Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Tao's Contrarian Corner

In which your generally agreeable blogging pal suddenly gets all up in yo' grill over hot topics amongst the Blue Jays fan base.

You say: Rogers is a bunch of evil bastriches for moving more than half of the Jays remaining games to their just launched Sportsnet One service, denying the team's fans the opportunity to watch them at precisely the moment when interest in the team is blowing up. Money-grubbing iceholes!

We say: Save some of your consternation for your local TV service provider. By dropping all of your rage into Rogers' lap, you make it easier for them to bide their time and delay carrying the channel. And think about it this way: If your cable provider were to day "Fuck it. We're gonna drop A & E, so you'll have to find other ways to watch Intervention and Tanya Memme's spectacular rack on Sell This House", you wouldn't blame A & E for not getting carried, would you?

This is all part of a dance, and Bell and Shaw (who also own or are about to own CTV/TSN and Global respectively) would very much like to see the kids on Jarvis and Bloor twist in the wind for a while as payback for some prior tomfoolery.

Bottom line: Quietly seethe at Rogers for their timing, but call your cable provider like an angry Springer guest until they carry Sportsnet One if you want to see your Jays games anytime soon. Because the idea that the cableco's aren't going to move on this until hockey season is so depressing.

You say: Where the hell is J.P. Arencibia? And why isn't he playing everyday? He should just be playing in AAA as opposed to sitting on the bench!

We say: There's more to a catcher's development than getting reps and at bats. Spending time with the coaches, the pitching staff and the other catchers is an important aspect of JPA's initial stint in Toronto.

Yeah, his first game was pretty spectacular, and he's looked great throwing guys out on the basepaths. But we'd like to see him learn to put up as better target (which, as Drew pointed out, might not be his strongest suit.)

(Secondary thought here: Would it kill JPA to have a glove and chest protector that are different colours? Sometimes on screen, his black glove seems to get lost in his black chest protector. We're sure that the pitchers have a better view of it that we do, but still...would it kill him to grab a Lance Parrish signature mitt to give his boys a bright, unmissable target?)

Also, JPA's first magical game featured him swatting lots of first pitches into the heliosphere, but his subsequent games have seen him get jammed on those early pitches. Wouldn't hurt the kid to take a couple of pitches and work a count here or there.

And all of this is a lot more convincing after watching José Molina go 4-for-4 last night. Oh, you didn't see that? Oops. Sorry.

You say: It's a TRAVESTY and a DISGRACE that Travis Snider isn't playing every day. Future of the franchise! Pasty White Hope! Rosy-Cheeked Phenom! Let him play! Let him play! Let him play! Let him play! Let him play!

We say: The Manager actually has a wealth of productive bats from which he can construct his lineup, which means that Snider and FredDotLew are going to end up sitting maybe more than you feel is necessary. But we actually think that The Manager has done a good job of making sure that everyone gets ABs, and we'd tend to agree with his move to keep JoBau in right field rather than switching him to third and getting Edwin Encarnacion out of the lineup.

Oh, and BTW y'all: Since Snider's return on July 30, he's put up a .736 OPS in 48 plate appearances. EE? .809 OPS in 55 PAs. Just so you're not mistaken.

You say: The format of this blog post makes you think of Lisa Loeb, and that's not a good thing.

We say: Lisa Loeb is kinda hot. We're still not over her. She's so cute, prancing around coquettishly in that little dress. *Sigh*.


Ghostrunner said...

Further to the point re: Rogers. So far they've moved two late night starts, surely the lowest rated games of the year. While it isn't above them to hide a Yank Sox game or two, the ire outpaces the crime.

Ty said...

Agreed on most counts, but Snider really should be playing more often than he is. Not necessarily at the expense of EE, but consider Fred Lewis' production since Snidey's callup: .152/.237/.333, good for a .570 OPS. People like to throw out the "speed doesn't slump" line a lot, but... pretty sure that's a slump.

Tao of Stieb said...

Nice call Ty. Fred Lew has slowed down quit a bit lately, and I think sitting is messing with his head.

