The end of the weekend mail, sort of
Okay, here’s the deal, my good folks.
The Mighty Navy Tigers managed to open the double-knockout playoff season with a glorious triumph Saturday afternoon and our reward is a game at NINE FREAKING A.M. ON A SUNDAY!
And after a long Saturday, that means I’m way behind.
So here’s what I had left yesterday and I see a few in there that I will get to this afternoon before I’m Argo Boy tonight and will send something separate late this afternoon or early this evening.
(And I guess that means if you forgot something you wanted to ask, you've got until about noon to let me know)
Q: Doug - Barney Miller, All in the Family, Mash, Mary Tyler Moore with Seinfeld a distant ninth or tenth in reference to Thursdays blog.
Living in Halifax, I realize that the Sports Channels will use mostly Toronto media people as their talking heads. Those who played the sports or did radio and TV broadcasts of sporting events are familiar to me. After having read the Star for a fairly lengthy period of time, you and other writers for the Star are also familiar names but I have to say, some of the others, such as Mike Richards, Tim and Sid and O'toole and his sidekick are totally unfamiliar to a lot of us who do not live at the centre of the media universe. Often wonder what their claim to sports knowledge and expertise relies on. Can you or any of the regular irregulars give us some idea where and what they sprung from.
Heard one the other day suggesting that the error committed by the third baseman on the Royals was a result of Bonifacio being traded to Kansas City and his inability to field was obviously contagious.
I find myself wondering if some of them still believe that they are the star of the show and the information is merely there to allow them to display their wit(or dimwit) if you prefer. Having played a little baseball in my youth, I know that my skills would never have been up to par with those of Bonifacio, but I find myself wondering if the talking heads with the throwaway lines and the willingness to disparage the athletes have ever displayed the ability which would be required to play at that level.
A: I’ll say this and get out of the way while I wait for the bombastic responses:
Most people on TV, the hosts, are there as entertainers for the most part and some of them try to be too much of the show. I guess it works and people like it because there are so many of them but I do think there’s a way to temper personality with reporting. The good ones get it; the others drive me to distraction.
As for the whole “did you play the game” part of it? I think too many people take too many liberties with what they think they know; but I also will harken back to a line that I heard decades ago and one that stuck with me.
Someone pulled out the old “you didn’t play, what do you know about anything” canard and was told:
“I’ve never died but I know how to write an obit.”
And Barney Miller is seriously under-rated when the topic of great sitcoms comes up.
Q: Hey Doug
With all of the years you've managed youth baseball I wanted your take on rookie ball. I caught the end of a game the other day (rep level I was told) and it was so far from baseball it puzzled me. With the bases far enough apart that a throw from third on a grounder has no chance to get the runner. The coaches are sending players from 2nd on grounders because two throws at that level over to first and then home will never get there by the time the runner clears the plate. Coaches getting on the kids to keep running and running and running making it a track meet more than a baseball game.
Coaches' desire to win completely dominates skill development and sportsmanship. What age group are you usually coaching and what is your view on learning the game vs. winning the game?
A: I’m now with a group of 15, 16, 17 year olds, it’s a midget house league and the core of our group has been together for at least five or six years.
And I’ve always thought that if you taught well, you’d win eventually so I guess instruction is paramount, especially at the younger age groups.
And I think if you teach well and work on drills, some of those throwing or fielding issues might be lessened.
As for coaches who run up scores? I have little respect for them because I don’t think they respect the game or the opponent and that irks me. A lot.
Rookie ball, as I recall, is interesting in that one league I know of used a pitching machine for three innings and then live pitching for three and the game would come to a screeching halt, and the fun would go out of it, in the top of fourth because no one could throw a strike.
Doug, I guess I have an ethical blindspot, but I've always had a problem with Pete Rose being denied the HOF. I know he bet on baseball, but he didn't throw any games, and to me his sins pale against those of the 'roids era. For petes sake (PTP), this guy is the all time hits leader and didn't cheat to get any of his stats. Add to that the way he played the game, running out every routine grounder and never quitting on a play. Tell me why I'm wrong.
Gary M, Ottawa
A: Funny thing, I was talking to a best friend whose opinion I respect about this very issue the other night.
I’m sorry, my line is gambling on a game that you could have an impact on and I think banned for life is right and I couldn’t cast a Hall of Fame vote for him.
It’s all well and good to say he didn’t throw any games but how do we know for sure? How do we know he didn’t have a bet on some game and made some pitching he might not have otherwise made the ended up having an impact on the game?
He played hard, sure. He also gambled on the sport he was playing. I can separate them. One I can admire, one disgusts me.
Q: Hey Doug
Just had a question about Quentin Richardson. I have been hearing different stories on if he is able to be traded right now or if it can't be until a later date (heard possibly mid-September or December??) as well as if he is restricted to being traded by himself only and not with any other players or not??
Do you have any info on this and what the Raptors might do with him in general? He seems like a clear guy to get dealt or cut to open up a roster spot right?
A: It is my understanding – and I could be wrong – that he can be traded by himself but not in a multi-player deal until December. But it’s truly a moot point, you have more of a chance to playing for the Raptors than he does. He was solely cap ballast to make the Bargnani trade work. They will try to move him or waive him; not sure which it will be (although I cannot possibly imagine another team having any interest) and no one will be surprised. Or care a lot.
Q: Hey Doug
You mentioned the Brown out that happened 10 years ago. I heard a rumor that there was a mini-baby boom as a result of people having some extra time with the lights off. Is this true? Are there a bunch of 9 year olds running around thanks to a down power transformer?
