Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Jays not on CBC: There is a small upside

It's unclear how much CBC dropping the Blue Jays counts as news, unless you spend a lot of weekends at a cottage that doesn't have a satellite dish:
"I love the property and I was really proud of the quality of our telecasts. But we're not in a position where we can lose significant amounts of dollars on it." -- Scott Moore, CBC Sports, as told to
The Blue Jays being on the people's network had symbolic value, but symbolism does not pay the bills. It is bad for the Jays' bottom line, plus there is the consideration that it means fewer Canadian media pros get to work on a baseball broadcast. As for media industry buzz, it means CBC has lost another sports property, which is getting to be like Dr. Cox on Scrubs calling J.D. by a girl's name: It's just not funny anymore.

Beyond that, does it matter if the Jays' 145 broadcasts are only on Rogers Sportsnet and TSN, notwithstanding the hate-on people have built up across the past few summers for the one whose name is lower-cased and set off in bolditalics?

Baseball is perfectly suited to radio, since all the action takes place in your head. The Jays broadcasts, with Jerry Howarth and Alan Ashby sharing play-by-play and Mike Wilner mixing perspicacity with the possibility he's going to lose it should a next post-game caller refer to Cito Gaston as the Jays' "coach" instead of "manager," provide far more edification and entertainment. It's like something Will Leitch said in God Save The Fan. All you need to follow baseball is a mute button to take care of the hometown TV announcers, an Internet connection and the MLB Extra Innings package. In recessionary times, two of the three will do the job.

(Don't worry, Jamie Campbell, 'tis all in fun.)

Blue Jays strike out with CBC (William Houston,


kinger said...

Two thoughts on this - firstly, CBC had without question the best booth. Only Jim Hughson could make Rance Mulliniks tolerable because they don't clash.

Secondly, during the bidding war for Hughson, he said the Jays were one of the reasons he chose to sign exclusively with CBC. Gotta wonder how he feels about that.

Anonymous said...

Barfield was horrible though. One too many in the booth for CBC baseball.

sager said...

The Tao of Stieb has its take up: "The fact that the network's coverage of the team was sporadic throughout the season meant that there was never the sense of where that day's game fit within the season's narrative. Strangely, that never seemed to be an issue with TSN, possibly because of Pat Tabler's presence in both the TSN and Sportsnet booths.

"... it seemed at times with the CBC broadcasts as though Hughson was doing the play-by-play of one game while Barfield and Rance Mulliniks were off on a tangent and watching a totally different game. Maybe things just never gelled quite right between the three of them."

Tao of Stieb said...

For Ottawa types, the bigger hit would be if Oldies 1310 decided to go back to their "one-game-per-weekend" schedule of Jays games.

Although we seem to recall that their numbers were up in the last BBM books, and we're sure that Rogers could and would strong arm them into airing all 162.

And a quick defense of Barfield: When he is prompted with the right question, he can actually provide some interesting thoughts on hitters' preparation. It's just that those questions mostly came from Mulliniks and rarely came from Hughson last season.

Jerry Howarth has the art of sending Alan Ashby off on an informed rant down to a science, and listening to the radiocast, you get three or four really insightful exchanges per game. You were lucky to get one on the CBC shows.

One last thought: Did anyone else find that the picture on the Ceeb's broadcasts was really high contrast? Like, super-dark shadows versus blindingly bright sunlight?

kinger said...

That could've been the result of them only doing weekend games.

Anonymous said...

The thing to do is drop all CBC games, then kill the national radio network to where it's hit and miss where you'll find the games even within a couple hours drive, then allow stations to not air every game, then when people can't follow the team every night or in every region and begin to lose interest and actual attendance starts to drop, ask for MORE money for the rights and/or kill the broadcasts altogether.

Hey, it worked once. The Jays are halfway there.........

Expos Forever.....

Rob Pettapiece said...

Howarth and Ashby are a terrific team; the former describes the game better than anyone and the latter makes jokes like this:

Howarth: "Of course, one of the best nicknames from those days would be Pee Wee Reese, real name Harold."
Ashby: "Harold Reese?! That sounds like the name of a clothier!"

There is no need for jamiecampbell if you have the FAN radio network.

Anonymous said...

The CBC doesn't need the Jays, anyways.
Or the CFL, for that matter.
No, the big money for CBC is their Toronto FC telecasts.
That's where the beaucoup bucks are to be made, right Duane?