Bulls and Bears: Anthopoulos makes big bid to end Jays’ playoff drought

 

 
 
 
 
Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos speaks to the media regarding his recent trades before the Jays play against the Kansas City Royals during an AL baseball game in Toronto on Friday, July 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
 

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos speaks to the media regarding his recent trades before the Jays play against the Kansas City Royals during an AL baseball game in Toronto on Friday, July 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Photograph by: Nathan Denette, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Bulls of the Week

Alex Anthopoulos is the man this week; not just on the strength of what he did to bolster the post-season prospects for his Toronto Blue Jays, but because he had the currency to do so. His upgrades to the starting lineup (all-star Troy Tulowitski), the bullpen (veterans LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe) and the starting rotation (hired gun David Price) simply don’t happen unless Anthopoulos has the bargaining chips to land them. The fact is the Toronto general manager was among the few in Major League Baseball who had the prospects to facilitate these blockbuster deals and that’s a tribute to the deft drafting that has marked his tenure with the Blue Jays. Anthopolous has made the statement his fan base needed to hear after 21 seasons out of the post-season; the longest such streak in North American professional sport. If nothing else, he’s set up an interesting stretch run that should result in big spikes in attendance and Canadian television audiences. Honourable mention goes to Joey Saputo, owner and chair of the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer. By landing Ivory Coast star Didier Drogba and keeping him away from the Chicago Fire, he’s given his franchise a fan and media magnet that will boost ticket, sponsorship and merchandise sales for as long as Drogba wears the Impact kit.

Bears of the Week

Not including the tens of billions of dollars of ancillary revenues driven by betting and fantasy sports, the NFL is at its core a $10-billion business. It is professional sport’s role model juggernaut when it comes to television. Yet rarely has the world’s biggest league — with more than $45-billion in combined enterprise valuation for its 32 franchises — looked as small as it has this week as yet another layer of Deflategate was peeled away. Media leaks, continued denials and bilateral legal action around the decision to uphold a four-game suspension to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has only added fuel to the fire of a distraction that is now six months old (and six months tired). None of the principal parties has looked good at any stage of a largely throwaway story that could have and should have been resolved within weeks of the end of the last regular season. Instead, it’s the single biggest public relations crisis in NFL history. That’s on Brady for not owning this days after winning Super Bowl XLIX, for not co-operating and for taking the Alex Rodriguez approach to media and legal strategy. It’s also on the Patriots for the excessive drama they’ve brought to the story. Yet in terms of leadership, this is squarely on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. His failure to put this issue to bed months ago has further devalued the credibility of his office. In the process, it has yet again exposed how weak the league’s policies and procedures are, above and beyond pre-game ball management protocols. The timeline: More of this soap opera through at least the first five weeks of the NFL season. The result: A tarnished red, white and blue NFL shield and a tainted red, white and blue NFL quarterback; a classic lose-lose proposition.

Listen to The Sport Market on TSN 1040 AM Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bulls & Bears airs at 9 a.m., followed by Weekend Extra with Sun Sports at 9:30 a.m. Follow Tom Mayenknecht at: Twitter.com/thesportmarket

 
 
 
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Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos speaks to the media regarding his recent trades before the Jays play against the Kansas City Royals during an AL baseball game in Toronto on Friday, July 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
 

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos speaks to the media regarding his recent trades before the Jays play against the Kansas City Royals during an AL baseball game in Toronto on Friday, July 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Photograph by: Nathan Denette, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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