RSS Feed

Baseball retribution, the 15h man and an update on The Chicken: It’s all in the mailbag

A: I think the Raptors and all the other teams that are doing it have found the right tone to draw attention to the issue, nothing too defiant or disruptive, it works perfectly for me.

Now, what we have to see is what the organizations and players do in the community to back up their actions with words and other deeds.

This that the Hawks are doing is a perfect example of reaching out as well as drawing attention.

Q: Hi Doug. Why is it that the ‘baseball code’ does not frown on what Texas and Rough Odour (as I like to call him ) did to Bautista in the final at bat of the final regular season meeting between the 2 teams. To me it was cowardly.

Mike K, London

A: It’s all about timing and, yeah, I agree throwing at a guy in the final at-bat of the regular season is bush and cheap. But I think the regular season is time for any retribution and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some “buzzing” when they meet the first time next year.

For now? The playoffs are different, as they are in, say, hockey, where there no post-season fights.

Q: Hello Mighty Coach… It has been a while, but I have the dock out and finally time to keep up with the HOTC.

Can we adopt the Beatles tune for Mr. Siakim? ( P.S., I Love You)  Will he start for those unfortunately named guys, or will he be a member of the lonesome pine at the ACC?

Could it be arranged for Mr. Poeltl to spend some time with Charles Oakley (now there’s a reality show I would watch) or some other former bruiser in order to be ready to bang the boards a bit better?

Over/Under 50 games for the HOTC, this year?

Is Ross still in Toronto by mid season?

Shouldn’t  MLB mandate pitchers to wear a helmet of some kind?

What will be the most popular Halloween costume this year?  The Donald or Hilary?  Is a shirtless Trudeau  in the running?

Fall off that restrictive diet and have a great Thanksgiving!

Bob, Kanata

A: Welcome back.

Siakam’s a backup, I’m sure; the job is Sullinger’s to lose with Patterson on-deck.

I’m not quite ready to guess win totals but I think 50 is probably a good over-under discussion starter.

I don’t think the Raptors as a whole shoot three-pointers well enough to think about moving Ross.

They make base coaches and bat boys were helmets, I bet at some time they do something about pitchers and protection.

This is turning into the one of the most ghastly elections of all time and I cannot possibly imagine any sane-thinking parent letting a kid even remotely try to mimic Trump, can you?

Off to get the turkey ready now, do the stuffing, peel the potatoes; there is no restrictive diet whatsoever.

Q: Greetings, Mr. Smith.

Are Bruno’s best NBA days behind him now?


David in Ottawa

A: I don’t know if he’ll even have bad NBA days, let alone good ones and I don’t suppose it’s all that big a deal. I loved the gamble when they took it and if it works out in a year or two years or never, that’s fine with me.

I would suspect at this point Bruno amounts to a failed gamble.

Q: Hi Doug,
If I recall, way back in the early days of the Colangelo era, the Raptors hired a three-point specialist coach. I think his name was Dave Hopla. Just curious about how that experiment went? I don’t think he stayed around too long, so I’m wondering if he had any discernible impact at all? Do they still employ shooting specialists on the staff? Or does it do more damage than good?

David, Vancouver

A: Yeah, they did have Dave around as a consultant for a while, not sure what kind of impact he had. Last I saw him, he was working in Washington or Philly or somewhere. Good guy, diligent at his job.

The Raptors don’t have a “shooting coach” per se on the staff, lots of assistants are capable of working out kinks in style and form; I’m not sure how great they are generally, to tell you the truth.

Q: Doug,

The importance of Bosh’s time with the Raptors cannot be understated, especially his role as team leader and face of the franchise during the bridge period between the Vince era and the current Demar/Lowry regime.  I would, without a doubt, rank him as one of the top 3 or 4 Raptors of all time.  If Bosh’s career is indeed over, do you think the Raptors should plan any festivities or honour him in some way when the Heat are in town?

