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FP Gets FU On FC

August 12, 2007 @ 09:54

Last week I wrote a piece that included a reference to Toronto FC, Toronto's new entry in the Major Soccer League.

I predicted that FC probably wouldn't last five years and the response I got was firmly behind the soccer team. For some reason, soccer fans think this team will survive unlike other Toronto soccer teams that haven't.

The Toronto Metros-Croatia and the Toronto Blizzard were both born into the same type of enthusiasm that FC is enjoying right now, but it didn't last and I'm convinced FC will suffer the same fate.

Right now FC is enjoying the benefits of a new stadium that everyone wants to see, and Toronto got sucked in by all the David Beckham bullshit and I'm sure that turned into thousands of tickets sales.

But the novelty of the stadium will wear off, and Beckham will probably be out of the league before ever playing a game at BMO field and interest will probably wane.

It's happened before and it will probably happen again. I remember going to Toronto Blizzard games in 1981 that attracted 50 thousand fans. By 1984 attendance in Toronto was low and the league fell apart.

However, I will say this. I have several friends who've been to FC games and they love it.

Former CFNY music director, and now big shot executive at Universal Music, puts it this way.

"Toronto FC is here to stay. The fans love it and it's a great experience at a resonable price (for now). I attend many other sporting events on a regular basis and I have to say that it's a refreshing change to not to have to sit through a Pizza Box promotion or the Frank D'Angelo Steelback band and all the other over commercialized elements that can keep you at an event for over three and a half hours".

When Ivar paid a visit to the "tin palace" a few weeks ago he offered to go to a game with me and I plan to take him up on it.

It's always been a goal of mine to attend at least one game of every team that comes through Toronto. I even with to a Toronto Phantoms arena football game and that was the most ridiculous sport I've ever seen.

And now I'd like to put FC on that list - before they're gone.

Category: Sports

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Beckham And Bonds

August 9, 2007 @ 11:10

Several people have e-mailed me to ask why I didn't comment on two sports issues.

David Beckham visiting Toronto and the hype that surrounded it, and Barry Bonds setting the all-time home run record.

That's one of the great things about writing a blog. You can pick and choose your subjects without having them mandated and these two subjects did not inspire me in the least.

The Beckham thing was so "Toronto" it made me sick. A soccer player on the downside of his career signs a ridiculous contract with a second rate soccer league but Toronto goes whacky when he comes to town and doesn't even play.

Toronto's thirst to be "world class" sometimes as exposes us for nothing but a backwoods community of hosers. The media attention was pathetic, but that was obviously fuelled by the people's desire to know.

Know where he was going, what he was doing, who he was with, where he ate, where he drank and where he crapped.

And here's the irony. Even anyone thinks David Beckham will play-out his five year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy they're dreaming - and anyone thinks Toronto FC will survive for five years is also dreaming.

What happened in Toronto last week with Beckham was nothing short of stupid.

As for Barry Bonds - nobody with his disposition and attitude deserves to the accolades he'll receive for breaking the all-time home-run record.

Screw the steroids angle. Who gives a shit?

Clean or dirty Barry Bonds is a king sized asshole with no class and totally detached from reality.

Barry Bonds was blessed with the ability to hit a ball with a hunk of wood and it just so happens that our society holds this high regard and his willing to pay big dollars for it.

Unfortunately, because of this Bonds thinks he's something special. He really thinks he makes a significant contribution to the world and therefore has the right to treat most others like dirt.

Things haven't been going too well for major league baseball in recent history and having Barry Bonds as their new home run king with all the baggage that he carries is something the sport could have done without.

Category: Sports

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Buddy Goes To Beantown

August 2, 2007 @ 10:52

One of the guys I went golfing with on Tuesday was Craig Ramsay. As I've explained before, I don't frequent just any trailer park, I'm in a high class trailer park and Rammer is one of the residents. (attached picture is of me and Craig at the Tiki Bar)

But he won't be around for long. In the past few days Ramsay reached agreement to be an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins and it was announced yesterday.

After several years with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Rammer was given the boot by head coach John Tortorella this off season.

