Total Pageviews

Sunday, July 31, 2011



Last Sunday Roberto Alomar was a deserving inductee into the Hall of Fame.  A .300 career average, 210 Home Runs, 474 Stolen Bases, 10 Gold Gloves and a dazzling array of highlight reel defensive gems are more than worthy Hall credentials.  This past Sunday Alomar was properly recognized by the Blue Jays in a well put together pre-game ceremony that featured Blue Jays luminaries past and present. Though I did wonder if Kelly Gruber could have least got rid of the gum while he was being recognized by the sell-out Rogers Centre throng in attendance.  As Alomar had gone into the Hall wearing a Blue Jays cap, a first for the franchise by the way, the Jays saw fit to retire Alomar's number 12.   There is no doubt that Alomar was one of the cities elite athletes during a time when Toronto had its fair share of studs.  Alomar was the spring, summer and fall answer to Doug Gilmour, two athletes who  had Toronto in the palms of their hands during the early to mid 1990's.  Few could deny Alomar's allure on and off the field and he was as popular with the female set who saw his boyish good looks and wide grin as tantalizing as his on-field magic that drew the admiration of the casual and hard-core fan.   He had the biggest hit in Blue Jay history with his timely home run off of  Dennis Eckersley in the 1992 ALCS, a shot right in the face of the arrogant A's and their taunting closer.  Despite a powerful and star studded offense around him, undoubtedly Alomar was the centrepiece of the World Series winning Blue Jays.  Yet in the long haul, his star was fleeting.   He loafed his way out of town, protecting his .300 average in 1995, rather than playing and engaging in a well-publicized spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck.  No doubt about Alomar's impact but his best years, ironically, were with the Cleveland Indians in 1999-2001 when he lead the league in runs in '99 with 138 and topped 100 RBI's twice, something he never did with the Blue Jays.

Call me nostalgic for the early heady days of the franchise, but for my money the first number retired should have been the #37 adorned by  Dave Stieb.  Stieb's tenure with the Blue Jays was from 1979-1992 and his excellence spanned the contending period of the early 80's to the first pennant won in 1985, and subsequent pennants in 1989 and 1991. Stieb, injured for much of 1991-1992, played only a bit part in the inaugural World Series win. Stieb's surly demeanour with teammates, umpires and media may have hindered him in the eyes of the public relations battle, but he remained a Blue Jay through and through and looked strangely out of place in a White Sox uniform when he moved on from the Blue Jays. Stieb would return to Toronto in 1998, a fitting closure for a great career.  

Today was Robby Alomar's day, and it was a beautiful ceremony, but I'd much rather than Dave Stieb's #37 would never be worn again by a Blue Jay.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


We had a unique experience yesterday as we took our 8 week old to "Strollers and Stars". In other words the chance to watch a movie with other parents and their infants.  Quite a surreal experience watching a movie while children are crying, crawling around and being walked around the theatre by their parents.  All in all, a great experience and the movie of choice, which was Horrible Bosses, was laugh out loud funny.  Here's hoping the babes in arms don't retain some of the blue language in the movie.  One thing that I could do without was the previews of movies like Fright Night and Final Destination 5.   Pretty scary visuals for adults, let alone infants.


It was a good move by the Blue Jays to close the Rogers Centre for Thursday's matinee game against Seattle.  I've sat in the 100 level during warm sunny days and it can get quite uncomfortable.   I can't imagine what it would be like in the oppressive heat that we are currently experiencing.  Now, sitting in the dome atmosphere for a day like this is no day at the picnic, but hopefully the air conditioning can make things somewhat palatable.  We also can't forget the players.  Temperatures at field level tend to soar beyond what we are experiencing. It is even worse for catchers and home plate umpires who have to don the protective gear.  At least Edwin Encarnacion has an excuse not to run out a ground ball today!


The non-waiver trade deadline is on July 31st and the Blue Jays are likely going to be sellers rather than buyers.  Teams have been sniffing around the Jays relief corps, though for the life of me I can't figure out why.  One name that has cropped up in trade talks has been Jason Frasor, which would be sad for the all-time Blue Jays leader in appearances.  Frasor, a  Jay for all of his career has roots in the Toronto area as he  also married a Canadian girl.  The Jays, currently at 49-49 and a distant 9.5 games back of the Wild-Card race would be better served to stay the course and only make a couple of cosmetic moves.  Brett Lawrie will be called up soon, mercifully pushing Edwin Encarnacion to the DH and hopefully returning Jose Bautista to the outfield full-time.  If that  happens, the Jays will have a surplus of outfielders.  An outfield of Travis Snyder, Eric Thames and Bautista holds a lot of potential, but that leaves Rajai Davis and Corey Patterson on the periphery. Then again, watching the duo in the outfield is a tad painful, especially Patterson who is so uncertain that he needs five opinions on whether its ok to go to the bathroom.


