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:

Comments (4)

  1. Can you believe that the Leafs, Jays and Raptors all have one of the top 5 longest playoff droughts in their respective leagues (Leafs with the longest current NHL drought, Jays with the third longest MLB postseason drought and Raptors tied for 5th longest in the NBA)? What other city with at least 3 major North American sports teams can lay claim to that? It’s too bad people fixate on championship droughts over playoff droughts and droughts from when the team was last a playoff contender because the two Jays World Series wins really mask how shitty it’s been.

    As for the Raptors, as much as I would accept mediocrity for this season just to see the team take a step up from the last two seasons, I think you’re kind of overestimating how much the Raptors actually register in this city at this moment in time. It’s been a faceless organization post Bosh, an organization and a roster that fans outside of the hardcore base really don’t get excited about and I think it’s going to take a very successful stretch on the court to change that, one that they probably don’t have in them. I think the current sentiment in the city results more from frustration surrounding the Leafs and Jays rather than actual excitement about the Raptors. They’d have to have some pretty surprising success (multiple playoff series wins over the next 3-5 years) in order to sustain some actual momentum and attract people outside of the hardcores.

  2. I was the person who started that chant and I stand by it

  3. Paying customers have the right to try to have some fun however they want. This kind of stuff hurts the morale of their own team, so it’s just dumb, but ‘fun’ I’m sure.

  4. Start a chant for a team that actually has a chance….. Lets go lakers!!

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