Pinch Me- Praise For Raptors Fans

So, I’ve made it down under. Yours truly spent the day (Saturday) in rain soaked Melbourne Australia. As an aside, let me just say that there is absolutely NO coverage of the world series on this side of the world. Not one sentence in a paper, not one highlight in a bar. Nothing, nadda zip, zilch zero. Fascinating.

For those who have asked, it’s all rugby, football (soccer), cricket and today horse racing.

Oddly enough a few people did comment on a piece of Maple Leafs paraphernalia I was wearing on the street today.

Anyways. One nice thing about being over here is that I can read the morning papers before I go out for dinner. It’s 6:20 pm here Saturday night and only 3:20am Saturday morning there.

A really good piece on Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo in today’s Toronto Star with Doug Smith. Colangelo says much of what you would expect him to say, however it is Smith who caught my eye:

“The Raptors have one of the most passionate fan bases in the NBA. And like most fans, they want success, hard work and a likeable team. Colangelo sees and hears it everywhere he goes.”

That’s not to suggest that it hasn’t been suggested before by Smith. It’s just in total contrast to some of the notions about Toronto as an NBA market south of the border. You remember our good friends at ESPN Radio, Mike and Mike suggesting that in due time the league will have to pack it up here.

Now, I remember that the reason they gave is that no big star wants to play here and a passionate fan base doesn’t address that issue on it’s own. I guess the question is would players rather play for a team that is in the top half in terms of league attendance or in the bottom? I know, if it isn’t on American television it didn’t happen. Thanks for coming out CB.

It seems to me, and maybe I am crazy that if the league is going to be talking contraction (even in a threat to the union) it isn’t going to be looking at teams with “passionate” fan bases, good corporate support, extremely strong television numbers.

Funny that a guy like CB hated it here so much, yet a guy like Colangelo seems to be pretty happy:

“I love the fans in this city and I love the passion that they show for the sport and for the Raptors in particular. I love the fact that no matter where we go, there’s a following of Raptors fans. And the people I interact with, the people that I see, the people I meet in the streets — and I am out a lot to see people — they’ve been fantastic and supportive. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

So, when I was 7 years old my mom bought me for my birthday a hockey news subscription. I maintained that same subscription for over 25 years before I decided to pack it in. Having not received a letter or phone call inquiring why (what I would have thought was a loyal customer) I had thrown the towel in, I stopped reading the physical publication.

That changed when I got on the plane to head overseas. Air Canada was giving it away at Pearson and I picked it up. There was a fascinating article on Donald Fehr and the way in which he may manage the NHLPA once he is ordained their leader. It doesn’t appear to be online, but I suggest you pick it up. Great interviews from some MLB guys as to what to expect including Vernon Wells.

Speaking of the Star, The Blanket has a feel good story on the Blue Jays and the potentially good week they had. It’s one of TB’s better stories in a long time.

Still at the Star, there’s a prize for someone who can tell me exactly how Rosie DiManno comes up with story ideas. To steal a line from Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, next time you tell a story (in this case, write a story), have a point. It makes it so much more enjoyable for the reader!

Mike Ganter has a good piece in the Sun on Cry Baby. So CB apparently called the Fan 590 to set the record straight on his comments about not being on TV:

“Bosh says he wasn’t giving the reason he left Toronto when he made the comment, “I mean, really it’s all about being on TV at the end of the day. Seriously, a guy can average (20 points and 10 rebounds) and nobody cares. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t really happen.”

Referring to those comments, Bosh told the Fan’s Doug Farraway: “It wasn’t in the context of why I made my decision. It was (about) the perceptions of players and how more popular players are considered better players (because they’re on TV a lot). At no time did I refer to that as my quote, unquote bottom line or the reason I made the decision I made,” Bosh said.

Cry Baby, get over it. Enough. You’ve moved on, we’ve moved on. Your going to be a great 3rd man there in Miami.

Ganter has it right:

“Still, Bosh finds he is defending himself to a fan base that is no longer his own. Had Bosh managed his exit in a better manner, very little of the ill will he is facing in Toronto these days would even exist…..As far as athletes go, Bosh is among the sharper pros you are likely to encounter. But based on the way he handled his departure, you wouldn’t know it.”

AMEN

Am I the only one who giggles when I read the words Macleans.ca NFL picks? I mean Macleans and NFL picks REALLY?? No offense to the guys who write the piece but what an odd marriage.

G’day mates.

Doug Smith on the Toronto Raptors is here

Dave Perkins on the Toronto Blue Jays is here

Mike Ganter on Chris Bosh is here

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