Corporate greed and sports

Is the love of my life nothing more than a soulless, money hungry, heartless bitch?

After all that’s come out in the past week about the Jays, and how players were going to defer money so the team could sign Ervin Santana, I’ve been left conflicted. It’s truly disheartening to hear that the owners of a team – owners I should point out that have money beyond what any of us can imagine – that appeared last year to enter a new phase of competing and spending with the big boys has so quickly done an about face and left the front office with no ability to complement what remains a strong core of talented players. This, to me, is worse than past years when there was at least a multi-year promise, of sorts, to spend. 

I’ve been a Jays fan for as long as I’ve been a baseball fan. I have vague recollections of Joe Carter hitting his famous home run in 1993 (I was six years old at the time). I cheered for the likes of Hengten, Delgado, Green, Gonzalez, and even Josh Phelps – who was the next big thing in my eyes at one point. I followed closely the careers of Halladay and Wells, well at least up until VW turned into a pumpkin, though even then I paid attention with morbid curiosity always hoping he’d do well but knowing he probably wouldn’t.

And each year I became more engrossed in the sport and the team. To the point where I started a blog. I do daily searches for Jays news and know more about the team and organization than I probably should.

So after this latest news, seemingly the third time Rogers has pulled the financial backing from under a front office trying to compete, it feels like the team I love is nothing more than a gold digger. She cares for only the almighty dollar, willing to take the praise when it appears she’s doing good by me, only to hide away when I discover she’s maxed out my credit card.

Honestly, my initial reaction when I heard the deferral news was that this is it. It sounds harsh, but I actually have a history of this. For a while I was nearly as big a Leafs fan as I was a Jays supporter. But the soulless nature of the owners, the mismanagement, and the media/fans turned me off. Of course, the labour disputes and league-wide issues have kind of turned me off hockey as a whole. I’ll still cheer for the Leafs and would like to see them win a cup, but I’ve already watched more baseball this year than I have hockey.

So back to the Jays. If this is what they’re going to do to every GM, then screw them. I could find another team.

But maybe not. Even though I’ve done something similar with the Leafs, they’re not my first sports love. And it’s not like I’ve soured on baseball as a whole. This is a golden era of sorts for the sport. It’s popular, financially strong, and growing. There are great players, the once in a generation type.

And on top of that, I love this team. Regardless of ownership, the team is fun. I remain confident in Alex Anthopolous. Gibby’s awesome. And the team is full of players I enjoy cheering for. Colby’s redneck-ness, Lawrie’s Canadian Jesusness, the out-of-nowhere stories of EE and Jose Bautista. Then there’s Jose Reyes, RA Dickey, Mark Buerhle, Dustin McGowan. The list goes on. They’re players I can get behind.

Their willingness to defer money even adds to that. They want to win here, and they’re willing to do what it takes to win.

So I somehow have to separate the team from the owner. Perhaps the girlfriend’s a nice girl, she just comes from a family with the wrong priorities. Yeah, that works for me. Her parents only care about making bank, while she just wants to have fun, drink a beer, and see Cletus sock a few dingers.

And in the long run, it might even work out. AA’s a smart guy, and one I think knows how to adapt. If he’s able to survive this year and come to the realization that the money’s not necessarily going to be there, he can build a winner. He was deluded into that thought – that the owners would give him that extra few million if he really, truly needed it – and now knowing better he can build a team that perhaps won’t need that extra money. He’s proven to be a pretty strong drafter by all accounts, and can make some pretty shrewd trades.

I guess I can still be a Jays fan. I’m still wearing my Jays cap as I write this, so there’s that. And I’ll watch the game tonight, and probably tomorrow too. 

But Rogers? Fuck Rogers. 

There. I feel better.

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