And they're off and running at camp No. 19
Yes, they will focus on defence and they are optimistic and the playoffs are the goal and everyone’s in great shape and it’s all about the team and everyone loves each other and they can’t wait to get started and prove people wrong.
The more things change …
But if you were longing for Raptors stuff, we’ve got some today. Kind of a one-track day here, we’ll get that changed as the mundane nature of camp starts soon.
So, how was it?
Well, more on that later because it was an odd day but I’m going to say this: Drake’s cool.
I don’t get his music and I’m pretty sure they don’t care and I’m not supposed to get it but as I said at some point during the hijinks, as Global Ambassadors go, he seemed legit and passionate and interested.
I still don’t think he does anything to attract players if the team sucks but here’s the other thing: Enough basketball people connected with the Raptors, and I’m talking coaches, players, staff, have even more than the usual sense of optimism and told me enough things privately that this might turn into an interesting year.
While I was spending most of Monday night enjoying a peanut or two and telling stories to friends (hello, Mick and Angelo’s!) the team was having a nice dinner and I know what they were talking about.
It’s going to be a good season. The thing I think I like about this group is that there are no braggarts, there’s a quiet confidence I quite like. No one played the “we don’t get any respect” card and I hope they don’t, given the track record of the organization over the last five years. You earn respect by playing well but the over-riding sense in a half dozen conversations was they think things might work out.
Best line of the day came from Masai:
“I don’t know how you teach winning by losing.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Should be the motto for the season.
This works today, I suppose.
As they were holding up those nifty red “NBA all-star 2016” jerseys at the requisite photo op following Monday’s buntoss down at the arena, something struck me:
Think they sell much merchandise over the next two years?
You know, with a colour change coming and a new logo design coming, too, doesn’t it make it more difficult to separate fans from their money before the start of the 2015-16 season?
Are you going to buy a jersey or anything knowing that it’ll be obsolete in not too long? Or would you buy a jersey or something because it’s going to be obsolete in not too long?
Guess it’s a personal choice and heavens knows I see enough people and the league wearing the old pinstripe abomination or the old purple-black road jerseys so I guess maybe it doesn’t matter.
Or does it?
Anyway, not sure how we’d ever do it but tracking sales between now and the start of the 2015-16 season might be interesting.
So that was, by my math and that’s always dicey, the 19th media day in franchise history and I’ve missed one – was in Rome in 2007 vacationing with Super Family and waiting to meet the team in Treviso.
And yesterday’s was one of the lowest-key ones that I can remember.
Now, the Drake all-thing before was obviously the big event and it was crazy and packed and full of people who I don’t think are certain whether a basketball is blown up or stuffed so of course there’d be some dwindling of attendance when the actual basketball stuff started.
But even then, it seemed to be a far smaller turnout than usual and a far more scripted day.
Back in the day, it was quite informal, players would wander into the gym or the room to have pictures taken and talk to whoever needed to talk to them; now they go from station-to-station, all scrums are against a backdrop and private moments are few and far between.
You can get them through the great help of the Raptors PR department and the various “minders” who help shuttle players around all day but there’s a far more “formal” feel to it.
As I mentioned, Drake was mightily impressive and his bonafides as a fan are without question.
Now, as long as he doesn’t go all crazy and think he can play, we’ll be fine.
Remember Master P?
One of the great, great exhibition game moments was in Dallas, I believe, that one fateful year when fans, near the end of a game, started chanting “We want P, we want P” and Butch, bless his heart, put Master in the game.
I believe I rolled my eyes, closed my computer and gave up on the night.
As training camp stunts go, that one was off the charts good.
So three days of camp here, two in Halifax (am going to need a refresher course later in the week on where to go for my Thursday-Friday-Saturday nights off) and then on to Boston so that’s not too bad.
But of the 19 I’ve now done, it’s kind of in the middle of the ranks, probably lower than middle because of the three days here – I still say Halifax got screwed this year – but nowhere near the top nor the bottom.
What are they? Easy.
The front yard of the hotel we stayed at was a vinyard where they grew the grapes to make the wine that you had with dinner and the pasta with baby clams was to die for.
No way anything beats that. Ever.
Now, I’m going to take some stick for this since Super Wife is from Barrie but a Holiday Inn off the 400 is not the lap of NBA luxury. Nor was the old Molson place where they worked.
And for how long I ever do this, those two won’t change.