Stop me if you think that you've heard this one before

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"A lie told often enough becomes truth"
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Working Class Howard popped his head up from the coal mines today to provide us with a glimpse of the radiant future. Good news Habs fans! Howard has your boys taking out the Wings in 6 for the Cup this year. Bad news Habs fans! Howard picked the Canadiens to finish 14th last year. It is almost as if he doesn't know what he is talking about...

As for the Leafs, he's got the Blue and White finishing a Tavares/Hedman friendly dead-last this year. Woot! Hopefully Howard can justify this prediction and didn't just pull some stupid numbers out of his ass to build his case:

The Leafs will place 30th among 30 teams and the only question to be answered is whether they will break the post-lockout record for fewest points in a season. The Philadelphia Flyers hold that distinction with a 56-point showing in 2006-07. In fact, that remains the fewest number of points accrued by any team since Atlanta had 54 in 2001-02. Coincidentally or not, the Leafs 2-5-2 exhibition mark this autumn places the club on a collision course with Philadelphia's dubious honor of two years ago. Multiplying the Leafs' preseason effort over 82 games results in a record of 18-45-19 for 55 points. That is a colossal 16 points less than the worst team in the NHL last season. Tampa Bay brought up the rear with 71 points and won the draft lottery.

Actually, they'd be on pace for ZERO points Howie, cause exhibition games DON'T COUNT IN THE STANDINGS.  I look forward to Vancouver's 72-7-3 season this year.

To be fair, Howard tries to mitigate the idiocy of extrapolating pre-season results to deduce a season end point total by pointing out that Vesa Toskala and Ron Wilson may sabotage the season by adding few points that 56 total. However, Howard also mentions that if the Buds manage to utterly shit the bed against the leagues other bottom feeders, a top two lottery pick is theirs.

Good. I hope Howard is right.

The End.

Wait, wait, wait. There is no way that can be the end. I didn't see one mention of how totally fucking stupid I am for supporting the Leafs.

Oh, here we go:

It has become increasingly difficult to dissuade followers of the Maple Leafs through the years, as a crack over the head with a mallet wouldn't be sufficient to cloud the rose-colored glasses indigenous to this tribe.

I know a lot of Leafs fans. Most of my friends are Leafs fans, as are many of my enemies. Many members of my family are Leafs fans.  Both my imaginary friends are Leafs fans and I spend too much time on the internet chatting to people I have never met and may have nothing in common with except for the fact that they are Leafs fans.  Not a single fucking one of them thinks the Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. Almost everyone I know wants the Leafs to bottom out.

Where are these Leafs fans with their rose-coloured glasses, Howard? If you took a look at the comments on your very own blog, you would see that at least 90% of your own masochistic readers are hoping that your prediction is correct.  The passion that unites us all this year is an unwavering desire for total and absolute failure.  Understand? Howard?

In modern professional sport, only fans of the Chicago Cubs are comparable among those willing to absorb infinite punishment. As with the Cubs, force of habit and gullibility have been the Maple Leafs' greatest allies.

First you threaten to beat us with a mallet, and now you are comparing us to Cubs fans? We only chase underperforming defencemen out of town, not dorky kids who field their position in the left-field stands the same way Alex Gonzalez handled that double play ball at short.  Give us some credit.

And how has this list of deluded morons all of a sudden been reduced to just the Cubs and Leafs fans.  Godd Till's beloved Man City haven't won a title since 1968 and still managed to draw 40,000 people per game even when they were relegated to the old Third Division. Hibernian FC, the only other passion that Till and I share, haven't won a league title since 1952 and a Scottish Cup since 1902, yet manage to regularly fill Easter Road. 

There are gluttons for punishment everywhere, and you don't need to visit Cox Bloc or Great Britain to find them either. Here is a list of North American franchises that haven't won fuck-all since the Leafs last hoisted the Cup, or in some cases (GASP!), even before:

Chicago Cubs - 1908
Arizona Cardinals (St. Louis) - 1947
Cleveland Indians - 1948
Sacramento Kings (Rochester Royals) - 1951
San Francisco Giants - 1954
Detroit Lions - 1957
Atlanta Hawks (St. Louis Hawks) - 1958
Philadelphia Eagles - 1960
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers) - 1961
Chicago Black Hawks - 1961
Texas Rangers - 1961 (have never won shit)
Houston Astros - 1962 (also have never won anything)
San Diego Chargers - 1963
Cleveland Browns - 1964
Buffalo Bills - 1965
Atlanta Falcons - 1966 (won squat)
New Orleans Saints - 1967 (jack-shit)
Toronto Maple Leafs - 1967
Phoenix Suns - 1968 (zip)
Los Angeles Kings 1968 (nada)
St. Louis Blues - 1968 (nothin')

Of course, some of these teams have inflicted their refusal-to-winningness on more than one town, so we can't really deduce that the people of Sacramento are as dumb as Leafs fans (though, if you like, we could claim that the people of both Rochester and Sacramento are as dumb as Leafs fans - two for one!), and you could argue that the supporters of some of these teams aren't docile sheep because they have followed the path to success laid out by Howard's infamous Montreal Limo Driver: Abandon your team when they fall on hard times, jump back on that front-running bandwagon as soon as the team looks poised for glory. How is that one working for you, Hawks Nation?

