Because the Leafs were ranked dead last, you very likely have already heard that recently ESPN posted the results of their annual little fan satisfaction exercise, also known as the Ultimate Team Rankings. Turns out that– if you feel like taking these things at all seriously– there were some Jays-related nuggets to be found in them as well.

Yeah, it’s a week old, but… fuck it, let’s have a look.

Evaluating franchises on a variety of factors in the realm of fan satisfaction, the Jays ranked 20th in baseball, dragged down mostly by an accurately low standing in “Stadium Experience”– third-worst in baseball and eleventh-worst among the three major North American sports and hockey.

Overall, the Jays are 79th of 122, down from last year’s 63.

“Affordability is where the team fell the most, dropping 19 spots and ranking 21st in the majors despite the average ticket price, $24.81, being 8 percent cheaper than the major league average,” we’re told in the team-specific write-up. “Fans also voted the Blue Jays below average in their willingness to pay to attract quality players and coaches, which resulted in a stadium ranking of 112, the team’s worst rating and the fourth consecutive year the Rogers Centre has received a 100-plus mark.”

Yes, these numbers come mostly down to fan voting, which hardly makes them uber-scientific– I mean, seriously, the Jays are tenth least affordable MLB experience going? Are we only counting the grotesque beer prices here?– but it’s still kind of interesting to see things like the fact that that Jays fans ranked the club’s ownership 17th.

Given all the insufferable fucking hand-wringing from so much of the fan base, Rogers being held in such “esteem” seems a bit off… but seeing the actual list gives you some perspective. Would we really rather have the owners of clubs like the Twins, Rockies, Astros, Marlins, Clevelands, Orioles, Royals, Padres or A’s? Some, perhaps, but it definitely could be worse– and what a fucking inspiring club motto that is: the Rogers-owned Blue Jays: Hey, it could be worse!

Also interesting, given the hand-wringing and the disastrous season the Jays have had, is that fans still put them in the middle of the MLB pack in terms of “title track”– “Championships already won or expected in the lifetime of current fans.”

Sure, their 15th place rank is down from 12th, where they were last year– and is a far cry from some of the surprising Ricciardi-era ranks (5th in 2004!!?!, and always between 8th and 11th from 2005 to 2008)– but that the bottom hasn’t completely fallen out when it comes to optimism around this club is a pretty remarkable thing.

Now, give us another year like this one and we’ll see how long that fucking lasts. And, shit, it says nowhere in the explanation of the methodology when this voting actually took place, so it’s possible sentiment has cratered further since fans chimed in.

And– double shit!– the explanation comes from Peter Keating, who we’ll all remember has a rather tenuous grasp on how to weigh the importance of certain numbers appropriately. That said, the Jays with mediocrity across the board and a shitty stadium experience? Yeah, I suppose that sounds about perfectly right.


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Comments (27)

  1. When does AA come out and say “ESPN knows nothing about baseball or Canada”

  2. The Rangers are the 1st best baseball team. Hard to argue with that.. until you realize that the Diamondbacks are the 2nd.

    The list is crazy. It uses terrible methods – and is hardly surprising that Peter Keating is involved.

    • I mean the New Jersey Devils and Phoenix Coyotes are 2 of the top 3 NHL teams? Will either of them be there next season?

    • Depends who voted in Phoenix. If it’s a guy with season tickets right behind some girl in a bikini at the pool, for example…

      A friend of mine’s parents have a timeshare in Phoenix and he goes down there a lot – apparently, it IS a great place to watch games. The booze and tickets are dirt friggin’ cheap, and they’ve had pretty competitive teams down there the last few years.

    • Hey, give ESPN some credit. They got the worst team in professional sports right.

  3. Always wondered why a blue jay apparently sporting a hideous genetic eye deformity was thought a good idea for the world series rings. But hey, I guess good taste is not really the first priority on these things.

  4. I hate surveys like this with every fiber of my being. You can’t ask small samples of 122 fanbases in 4 sports the same set of questions that can vary wildly based on prevailing moods and current events, then smooth it all out in Excel as if you’re actually comparing apples and apples.

    It rewards franchises with dumb, happy-go-lucky optimistic fans – the Phoenix Coyotes, the highest-ranked NHL team and 6th best team in sports (?!), rank favourably across the board despite not having an owner, let alone fans, or any success. Never mind the obvious selection bias of ESPN being a US-only network, meaning any Canadian fan that would willfully seek out a fan experience survey in another country is probably doing so because they have an axe to grind and love a chance to have a good whine.

