It’s clear the Raptors get less attention in this city than a dime on an arcade floor. You’d think that as a team that shares a playing facility with the Maple Leafs *insert Angelic music* , they’d get more exposure above and beyond the Raptors flag flying out front. Rodney was right, we don’t get no respect.
What befuddles me the most is that Chuck Swirsky, the voice of the Toronto Raptors, refuses to use his resources to attract more fans to the team. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Swirsk and his passion for basketball and the Raps. But I’m disheartened that he no longer chooses to push basketball to the forefront of his radio show that airs every day from 1-4pm on The FAN. In fact, he now spends the majority of his air time talking about the Leafs, the Jays, and anything else to get away from the Raptors.
I’m sure he has his reasons. I’d be pretty sick and tired of basketball fans who ask how many periods are in a basketball game, or wonder why we can’t trade Hoffa for Ron Artest. But when you’re essentially the ambassador of the team, you gotta play your role.
Chuck has admitted that there have been times when fans approach him on the subway and want to talk Raptors ball, he’ll start thinking to himself, “Oh no, here we go again.” If a Jays fan met Tom Cheek in a lineup at Tim Horton’s and wanted to talk Blue Jays baseball, do you think that Tom would be rolling his eyes thinking, “Not another one!”
The only way to get more seats filled for Raptors games is to trumpet the team. God knows Sportsnet’s 40 minute Leafs coverage and 40 second Raps highlights won’t be doing much for the team. It’s imperative that The Swirsk be spending more air time talking Raptors, talking NBA, and pounding it in our ears. If no one calls in, then heat the mic. Talk 4 hours of ball if you have to, but just do it. Educate our fans if they’re clueless. Talk about the NBA’s most misunderstood rules, explain on-court strategies, and have in-depth stories about our players.
If Toronto wants to become a vibrant and prosperous NBA city, it’s going to have to invest more marketing bucks and promote the team like it did when the franchise first came to town. Vince Carter’s departure didn’t signify the beginning of the end. It was a hard lesson we needed to learn to become NBA smart, and if Chuck ever wanted a better time to start fresh and seduce a new batch of Raptors die-hards, now would be the time.