Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The myth of "false hope"

Leaf fans' two favorite keyboard-bangers are singing from the same hymn book this week:

Damien Cox:

All the Luke Schenn hype in the world isn't going to change that, and isn't it a shame the Leafs are determined to use such a quality prospect to deliver a public relations message?
Howard Berger:
In a carefully crafted effort, the Maple Leafs have hyped and boosted rookie Luke Schenn in virtually every public forum during the first two-plus weeks of the season ... As for the legion of fans in this city, the Leafs understand how readily they have bought false hope through the years, so that isn’t about to change.
I have a question.

I thought Leaf fans were dumb zombies who keep pushing through the turnstiles every night no matter how bad the team is? That makes it largely our fault that the Leafs are never any good, because MLSE doesn't need to build a good team since they'll just keep getting rich off of all the mindless sheep.

I'm pretty sure I've read that somewhere recently... about a thousand times.

So if Leaf fans are so dumb that we fill the building every night, buy up jerseys and watch every game no matter what... why exactly would the Leafs need to feed us false hope?

Why would we need any kind of hope at all? I thought that was the whole point of all the fan-bashing over the years -- that we don't care how hopeless the team is, we keep plopping down our money anyways.

Now it seems like the argument has flipped 180 degrees -- now Leaf fans are demanding and insist on seeing a light at the end of tunnel, so MLSE has to construct this elaborate facade around Luke Schenn in order to keep the fans happy.

I've said it before: nobody should want a media full of homers, because then you wind up with everything-is-sunbeams-and-puppies fans like Ottawa had for so many years. A media that holds the team accountable is a good thing, and Toronto fans are lucky to have one. This team deserves some honest criticism, and I'm usually one of the first in line to dish it out.

But if you're going to criticize the Leafs, their management or even their fans, you need to pick a lane. You can't tell them to do one thing, then complain when they do exactly what you suggest. You can't say Leaf fans love negative coverage one week, then say they hate it the next week. You can't say Leaf fans aren't demanding enough, then turn around and say the team can't rebuild because fans won't accept it.

If you do those things, readers start to figure out that you're just playing games. And then they realize you probably don't mean most of what you say at all. And then they start to feel foolish for falling for your act.

And then they tune out, and start getting their Leaf coverage from better sources.


  1. I know I am only one but I probably speak for many more...
    The only way I know about those guys and those outlets are because of you guys... I haven't added them as a bookmark simply because I get a truer sense of what happening to my team from the Barilkosphere than I do from ever reading anything those nuts have to say...which sadly isn't much.

  2. Luke Schenn. I as excited about him as anybody, but he is an 18-year old D-man who is proving that he can play a regular shift. Hopefully he will be a cornerstone player for a long time. That's all.

    He's not some kind of phenom, the next superstar or the messiah, for that matter. It will take much more than Luke Schenn to turn the Leafs around, we're not stupid. Nobody thinks he is going to bring us the cup.

    There is no "false hope" here, it's just nice to have some little things to by happy about once in a while. Like beating the Sens.

  3. Are the Toronto sports writers by any chance moonlighting for the Republican presidential campaign? Both groups seem equally confused and frequently self-contradictory. :)