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A bit late but the weekend mail is delivered

Hey there.

Sorry this is late, got it all knocked off last evening but had some computer power cord issues and the desire to ease into the day today.

But it’s done, time for more loafing while you read and then the big pre-season opener tonight.

Q: With the Jays’ outstanding Division win, GM Anthopoulos strongly said he has had it with “talent-only decisions”; that he determined – and is determined – to go forward with character guys who have talent.

Can you break this down for us, Doug? What exactly are the kinds of character that help teams like the Jays win and how does a collection of “character guys” exceed the performance of talent-only guys? How much disadvantage does a lack of character really produce? Cynics would say character is a soft, over-used criterion; but the Jays GM seems awfully convinced.

A: I’m with Alex on this, to tell you the truth.

And I would say good “character” is embodied by professionalism, the willingness to accept others as they are without criticism or concern and taking full responsibility for both good and bad. That seems to foster a clubhouse or locker room filled with respect for the game and each other and the team.

I also think teammates who are judgemental, who are always looking to ascribe blame rather than accept responsibility can be disruptive and can make the whole seemingly less than the sum of the parts.

Q: Doug. If the consensus is that Roberto Alomar is the greatest Jays player (non pitcher) ever, where is Bautista? 1A? A closing fast #2?

A: That’s a good one. A very good one.

But as much as I like Bautista and what he’s done is pretty amazing, I’d still say George Bell is No. 2 and you might be able to convince me that Bautista is #2A.

But as Gumby pointed out when I showed him this on our Friday stools, you have to consider Carlos Delgado, too. I’m not sure I’m entirely on board with that but it’s a chat we could have.

Q: Hi Doug

Hope the west coast is treating you well!  I enjoyed reading Dorell Wright’s letter to his brother.  If you had to write a letter to rookie Grunts, what advice would you give?  Alternatively, what advice would you give to NBA players on how to best interact with the media?  Thanks for all you do to keep us informed.

A: Without getting too long-winded, what I tell young whippersnappers, if they ask, is pretty simple logic:

Treat the players and coaches with respect and professionalism, don’t pretend they’re your friends. Don’t dominate scrums, never interrupt a colleague having a one-on-one conversation with a player and know what you’re talking about.

Players? Answer honestly, look the questioner in the eye, do not ever publicly belittle anyone; more basic common sense and decency.

Q: Hi Doug,

I found the Leafs decision to leave the radio guys off the team charter interesting (borderline shocking).

Do the Raptors have any similar plans for their radio guys?

Personally I find that Paul Jones and Eric Smith to cheer-lead less than the TV guys. They seem to give more critical analysis during the broadcast. Maybe it has as much to do with the medium.

In terms of objectivity, do you think it’s in the fans interest to leave broadcasters to travel on their own? Or, are benefits of getting to know players and getting inside tidbits to share during the broadcast outweighed by the potential increased objectivity?

One last personal question. I know you love to laugh at vegetables (so do I), but has your recent health concern not lead you to get on better terms with veggies and fruits?

A: As far as I know right now – and I don’t think there are any changes afoot – the Raptors will do as they’ve always done, take all their TV and radio personalities on the charter – and that means the five-star hotels as well – for the season. And that’s a lot of people when you add up different network guys, different support and production staff and a bunch of team-owned network people as well.

And I don’t think fans look to either radio or TV broadcasts for anything more than entertainment and it likely doesn’t matter to them who pays the freight. So if it’s in the best interests of the fans or not is basically moot.

Personal note: I think I am on better terms but it’s a bit of a struggle that I sometimes lose.

Q: Hello Mighty Coach…How’s the sushi?

Will Kyle be coming out with a how to lose weight book/movie?

Are there any exercises one can take on a stool? How heavy are the steins in B.C?

Does Derek Rose have a priority pass for the Emergency Department?

What does Magic know about the east?  Does he not think we might have a decent team in the land of igloos?  Isn’t Lansing north of “ The Big Smoak”?  Any chance the boys of summer could play the Dodgers?

Who knew that a college coach would violate NCAA rules?  Larry Brown makes one mistake, and wham.  Can you make a list of coaches who have followed all the stupid NCAA rules?  When do we get paid student athletes?

What is with wearing goggles to celebrate 91 wins?  Don’t they have visine in the majors?

Have you ever been doused? ( Intentionally)  Not soused, doused.

Let’s go Blue Jays!  Thank you Alex!

and thank you, Doug

A: No one’s even privately started calling him Jenny Lowry but it might not take long, especially if he starts doing commercials. (Maybe I can get a cut?)

I think if I saw Derrick Rose walking on the sidewalk, I’d cross the street for fear of something falling off a building and hitting me.

Jays-Dodgers would sure work, maybe we can piggyback Raptors-Lakers with it?

The NCAA rivals FIFA as the most despicable sport governing body, that’s about all I’ve got on that.

Goggles are silly, I’d say, and no, even when I’ve been in championship locker rooms, I’ve never been doused. Soused, we won’t talk about here.

Q: Hi Doug,

Given that we have a bunch of new guys, how do you see the preseason games playing out?  Will preseason be used to figure out who starts (Patterson over Scola, Demarre over Ross for sure) and who comes off the bench?  Or is this determined more in practice?  I am so excited to finally see some basketball however don’t want to waste time watching rookies and 905ers play.

Nats from Newmarket

A: I think it’ll be a lot different than, say, last year because there are at least four new guys – Scola, Carroll, Joseph and Biyombo – to integrate into things at real speed. You can add Bennett to that list if you want.

So I think you’ll see 36 or 40 minutes of what we’ll see as “regulars” in some combination each night and the rest will be split between the 905ers.