I was able to bask in the reflected glory of Ryan Strome's YouTube moment as seen here:

The exciting rookie did it again with this beauty during the Islanders rookie camp.

All highlights aside, Strome is one exciting, creative hockey player and what does not get stated nearly enough is the fact that he does have an edge to his game, and is willing to engage physically, even to the point of dropping the gloves.  He's got NHL star written all over him.


What an off-season it has been for hockey sports media as Buffalo, Calgary, Washington, Phoenix,  and Montreal will have different voices on either the TV or radio side of things.  Winnipeg's TV and radio deal announcement is also imminent.  I can't remember an off-season like this for in a while. 

Stay cool my friends!

Friday, July 15, 2011



Compounding the problem is the shortage of available sports TV talent. Hence the hiring of newspaper veterans such as Mark Spector and Grange. “A lot of the talent we have and that our counterparts (TSN) have comes out of the West, because the local stations there are still doing sports and junior hockey. Ontario's not. ... The new talent is harder to find in the East.”

Scott Woodgate- Vice President News and Information Sportsnet
Globe and Mail Wednesday July 13th 2011

The following quote got me thinking about broadcasting and my place in it right now.  You see broadcasting has always been a passion of mine and I've been privileged to indulge in that passion on a part-time basis as the lead play by play commentator for the Niagara Ice Dogs. Funny thing is that passion can turn to reality.  As the years have passed, I've come to realize and start dreaming about the NHL, just like any young player.   My goals have changed over the years and it is now to broadcast at the highest level, the gold standard so to speak.  Seeing that quote took me aback a bit and gave me pause for thought.  Maybe I'm not as close to the NHL, the holy grail as I would like to think.   If Mr. Woodgate sees Ontario and the East as a barren wasteland for talent in the sports media, then it is pretty clear to me that I'm not anybody's radar.  Now my ego is pretty much in check.  I see myself doing a good job with our Niagara broadcasts and would stack up our crew with anyone in the Ontario Hockey League and comparable to a regional or network broadcast.  Our guys, from the producer on down are just that good and I know that I have to bring my A-game to each and every broadcast to maintain the high standard that producer Darren Sawyer sets. I also know that there are many at a higher standard than I am.  Mr. Woodgate might be suprised to know that many of them call Ontario home.

I will say that there is a plenty of broadcasting talent dotted all over Ontario.  17 teams in the Ontario Hockey League produce live telecasts of  games, so I dispute Mr. Woodgate when he says that there is no junior coverage in Ontario.  No, its not on any commercial or network station, but the OHL Action Pak produces over 700 games of live coverage and in some markets would outdraw NBA broadcasts on the same Action Pack.  Rogers TV, TV Cogeco   and Shaw Cable is local cable, but its not the Mom and Pop coverage from year's past.  Ours, and many other crews have been evaluated by John Shannon, legendary former producer over at Hockey Night in Canada, overseer of NHL broadcasts and Leafs/Raptors TV and currently gainfully employed at Mr. Woodgate's Sportsnet.  His response to ours and other crews was rather favourable.

 I urge Mr. Woodgate to cast his eye over to Ontario where there are hungry and talented broadcasters ready to make their mark at Sportsnet, TSN, CBC,  and The Score .  I happen to be one of them, and I know that I have to keep up with the broadcasting Joneses, so to speak so that I can attempt to differentiate and distance myself from the pack.

Ontario sports broadcasters are just that good.

Steve Clark

Thursday, July 14, 2011


The following quote came from Scott Woodgate, the Vice President of News and Information at Sportsnet:

Compounding the problem is the shortage of available sports TV talent. Hence the hiring of newspaper veterans such as Mark Spector and Grange. “A lot of the talent we have and that our counterparts (TSN) have comes out of the West, because the local stations there are still doing sports and junior hockey. Ontario's not. ... The new talent is harder to find in the East.”

My initial reaction was to come out swinging with the pen with the intensity of a Hulk Hogan comeback (Note to self: Early wrestling analogies in a blog may damage your credibility.  However, as a freelance broadcaster who would love to work at said aforementioned network, perhaps not the best idea to throw yourself under the bus whilst burning a bridge.  Therefore a good night sleep, which with our 7 week old means six hours.  A well-informed opinion will appear tomorrow!

