Grantland: Toronto, the worst sports city in the world
Old 09-28-2011, 06:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Grantland: Toronto, the worst sports city in the world

No, this isn't an old article. lol

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It's a given that the true fan goes to games not for the necessarily occasional thrill of winning, but for the quotidian experience of losing a truth articulated originally and beautifully by Nick Hornby in Fever Pitch. Losing in Toronto, however, is an unremitting condition. The CFL team, the Argonauts, is so bad that when I recently found a friend of mine betting on it, I immediately wondered if it was time for an intervention about his gambling addiction. As it stands, the Argonauts are 2 and 6 3 and 9. The Blue Jays this year aren't completely terrible, but when you've said that, you've said everything. They may be a rising power in the East, as many claim, but they sure haven't risen yet. The Raptors are still in their post-Bosh wilderness (not that the Bosh period was a golden age), and Toronto FC currently rests at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Leafs, who matter to Torontonians more than all the other teams combined, have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, and they haven't made the playoffs in a franchise-record six seasons. The only team with a longer dry spell is the Florida Panthers. The Leafs' major source of hope seems to be Brian Burke himself, but when the major source of your dreams is a front-office guy, you are in a dark place. Cheering a GM, to me, is hitting rock bottom.

And this in Canada's biggest city, where hockey matters more than baseball in Boston or basketball in Indiana or football in Texas. The only other places where sports dwell so near the most profound and abiding national questions are rugby in New Zealand, which recoups the warrior culture of the Maori, and football in Buenos Aires, where the slumdog Boca Juniors battle the uptown Millonarios in a never-ending class war. Maybe Real Madrid against Barcelona could be added to that list, but nobody else. People who were surprised that Vancouver burned after the Stanley Cup playoffs last year are unaware of the history of the sport in Canada. Of the 10 biggest riots in Canadian history, six began at hockey games.
Stephen Marche on Toronto, the worst sports city in the world - Grantland
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's a good read. It reminds Bill Simmons Boston articles from before 2008.
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Old 09-28-2011, 06:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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when the major source of your dreams is a front-office guy, you are in a dark place. Cheering a GM, to me, is hitting rock bottom.
He pretty much nailed it right there.

Great piece. Let the self-pitying righteousness begin.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hard to argue with. But I'm not sure what he expects a fan to do...... stop cheering?
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hard to argue with. But I'm not sure what he expects a fan to do...... stop cheering?
They could stop spending money to see crap. That's not going to happen though. He makes a really good point about Toronto being both a victim of it's own riches and of having a mindset that negates those riches to an extent.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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They could stop spending money to see crap. That's not going to happen though. He makes a really good point about Toronto being both a victim of it's own riches and of having a mindset that negates those riches to an extent.
errr... that strategy hasn't been very successful for the baseball fans in this city, has it? and i don't think it is a reasonable suggestion in any way. The leafs, for instance, haven't made the playoffs in 6 years, but i have found that the hockey they have played over most of that stretch has been highly entertaining..... and isn't that what people want? to be entertained? though you may be right when it comes to the raps..... they have put a pathetic product on the floor in recent years. same with the argos.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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They could stop spending money to see crap. That's not going to happen though. He makes a really good point about Toronto being both a victim of it's own riches and of having a mindset that negates those riches to an extent.
Worked real well in Sacramento, huh? They've been crap since 06-07, and that was the last year the fans paid to go see the games. They dropped from 17000 per game that year (league average attendance) to bottom 4 in the league every year since. Smart fans. Except instead of lighting a fire under management, they are losing their team.

Everyone always wants to send a message - but there is inherent risk that so many posters ignore. You think if the Raps had been losing money this past decade that MLSE wouldn't have considered selling them off to some southern billionaire who wants to add a corner to the Texas triangle of teams? How much value do you really think the Raps have in the MLSE sale?
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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errr... that strategy hasn't been very successful for the baseball fans in this city, has it? and i don't think it is a reasonable suggestion in any way. The leafs, for instance, haven't made the playoffs in 6 years, but i have found that the hockey they have played over most of that stretch has been highly entertaining..... and isn't that what people want? to be entertained? though you may be right when it comes to the raps..... they have put a pathetic product on the floor in recent years. same with the argos.
Sorry, but every team in this city has been pathetic. From FC, Raptors on down to the loafs. The team that's had the most success the last 5yrs is actually the Raptors........which tells you all you need to know about the rest of the teams in this city.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Sorry, but every team in this city has been pathetic. From FC, Raptors on down to the loafs. The team that's had the most success the last 5yrs is actually the Raptors........which tells you all you need to know about the rest of the teams in this city.
so people shouldn't go watch a sporting event that they find very enjoyable? boycott the team until they are a proven winner? you do know what a "fan" is, right?
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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How much value do you really think the Raps have in the MLSE sale?
6th most profitable team in the NBA last season?
Sure there are leafs factors involved, but that doesn't change the numbers in the books.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:33 AM   #11 (permalink)
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so people shouldn't go watch a sporting event that they find very enjoyable? boycott the team until they are a proven winner? you do know what a "fan" is, right?
You got that from my post? When did I say you should boycott anything. All I did was point out that every team is pathetic right now, if you or anyone else wants to go watch......enjoy. Hell, if the Raptors have a season I'll be going to a game or two.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You got that from my post? When did I say you should boycott anything. All I did was point out that every team is pathetic right now, if you or anyone else wants to go watch......enjoy. Hell, if the Raptors have a season I'll be going to a game or two.
my point was that people should support a good product, even if they aren't winning. you said that the leafs product was pathetic, which i am assuming you meant to be "not good".
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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my point was that people should support a good product, even if they aren't winning. you said that the leafs product was pathetic, which i am assuming you meant to be "not good".