Thanks for featuring my last question / comment in your regular column, got a 30 sec. warm fuzzy feeling.

Now , I know you were absolutely clear that Bennett would not be a fit with the Raps , are you feeling hurt that Masai missed reading that column?

The real question is this.  If this was baseball you would see someone in Bennett’s position sent to triple A to play , get experience and get a chance to improve if possible.   You had stated (see some remember ) that it was important to have  a D league team within the

control of the parent team so that the player could be developed to fit the team plan.

So why would we not expect that Bennett would be sent to the CMV’s  along with a dedicated coach or two to give him a chance to develop what seem to be obvious skills?

Also , is he also an example of the downside of foregoing a full college career ? Would he not have had the chance to develop the extra skills in that extra year(s).

Hope you enjoy the west,

A: Oh, I know Masai read it, or heard about it, and I was fine.

I think you can entirely expect Bennett to spend the odd day or week in Mississauga, Masai and Dwane have said as much this week and I think it would be huge for him. He would get extended minutes and responsibility and it might be good for him.

I don’t that it’s 100 per cent in the plan – they still want him to be a contributing member of the big team – but if he’s going to languish on the Raptors bench, I can absolutely see him playing some D-League games.

You wrote about Anthony Bennett being a bad fit for the Raptors, and that they shouldn’t go after him.  Now that he’s a part of the team, if Bennett, Masai, or anyone else in the Raptors organization confronted you about what you wrote, would there be any awkwardness?  Would you still stand by your words?

Dr. Justin

A: No one’s mentioned a thing and they wouldn’t. It was my opinion – and I think a well thought out opinion – and the fact they went another way is fine and no skin off my back at all.

And of course I stand by my words, I hope Anthony Bennett has a long and excellent NBA career, I still don’t think Toronto is the best fit for him. I’ve said as much privately to both Masai and Dwane and it hasn’t mattered a lick to them, or to me.

Q: So I noticed that in early July, you told Masai not to sign any more players and give all the media types a few weeks off.  And he promptly went and signed (I think three) more – albeit to partially or non-guaranteed contracts.  Then you told him to get a decent name for the D-League team and, well, enough said there.  Then you told him to stay away from Anthony Bennett.  So I guess i’m wondering, why doesn’t Masai listen to you?!? ……….

In all seriousness, it would seem that what Bennett really needs is to play 30-36 minutes every game for a long stretch (30? 40? 60?) to develop his skills.  Since that won’t happen with the Raptors, it presumes he might be better off in the D-League.  Would that have been discussed in the negotiations to sign him?  Will he take a pay cut if he goes to the D-League (kind of like a two way contract)?

Thanks for all you do.

A: This has got a part of the Bennett stuff not previously discussed.

If – and it’s still very much an IF – he spends time in the D-League he’ll still get his NBA pay if the Raptors make him part of the 15-man roster. There are no two-way deals in the basketball.

Now, if the Raptors cut him and he’s a free agent, they won’t hold any rights to him and if he’s assigned by the D-League to any team, he’ll make the pittance there but there will be no Toronto obligation at all. He will be paid by the D-League and unrestricted NBA free agent.

Q: There is a National food or drink day everyday day.

But Tacos (Oct.4). Now we’re talking; lunch , dinner or a late snack. Inexpensive and tasty.

You travel to many cities that offer wonderful variations of the Taco….Here is a few favourites of mine and Are you a Taco Guy?

Kogi BBQ…This Orange County/LA Food Truck offers outstanding Korean/Mexican BBQ…follow on Twitter to find a truck near you.

El Gastonomo Vagabondo…food truck in the Niagara Peninsula… Gourmet tacos and tapas…try the fish taco’s

Caritas Tacos-Viva Mexico….Little Havana Miami…  You just have to go

Mi Tierra  Cafe…. Downtown San Antonio… A local institution….bit touristy but the food is great

Jo Jo’s Tacos Fort Lauderdale…. Flavours…Flavours

A: Now, there’s one. I’ve been to Mi Tierra many a time, outstanding food.

I’m not the biggest taco guy in the world – I’m not a fan of either cilantro or guacamole – but I had some very good shrimp tacos in Mexico City last month and am a big fan of fish tacos wherever I can get ‘em so that’s where my allegiance lies.

Q: Happy beginning of the grind Doug.

So, today (Thursday) you had a story about the Raptors’ first-round pick, Delon Wright.  I know a lot of armchair fans wail about how the Raptors didn’t pick such and such star who came out of the draft, but often the guy who turned out to be a superstar wasn’t even under consideration at that number, was picked much lower, and his success was unexpected.  I don’t know how much you follow college kids but have you had any strong opinions about whether the Raptors were making a mistake by taking someone when there was someone you liked better still available and actually in the mix?  Did you cringe when Bargnani was taken a pick before Aldridge?  Spit out your adult beverage when they took Ross one before Drummond?  Nearly choke on a chicken wing when they took Araujo with Iguodala going next?  Conversely, was there a pick you disapproved of that turned out well in hindsight?

Jonathan M

A: I don’t follow college kids at all — I hate NCAA basketball with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns – and the draft is such a crap shoot that I refuse to play the “what if” game because nothing is linear and it wastes time. Ross over Drummond? Actually, it was a no-brainer, they had JV coming, Drummond was unimpressive in interviews and Ross gave ‘em something they needed. Totally defensibile, actually and I’m tired of saying it. Who has been a bigger contributor on a more successful team so far? That’s a no-brainer, too.

Now, Araujo over Iguodala is indefensible and was from Day 1 but lots of teams – every team, actually – has had major misses. That would be my one, for sure.


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