And not to contradict Drew and myself, but one aspect of dropping the west coast series onto the new channel is that people serviced by Shaw - i.e. Westerners - aren't able to see the games. So the timing wasn't superb.

But do y'all remember that as recently as LAST YEAR, the Jays didn't have all of their games carried? Even by Rogers because there wasn't enough room on Sportsnet once junior hockey started?

We see more games now than ever, and Rogers is doing a good job of getting lots of other games on throughout the season. More baseball than we can watch, even.

Still...those fuckers can get off their asses and get MLB Network on the air here anyday now.

The Ack said...

I'm OK with your JPA argument. A little less so with Snider, but fine. However, I will not bend on the SN1 decision.

Should Shaw Cable share some blame for not picking up the channel? Maybe. I'm sure they've known for a while. Maybe they even knew in generalities what the sched would be on the new station.

But we didn't. Had Sportsnet announced early in the season that most of the final third of the schedule would be aired only on this new specialty channel, I'd have probably reacted by getting in Shaw's ear. Instead, I feel like Rogers is strong-arming both the fans and their rivals into picking up the channel.

Fuck this - it's terrible biz by Rogers. Killing the positive buzz, destroying ratings, eroding interest.

All I really want is somebody from the Jays - the Beest - to react publicly to this. How's it feel to know that all the positivity around the club is at risk of going by the wayside because of another cash-grab by the parent co?

Drew....does the "late night start" argument hold much water when it's been announced that 25 games will be on the station from here on out? And ironically, a good chunk of us frozen out (Western Canada) don't mind the West Coast games given the time zone differences.

The Ack said...

One last point....if we were talking 5, 10....maybe even 15 games from here on out on SN1, I'd still be choked but would probably bite my lip.

But 25 of remaining 45? C'mon.

jans4 said...

The only thing on hear I really have a problem with is that I also think Snider needs to play everyday. While I have enjoyed watching Fred Lewis play this year is he really part of the future? I don't think so. That being said Snider doesn't need to be hitting leadoff because that experiment just has not worked.

Ian H. said...

Tao, you make a good point re: the amount of games broadcast. I can't remember if it was this year or last when people were freaking out that one of the Jays/Sox series was moved to the Rogers Preview channel.

It's an odd time for RSN to come out with another channel, and I'm sure it will all get figured out for next season.

Scrappy said...

All I can say is that Lisa Loeb can't carry Julianna Hatfield's little black dress. I'm sure Evan Dando would agree. And I'm sure he's done the research if you know what I mean....

Who's our best lead-off man without FLewis playing?

Gil Fisher said...

I'm with Ack on each count.

Roger's chose to make Jays fans the pawn in its negotiations with Shaw. It could have waited until October and used Canuck fans or Flames fans. It could have waited until Champions League and used footy fans as the pawns. Hell they (and Shaw) could have even *cough, choke, spit* bargained in good faith and not used anyone as a pawn in the negotiations.

The West coast angle is not an accident.

As for Snider, sure, give EE playing time to find a taker before the deadline, but after that, it's Snidey-time. He was called up almost two years ago now and he still doesn't have a full season's worth of at bats. His clock is tick tick ticking.

Ty said...

Re: Snider... I don't know if anybody else remembers this, but Buck Martinez was talking last week about how it generally takes about 1500 MLB plate appearances to judge a player's hitting abilities, and he said that Snider was getting close, around 1300 now. I thought that sounded way too high and it was - Snider only has about 500 plate appearances under his belt. But that's the problem here - the organization's top hitting prospect has almost two full years of service time, and he's only gotten 500 plate appearances out of it.

That's so dumb. That's really dumb. Fo' real.

Shortwaveboy said...
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Blark said...

As recently as last year the Jays didn't have all their games carried. We knew this at the beginning of the season & the games that weren't carried were spread out throughout the season. Fine. This SN1 nonesense, however, as the Ack points out, was thrust upon us in the middle of the season in what we all know is part of a chess game between Rogers, Bell, Shaw, etc. That sucks.

