If A Roughrider Falls in the Forest…
The Toronto Argonauts bounced back from an anemic Week 1 by obliterating the 2013 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders. Ricky Ray was 29 of 37 for 407 yards and three TDs. 1st Round draft pick Anthony Coombs looked good in the backfield, rushing 6 times for 52 yards, including one scamper of 28 yards. Chad Owens caught 11 passes for 151 yards, and returned 6 punts for 89 yards, his longest being 45 yards. Rookie LB Antwaun Molden snagged two picks, returning one all the way to the house. Final score was Toronto 48, Saskatchewan 15.
It was awful.
Not only did my Riders schist the bed in the most appalling of ways, but only 17,758 fans turned out to witness the event. W T Efff?
Saskatchewan has long been the top draws in the CFL. Home teams throughout the league love it when the Riders come to town, because a rabid base of green-clad, mellon headed fans show up in droves. Judging by the sea of green in Rogers Centre yesterday afternoon, the Rider Nation did their part. Where were the Argos’ fans?
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, and only a percent of a percent of the GTA’s 6 million people creatures could bother to take in what continues to be the highest rated property on TSN. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King dedicated a whole week’s worth of coverage to Week 1 in the CFL, and declared his undying love for our brand of football.
I have had the pleasure of interacting with some of the most passionate CFL fans in the country, and they happen to live in Toronto, cheering for the double blue. I continue to be impressed with the likes of Argo Admiral Daniele Franceschi, a high school student who knows more about the Argos’ storied history than most professional sports journalists. Someone’s hot daughter needs to date this kid.
Methinks my Admiral colleague, Clay Chisholm, may be on to something with his very excellent series of articles on BMO Field.
Watching football in a baseball stadium is a little bit like throwing a party in your grama’s basement – when your grama’s home. Baseball is a beautiful game. It’s a game steeped in philosophical insight and the ghosts of players from decades past. Watching it live is a nice relaxing conversation, interrupted by the odd bit of action. It’s a slow, polite pace that lends itself to beer, buds, and a scorecard to track your team’s progress. The serenity of Rogers Centre is a nice complement to the ‘action’ on the field.
The Argos need to be playing football in a football stadium – even if that stadium was built specifically for soccer. It’s a place for shouting. For obnoxious behaviour when the visiting team has the ball. For standing and hollering and war paint. A football stadium is a place for ‘right here, right now’ – and nothing else matters.
Think of what Molson Stadium did for the Alouettes. Think of the atmosphere. Think of what an Argos’ home game will feel like in a place like that – the sort of vibration TFC already enjoys with the same sized crowd in attendance.
The Toronto Argonauts are a first class organization, with first class football people, and first class business operations folks. The only piece to the puzzle that’s missing is a proper place to play. Argo Fans deserve nothing less.
Very good points Jarred. I am not sure there is only one answer to get this fan base back at the games. They exist, they just don’t come down to the dome for one reason or another.
Montreal was forced into Molson Stadium for a single playoff game. The place was a dump. Trees growing out of the stands – and yet the atmosphere in that tiny, dilapidated 20,000 seat stadium saved the franchise.
I really think it’s as simple as moving to a better, more intimate venue.