Just How Dominant Are The Maple Leafs In Toronto?

While listening to Hockey Central at noon today with Kypreos and TAKE A WALK I was talking to another MSMer about the sheer dominance of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto. We were talking about how difficult it is for Jose Bautista to get love south of the border and he asked me what would it take to get Bautista on the cover of SI. Unfortunately, you know where this is going right, it would take either breaking a record or getting busted for PEDS.

Let’s not go into the whole PED debate.

So the discussion continued and I was asked or told that if Bautista did get busted for PEDs it would be bigger than Burke tying the can to Ron Wilson right now. I disagreed and said that if Brian Burke fired Ron Wilson (no rumour here folks, just saying IF) tomorrow and at the same time Bautista got busted for PEDs the Ron Wilson story would be front and centre here in Toronto. I did however say that the Bautista story would be on the cover of the USA Today the next day and lead the ESPN sportscenter shows while playing second fiddle to the Wilson story here. So….. What say you?

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May 25, 2011 10:34 pm

I don’t really think Bautista isn’t getting ‘noticed’ in the states. I’ve read a ton of US based articles about him in the past few weeks.

Don’t forget, aside from being in Canada, the Jays haven’t been in the playoffs for 20 years. I think that’s a far bigger reason for our players not getting press rather than because they’re Canadian. I honestly think Bautista would get similar press if he was on a perennial non contender from the US.

If the Jays make the playoffs in the next year or two Bautista will get much more recognition.

May 25, 2011 11:13 pm

The Bautista story would get more attention becuse there would be so many questions surrounding it – there would be very few questions asked as to why wilson was fired. So big news, headlines yes, but no real surprise. bautista would get long term attention (and he’s not on PEDs, so this poll question kind of bothers me even though it is hypothetical). I wish the Wislon story was real though

Re Bautista: Roy Halliday got precious little attention in the US while he was a Jay, except by big ball fans. He was pitching lights out. Same goes for Bautista (even if we had a real contender here). US ball fans don’t take much notice of the Jays

Steve (in Hamilton)
Steve (in Hamilton)
May 25, 2011 11:54 pm

Since PED accusations are an extremely touchy subject, I do find this question to be in a bit of bad taste.

It’s very possible that Wilson will get fired – most unsuccessful coaches do get fired, after all. But not all successful players use PEDs, so this is an unfair comparison.

I know that you don’t mean to imply that Bautista is on PEDs, but this kind of technique is often used by some people to imply accusations without having to take responsibility for actually making those accusations. The rhetorical term for this is “praeteritio”: “I don’t want to go into the charges that this person is facing,” but by making the very statement we plant the seed in the reader’s/viewer’s mind.

Again, sorry to be extra-critical, but I don’t like these accusations, even in the hypothetical.

May 25, 2011 11:55 pm

They did when the Jays were contenders. US fans noticed Vince Carter when the Raptors were good.

May 25, 2011 11:57 pm

If Halladay was pitching for the Royals he’d still be overlooked. Reason – team has been a non factor for 25 years.

Being in Canada doesn’t help the teams being overlooked, but I don’t think it’s as much of a factor as we like to think.

May 26, 2011 12:00 am

Yeah, I also find this poll a little too hypothetical to show much.

Are the Leafs way more popular than every other team here? For sure. But the examples are apples and oranges kind of.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
May 26, 2011 7:37 am

No doubt Leafs are and will continue to be the Cornerstone of media attention here in Toronto. As others have said, until Blue Jays start having multiple seasons with meaningful games in September, individuals will get some attention but not “leaf like” attention.

Perhaps the better poll question would have been if Bautista broke Bonds single season Home run record versus Ron Wilson being fired.

Leafs will face a problem in the next 10-15 yrs. however, as most kids in the 15-16 and under age group are Crosby/Penguins or Ovechkin/Capitals fans. I am not a leaf fan, but most of my buddies who are big Leaf fans say their kids are NOT leaf fans. But rather many other teams with icons I mentioned. Toronto has to turn this around as eventually this age group will be the Corporate Clients they need to market too.

