Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Chuck, what took so long?

Posted by Arsenalist on May 7, 2008

There’s not many reasons to interrupt a vacation but Chuck Swirsky quitting the Raptors is one of them. Believe it or not my first reaction to the news was, “Oh, no!”. That was the emotional me talking, the one that likes to hang on to old t-shirts with holes and stains that came from God knows where. After digesting the news a little and soaking in the hot, humid, disgusting Dubai air, I realized that this was great news and something that was probably long overdue. No disrespect to the Swirsk (well, some) but his enthusiasm for a bad team and constant hyperbole were getting on everyone’s nerves. The fans had “outgrown” him and his act was wearing thin; his popularity was mostly limited to either the young ‘uns or the ones who watched the majority of the games on the US feeds. The thoughtful, knowledgeable and passionate Raptor fan had little use for him anymore.

It’s time to show him a little respect. In his early days he provided something fresh, something exciting and one wanted him to bust out the “Mojo” and the “Boom-shaka-laka” almost every time. It was a nice touch when watching a mediocre team. When Vince Carter did his thing in Toronto, Swirsky was the perfect voice for him. Nothing he could say would be considered exaggerated because every Vince dunk was truly “worth the price of admission” (this year a TJ Ford dunk with the Raptors up 17 and 20 seconds left was called that). The radio was the perfect medium for Swirsky because he spent his time describing the play-by-play instead of chiming in on the analysis – something that was always lacking in him. Chuck and Jack were the best radio team the Raptors have had. Ever. Swirsky’s enthusiasm and excitement for the game shone through on the radio without being over-bearing or annoying. It was radio – anything goes.

Two things led to Swirsky’s decline. Vince and TV. Fans did not like the fact that the TV guys never called out Vince Carter. It bugged us to no end, watching Vince smile away at the end of 20 point losses while the announcers completely ignored this sacrilege was too much to bear. Excusing Carter’s behavior when he was on the Raptors and then heavily criticizing him once he was on the Nets was something no Raptor fan can forget or forgive. It’s understandable on the part of Swirsky/Rautins but its also unforgivable on the part of the fans. Here was a superstar that nobody had the balls to say wasn’t pulling his weight but the second he moved to a different team, you suddenly grew nuts to say what you saw? Fans like me couldn’t get a grip on this and lost a large amount of respect for the people we rely on to bring us games.

Swirsky is made for the radio, once he came to television there was simply too much air-time to fill and he did a horrible job of deferring to the analyst when he needed to. Asking condescending questions like, “What are the Bulls running, Leo?” while giving a free pass to Lenny Wilkens’ and Sam Mitchell’s horrid offensive sets never quite made sense and irked us even more. Hyping up Andrea Bargnani and refusing to acknowledge his faults was Swirsky’s most recent crime and the one fans are likely to remember the most. His lone vote for Bargnani in the Rookie of the Year voting lost him a lot of credibility and cemented him as a homer. Begging for the NJ series last year didn’t make any sense either and although Orlando was a desirable matchup this year, Swirsky’s constant unwarranted confidence display in the Raptors was hard to comprehend and even in his final year he continued to ignore and downplay the Raptors’ faults and focused on the few strengths they had. Simply put, there were too many times where he didn’t call it the way he saw it.

The “Salami & Cheese” did him more harm than good, it was a gag that should’ve been used for a couple months and dropped. It never should’ve become a crazy form of self-promotion that it ended up being. It got to the point where other announcers were pulling it out against the Raptors! The call was always a mild insult to the opposition and when the Raptors went on a losing streak, the jokes started to flow. It’s one thing to call it on a game-winning shot, its another to bring it out early in the fourth when you have an audience on NBA League Pass. Not cool or very sportsmanlike. It was only natural that most fans ended up outgrowing the shtick, but Swirsky never got the message. The Kobe incident didn’t help either.

