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Raptors Win & NHL TV/Leadership An Issue

January 28th, 2010 | by torontosportsmedia

Many of you have emailed me about a twitter dialogue I had with Greg Brady a couple of days ago. As you know, I have been riding the local print media to shine the light a little brighter on the Toronto Raptors. Last Monday, after their big home win vs. the LA Lakers the Toronto Sun buried the Raptors on page 6. Mr. Brady’s point was, to summarize, that this is a Leafs town first, it’s suicide to cover the Raptors ahead of the Leafs until the Raptors win a playoff round and that regular season NBA game of a mediocre team didn’t demand more attention than the AFC/NFC title games.

All that Brady has said is in fact true. When he says that the Raptors haven’t won a playoff round in 15 years, he’s right. Their road record sucks, as he says it does. This was just one game in January. All true, and he is in fact entitled to his opinion.

Personally, I like Michael Grange’s take this morning:

“Regardless of what happens the rest of season, the Toronto Raptors have accomplished something vital by pulling themselves off the NBA scrap heap in the space of six crisp weeks.

They’ve made themselves relevant.”

Well, if the Raptors totally crumble and return to their earlier ways then it’s all for not. Having said that, in a town where our hockey team is so bad that Brady and Watters debated why people would even go to a home game, at the very least the Raptors are still playing meaningful games. Does that mean a whole lot? NO. Does it mean that I may actually follow their games- YES. We citizens of Loserville only want a team that we can actually watch around the midpoint of the season. Our iced prodcut hasn’t really been to that level in years. Their hardwood brothers are there right now.

“Last night, the Air Canada Centre was rocking again as an energized crowd of 18,265 came out to see the Raptors duel Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, three days after the home team defeated Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in front of one of the biggest crowds in franchise history. ”

Look, their is a buzz starting to be generated about this team. If this were, I don’t know a lesser team, would the ACC have been filled tonight????? Good question. Let’s see what happens over the next little while. It is a nice change to see a team in this town put together a string of wins though.

“And while any basketball fan would be entertained watching Wade weave, slither and explode for 35 points and 10 assists, a Raptors fan could take heart that – as they have almost every night since early December – their club competed and for the most part had answers.

The result was a 111-103 win that improved Toronto to 17-9 since their season-low point last Dec. 4. ”

Ya see, people say Leafs fans are pulling their hair out over the teams performance therefore a real rebuild wouldn’t be tolerated. That’s utter nonsense. It’s not the losing that bothers me. It’s the way in which the team is losing. The Leafs haven’t for the most part competed. If the Leafs were comprised of younger players who busted their butts night in and out and lost, that would at least be hope. We get none of the that right now.

“You want to become part of the conversation in your local sports market? How about winning 11 of your last 12 games on home court?

Last night, Toronto (24-22) did it in pleasing fashion. ”

I agree, it is something to take note of. In Brady’s defence, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and pat ourselves on the back yet. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it while it lasts. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting to watch and talk about than which Leaf player floated the night before isn’t it. The Leafs these days are like a part of the Festivus ritual, the one where we tell someone all the ways they have disappointed us in the past year. Except with the Leafs we can do it about the previous night’s game.

By the way, most of the Toronto Sports Media personalities who are on twitter have really embraced it. They are not only commentating on twitter, they are part of the conversation. As a fan, I think that’s awesome. Guys like Brady do a phenomenal job on twitter.

So we here at TSM had a chance to speak with a very deep pocketed individual who happens to own a part of a professional sports team in one of the professional leagues (not NHL). We suggested to this person that they look hard at the Tampa Bay Lightning as it could be a good acquisition for this person, who has the wherewithal to pay cash for the team if it were for sale. The response was very telling. Basically, we were told that this person loves hockey, one of their favorite sports and at one time they considered buying a team. However, it won’t happen. The NHL, according to this person has “the worst TV deal and leadership (commissioners) in professional sports. Until both of those things change, “I have no interest”.

So, the Argos owners are looking to David Braley to buy them out, or so says the Globe and Mail’s David Naylor. I remember when I was younger having to explain to my American friend that there were other teams in the CFL than those named Roughriders. How the hell do you explain that own guy can own 2 teams in the same league when there are only 8 teams? Say this for Braley, 1/4 are great odds when it comes to winning isn’t it.

I love that Jamal Mayers and Exelby have asked to be traded. Don’t ya think that if Brian Burke could have he would have already?????

From Montreal

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

Grange is here

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14 Comments

  1. mike (in Boston) says:

    When he says that the Raptors haven’t won a playoff round in 15 years, he’s right

    no, he’s not.

  2. Pingback: Morning Coffee – Jan 28 | Slam Dunking

  3. Al from Burlington says:

    Mayers and Exebly asking for a trade is laughable. I mean really, who would wnat them when they cannot play even a minor role on team with the worst talent depth in the NHL

  4. torontosportsmedia says:

    so let’s get this straight- Mayers was given permission last year and found NO ONE to take him. He’s been looking for someone anyone to take him since Christmas and has found NO ONE…survey says??????????

    I love WIlson saying this happens more often than we think. Classic, seriously, are there more than 2-3 guys on the Leafs you would mind losing?????

  5. Mike says:

    Well I think Brady is wrong here. First off, as the other Mike said, the Raptors have won a playoff series in their existence. Yeah it’s only one but it’s there.