Dr. Justin

A: I think they probably would have but with the way the relationship between Bosh and the Heat is today, there is no way I see him being with the team when it travels.

If on the rare chance he is, I’d bet there would be some kind of video tribute.

Q: Good day , hope you are enjoying Cowtown.

My trivia laden brain started to work after returning from a weeks fishing –  away from cell phone / internet , a great break.

Started to think of other two sporters.

Canadians – start with the Big Train – Lionel Conacher, on Grey Cup and Stanley cup winning teams plus other athletic pursuits.

Bobby Rosenfeld , track – Olympic gold and silver, basketball and hockey.

Americans – Jim Thorpe  of course, track, pro football and baseball. Babe Didrikson, multi Olympic gold in track, of course golf , and other sports

Don’t know why this name stuck in the recesses of my mind – Gene Conley 1950s , Phillies pitcher while he also played for the Celtics.

Another with a local connection  Bobby Taylor , onetime flanker with Argos and others , also played minor pro league hockey.

(Recall him from the days when the Argos were interesting , with real characters.

I’m sure there are many others. All have the similarity of playing a number of years ago when less specialization was the norm.

Finally – how many people passed out from holding their breath yesterday while Osuna was on the mound?  Great game.

Bill W

A: All very good two-sport stars, the list could even grow from there.

And I’m not sure which “yesterday” you’re talking about with Osuna and it probably doesn’t matter because we have been blessed with dramatic game after dramatic game after dramatic game and it’s been a wonderful ride, hasn’t it been?

Q: The idiot who threw the beer can works in sports media?
His level of idiot has risen to catastrophic proportions!  He should under all circumstances know that this type of behaviour is not acceptable.

Is there anyway that postmedia can let him keep his job?  No matter what people say about an act the was done on his personal time, this really undermines his integrity as a journalist.

MLSE, Rogers, and whoever owns the Argos should work together to put a lifetime ban on this guy ever entering a stadium ever again in the city of Toronto.  And the media should be relentless in its shaming of this guy as a reminder to any other potential idiots that this is not the way to experience a sporting event.
Ollie H.

A: I don’t know about relentless shaming; I think it’s important that the authorities found him and charged him and we’ll let the courts treat it as they would any other mischief charge.

But I do think he needs to be banned from attending Blue Jays games for his actions.

The team is, at least a little bit, complicit in this; selling beer in cans is a way to rush the service so there can be more of it and more profits reaped. I would be stunned if they didn’t make every concession worker pour every beer into a cup for Game 3 and every subsequent game at the stadium.

Q: Hi Doug

I had meant to ask you this when you put it in your blog, but then things got in the way, and it was early yet.  Seeing as you are asking for questions however.

You had mentioned that the Raptors had interest in Serge Ibaka for when he becomes a free agent next year.  I was surprised by that only because you tend to eschew stories that are based on possibilities so far in the future.  However, I also respect the fact that you have a strong desire to “get it right” as opposed to “get it first”, so I accept that you have confirmed this with your sources.

The thing is, what kind of bugs me about that story is that it almost sounds like the type of story that Raps would WANT out in the news.  Kind of a prelude to, say, if Orlando’s season goes down the tubes, then Orlando knows there is one potential suitor for Ibaka if they decide to trade him.  Or even to see if Ibaka’s camp reacts to indicate somehow if he would consider playing for the Raps.

Am I reading too much into this?  Or does stuff like this (stories leaked with a hidden agenda) happen a lot?

Sohail Gandhi

A: Maybe a bit too much.

While there is no question the trade demands for Ibaka around the draft were outrageously high (Cory Joseph, Norm Powell, Patrick Patterson and the No. 9 pick) there was still some interest in Ibaka and sources I trust implicitly told me that day that they would be quite fine to wait and see what they can do in free agency next summer. But seeing how much water has to go under the bridge before we get even close to that point, I don’t think it’ll have an impact on this year at all.