Swirsky was great for us and helped us increase our fan base in the early days with his exciting calls and over-the-top announcing. As the team grew older and fans became more knowledgeable and demanded more from the team on the court and in the booth, Swirsky couldn’t fit the bill. It was partially because he was paired with Leo Rautins and the two were horrible together, often getting into clearly uncomfortable situations for stupid reasons while providing mundane and regurgitated analysis. Chuck and Jack were a much more complimentary team and Jack did a great job of taking over the broadcast and doing the analysis, leaving Swirsky to do his job – calling the play. Maybe if he was always paired up with Jack, the fans would appreciate him more since he’d be drowned out by Jack’s always accurate, honest and up-front analysis – something everybody loves.

Swirsky says he’s gone for personal reasons and has left “money on the table”. Its hard for me to believe that the constant bashing on RealGM and other Raptors blogs didn’t have a bearing in his decision. He seemed pretty damn excited to be a Canadian citizen and did extend his contract in 2007 and had everything going for him in Toronto. I’m not going to sit here and doubt his “personal reasons” but its hard for me to believe that the criticisms from the fans didn’t help him make his decision much easier. The change from loving Canada to leaving Canada is too drastic to simply be attributed to personal reasons.

I think he’ll be fine in Chicago because he’ll be back on the radio. I would’ve loved to see Swirsky stay and do the radio for the Raptors, an area where Paul Jones struggles tremendously. As it is, he’s gone and we’re in need for a play-by-play man. If you’ve been reading this space you know that I never got over John Saunders and although I doubt he’ll take the job given his CBS and ESPN commitments, its worth a call. Ex-Bluejay man Dan Shulman would be great too. Whatever the Raptors do, they better not hire Paul Jones or Rod Black.

I think I’m going to end this post because the battery on this laptop is running out. Sorry if I sounded incoherent in this post but I’m making this at 2AM and am terribly sleepy after a day in the ridiculous humidity.

Here’s something crazy about Dubai. License plates are considered prestigious, almost everyone has a 5 digit license plate which costs nothing. If you get a 4 digit one, its more prestigious and can run you around $10,000. A 3 digit one runs you approximately $50,000 and mostly the very, very rich and the Sheikh’s relatives/friends have those. The 2 digit ones belong to the Sheikh’s family and if you want one, be prepared to spend 1 to 2 million dollars. As for the 1-digit license plates, the Sheikh’s son has one of those. They’re a sign of social status which is totally fucked.

The extravagance, the materialism and the abuse of poor South Indian and Philippine labor is too much. This city is literally built on their sweat while the natives (Emirati’s) see no problem exploiting them and treating them as second class citizens. That’s what I’ve understood so far.

I’m back on Tuesday and will continue with the “Crosshair” series then. Andrea Bargani is next. See you then!

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52 Responses to “Chuck, what took so long?”

  1. Raps Fan said

    way to bring it full circle man. he was a good radio guy, but his act got tired, and he didn’t change it up enough. now that it has sunk in, i really am nervous about the next guy who comes in. black or jones would be devastating for the game. i would invest in league pass asap if that went down.

  2. MUHDIK said

    u dumb lonely bastards.got nothing better to do but shit on our broadcaster.get a life losers….seriously.chuck was amazing.i cant wait to hear you losers cry when were stuck with paul jones next year.u goofs will be pining for chucks return…..chuck gave us 10 years of amazing play by play.u pathetic losers should be ashamed of yourselves for talkin shit about him…f-u all….dumb fucks.

  3. EastCoast said

    Let me say Arse, that a major irreplaceable factor was overlooked. And that may be separate from play by play duties, but can’t be separated from what Swirsk meant to the franchise. And that his his dedication and his accessibility to fans all over the country. Being too far away to go to games regularly, you feel a lot closer when the play by play guy answers your emails.

  4. fluxland said

    This was long overdue.

    The man was an insult to the intelligence of many knowledgeable bball fans around the country. The casual fan, I’m sure appreciated his clown act, although that did us no favors in the eyes of our US counterparts. He represented us there and it’s no wonder the Raps and its fans get zero respect from them. I really don’t know what self respecting journalist/announcer uses Salami and Cheese and countless other one liners from the original NBA Jam. “Boom shaka laka” ? Are you serious?