    Second, it’s not just that the Raptors got buried on pg 6. It’s that they got buried when
    a) they beat the defending champs and the biggest team in the league.
    b) they are clearly on the rise and with an easy stretch coming up (8 of next 9 against sub 500 teams, 6 of 9 at home) they could rise even further and be in position to challenge for 4th if Atlanta falters.
    c) the Leafs didn’t play and
    d) there was absolutely nothing new about the Leafs. No big trade, no new take on them, nobody had an answer to the many questions around them. Just more of the same.

    If Brady is saying that a 0 out of 10 day in term of newsworthyness with the Leafs trumps a say 6.5 or 7 out of 10 day for the Raptors, then he’s part of the problem IMO.

  6. Mike says:

    HA. I think your last blog had an impact. Just checked the e-edition of today’s Sun and while the Raptors were reduced to a small space on the front of the sports section to make room for a skirmish at Leafs practice, there on pg 2 was the game story ahead of the Leafs on pg 3.

    As for the Argos, reading Naylor’s piece on the whole situation is depressing. Nobody wants the team except a BC guy who already has one, losing $6 million a year (how can you do that in the CFL?), no star player to promote, no coach, a GM who have should been fired already if the owners had their act together. Sad to say that David and Howard might leave the team in just as bad shape as when they arrived. Who would have thought that 4 years ago?

  7. mike (in boston) says:

    you could make the case that moving the Argos out of toronto would be good for the league:

    - they don’t draw well
    - they lose money
    - they are overshadowed by all the other local teams
    - the NFL is on its way (debatable)
    - there are no stars on the team in a star driven city

    giving the team to an underserved sports market would invigorate the league.

  8. Daniel says:

    You’re right, Mike. Nobody is saying that the media should cover the Raptors more than the Leafs. Or somehow represent some kind of challenge to them. But there is enough of a fanbase here that they do deserve much better.

    Interestingly enough, both the Jays and Raptors (neither of whom are adequately covered by the MSM in my opinion) have fantastic coverage in the blogosphere. Seriously! I’ve read a few people state that the Blue Jays might have best representation of blogs in baseball. Pretty crazy if you think about it. I guess fans of those teams have taken coverage into their own hands, since the MSM won’t do it for them.

  9. Daniel says:

    As for the Argos? Man. Where do they fit in this city? I’m not a CFL fan myself, but I do wish them the best.

    I feel that if the Argos played in a small, outdoor stadium and marketed themselves as sort of a grassroots, inexpensive, old school sporting event (like the FC at BMO) then maybe they could find a niche in this city.

    But without that, I really don’t know where they fit in. Does anyone know a young Argos fan? I’m 27 and live downtown, and I know a lot of fans of the Leafs, Jays, Raptors, soccer and NFL. But honest to God, I’m not sure I know a CFL fan in my age range. For what it’s worth.

  10. torontosportsmedia says:

    I think the Jays get decent coverage- it’s the summer and not much else to talk about. Their coverage on the blogs is phenomenal though I agree. Blogs and twitter were born for sports fans.

  11. Daniel says:

    Well, I think the Jays get covered enough, but it’s not really good quality. Wilner and Blair are good (IMO – I know many don’t like Wilner) but after that?..

    It’s crazy how much more knowledgeable the Jays blogosphere is compared to 90% of the MSM. I find it hard to understand how guys covering the team as a hobby with no access do a better job and are more informed job than almost all of the paid professionals.
    That’s really my issue.

    Anyway. Not to derail from the Raptors talk. I’ve been enjoying that.

    You’re right about blogs/twitter -this one included!

  12. torontosportsmedia says:

    Thanks Daniel- I like Griffin and I think the Post does a good job. Elliott is a great writer too.

  13. Brady says:

    Love the blog as always. Or sometimes. The shoe is on the other foot and I’m the victim of a misquote. I said the Raps HAVE won ONE playoff series in 15 seasons (which may/may not change in the spring). I am well aware how close they were to going to the East Finals that year.

    Bottom line is they haven’t built up enough “loyalty points” to get the non-hardcores to really pay attention. That’s fact. If they’d been to a couple NBA Finals and won a few playoff rounds…totally different story.

    Under any evaluation (new team, Canadian team, a couple awful GMs, egomaniacial broadcaster (wait..he went to Chicago…never mind))…the franchise has been extremely disappointing. Other than Atlanta in the east, no one’s been around this long and accomplished so very little.

    Having said that, they play a 4-5 playoff series..and I’ll watch every single second. Promise. But finishing 37-45 and being slayed by Boston or Cleveland does nothing for nobody.

  14. torontosportsmedia says:

    I stand corrected, you did in fact say that the Raps had won one….

    Welcome back to the friendly waters (not Watters) Mr. Brady.

    I understand their track record. I also, however, understand the pathetic state of our sorry ass town in terms of winning- our biggest winner these days is Mayor Miller, and everyone knows how I feel about that!

    All I am saying is that when the Leafs are hopeless, and as you said on the radio the other night, there is NO reason to go to a game, shouldn’t we focus on a team that is still in the thick of things? We don’t have to forget the past or act as if they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but why not shine a little of the light on them.

    Who cares about anything the Leafs do now. Until Burke pulls the trigger on a deal, there is NOTHING to talk about. Everything has been said.

    Yes the Olympics are going to knock them out of the papers- that’s fine. Until that time, give them some attention. They’re on a bit of a hot streak right now and in this town that is worth noting.

    As always love the participation.

    TSM

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