Raptors Brass Under Pressure; Changes To Blue Jays TV & Bruce Garrioch In The Pressrow

Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri have achieved what no other current sports executive can claim to have done: they won a championship in Toronto.

When Doug Smith wrote that Edward Rogers supported rehiring Ujiri when his contract was expiring, there were a lot of sarcastic remarks, which were well-deserved.

Raptors fans have an amazing group of people who cover the team regularly. They are covered by blogs, radio, TV, print, and any other publication that includes top-notch Raptor reporters. Generally speaking, the media coverage Ujiri and Webster receive is positive and not biased, but respectful and well-deserved, as they have won.

However, as the team’s performance has begun to decline, it seems that the media’s support has also waned. The duo received a lot of praise for their performance during the Tampa year and for last year’s surprise performance. However, this year has felt different. The lead-up to the deadline set the stage for the duo to be judged based on their ability to acquire meaningful assets for the soon-to-be pending UFAs, if nothing else.

When the Raptors made a surprise move to buy instead of sell at the deadline, the tone of the media coverage changed. From Will Lou and Alex Wong’s two-hour draft show, to Over-Drive, where an almost angry Hayes was joined by Dave Feschuck discussing the team’s deadline performance, it’s clear that the media’s honeymoon with the championship brass is over.

I understand that we don’t want management to react to what we, as fans, think or say, but the media is a different story. Those who cover the team usually know what they are talking about. I’m not suggesting that all media are smarter than those doing the jobs, but I do believe that the media’s voice does have some impact, and a lack of support is a clear change for this group in this city.

I’m not saying that every move has been applauded until now. The Raptors have certainly been criticized. I’m speaking in general terms and admit that I am painting with a broad brush.

Some interesting reads on the topic:

Michael Grange

Josh Lewenberg

Dave Feschuk

Cathal Kelly

Let it be known that I am a big fan of Arden Zwelling.

Let it also be known that he is replacing Arash Madani who’s been a regular on Jays broadcasts for the last 14 years.

For the record, I have zero issues with Madani. He works hard, and I love that he asks hard questions.

According to multiple sources, this change is not due to money issues, which is a relief.

So, why make the change?

A few years ago, another reporter was removed from Jays broadcasts, and it was said that the Blue Jays players requested the change.

Similar stories are circulating in this case. Are they true? I’m not sure. It’s certainly easier when the company that owns the team also owns the outlet. The rumors are definitely out there. Arash deserved better, that’s for sure.

With the NHL deadline three weeks away, it’s time to remind everyone to beware of fake Twitter accounts. One thing I did not see this NBA deadline season was the fake accounts. Let’s all be so lucky and maybe they are a thing of the past.

Say whatever you want about Kyle Dubas but I think we can all agree of all the GMs in the business he probably talks the least (thanks Lou) and when he does, he’s probably the most honest. So when Dubas says things, you can tell he’s already well prepared with his answers or he takes his time to answer the questions. So it was funny to hear some MSMers respond incredulously to the news that Dubas told reporters he’s unlikely to trade either a first-round pick or his highly coveted top prospect for a rental in this year’s deadline dealing by saying “well he may not be telling the truth.” Dubas didnt say he wouldnt trade the assets, he said he isn’t likely to do so for a rental. I think it’s fair to say he’s earned a reputation where we can agree he believes that. What reason for over-reaction? zero. Media hype? nuts.

Finally, did I miss that part where things turned uber-toxic between the Blue Jays and Bo Bichette? If you read and listen to SOME of the narratives out there on him signing a three-year deal you almost think it was a bad thing. Yes, I get it. It would be better if he signed a long-term deal well into his free agency-eligible years. However, avoiding arbitration this year plus the next two isn’t as bad as some of the media undertones suggest either. The Jays have bought themselves time while avoiding the dangers that arbitration brings. They can still negotiate the long-term deal. This, I don’t know if they can sign him will most likely come down to one thing. Money. So if Edward wants to spend big on baseball it will be fine. All signs thus far under his ownership seem to suggest money is not a problem. Fan negativity I get. 8-1. Media negativity, from some, I have a harder time with.

Bruce Garrioch is a renowned sports journalist who has been with the Ottawa Sun for over 20 years. He specializes in covering the NHL and the Ottawa Senators and is known for his writing on various sports and leagues. Garrioch first caught the attention of The Sun in the early 1990s and has since won several awards for his contributions to sports journalism, including the title of Ottawa Sun’s Sports Reporter of the Year and recognition from the Hockey Hall of Fame. Despite his success, Garrioch remains dedicated to his craft and strives to provide his readers with accurate and current information on the hockey world.

In this episode of The Press Row, Jonah talks with Bruce about:

Bruce getting back on the road
Bruce’s start in the journalism world.
The Senators unfortunate luck
The rivalry (Senators vs Leafs)
What happened with the Senators this season
The Process of the sale, Who’s going to buy the team?

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Jonah

Born and raised in Toronto, Jonah Sigel is currently based in Seattle, WA. An avid sports fan, Jonah took to writing about the sports media world back in 2004 with two young kids at home, a new job and a return to Toronto. The interest grew and grew to include the former website Torontosportsmedia.com, the twitter handle @yyzsportsmedia, the PressRow podcast and now the all new yyzsportsmedia.com

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