Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Devil's Advocate

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

Whatever happened to opinion in sports journalism? There was a time when "columnists" would write about an issue, providing their point of view and letting their readers discuss. Today, it seems like the role of these columnists is to look at an issue - dissect it to death from every possible angle - and carefully word their pieces to avoid being nailed down to a position on said issue. Some have been very successful (widely read and hated for it) in publishing provocative pieces that don't really say much but raise questions for discussions. Others have adopted "The Devil's Advocate" approach to sports journalism - all in the name of stirring public debate on said issue; at least that is what they say their purpose is.

Which of course brings things back to Toronto Star Associate Editor/Sports Columnist/Blogger/Resident Curmudgeon Damien Cox. Damien has carved out a nice (I guess) career crapping on all things Toronto Maple Leafs - whatever course of action the organization takes (right or wrong) is sure to bring some smug column about how "they just don't get it". Over the last year, Cox was particularly (though never directly) critical of Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. Many a day, Cox mailed it in with another article about how JFJ was in over his head and was largely responsible for the state of affairs at the ACC. Cox's angle was that the Leafs needed an experienced GM - someone who could handle the media and the Board of Directors at MLSE.

When Leafs President Richard Peddie (I just threw up in my mouth acknowledging that) stated that the Leafs were looking for a GM who was a proven winner - Damien was all over that; actually a 180 degree shift from what he had been saying for months. Cox decided to mock the organization's desire to hire a winner by pointing to the men running the teams currently vying for the right to compete for the Stanley Cup. Damien looked at Ken Holland, Ray Shero, Paul Holmgren and Brett Hull - pointing to the fact that each went into their current jobs without a Stanley Cup ring (Hull's ring came as a player) - as proof positive that the Leafs don't need a proven winner, they need a progressive thinking GM.

In Damien's world - being the Devil's Advocate means you are always right, never wrong and that you will forever have something negative to write about the hometown team.

In today's Star - Damien actually makes his opinion known to Leaf Nation about his "Dream Team" for the Maple Leafs; a departure from the usual drivel he publishes. Of course, no dream team article would be completely without ruling out the potential of Brian Burke winding up in Toronto. Cox's power troika would have Colin Campbell as President, Dave Nonis as GM (Cox wants Fletcher gone) and Craig Hartsburg as coach. Two out of three ain't bad Damien - we'll take a pass on Campbell.

On the surface, the article is good - but if you have read Cox before, you know that his columns are always premised on having an escape article. Methinks the suggestion that Nonis be GM, is premised solely on the number of articles he could write about how Nonis isn't Burke and how Leaf Nation has to get over the man love we all have for Burke.

Someone should really punch that smug mug of his.

The total for the week is at + $165, the week will end off on a good note. Tonight's suggestions:

Toronto over Cleveland - as bad as they were last night, you can expect the Jays to tease their fans with a good game once every series; it'll probably come tonight with Justin McGowan on the mound. Lay $100 on the Jays + $110.

Boston over Minnesota - Boston should rebound after a tough loss last night. Lay $100 on Dice-K and the Sox - $160.

Los Angeles over Houston - Dodgers' P Chad Billingsley is finally pulling things together, expect that to continue tonight against the Astros. Lay $100 on the Dodgers - $180.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in. Enjoy your weekend.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!


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