I don’t know how many people left in this city hold a semblance of respect for Marty York. Why the Metro continues to employ a never-was beat writer to cover sports, I’ll never know. But I’m fairly certain that the droves of basketball fans that have been deriding Marty for years of baseless Raptors reports are tickled with fancy over Doug Smith’s Friday Raptors Mail Bag in today’s Toronto Star.
A reader submits:
Q: I really enjoy what The Star is doing with the Tuesday (and sometimes Friday) columns.
I just wanted to ask, since you seem to mention it a lot, is the chemistry with the beat grunts as good as the Raptors chemistry? I notice you mention Stumpy a lot, how do you get along with Grange from the Globe and Marty York (even though some of his stories are completely wrong)?
George Weiz, Toronto
And although Doug Smith hardly occupies the top of my list of favourite sports writers, he’s moved up a few notches with his reply:
A: Oooh, baby, this is like the biggest softball question of all time.
First of all, I need to clear one of your misconceptions. A beat grunt, which is a term of great pride, is used to describe someone who regularly covers the team, goes to games and practices. In the last 10 years of covering the Raptors full time, I’ve probably seen an average of 70 games a year, never missing more two in a season at home, and taking in probably 90-100 practices a year. Never once, not one single, solitary time, never, ever, ever in a decade, have I once laid eyes on that last fellow you mention at a practice, game, press conference or media availability. To cast him as a beat grunt does a disservice to all the honest, hard-working, legitimate beat grunts in all sports. Please never, ever, ever use that name in that context again.
Now, as for our team chemistry, it’s very Raptors-like. We get along, we love to bust on each other and make fun of ourselves, we’re highly competitive but professionally respectful of each other.
Oh, and if you catch us in an adult beverage parlour or a hospitality suite, we can be like Martin and Lewis we’re so funny. That’d be Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, not Darrick Martin and Martin Lewis.
That just made my day.