q: Bonsoir Doug,
As it happens, Switzerland's national day is celebrated on 1 August, that is, exactly one month after Canada Day. I remember from this year's blog post on this occasion, as well as those from the previous years, that you had expressed your pride to live in an open, welcoming and tolerant country.
I wish I could say the same about here. In my opinion, Switzerland, like other countries in Europe, seems to be caught in a spiral of populism and wariness towards anything that doesn't fit the "traditional" values of this country. The usual targets are a certain religion, foreigners in general as well as to a certain extent same sex couples. This is disturbing to me because I grew up thinking, certainly naively, that those kinds of phenomena (nationlism, racism, you name it) would disappear or at least weaken over time.
My question is this: do you think you could live and work in a country/society of which attitude and general opinion you wouldn't share?
A: I have a feeling things are different, more insular, in Europe now, at least that’s what I’m getting from the reading I do.
And I probably couldn’t, to tell you the truth; but if I found myself unable to change my circumstances, I’d probably try to do my part to change what was going on around me. It’s not easy, I grant you that, but if you see some kind of injustice, I think you need to try and change it in your own small way.
Q: Hello Doug,
So, I checked the tweeter feed from your sitdown with Tim Leiweke and according to one of your reporters present for it approximately 50 minutes of this slightly more than an hour meeting was off the record. Drats and disappointment! And therefore I won't waste my time and yours asking what was discussed during these private moments (even though 'enquiring minds' and all that...) but maybe you can address a question or two about the fact that there even was such a meeting at all. Apparently much of what we will not be privy to were discussions about the relationship between MLSE and The Star.
Has a meeting such as this one ever occurred previously between your paper and MLSE? If not, then why now do you think? What is the current state of the 'relationship' between the organizations? Should there even be a 'relationship' and does it matter if it's healthy or toxic or something in between? Who monitors its 'health'?
Did anyone ask what MLSE could do for you, Doug, to make your job easier? (And what would you have said if they had!?) And did Tim spring for Starbucks? Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: We’ll have more on the Tim stuff tomorrow but it really wasn’t that big a deal. Industry leaders, politicians and even entertainers have met with our editorial board, this happened to be a guy who runs a big sports organization.
I don’t recall anyone from MLSE ever doing it but there’s a first time for everything.
And I would presume that Tim would and will meet with the Tallest of Foreheads at other places eventually. We were first, which is right, given our standing.
As for the “relationship” it’s pretty good, we do our job and at times it ticks them off but so be it. We’re all grown ups and can understand disagreements or differences of opinion.
Q: So you got to sit in on the Tim chin wag, did you get a chance to ask about Halifax? So I'm heading to New Jersey August 2nd for Yesfestival (Yes, Renaissance, The Musical Box and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy) and just wondering what musical acts you would enjoy seeing this summer?
A: I’m sorry, Halifax did not come up in the conversation. Will try to get to someone this week.
That sounds like a pretty good show and I’ve been a bit too busy to even look at who’s coming to the area. I should sit down with the Ontario Place lineup and figure out a few things to try to get to in August, when it’s a wee bit slower.
Q: Hello Doug. I see Alan Anderson is now a Net. Lucky him. You'd stated recently something along the lines that there was less than a zero percent chance that the Raps would re-sign him. I thought DC was pretty high on AA and what he brought to the table. Was there a difference in thinking here in the transition to Masai from Bryan? Just wondering what might be behind your saying that the interest in AA as a Rap had dropped off like that.
Question2: Anything in particular you're looking forward to seeing in Raptorland this coming season?
Thanks again, and for the fine blog!
A: I don’t think this general manager held him in as high esteem as a player as the other guy did. And that’s perfectly normal. But, really, we’re talking about a guy who was a utility player on a 34-win team, it’s not like they let Kobe Bryant go.
Q: Greetings Doug,
As reported by your newspaper, a recent study has found that men of a certain vintage who skip breakfast are 27 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack.
Being a gentleman of a certain vintage I am curious as to your breakfast eating habits. Are you a cup of Joe and gotta go kind of guy, a healthy bowl of fruit / yogurt topped granola and your favorite fruit smoothie or a do you prefer the full english?
Does your breakfast routine change when you are on the road? And while we are at it... what was served during the chinwag with CEO Tim, coffee and pastries?
Did Lieweke partake? Did anyone ask him what his favorite donut is?
David in Oakville
A: Oh, boy. There are people who know me who are shaking their heads going “let’s see how he explains himself away on this one!”
Truth is, I’m a terrible breakfast guy, should be better and am reminded of that every now and then. Now, I’m never probably going to go granola and yoghurt but I should do fruit or bagels, as I am oft-reminded.
Funny thing is, one the road, with the proximity of concierge lounges, I tend to eat breakfast every day after the blog is done but it’s there and made for me a good way to kill some morning time.
Friday? Coffee and water. We go to no expense to make our guests happy.