    Teams are punished for having fanbases that are passionate and love complaining – the Red Sox are ranked as the worst team in baseball, at 117th (50 spots behind, say, the Marlins). Sure, it elicits a bit of “Suck it, Massholes” schadenfreude, but there’s no way the Red Sox, with 2 World Series in the past decade, one of the best stadiums in the league and massive fanbase/media support, are the “worst” team in baseball. Red Sox fans just love bellyaching about how long-suffering they are, as do their colleagues at the bottom of the MLB rankings, the Cubs.

    The Jays did poorly because their fans have a persecution complex, as any blog comments section can tell you. They perceive ticket prices to be high (ranked as higher than the Cardinals, yeah fucking right) because they don’t realize $11 tickets and $100 season-passes aren’t the norm, but assume they’re being screwed, because the whole goshdarn Jays system is out to screw them.

    Come on, ESPN, all you’ve done is make a shoddy Bleacher Report BEST TEAMS EVER slideshow. I can’t even think about this anymore, I feel like I’m feeding a troll just by reading their rankings

  5. Not worth the pixels it was digitized with…er whatever……

  6. They have a point with the affordability thing. As early as 5 years ago you could get 500 level tickets for about $9 each. In the last few years it went up to $16 + tax + random extra fees. For families not making much money (especially in the crappy economy) a jump from $40 for a family of 4 to nearly $100 is pretty huge.

    • Where are you buying ticket ? Tax is included in the ticket price and the box office charges $2 at RC. 500 tickets are $14 foe most games, so $16 total.

    • Exactly. My guess is that the average includes all pricing levels in all stadiuma…so even though you can (in theory) get many seats at places like yankee stadium, the average is pushed up by their $2500/ game seats…if you just look at the cheap seats around the league, the only way the jays look good is if you have the toronto star passes.

    • What??? It’s $16 total for 500 level seats…that’s still pretty cheap if u ask me. And you can smoke!!! Just don’t let the guys in yellow see you lol. Game prices are cheap and if you don’t like it, go see a Leafs game. Oh wait….. Have you been?? Not me coz I can’t fucking afford it and that’s for one ticket. The only complaint I have about pricing is that I wish they brought back $2 Tuesday’s

  7. “Hey, it could be worse!”

    I think Honest Ed’s has a sign up inside saying almost exactly this.

  8. The only thing interesting about the list is this. The same people who complain about the ownership being frugal complain about how expensive it is going to a game, even though the ticket prices are among the lowest in baseball and you can take your own food in to the stadium. Try buying a burger and fries outside at Yankee or Fenway or any other stadium and taking them through the gate. The cheapest fans in the world complain that the ownership is cheap. Gotta love it.

    • You can bring your own food inside? Or just street dogs?

      • Anything.

        Not enough people know this. You can just walk in with a large goddamned pizza.

        • Absolutely. I went to Toronto in July to visit friends, and I took in my first Jays games (this was the mid-July Cleveland series). We brought pizza, bottled water + flavour powder, cookies, etc.

          We were surprised by this policy, and really happy with it. I mean, I can’t bring in my own food to a Goldeyes game here in Winnipeg.

  9. Again, I’ve only seen MLB games in a few other cities, but I can say that the Skydome experience is about middle of the road. After all, there is something to be said about having your stadium right down-fucking-town.

    Lots of people love to hate Toronto sports teams (even local inhabitants) so this ranking is not terribly surprising.

    Perhaps all of the whiners should check out a truly pathetic sports franchise like the Nets in order to get some perspective

  10. I dunno about any of you?? But I’m sick of the SkyDome and even more so since it was renamed Rogers Center… You dont really get the feel of a major league baseball park like you do in so many other parks. I would love to see and open concept park like Kauffman for example. The Rogers Center has to many problems, one being the fucking turf we use.. What the fuck? We miss great baseball coz players don’t wanna put themselves at risk…. So not just comming from fans, is it really a big secret that fans and players alike hate comming here? Fuck Rogers, Fuck Rogers Center!

    • You know they would never go for that because of the fact that they would have so many rain outs it would not be doable in toronto.

      or at least that is what evidenced base wilner claims.

      but then how do you explain the very small percentage of actual rainouts that occur in most major league parks in the north? perhaps it has to do with weather patterns? perhaps wilner should look up this info before he spouts off about such shit?

  11. “Overall, the Jays are 79th of 122, down from last year’s 63.”

    Um, try up to 48th.

  12. Wait……….2 New York franchises are in bottom 10 !!!! I’d expect the person who came up with this to be fired for saying negative things about God’s city

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