Friday! Round Bus time! This week we’re joined by Dave Kaufman, the host of The Kaufman Show on TSN radio in Montreal. Listen live on Monday evenings, or check out the podcast on iTunes or at TheKaufmanShow.podbean.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheKaufmanShow.
John Farrell moves from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox.
Orti — Hi Dave! Welcome to the Barn! Well, first and foremost for me is the mystery surrounding it all. I mean why is it that two Senegalese strikers, both of whom combined for the most goals on Newcastle United last year, cannot score when they’re both on the field. Papisse Cisse is a sniper but he’s playing under some weirdly enormous shadow of Demba Ba, a shadow so big it evidently prevents him from seeing his feet or something. Regardless i think Shola Ameobi is, for now, a better pairing with Demba Ba though I fear Demba’s departure in the January at the transfer window.
Kaufman — Thanks for having me! Can’t say I know anything about Newcastle United, but I do think that Farrell has pulled off one of the biggest jerk moves of all time. This puts him in a very special category in Toronto’s sports hall of fame. Has anyone ever insulted the team, the management and the fanbase like that in the history of Toronto sports? Oh, right. Vince Carter.
Spry — I agree with Dave. Farrell is the dick here, but if I were AA I’d have fired him after two fourth place finishes ago anyway. The issue is it makes the Jays look like a second rate organization, which unfortunately they have become. And what is it with the Farrells, Carters, and McGradys of the world? What is it about Toronto that makes them want to leave? I mean, I left Toronto too, but that’s because I’m afraid of running into, and getting stabbed by, my ex. Also, unlike those fellas, I was unemployed when I left.
Because I haven’t been asked, here is my five step plan to fixing the Jays:
- Name Brian Butterfield manager. He’s a loyal Jay, well liked and respected within and outside the organization, and his name lends itself well to pun-filled headlines.
- Sign a starter, and trade for a starter. I don’t know who, but they need a 2 and a 3. Peavy, Buehrle, Jackson, Marcum, Dempster, Sanchez, and Haren would fit the bill. I’d love to see a character like Brandon McCarthy come to the Jays. I love witty dudes with hot intelligent girlfriends.
- Fill the Rogers Centre. I don’t care if you have to give away tickets, or sell them for a quarter. That is a soulless building when it’s not filled.
- Sign a Marco Scutaro-type. Filling in rosters spots with an aging Omar Vizquel and a game but not good enough Mike McCoy will never get this team to the postseason. Scutaro is versatile, and can hit. Of course, he’s been here and wanted to leave, so…
- Institute an organizational policy banning the mention of ‘92 and ‘93 until they’ve won something again. I’m sick of hearing about the early ‘90s wins. You don’t hear me bragging about my high school exploits. Move on. The rest of the world has.
Forbes — I never felt as though managing in Toronto was Farrell’s goal, like it was his brass ring, his Look-ma-I-finally-made-it scenario. It was a classic “Oh, hey” move, like, “Oh, hey, Red Sox, nothing much, just managing this big ole Major League team up here. Whatzat? Move back to Beantown? Well, I hadn’t really thought…. okay!”
Truthfully I don’t care how he left. He wasn’t the guy, and I’m surprised the Sox were chasing him so hard. I am disappointed that Toronto didn’t try to leverage that desire into something a bit more impressive than Mike Aviles, but whatever. More reason to boo the Sox when they roll into the Rog Mahal. Let’s promote Butterfield and move on.
Oh, but let me say this: if the suddenly available Ozzie Guillen is introduced as the new Toronto skipper, you’ll find me in the yard, hunched over my terracotta chiminea, burning every last piece of Jays memorabilia I have.
Ibeas — Am I the only one glad to see him gone? From the very beginning, his idiotic roster management has left me constantly shaking my head at anyone who thought the Jays would have a chance to do anything more than jump up and down shouting “next year guys, seriously!” Never mind the fact that Farrell didn’t have all that much talent to work with – he took what he had and, as far as I’m concerned, made it less than the sum of its parts.
This is manna from the baseball heavens. We’re better off, and the Red Sox are worse off. 1 + 1 = Fuck Boston.
The NBA season starts on Tuesday. Thoughts? Predictions? Ruminations?
Kaufman — I really do hope that Nash can win before he retires. I also hope that Seattle officially gets a team back before OKC wins it. Miami probably takes it again, and I think that once the World Series is over I’ll end up watching a lot more basketball this season than I normally would. Maybe that was Bettman’s master plan all along.
Spry — Is there a way that Steve Nash can win an NBA Championship, but none of the other Lakers? Also, is there a way that LeBron can be traded back to Cleveland mid-season? Also, bold prediction: Raptors continue to suck.
Forbes — In Toronto, Landry Fields and Kyle Lowry will make the Raps a team occasionally worth watching. Occasionally. In LA, Kobe Bryant will allow a smile or two to sneak into his brooding schtick. In Miami, LeBron will actually gain confidence. Everywhere else, defenses will know this, and when the question of how to stop him comes up at coaches’ meetings around the league, it will be met only with the creaking and shuffling of folding chairs, and perhaps muffled sobs. In Houston, Jeremy Lin will regress to the mean. In New Orleans, Anthony Davis will make a smooth transition to the pro game, and the Hornets will make the playoffs. In Charlotte, there will be no more tears left to cry. Elsewhere, other stuff will happen. It will be entertaining. In my home, I will be watching.
Orti — I predict that like every year, a lot of men will make decisions that will precipitate divorces. There will be more tattoos, and lots of dunking, and if there’s a god in the sky, then Miami and LA will be beaten in the first round of the playoffs.
Ibeas — Sick man that I am, I hope the Raptors compete for the playoffs. I very much enjoy the fact that the odds are stacked against us; I am a sucker for an underdog story. And with the addition of Lowry, who plays as if his whole body is composed entirely of balls, and Valanciunas, who with Bargnani gives us the tallest, sexiest, European-est frontcourt in the league, we might actually have the grit, hustle, and toughness to pull it off.
Forbes – I’m gonna step out and say that was the first time the words “Bargnani” and “toughness” have ever appeared in the same sentence without the intervening power of the word “lacks.”
No NHL season on the horizon. Is there someone complicit in this mess that we have yet to address?
Orti — Yes. The goddamn owners and here’s goddamn why. The NFL is basically the Cuba of sports – with something like 80 percent of league revenue being shared. The NBA and MLB are Sweden and Germany respectively. Healthy sports economies with a socialist twist sharing roughly 50% and 30% respectively. The NHL shares around 10-15% percent of its revenue with the top ten teams being the only ones who contribute. If you’re a shitty team in a big market (Islanders) you aren’t getting a lick of that shared revenue. So instead of other teams – say the 11th to whoever is not in the red – ponying up to keep the league intact and healthy like the other leagues – they’re asking players to roll back their salaries and the players are right to tell them to blow it out their ass.
Forbes — The sports media, at least in Canada, hasn’t gotten sufficiently angry yet. I assume in the US it has retained it’s usual near-total indifference. But here at home, nobody’s calling out both sides the way I think ought to be done. Nobody’s saying, fuck it, this is a mess and they’re screwing the public out of their game. Instead, I see a lot of wishin’ and hopin’.
Ibeas — Agree with Forbes. The media outrage here is akin to children in the backseat of the car shouting “are we there yet?” at their parents. They, more so than the fans, are locked into the mindset that they *need* the NHL – so instead of exploring alternatives to a bad show, they satisfy themselves with complaining impotently about the long and crappy ride that they’re being taken for. Newsflash, assholes: if you hate it so much, you can get out and walk. Or better yet, take a bus!
Kaufman — Orti: Great point on the rollbacks. The notion that a contract signed this summer won’t be honoured is beyond the pale. As a season ticket holder, I feel like I’m complicit in this mess as well. Ticket prices rise every year, and I keep paying. I wear the jersey, I drink the $11 beer and eat the $4 hot dog. I wonder if there is a breaking point where passionate fans would walk away. Obviously canceling the season wouldn’t do it. I think if the league hired replacement players a majority of fans would turn their backs on the NHL. Could you imagine ‘Go Scabs Go’ chants at the Bell Centre?
Spry — Woah, wait, Kaufman has season tickets? Why am I just getting this information?
The World Series begins with two wins for San Francisco. Call it.
Orti — Tails.
Spry — Tigers in 7. Verlander 2 wins and MVP. Leyland develops emphysema. Mike Ilitch gets creepier looking. Delmon Young converts to Judaism. Prince Fielder and Cecil Fielder reconcile.
Kaufman — I called Tigers in 7 as well, but as I write this Panda just hit his 3rd homer of the game and the Giants made Verlander look like he did in KC at the All Star Game. That’s the beauty of baseball. It’s so damn unpredictable.
Forbes — I was ready to call Detroit in 6 or 7, but damn it, they just look flat. Right now, if I were being forced to call it, I’d say Giants in 5. But I’d still like to see the Tigers put up more of a fight. I don’t want to pull out the bullshit “no city needs it more” tropes, but come on… Detroit! Have you been there?
Ibeas — San Francisco, if only because Tim Lincecum looks an awful lot like Tom Hiddleston.
Kaufman — What? He looks like Mitch Kramer from Dazed and Confused, and you know it.
The Globe and Mail went to a paywall model this week. Is there still a sports section/writer you would pay to read in the digital age?
