Being immersed in the Olympics has unfortunately meant being late getting a post up about the Toronto Argonauts surveying fans about a move to BMO Field.
In a just Toronto sports world, Argos owners David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski would each get stink-palmed for merely suggesting someone should dare trifle with the TFC fan experience. It's only been the best development on the city's sports scene since oh, Dec. 17, 2004, look it up if you don't get the reference.
All I can really do is violate a personal aversion on using the first person and relate an experience from a weekend in T.O. last month.
TFC had a Saturday home game, which was a main reason for me getting on the train to head down to Toronto and crash at a friend's apartment.. The Argonauts were playing on the Sunday afternoon vs. the Edmonton Eskimos (Maciocia!), but here's the kicker: The fact the Argos were also playing a home game might have completely sailed by me if I hadn't been flipping through the Toronto Star sports section over lunch on Front St.
Regardless, what a bonus -- a chance to feed two birds with one scone, right? On Saturday, it was over to BMO, where TFC engaged in a somewhat desultory 0-0 draw with (I think) the San Jose Earthquakes. On the way out after meeting Rollins for a pint at a pub up on Dufferin Ave., we happened across an only-in-MLS moment.
TFC midfielder Rohan Ricketts had pulled up outside the Bank of Montreal branch across the street to use ABM. About eight TFC supporters, to a man in red jerseys, composed an on-the-spot football chants -- "Ro-han Rick-etts! You're fuck-in' wick-et!" and "You better ... fuck up ... the Impact!", referring to an upcoming Nutrilite Canadian Championship vs. Montreal (who, alas, were the ones who did the effing-up).
Any Leafs player who would have been recognized like that would have hopped in his SUV and peeled rubber. Rohan Ricketts, though, ate it up, darting across the street against the light to shake hands with the fans.
That might not seem like it has anything to do with where the Argonauts should play. The next day, though, with a full day alone in a strange city, I went out with the full intention of heading to Rogers Centre for the Argos and Eskies, but got no farther than an independent bookstore on Front St. E. It was almost as if, after being out in the sun the previous day, soaking up the TFC vibe, watching a game that was actually being played in a stadium designed with one game in mind (save for BMO not having real grass) instead of a multipurpose mausoleum, sitting indoors at Rogers Centre to watch Kerry Joseph overthrow open receivers didn't seem so appealing. Even being able to see the accumulation of mental mistakes caused by Danny Maciocia's flop sweat on the Eskimos sideline couldn't produce a strong enough tractor beam to pull me a couple blocks farther west.
Please bear in mind that this is coming from someone who's been a CFL follower since about 10 and only acknowledged within the past two years that he had come around on soccer. Yes, my name is Neate S. and I'm a failed soccer hater.
Understandably, the Argos are househunting in order to be ready when kicked out of Rogers Centre to make way for the Toronto Teddy Bears or whatever the Bills will be called. If Cynamon and Sokoloski are so smart that they can figure out how to compete with that, well, they'll be smart enough to figure out how to find, and maybe finance, a suitable stadium .
The point is that on that weekend a month ago, it seemed best to let that first TFC game stand alone. In a roundabout way, that's the rationale (maybe irrationale) behind the gut feeling toward any talk of the Argos moving to BMO. Sometimes, it's best to let something stand alone.
Argos ask ticket holders for opinion on potential stadium swap; Fan survey 'an exploration' to gauge support for possible move from Rogers Centre to BMO Field, CFL team co-owner says (David Naylor, globesports.com, Aug. 12)
The battle of BMO Field (Ben Knight, On Soccer, Aug. 15)