By my count, that leaves about twelve teams in North America that haven't won anything in the last 40 years, yet continue to be well-supported by a die-hard fan base:
Cleveland Indians
San Francisco Giants
Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles
Houston Astros
San Diego Chargers
Cleveland Browns
Buffalo Bills
Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Kings

Comparing some of these sports to each other is like comparing Steve Phillips' pre-season predictions (Detroit Tigers = 1000 runs and the most dynamic offence in MLB history) to reality, as the NFL teams only play 8 home games per year, while the baseball clubs play 81. Still, with the exception of the Cleveland Indians, each of these teams played in front of crowds with an average capacity of over 85% during the past two full seasons in their respective leagues. That is a lot of morons.

Misery loves company, I guess, though that doesn't really make me feel any better. And, realistically, are we really even in the same company as these other fans? In addition to being a bunch of suckers, do the fans of these teams have to also suffer the infuriating condescension of a bunch of clowns spilling their bizarre loathing of them across the airwaves and newsprint of their respective cities?

To answer this question I could invite readers from these cities to send in their experiences and solicit the opinions of bloggers from across the failure landscape to give us all a better understanding of what losers everywhere have to endure. Or, I could take the road traveled by our local sports scribes and throw facts, evidence and reality out the window and claim my biased opinion as some sort of fact...and that sounds a lot, we've got the short straw here in Toronto. Suck it, Cleveland.


Godd Till said:

Nice work Mr Jorn, though if you are going to beat Steve Phillips' corpse yet again to razz the Tigers, I am compelled to point out that I saw Don Taylor wearing a Yankees shirt on the air the other day. Just saying...

Also: It has become increasingly difficult to dissuade followers of the Maple Leafs through the years, as a crack over the head with a mallet wouldn't be sufficient to cloud the rose-colored glasses indigenous to this tribe.

This is almost as bad as the recent Hawking sentence. Being hit in the head clouds glasses? Glasses are indigenous to people? AM I THE ONLY ONE HERE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THE RULES??!?!? (of writing)

Mon Darshall said:

But who be Berger to think that fans have no right to be fans? Mr. T?

How can Berger be wantin' change when he's asking fans to be less Irie?

Jayo said:

As a diehard Detroit Lions fan, who has lived in Toronto for most of my life, I feel there's something I must add to your post.

The difference between Lions fans and Leafs fans is the willingness to believe. The gullibility, if you will. No, it's not there this year (and I can only hope it's finally been beaten out of them) but it has been for almost all of the last two decades.

Even last fall -- and my hatred for Working Class Howard and his ilk is one of the reasons I read your great blog regularly -- he was right about the attitude of the fans. I have deep roots in this city and like everyone I know hundreds of Leaf Lifers. A vast majority of the fans I know were predicting a return to Maple Leaf glory, the playoffs and an round or three of post-season hockey.

These fans -- and again, I can only speak from my experience -- are the same ones who said that the Leafs would be a powerhouse after the lockout; that bought into the Eric Lindros signing; that told me with a straight face that Alex Steen and Kyle Wellwood were on their way to being as good as Datsyuk and Zetterberg, and that there were Norris trophies in Bryan McCabe's future. (This attitude still prevails if you watch what these desperate loons are doing by already deifying Luke Schenn before the kid has even gotten his feet wet. That's NOT how Lions fans treat the latest soon-to-be-failed QB.)

Lions fans don't think like this. I don't know why we're like that, but we are. By now, the position is default hostility and skepticism.

All I do is thank God I got to see Barry Sanders play and remember that, when the Lions are 0-12 this year, the Wings will be sitting pretty at the top of the West.

Ahhhh ... that feels better.

Kim Jorn said:

Hey Jayo,

Thanks for the perspective and the thoughtful response. I know there are a lot of Leafs fans like the ones that you describe, I just don't know if they are the monolithic bloc that WCH (and Cox) regularly cites in his columns. Maybe I've just insulated myself from the idiocy too much, or maybe it was two years away from Toronto, but I just don't see as much of that rampant blind optimism.

I do think that the stupidest tend to be the loudest in our world, and that goes for both the sports press and Leafs fans. For every wingnut you met predicting great things for Lindros, Wellwood and McCabe, I would wager that there were a couple fans sitting at home quietly pondering how their team will never win a Stanley Cup in their lifetime because of decisions made duringthe lockout (Belfour, Lindros, Allison) and since (McCabe contract, Tucker contract, etc).

I was flipping through a copy of Toronto Life from May 2007 at my parent's place the other day which contained a very unscientific poll of Leafs fans taken at the ACC before a Leafs game that spring. I'll see if I can find a copy of it online, because while the margin of error was likely high, the answers given (by a group that you would think represents the gullible faction that you are talking about) tended to be much more pessimistic than what you would expect from the "Dougie from Thornhill" archetype.

I actually do see that hostility and skepticism you describe in Lions fans bubbling up in Leafs fans (and former Leafs fans - those who had enough and jumped the Sens, Sabres, or just quit caring) but I agree that it isn't at the level of fans of some other teams.

I'm mostly just tired of Howard using the loudest and dumbest (which you see as a majority, I see as non-representative) to lazily score points while presenting himself as some sort of visionary who has seen the light.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Kim Jorn published on October 7, 2008 12:34 PM.

Exile On Main Street (And Pender, And Cambie, And Hastings....) was the previous entry in this blog.

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