    If Rod Black or any of the RaptorsTV clowns are put in there, the mute button will be in full effect again. Although, the Ipod and mute button combination have been hard to beat as of late.

  5. Wham said

    Good post. Chuck was a great radio play by play guy but a terrible analyst. He’ll be fine in Chicago because he’s going back to his roots in radio. You can get away with saying all kinds of stuff on radio but when you get a larger audience on TV, you got to watch what you say because with more viewers come more expectations and more critics. Chuck never made that jump properly.

  6. Paps said

    Chuck was great. You can’t fault him for being passionate.

    And of course he will not speak negative about Raptor players. It’s his job to sell the game and the team.

    We were very lucky to have someone as skilled as Chuck. He will be missed big time.

  7. fluxland said

    Paps.. skilled? Skilled at what exactly?

  8. Paps said

    Skilled at entertaining us, calling plays, dealing with Leo, hosting a good radio program, interviewing players, researching players and thier histories, knowing about college players, talking about other sports.. specifically Canadian sports like curling, keeping a good pace to the game, etc..

    Chuck’s a pro. Just cause he’s bias and a little over the top doesn’t make him bad. Have you heard other play by play guys or teams. Most of them are dry and static. I’ll pick Chuck everytime.

  9. FAQ said

    Maybe BC wants an announcer from Europe to better interpret the Raptor’s coming new Euro-style of play. Can’t have some US yahoo misinterpreting what is really happening on the court. Perhaps Swirk’s Canadian citizenship was a desperate attempt to stay on knowing that big changes were coming to the Raptors. How could he be replaced if he was a true blue Canadian ..??!!!!

    Remember, according to StatsCan, 52% of Torontonians did not even live in Canada 12 years ago .. it’s more than a multiculti city .. and it is not even part of traditional Canada.

  10. […] – Arsenalist […]

  11. khandor said

    FAQ,

    You don’t live in Toronto, do you?

    (maybe, you did at one time … but, you don’t right now … Right or Wrong?)

  12. MUHDIK said

    faq and flux are faggots.

  13. FAQ said

    MUHDIK Says:

    faq and flux are faggots.
    ….

    muhdik is a muhthah fuckah dick … soooo obvious …LOL

  14. fluxland said

    FAQ… that comment had me laughing out loud. Perhaps the next PM elections should be held in Europe? Forget the whole Canadian thing.. let’s just join the EU and change the currency. How easy would it be to attract Euros then? And have you talked to Stern about your role in THE TAKEOVER… you need to start getting paid for this propaganda.

    The whole citizenship with Chuck thing is really confusing. What are these mysterious family circumstances? I may not like Chuck as an announcer but I wish no harm on the man or his family, especially health wise. Scary thought: once the kids grow up.. he will be back.
    Why do I have the sneaking suspicion it has to do with the same concerns Davis had. His kids growing up in a US hostile environment and all?

    Paps.. you are right, it’s all a matter of preference when in comes to announcing. I like rock, you like country.. same instruments – different tune. I don’t really appreciate his skills as much as you, I suppose. And if he were such a pro, why were the Raps the only ones interested in retaining his services, not to mention..he’s RETURNING to radio.. hardly a step up.. for a PRO!
    Arse put it best, it just all got old and it was harder and harder to overlook a lot of things. You see and appreciate things we don’t.

    Khandor.. FAQ lives in FAQLand he’s free of tribal honking fans and cheerleaders, where he doesn’t have to stoop to their level and mingle with the mere peasants.

  15. FAQ said

    khandor Says:

    FAQ, You don’t live in Toronto, do you?
    (maybe, you did at one time … but, you don’t right now … Right or Wrong?)

    ………………..

    White Flight is really taking off now …!!!!

