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Thursday, May 29, 2014

BOB COLE: SOCIAL MEDIA SENSATION

  
No, Bob Cole does not take selfies, hash tag or use Instagram.  As far as I know there is no Twitter account run by Bob Cole, though there are a number of semi-amusing parodies.  However when Bob Cole calls a game, social media goes crazy.  It has become all the more of a frenzy with the speculation that Bob Cole's legendary broadcasting career may be riding off until the sunset.  As of this writing, Bob Cole has no contract for next year.  It should also be noted that no play by play or analysts have been named by Rogers as they embark on year one of an all encompassing 12 national agreement with the NHL.

The Fan590 debated the merits of Bob Cole on the Morning Show of Brady and Walker.  It was generally felt that the 80 year old still had a lot of game left, and they sited his call of last nights double OT game between Chicago and LA.  A couple of callers also trumpeted the legacy of Bob Cole and the continued excellence of his big game call, while one lamented the mistakes he makes during a broadcast.   Still, all this warm and fuzziness contrasted with views of last year who hated the fact that the "Leaf supporter" was calling Habs games. All the more puzzling, and this was noted by Brady and Walker, was the level of vitriol directed towards Jim Hughson, who is the best in Canada right now bar none.  A couple of years ago, Hughson was loved, and now he is heavily crticized on social media.  

I get it.  Play by play love/hate is all about what style works for you and for the individual fan, that can be different.    No one wants to see the end of Bob Cole's career, in much the same way, you do not want anyone who has achieved legendary status not be around anymore.   

For me, I love the way that Bob Cole calls a game, the rhythm, the cadence, the ability to strike the right tone on a big call have never gone away, regardless of age.  I can remember my Dad saying 20 years ago that Cole had his day, but was starting to lose it.   Yet here he is, still calling the games, still with the trademark phrases that be never duplicated.   It does not sound right for anyone else to say "Yessir!" "Oh Baby".  With Rogers focus on Hometown hockey, there is no one more hometown than Bob Cole.  My guess is that he will be offered several select games to do next year with historical value, and there will be a huge send off and good bye and a big feature on Cole in his native Newfoundland.  I'm not saying he would accept such a tribute, but I cannot see him quietly calling his last game this year and then leaving.   That might just be me and my own nostalgia driving my thoughts.   

A BIT ON DEAN BLUNDELL:  
One of the more polarizing subjects in sports media has been the tryout that has been offered former 102.1 The Edge morning man Dean Blundell on Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590.  Blundell, if you remember, was finally fired from Corus after an exchange with a producer in which Blundell seem equate gay men in prison with rape and the fact that they would enjoy it.  The fact that both Blundell and his producer were seriously undermining the legal system also played a role as was the fact that Blundell had run afoul of Corus and the CRTC on a number of occasions.  I cannot comment on how Blundell is as a sports talk radio host as I have not heard any of the broadcasts.   However, in a business driven by ratings and name factor, it Blundell seems to possess both, even if his name factor can be construed as for all the wrong reasons.   He was a star in Toronto morning radio , no matter what you thought of his "shock jock" antics. Whether he can re-invent himself as a credible sports radio voice is yet to be determined.  The Fan590 is serious though as they have devoted a couple of listener polls to Blundell.   

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