There’s not much to a lazy Sunday than taking the time to digest Ye Olde Mailbag, so here you go.
Q: Would you mind describing the parameters of the traditional Patio Time With Baseball Steve, and Kyle The Leader of the Miscreants? Who orders what? Are the fried brown things involved? What is the best selling drink? How do you deal with extreme heat (or cold) on the patio? Is it allowed to run away indoors? Can anyone set up similar arrangements where you live? How long have they been doing this?
James A, Victoria
A: Oh, it’s a masterclass in solving the world’s problems one week at a time. Start with sports week (one is a Bruins fan, the other is a Leafs fan, I don’t care either way), catch up on baseball (how can they make Kikuchi run again?), maybe maybe I’ll play football (the other Italian, the other Portuguese and I play the role of peacemakers) and various other events and then maybe we’ll talk about economics (one is in finance, the other knows crypto, I’m afraid of both) and then who knows.
Meetings are usually a couple of hours (KTLOTM might serve us first, then move to the right side of the bar) and it’s rarely about fried golden stuff, really.
A variety of beers, often a small glass or two of Sambuca may be involved, and every now and then the night ends with an espresso.
Baseball Steve and I could have a decade into this exercise, Kyle has been involved for a year or so and I would recommend that kind of regular weekend activity to everyone in the world.
It’s an outdoor endeavor in good weather, but we’re certainly not against sitting on stools the other seven months of the year. The Raptors’ Friday games are a problem, but the offseason is perfect.
Q: Hello sir scribe,
I sincerely thank you for keeping us involved and informed throughout the year.
LIV Golf has caught my attention.
Any professional person can go to the highest bidder. Anyone can have an opinion. I wonder how hosts and the media would feel if they were told that they could be paid life-changing money to move and report elsewhere, but that the people they used to work with and around them they would despise when they left.
When a professional athlete becomes a free agent and goes to a different team, they are allowed to do so because they have that right.
Do you feel that reporters and the media are being fair, or could they be worried about falling popularity and a consequent drop in the coffers with which they receive their payments?
Nick from Niagara
A: I’m sure the LIV Tour would have reached out to some of the higher profile broadcasters – I remember Charles Barkley as one who refused and David Feherty as one who went.
I don’t know why they each decided what they did, but I don’t think ratings, exposure, or popularity played a big part.
Money may very well have.
But as you said, if broadcasters have honored their contracts, they have earned the right to determine where they work and for whom.
Q: Hi Doug,
Read with interest his column on the CEBL Championship and the exciting finale of Elam.
We know that the NBA plans to have an in-season tournament in the near future. Personally, it doesn’t seem to be of much interest to me and I’m not sure if the games will count towards the rankings.
To spark interest, what do you think about Elam ending up in these seasonal tournament games or other tricks (ie 4-point shooting)?
They are already using the Elam in the NBA All-Star game and some leagues use the 4 point shot.
A: I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the league didn’t examine the use of the Elam ending in that tournament, but they can’t if those games have any impact on regular season standings. That would compromise the balance of competition and would be wrong. But in matches that don’t count in the standings, it’s a good place to experiment.
But the 4-point shot? Very, very, very gimmicky for me.
Q: Hi Doug,
A few years ago I attended a Raptors practice (Jay Triano was the coach and I knew him through Mike Katz as they had coached the Canadian national team). My brother-in-law pointed out that Wayne Embry was sitting alone.
I had read his autobiography and, all precautions aside, I approached him and he was very courteous. He talked about playing with the Cincinnati Royals and the tragic death of Maurice Stokes (readers check it out), which prevented the team from challenging the Celtics for Eastern Supremacy.
Is Mr. Embry still associated with the Raptors? If so, please thank him for me.
The best for you and your family.
A: I talked to Wayne a couple of weeks ago and the last thing we said was that we had to make plans to have a partner in training camp so everything is on track to stay on as a senior consultant.
However, he is 85 years old and may want to take a step or two back and enjoy his days with his daughters and family.