  16. FAQ said

    Don’t laugh, Fluzland … I have heard and read about Toronto Liberals saying that Canada should join the EU and fluck the Americans and their NAFTA .. There is serious US-hating going on in many parts of Toronto and the GTA, and those ghettoes are clearly known. I wouldn’t be surprised if Swirk fled Toronto because of the anti-US hostility endemic in it’s schools, colleges and universities … and he gracefully withdrew from the Raptors on that account rather than expose his children to such hatred. Toronto is really anti-American, and perhaps that’s why US players may be avoiding the place.

    As for the ‘tribal honking fans’, yes I have little respect for them other than their financial support for the Raptors. As for the cheerleaders, I have admitted I lust for them when they are too briefly shown on tv .. and I am entranced how they can wiggle, giggle and generally twist and thrust their beautiful bodies about … worth the price of admission .. didn’t Swirk say that too …LOL ..??!!!

  17. fluxland said

    This discussion may turn to a place not appropriate for this blog and its contents. With respect to Arse and others I’ll refrain from commenting on your last two comments.

    As per cheerleaders, I thought you were referring to the fans at times.

    The Lady Raps and Mop Girl have eased the pain of having to endure Chuck, many a nights. Mop Girl better be back darn it! :)

    Hey I wonder what the Chuck bobblehead is worth now?

  18. FAQ said

    fluxland Says:

    This discussion may turn to a place not appropriate for this blog and its contents. With respect to Arse and others I’ll refrain from commenting on your last two comments.
    ……

    To the contrary, I believe all issues surrounding the Raptors in Toronto are relevant to this fine forum, as long as the discussion is realistic and civilized. It’s the Raptors that we are talking about and in that context, all issues are relevant. We could be uncovering another dirty little secret about why US players may be shunning Toronto … thus forcing the MLSE into hiring BC and converting the Raptors into an ‘international’ team. It’s no coincidence or mistake that BC has brought Gherardini and Ujiri on board. Think about that ….

  19. khandor said

    FAQ,

    Is that ‘a Right’ or ‘a Wrong’ to the question I asked? :-)

  20. khandor said

    And, while awaiting your repy … let me state, unequivocally, that methinks you already know full well the word(s) FLUX finds objectionable (and to be ‘thread-hijacking-worthy’) in those two messages of yours.

  21. Lopez said

    I think the Swirsk was a play-by-play guy. I cant imagine listening to anyone else during the game.

  22. fluxland said

    Have you guys seen the new CB4 “Blane” installment? I guess Chris is taking the first round exit well:

    Khandor, I took #15 as a “Right!”

  23. fluxland said

    There is a new CB4 “Blane” video. I tried to link it twice on here.. but my comment keeps disappearing. I found it on youtube.. it may be on CB4s site as well.

    Khandor, I took #15 as a “Right!”, myself.

  24. khandor said

    FLUX,

    Your perception of #15 might well be correct but all the same I will wait to hear back directly from FAQ before making any further assumptions about the content of that specific message (and the next one, as well).

    FAQ … if you please, either, Right or Wrong?

  25. FAQ said

    khandor Says:

    FAQ, Is that ‘a Right’ or ‘a Wrong’ to the question I asked?
    ……

    What’s the difference and why would you want to know … after all aren’t we all Canadians and Raps fans to a greater or lesser extent ??

  26. khandor said

    FAQ,

    I could be mistaken but …

    I only see one contributor here using words like ‘Moronto’, ‘tribal-honking’, ‘ghettoes’ and ‘anti-Americanism’ in association with an impression of certain Raptors’ fans … and it strikes as interesting to find out whether or not that individual is him(or her)self (i) a Torontonian, (ii) a former Torontonian or (iii) neither, as a self-professed fan of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club … which is located in that metropolis, as a central hub within the province of Ontario, and a major urban area within both the Canadian and North American landscapes … distinct from other geo-political regions of the world … since these are the words that individual continues to use in this manner.

    Were these words, in fact, NOT be the ones this individual is using … this specific question and its answer would both be irrelevant to me.

    As always, the choice is that individual’s to make. :-)

  27. FAQ said

    khandor Says:

    FAQ, I could be mistaken but …
    ……….

