The report this morning from the estimable Bob Elliott that Rogers Communications could sell the Toronto Blue Jays ought to raise fear, not squeals of joy.
" 'One and one might add up to 11 here, but you have to admit if you put everything together, the Toronto club looks to me like a team getting ready to be sold,' a former Blue Jays employee said.Please bear in mind that Elliott, going by the writing, leans a lot on scouts who got the ax when Rogers operated on the principle of scorched earth when it first owned the team in 2000, '01 and '02. Regardless, two words to stop any Jays fan for jumping for joy: Montreal Expos.
"... 'It's like the different machinations we went through when Interbrew owned us,' another former employee said. 'Our spending was frozen, there were cutbacks and layoffs.' "
Losing Charles Bronfman as owner was an early nail in the Expos' coffin. The ownership was never stable again. Having Rogers' corporate muscle behind the Blue Jays, for good or ill, does ensure that they'll be a nice, mid-level team coping with its own limitations in the harsh face of being in the AL East with three superpowers, one with bucks, one with brains and one with both. (It's tolerable, most of the time. Anyone who needs her/his team to win in order to enjoy baseball and doesn't get the joke of having 8379 as your pin number on your bank card can go find another sport.)
This is just spitballing, but feel free to wonder what Rogers is getting out of owning the Jays at this point. Their corporate profile has grown by leaps and bounds since it bought the Jays in 2000. They're probably going to be identified with the team no matter what for some time into the future; it's getting to the point of diminishing returns, familiarity breeding contempt and such.
It might also be time to find bigger, four-down football-playing fish to fry. The Telecom That Ted Built is also going to sink quite a lot into its 24-hour news channel (as an aside, that should be a hoot -- CityTV can barely fill one hour).
There are people who, at the first sign of trouble, will predict that baseball isn't long for Toronto. A few truths here is that Canadians do not spend money on sports like Americans. The Jays have the entire country to themselves, but the everyone-hates-Toronto mindset tends to limit their appeal among casual fans outside the centre of the universe, unless they're deep into the post-season.
It's hard to imagine a day when there wouldn't be any Toronto Blue Jays. The reality is there are no good markets for expansion or relocation, so until such time as MLB allows three or four owners to have teams in New York City or Los Angeles, they're nothing to worry about -- except for the Jays being a 66-win team instead an 86-win team.
Cunning, that Bunning
Hilarious: Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, the U.S. Senator, helped kill the auto bailout and now he's showing up in Michigan to sign autographs Sunday. The World of Isaac has more.
Damn, the Jays
- The Tao is wondering why there's been little free-agent buzz about Adam Dunn (all he does is hit home runs) Maybe J.P. Ricciardi really was on to something with "you know he doesn't like baseball" phillipic last season.
- C'est la vie for Seattle sports fans: A profile on Travis Snider points out the Mariners passed on both him another player from the Evergreen State, Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, in the 2006 draft. Snider is also in an "elite conditioning program" during this off-season, for anyone who's afraid about his weight.
Blue Jays for sale? Signs point to the possibility (Bob Elliott, Sun Media)