The start of the weekend mail
After some much needed and much appreciated soft, nice time this morning, finally got to this.
Not an awful lot here and not much left over for tomorrow so pick up the pace, folks.
Grab a big cup of coffee or a cold bottle of water, and get those memory banks working, surely there are questions to be asked.
I’m on a flight this morning and have Argo Boy duties but I’ll be around this afternoon to knock off whatever I see.
Oh, and then I have to actually write some basketball, which will be strange and after last night’s shenanigans down in Caracas, where Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico and Jamaica upset Argentina, the last two days of the World Cup qualifier are going to be zany.
Canada lost, as you know, to the hosts when they just couldn’t get the offence going and I think they probably need a pair of weekend wins to make it to the World Cup.
Maybe not but that’d be the safest thing for them to do.
Enjoy the mail, and a nice quiet day.
Q: Hi Doug,
Loved the Arthur Carlson WKRP quote early in the week. I'm enjoying watching the FIBA games from Venezuela. A question... why are the seats so empty?
A: I don’t know that (a) Venezuela is a particular hotbed of basketball support or (b) that even the most ardent followers there would have any interest in games not involving the home team and (c) they played awfully early in the day and we’ve yet to see an evening crowd.
But I do think organizers missed the boat by selling the tournament there against a bid from Canada because in a multi-cultural city like Toronto, even the games involving “other” countries would have drawn better, I am sure.
->Q: Hey Doug,
Thanks for keeping up the blog through the quiet summer days for Raps basketball.
In your last post you called the Grantland piece on the Raps' use of statistical tracking "ill-conceived". Why so? I don't agree or disagree, so I'm just hoping to get your thinking on it in more detail. I generally find Zach Lowe to be one of the better NBA writers out there - what gives with the article in question?
A: It was an outstanding article by a great writer as long as you don’t think of the minor rift it caused between the analytics people and the coaching staff or the proprietary information it made available to other teams or the fact some players were miffed that they were a bit ridiculed.
That’s why it was ill-advised to grant that access, I’d say.
Great piece by a great writer, sure; bad for internal business and I know the day it came out that there were regrets.
And I will add this on a purely personal note: That the story and the access was offered to am American national writer and not someone who covers the team on a daily basis was another point of contention among all of us who are there every day.
In response to your query about the level of excitement surrounding the raps this year, I'd offer the opinion that there isn't less enthusiasm, but that it's an enthusiasm of a different sort (at least for me). In prior years, I always found the off-season to be more compelling that the playing season (see raptors season record for an explanation). This year there is no turk, no matrix, no Jonas debut, but rather a few minor additions that don't inspire the same sense of "hope" that the others did (at least until tip-off on opening night). Instead, we have a team where the starting 5 (for the first time I can remember in the last decade) will be the same as the starting 5 last year.
I find that very exciting, but for a different reason. I'm excited to see if another year of growth together - without all the usual turmoil and upheaval - will improve this squad's playing season. So I'm less "hopeful", but probably more excited, because maybe - just maybe - the best part of this team isn't it's pre-season potential.
A: I see your point and tend to agree with it; I was speaking about the anecdotal feeling I’m getting from Irregulars and other friends. I could be wrong, it was just my impression.
Q: Hi Doug,
Greetings from jolly ol' London. Long time reader and appreciate the great job you do keeping me connected.
It looks like the HOTH need a veteran presence at the end of the bench, they're a bit thin at the 4/5 (an injury would throw a spanner in the works). Jason Collins would be a great veteran presence, not to mention a great public relations move for the team and city.
Do you think there's worth in the move?
Would it change locker room dynamics? Would it amount to a side show / distraction?
A: I’m not sure they’re at all interested in the “public relations” part of it and nor should they be. Yes, they do have a roster spot and maybe a need for a big – although if you see Rudy Gay or even Austin Daye as some kind of small-matchup 4 I’m not that worried about it – but I don’t know that Collins would give them anything more than Aaron Gray will.
I do think Collins will get a deal, he’s a serviceable veteran, but I always thought it would be one of those end-of-September’ signings as teams fill in the blanks.
And the last I heard from those in the know in Toronto, they want a young kid to fill in that 15th roster spot.
Like “spanner” though!
Q: I've watched all 5 games this far(including mexico).. What have been your 3 biggest surprises this far.. For me it's
Corey Joseph.. I knew he had game but he's been solid scoring, setting up his teammates, rebounding and he's got a pretty good 1st step
Andrew Nicholson.. Wow.. Perfect international scoring big man.. Soft touch..and can hit the 3..now f he can stay out of foul trouble
The 3point shooting.. Rautins , Heslip, Joseph, Nicholson, Kendall.. It's kept teams from double teaming the bigs, and going in I thought outside of Rautins and Heslip it may be a problem.
If I had a 4th bright spot it would be the play of Rautins.. He's improved so much since the last time I saw him play
A: To me, it’s Joseph, they’re ability to score in different ways and Brady Heslip. That kid’s been all he was cracked up to be and much more. There are some defensive issues but he more than makes up for it with his smarts, his shooting and benefiting from being put in places where he can succeed by his coach.
Q: Hi Doug,
Not much of a question but I believe you are planning on following the Argos for a game in Saskatchewan very soon...I know you have mentioned in your blog before about the level of passion the Riders have here and with all the ex-pats around the country but I hope you get to experience it first hand and get a true sense of the spirit here. I know you are there to cover the game story but if you can take some time to meet the fans and talk to people about what the team means to the people here. I think it will be a change from the people you might talk to at any other sporting event. I would love to hear about your thoughts in the blog following the game. And make sure you try a local Great Western beverage as well!
A: I think I’m there next week, right? And am totally looking forward to the experience. Not sure what I can write that hasn’t already been written but as far as personal experiences go, seeing a football game there, seeing the passion and hanging out is likely to be the highlight of my Argo Boy summer.
Now, I need a stool recommendation for the Friday night, please.
Q: How about "Toronto Ehs"...as in your from Torona eh? But while we are at it...
many American teams are named after the state rather than the city.
So the "Ontario ........." makes sense. Take your pick of the following...
"Ontario Cheese Curds"
"Ontario Maple Syrups"
"Ontario Deficits" or
A: How about none of the above?