Happy Training Camp Eve Day, folks.
Things are going to be very busy from tomorrow when it all starts anew so last off-season Ye Olde Mailbag is a bit light but still full of some interesting questions.
Question: Hi Doug
hope all is well. Is there any deeper insight you can give us as to why he switched to Alvin for Leo just before the season started? He’s been with the team for so long, you’d think there would have been more fanfare. I hope it’s just network politics vs some health issue with Mr. Routin.
thanks a lot,
A: As it turns out, he himself said that he will have a role in some of the 41 games TSN does, with that role yet to be announced by the network, which has been absolutely silent on its talent lineup for Raptors games this year.
And the time is almost right; The week before camp is usually when that stuff is announced. Why, I honestly don’t know. It can be as simple as wanting a different voice for a “new” era starting with lullabies and after a year and a half of absence.
Question: Hey Doug,
Of late George Springer has been more negative than anything. Is it time to have Charlie sit him down and ask Springer, instead of asking if it’s time to take some time off until he’s feeling better. His average had dropped from .262 to .246.
What’s your view?
A: Springer has had a bit of a scuffle since coming back from a knee injury, but I don’t think there’s any point in sitting him down. And, you know, that’s a huge drop in batting average now.
So I believe he is one of the best players in the team and he needs to play.
Years ago, iconic MLB umpire Bill Klemm said of the call ball and strike: “It’s nothing until I say what it is”.
Now, with a growing chorus for robots to replace human umpires, we are forced to ask, “Who or what should have authority over this most basic aspect of the baseball game?”
It appears that umps miss ball-strike calls 10% of the times. Some more, some less. Is the robot performing without any errors? There are many ways to interpret the “human element” and what it means/brings into play.
In the musical “Damon Yankees,” the chorus sings, “You’re blind ump, you’re blind ump, you must be out of your mind ump.”
Can anyone imagine writing music about baseball with a song about fans yelling at robot umpires?
Plus, there’s something wrong with all of this: surveillance. Do we want to engage in a game where an unknown machine sitting in front of a computer and the arbiter decides what happens in the game? deliver my pizza? OK, Robot. Eliminate the human, blue-clad judges? Not so much.
A: There have been times this season when I almost – almost! – The robot came to make the umpires think for the ball and strike, whose time has come.
Then I nodded my head and realized that human failures and how people deal with them are, in many ways, at the heart of baseball, more than any other sport — and that being automatic would take away a significant portion of the game. And, yes, I’m not sure a video will be 100 percent accurate anyway.
Blow calls – on balls/strikes, safe/out – are such an integral part of baseball, I don’t want to see them go away.
Question: Hi Doug,
With all the talk about baseball MVP between Vladi and Otani, what do you think of being co-MVP and has it ever been done in baseball?
The NBA also has Co-Rookies of the Year (Jason Kidd and Grant Hill) and Co-All-Star Game MVPs (Kobe – Shaq and Stockton – Malone).
Can’t wait to start the NBA season. Do you know of any special plans for the 75th anniversary?
A: The prize for the most valuable player is awarded by voting, if there is a tie, then the co-winners. It’s not like one person decides who will win.
The NBA has been voted by a panel of experts—I’m not included—to name the top 75 players of all time who will highlight the anniversary. I don’t know when it will be announced but I know voting is over.
Question: Hi Doug,
Let’s say you’re getting back in shape to get ready for regular season NBA action.
Some questions for you:
1) My take on the Jazz-Ray controversy is that if the shoe had been on the other foot, Jays fans would praise our player for his sharp eye and quick thinking to take notes and also ridicule for the opposition’s carelessness Used to do All the initial outrage was about saving face. The opponent taking it is not really immoral, and returning it would be considered saintly (if not foolish). your take?
2) Andrew Wiggins’ situation is very disappointing and shocking to me. A former teammate of Carl Anthony Towns, who has lost so many loved ones to COVID, I would have assumed Katie and others in the NBA would have told him that the pandemic is neither a hoax nor a joke. “I’m doing more research” excuse; The potential is similar to checking social media rather than building a lab or reading a medical journal. I’m still surprised that more players don’t publicly campaign for vaccines. Any idea why?