Execs around the league would know that it’s only logical that teams with an interest in trading for Ibaka – and the Raptors weren’t the only ones – would also have interest in thinking about him next summer.

Q: Doug

Who was dumber, the Jays fan who threw the beer onto the field, or Steve Bartman?  And who do you think will suffer worse as a result? The Jays fan likely faces criminal charges, and although Bartman was never charged with anything, he has been forced to live a life of seclusion ever since.

Dr. Justin

A: Interesting discussion, isn’t it? I would say the idiot here was dumber because his was a far more dangerous foray into knuckleheadedness, some one could have been seriously hurt and that’s the galling part about his incredibly irresponsible antic.

Bartman? I was at that game and I can honestly make the case that he changed the course of Cubs history. That’s pretty big and why he will be remembered forever while the name of the goof here is probably out of everyone’s mind today.

Q: Doug:

I am finding it quite difficult this year to get worked up about the 7 pretend games.  It would seem that the only real decision to be made is who will be the 3rd point guard until Delon Wright can recover from his shoulder surgery.  The biggest current injury is with the Global Ambassador, who had to cancel a couple of tour stops because of an ankle injury.  Do they have a back-up for him?  The Woj story about Kyle opting out, (1) makes absolute sense as you point out in this morning’s blog, and (2) isn’t very scary at this stage in light of DD resigning this past summer and there being no real reason to suggest that the Raptors and Kyle won’t be able to do the same thing next season.  The angst meter is running at an all time low.  

So, since you are looking for questions….How’s the Chicken?

David H

A: The Chicken is rare form. Spent some tine with he/she/it in both Vancouver and Calgary, it was top level entertainment and we’re both looking forward to Season No. 22, or Season No. 2,203, whichever it is.

Q: About your flight home, does Vancouver to Edmonton to Winnipeg to Hamilton count? From back in the early days of the WestJet milk runs.  It’s ok if you can handle all the small talk, but I wouldn’t want to do it with a head cold.

And with Ross, of course he should show flashes of amazing, he only started for how many years?

A: Oh, I don’t do small talk. It’s what ear buds and that week’s edition of the New Yorker were invented for! And I also don’t do milk runs although I certainly remember hearing about them.

I have been one of the more vocal members of the media pointing out the mercurial nature of Ross on and off the court but I will give him credit: In the week or so I’ve been around him, he does seem to have a renewed maturity and focus to him. Is it sustainable? Time will tell but if I was a fan – or a teammate – I would be more optimistic today than I have ever been.

Q: “I don’t stay up late on nights I’m not working so specifics are going to have to wait until I see someone at practice tomorrow.”

What you missed (and I didn’t see the first half) was the phenomenon of Brady Heslip shooting the Raptors back into a one-sided game with 13 fourth-quarter points while playing the point. This may not mean an NBA job but it was fun to watch. He gave them their only lead of the game with a Curry-like three that caused much merriment on the Raptor bench. The other phenomenon was the Clipper colour guy, whoever he was, knowing all about this player, including the identity of his uncle. The play-by-play guy was amazed at his level of research.

This question may be a bit premature, but which team most intrigues you as the new season approaches, other than the one you cover?

James A., Victoria

A: I caught up the game later, that sure was some flurry, wasn’t it?

Still trying to get my head around the entire league but I’m interested in seeing how San Antonio adapts to Pau and no Duncan, of course I’m intrigued by Golden State and in the East, I wonder how Atlanta is going to work with Dwight Howard and whether this new emphasis on speed and offence is sustainable in Indiana.

But I am sure as the season gets closer or even begins, there will be others to emerge, most likely Minnesota.

Q: Hey Doug, I know the choice is not going to be an impactful one, but who do you see as the 15th man on the roster?  Fred Van Fleet seems most obvious to me as the 3rd point guard, but I also keep hearing about Heslip’s wonderful shooting.

Is there value in having a guy with only one legit NBA skill – even if it is an elite one?


