Apathy In The Toronto Sports World


Not that long ago it was easy to get Toronto Maple Leaf fans going. Rip the team. Either the players, coaches, management would get attacked and the fans would be quick to get pissed off. For those who’ve followed what I’ve had to say for any amount of time you are well aware that is exactly why I started writing. I felt the MSMers in this town weren’t balanced. They dumped on all of our teams all of the time, no matter what.

My how the times have changed.

The fans haven’t believed what the Maple Leafs have been selling for a while now. It’s almost to the point that the fans don’t really care who is piling on or to what degree. The fans want the team blown up, stripped to the bare bones and we aren’t a full week into February yet. Any idea what that does for ratings in this town when people have thrown in the towel this early?

Not a night goes by where I am not offered Leafs tickets BELOW face value. Honest now, when was the last time that happened????? EVER???

There’s been a ton said and written about the current state of the team.

McCown said that a goat could coach the team as well as Peter Horachek. No one cares.

I believe it was Kypreos who was talking about how neither Shanahan nor Nonis even live in Toronto. No one cares.

MLSE???? where to start.

Fans used to joke about the team tanking. Now I get the sense that most fans want the trades to be made to ensure the losing continues. No, no one cheers their teams losing. We’ve become so numb to it, so void of faith or belief there is nothing to hold on to. So please trade the core to ensure our draft probability.

Brendan Shanhan has not given the Maple Leaf fan anything to believe in.

The front office changes may one day pay dividends. So far????? Not much but noise. I’m pretty sure that but for Nonis and Cliff Fletcher there isn’t anyone on team Shanahan that has any experience at this level.

Even if you don’t listen to sports radio all that much, I suggest you tune in over the next little while. Chicken Little’s sky has already fallen. It’s barely February and for the most part we don’t care.

Then there’s the Blue Jays.

For the most part the fans don’t and shouldn’t really care about who the team President is. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it may become like the Detroit Tigers more of the de-facto GM but honestly should the fans really care? The old guard of the media certainly cared over the last couple of months didn’t they???? The love in with Paul Beeston was quite something.

Personally, I don’t think the fans cared all that much.

I think the reason it caught the attention of the fan was that the teams play hasn’t been up to par. The fans haven’t gotten, to be honest, what Mr. Beeston has predicted. Alex Anthopoulos is no longer the flavor du jour and the product on the field isn’t what we expected. In a business that’s all about winning, the results haven’t come close. If the Jays are a winning franchise do you think anyone cares about Paul Beeston?????? They care now, because it was easy to pile on to Rogers.

Beeston has said he is staying because he wants to deliver a winner in 2015. AWESOME. I hope he does. Show me. Right now, I wouldn’t pay one cent of my money on a game at the dome.

I love the talk that both Anthopoulos and Gibbons future rests on the teams ability to make the playoffs. Good! Their jobs should be on the line if they don’t make the playoffs. Again, I don’t believe the fans believe what the teams are selling and that makes covering the team a lot harder. Apathy is the worst condition in the world. Both teams are on the verge of being there. The coverage the teams are getting, in my mind reflects it. You suck for so long and people stop believing and worse, they stop caring.

What about the Toronto Raptors???

Fascinating question.

The Rodney Dangerfield team in town.

They are currently in 11th place in home league attendance on a percentage basis. 99.6% of the time they are playing in front of a sold out ACC.

Yet in terms of coverage, they continue to get treated like they do on the road, where, despite their record and place in the standings, they are tied for 24th place in the standings. The difference is, when the playoffs come, should they get any kind of success, they will be the talk of the town.

With the exception of the Raptors inner circle of media, the field isn’t all that equipped to talk about the Raptors all that much. Win a series in the playoffs and lookout, city of experts. I’d love to see that, because this city has earned it.

Until the average Torontonian is talking about the Raptors, the media won’t be either.

Meanwhile, the coverage on the Leafs should be fascinating to watch over the next couple of weeks leading up to March 2.

I can’t wait.


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February 5, 2015 11:48 pm

TSM in a pissy mood tonight!

