Thursday, June 12, 2008


Neate touched on this briefly in his Zen Dayley today, but there has been some great reading lately for those that like to see public figures take swipes at each other—with the blogosphere providing colour commentary.

A couple days ago Mike Toth allowed callers to rip on Mike Wilner during the first hour of Prime Time Sports. Wilner responded in his blog (after calling in to defend himself). Drunk Jays Fans then ripped on Toth (pretty viciously, actually) causing Wilner to reference DJF on his show the next night.

Then today Toth actually responded to DJF in an e-mail that is posted on the site.

Who needs TV?

I’m not a fan of Toth’s style but I will agree with one point he made in the letter. If a broadcaster can criticize an athlete that same broadcaster better be prepared to take a little criticism him or herself. Whether the critique of Wilner—that he is condescending—is fair is up for debate. He doesn’t suffer fools, that’s for sure. And the annoyance in his voice when someone starts a call by saying “How are you” is priceless. But, I don’t think he’s condescending so much as he’s confident.

I do think it’s time to panic about the Blue Jays, however. Of course, I felt that way in March.


sager said...

Toth broke a simple rule: A journalist's favourite four-letter word is "fair."

It was unfair to fan the flames of a public Fisking on Prime Time Sports just minutes after the target of it, Wilner, had signed off the air. It's not like there wasn't an opportunity for people to take up their beefs with Wilner with Wilner -- either on Jays Talk or on his blog, where he posts almost every day and responds to almost all of his commenters.

Wilner's also made sure to be very above-the-belt when it comes to other media personalities. He's refused to brook listeners' complaints about the TV broadcast teams -- he'll just say, "I don't get to hear them during the game so I'm not in a position to comment."

So yeah, I can understand why he was PO'd when Toth didn't offer the same courtesy. Granted, this might have an air of the geek getting mad when he's tweaked by someone who doesn't know as much about the subject. It takes one to know one.

(Thanks for getting this up, Duane ... there were plans to break this out on Wednesday night after I read Wilner's post. What happened was I flicked the radio off after Wilner signed off, since I was on assignment for the Sun. The Milton Bradley/Ryan Lefebvre incident seemed more interesting and less likely to be on most of the Jays blogs.)

Greg said...

Wilner not BE condescending, but he SOUNDS condescending (personally, I think he IS condescending).

He's also a Jays apologist. You want fair? This guy isn't. To get him to criticize the Jays is nearly impossible. And it's partly obvious why: He works for the team/owner/station owned by the team/owner and on and on and on.

Everything (except his personality) is all roses in Wilner's world.

He, like Jamie Campbell, make Jays games/talk/broadcasts in general unlistenable.

sager said...

Well, the level of media concentration in Canada is just ridiculous ... you could give me hell since I seldom take issue with other Sun Media writers, since I work there.

I've heard Wilner refer to the Jays hitting as "flaccid," for Pete's sake ... he's said stuff like, "Joe Inglett might be a great guy, but he's not a major-league hitter."

Wilner's shtick is to play the sobering yin to the callers' raging yang. They call in and say, hypothetically, that A.J. Burnett is a gutless puke, and he'll say, "Why, because he's had the same number of quality starts as Roy Halladay this season?" They'll say something irrational, and he'll hit them with about 10 pounds of facts.

I don't like to do either/ors, but if it's between Wilner, who comes on expecting to have a semi-intelligent discussion and the yohos on much of all-sports radio (not naming names) who are always in a race to the bottom, I'll take Wilner every time.

Incidentally, we need to start typing Jamie Campbell's name differently to better reflect his folkiness ... from now on it's not Jamie Campbell, it's jamiecampbell.

Greg said...

In all honesty, I think Wilner falls into the 'Love Him or Hate Him' category.

Neate, you're in one camp, I'm in the other. And we've discussed that before. I don't think it makes either of us wrong or right.

I've never met someone who feels indifferent about Wilner.

sager said...

I like this anonymous comment posted at The Tao:

"After Toth used the word 'gas' in terms of firing Gibbons, I got the feeling Wilner wanted to either reach through the phone line to strangle Toth or just hang up on the dumb fucker.

"Apparently these two have had words in the past over the improper usage of the word 'gas.' "

I don't think anyone needs a history lesson as to why Wilner, who's Jewish, might get offended over the use of "gas" as a verb.

sager said...

Toth arguing with Wilner about baseball is like someone who owns every one of Nickelback's CDs debating music with a graduate from the Juilliard. There's no way they can even talk to each other, and they both think they're right.

Toth actually wrote this week that's there "something seriously wrong" with John Gibbons, who only had a cup of coffee in the majors, being the Jays manager while Gary Carter manages in a bus league.

But who do you think has the brighter baseball mind?

Carter, an all-star catcher who drove in 105 runs in '86?

Or Gibbons, a back-up catcher with 19 at-bats that season

(Cox Bloc already took care of the rebuttal.)

There doesn't seem to be a hard-and-fast rule whether being a good player informs how well you'd fare as a manager.

Anecdotally, Ted Williams' winning percentage as a manager was .429 -- not much higher than what he hit back in '41.

Look at some of the Hall of Fame managers ... Earl Weaver never played in the majors. Nor did Joe McCarthy or Billy Southworth. Tommy Lasorda's lifetime pitching record was 0-4. Walter Alston got one at-bat in the majors. Sparky Anderson hit .218 with no homers in his one-and-only season in the bigs.

Tony La Russa got 176 at-bats in the majors spread out across 11 years and hit .199 with zero home runs.

Genius, Toth.