We will talk to you tomorrow when the mind is sound and the vocabulary cup runneth over!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Ok, so a bad pun from  Grease, a very overrated movie, may not be the best way to title a blog.  Outside of Pulp Fiction I rue the day that John Travolta became famous.   Having the summer off is great, particularly if you are raising a now 7 week old who gets more adorable by the day thank you very much!  Yesterday I went for a 3.5 mile run, which, in yesterday's heat,  is either dedicated or foolish, depending on how you looked at it.  Full disclosure:  I was wearing a Shawn Michaels retro WWF wrestling ball cap as my head gear of choice, and I thought it would be pretty cool to take a picture of said head wear and tweetto Shawn Michaels, in hopes of getting a retweet.  He retweeted me, I gained two new wrestling followers and got one message from a guy that cannot be repeated due to its coarse language.  Ok, maybe cool was not the right word as its not like Fonzie ever sported a "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers hat in hopes of getting noticed! On to sports!

While all the New York Yankees decided to call in sick for the all-star game, it was refreshing to see Jose Bautista and Ricky Romero embrace their all star status.  Romero, in particular seemed over the moon happy with his selection.   Bautista did not fare too well in the home run derby, getting eliminated in the 1st round but made a beautiful sliding catch during the game itself.  A couple of media notes: Firstly, Chris Berman is the wrong guy to call the Home Run Derby.  His monster truck like booming baritone fits perfectly for NFL football and he could certainly pull offhockey, but for baseball it was out of place.  For the broadcast itself, it really sounded as if Joe Buck wanted to be anywhere but the game.  I know that his style is somewhat deadpan, but his lack of enthusiasm made me yearn for Tim McCarver's commentary, and that never happens! How about bringing back some legends and all-stars of broadcasting for the game? An all-star game with the rich, authoritative voice of Vin Scully for a few innings would be wonderful, would it not?


These are truly the dog days of hockey as most of the radio and TV hockey  related shows, save for That's Hockey on TSN have taken the summer off.   However, with rookie camps going on, many prospects are strutting their stuff in the hopes of getting invites to main camps in September.  The one thing that I have found refreshing is that despite the fact that these are elite athletes and potential stars in the making, there is no disguising the boyish enthusiasm that these young men had as they headed to camp. It really comes shining through on Twitter.  Even a guy like 1st round pick Ryan Strome seemed a little wide-eyed at his first taste of NHL experience. Strome by the way has seen his Twitter followers soar to well over the 9000 mark.  Guess that being a first round pick will do that for you!


What a finish between the United States and Brazil in their epic quarter final match up.  1-1 at the end of regulation, an early goal by the iconic Marta of Brazil seemed to seal the deal until Abby Wambach's last minute thriller sent the match to the dreaded penalty shoot out before the US prevailed.  The game was not without its controversy as US 'keeper and  the soon to be very marketable Hope Solo had her penalty kick save wiped out by the most trivial of encroachment calls.  The referee had botched the aftermath of the penalty by handing out an ill-advised red card to US Defender Melanie Bueller (anyone? anyone?) and then handed Solo a yellow card for rightly protesting.  The ref rightly redeemed herself in the extra frame by handing Brazilian Erica a yellow card for gamesmanship to the extreme!  The Brazilian went down as if felled by a sniper, only to miraculously recover as soon as the stretcher got off the field.   This sort of thing really hinders the credibility of soccer and is the reason that casual followers scoff at it.  Fortunately the women have been much more sportier than their male counterparts, save for the aforementioned incident.


For those followers of the Bufalo Sabres, the Rick Jeanneret/Harry Neale and Kevin Sylvester/Danny Gare split schedule has been publicized.  RJ and Neale will do 57 games with the newly anointed duo of Sylvester and Gare will get 23, including a monster 7 game road swing and 5 game West Coast Swing.

Jeff Marek's CBC position has been publicized and will close on July 22nd.  The opportunity to work for anything connected to the iconic Hockey Night in Canada brand will be an enticing one for any broadcaster. Marek has settled into his new role at Rogers Sportsnet, doing hits on Connected and also Prime Time Sports.

Dan Dunleavy's Fan 590 Morning Show Anchor position has also been posted, leading many to speculate that Dunleavy will handle Howard Berger's old job as the daily Leaf beat reporter. Dunelavy has an impressive resume of play by play credits as he is the radio broadcaster for TFC, the World Juniors and the TV broadcaster for the Mississauga St Michaels Majors.  It will be interesting to see if he retains his play by play portfolio should he gain the Leaf reporter position.

According to the excellent and always reliable blog at , The Bill Watters Show on AM640 could be kaput as of this Friday!   As 640 has the rights to Leafs radio broadcasts for one more year, do they hang onto them, or parcel them off to the highest bidding competitor?  Also, should the Leafs move up or down the dial to TSN Radio or Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590, is there a chance that Joe Bowen gets squeezed out?  I would doubt it as Bowen has been synonymous with the Leafs for a quarter century plus and has many on-air credits with Sportsnet and TSN through their regional coverage.  Still, you never know!

