To hear some members of the American Media Machine tell it, the Blue Jays are a small market club. They aren’t much different than the Rays in the eyes of some. Toiling away in relative obscurity, unable to attract top free agents (who needs’em?) due to a lack of the good cable or some such nonsense. Canadians know this isn’t true and, in our delightfully insecure way, trip over ourselves attempting to explain how cosmopolitan and vibrant Toronto really is.
Toronto sports fans get a hard time for being provincial and ill-informed. Is that true or fair? Of course not. The sheer volume of blogs dedicated to Toronto sports teams (Jays, Raptors, Leafs) speaks to a high level of involvement and engagement among Hogtown’s sports fans. The quality and vast readerships of these sites suggests an appetite for information and discussion for teams with spotty (at best) records of performance on the field.
It certainly feels like this is the case, anyway. Is there a way to prove it? Indeed there is.
A dear internet friend of mine sponsored the Corey Patterson Baseball Reference page a year ago on a lark. It served as a decent little joke for all of us associated with the now-defunct Walkoff Walk. Since the original sponsorship, Corey Patterson came to play for the Toronto Blue Jays. The additional traffic from Jays bloggers, readers, media members and associated nerds drove up the price of a fourth outfielder by a considerable amount. How much? Try 600% to $215 for next season. Which is more than it would cost you to sponsor Mike Stanton of the Marlins.
Patterson isn’t the only Jay with an oversized price tag on his BR page. League-worst reliever Jon Rauch‘s page can be yours for the low, low price of $80. Or you could sponsor excellent Rockies shutdown man Matt Belisle for $30. Former Rockies and Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom? $30.
More telling than cherry-picked players: the 2011 Jays team page will cost you a tidy $510. Or you could sponsor the team page of the defending American League champion and AL West champions elect the Texas Rangers. You’d even have an extra $80 bucks to line your pockets as the Rangers page costs just $430. The Arizona Diamondbacks 2011 page will run you just $420 bucks. Like playing the game the right way? Reserve the 2011 Twins page for just $420. Not bad for the team with the second highest attendance in the American League.
Remember things like this when chicken little starts pointing to the Jays attendance woes. There is a huge — HUGE — audience for Jays content both online and on TV. Paul Beeston and Alex Anthopoulos and everyone associated with the team know this. Look at the incredible reaction to new logo leak. This is a ticking timebomb with a Meaningful Baseball in September Fuse. Be prepared, World.