    You are mistaken ….

  28. khandor said

    FAQ,

    Please go ahead and show where I’m mistaken.

  29. FAQ said

    khandor Says:

    FAQ, Please go ahead and show where I’m mistaken.
    ………..

    Since you cannot accept the truth of my observations, you are looking to attack the messenger in the futile hope that you can save yourself from the truth that haunts you and hurts your feeeeelings. So obvious.

  30. FLUXLAND said

    *shaking head*

  31. khandor said

    FAQ,

    1) Where have I said that my feelings are hurt?
    2) Where have I said that I’m haunted by something?
    3) Where have I said that I intend to attack the messenger?

    In an effort to better understand your messages and specific words you seem intent on using to characterize certain Raptors’ fans, you were asked a simple question (Am I Right or am I Wrong?) based upon a simple observation I made about you (You’re not someone who lives in Toronto, are you?).

    As always, the choice is yours whether (or not) you want to provide an answer … either, directly or indirectly.

    It’s a harmless question, really … as long as you don’t try and turn it into something which it isn’t intended to be; in which case, if you do, then it might become problematic for you and the messages you’re leaving here using the specific words I’ve already referenced for you above.

    On the other hand, How ’bout dem Blue Jays? :-)

  32. FLUXLAND said

    He’s just scared he’ll be exposed for what/who he is and we’ll know the truth about him. The truth that haunts him and hurts his feelings. And now he avoids simple questions in an futile effort to accept the truth about himself and our observations. It’s soooooo obvious!

  33. FAQ said

    Both flux and khador are veteran posters on this fine forum, whereas I am just a newbie. Perhaps both of them have provided the forum with their bio’s, revealing who they are, where they live, what size sneakers they wear.

    If fluz and khador could update me and the forum on who they are, where they live, work, play … and then their requests for my identity will have more merit.

    Go ahead fellas/gals … we are waiting …

  34. FLUXLAND said

    You first since.. you are the newbie!

  35. FLUXLAND said

    I am no veteran either, haven’t been here much longer then you.

  36. FAQ said

    FLUXLAND Says: You first since.. you are the newbie!

    Nope … khadar must disclose first since he first asked, and you supported him so you fall under his situation too. If you can’t follow your own standards for participating on this fine forum, how can you make demands on others..??

    Go ahead .. we’re still waiting …….

  37. FLUXLAND said

    We are not the ones making outrageous statements or using terms that beg such questions. A simple geographical question, nothing to do with age, gender, feet size or biography.

    The clock is ticking…

  38. FLUXLAND said

    And I was avoiding getting involved.. but watching you set fires around here or provoking people by your ridiculous statements and then making yourself look like the victim by saying you are being attacked when asked a simple question.. is well.. sad at worst.

  39. cuzzy said

    whoa this thread needs a moderator or at least one big group hug.

    http://cuzoogle.com/2008/05/09/who-will-be-captain-of-the-raptor-ship/

  40. a said

    There is a new CB4 “Blane” video. I tried to link it twice on here.. but my comment keeps disappearing

    Is this what you are talking about?

  41. a said

    So long chuck…. Nice (not) knowing ya…. Here’s some Chuck commercials

  42. FLUXLAND said

    Yes Sir! I’m glad Chris is taking the 1st round exit very well.

  43. D G said

    A few comments on what as far as I can recall is the most emotional the comments have gotten.

    flux,
    Re: # 4, Who cares what americans think of us and what type of fans they think we are. I personally got tired of Chucks style, because he refused to be critical of the team or its players, despite the need for constructive criticism to help improve the team.

    FAQ
    Intentionally or not, your comments are coming across as xenephobic and racist. I dont care where you live or what “color” you are. Your rant about “American hating? and the ghettos of Toronto, are nonsensical and inaccurate. Many people in Canada, (in addition to the US and the rest of the world), disagree with some US political decisions, and voice that disagreement. I think few people, at least intelligent ones, hate Americans.