A: Sure, there’s value in that but sometimes roster needs take precedence. I don’t know if that’ll be the case here – Heslip has some ball-handling skills and, really, how many times are they going to need a third point guard before Wright gets back? – but it might be.

All things being equal? The guy with the one undisputable skill – especially shooting – finds a spot at the end of my bench. Not sure everything’s equal in this case, though.

Q: Hey Doug:

Fear not, the regular season is approaching and your least favourite time of the year, the pre-season will soon be done. With the Raptors opening the pre-season against Golden State and playing the Cavs, the level of the opponents has improved from years past.

How are the pre-season games organized? How does the league (I assume the league organizes, decides this) determine which teams face each other, and which games are “home” games?

Appreciated as always


A: It’s generally the teams – in consultation with the league – that determine who they’ll play and where. There are geographical considerations that come into play, sometimes it’s quid pro quo (“You come to our place this year, we’ll go to yours next year”) and sometimes the teams will “sell” their games to independent promoters who take them to neutral sites, all with league approval and input.

The league is involved in international games, of course, NBA Canada runs the Canada Series and will solicit opponents for the Raptors; the NBA offers its European and Asian games to its teams to see who wants to go so they are heavily involved in that process.

Q: Hey Doug,
Welcome back, not sure you ever left but the Jays have us locked in.
Was at the Wild Card game this game and was easily the best live Toronto sporting event I’ve ever been to live. Got me thinking of the Top 5 LIVE events in recent memory in Toronto. My Top 5:

1. World Series walk off by Joe Carter
2. 2016 Wild Card Game
3. Vince going for 50 in the playoffs
4. Joeybats bat flip game
5.  Leafs 3rd period collapse in the playoffs game 7
Raps look in typical preseason mode, couple quickies:
A. Sullinger going to be okay for the start of the season?
B. VanFleet going to make the club?
C. How many minutes do you see Lowry & DeRozen averaging this year?
Jays got me playing hookey since Wednesday, you should try it sometime.
Always a pleasure.
Richmond Hill

A: I think you probably hit on four of the five events in Toronto but, unless I’m losing my mind, the pucks collapse was in Boston, was it not? So if you’re only going on recent memory, I’ll take Raptors-Nets Game 7.

Sullinger is going to be fine, I’m told; I have no idea if its VanVleet who is the 15th contract and, frankly, it’s the 15th contract and third point guard, I refuse to get too worked up about it.

I’d supposed somewhere in the 30-35 minute range, maybe a couple more, for them. The usual.

Q: Hi Doug

Like your blog about the Jays celebrating.  I coached little league many years ago, and I remember how bad the losses were for the kids, and how good the wins were.  I always remember it’s a game and on Tuesday some one is going to win and someone is going to lose.  Since you don’t know if you are going to celebrate or cry, take your celebrations when you can.

This thing with players taking a knee during the anthem or linking arms or whatever.  I spent 35 years in the military and the one thing that I always believed is this is a country that has free speech, and that the actions like kneeling during the anthem or linking arms are a form of free speech.  I have never thought that the military or the police or any group are entitled to be put on a pedestal and have a right to act and not be questioned about their actions.  People also have a right to be upset about the players actions, but that does not give them a right to question the motives of the people protesting.  One thing I have noticed in both Canada and the US since 9/11 has been a tendency to put the military, police and firefighters on a bit of a pedestal.  Thanking us for service

and calling us heroes.  We aren’t.  We are ordinary people, a cross section of the populations of our countries.  We all knew the job was dangerous when we took it, and we did it anyway.  And we have been well rewarded for doing it.  That really is all the thanks we are due, I think.

Now for the important thing.  Should the Raptors trade JV for Cousins – Yes/No and Why/Why not

Gerry T

A: Very well put and thank you very much for that.
I do, however, think you might be downplaying the significance of a military career and what it means to the safety and security of a nation, its people and its principles and I don’t think the volunteers who serve can be thanked often or earnestly enough.


None found.