Now he'll work with head coach Claude Julien who got the Boston job after he was fired by the New Jersey Devils in April. Remember that one, the Devils were in first place but Lou Lamoriello decided Julien wasn't the guy to take them into the playoffs so he canned him.

And then justice prevailed and the Devils crapped out in the post season.

Anyway, back to Ramsay. The man can golf.

On Tuesday he got off to a slow start at Katchawano shooting 18 on the first three holes. Then over the final 15 holes he shot a 57 for a final score of 75.

It's not fair. Hockey guys get to spend their whole life golfing all summer and they're usually fine athletes to begin with.

I go out there one Tuesday feeling pretty about coming within one stroke of breaking one hundred and this guy checks in with a 75 despite a bad start.

Show off.

Having said that, we're all happy for Rammer and his new job in Boston. It means he'll be coming to the ACC four times this winter and I'm sure he'll arrange to get all his trailer friends tickets when the Bruins come to town.

He'll get platinum seats for all of us and we'll all sit right behind the Bruins bench and tell everyone around us that we know Craig Ramsay.

After the game he'll take us for a tour of the Bruins dressing room and then buy us dinner at a swanky steak house near the ACC where he'll have arranged to have Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito dine with us.

He hasn't made the offer yet, but it's just a matter of time.

Category: Sports

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Carroll On Soccer

July 20, 2007 @ 09:34

It was a great segment of radio this morning between 8:30 and nine on the Bill Carroll Show.

Kudos to Bill for having enough balls to attack the game of soccer and going as far as to claim they should bulldoze BMO Field.

It case you didn't hear, there was a major incident at BMO field last night, during and after the World Cup under 20 game between Chile and Argentina.

It started on the field with the Chileans complaining about bad referring, and then escalated after the game as the Chileans boarded their bus.

Police had to escort the officiating team off the field, and then after leaving their dressing room the Chilean players actually engaged the police to the point where a taser gun had to be used.

The segment on Carroll's show was riveting. Absolutely amazing to hear soccer fans call in and blame the police for the behaviour of the fans and players.

Fans attempted to run onto the field, but it was the police who were criticized for trying to prevent it. And after the game, when police decided it might be best to make sure the Chileans got right on the bus and didn't mingle with the crowd, they were criticized for that.

Some callers to the Carroll show insisted on excusing the behaviour of the fans and players based on the officiating and that's even more ridiculous.

Bottom line - as Carroll says soccer and hooliganism go together and we really don't need it in Toronto. We have other sports where for the most part, the vast majority of the time, fans acts like normal people.

This was a horrible incident, but already the behaviour of fans has been called into question for regular season games involving Toronto FC - there's something weird about this sport and what goes on around it.

"I hate soccer" said Carroll.

Right on Bill.


Category: Radio | Sports

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It's Just Not Right

July 12, 2007 @ 08:58

The NHL schedule was released yesterday and this is the first time under the new format that the Canadian "flaw" is exposed.

The Leafs will play no games against Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver this year.

The way the schedule is designed, you play your division rivals eight times each, conference rivals four times each, and then you play ten games against the West - one game each against two divisions.

It just so happens that the division the Leafs don't play against this year is the Northwest.

It's amazing how the NHL will bend over backwards for American teams. Do whatever it takes to make sure they get all they need to stay afloat, but meanwhile Canadian teams are taken for granted.

The Leafs, Montreal and Ottawa should have the other three Canadians teams on their schedule every year. It's a no brainer.

This is Canada and the game is hockey and there's nothing better than watching two Canadian teams against each other - and its important to the fans, especially Western Canadian fans who love to have the Leafs and Habs visit.

But therein lies the answer and the problem. When it comes to Canadians fans the NHL doesn't give us much thought. We're there, and we'll always be there. We don't need any maintenance so no provisions are made.

That's precisely why a Canadians billionaire sits on the sidelines right now willing to strengthen the league with a boat full of money.

This winter while you're settling in to watch the Leafs play Columbus, or Nashville or Boston for the eighth time, remember those games could have easily been changed for Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary making the season more interesting for Canadian fans.

They could have. But the NHL doesn't care.

Category: Sports

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Countdown to Opening Night

July 12, 2007 @ 08:57

And that brings me to this.

Mike Boon is an internet/website wiz who helped me create freddiep.ca as it is today.

