There are a couple of real characters in the local sports scene. The average fan may not know them, but the upper ups certainly do. They aren’t “players”, they aren’t hanger ons- they’re generally just good people who seem to find their way into the sports world, at least in Toronto.
On of those guys was Donny Lyons, who used to entertain and spar (verbally) with those in the know at the House Of Chan. He passed on back in 2009.
Gord Kirke is kind of one of the guys, but because of his profession (sports lawyer) is more of a “player”
Another guy like that is Michael Firestone. Most sports fans have probably never heard of Firestone, and to borrow a line from Pat Burns, most wouldn’t know him if they ran him over with their car. However he is a character, and he is part of that group. Bob Elliott in today’s Toronto Sun has an article that fully articulates the reason characters like this are around our teams:
“On the final Friday of the 1992 season after the Jays beat the Detroit Tigers to move to within half a game of clinching, Firestone joined Jays president Paul Beeston, general manager Pat Gillick and manager Cito Gaston in a skybox to watch the ESPN feed of Oakland-Milwaukee finish from the coast.
The A’s took a one-run lead at 12:45 a.m. on a Kevin Seitzer error and turned the game over to closer Dennis Eckersley.
Nine minutes later the door opened and a waiter from the Founder’s Club, since re-named the Flounder’s Club, arrived with a celebratory bottle of champagne and four glasses. Three baseball men almost jumped out of the booth at Firestone’s bad timing. Like packing the bats in the ninth.
The predictable happens: Paul Molitor doubles home the tying run for the Brewers in the ninth. Pat Listach singled and scored the winner in the 11th. The game ends at 1:57 a.m. The Brewers live.”
Elliot’s article is terrific because it reminds us of some of the great characters around the games. With faceless corporations owning teams, I wonder if guys like Firestone are a dying bread. If so, it’s too bad.