Q: Hi Doug,
I'm really glad that you are enjoying the pigskin gig. I love the CFL and generally enjoy TSN's coverage but it really irks me that the broadcasts fail to give the viewers the full starting lineup, instead they give 3 'players to watch' on each side of the ball. I can't recall another sports broadcast not providing the starting lineup.
So my question is, am I wrong to be so irked?
Rob R, Vancouver
A: Probably not; you’d think they could find 30 seconds or so do it, maybe like the do in some NFL games, let the players introduce themselves?
But to tell you the truth, as much as I am really enjoying the Argo Boy part of the summer, I don’t watch a lot of games on TV.
Q: I see that the Raptors have hired Messieurs Mermuys and Mahlalela for 'player development'. What exactly does that mean? Stand there and catchballs during shooting practice? Drive the players to and from the stadium (I saw an article on Mahlalela's picking up Acy at the airport when he was called up from the D-League last year)? Be a shoulder to cry on and a better influence than the player's posse? Run drills with them at times when the coaches aren't working? Teach them financial literacy?
A: Actually, Mermuys is an assistant coach in the same manner as Nick Nurse and Bill Bayno are, they’ll be up front on the bench.
Jama was promoted to an assistant coach/basketball development and I guess the best and simplest way to explain it is to say he’s a workout guy. He’ll be out there hours before the game or hours after practice putting players through their shooting drills, just as Eric Hughes did before he left for a promotion to assistant coach in Brooklyn.
Q: Hi Doug,
While I think our new GM has addressed two glaring off season needs, improving the back up pg position and getting rid of Bargs, there is still one major need that exists... A veteran presence. This team is still so young! Augustin, Hansbrough and Novak are hardly experienced vets, and I think this team really needs to add an Oakley or even a Magloire like mentor. I know pre-off season you mentioned maybe adding a veteran PF like a David West or Carl Landry. While those options were obviously out of our price range, do you think that a veteran PF is still a need and do you think that it's possible this need gets filled?
A: I do think there’s room for an Old Head somewhere but I am also pretty much certain that won’t happen. When we asked Masai about roster needs last week, he said quite clearly that he was looking for maybe a young wing at best and even held out the suggestion that they won’t fill it now and let a couple of kids fight for the job at training camp.
But should they get older? I think they should.
With the offseason pretty much wrapping up, I wanted to ask you about the one interesting free agent left: Greg Oden (and don't worry, not whetherthe Raptors should sign him).
Do you hear much around the league about him? I've always thought he was uniquely effective as a defensive center, even in his limited playing time.
You have any thoughts on a situation or approach that might work for him?
I'm inclined to say San Antonio, as they'd manage his minutes well, but I'm thinking he might end up in spot with more pressure on him, like Miami or New Orleans.
I'd love to see him be able to get back in the game but I feel like if he plays too many minutes he may end up injured yet again.
A: There’s obviously no chance he’s coming here although these guys did have a very little bit of interest.
I think the best thing would be for him to go a team with absolutely no expectations on him. I think it’s best to go to a championship-calibre team where he could be surrounded by great players and help out where he can.
I haven’t spoken to his agent, Bill Duffy, in a while but I read that we could know as early as Monday where Oden will go.
My money is on Miami.
Q: Hi Doug
I was looking at the rebounding expectations for JV given his rookie year stats. He got 6 in 23 minutes, so on the one hand you would expect that to go over 10 over 35 minutes (which I would expect him to play soon), on the other hand it is more minutes and you don't really expect to maintain peak production, on the third hand he was a 20 year old rookie and so he should get better. All in all I would expect him to peak at over 10 rebounds a game (expect: more than a 50% chance).
I also saw an irregular blithely asserting that he would be a 20 and 10 guy, so I went and counted the 20 and 10 guys last season:
I then went back a few seasons and got Kevin Love, David Lee, Zach Randolph, and Chris Bosh. I think that's it over the past 5 years.
Aside: Tim Duncan didn't, so I looked at his career, he was a beast earlier, no wonder his twilight glows so much, the peak was brilliant.
And finally, to the question: Given the value of points and rebounds, and the small number of players who get to 20 and 10, why the apparent lack of respect for some of these guys? I am thinking of Lee and Randolph in particular.
A: Not sure there’s a lack of respect, at least not inside the game, but I’m glad you wrote this so I can save it the next time someone says, “he’s a 20-10 guy.” Have been trying to point out for years that it’s not such an easy thing to do.
Q: Hi Doug,
Can you elaborate on the "Steve Nash treatment" that Lebron doesn't deserve now that he's retired from international play?
Personally, I think they've both earned the right to spend their summer vacations the way they choose.
Thanks as always,
A: I think Steve was terribly unfairly criticized for not playing after 2004 following more than a decade with the national team every summer. And I think LeBron has earned the right to retire as well if he wants and I wondered if he would be as roundly ripped.