DL358: Opening Day, McNabb Trade, National Title Game & More Important Things on Sports Christmas

Today’s show is more like a watercooler conversation than anything. We had topics — how could you not know the topics — so we just talk. Nick calls today “Sports Christmas.” I am unfamiliar with that term.

McNabb trade, Opening Day (a National Halladay in these parts), National Championship game with Duke and Butler and other important things.

Oh, and at some point my wife calls and I think she’s in labor. Thanks for listening.

There has been a lot of talk about Donovan McNabb being traded, both in the local and national media. It’s amazing the disconnect between the two. And frankly, in this case, the national guys don’t really know what they’re talking about.

I’ve read too many stories talking about the disrespect McNabb is getting from Philadelphia, and from the Eagles. The only problem? The articles are combining the two concepts, which is completely unfair to both the fans and the organization.

You can’t blame the Eagles for wanting to get value for a quarterback they’re obviously not looking to re-sign to a long-term deal. Why play McNabb this year and let him walk for nothing, then give a contract to Kolb to be your starter in 2011 after another year on the bench? Actually, forget about Kolb for a second, and let’s ask why the Eagles shouldn’t try to get something back for McNabb if they don’t plan to keep him beyond this year? Isn’t that what smart football teams do with their players? Why is shopping a guy around for value disrespect? And how in the world is asking for a first or second round draft pick a sign of disrespect either? If they took a fifth rounder for the guy, sure, THAT’S disrespect. But asking for top-round value for a guy who has been in the league for more than a decade? That’s actually a sign OF RESPECT, if you consider the fact that no team is willing to make the deal. The Eagles, based on the current market, have OVER-VALUED McNabb’s value to the rest of the league. And if the rest of the league doesn’t see value in signing McNabb long-term – or at least trading away top picks to get him for a year with the chance to sign him long-term – why is it disrespectful of the Eagles to feel the same way? Because he’s played for them all this time? They should know the deterioration level of his skills more than anyone.

Second, to the point of the fans, yes a few idiots went to NYC to boo him when he got picked. I actually had one of them email me today to explain he’s not a bad guy and he does a lot of charity work and has apologized to McNabb in the past. That’s all great, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that the group of “fans” who went up to the draft to boo McNabb put a stain on the fanbase of this city for the last 12 years. Every time there’s a conversation about McNabb, writers go back to that day. So thanks for that, guys. Any rational assessment of McNabb’s skills, or any person who thinks that after this much time of not winning a title, a change of pace is better than status quo, is hit with “YOU BOOED THE GUY WHEN HE WAS DRAFTED.”

No we didn’t. A few fans who didn’t know what they were talking about did. And some of them realized they were wrong.

MJD in his (joking) post about disrespecting McNabb by sending him to Oakland. Mark Kriegel of Fox Sports actually wrote this as a reason for why McNabb is being unappreciated:

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We’re back. Please tolerate the congestion.

Pleased to have Gary Thorne, venerable broadcaster and the voice of MLB2K10 on the show. We talk a bit about the game and the process by which he records all those sounds. I never knew they do it in a booth with no visual aids. They are basically calling an imaginary baseball game? Wait not just one game…like 70 hours of imaginary games.

We talk about the fact that Thorne isn’t given a script – that he’s hired for the way he calls the game as much as his voice – and how different the game is when there’s nothing to cross-talk about. Isn’t the cross talk what makes baseball announcing so much fun?

We discuss actual baseball as well, as I ask Thorne about the differences between calling national games and local games for the Orioles. And being in Baltimore, does he find his audience is much more dedicated, and therefore baseball savvy, than a larger audience of bandwagon jumpers may be in, say, Philadelphia or Boston? Thorne does agree that it’s important to know the audience, but not to talk over them and get to inside baseball.

Speaking of that, we do discuss the balance of stats and sabermetrics in a broadcast with the “Joe Morgan” types of announcers. Thorne’s wife has a company that trains former players to become broadcasters, so we discuss the importance “having been there” with “the numbers indicate”. What is the balance? And could it be that TV and radio – due to the audience and the time constraints of the game going on in front of you – lend themselves more to “experience” as expertise while the number crunchers can have more focus in print and other non in-game mediums?

We talk a lot about , and if it’s a viable idea for change. In fact, is any change needed? Thorne does bring up the concept of buying a championship, which you can make the case that only a handful of teams can afford to do. Of course for every Yankees (or Red Sox of Phillies) there is a Dodgers or a Cubs, who can get to the playoffs, but can’t win anything – a concept to which Thorne rightly brings up the point that getting to the playoffs has been far too marginalized in baseball. It’s still a really big deal.

Last, we talk about hockey. Well, hockey and baseball and which Thorne likes to announce more and which he thinks he is more known for. The short answer: it’s like asking him which kid he loves more.

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DL345: Skeets! Plus Rooting in Two-Team Cities, Torii Hunter vs. “Imposters” & How Spellcheck Can Help Your Next Internet Hoax

JE Skeets joins the show to talk about The Basketball Jones and the move for the entire crew – Skeets, Tas, JD and Matt – over to The Score. It’s an incredible situation for them, and as we’ve stated before, we could not be happier for the crazy Canadians.

But first…Skeets was in the hospital getting his severely sprained ankle looked at, which leads to a conversation about the waiting room happenings, including a homeless guy in a wheelchair who asked for a bite of Skeets’ sandwich. Why isn’t this a reality show? Like Cops, with freak injuries and blurred out faces of horrified people in the ER waiting room just looking to get a few stitches. If it is, I need to find this show.

Turns out, Skeets loves the idea, and hospitals in general. He actually had a PAPER ROUTE inside a hospital when he was a kid. INSIDE A HOSPITAL.

Okay, onto the Jones. We discuss the swanky new set, and how long it will take for one of their friends to start showing up every day, standing outside the enormous city street-view windows with signs making fun of them. Three days in and I’m shocked it hasn’t happened yet. We also discuss the potential changes he expects now that they are part of The Score. Will we get more comedy bits in addition to the daily show (and rumored weekly audio-interview show)? Is he at all concerned that he’ll need to be more of a comedian now that they’ll (possibly) be expected to come up with more funny bits? Oh, and of course, when’s the TV time gonna start?

We also talk about his departure from Yahoo, and if he’s concerned that he went from one of the most trafficked basketball blogs in America to relative anonymity in the States working for a Canadian TV company. Sure fans of the Jones will still go, but what about the Yahoo traffic that would watch the show’s embed? What about his itch to blog? Will that be part of the gig at The Score? And — his words — how stupid is he to leave Yahoo?

But there’s a flip side. How stupid is Yahoo — my words — for letting him go? Why does The Score see the value in the future of podcasts like The Jones, but Yahoo didn’t? This leads to a brief and hopefully not haughty conversation about the future of our little industry and how it fits with MSM sites.

Congrats again to the Jones. Yahoo’s loss is Canada’s gain.

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A Present to Me: We go FJM on SAS

With all apologies to the fine folks at Fire Joe Morgan, who took columnist dissection to a whole new level, we break down the most recent column of PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER COLUMNIST Stephen A. Smith.

SAS talks about how Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid are linked forever. It’s a new concept, it seems. He thinks that they should both be back, but if people want McNabb gone, he thinks Reid should be gone too. Rather than break it down here, just give it a listen. And if you think we went overboard, consider it a birthday present to myself.

“Ooh, I got a poorly constructed column to dissect! It’s what I always wanted! And it’s wrapped in newsprint…how clever.”

Thanks for indulging us. Be safe in the snow.

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