Editors square off over Bills franchise in T.O. - Part 2

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

You want an NFL team, Toronto? You don’t deserve one.

You perpetuate a bandwagon culture of epic proportions. When the Blue Jays are in contention, you fill the stadium. Two weeks later, after the team’s been swept, the sea of blue at the Rogers Centre is made up of empty seats rather than supportive jerseys.

You cheer the Raptors now they’re winning, but where were you two years ago? Until the Raptors were division champions, basketball fans were few and far between in Toronto.

Maple Leafs fans are of a different sort. You rally behind them and then crucify the players. Nik Antropov was the devil and Bryan McCabe the next great defensive scorer two seasons ago. How that’s turned around.

You claim to love your captain, but you ceaselessly pray he’ll be traded away for picks and prospects " a far cry from the loyalty exhibited by Edmonton fans when Ryan Smyth was on the block.

As fans, you’re overbearing. You incessantly refer to yourselves as “the centre of the hockey universe,” even as your team flounders in the depths of mediocrity. You talk about how storied your franchise is without any consideration for the fact it hasn’t accomplished anything of meaning in several decades.

You create such pressure and such an unbearable atmosphere that even hockey players shun the city during free agency. If you alienate Canadian NHLers, how do you expect to attract Texan running backs?

I will grant that you’re exceptionally loyal to your franchise, and one of the most die-hard groups in professional sports.

Unfortunately, the real fans can’t even watch the game " let alone at a decent price " because of a corporate culture which ensures lower-level seats are filled with quiet, uninterested businessmen. That’s if they’re filled at all. Ironically, this is the same corporate and financial culture that supposedly makes Toronto a viable market for the Buffalo Bills.

Ralph Wilson Stadium is filled every Sunday with screaming fans, freezing their asses off after four hours of tailgating in support of a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in nearly a decade. We support them anyway.

Our seats are often empty " not because we’re not there, but because we’re standing from start to finish. We support our team and our players, under any and all circumstances, in a stadium with enough energy to negate the fact it’s cold enough that our beers are freezing.

You want to replace that atmosphere with an extra ring of corporate seating dug into a baseball stadium already considered one of the worst on the continent? You’re not even willing to invest in a proper stadium and yet you feel you’re welcoming for a franchise?

Do you really think you’ll stay true during a playoff drought? Do you think you’ll create an atmosphere where players can succeed? Do you think lower-bowl tickets in the Rogers Centre will be available to anybody but Bay Street law firms?

The Blue Jays and Raptors have proven otherwise and you’ve proven you don’t deserve the Buffalo Bills.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette