It's been a bizarre and ugly summer of sports in Hogtown.
The Blue Jays suck. The Argos are worse. The Phantoms
are good but nobody knows who they are; I think the
Jays should've gone after some quality players this
past year instead of trying to bring fans to the SkyDome
with cheeseball nostalgic promotions to highlight the
acquisition of an alumnus from a mediocre era in the
team's history, Buck Martinez, as the new Manager. Now
I like Buck as much as the next sucker, but c'mon
fans know (for the most part) winning talks, while bullshit
marketing schemes walk.
Speaking of bullshit, how 'bout them Argos? First of
all, they stink. Bad. Second, if they don't move to
a smaller stadium next year that is, a place
where normal people can watch good football for a decent
price and hammer down really cheap booze then
they should leave town. Go to the Maritimes,
I say, where people will appreciate them.
I'll be the first to admit, not only are Toronto sporting
folk a fickle bunch, they can be rancid snobs as well:
take the Toronto Phantoms, our newly arrived Arena Football
team. It took a first-round playoff home victory over
the New York Dragons to get them actually mentioned
in the local papers (only the second time I've seen
that done all season). Here's a football team that has
a few "name" players and wins, yet still can't
get any respect. Perhaps some celebrities should buy
them then someone will give a shit. (Calling Mr. Gretzky,
your Midas ownership-touch is needed) Hoho.
Damn, the Argos should be so lucky, to have a guy like
Ty Law (current Phantom, former pro-bowler with the NFL's New
England Patriots). These are just a few tidbits that
annoy me about the Toronto Sport Scene also that
I have yet to be offered VIP status anywhere is not
exactly favorable. My biggest complaint, however, is
the Olympics. Indeed, you knew it was coming now that
that five-ring circus is over. The evil Red Giant has
won. Oh sure, there were plenty of cries for justice
from around the world, but alas, no allowances were
There is something to be said about a group of people
who hand the Olympics to a country with such a heinous
human rights record. If you weren't aware, earlier this
month the 2008 Olympic Summer Games were awarded to
Beijing, China. Other cities competing for the chance
to host were Toronto, Paris, Osaka (Japan) and Istanbul
After watching the bidding process for the Games through
various news sources it seems apparent that the International
Olyimpic Committee (IOC) is still nothing but an "Old
Boys Club" whose members still need to have their asses
kissed as much as possible to make a decision.
Of the IOC's 150 or so members, approximately 50 are
former Olympic athletes. These athletes have been pointed
to as the "new breed" of the IOC; the type of members
who will make decisions based on the athletes and not
in the name of self-interests. Nice idea.
Problem is, the old members who make up the majority
of the IOC just can't seem to adjust to life without
corruption. One observer of the pre-selection frenzy
in Moscow commented, "I know of one IOC member that's
already promised their vote to both Beijing and Toronto.
Well, you can't do that, can you?" Hell yeah. That place
is like Thunderdome - no rules. The strongest survives.
The greedier the better. These older members seem to
be pissed they can no longer take the bribes and perks
of the pre-Salt Lake City bid races of yesteryear.
They would like to go back to the Salad Days of now
ex-President Juan Samarach's golden years. For those
who loved a little kickback to go with the job, they
grieve the end of that Loony ol' coot's IOC Presidential
tenure. It is a strange time with unknown consequences.
Bid Committees have to do all they can to influence
IOC members without stepping out of bounds. If they
do, the IOC has a watchdog called the Corruption Officer
or Standards Official - either way, Brian Williams of
the CBC called the position an oxymoron. He went on
to further comment that IOC has not rid itself
of corruption, just changed the way the corruption was
So here we are. Losers. After all the big talk and
confident swaggers, Mayor Mel's "Greatest City in the
World" lost its chance to host the Olympics for the
second time since 1996. As much as I'd like to blame
our Midget Buffoon of a Mayor and his comments towards
the people of Africa for the defeat, I'm afraid the
fix was in before all that.
Let's face it it doesn't matter if the Toronto
bid was put together "by athletes, for athletes". Anyone
who seriously thought that would get the win still believes
in Santa Claus and the Tooth-Fairy (not unlike all those
blubbering teary-eyed boobs who crammed Front Street
in Toronto, just to hear the inevitable announcement
with only free pancakes to quell their sorrow).
Just four days before the decision was made, the Toronto
media began bracing the fair citizens (and themselves)
for failure. The Toronto Star's Jim Byers said,
"In some ways, second place might be just what Toronto
wants to be. The frontrunner usually takes all the shots
(witness the recent outcry in Europe over China's human
rights policies) while the second place city goes relatively
Hey, ah, Jimbo - are you kidding?
The only "shots" winners take are of stiff drinks and
pats on the back. Sure, the second-place city comes
out of it unscathed, and with no Olympics either.
Perhaps Byers knows something I don't, or he has the
complex of always being the last kid picked in road
hockey. I could be off here, but I thought the "recent
outcry" regarding China's human rights record began
as soon as Beijing was named a finalist, and that outcry
came from all over the world, not simply within Europe.
You can talk of the Olympic spirit the compassion,
the comraderie, the love of the Games…but that doesn't
pay the bills, hondo - oh no, bid committees must show
the IOC that they have the money to make the Olympics
a commercial success. Period.
The politics involved to simply arrive at a conclusion
as to who should host the games is mind-numbing. Not
just bid committees schmoozing and throwing pamphlets
under hotel room doors in the dead of night, but personal
politics play a vital role in the decision making process.
One example of this is how the IOC Presidential race
may have influenced the decision to give the Games to
China. Canuck IOC member, the unfortanately named Dick
Pound, wouldn't vote for Toronto because of the running
theory that the IOC would never give the Presidency
to a Canadian after awarding the Games to a Canadian
city the week before. It sounds like a decent strategy,
but poor Dicky lost the IOC Presidential race anyway.
So we have two losing efforts in less than a week. Cazart.
No matter how certain members of the IOC and the other
Bid Committees attempted to remain diplomatic about
the "human rights issue", there were several stealth
references to human rights in the days leading up to
the decision. But all these furrowed eyebrows and terse
looks of concern added up to shit al in the endl. During
its final presentations, Toronto was questioned about
Mayor MonkeyMan-Buffoon's comments, yet China
didn't have to face one human rights question. Go figure.
By that time the pockets were already lined,
the deals were done…and the fix had been in from the
* * * * *
It has been a few weeks now and Toronto has licked
its Olympic wounds and started to focus on the summer's
remaining sporting extravaganzas; such as the LPGA Bell
Canadian Open, the Rogers AT&T Cup for Pro Tennis at
York University and, of course, the Innisfil Rodeo held
just outside of Toronto in the hamlet of Innisfil.
So there seems to be plenty to keep ourselves busy
for the remainder of these summer months. Next thing
you know, hockey and basketball will once again rule
the sporting landscape.
Ahhh, but there's plenty of drunken sport-wagering
left in this season of the sun. Take advantage, and
to hell with the consequences.
would like it if the IOC came back to Toronto when he
was in PEI.