May 26, 2011 8:35 am

I think the fact there is any debate proves how crazy this city is for the Leafs, and makes the poll worthwhile.

In a sane place those two stories wouldn’t be comparable in the least.

May 26, 2011 9:26 am


Do you think Brunt’s creditability will take a hit if the Thrashers don’t move to Winter-peg?

I know his buddy McCown will still have him on but I would think the public’s opinion of the great Free-Loader Brunt should take a hit.

May 26, 2011 10:15 am


What US sports based media are you following? ESPN, Fox sports, CBS sports, SI, etc. are all talking about Bautista. The ESPN daily baseball podcast talk about Bautista on a weekly basis.

I agree with Robin – you are comparing apples and oranges here. Taking PED’s are illegal, firing a coach is not.

Finally, I fully agree with Daniel, that even a hypothetical question re: Jose taking PED’s is in poor taste, even if you are not a fan.


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May 26, 2011 10:41 am

I don’t see anything wrong with the question. There is no implication of either scenario happening, it is simply a question if they did occur simultaneously which gets the headline here in Toronto. Hypothetical to get our perceptions

I have to believe it is the Wilson firing. The position of the Leafs within the mainstream media was driven home to me, when the Friday before Super Bowl, Blair did a one hour phone-in with Berger about the state of the Leafs. We constantly hear from media outlets that the Leafs get the coverage because that is what sells. Don’t get it and not sure it isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also believe that it is a fact of life that Toronto based athletes do not get the same coverage that comparable talent in the same sport gets in the U.S. The focus is on the continental US. I cannot remember the number of times I have seen international US organizations put up a map of North America that only shows the 48 contiguous states. It is what it is.

May 26, 2011 2:41 pm

Wow Great blog! I like how both options are negatives!

May 26, 2011 3:31 pm

Joe Posnanski of SI, probably the premier baseball writer in the world is in Toronto to do a story on him and countless other stories have been done on him over the course of last season and this season.

You have to look outside of the Toronto sports media prism, TSM and you’ll find plenty of coverage about his emergence.

A Helpful Citizen
A Helpful Citizen
May 26, 2011 4:51 pm

The commenters noting that Jose Bautista is getting a huge amount of play south of the border these days are bang on—as a daily reader of all of the major baseball sites (CNN SI, ESPN, Bleacher Report, etc.), there literally hasn’t been a day in the last three weeks without a headlining story about Bautista’s ridiculous season.
Curious, then, that Bautista is actually getting more coverage outside of Toronto than within…

I can only assume this is because of the overwhelming, and overwhelmingly tiresome, local emphasis on hockey, hockey and yet more f***ing hockey. Sigh.

To the point made about the faintly accusatory nature of the hypothetical question put forth by TSM, I concur. Notice that the choice was between Bautista being exposed as a PED user and Wilson’s firing, and not Bautista eclipsing the single-season homerun mark and Wilson’s firing. Hmmm…

Sam in Oshawa
May 26, 2011 9:28 pm

Roger brought up Brunt so hear we go!When that hack put the olympic torch in his hand over real olympic athletes his credibility went down the toilet.What a self serving hack.He is a FOB so he stays on the air YUCK.Ron Wilson will coach a winning team in the near future and that team will be the maple leafs.I’m not much of a base ball fan but linking Buatista and PEDs is a cheap shot, even if you hide it in a poll.C’on tsm your better than that,or is Danian Cox a buddy LOL.

May 27, 2011 9:07 am

@A Helpful Citizen and others

You are missing the point entirely. Bautista caught on PEDs OR eclipsing the HR record would be absolutely massive stories. Probably *more* so the former, but thats not the point either – and the former is probably more likely too.