Orti — I don’t have to pay to read my favourite sports writers. I just hope that means they’re being paid somehow. Somewhere, someone at the Globe assumed it was the only newspaper in Canada delivering news and that somehow the internet operated like a paperboy – where if he didn’t bring the paper there wasn’t news to read that day. I’d pay to get over their paywall if they were the only one delivering thoughtful news and analysis but in this day and age of 50 presses spewing out the same 50 stories and bloggers unrestricted by column length being able to provide more details and longer, often more compelling analysis I’ll click and see what the other zillion paper boys are delivering and hope that somewhere someone at the Globe figures out that they ain’t the only rag in cybertown. Oh one more thing – Globe – if you’re going to have a pay wall – can you make sure some of that money goes to making sure your columnists use hypertext to source the often dubious claims they make. Was that ranty? Was I ranty there? Sorry if that was ranty. I like the Globe. I do. Well most of it. Their horoscopes are shit though. I’ll just put that out there.
Forbes — Spry, Orti, Ibeas, and various associated contributors: I’d pay to read them. Elsewhere, there are a handful of writers — SL Price and Joe Posnanski come to mind — that I’d follow over a pay wall. But I miss, in a way, the necessary adherence to a hometown scribe, like Wayne Scanlan in Ottawa when I was growing up, who’d always be there in the morning paper to weigh in on sporting matters of local importance. That’s another in that long list of things that are gone, and aren’t coming back. I get that. That doesn’t mean I can’t lament it.
Kaufman — Bruce Arthur is a writer I would gladly pay to read. Speaking of, when is SI going to hire him already? I, for one, haven’t gone near the Globe’s site since the paywall went up. So if they endorsed Romney, I missed it.
Ibeas — I work with all the sports writers I’d care to read on a regularly basis. So no.
Spry — I’d pay to read about four sports writers: Michael Farber, Stephen Brunt, Elliotte Friedman, and Jayson Stark. Maybe there’s a few more. But those guys don’t charge for their stuff, or their various outlets don’t. The lack of ambitious solutions to the challenge of the digital age astounds me. Did we learn nothing from Napster? The Globe was in decline before this (ahem, Wente, cough) and this is just another footnote in their journey to obscurity.
The NHL is not the only hockey game in town. Cite a non-NHL hockey story to watch this season.
Orti — I’m working on a story we’re going to be publishing next week about a road hockey league in Palestine. It made me love hockey again.
Kaufman — I hear Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg are working on a sequel to Goon. Does that count? Can’t wait to see what Glatt is up to.
Spry — I loved Goon. Though I always find myself eager to punch Jay Baruchel, going back to the Undeclared days. He’s just… punchable.
To me, there’s a few untold, under-reported stories here. One, and its NHL-adjacent, is that if there’s no season then we have seen a quiet end to the CBC Hockey Night in Canada era, and Don Cherry, as their contract with the league will expire, and I expect TSN or Sportsnet to be awarded the rights.
Another, is the fact that the game on all levels, from atom to pee wee to junior to minor pro and beyond is severely flawed. The culture of hockey is one of violence and misogyny, and a year without the NHL would be an opportune time to address the game’s issues. But, no one will, and when the NHL comes back it’ll be the same broken and diluted version of the sport of yesteryear.
Forbes — The driveway hockey games at my house promise to get better this year. We have a lot of talent coming into their own, suddenly able to hold a stick, and sometimes to even bring that stick in contact with the tennis ball. I anticipate a lot of tight games, low scoring, lots of falling bodies. Hot chocolate at the conclusion of each game. What could beat that?
Orti - Whoa. I just had a thought. How much does Gary Bettman hate Ron MacLean? On a scale of 1-10, it’s probably a 75. Thank god I’m not into conspiracy theories or I’d say find the day that CBC contract ends and that will be the day the lockout ends. Of course if I were a conspiracy theorist I’d probably be more concerned with the fact that Mitt Romney just bought the company that owns the voting machines in Ohio. Also, does anyone find Ron MacLean’s silence on the lockout uncharacteristic?
Ibeas — That piece Orti is working on is probably one of the most exciting things I’ve heard about, not just hockey-related but sports-related, in the last couple of months.
The Final Word.
Orti — German beer is not that good. I’m serious. It all tastes the same because there are strict laws that basically say all beers have to taste the same. I’d kill a man for an IPA right now.
Spry — Is it weird that Kelley O’Hara still hasn’t called? It’s weird, right?
Forbes — It’s weird that Kelley O’Hara’s lawyer hasn’t called yet.
Ibeas — I bet you half the Google searches for “Kelley O’Hara” lead to this website.
Kaufman — I’m still waiting for Diana Matheson to call me. These soccer players are all the same.