Sports writers only see the negatives, reader says. But what else is there?
One of the pleasures of an interactive column like mine is the give-and-take with readers who see things in the paper and online that wouldn’t occur to me.
I found a note today on SeeClickFix, the main forum for registering complaints with The Fixer, from a Star reader who lives in Trenton and has a bone to pick with our team of sports reporters and columnists.
S.M. Scott says he’s been a faithful Star reader for decades, and that our sports writers “have a very negative view of Toronto’s professional sports athletes.”
Throughout the time he’s been reading the Star, “I have noticed that Toronto teams never win a game, the other team loses it.
“Similarly, an opposing team never defeats Toronto. Instead, Toronto throws away the game.”
He cited our story about the Blue Jays losing effort on Sunday, saying, “it was not a case of another professional ballplayer doing his job and getting a timely hit.
"Oh no, the Blue Jay pitcher made a mistake and threw a bad pitch. The inference was that anybody could have hit the ball over the fence; by the same token, no Blue Jay could have hit the ball well enough to help the team win the game.
“It always seems that the Toronto team (choose your sport) somehow always shows up poorly when compared to any opposing team. Even if they win, the Toronto team did not win the game, the other team did something to lose the game.”
I read the sports pages and have never thought the stories in the Star, or any of the other local dailies, reflected an anti-Toronto bias.
In fact, it seems to me it’s the other way around. Much of the eternal optimism that surrounds the Leafs at the start of each year is fed by sunny newspaper coverage, especially from this paper. With the exception of this past season, the Leafs don’t come close to matching the optimism.
It’s hard to sugar-coat stories about a team that loses more than it wins, which is almost always the case with the Leafs.
No sports section beat the drums for the Blue Jays more tenaciously than the Star in the off-season; we were at the front of the pack in declaring them a World Series contender, and were the first to call for a committee to organize a ticker-tape parade on Bay St.
Look where that went. Cellar dwellers, 10 games out of first and the season over by the end of May. Just like the last 10 years or so.
I can forgive our baseball scribes if they’re feeling jaded and it shows in their stories.
We’ve had a basketball team for nearly 20 years, and they’ve made the playoffs just once that I can recall. The Raptors are consistently one of the NBA’s bottom feeders. How can you wax rhapsodic about that?
I think Scott has identified the gulf that exists between professionals who are paid to see things as they are – and call it that way – and fans who will always forgive the mistakes made by their heroes.
We’ve have such a brutal run of losing teams in Toronto over the past 20 years that it is impossible to put a positive spin on it.
If the Blue Jays were leading the AL east and playing .650 baseball, a lot more of the stories would be favorable, and fans might not find such negativity in our coverage.