One thing all Canadian baseball fans do really well is complain about the lack of baseball coverage in mainstream Canadian media. The blanket hockey coverage leaves us bitter and alone, quick to lash out at a moment's notice. Wilner's new daily baseball show (congrats Mike!) and the Sportsnet pre-game thingy (and that ain't not bad!) are steps in the right direction and much-needed methadone for junkies like us. However, this is not a road that should be tread upon lightly. The Roy Halladay shitstorm blew up during the slowest time of the sporting calender. Sports talk shows need talking, thus talk show hosts talk about baseball without being bogged down by that pesky "prior knowledge" thing getting in their way. Unsurprisingly, it's terrible! The fact of the matter is this: people who don't know a lot about baseball really shouldn't talk about baseball.
I'm sure it makes me sound like a huge, self-important dick, but I think it's true. The days of the casual sports fan are pretty much done. Most "casual fans" follow their teams about as casually as one stages a David Mamet play. The internet, home of SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS, spawns new experts and knowledgeable fans every single day. We aren't dummies, most of us have one sport we focus on while keeping a watchful eye on at least three others. We know the players, we know the minor league systems, we know the salaries, we know the rumors. I have at least 50 sites, blogs, and columns in my RSS reader. If I wasn't such a lazy swine, I'd have 3 times that.
All that knowledge (and content) makes the job of general sports reporter or generic talk show host nearly impossible. When will Mike Toth find the time to check out Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Joe Poz, Jeff Blair, Big League Stew, Pitch f/x, hit f/x, etc in between his hair and nail appointments? He can't. Establishing a working knowledge of junior hockey, the CFL, lacrosse, tennis, golf, curling and all manner of arcane Canadiana is a big enough task as it is. When you add in his home life and time spent writing jokes that would make Bazooka Joe wince, you're officially out of daylight hours. We need specialization in our media, and we need it now.
That doesn't mean fans with ill-formed plans and arguments for the Jays in the future don't exist. One caller's suggestion during PTS today was for Vernon Wells to restructure his contract to free up more spending money for the team. What? They offered him the deal, all he had to do was sign it. In what other career, in what other avenue of life, would this even be an option? As I've pessimistically pointed out before, that money just disappears. It won't be reinvested, it will be used towards the bottom line.
I should and will apologize ahead of time here for teeing off on the Fan once again, but my new commute gives me plenty of time for inundation. If I hear Gord Stellick and Damian Cox lamenting the current state of the Blue Jays again, I'm liable to swerve off the road to plug my ears with a telephone pole. Cox is a hockey writer that doesn't even really watch hockey, it should therefore be illegal for him to even use the word baseball in a sentence. Thou shall not evoke Chacin's name as anything but a punchline Damian, that is the arrangement we've all agreed to. God bless Stellick, morning zoo radio isn't fit for man nor beast, but claiming the Jays erred by releasing/failing to resign Reed Johnson and Orlando Hudson, two years after the fact, is a waste of all our time.
Thankfully McCowan took time during the call-in segment of his show to issue some straight talk regarding JP and the role of Rogers in ownership. His main point was this: a sports franchise is either toy or business to the owners; Rogers chose business. That doesn't seem to register with the vast majority of callers who, propped up by false knowledge fed to them by various underinformed talking heads, continually demand Rogers piss millions of dollars away to increase the Jays playoff chances by a few percentage points.
So let's all agree to let hockey or football or some other competition begin again so everyone can go back to ignoring baseball. I was raised to implicitly trust anything I heard on TV and radio, and I'd like very much to return to that state of blissful ignorance.
Update: The good men at Infield Fly offer their take on Vernon Wells contract restructuring. I don't agree at all, as I'm in no way inclined to side with management. At least their post is well thought through. Check it out.