New low point for Jays season? Fans in stands start “Let’s go, Raptors” chant.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) September 29, 2012
Apparently, a small portion of the small crowd at Friday night’s Jays/Yankees game started a “Let’s go Raptors” chant at one point in the evening (Perhaps this Raptors teaser video filmed at the Rogers Centre got fans nostalgic about the franchise’s early days playing at the Dome).
Despite being a Raptors season seat holder, and more importantly, the co-editor of this fine Raptors themed blog, I refuse to support this cross-sport chanting. As a loyal Toronto sports fan with a connection to all three of the city’s major sports teams, I find it odd to “insult” one team by cheering for another in the wrong venue, though I do appreciate the “we’re fed up with futility” sentiment.
Secondly, the whole thing just comes off as kind of cheap, particularly when just five months ago, fans at a Leafs game chanted “Let’s go Blue Jays” at the Air Canada Centre. If the Raptors get off to a slow start and the NHL lockout ends, will we have to put up with “Go Leafs Go” chants at Raps games?
Having said all of that, I do understand the opportunity the Raptors have to make this city theirs, if even for a very short period of time.
With the Jays wrapping up a disappointing season far beyond what any of us could have imagined as a worst case scenario, and the Leafs not likely to hit the ice for months, if at all this season, Canada’s lone NBA franchise will soon be Toronto’s lone active franchise (sorry, Argos, I’m only counting the ‘major’ North American leagues), and will have the spotlight shining squarely on their shoulders for the first time in years.
The last time the NHL locked out its players (2004-05), the Raptors blew it. The team roared out to a 3-0 start (including a win over the defending champion Pistons) but faded fast, traded Vince Carter in December, and were virtually irrelevant and insignificant by the new year.
By no means do I believe that this Raptors roster is capable of competing for anything other than a low playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, but as pathetic as it sounds, this city is so starved for a team they can call a winner right now, that you can bet your house on the fact we’ll embrace and celebrate mediocrity in the short term.
If the Raptors can even hang in the playoff hunt for the majority of the season, they will be celebrated, praised and put on display as evidence of “hope” in the Toronto sports landscape, regardless of whether that hope is well founded or misleading.
So with training camp set to begin in a matter of days, I say welcome to Toronto, 2012-2013 Raptors. The floor is now yours, whether you want to take it or not.
Perhaps a night like this is as good a time as ever to share this image (created by Toby Fowlow of theScore’s social media team) with you: