Fairweather fans

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Sports fans in the centre of the universe a.k.a. Toronto have long had a reputation for being unforgiving. Particularly when it comes to their beloved business first, hockey second Toronto Maple Leafs. Theres no doubt the harsh scrutiny of every aspect of the team from general manager down to the guy who scrapes gum dollars off the seats at the Air Canada Centre, has had a detrimental effect on the team. Without sitting down for a one-on-one with Andrew Release Me Raycroft, the exact effects can never be known. But surely it has to be a distraction and its probably been a deterrent to some players who toyed with the notion of joining the club. (Note to Jason Blake: Watch out! Once McCabe is dealt with, your bloated contract for your paltry results will be the next subject of dissection) But where fans in T.O. regularly takes a strip off the Leafs presumably because theyre the only local franchise who hasnt won a championship in the last 40 years they tend to be oddly forgiving of the other teams: the Argonauts, the Raptors, and the Blue Jays. The Argos are regular contenders for the Grey Cup, and the Raptors havent been around long enough to earn the ire of Torontonians. But its been 15 years since Jumpin Joe hit his memorable ninth inning homer to give Toronto its second consecutive World Series title and theyve done little to nothing since. So what gives? I had a chance to talk to former Blue Jay Kelly Gruber this week and had to find out if the fans in Toronto are as hard on the Blue Birds as they are on the Buds. No. Not at all. When youre talking the likes of New York, the likes of San Francisco or Oakland, the likes of Chicago, Detroit, Boston... those folks are very calloused, very hard, very difficult. It was a piece of cake playing in Toronto as compared to these other cities. The Jays only came in to existence in 1977, and Gruber says early on the recreational fans killing an afternoon at the Ex werent that knowledgeable about baseball. It was normal to hear them cheer for the opposing team when they made a good play or got a hit. That was the kind of fan they were and I think a lot of it was that they werent educated into the game. I remember many times being out at third base with two outs and hearing Okay boys, lets turn two. Toronto sports fans uneducated and ignorant? Never.

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  • Toronto
    July 27, 2010 - 13:55

    This is absolutely amazing to me that this is writtten by the sports department at the Telegram for a few reasons.

    1) Titled Fairweather Fans - this from the paper of record for a city that lost an AHL and QMJHL team - What teams did Toronto loose? None - but they are the fairweather fans and ummm they are huge leaf supporters despite no cup - somehow that is fairweather?

    2) Centre of the Universe - The Telegram headline saying that beccause a NL'er finally won the cup that event is not only NL history (which is a dubious enough claim) but Danny Cleary winning the cup is hockey history - I know Toronto never made that claim when among others Draper won the cup. What signifies being the centre of the universe more than when something happens to NL'ers it is history greater than that of the NL? Can't weait for Danny's booth at the Hall.

    3) What market in Canada do people know more about baseball? I do not think there is one- so to say that Toronto fans are ignorant will more broadly assume Canadians and therefore NL'ers are ignorant sports fans.

    This is poor representation of a very diverse city and shows a pettyness by Mr. Oliver (and a lack of content with in the province). Toronto is many things but to paint them as a pack of ingnoramuses is really unbecoming.