February 6, 2015 12:50 am

I think that fans are sick and tired of Toronto teams being out of the playoffs at the mid-point of seasons. The Leafs are 1-10 under Horachek and have no hope in hell of making the playoffs and it is almost certain that Marlies are going to fill out the roster slightly before or on March 2. Is that a product worth watching? I am a Jays fan and I have to admit that I am tired of the team being out of a playoff spot by May 15 year after year after year. The selling of hope at the start of seasons and that hope quickly disappearing by all-star breaks is getting old and quite frankly the fan base of XYZ Toronto team is not buying it any longer. Toronto is not a city of losers but rather a city of sports teams that are in danger of losing a generation’s worth of fans. That is a very dangerous place to be for any sports franchise.

Darren K Johnston
Darren K Johnston
February 6, 2015 1:46 am

As for the rest of the Country, nobody gives a crap what the media or fans think of the 2 pro teams in Toronto!

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
February 6, 2015 8:03 am

The teams all get the attention they deserve. They are in the 4th largest market in NA so attendance isn’t – or shouldn’t be – an issue, neither is media coverage. (Jays and Rogers reap what they sow with the Jays).

Basketball has been a secondary sport here since the Raptors arrived here. That won’t change, but with their continued success they will continue attract new fans and generate increasing interest – at least until the lean years return…Hopefully we’re at the point where Drake can go away now.

The Leafs are just lucky there isn’t a 2nd NHL team in this market. They are too big to fail (as a business)…as a team, they’ve made failure an art form both on and off the ice.

February 6, 2015 9:29 am

Interesting take for sure…I think TSM has a point as I listen to NBA Satellite radio regularly and the fans of the Knicks (who’ve arguably have been even worse than the Leafs for the past 10 years) are apoplectic and jam the phone lines complaining about what’s going on. You don’t hear that sort of passion here

I wonder how much the the “synergy” we’ve seen take over the media recently plays into this apathy? When the FAN brings on Pat Tabler or Buck Martinez on for an interview does anyone really expect them to tear into the Jays (ie. their employer). No, it’s usually excuses about injuries or how hard the AL East is. If TSN interviews Matt Devlin is he going to criticize the Raps poor defence? We all know he’s not going to bite the hand that pays him. With the Leafs, yes the “experts” will criticize them (deservedly so) but as shows like Brady&Walker, McCown, Hockey Central, T&S are advertised as “Listen to us say argumentative things and disagree with each other” I wonder if a cynicism exists where the listener doesn’t really think they broadcaster means what they’re saying, it’s that they’re paid to say critical things just like the Tabler, Martinez and Devlin are paid to say positive things

Obviously, there is apathy for the teams due their poor performance over the past 20 years but maybe it’s exacerbated by the fact that radio no longer is an outlet for fans to vent/celebrate. It’s more about pushing content and “edutainment”

February 6, 2015 12:50 pm

Really good points, Sperk. With few exceptions, the sports media in Toronto is embedded (or in bed) with the teams they cover. You can’t expect the public to swallow the spoon-fed PR being supplied by a media that shares paychecks with players who have the same employers. Combine that with perpetual losing, and it’s not hard to figure out where the cynicism comes from. When someone like a Feschuk (who is not paid by Bell or Rogers) does something incredible like ask a tough question to an under-performing player, people are stunned and it becomes news.

February 6, 2015 4:59 pm

@Darren K Johnson – this is a website called ‘Toronto Sports Media’. It’s about …. the Toronto sports media.

Darren K Johnston
Darren K Johnston
February 6, 2015 6:18 pm

My Lord, how much of a show was Ken Reid trying to put on tonight on the round table trying to impress Bryan Colangelo? For all our sakes I wish his Wife would go back to work and force him to stay home to be with his kid, hell, take 2 years instead of one you annoying prick!!

February 6, 2015 7:24 pm

Toronto Sports Media, though, is really Canadian Sports Media due to the centralization of media outlets in Toronto. Unfortunately, the overwhelming sports coverage in this country emanates from the big smoke, and consequently, we get all Leafs all the time – even in Calgary.

Ken B
Ken B
February 6, 2015 11:20 pm

I concur that many supporters of Toronto’s sports teams have become numb to the incessant losing along with the unaccountable predictions that have come from some team executives.