A: I think any player on any team would have done exactly the same thing as Kirmayer, so it wasn’t anything right for me from the start.
There and so many other reasons – mistrust in science, misinformation, erosion of some sense of civil liberties, fear of the unknown – that lead to decisions like Wiggins, all wrong and short-sighted in my opinion.
Q: A summer blog hiatus ends with thanks to fellow irregular Johnny C for highlighting Bob Dandridge’s rise to the Hall of Fame, which I totally missed. My colleague rightly noted Dandridge’s important role in the late 1970s and I invite young fans to google this player’s astonishing statistical record, 99% of it before the 3-point shot. I have a memory of an earlier, one of the first television playoffs that I paid much attention to, involving the great Milwaukee team of 1971 (and a year or two ahead), where Dandridge defeated James Worthy for Oscar magic. The role was played and, er, young Karim’s older Karim. I will never know how seriously to take the Hall of Fame but I have seen players take them very seriously and I have no doubt that Dandridge (who is about my age) has.
How is the question now? What will you be watching when you visit this promising young Raptors team training camp. Bonus question: is there any way that Fred Van Vallett can have a word with Andrew Wiggins about vaccinations?
James A, Victoria
A: Welcome back, hope the interval was good.
One thing I am looking for for him is how this team scores and what kind of offense is there. I don’t think there is enough proven shooting or shot construction and whoever emerges to handle it would be interesting.
Q: Hey Doug:
Hope you had a relaxing few weeks of relatively little work, look forward to reading more from you, now that the Raptors are back in training camp.
I read your 2 articles about players fighting for spot 13-14/15 on the bench, and I had it that there’s probably more competition in the “pecking order” of the team as well, once you get past the vanvets These are Siakam and Anunobi.
For the season opener, or after the first 10 games, which players would (realistically) surprise you if they were one of the starting five?
Which of the others would surprise people who hang out regularly?
Lastly, are you hoping that Goran Dragic will start the season with the Raptors, or if he is traded, is it likely to be on the trade deadline?
Appreciated as always.
A: I think there will be people who wonder if Scotty Barnes can’t be a starter, but I just don’t think he is, or should be. I hope fans realize this, I’m pretty sure the Raptors manages.
Yes, I fully expect Goran to be here, to play, to become the full professional he has been throughout his career. What happens around the deadline in February may not be known, but then I think that is most likely to move.
Q: So you’re back on the Raptors beat in person next week. Whom do you want to interview first and why?
A: To be honest, not really a guy, but chatting with Fred VanVleet always gives a great story and some excellent insight, so it would be nice to see him.
Has been an avid reader and fan for many years.
Can you explain why Vlady needs an interpreter?
I see him chatting with non-Spanish speaking teammates, runners at base, etc. Plus he grew up with his father’s team, with English speakers.
A: I can’t say for sure but I think it’s just the level of comfort in a public setting. And, yes, he was around Montreal a lot but English is not his first language.
Q: Sorry Doug. It has become my hobby horse.
Now that Ben Simmons has made it clear that he no longer wants to play for the 76ers, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Morey eases his demands and strikes a deal. I sincerely hope that the Raptors go all out.
After hearing Pascal’s awkward interview with the NY Times last week, I can’t help wondering if he’d ever be comfortable being the guy here in Toronto. Conversely, he would fit like a glove while playing #2 with his Cameroonian compatriot, Joel Embiid, in Philly.
What about Siakam and Van Valet packages for Simmons and Maxi? I like what Fred brings to the team culturally, but he’s also 27 and if you deal with him now you’re probably selling him more. I have enough faith in Masai and Nick to maintain a team culture, whether FVV or Pascal.
Simmons is potentially the elite. He’s only 24, has tremendous defensive chops and could eventually form a formidable threesome with Ozzy and Scotty Barnes. Yes, they will still need more shooting talent but in my opinion it is a great foundation to build a new championship team.
I hope Masai and Bobby start taking this more seriously.
A: I don’t think they…