Every Thursday I answer 3 of the top inquiries I’ve received over the last week … in “E’s MAIL“.
The only thing I ask is: (a) Try to keep your comments/questions as brief as possible, (b) include your name and location, and (c) be respectful.
If you want to have a chance to have your question printed in “E’s MAIL” … send me a question/comment at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s get rolling …
QUESTION: Hey Eric. That Boston win (last week) was pretty amazing. Although the Raps didn’t play very well, they shot the ball great. The next day, however, I was pretty disappointed to see the front page of the sports section of a Toronto newspaper filled with Leafs news. The Leafs won that night too, that’s great, but they beat the TENTH ranked team in the EAST. The Raptors beat the NUMBER ONE team in the LEAGUE, and all they get is an afterthought. On sports channels, we always hear about the Leafs first (even when they didn’t have a game the night before) and then the Raptors after. As a huge basketball fan who doesn’t have the patience to watch a full hockey game, this greatly upsets me.
My question is: Do you see Toronto ever becoming a two-sport city?
Nicole T. from Scarborough
ANSWER: Nicole … you’re preaching to the choir here. Trust me!
I agree with everything you say, 100%. I wish the coverage was more balanced. And I’m not just talking about TSN, Sportsnet, The Score, etc. If we’re being fair, the FAN has to share the ‘blame’ as well.
The problem (for lack of a better term) is … hockey drives this city and this country. Right, wrong, or otherwise … hockey sells. Thus, advertisers put their money in hockey … and little else. But if I were running a business … and I wanted bang for my buck … I’d look at the ratings for hockey versus all other sports … and I’d maybe pour my money into the pucks as well.
One thing that does bother me … is how leagues like the AHL and OHL are covered even more than the NBA … when it’s been proven time and time again (at least in TORONTO) that very few people care about those leagues.
I’d have no problem if we (the media) focused on the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA … with time for the CFL, MLS, golf, tennis, NLL, and auto racing as well. The “4 Major Sports” should be first and foremost though, period.
What I do see changing – one day – is the overall media landscape in this city … and maybe even the country. Will hockey ever be taken over as the number 1 sport? I doubt it. But with the multiculturalism we have in Canada … and the growing popularity of sports like basketball and soccer … I think we COULD see more of a balance to the sports coverage.
I look at the Blue Jays as an example for the Raptors. Granted, baseball has little ‘competition’ during their season … but … the Jays have cut out a nice little chunk of the sports landscape in this country. Despite missing the post season for nearly *15* straight years … the Jays still do well on TV and at the gate … and the Blue Jays radio network on the FAN has affiliates all over the country.
The Blue Jays are a model the Raptors could follow. Yet … keep in mind … the Raptors haven’t even been around 15 years. Should they even be a major player yet? Have they really ‘won’ anything to cultivate those fans in the GTA and across the country?
The Raps have a ton of growth potential with their fans … and with the media.
QUESTION: Please PRAY with me that Damon Stoudamire does NOT become a Raptor. Maybe it’s his (Vince-ish) trade demands, when he “jumped ship” along with Isiah, or his selfish “chip-on-my-shoulder” persona but I really, really think that he’d only erode the positive atmosphere in our locker room right now. Why did the Raps part ways with shooting coach, Dave Hopla? Was he that expensive to retain? According to a Washington newspaper article featured in ESPN.com‘s “True Hoop” section, Caron Butler credits him as one of the primary reasons for this year’s dramatic improvement.
Jahan from Parts Unknown
ANSWER: I don’t think you have to worry about Damon Stoudamire coming back to T.O. While your assessment of him – and his departure – may have been a bit harsh, there’s no doubting the fact that he wore out his welcome with a lot of folks in this city. Heck, years later he STILL gets a chorus of boos from the ACC faithful.
Anyway … it’s an all-but done-deal that he’s going to San Antonio. Jonesy first reported that Boston was out of the mix a few days ago. Phoenix was in the discussions … but … from what I’ve heard … they were really never a SERIOUS player in things.
Toronto was a legit option for Damon, but I don’t doubt there was a “what if” mentality to his thought process — i.e. “What if TJ comes back sooner than later? Am I now the 3RD guard on the depth chart?”
Now that the Spurs have lost Tony Parker for an indefinite period … Stoudamire could step right in and START for San Antonio. THAT is an attractive proposition for a veteran guard!
As for Dave Hopla … Toronto had interest in bringing him back this season … but Hopla wanted to be state-side. He had/has nothing but great things to say about the Big Smoke and the Raptors organization. But he has a young daughter … and a wife … and by being in Canada … his wife wouldn’t have been able to work. With his family staying in the U.S. … he was away from his baby (and wife) too often.
Sometimes “life” is more important than the “job” — especially when you can land a similar job that’s easier on life!
QUESTION: Hey Eric. Thank you for providing Raptor fans with a continuously updated blog (props to Doug Smith and Chuck Swirsky for the consistent efforts as well) that gives us the latest scoop on our favorite team. My question for you is in regards to Jamario Moon. Do you think he is part of the long-term plans here in Toronto (i.e. do they have as high of hopes for him as they do for Bargnani)? Do you see him being a dominant small forward in the league in a few years, specifically for the Raptors? I know, I know, I’m jumping the gun a little bit — the guy has yet to play a full season and I’m talking about whether he is the future Shawn Marion of the league! But he’s just very, very intriguing. Right now, he seems to be progressing well. All facets of his game are good (rebounding, defending, long jumper, dunks) if unspectacular. Time will tell what kind of player he will become. What are your thoughts about his future, specifically in Toronto?
Bria from Toronto
ANSWER: I appreciate the comments and the compliments Bria. Thank you. But I think you answered your question already. Yes, you are getting ahead of yourself a little bit.
Jamario Moon has had a fantastic season for the Raptors. But 45 games into his rookie season (remember – he’s a 27 year old rookie) … I’m not prepared to call him a future STAR in this league. That said, I’m sure he’s in Bryan Colangelo’s plans for next season.
He’s a solid defender; good instincts, long arms, great shot-blocking ability. He may be Toronto’s ‘best’ defender right now … despite the lapses he has at times (but find me a player that doesn’t have those brain cramps – on any team – from time to time).
Offensively, he CAN be explosive. I think he settles for the jumper a little too often … and I’d like to see him use his athleticism a lot more. He could/should be living at the free throw line with his ability to get to the hoop and force a defender to make a play on him.
I don’t want to get into ‘comparing’ him to other guys. I don’t think that’s fair to players. However, I do think the Shawn Marion example is a stretch. Let’s just look at what he has done this year — averaging just under 30 minutes per game:8 PPG, 6.2 REB, 1.49 BLK, 1.05 STL; shooting 45.3% from the field. If Toronto were to get that from him every season … I think they’d take it! And you’ve got to assume … there is room for improvement (statistically and otherwise) each year.
Thanks for the emails folks. Remember, you ever want to drop me a line, you can do so at email@example.com
I respond to every email I get and I’ll select a few each week – every Thursday – to be featured here in “E’s MAIL”.
Thanks, have a good one.