As was seen with the Raptors’ playoff berth last year, Toronto sports fans are clamouring for any crumb resembling success to grab onto. It was intriguing to see the masses celebrating outside the ACC last spring as the team played Brooklyn, and that was simply a first round. Sadly a big feat if it’s Toronto.

The embarrassing debacle that is the Leafs has no end in sight. Tim Lieweke was thought to be MLSE’s first prudent move in eons, but Toronto mustn’t have been big enough for his ego. A whole lot of sizzle and not much steak. In his short tenure, Lieweke has still done damage. Instead of patiently seeking a Ken Holland-type to run hockey ops, he must have pitched a grandiose plan in front of neophyte executive Mr. Shanahan to remove him from NHL head offices. I wonder whether Shanahan would like a do-over on that decision? Then, one of Shanahan’s first moves was to hire another neophyte as Asst. GM. This dysfunctional outfit continues adding insult to injury by inserting unproven individuals into influential roles. The beat goes on.

For those who continually complain about the grating Ken Reid, what is so hard about changing stations rather than continue to torment oneself? If I happen to in the car on a Monday afternoon, I’ll check who McCown has on as co-host and if it’s Bob’s aforementioned cheerleader, I know that TSN or elsewhere will get my attention for the balance of the week. Reid is the hosting equivalent of the male voice on the Spence Diamond commercial: it makes me cringe, so I try to avoid it.

February 7, 2015 12:05 am

I have only listened to the 4pm hour of pts this week. I can only imagine what a roundtable of reid, shannon and the former nba gm was like.

Of course, tsn had simmons and wheeler filling in for naylor, so i listened to podcasts from 5-7 most of this week.

Mike V
Mike V
February 7, 2015 6:57 am

C’mon Ken, beating up on the latest terrible PTS co-host is a favourite past-time at TSM and a long standing tradition. You can’t ask people to stop that. It’s almost as if listening to PTS is the Toronto sports fan equivalent to hate-watching the Kardashians.

February 7, 2015 8:25 am

I go to two or three Sat night Leafs games at the ACC each year – in last 5 years I have never paid more than $300 for a pair of golds. I’ll let you know what I pay for tonight’s game. I’m going to boo history.

WestDale Rocks
WestDale Rocks
February 7, 2015 9:11 am

Apathy would be the best thing that’s happened to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the last 48 years. Fan anger is WAY more palatable to any owner than apathy. While there’s been lots to be angry about in the past with this team, I can’t really say I’ve seen fan apathy, and if your read is true, TSM, this can only be a good thing…and mean a definite turning of the corner perhaps.
As for Ken Reid, I’m flummoxed at how Rogers can keep parading this dude out on its signature radio show? What do they see in him that the rest of us don’t? It’s one thing for a guy to be plain bad….it’s quite another to have him piss people off and turn the dial. Rogers is playing with fire if this guy continues to co-host.

February 7, 2015 10:45 am

Apathy for the Leafs has grown for me in the past decade. I wanted a blowup after 04-05. If there’s not a full keep-only-reilly-and-nylander blowup by the time the draft rolls around and a commitment to truly sucking for high picks for a number of years, full on apathy will be in force for next season. No watching of any games. Done.

The Jays will be left and depending on how the 2015 season unfolds there very well may be no more regular sports watching from 2016 on.

WestDale Rocks
WestDale Rocks
February 8, 2015 9:57 am

I also don’t understand why the Leafs are keeping Nonis around. I found it curious in the way they spoke about Shanahan on the game broadcast last night…that “he cleared out two contracts to clear some space”. Isn’t that the job of the GM? If Shanny has essentially taken over the GM duties, why keep Nonis around? And if you’re keeping him around until the trade deadline is over, why waste those three weeks that would be valuable time for the new GM to come in, assess, and prepare for the draft which, this year in particular, is far more important than the trade deadline? Unless, of course, the next GM is already in the organization?? (my guess is, either Mark Hunter is the next GM, or Shanny simply adds the GM title to whatever it is he does already. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Mark Hunter come in and if they can’t get Babcock this summer, then Dale Hunter becomes the next coach. Fun times!

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