Q: The worst part of Rogers Center is the outside. It’s the Ross Building at York University/U of T Robarts Library ugly. These places quickly figured out a quick fix that cost virtually nothing. Just plant ivy on the glass and walk away. Three years later, you have both an oxygen-producing green wall and a home for real Blue Jays.
And no ivy does not harm the concrete.
I have suggested this for 20 years and got no response. I guess they want to make it so ugly they’ll get taxpayer money to build a new place.
Adam Berel Wetstein
A: I’m not sure they want to keep it ugly to spite you, but I can also say with great optimism that there won’t be a penny of public money for a new stadium in 15 or 20 years. The same goes for stadiums and any major sports facility for a professional team.
Q: Hi Doug,
You know summer is ending when The Ex rolls around. Say what you want, but there’s something special about winning a giant stuffed animal prize and eating a fried sandwich…
A few questions:
1) Although they haven’t played yet, what do you think of so-called NBA baseball-style matchups (back-to-back games involving the same teams in the same city)?
2) Another scheduling question: Would you sacrifice one less game against each division rival if he allowed one more game against teams like the Warriors or Lakers? Am I thinking of those fans who want to attend a game with Steph, LeBron or other stars that we only play twice a season?
3) A question from Bonga: Sorry to bother you, but why would a team keep a guy like Bonga on the roster last year when someone like Wilson comes in 10 days and scores more points than Bonga all season? Bonga wasn’t making millions and probably played less than 40 minutes all year…why not just cut him/give him up? It’s a Bonga question, but it can be applied to any type at the end of the bank…
4) It is not a question, but a comment.
As a health worker, I can give my perspective on the current crisis. Essentially, much of this is the aftermath of COVID. Departments are understaffed because healthcare workers (or their families) are hiring the latest variants at a time when staff would normally take summer vacations — a double whammy from staffing shortages. Over-the-counter medications for children are hard to come by due to demand. Why? Because the parents are treating the symptoms of the disease (COVID again). These variants are far less fatal compared to earlier ones in the pandemic, but they are taking a toll on all of us. Also remember that the pandemic caused other shortages when some quit, retired, or were laid off instead of receiving shots for employment. The timing is lousy, and the solution is not as quick and easy as ‘hire more nurses’…
Stay healthy and enjoy the end of summer!
A: This will be my first season where I really deal with the quirk of the two-game “series” as it was the Tampa tank year that they did it and I wasn’t there. I don’t mind for easy travel and shortening a flight, but I do wonder about the competitive aspect as it’s hard to beat a team twice in three nights and those games can become tiebreaker scenarios.
I don’t know if going three out of two games against other teams that are expected to be good will work, since you would only see them once every two years.
Bonga was a cheap gamble on a player they thought would develop and didn’t. Wilson could have stalled in exactly the same way.
Cutting Bonga would have only been a cost and they would have had to replace him with someone earning the same money anyway.
Q: Outside of core players Siakam, Barnes, Van Vleet, Precious, Gary, Anunoby and excluding Koloko, which player or players do you think have the most talent and the best opportunity to improve to the point of breaking up the starting lineup?
A: Outside, if the six you’ve named and a second-round pick likely to play more in Mississauga than in Toronto next season, I’d say no one will sniff out the starting lineup barring injury.
The question is which of those five are regular starters and which of Porter, Young, Boucher, Hernangomez, Flynn and Banton plays more.
Q: Dear Mr. Smith:
When people use the phrase “GOAT”, they mean “The greatest of all time”.
However, what does “all the time” mean? Different eras cannot be compared.
(ie: the NFL started in 1920) Also, why is the number of championships won the only criteria for what a GOAT is? The criteria must be not only the number of championships won, but also how an individual changed the sport of it; It also made society a better place.
Therefore, the GOAT of modern (post-1960) women’s tennis is (drum roll)
please) Billie Jean King.
The modern (post-1960) GOATs for the other major sports are:
NBA: Michael Jordan
MLB: Willie Mays
NFL: Joe Montana
NHL: Wayne Gretzky
The GOAT of men’s tennis is Roger Federer.
A: I’m not entirely sure that 1960 should be a legitimate point of delineation and I think most GOAT discussions are worthless.
And you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, although I disagree with virtually every choice you made.
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