Finally, Fan 590/Rogers TV broadcaster Roger Lajoie has added the title of Executive Vice President of the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors.  The affable and personable Lajoie is the hardest working man in sports media and a jack of all trades.  I'd say his first order of business will be to create a 28 hour day, so he can handle his expanding duties.

Till next time
You can follow me at and also you can check out my companion on-line demo page at


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Finally get a chance to put pen to paper, so to speak.  Sadly, I had many, many great ideas while I was on my run, and I've immediately forgotten them.  Still there is a myriad of topics to cover.


Some good work done by Brian Burke's lieutenants over the past few days in their attempts to push the Leafs into the playoffs for the first time since 2003-2004.  While losing out on Brad Richards, the apple of every one's eye, the Leafs did a nice job by snagging Tim Connolly from Buffalo.  The Leafs were never really in the running for Richards as Burke, the curmudgeonly one himself, said that the Buds would never front-load a contract the way the Rangers did and even questioned the legitimacy of the contract.  Connolly is a smooth play maker who will attempt to coax a few more goals out of Phil Kessel.   The team also shored up the back end by nabbing Cody Franson from Nashville via a trade and John Michael Liles from Colarado on draft night. Add in  the re upping of Tyler Bozak and Clark MacArthur, and there is reason to be quietly optimistic in Leaf land.


Personally, my initial reaction was not overly favourable to Burke for his decision to head to Afghanistan on the biggest Free Agent day of the year, but in the grand scheme of things, what is more important?  Day one of a Free Agent frenzy that was decidedly underwhelming in quality or joining our heroes in Afghanistan?  Dave Nonis and staff did an admirable job in the interim. Plus, with Burke marching in the Pride Parade the Leafs were able to finalize the Cody Franson trade.  The fluffy haired GM clearly knows how to delegate and has full trust in a staff that is bursting at the seams in terms of years of talent evaluation.


James Duthie is fast becoming the most engaging, creative and credible sports host in the country.   While TSN2 offered wall to wall coverage of Free Agent Frenzy, Duthie has that droll sense of humour that sort of winks to the viewers and urges us not to take things too serious.  He's the perfect foil to the hyperactive Pierre McGuire, Darren Dreger and Bob MacKenzie.  They get an A + on coverage in my opinion.


Despite losing Kingston as a potential franchise and leaving Oshawa sort of on an island in Eastern Ontario for the upcoming season, the NBL continues to do more right than wrong as they prepare for the launching.  Andre Levingston smartly extended the welcome mat out to locked out NBA'ers.  While nobody is expecting Kobe and Lebron to pull on Halifax Rainmen jerseys anytime soon, it would be a coup for the fledgling league if they were to attract Canadians Joel Anthony, Steve Nash, Jamal Magloire, Matt Bonner and even Tristan Thompson or Cory Joseph. Smart move!


Call it bad timing, but I was thrilled to unwrap the Canada soccer jersey for my birthday yesterday. Unfortunately this coincided with the teams quick and tidy elimination from the Women's World Cup with an embarrassing 1-0 loss to unheralded Nigeria.   If you are keeping score at home the team mustered one goal, on a set piece and gave up seven.  No excuses here.  The team was #6, got the coach they wanted and flamed out with nary a whimper.   Apparently these jersey's come in all sizes, but the most popular label is the under performing one.


Congrats go out to Jeff Marek on his new position with Rogers Sportsnet.  Marek departs from Hockey Night in Canada's satellite radio show, as well as the Chevy I-Desk.  Marek is a very versatile broadcaster, and can talk most sports, but his greatest impact will be in hockey and Sportsnet's ever expanding UFC/MMA coverage.   Openings for hockey play by play potentially remain in Winnipeg, Montreal and there was a posting in Washington.  The Fan 590 has also yet to name their replacement for Andrew Krystal's 1-4 time slot too.


Rookie camps are starting and good luck go out to all current and former Ice Dogs who are trying to put to catch the attention of the main team, so they can break main camp.  A special shout out goes to Former Ice Dog/current Owen Sound Attack D-Man Matt Petgrave who was undrafted, but earned an invite to Chicago's main camp.  According to Twitter, he's rooming with Attack teammate and Hawk draft pick Andrew Shaw. 

Please check me out on Twitter:

Also, visit my companion blog where you can see examples of my on-camera and play by play work


Go figure! Raising a 6 week old can consume your time and take away from your ability to blog about the news of the day!  Not to worry, a big blog post is coming soon and it will be a true stream of consciousness as topics covered will include NHL Free Agency, Canada soccer and basketball, and various other topics both sports and non-sports

Talk soon