Friday, January 23, 2009

The Sky is Falling in Toronto: Media Madness!!

Watch out, Toronto sports fan, the media is presently in all out war for your soul! Well, maybe that is a bit overly dramatic, but they're certainly trying to side with you, both the naysayers and the upbeats optimists.

The spin is in full effect here! Jeff Blair wrote an opinion piece in the Globe and Mail yesterday, chastizing all that is Toronto professional sports for their championship inadequecy. In response, Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star came out today in defence, a clear rebuttal to Blair's attack on sports fans around Hogtown. The only problem is that it appears both have missed the mark - while the effort was there the execution could have used a little bit of polish. And why has this suddenly become a big issue? Beyond the National pasttime of beratting Toronto it's hard to find reasoning behind this debate, although it is kind of funny to watch play out.

In Blair's article he criticizes the recent failures of Toronto's franchises, stating that no significant championships have been won in Toronto since the Blue Jays World Series run of the early 90's, dismissing 3 Grey Cup wins by the Argo's due to the membership size of the CFL:

Since the Jays captured the back-to-back World Series win in 1993, all this city has to show is three Grey Cup titles, and comparing the Argos to the NFL franchises is charitable, as the odds against winning an NFL title are greater.

What can be forgiven here is that this article was merely speaking in terms of the 4 major North American sports (ironically enough in the States it seems that hockey could be debated as the #4 sport, but I digress...). It still stings though, and possibly hurts the loyal fanbase of the Toronto Rock even more (although they seem to brush things off rather well). The Rock won 5 NLL Championships between 1999-2005, that team composed was nothing short of a dynasty within that stretch. The city did get a little more wrapped up in Lacrosse at that point in time, so it can be said to have helped the city's psyche, but apparently not enough for Blair.

It's almost as if this article was written for bashing Toronto and nothing more seeing as how this is one of the oldest schticks there is. Even the few valid points raised (propensity to fire managers by all Toronto sports clubs, less than kind winning percentage across all 4 major sports since the mid 90's, the failures at building clubs by all of the Leafs, Raptors and Jays), are lost when there is nothing proposed to show a turn around beyond citing that some other towns (Boston was mentioned) have done it, so why can't Toronto? Excuse to bash the city duly noted.

And now to the Defence's case: the day following Blair's write-up in comes Dave Perkins to stand up for his town. Admirable yes, but Perkins seems overly optimistic and unreasonable at times as well, leaving the reader with the message that it's worth it to simply wait it out and keep smiling. Sure that may be the answer in some cases (see the Leafs, possibly the Jays waiting to build up the system?), but not nearly a universal (see Raptors and once again the Jays too). While there's a point where one becomes too much of a cynic the same can be said for being overly optimistic as well.

And yes, I do realize this last sentence is written from the person who has time and again this year claimed people should give the Raptors more chances, however I've given my reasons to stay positive on this campaign. And trust me that if the paperwork presently being swaped between Bay St. and South Beach looks good, I likely won't be quite as outnumbered anymore!

Honestly, what is going on here? Overly positive, overly negative, and sadly both of these articles could have included at least some mention to the Upset Fan campaign being organized by angered Maple Leafs fans to make a difference, rather than just spout the same old rhetoric that keeps people going in circles.

$4 dollars will be donated to the SickKids Foundation for every bag and t-shirt set purchased, for every single bag purchased $1 dollar will be donated, for every single T-Shirt, hat, or car flag bought $2 dollars will be donated.

Our intentions for creating this website and these products was to have UPSET FANS like us turn a media frenzy negative, in leaf nation, into, a fun, positive and helpful brand.

Loyal fans like us, want the Toronto Maple Leafs to win a Stanley Cup. In saying that, we feel until that happens, why can't all of us UPSET FANS who support our team, give to good causes along the way?

A picture of fans wearing these paper bags was featured in the Globe and on their website but no expansion beyond that (likely too positive to describe in full, takes away from the article). And Perkins too made no mention, while this is a sign of hope that fans have their heads on straight in troubling times here in Toronto (likely also comes with too negative a critique however).

Both arguments were lacking, but one thing is clear - both sides want your attention, and they'll omit/forget whatever facts to leave you as cozy/disgruntled as possible. Time to get the National Post to step in as mediator and maybe bring some method to this madness, and maybe a level headed approach to the issue.

Just a bunch of losers (Globe and Mail)
Why it's good Toronto teams are so bad (Toronto Star)

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