By Andris Pone – President, Coin Branding
Because of Rob Ford, Toronto’s brand has suffered greatly in recent years – and it is a certainty that the city will continue to bear a negative association with him for decades to come.
But as we should have realized by now, there is a new villain for the city to contend with: a good number of Blue Jays fans. Sorry, but it’s far too convenient to scapegoat the one dufus who threw the beer at the Orioles’ outfielder.
Yes, determination of his identity was pursued as if he killed Kennedy; self-appointed online sleuths pored over video of the incident with all the lust of Zapruder film fanatics.
But what about the hundreds of people who threw cans and bottles in last year’s playoffs, in the game of the Bautista Bat Flip? What are we doing to track all of them down? The answer, of course, is nothing. Such an outrageous idea never even entered our minds, because the collective denial of the fans, city and indeed considerable swaths of Canada (the Jays are branded as “Canada’s Team,” after all) has so far proven too difficult to even admit, much less do something about.
And what about the fans yelling racial slurs at the Orioles on The Night of the Thrown Beer? There is at least one trustworthy source, CBC sports reporter Scott Regehr, who says fans were yelling as follows at Wayne Kirby, the Orioles’ first base coach:
“Go get some more fried chicken!”
Regehr reports: “Ushers witnessed this. Security witnessed this. They didn’t do anything, and let them stay in their seats.”
A separate account, by Orioles fan Avi Miller, is that the player targeted by the beer can, Hyun Soo Kim, was also targeted with this:
“Go back to your country Kim!”
Speaking of chicken, the Blue Jays themselves have not even bothered to make an official statement on the issue of the slurs. Perhaps they and we do not consider the matter to be sufficiently important? Maybe we think the offenders are a fair reflection of Jays fans, of Torontonians, of Canadians as a whole?
A good long look in the mirror, by anyone in any of these cohorts, would be a fine start toward answering these questions.