Well, yeah. They've been pathetic. Sorry they're not immune to being pathetic. Doesn't mean you should stop watching if you so choose.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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6th most profitable team in the NBA last season?
Sure there are leafs factors involved, but that doesn't change the numbers in the books.
6th most profitable team in a league losing money, compared to what is probably the single most profitable organization in the history of sports (arguably - have no numbers to back that up - but at least in the conversation)? I'd say the Leafs are driving about 95% of that sale value (along with the real estate and whatnot - including the arena) compared to the Raps or TFC.

You really think they wouldn't have cut them loose for, say, 3 to 500 million? Bet someone would have paid for it if they thought they could move the team.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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6th most profitable team in a league losing money, compared to what is probably the single most profitable organization in the history of sports (arguably - have no numbers to back that up - but at least in the conversation)? I'd say the Leafs are driving about 95% of that sale value (along with the real estate and whatnot - including the arena) compared to the Raps or TFC.

You really think they wouldn't have cut them loose for, say, 3 to 500 million? Bet someone would have paid for it if they thought they could move the team.
95%

Good lord. I guess, being 5th in revenue has nothing to do with the Raptors either?
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:39 AM   #16 (permalink)
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meh.

losing doesnt make a city a terrible sports city guys. People not caring make it terrible.

People care here. People here are intelligent. People here understand the game.


These articles are boring, and lazy.

Sorry, but they are.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Sorry SJ, but Leaf fans paying crazy prices and selling out preseason games makes us look like idiots.

As a season seat holder, I get the "opportunity" to buy Leaf preseason tickets!! They are priced higher than Raptor playoff tickets....and guarenteed I better act fast before they are gone.

I remember the Jays coming in in '77. The whole city was so proud to have a team in a major US sports market. That started the buzz. But the winning and exciting teams maintained it. And now, with no chance of winning with the current MLB "rich get richer" agenda, the Jays fans are staying away.

That will be the case with all the teams, excet the Leafs. The fans and the team are an embarrassment.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:11 AM   #18 (permalink)
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95%

Good lord. I guess, being 5th in revenue has nothing to do with the Raptors either?
What? Of course the Raps are doing well in the NBA - they are profitable and have high revenues. That's why I said they'd probably sell for up to a half-billion.

But doing well in the NBA (which is a struggling league losing money, if you believe the owners, from whom comes the info on the Raps being one of the most profitable teams, so it seems you do) does not mean they have a big impact on the financial state of MLSE - that has always been and always will be driven by the Maple Leafs. Hence the name. And that is what I was saying - MLSE would NOT have hesitated to sell if the Raps were NOT profitable. And boycotting ticket sales is the best way to convince an ownership group that now is the time to sell.

As for that 95%, I may have been a little hyperbolic. Oops. Probably closer to 85%.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I love the Leafs, Raptors, Jays and TFC (Jeff for the love of god it's TFC not the FC - sorry i have a gripe when people use that term).

SO yeah.... I am pretty happy living in toronto and cheering for those teams. and to be prefectly honest i can't wait for the new seasons to start with each of those teams. I think good things are on the horizons.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:38 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Sorry SJ, but Leaf fans paying crazy prices and selling out preseason games makes us look like idiots.

As a season seat holder, I get the "opportunity" to buy Leaf preseason tickets!! They are priced higher than Raptor playoff tickets....and guarenteed I better act fast before they are gone.

I remember the Jays coming in in '77. The whole city was so proud to have a team in a major US sports market. That started the buzz. But the winning and exciting teams maintained it. And now, with no chance of winning with the current MLB "rich get richer" agenda, the Jays fans are staying away.

That will be the case with all the teams, excet the Leafs. The fans and the team are an embarrassment.
sorry man, we have a major disconnect in our philosophies here, I'm not sure can agree on this one even. I'm a Toronto Sports fan, and a lot of my friends are. Were not embarrassing. Were not idiots either. We like pro sports though. We cheer our teams, and when we have a chance, we go to the games.

People like to tear up the MLSE, go ahead, but for years the Leafs were top five in Salary in the NHL, and they didn't win. There is way more going on than money there... it has to do with playing in Toronto, poor management, etc. Repeatedly calling leaf fans idiots is whats embarrassing. NHL ticket prices are supply and demand, there 5 million people in driving distance to Toronto that love hockey. They love to go to games, THATS why the place is packed. it isn't all people from the core of the GTA, or the Italian guys up in Woodbridge.

The fact is, the exact opposite of the title is true. Toronto is in fact one of the BEST sports towns as their fans DO keep showing up. This BS idea of "boycotting" games so the Team owners will see their misgivings and magically create a winner is incredibly ridiculous.

Anyhow. People are free to think how they like clearly, but when you start seeing articles like this, and hearing people talk like you guys do, saying that Sports fans here are DUMB, EMBARRASSING, STUPID.... thats just insulting.

Fact is, 90% of the people cheering for the Raps, or the Leafs, or the Argo's, they know the team is shitty, they wish it was better, but fuck, they still wanna get out to a game or two if they can, its FUN!!!!! And with 5 million people close by, it's easy to fill up 17,000 seats. And most of them are bitching while they watch.... call um stupid if you want, call e embarrassing, but jesus, it beats doing the same thing in my living room... I like to live.

Ya know?
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