Monday, February 11, 2008


This is Paul Godfrey's burrito out the car window. (Video by Drunk Jays Fans.)

The fallout from the Blue Jays letting Tigers and Red Sox fans -- especially the latter, some (not all, mind you) of whom are beer-flinging louts with sewer mouths and social attitudes not of this century -- have first shot at tickets for a couple of April series pretty much reprises the middle act of Anchorman. With a simple act of selling out, everything changed. This is pretty much, "I'm Paul Godfrey. Go fuck yourself, Toronto."

The Jays blogerariat, which like Toronto itself, takes in all kinds, even if you're a Drunk, a Taoist, a Bottom, a Chucker, a Ghost or even a Base player, pretty much spent the weekend hammering out a conclusion that as far as Jays fans should be concerned, Paul Godfrey's ass is grass.

Hardcore fans were pretty much quietly resigned to having Godfrey as president of the Jays. It was much the same as how, on a scale that is a million times more important, that bleeding heart liberals like me back in the first half of 2005 were resigned to having George W. Bush as leader of the free world. With Godfrey, you shrug off his call to play God Bless America at the seventh-inning stretch, the reality he long ago killed any part of himself that could embrace loving something so irrational as a baseball team and the likelihood that he went to a stylist or image consultant before he grew a beard in order to better resemble a human being, never mind an actual man of the people.

What could you do? It's business as usual in Toronto, where purely business decisions rule the day with the local teams.


The common thread is there didn't seem to be any way to get through to people. It was only after the levees broke in New Orleans and Anderson Cooper emoted on CNN that people finally got it about Bush and Dick Cheney. Obviously, this a huge overstatement for rhetorical effect. No one should try to trivalize Katrina.

However, the Jays being so bush-league finally makes it clear what has been wrought by Rogers Communications' uninterested ownership (thanks again, Dan Rowe).

Other than for money, why would you want some of the fans from Boston as guests? Some of them have a little trouble accepting they were guests in a foreign land and the customs are a little different. That much was obvious during the 2005 home opener, when many got sauced on the higher alcohol content of Canadian draft beer and started tossing refrigerator magnets out of the upper deck, striking their social betters in the good seats. Of course, this being Toronto, a few people had to imitate the Americans.

The Jays should be busting ass to give Southern Ontario every reason to turn out in greater numbers, not take the lazy way out. God knows (but Godfrey will never understand) that you put up with enough to be a baseball fan in Canada relative to following hockey or the NFL. You give up summer days and nights to watch the team on TV (not that hockey fans' dedication is supspect, but when it's minus-20, the decision to stay in is made for you.)

You suffer people who are serious when they why Joe Carter is not in the Hall of Fame, or whether Roberto Alomar will be. You balance criticizing J.P. Ricciardi with getting mad when cable sports networks and the Toronto dailies when they get it all wrong by acting like missing the playoffs in baseball is the same thing as missing the playoffs in the NHL, which has twice as many playoff spots and no divisional rivals with $200-million payrolls. You put up with second-rate TV announcer crews since there's almost nowhere in this country for anyone who also has to pay for food and shelter to learn the craft of calling a baseball game -- and if we do come up someone who can such as Dan Shulman, ESPN will snap him up.

For all we do, Paul Godfrey and his corporate masters figure that they can sell our seats to people from Boston. The Jays should be busting ass to give Southern Ontario every reason to turn out in greater numbers. Instead they take a lazy way out and wonder why more people won't commit to their team.

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to


New reality said...

I'd send you a comment, but I'm afraid you took all my thoughts and put them into a more sensible (and albeit less colourful language) article that I could have done.
Once again, Sager says it all....
Now, if we out west could only get some semblance of baseball out here (no, the Golden league doesn't count, since it is just an slightly more expensive version of the Western Major Baseball League).....

JasonTO said...

What is it with Toronto and sports management?

As a sports-mad Torontonian, I’m saddled with the burden of having to put up with MLSE, Paul Godfrey, and the Canadian Soccer Association – all at the same time.

That has to qualify as some sort of human rights violation, doesn’t it?

As ridiculous as this stunt is, it’s nothing compared to the Godfrey-esque antics SkyDome-regulars are forced to put up with from April through September. In Paul Godfrey’s world, maintaining longstanding baseball traditions such as the counting of Ks is only worth doing if there’s an ad tie-in to be exploited. In fact, nothing’s worth doing if it can’t be sold. Douche bag in-game hosts enthusiastically notifying the fans that “we’ve got lots of giveaways comin’ up!” PA announcers who kibitz like they’re Ed McMahon. “Urban dance packs” whose only role is to plug FedEx. And a surplus of ribbon board space that, instead of being used to provide fans with more stats, info, and updates – you know, stuff they can use – is used to display the same goddamn ad over and over and over again.

With every passing year that Godfrey is in charge, the feeling one gets stepping inside the RC inches closer and closer to that of entering a Walmart. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that feeling.

mc79hockey said...

Personally, I'm just pissed that this offer wasn't extended to all Red Sox fans. For guys like me, who cheer for the Sox, this is one of my nine or ten chances this year to see them in T.O. Toronto fans get 81 teams to watch their crap team up close, as do Red Sox fans in Boston. Those members of the Nation who aren't in Boston deserve the REAL first shot at the tix.

sager said...

Toronto fans get 81 teams to watch their crap team up close, as do Red Sox fans in Boston.

A-ha! So you admit the Red Sox are a crap team? Granted, they've won as many World Series as the Jays have in the past 60 years, and Toronto wasn't even around for half of that.

Lloyd "the barber" Moseby said...

Mc79, I'm sure the Red Sox bandwagon you so fearlessly hitched yourself to back in 2003 will roll through your town en route to Toronto sometime this summer