Dean Blundell was let go by the Fan 590 as the host of the station’s morning show this week. I’m not sure if they’re technically calling it a firing — I think I saw something about his contract not being renewed — but however he’s gone out, the shock jock who never should have been hired in the first place isn’t exactly going out quietly. As we can see above.
The idea that Rogers higher-ups might meddle in order to make one of their most visible products look good isn’t exactly new. Bob McCown ranted on his Fan 590 show last summer about having been told not to have former Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott on his show, largely because Elliott had done some outstanding reporting during the Paul Beeston-Bunglefuck Eddie fiasco.
But that doesn’t make this any less of a grenade lobbed at the company and the team and the front office and the station and the credibility of Sportsnet’s reporters on the way out the door. Cool guy, that Dean. Smart hiring decision there, Rogers.
Of course, there’s a big difference between whatever form of “info-tainment” Blundell’s show took on and actual reporters doing actual reporting, but such truths have a tendency to get blurry when people think they have a chance to think the absolute dogshit worst about Rogers or the people running the Blue Jays.
Shi Davidi was forced to be the first to deal with the fallout from Blundell’s tweet on Friday afternoon, when he took part in a Reddit AMA. This was the very first question he responded to:
Shi’s diplomatic reply:
Now, there’s not a whole hell of a lot else that Shi can say in a situation like that, though for the record I entirely believe him — I don’t think the Jays like it when he gets scoops on things before they’re ready to make official announcements, I don’t think they feed him scoops just so a Rogers person can get it, and I don’t think he’d be held in the esteem among his colleagues that I know he is if such funny business was going on, or even suspected.
But the fact that this question was the first one to be addressed, or that it was addressed at all, speaks to the fact that these questions, and a tweet like Blundell’s, will resonate in the top floor corridors of 1 Mount Pleasant.
That’s one reason to think Blundell could be full of shit. This a fairly benign way to give the employer he’s departing a headache, even if — if we’re being honest — nobody should really give a shit whether or not the fucking Dean Blundell Show had its journalistic credibility (lol) meddled with.
Or it could be true, in which case it would be profoundly, profoundly dumb of Rogers. Dumb to think that Blundell’s show could have put a dent in the Blue Jays’ brand or shaped the conversation. Dumb to hand such a grenade to a shitgibbon the whole industry knew from the get-go was a terrible idea and doomed to fail and end up in this position. Dumb to do anything that would even look like this — like ackowledging that they think their hand-picked front office can’t take the heat. Dumb to not realize that undermining the integrity of their media people is surely a whole lot more damaging to their product as a whole than whatever extra on-air whining such a directive may have curbed.
It’s because it’s so dumb that part of me tends not to believe Blundell’s tweet, and not believe that they’d really have instructed him to go easy on the club. And it’s because there’s another part of me — a part that thinks they totally could and might have — that it’s going to remain a problem for them until we stop hearing stuff like this. And, the shitty thing is, it’s going to remain a problem for the excellent reporters they have covering the Blue Jays, too.