How hard is it for scouts to assess whether a player has the potential to be successful in the NBA when players in various leagues of different skill level? Leagues in Europe, South America, NCAA, NBDL all have such a varying level of skill how can they compare? The leagues also have different rules and styles of play which make it even harder to compare.
Obviously, there is no hard and fast rule to it but is there any way to equate players in different leagues? For example would a NBDL MVP be as good as NBA player as a Euro League All-Star? And would they be as good as the top player out of the NCAA?
This might be an impossible question to answer but since you're the great and powerful Doug, I'm sure you'll have a great response.
A: I think I heard something last week about there being no real surge in births following the blackout.
Now, for the scouting.
It’s obviously an inexact science, which is why we see so many blown picks and players who don’t pan out. I’d suggest most scouts don’t watch games as much players; they look for footwork, consistent effort, footwork, basketball IQ and it’s somewhat impossible to compare those factors in different leagues or styles of play.
So as great and powerful as I may be, there is no answer; I tried but I couldn’t even bluff one.
Q: Hi Doug
Not a question so much as a comment. I just saw a collection of the top 100 dunks of HWSNBN career. Time and bitterness has robbed us of our recollections of how special he was as an athlete and how blessed we were to see someone with that skill set. People rave about 'lob city' and the dunking prowess of players like Blake Griffin. in reviewing this collection, he has earned, at least from me, the right to shed the moniker and go back to half man half amazing. He was doing All Star dunk competition dunk.. in game.. in traffic.. posterizing the best in the game. I used to call him Vincent Van Gogh.. because he truly was an artist.
In my grudge holding because of his 'betrayal', as I had tried to 'avoid' all things Vince since he left, I realize I have truly robbed myself in the long run . What a gifted specimen... athleticism, grace, power, ...just sayin
A: Yeah, he was pretty damn good and while I hope with the passage of time and some less revisionist history that more people come to realize that, I don’t think they will.
I am curious to hear your thoughts about who Paywall issue and in general the challenges that The Star and other similar news organizations generating revenue from online readership? It would seem that the online advertising revenue is not enough or otherwise, you would not think there would be the need for the pay wall.
The obvious issue is that the majority of readers will not pay for something that they can get elsewhere for free. Present company excepted, there does not seem to be enough of a premium to justify paying the paywall (and the nominal amount of the monthly fee is irrelevant).
From a user standpoint, I can say that after reading your blog, I do jump over to the Home Page to see the headlines, however, it looks like I will only be doing it 10 times per month now. I should also add, that I do not mind the banner ads, I don't mind if there is an advertisement before I watch a video or for that matter, would have no issue having an ad flashed at me before I read an article.
It is not a matter of "is it worth it" or not, it is a matter of "why should I?" If it were an option for an advertising free news site, I may and many other would consider "worth it".
AT, Niagara Falls
A: Sorry, but there is nothing “advertising free” anywhere in the world any more. Doesn’t exist.
And you can go look at the home page and the headlines as many times as you like to see if a story catches your attention and makes you want to read more.
My thoughts on paywalls for newspapers is they are a necessary evil given the times in which we live. Sure, it’d be great to provide everything on-line for free but with dwindling circulation and newspaper advertising all over the world, our industry needs to try and somehow monetize its product so it can continue to provide the kind of services we have.
It costs a significant amount of money to cover the events we do and do the investigations we do. We are at a time where paper and ad sales cannot sustain that, we’ve cut and pared our operation as much as we can while still doing first-rate work; this is the next logical step in the progression.
Q: I don't know how to get this to the tall foreheads, and maybe you can.
Speaking purely personally, the pay wall strikes me as a dumb way to price access. I pay nothing for the first 10 articles, then $10 for the eleventh article? That's quite a hurdle. While I have enjoyed the Star online, I read maybe 20 articles a month: there are many news sources.
I would happily pay a per article fee, but the effective $1.00 per article that the star's subscription plan forces on me is too much, so I won't subscribe. I would happily pay something more reasonable like $0.05-0.10 per article instead, if that is how the Star sold access. Have the tall foreheads considered that? (They could even share $0.01 per view with the grunts, but that might be too innovative for them.)
A: No one’s actually paying for an 11th article, they are paying for 11-1,000 if they feel like lit.
And I know they would have investigated every possible manner of paying, I’m not sure per article is feasible or wise, you want people to see what they’re getting in some sort of sample.
Q: Hi Doug,
I love your blog. I look forward to reading it daily, during breaks from my sometimes mind-numbing job.
On that note, I have a perhaps strange question for you. Not sure if you can answer this but I have no idea where to start. How does one go about getting a job with the Raptors front office?
I'm currently working as a lawyer. But, as the years go by and my career as an amateur athlete (track in field was my sport of choice) fade into distant memory, I find myself longing to spend my days doing something that I'm passionate about.
Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
All the best,
A: I get an awful lot of these over the course of a year and try to avoid it because, frankly, I’m not a head hunter or advice giver. And it’s hard to get into an “front office” of a major pro sports team.
But if you – or anyone else out there who wants to think about it – go the Maple Leaf Sports website and look around, you can find a way to contact the appropriate department.
And, frankly, if that’s too much, I’m not sure there’s a job for you.
Q: On Tuesday you said in your blog that you don't remember anyone not letting loose/crying and saying they were sorry at not meeting their potential. But I seem to remember at least one. I believe it was Paula Findlay, triathlete. I could be wrong though.
Scott M, Ilderton
A: Sorry if I misled, I was trying to suggest that I know of many who did and they need not, ever.
And I do remember Paula Findlay and remember writing this about it.