At the beginning of the season, Sportsnet advertised they would be showing a certain number of Jays games. They have not fulfilled that promise. This is from where a good deal of the "outpaced ire" (God, are you bloggers on the payroll or something?) emanates.

In the meantime, I shall listen to the radio or pursue the illegal streaming the internet offers up so well. I shall continue to do so for the rest of the season. Cable companies - who needs 'em!?

Whitman, Price, and Haddad said...

Yes, no worries, the cable companies are likely deperately concerned that their wires aren't necessarily the future of television. The problem is, they are the internet gateway as well.

Tao of Stieb said...

I was going to respond to Blark, but when he accused me of being a shill for Rogers, I kinda lost the point.

On the payroll? I haven't made a dime off this thing, and I've put in a shit-tonne of my life into it. For free. For your amusement. So maybe you can be a little bit fucking charitable when I make an argument, and not accuse me of having some vested interest.

Matt_CC said...

Tao, that is the pattern I have noticed in these arguments (and other arguments). People seem to think that if they insinuate that you are biased, their argument suddenly has more weight.

I was accused of being a "rogers apologist" on the Toronto BJs facebook site for daring to post a counter argument to the anti-rogers crowd. When I responded by asking for whom he was an apologist (Bell, Cogeco, Shaw), he immediately retracted his comment.

Drew said...
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Drew said...

For me it comes down to entitlement. Fans EXPECT them to bring us the product. We're the consumer, by not giving us what we want, they're doing us a disservice. They need the fans to exist, right?

Except how much of what we, as fans, contribute actually makes the team money? As ad rates sink, companies aren't as likely to serve up huge amounts of content because they just aren't seeing the return.

If they can find a way to capitalize our interest and passion, they will. If that's how they want it, fine. I don't have to watch all the time. When the extent of most of our fandom is passively sitting back and watching TV, it doesn't give us much say in the matter.

Ty said...

It should be painfully obvious that all this Rogers-related tomfoolery on the day that Handsome Tony Viner's replacement is announced is not a coincidence.

This is the new era. God help us all.

Darren Priest said...

With all the poker and darts, I really didn't think another Sports Channel was required. Then again, my finger is hardly on the pulse of the viewing habits of the general public -- or what constitute a decent share in Canada.

I do know it will be a long time before Eastlink is carrying it. I guess if I want better TV choices, I need to get out of the Maritimes.

The Ack said...

I don't know that it's a "misguided" (my word not yours) entitlement given the manner this has been carried out.

Like I said, if I knew this was going to be the deal going in, I'd still be pissed if the channel was unavailable to me....but at least then I'd have known & could live with "it is what it is". That's just not the case. It's almost a bait and switch. RSN went to great lengths to promote the wall-to-wall coverage of the Jays at the beginning of the season. Nowhere did they say "oh, but by the way, we'll be throwing 25 games down the stretch on another channel available exclusively on Rogers Cable. Call your provider now!"

it just doesn't pass the smell test for me. It fucking stinks, actually. I also read a comment on DJF about how it's just a business decision - which it is - and it's not at all unethical. That statement, to me, is highly debatable.

And re: last point...it's a fairly common sentiment that the content and ratings provided by the Jays goes a long way towards financially justifying the team's existence under the Rogers uumbrella. So yeah, I do think we as fans contribute to the Jays making money, even if it's by passively watching the games & revenue-generating advertisements on TV. But apparently, paying for SN West in my cable package and adding SN Ontario + TSN2 for more coverage isn't enough juice for Nadir and the boys.

(and at this point, it's not so much "panties in a knot" with me as it is questioning the wisdom & principles behind Rogers' decision.)

Tao of Stieb said...

Eastlink will get on board quicker than you think. They actually get the fact that their customers want content, and want as many services as possible.


There's something that has been bugging me a lot lately, and it's the fact that in spite of the fact that the Jays may be the most watched team in MLB (still trying to parse the numbers, but they are in the top 5 for sure), they aren't able to capitalize on that because the ad rates are lower here in Canada. So even if they have more people following them in North America than any other team (market of 36 million, remember), their base of advertisers are less valuable, and they'll have a structural hurdle that they'll always need to get over.