He's a man of many interests including hockey which is right near the top of his love list.

Mike Boon is so typical of millions of hockey fans in Canada, the type that of guy who'd probably buy season tickets if a team came to Hamilton. But he can't because the NHL won't let him.

Mike Boon is the type of fan that Gary Bettman continually pisses on, not for a second appreciating the passion.

I'm going to forward this page from Boon's blog to the NHL offices in New York. I know Bettman will never see it or probably wouldn't care if he did.

But it's the kind of devotion to the game that Canadians get no credit for.

Category: Sports

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More Hockey Passion

July 12, 2007 @ 08:56

Jason Barr of the Edge morning show is writing a book and he needs your help.

Jason has two boys and he's heavily involved in minor hockey on both the parenting and coaching levels.

Over the past few years he's been witness to some unbelievable situations involving hockey mons and dads that would make your head spin, and now he'd like to put it all in a book.

But he wants more stories and he'd love you to contribute. For more information, go here.

Category: Friends | Radio | Sports

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Here We Go Again

July 4, 2007 @ 12:40

I really hope Vesa Toskala is half as good as the Maple Leafs think he is.

I sit hear rubbing my head wondering what this guy has done to warrant a long term contract through 2010 that's worth double what the San Jose Sharks paid him.

The San Jose Sharks, a well run organization with a recent history of building solid teams while showing fiscal responsibility paid him 1.37 million dollars a year.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who represent just about everything the Sharks aren't, have decided to more than double Toskala's salary after next year.

Doesn't that seem a bit odd?

Excuse me for being a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the Maple Leafs but what has Toskala accomplished that would warrant such treatment?

He was a backup goaltender for a solid team with a good defensive system. He hasn't played one minute of one game under the Leaf system but he's instantly worth twice as much.

You think they would have learned from the Andrew Raycroft experience. They threw two million a year at him before he played a single game and we all know where that put them.

It put them in the market for another goaltender.

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On The Bright Side

July 3, 2007 @ 11:01

I read about the NHL free-agent signings with great interest this morning.

Hey, what the hell, Jason Blake isn't a bad signing but as a cynical Leaf fan you just have to wonder what will go wrong with the guy.

Will he survive the pressure in Toronto? Will he play on the right line? Will he break his leg this summer is some freak accident?

I must say however, that the most profound thing I've heard this season came from the mouth of Leaf coach Paul Maurice.

He doesn't understand all the doom and gloom around Toronto.

He points out that the Leafs had 91 points off 40 victories this season. Ottawa and Anaheim, the two teams that went to the Stanley Cup final had only 48 victories each.

From October till April, on only eight occasions did the Leafs lose when the Stanley Cup finalists won.

They're not that far off.

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Bettman Screws Canada Again

June 28, 2007 @ 08:41

If there was any doubt that a conspiracy existed within the NHL to keep teams out of Canada, it's been totally eliminated now.

How else do you explain the latest happenings in the Nashville Predators saga.

Predators owner Craig Leipold has told Jim Balsillie that he is no longer interested in doing business. Instead of accepting $238 million dollars from Balsillie, Leipold has apparently agreed to terms with California businessman William DelBiaggio who wants to move the team to Kansas City.

Selling price - 190 million dollars and the deal could be announced as early as today.

Do the math and it doesn't add up, and that leads to only one conclusion. Somewhere along the line the 48 million dollar difference has been made up by somebody.

It all makes sense now. There's no way Leipold would accept 48 million dollars less than Balsillie was offering. But if the league promised to make it up, with a little help from say the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres, then Leipold could have been convinced to dump the Balsillie offer.

It's obvious this thing was going to court, so rather than spend millions upon millions fighting Balsillie in court, and testing and exposing the NHL's territorial policies, the league probably decided to spend its money elsewhere.

Give it to Leipold in exchange for him doing business with an American rather than some guy who wants to move the franchise to Canada.

The league avoids the courts, the Leafs and Sabres kick in some dough to protect their territory and Gary Bettman gets his franchise in Kansas City.

Goddamn Kansas City, a franchise destined for failure before it even plays its first game.

All Canadians should be mighty pissed off today.

Category: Sports

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