Howard Berger's Spanking
Howard Berger has been covering the Leafs on The Fan 590 since it was at 1430. I have never read his blog until today. A chap who goes by the name eyebleaf contacted me about this entry on Howard Berger's blog. I'm going to ask you not to click through but to read his entry below, pasted in its entirety.
Most Valuable Losers Once Again
By HOWARD BERGER
TORONTO (Oct. 30) - Oh, how they must be chuckling in the ivory towers on Bay Street!
Arguably the worst team in the National Hockey League since the lockout continues to be the most lucrative commodity on skates. Even the tall foreheads at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment have seemingly thrown in the towel on their annual dissing of Forbes Magazines' NHL value rankings. Normally, by the evening of the announcement, CEO Richard Peddie is on record suggesting that no person outside the hallowed halls of the Air Canada Centre could possibly have a line on the Leafs' monetary worth. This is either an effort to keep the tax people at bay, or to avoid laughing out loud at the sheep that form the lifeblood of the company.
Yes, that is YOU, Leafs Nation.
An insatiable willingness to accept whatever garbage is tossed your way each year lines the pockets of the executives you purportedly "hate" [I see that word a lot in my e-mails]. No form of indignity is powerful enough to dissuade you from the uncontrollable love of your Blue & White. You bitch... and moan... and go insane over the always-accurate appraisals of the team in the media. Depending on the hour of day, you either castigate or lionize members of the hockey club - often the same player. The familiar disappointment of missing the playoffs on April 8th is washed away with delusional fantasies by April 9th. And, always, you are there to buy every ticket; purchase every jersey; watch every game on TV; lose your mind over every word written and spoken about the team [the part I like best], and generally cradle the habit you have no power to temper, let alone break. You are, by any measure, the most easily placated fans in all of sport - rivaled only by the zombie-like baseball fanatics on the north side of Chicago.
And, boy, do you make money for people! Even media scrubs like me. I can't begin to tell you what your devotion to these blogs is worth. I'm particularly thankful for the e-mailers that swear they will never again read my opinions, only to repeat that threat after the next blog.... and the next one... and the one after that. Probably the same folks that promise never to watch their blundering team after another home-ice embarrassment, only to count the hours until the puck drops again.
Knowledgeable? Where do I start? The celebration is already underway over the three-out-of-four games streak in October that may ultimately lift the team into its habitual 11th or 12th-place roosting in the Eastern Conference. What more could any devoted fan wish for?
Face it... you just can't control yourselves. And, the folks on Bay Street love you for it... so much so, that they refused to budget for playoff dates next spring at the ACC. I mean, why go down the same path of futility for a fourth consecutive year? Season-ticket renewals are dispatched after the Stanley Cup tournament concludes, prompting a wild stampede to the mailbox - cheques faithfully enclosed; interest about to accrue. The extra kick in the wallet from 100 percent renewals in early summer surely takes the sting off lost playoff gates, don't you think?
No wonder King Richard and Lucky Larry are indebted to you.
You ask for nothing, and give everything. What a perfect world some people live in.
[p.s. You're the very best, most devoted fans in the world... don't change a thing].
eyebleaf didn't like being called a loser by Howard Berger, so he wrote this.
As fans, we believe that those most deserving of our praise and our scorn are directly involved in the game, whether it's on the ice, in the press box or in the executive corridors. Fans don't pencil in the starting five, make bad trades, or write headlines of the day and shouldn't be blamed (or praised) for the totals in the wins and loss column.
That's exactly what Howard Berger wants. He clearly wrote that entry in an effort to piss off the passionate with the knowledge that an anti-Berger campaign will only increase readers of his blog which will in turn please the folks at Rogers. eyebleaf and these other Leaf fans in the Barilkosphere are feeding the beast.
Only one thing will get their attention, and that's a decrease of traffic to the blog. Stop reading his blog and stop commenting, that will really piss him off.
I know many passionate, die-hard Leaf fans, and consider myself one, but very, very few of us are delusional. We know what kind of team we have, and what's possible, but who doesn't dream of that surprising team that jumps up in Tampa Bay Ray fashion to compete for a title? I feel sorry for those who don't hope for such possibilities, no matter how implausible.
Go Leafs go... and Howard Berger, consider yourself spanked.
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