Tickets, get your tickets. Cheap!
Today, let’s tackle the big shots for a while. After all, they’ve got some ‘splainin to do.
Wanna know what happens in my perfect world?
Wait, I take that back.
Wanna know what happens in my perfect world regarding one facet of basketball that I have to write about every day?
Here’s what happens:
The bean counters and tall foreheads over at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment are sitting around deciding when to spring the full season ticket renewal thing on the unsuspecting customers.
They call this guy, let’s say Mr. Grunt, and invite his input.
Them: “Mr. Grunt, oh wise one, what should we do?”
Grunt: “Sit down, folks, and listen closely.
“First, do not – I repeat DO NOT – even contemplate as much as a one penny increase in a single seat in your arena.
“In fact, you need to freeze the prices of every seat in the bottom half of the lower bowl and you have to reduce the price of the top half of the lower bowl by about three per cent.
“You need to reduce the price of seats in most of the upper bowl by five per cent and you cut the cost of seats in the corners by seven per cent.
“These are horrible economic times, people are losing jobs left and right, the amount of disposable income is drying up rapidly and if you want casual fans to augment your season-ticket base, those tickets have to be affordable.
“The Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Bobcats and Detroit Pistons have already announced they’ll reduce or freeze ticket prices so there is precedent in the league today.
“Oh, and one other thing, if season ticket holders want to pay over time, you allow them right now to make seven or eight equal monthly payments – with no interest charges – and if they want to pay it all up front, you give them another two per cent off.”
“You’ve put a substandard product on the court this season, you’ve been party to one of the all-time fan screw jobs in history with this Rogers, TSN2 mess you got yourself into and, trust me, you don’t have a lot of goodwill with the people.”
Them: “Are you out of your frickin’ mind!”
Mr. Grunt: “Power to the people, baby!”
|TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|There's the Raptors, and there's guys like Charles Oakley.|
We’re standing around chatting with Chris Bosh yesterday and the conversation turns to Mike Curry, who played here in Bosh’s rookie season.
And some interesting stuff comes from Chris:
“He taught me how to work, he taught me the value of hard work, even when you don’t feel like it. Mike always grabbed me and said ‘we’re going to get extra shots up.’ I didn’t understand why, (I thought) I got enough shots in practice. But he took me anyway and he showed me how to work to be successful.”
And then I wondered: “Who does that for this Toronto team?” Quick answer? No one.
And maybe that’s part of the issue, there is no one on the roster to police teammates, to make ‘em work harder than they normally would.
Maybe when Bryan’s out shopping this summer, that’s got to be near the top of the list.
Trouble is, those old codgers don’t exist much anymore. I guess maybe you could say Garnett does it in Boston but Orlando doesn’t really have one, Cleveland doesn’t really have one, the Lakers don’t really have one. You could probably say San Antonio has three or four ‘cause I think of a lot of them as oldsters.
Remember when Toronto was good? What’d they have? Oak, Dell Curry, Kevin Willis, Muggsy Bogues, Dee Brown. Old dudes who knew what it took.
A solid question of money:
Q: Hi Doug, with the recession settling in do you think it could be a good time for Stern to let teams buy out bad contracts? Buying out contracts cost teams money, but it would allow a team like the Raptors rid themselves of one or two bad contracts (if they had any, cough Banks, cough Kapono), to put a better product on the floor to keep a declining fan base interested.
Steph R, Glencoe
A: That’s an excellent question.
There is precedent, the had a contract “amnesty” in 2005 – teams could buy out one player – and with the economic woes that exist now, it might be a way to reduce payroll on long-term deals. Depending on when the CBA talks begin in earnest and what the global money situation is like, I would imagine it’d be something they will revisit. And should.
They’re in love with Antonio McDyess these days in Detroit.
Oh yeah, there’s this:
There was apparently some whacked out report yesterday about the Knicks making Carlos Delfino some $4 million offer?
Um, here’s the truth:
The Knicks don’t have their mid-level salary exception left and could only offer a pro-rated veteran’s minimum.
Carlos is just getting over a shoulder injury and is still under contract to Khimki.
Why in the world he’d want to sign with a team now – one that’s life and death to sneak into the playoffs – instead of waiting until the summer to find out if he can get a better offer from a better team is beyond me.
I really wish people would do at least a modicum of research before they publish, you know, poop and send people scurrying breathlessly to their keyboards to e-mail me about it.
Q: Doug, if you could hand pick your starters for each position between the Raptors and the Heat rosters who would be your five? I have Jose, Wade, Marion, Bosh, Bargnani (and I think most people would). So does that mean that the difference between fighting for home court in the playoffs or fighting for last place in the East is really just due to 1 (very good) player. I guess that would explain the Heat's record last year vs this.
Brad M, Port Dover
A: Ah, yes. One extremely good ball-handling, slashing, dynamic scoring wing man is the difference between mediocrity and, maybe not greatness, but goodness. It always will be, it always was and it has been a failing of this roster for years.