Tao of Stieb said...


Here's what I know about Rogers: It's not a monolithic entity, and the conspiratorial notions that people have about what the company is doing are probably way off.

There are three separate entities at work here, and they are all probably trying to accomodate one another. The cable guys want to jump out to help their TV guys, the television guys want full carriage asap, and the Blue Jays want to get on TV and have a solid 162-game TV venue from here on out.

And here's the longer view: With the added channel (which is going to get carriage eventually), the Jays will have that much more shelf space to make sure every game gets covered, and more Jays content makes it to the air.

Long term, that's a good thing for Jays fans. But I fully acknowledge that it sucks in the short term.

Ty said...


Further to that sentiment, I'm not sure how much I believe it but this quote certainly illustrates the multi-headed nature of the company:

The fact that Sportsnet One’s first distribution deal is with Rogers, I’m told, has nothing to do with the fact they’re owned by the same company. Negotiations, I’m also told, were tough.
From http://www.thestar.com/sports/tvradio/article/847416--zelkovich-new-sportsnet-channel-available-only-on-surprise-rogers

It's important to remember these are essentially a bunch of different companies dealing with each other, yes, but it'd also be naive to assume that companies under the Rogers umbrella wouldn't be at least somewhat more interested in helping each other out, given the common ownership.

Kasi said...

Snider needs more playing time. It doesn't necessarily have to be at the expense of EE. Bautista has made some bad plays lately, and a day off every 2 weeks would be nice for him. Same with Wells. Lind spelling Overbay one day a week at first would also free up some space.

You can't really judge Snider on the last two weeks, because of several reasons:

1) He's not playing every day.

2) He's being moved around the lineup like a yoyo. I think he's batted 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th. Put him at a spot and leave him there. He is not a leadoff hitter, and if Lewis and Snider is the platoon then something needs to change.

3) Even with his struggles over the last 3ish games (you take those off and his OPS is more like .900+, showing the issue of small sample sizes) that is still one of the higher OPS's on the team. Wells for example over the last 3 months has an OPS lower then that.

I'll be glad when we can have a manager who stops screwing with Snider.

plen said...

@Tao - Another factor that seems to have been lost is that despite a lot of people moaning about more poker and darts, as I have seen it, we now have another baseball game going on a lot of times.

Tao of Stieb said...

@plen - Exactly. There were three games on SNET last night at 10 pm: Conclusion of Tampa-Texas and NYY-Detroit, and the start of the Jays game on SNET1.

More baseball than people can fit into one evening.

mike in boston said...

if the endgame of SN1 is a national channel on which every Jays game is shown then these are growing pains which will be worth it to Jays fans wanting to have access to all 162 games every year (sort of like NESN for Sox and Bruins fans).

If Rogers plans to spread the games out over its various channels then you'd be an idiot to buy SN1 because you know that SN2 will not be far behind.

Tony Viner said...


Rogers Media is a monolithic entity, with muyself pulling the strings of the entire puppet show.

Bell and Shaw want to play hardball, attempting to complicate my underhanded scheme to expand Rogers market share and gobble up the fruits of my team's glorious rise to the top. But they will fail.

Although I am moving on from my official capacity as totalitarian dictator and head of the snake, my influence will remain in the backroom deals and deceitful swindles that will pay dividends in the form of wins for the team I have personally constructed.

Sure, SN1 is a ruse to line my pockets, and actually quite dishonest and even immoral. But it will only make me stronger, and you by proxy as fans.

Trust me.


mike in boston said...

also, why is it important to keep Bautista in RF if he is being considered as the everyday 3B for next year?

EE should be the odd man out, not Snider/Lewis.

Blark said...

Hey, let's be perfectly clear here. The "God are you bloggers on the payroll" comment was one of exasperation directed in response to the guy who said all this ire was "outpaced," namely Ghostrunner. It was simply a frustrated aside, albeit a hurtful one in hindsight. It was complete emotion & I apologize & rescind that part of the comment. To suggest it was an attempt to strengthen my argument, however, is just foolish. If anything, it distracted from it, as the responding posts have demonstrated.

Tao of Stieb said...


I feel you, man. I know that you're pissed, and that it sucks that these games are going into the ether as far as anyone who isn't on Rogers is concerned. I'm sure I'd be screaming and kicking if I live about a mile east of where I do, and was relying on Videotron.

Still, the longer term thing about this is that eventually, there's going to be the national Sportsnet service that is going to air 162 games, and the regionals which will probably air Sox and Yanks and Mariners and Twins. Lots and lots of baseball.

It was only a couple of years ago that the Jays were only able to get about 120 games on the air, and had to scrape and beg to get games on CBC and TSN. No more. This service is ultimately going to be a good thing for Jays fans, and if you can stick it out through the shite set of circumstances over the next few weeks, hopefully there's something worth waiting for on the other side.

Blark said...

No doubt that this is a long-term good. I can't imagine Rogers' rivals won't pick up SN1. I quite enjoyed flipping between the Yankees & Rays games last night too. BUT... I felt less like a sucker a couple of years ago when I was told upfront I'd only get 120 games on the air. You are right though: the future is bright. In many ways...

Darren Priest said...

Re: poker and darts.

It's true, last night I watched the Yankees and the Tigers. I could have watched it on a few different channels. Thing is, I don't want to watch the Yankees and Tigers. I want to watch the Blue Jays and I can't until Eastlink picks up the channel.

There isn't enough people in Nova Scotia to make the Jays game a top priority. Sucks, but we'll always have Daniel Negreanu. I guess I'm supposed to want to watch the Yankees and Red Sox, right?

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done, it's going to cost Shaw and Bell subscribers more to see this upstart channel.
Although I'm a big Blue Jays fan, I'm not going to pay a penny more for this channel. And, in protest, I'm not going to listen on Rogers' FAN 590. I'm only one lone voice, but Rogers has just turned off one more fan.

Martinez' Buck said...

Please oh please never ever praise e5 again or compare him to Snider. Snider is clearly not being batted at the part of the order in which he should be and he's just being fucked around too much by Clarence. Once August 31st passes e5 should stay on that damn bench or Cito will prove that he has indeed lost all his marbles for good.

On the spoortsnet front I actually didn't mind listening to the game last night except for ashby jinxing Marcum's no no not once but several times, but it is a dickmove on Roger's part but also near perfect timing for them to pull such a stunt with everyone all of a sudden becoming all interested and whatnot.

Roger's stock up 1.15%

Gil Fisher said...

I liked it better when Blark and Tao were enemies.

36 comments though - maybe Tao the Contrarian is here to stay. Troublemaker.

Tao of Stieb said...


I actually kinda know that if I were a prick who courted fake controversies, I could double my pageviews, or get a job hosting the Grill Room.

I choose goodness. I choose the light.

BJ Fledgling said...

Huh? What? Tanya Yumme's bodacious, CANADIAN boobs? Gurgle gurgle gurgle.

Steve G. said...

I think Snider should be playing every day, just because Fred Lewis and EE are probably both not involved in the Jays future. He shouldn't be losing at-bats to either one.

Lewis is nice little fourth outfielder who is stretched as a regular. He's batting 268 / 333 / 445, and he doesn't play center, so that's not really acceptable. He's never slugged more than 445, and his highest OBP was 374 as a rookie in 2007. He's 29 this year, so this is probably his peak, and PECOTA puts his 90th percentile at 290 / 378 / 466. His comparables are guys like Eric Byrnes, Andy Van Slyke, Randy Winn and Gary Matthews.

Darren Priest said...

Steve G: the poor man's Keith Law.

Not that I disagree with the man. If anyone shouldn't be taking ABs right now it has to be Overbay.

I'll say this though: when the Jays are in the post-season, I hope to surround myself with long-suffering, glass-half-full fans. If god wills it, I'd love to put my fist in Keith Law's face.

Might have to impose myself on EyeBleaf. I don't suppose your mom makes wicked samosas?

Steve G. said...

