On “Rant”

Rich’s post yesterday about overreacting makes sense to an extent. Fulham and teams of our ilk will never win the League title, and we can only pray for an appearance at Wembley or another Europa finale. If this makes you upset, there’s the door.

But what about if your team is *supposed* to be competing, what then? Perhaps Chelsea is a good example of this, but they overreacted in firing a manager they hired to act more as a business consultant than a simple coach (cut the overhead but keep the sales flowing. Right…). If City somehow blows the title chase, then they would probably be the best example in England.

But there’s a better example going on with another team I root for. A team that has more potential; and yet is squandering it more than is imaginable.

From the excellent Bruce Arthur of Canada’s National Post:

It has become a comprehensive collapse, a system failure. Since that 6-3 win over Edmonton on Feb. 6, Toronto is 4-15-2, which means that in some essential way, these are the same old Leafs. The faces and birth certificates have changed, sure. They always do, like the waxing and waning of the moon. They are younger, to be sure. They have more recognizable prospects in the pipeline, if no more can’t-miss stars. There is reason for relative optimism if you want to find it, depending on what you define as optimism.


This season, in its own way, has been worse. This season the Leafs put themselves in a position to play games that mattered, in a league where the playoff race begins months before the end, and they have simply come apart. They have collapsed without a significant wave of injuries, like the ones endured by Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. They have collapsed without an answer, or even much of a response…

Well, on Tuesday night some people didn’t come. The tickets were no doubt sold, which means when fans in this town vote with their feet, they are voting with their wallet, too. Those in attendance simply seemed resigned. They roused themselves to boo late, and a lot of people left early. A very faint “Fire Burke” rose and fell late in the third; it later trended Canada-wide on Twitter…

This may get me in trouble with the hockey fans around here (all 3 of us), but it’s what I think: the Toronto Maple Leafs *should* be one of the best teams in the NHL. They traded their dilapidated, but character-filled historic arena for a cold, soulless one in order to garner more revenue. And as a result, they have the highest fan cost index in the entire league. Forbes ranked them the #1 most valuable team. Additionally, they’re owned by a faceless consortium of whom the leading stake holder (the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan), just sold their shares for nearly $1.32 billion.

And yet, even with a brash GM that promised a change in fortunes over 3 years ago, the team cannot make the playoffs. For the past 7 seasons. In a league where 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs. Where wins only earn 2 points, not 3. And some losses can actually earn you one point.

So, even in such a socialistic league and with the prospect of new ownership, I as a fan don’t see changes in the horizon. The revenue stream is never ending so there’s no real need to jump hoops to win and get more of it.

Now, hockey isn’t football where teams with the most money win. Or, at least are in better positions to. But there are instances like this where I wish there was more overreacting here. I wish fans would do more than boo and chant “Fire [insert name]”. (No, please don’t kidnap players or set the stadium on fire).

At least for Fulham fans and the like that overreact, there isn’t “always next year”.

11 thoughts on “On “Rant””

  1. Oh gosh, you’re an Orioles fan AND a Leafs fan? You have my sympathy.

    But you’re right, and what you’re saying parallels how I feel about the New York Mets. A team in a modern facility in a wealthy major metropolitan area with a huge fan base and a tradition of success (OK, that only applies to the Leafs) should be very good if they’re competently run. (The intricacies of the salary cap in the NHL are a bit of a wrench in the works, but with the large revenue streams they should have they could still improve their scouting operations, support staff, etc.; the Red Wings are a great example of this.)

    1. Yeah, sure love me some losing.

      But, at least Orioles games are ridiculously cheap. And you can sit wherever you want. And bring in food. I’ve never been to a Leafs game in Toronto, and don’t really know if I ever want to…

      1. Yeah, Camden Yards is awesome and cheap. Citi Field is awesome but expensive and a long way away from the middle of the city.

      2. This is why I go to As games. $2 bleachers seats, or $20 for a ticket on the first-base line, cheap hot dogs on Wednesdays, etc. The only problem is that Camden Yards is beautiful, whereas the Oakland Coliseum is a giant concrete toilet.

  2. What a good perspective. If nobody cared it’d be much, much worse.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that people should perhaps get wound up at more appropriate moments than after a footballing masterclass from a nice team in Wales when we’re essentially safe, but each to their own, obviously (I mean that sincerely – not sarcastically at all. Really).

    1. The situation with GSW out here is ugly — that is an intensely loyal fanbase for such a bad NBA team, but a lot of it had to do with Monta Ellis, who is regarded as a folk hero and had a game that is incredible to watch in person. People are pissed that he’s leaving, and that the new ownership basically guaranteed a playoff appearance (and were within striking distance of getting one), but now appear to be intentionally tanking the season to try to reclaim a protected draft pick they had previously traded away. (Strategically, blowing up the team is probably the right move.)

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