I have a new post up on Babble On which is in a similar vein to most of my writing here - sports, mainstream media, and the search for satisfying content.
Don’t let Common Sense stand in your way
It takes something pretty extraordinary for me to bother blogging anymore. The plethora of Leafs blogs out there has it all covered and I don’t really have the energy to put my opinions out there on the team anymore only to have to defend them over and over by people who refuse to follow my path of reasoning. But there’s another topic which constantly gnaws at me - that of journalism.
I’m now loathe to separate Main Stream Media from Bloggers since I see so many of the same things happening in both mediums. The great equalizer - social media - has blurred the line there. I get all of my sports coverage online so I don’t see the difference between a story written on a newspaper site or a story written on a blog. Sure, I suppose one should be held up to a higher standard because they have editors and things like journalist degrees and all but given their behaviour, they all seem the same to me.
1 year agoMarch 26, 2012
2 years agoApril 5, 2011
Phil Kessel’s Frustrations
I was chatting with Yakov Mironov of Puckin’ Eh on twitter today about Phil Kessel’s comments - and also how it was 5 days since his last post, and how I struggle to write about the Leafs right now. First off, I just can’t bring myself to write. I wish the Leafs’ season were over already and we knew whether Boston had another lottery pick or not. I wish we knew whether Gustavsson would rebound, whether Reimer is for real, and if we could get anything in return for Giguere. Whether Kaberle will be back as a Leaf or not this year. I want to know all of these things, but I don’t want to speculate on them. Why? It feels pointless. I certainly hope there’s no lottery pick, that Gustavsson rebounds, that Reimer is for real… but there’s so little to base my opinions on. I don’t know if we can get anything for Giguere. I don’t even know if I want Kaberle back. I don’t know anymore, I just know that this version of the Leafs doesn’t win enough, and I want changes. I’m frustrated.
Phil Kessel is also frustrated. He’s a good kid, I think, who’s always had everything come easy in his life. Great college career, drafted 5th overall, coveted when he became an RFA, leading to a big trade to a storied franchise and a big contract. Scores 30 goals a season even when surrounded by AHL talent. But now he’s on a team that can’t win consistently, he can’t score consistently, and he goes to the all-star game and suffers the humiliation of being the last overall pick. His social awkwardness coupled with the fact that he plays for the most mocked team in the NHL, it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s impossible to shelter him from the media in Toronto - and really, he shouldn’t have to be sheltered. But he’s a 23 year old kid who doesn’t know how to face adversity. The organization needs to give him a hand here.
I don’t particularly enjoy listening to Sidney Crosby speak, but he’s exactly what Phil Kessel needs to become. Crosby is the most scrutinized player in the league, yet I can’t think of a single slip-up he’s made in the media. In a market like Toronto, all our young stars need to be given Crosby-training. It’s hard to take what Crosby says and spin it into a story when he doesn’t intend for there to be one. Kessel saying “it’s not working out here” - that’s far too easy to take out of context and give an alternate meaning to. Personally I’m not sure what he was trying to say, and if he’s saying he wants different linemates, I’m not sure how appropriate that is.
Kessel needs to be able to express his frustration. But he needs to be taught how, when and where to do so. In a market like Toronto, there’s no room for inaccuracy. Now, instead of just being frustrated at not scoring, Kessel’s gonna be frustrated at reports that he unwittingly requested a trade in the media. That’s just going to make things worse.
2 years agoFebruary 7, 2011
One thing I continually experience now that I’m more “plugged in” to Leafs coverage on the internet is a feeling of being over-saturated. Everyone and their mom has an opinion on the Leafs and as I try to wade through the huge number of new blogs that pop up every day, as well as the volume of MSM articles that are written, I often end up reading about the same topic over and over.
The latest topic that has me feeling this way is “waffle-gate”, ie, the story of Leaf fans now throwing waffles onto the ice at the ACC. Initially, this was done by James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, as there were a flurry of tweets about the first waffle post-game and Mirtle pays much attention to Leaf fans on twitter. It was a novelty, Leaf fans had finally found a new way to express their feelings at the poor performances of the team and lack of reaction from the organization.