@ Darren - "Poor man's Keith Law" is giving me too much credit :) More like homeless or destitute man's Keith Law. And I think Law is more neutral on every time as opposed to honestly caring about any of them, which is why I tend to like the guy. He's an island of indifference on a network dominated by pomposity - John Kruk, Steve Phillips, J.P., etc.

I was kind of working on the assumption that the Jays just shit-canning Overbay was out of the question, since they haven't done it already.

Darren Priest said...

Well, they are clearly hoping for type-B at this point -- or an increasingly unlikely trade. (I have no idea what the waiver deadline is.)

We have wildly divergent opinions on KLaw, but that's OK.

The 20 or so Jays games I will be able to watch between now and the end of the season should be interesting. I doubt they will make the WC, but I won't rule it out until it is mathematically impossible.

I realize that is not much of a response, but that's all I have right now.

eyebleaf said...

I like Tao the Contrarian.

Gil Fisher said...

I'm with Steve G on the Snider/Lewis/EE angle.

On Overbay, I don't think we have a replacement for him. I don't believe Lind's the answer, but he could give up a game or two a week in the interest of finding Snider room.

On Keith Law - he's rather flippant and not as smart as he thinks he is, but that's his gig and he does it well. I find him to be a pretty good source of information and opinion. As for bias, he used to have one against JPR, but I think they made up at the General Mgrs meetings in 2008. He's now actually a bit biased towards the Jays (relative to everyone else) because he isn't ignorant of them.

Anonymous said...

Agree with most of the stuff said actually. Except the Rogers bit, SN1 is unneeded. They don't have the content to require another sports channel (Are ratings for poker, darts, and Red Bull Aeronautics really that good?... I think not). I could see it when Hockey and Basketball start their seasons but all they've done is remove quality programming (MLB) from where it will reach the most eyes and replace it with marginal niche programming.

People get too uppity about Snider. If he get's a day off it's apparently a travesty, if he plays but bats 8th or 9th it's apparently a travesty, so he bats leadoff and what do the screaming masses call it... yup it's a travesty apparently. I agree he should get as much playing time as anyone but jeez what difference does it make where he bats right now? I swear people won't be satisfied until he bats clean-up or something.

GCM1979 said...

I got torn a new one on the bluejays.com message boards for defending Rogers to the point I swore off the message boards. Not going to get into it in this comment section, but it's good to see that people share my exact point of view out there.

You said it exactly the way I said it Tao, and I commend you for it.

It's clearly a "facebook syndrome" situation. One where they change formats and 95% of the users whine, complain and swear off facebook until they realize the benefits.

I may have to blog about my opinions later. I said I would blog full time next season, but I think I'll have to finish off the year on a blogging tear.

Anonymous said...

For us "Blue Jay" fans, and i have been one sence 1984, currently living out west, BC. I cant, not even pay out my hard earn cash to watch the team i love. Shaw's excuse not to have Sportsnet One, is they dont have the shelf space. I can watch every second Mariner's game here, and i am kinda upset. Upset at whom ? Well if Rogers would have left all alone as status quo, i would still be watching ang routing on the Jays...

Anonymous said...

I will never pay to watch another Jays game ever, aslong as Rogers has something to gain.

Archi said...

Remember when Sportsnet bought the rights to the remainder of the Jays games this season from TSN in exchange for Sunday Night Baseball so TSN2's broadcast schedule could be a little cleaner?

The games picked up from TSN are the ones that are going on SN1.

It's not as easy as just saying "Put the Jays on the main networks" because Rogers bought the rights to all those Yankees / Red Sox and other MLB games to play them on East and Ontario and West and Pacific at the beginning of the season, specifically for the days that TSN had Jays games. After purchasing the remainder of the Jays games, the regular P-W-O-E sched was already taken up by the auxiliary MLB purchased to fill those days. There is simply no other place to put the Jays than on Sportsnet One. The "Why don't they put the Yankees / Sox on SN1 and switch the Jays to national channels?" argument only works until you literally look at the sched on days the Jays are on SN1 and realize there are multiple games on the networks in their place. Trust me.

muebles pontevedra said...

This won't work in reality, that is what I suppose.