The point is that here in TO, a story about the coach of a team that isnt playing for MONTHS, getting fired when it has been speculated on for MONTHS/YEARS…could possibly be anywhere near as important a story of massive proportions and impact.

Anywhere else, there would be no comparison. Thats the point.


Grow up. He didnt accuse Bautista. Its called a hypothetical question, deal with it.

A Helpful Citizen
A Helpful Citizen
May 28, 2011 2:22 am


No, my son, *you* are missing *our* point entirely. TSM’s point, as noted by myself and others, is self-evident. Thank you for demonstrating your remarkable grasp of the obvious, however unnecessary it may have been. It’s akin to watching a dog stare at you after barking with a self-satisfied, “See? I can bark!” expression on their face: Amusing, in an “Aw! He thinks he’s people!” sort of way, but unnecessary nonetheless.

The point myself and others are making is that the *subtext* of the hypothetical question (a concept, suffice it to say, that we are certainly aware of, thank you very much, and one which does not require the assistance of a clearly razor-sharp intellect such as yours to decipher for us) is faintly accusatory, and at best ill-considered…at worst, it little better than Damian Cox’s weaselly quasi-accusation last year (I myself prefer to give TSM the benefit of the doubt). Since you appear to be a Level One thinker, allow me to clarify for you: By virtue of suggesting “Bautista is a PED user” as Option A in the hypothetical example (see? We DO know what it means! Jesus wept…), as opposed to “Bautista breaks the single-season home run record”, TSM has once again raised the spectre of doubt in an entirely unnecessary, albeit in this instance likely unintentional, way.

The surface text (Level One, which even you are apt to understand) tells one story. What we were suggesting is that the subtext (a concept with which you seem entirely unfamiliar—ask your mom or dad what it means, should you remember it) of the question seems to suggest something else altogether…something which a number of readers, myself included, think is perhaps a little bit unfair. You have already indicated your own position on the issue with your snotty little aside about the PED headline being the more likely of the two. And you’re certainly entitled to take every you see at face value—the world needs people who are always wrong too, I guess. It’s called a difference of opinion. “Deal with it”. (“Deal with it”? Who the f*** actually speaks like this, by the way? When you’re asking your parents what subtext means, do please give them a good hard slap in the mouth while you’re at it. They have clearly failed you in significant ways).

Oh, and FYI: Telling people with an apparently much fuller and clearer grasp of the world around them to “grow up” is what us adults like to call “irony”. Get your folks to give you a short course in that as well, while they’re at it.

Plebian Slob
Plebian Slob
May 28, 2011 12:56 pm

I think your reading a bit too much into the question “A Helpful Citizen”. Perhaps it was a poor choice, but I think TSM just thought of a quick idea to toss our way, to provide us with an entire thesis on it seems excessive.

A Helpful Citizen
A Helpful Citizen
May 30, 2011 5:11 pm

Perhaps you’re right, Plebian Slob (great name, by the way). It wasn’t really TSM’s question that got up my hose—as I noted, I genuinely do believe it was more ill-considered than malicious and the tone of his work in general would suggest he has earned the benefit of the doubt in that respect. It was the sheer obliviousness evident in the defence of it. That TSM’s intent was malicious is, I think, a suggestion that doesn’t really even warrant debate. The issue of whether his question, as worded, *does* warrant debate is something else entirely. And the fact that the likes of James and various others fail to even comprehend how the example given *might* be read as having unfair connotations by anyone with even the most basic of critical thinking skills is absolutely stunning…and, frankly, depressing.

All I’m saying, for my part, is that I would probably be a damned sight more careful about choosing my words in a widely-read forum—specifically, I’d probably be a bit more judicious in selecting hypothetical examples that might presume the guilt of a third party rather than his innocence. Others, it would seem, share my distaste with a presumption-of-guilt example in lieu of another, more benign example. And still others, shockingly, cannot seem to understand why the very nature of the question raises red flags for so many of us. Your mileage may vary.

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