When it happened again on Monday - this time during the course of play and with the fan responsible arrested and now facing charges - things exploded. Fans who’ve been speaking about this for the past week or so seem to have already had their say, but the major media outlets are now jumping on board. One of the twitter users I follow even said that her non-hockey friends are talking about it. While I suppose it’s good to get more people talking about hockey… it’s a bit much.
The bottom line, for me, is that Leaf fans are trying to express their frustration. Waffles, jerseys, tea cups - whatever fans throw on the ice, it doesn’t matter, they are frustrated. Do we really need to contact Kelloggs and get their statement on the waffles?
The media will write whatever they need to in order to keep the readers coming back. It’s their job, how they make a living, so I can’t really blame them. I’m slowly whittling down who/what I read and I try to give fans who are expressing themselves a pass. It’s just frustrating that every time there’s something new in regards to the Leafs, there’s so much coverage it seems the fun gets sucked out of it. I guess it’s just more fun writing about waffles than the latest Leafs loss.
What would I rather read about? Here’s a few things:
1. Why the Leafs power play has improved lately. It’s surged up to 17th in the past couple of weeks, what’s changed?
2. Can someone ask the skaters how they feel when Gustavsson freaks out after a goal? I’d hope it would fire up the rest of the team to perform better but if anything they seem to get down after such displays.
3. Grabovski. Bloggers are all over Grabbo and his consistent play this year. I’d love to read something from someone with access about his development. It’s one of the few bright spots on the team this year.
2 years agoDecember 22, 2010
Does writing about the Leafs have to make you toxic?
The Leafs have the biggest fan base in Canada, the highest profits, and more reporters covering them than most American teams combined. When I look at the coverage that fans of teams like Phoenix and Nashville have to deal with, I think we should be lucky to have such a variety of voices covering our team.
And yet, we spend more time being frustrated with the Toronto sports media than we do being pleased with their coverage. Questions go unanswered, articles blaming the fans for the Leafs’ troubles are written, and competent, even talented writers stoop to the lowest common denominator for subjects.
2 years agoDecember 1, 2010
All the hype last week about Chris Botta losing his press credentials for Islanders coverage got me to thinking. Could the Leafs do the same? The Islanders reasoning was the Botta changed from “reporting the news to making the news.” Isn’t this what happens all the time with the Leafs?
Take yesterday’s Brad Richards ridiculousness, for instance. Even Bob McKenzie felt the need to weigh in and say that it’s unlikely Richards gets traded for a while, if he gets traded at all, and that Toronto is definitely not a lock to get him. Sean Fitz-Gerald’s article at the Post was quite comprehensive, and included that the “rumours” that surround Richards are pure speculation. Nobody says who is speculating, with it seeming like the media thinks the fans are speculating (which is true to an extent) while fans who aren’t speculating think the media are the ones making this into a story.
Whichever this is, it happens around the Leafs all the time. It smacks of creating the news instead of reporting it. This is a rather mild example, and with a team like the Leafs it is very hard to differentiate between what is a story just because the Leafs are mentioned and what may have legs. There is a certain amount of hype attached to everything around the Leafs, meaning if you throw their name into a story for no reason, you’ll automatically add viewers or readers. I just wish it didn’t happen.
When I see things like the Toronto Sun’s photoshop of Nazem Kadri and then hear Burke’s comments that “The Sun has great value if you own a puppy or a parakeet” well, then I wonder why MLSE continues to give them press credentials. I know it’s not realistic to wish for this, but it’d be nice to see some retribution. MLSE can’t cut off any of the major media outlets, or even just a few of their writers, because it’s not just the Leafs involved - it’s also the Raptors, Toronto FC and the Marlies who all need the coverage. It’s probably better to hope for some self-imposed improvement of standards. But if the Islanders - a team that needs media coverage way more than the Leafs ever will - can do it, why can’t we?