    As for Antonio Davis, he indicated that he didn’t want his kids not to know US history, as it might disadvantage them, which is true if they are writing SATs. These guys make enough money to play anywhere they can.

    Toronto is a great city (the 6th largest sports market in North America). Some fans think that being a fan is supporting your team through thick and thin (which I agree with), however thats not the same as being objective about what needs to get done to get better.

    FAQ, you seem like a knowledgable bball fan, don’t demean yourself with comments that offend and otherwise diminish the quality of the discussion on this blog.

  44. khandor said

    Using terms like ‘Moronto’, ‘tribal-honking’, ‘ghettoes’ and ‘anti-Americanism’, and attempting to parse out ‘basketball players’ into unnecessary and (in today’s shrinking globe, what I consider to be) fraudulent categories like ‘Euro’s’ and ‘USians’ or ‘Americans’ and ‘Internationals’, ad infinitum … are problematic, from MPOV, and give me pause/reason to ask the two simple questions I’ve asked, thus far, in this thread.

    I think my position has been made clear, and I have no problem leaving it at that.

    ===============================================

    D G,

    Kudos to you!

  45. FAQ said

    DG … I hear ya, but sometimes the truth about Toronto must be spoken so that we can better understand what US players are dealing with when they make their decision whether to play or not play for the Raptors. Let’s not fool ourselves, because the cultural and work environment for these bball players is significant in their lives too. Everybody thinks that once they are offered big bucks to play for Toronto that they will willingly join the team. Life is a bit more complicated for these multi-millionaire NBA players, and if we blind ourselves by sticking our heads into the sand, we are living in ignorant bliss. I refuse to ignore what may be the facts, just to be pc … nevertheless I hear ya ….

  46. khandor said

    Actually, I don’t think you heard what D G said at all. :-)

  47. FAQ said

    khandor Says: Actually, I don’t think you heard what D G said at all.

    Oh I heard what he said, but I was only trying to be polite even though he carries the same delusions that you do about Toronto, the Raptors, USA and Usian bball players.

    The truth will emerge when BC brings in more international players to Toronto .. people who can accept the multiculti nature of the city, country and it’s biases.

  48. khandor said

    FAQ,

    Please explain the delusions you think I carry about “Toronto, the Raptors, USA and Usian bball players.”

    If you’re so inclined to answer this question… it should prove to be most entertaining.

  49. “Excusing Carter’s behavior when he was on the Raptors and then heavily criticizing him once he was on the Nets was something no Raptor fan can forget or forgive.” Thank you. The hypocrisy bothered me to death. Your post and the one on RaptorsTalk are terrific; really touched on everything.

  50. FAQ said

    khandor Says:
    May 9, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    FAQ, Please explain the delusions you think I carry about “Toronto, the Raptors, USA and Usian bball players.”

    If you’re so inclined to answer this question… it should prove to be most entertaining.
    ……………………………………………………….

    Your delusions, and, I rest my case:

    khandor Says:
    April 30, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    FAQ, Referring to basketball players as (i) ‘Euro’s’, (ii) ‘Americans’, or (iii) ‘Internationals’ … is xenophobic.

    Basketball has no ethnicity.
    Basketball has no nationality.
    Basketball has no citizenship.
    Basketball has no race.
    Basketball has no religion.

    Basketball has no culture … except, of course, that which is designated/created according to the ‘Rules of The Game’.

    Those who seek to differentiate fundamentally between what they casually refer to as ‘team-oriented Euro-ball’ and ‘Isolation-driven US-ball’ are in fact exhibiting xenophobic tendencies … whether they realize it or not, and using gross generaliztions and stereotypes to unnecessarily ’separate’ people (i.e. human beings) from one another without any sound basis.

  51. khandor said

    FAQ,

    And, I rest my case, as well … cause you just made it, on my behalf, far far better than I ever could.

    LOL, LOL, LOL.

  52. nunya said

    The dumb people, the people who live in mommy and daddy’s basement and work at Mcjobs, liked Swirsky because they just aren’t that bright…..anyone with an IQ over 60 had had enough of the moron.

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