In Defense of Homerism in Pro Sports

On May 16, I sat down with Marty York for a lengthy conversation. You can hear our entire chat in episode 174. He had some rather strong opinions about homerism in sports.

When it comes to our local sports media, I believe he has a valid concern. Just look at the current ownership landscape:

  • Blue Jays - owned by Rogers, which owns Sportsnet
  • Argonauts - owned by Bell which owns TSN
  • Maple Leafs - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Raptors - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • TFC - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Marlies - owned by Rogers and Bell

It would be prudent to be aware of these inherent biases when absorbing content from these sources. That's just sensible behaviour. We've been on high alert since Mike Wilner's suspension, and you can kick that up a notch following Bob McCown's admission Bob Elliott was banned from Prime Time Sports for something he wrote about the Blue Jays.

Where Marty York lost me was when he attacked the fans for homerism. He pities the suckers who collect at Jurassic Park to take in a Raptors playoff game, or the thousands sporting Jays caps and believing they can repeat as AL East champions.

Sports has one purpose, and that's to entertain. Although it sometimes doesn't feel like it, it's supposed to be fun. Rooting with your city for the home team is a huge part of the experience. I've always been a homer, passionately rooting for Toronto's teams and passing on that same love to my children. I'm a homer, but I'm a realist.

That means I'll tune out when the Leafs are just awful with no redeeming qualities, and tune back in at the beginning of the next season. If prices are too high, I stop buying tickets, and watch on television instead. My collection of paraphernalia is minimal. But make no mistake about it, I want the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Argos and Marlies to win.

I think it's fantastic when fans collect to watch playoff games. I love the fact the Jays and Raptors were both two wins away from the finals. I can't wait to see Auston Matthews in a Maple Leafs uniform next year. I'm even excited to see the Argos play their opener at BMO Field later this month.

Call me a homer. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Share this entry

Comments (18 - click here to join in!)

Rob J

I wonder if Marty would accept an invitation for a second TM appearance? There's still a lot to go over re: homerism and the sporting life in Toronto where the lines between fans, media, and teams continue to blur.

June 8, 2016 @ 9:32 AM

Anthony

Marty York isn't to be taken seriously. He says things to get attention. That is all.

June 8, 2016 @ 10:13 AM

Dan

Like this only happens in Toronto... Marty's going to have to delete his entire Twitter feed if the Jays make the playoffs (notice I said "if" Marty). Sad that he is so bitter, he seemed like a good guy.

June 8, 2016 @ 11:20 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm often asked what I thought of Marty visiting my home. We probably spent 2 hours together in total, and he couldn't have been nicer or more accommodating. He was even great with my youngins.

The Marty York in person is a sweetheart. The Marty York on Twitter is a bit of a dick. I think he's just having fun with people over there.

June 8, 2016 @ 11:22 AM

Irv

Whether it's TV, media or even the internet, a "persona" is just that. Who knows, why there is the slim chance I might even be a nice guy in real life too. *lol*

Sports media are puppets to their owners (and their teams) just like mainstream media are puppets to the politicians who support them. Re: Fourth Estate

June 8, 2016 @ 12:14 PM

Anthony

@Mike

He's a bit like Trump like that, say things and see what sticks. If it doesn't, just delete the tweet.

You're right, hes saying things to get attention and to play a persona not to be taken seriously

June 8, 2016 @ 12:50 PM

Elephant

My opinion of Marty York is extremely low and I think the Toronto sports media landscape is better without him, but I have to say that anyone who gets upset by his Twitter behaviour is probably looking to get upset. I don't (and won't) follow him, but have looked at his feed a few times and while, yes, he acts like a complete knob, the thing that separates him from other trolls is that he keeps his tweets to his own feed. He doesn't seem to tweet at anyone, and only replies to people who have tweeted at him. So, chances are, if you're reading a Marty York tweet, it's because you went looking for it.

June 8, 2016 @ 1:50 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Elephant

And, and this is what I like about Marty's tweets, he signs his own name to this persona. He owns what he tweets, even if he deletes the things he's proven wrong about.

June 8, 2016 @ 1:56 PM

Irv

@Elephant....

Isn't it kind of a paradox to get upset at an opinionated sports writer? I mean, isn't that the whole game? People are pretty thin skinned these days and it doesn't take much to upset them. We toss around the world "troll" like we use the word "terrorist". It's a blanket term for anyone we don't agree with. York isn't a troll. He's just strongly opinion.

If you want a real troll, try @rabite. aka Weev. He registered an a corp called TRO LLC where he was going to use information gathered by hackers about companies, short sell their stock then release the information to the markets & profit. He recently spammed 29000 printers with spam stating if you were sick of the Jews destroying your country to join him. He did so to demonstrate his right to free speech. He once tweeted that Dov Charney (owner of American Apparel) belonged in an oven. Dov is a Jew. And strangely, the word is so was Weev.

Anyway, THAT'S a troll. Everyone else is really just a dickhead.

June 8, 2016 @ 2:04 PM

Pete

Marty York has been a petty journalist/reporter for years now. He has some weird vendetta against certain players/coaches/management, and this goes back to the time when he'd run his mouth about Sam Mitchell and clammed up the second he was re-signed as Raptors coach (something he went on and on and on about for months that wouldn't happen).

Funny thing is, Marty is right. It's sad that all Toronto sports properties and media are controlled by two companies that control the narrative. Unbiased and objective reporting is a thing of the past. But really, how is what he is doing any better? Being a contrarian and negative to anything Toronto sports related is sad, pathetic, insecure and childish. If he wants things to change, why not be the bigger man and buck the trend and be objective and calls things as they (both good and bad)? He's no different than Simmons and Cox, and I'd say he's even worse.

Sure, Rogers employees are shills and a bunch of kiss-asses. But I don't know if that's worse than what Marty is, and that's massively butt-hurt.

Sorry, I just can't stand Marty, and this dates back for years now. I stupidly visit his Twitter feed just to see what kind of train-wreck he is on that certain day.

Aside from Marty the person, I really don't get what his stance is against fans collecting together to cheer on their team or buying merchandise. Yeah, I certainly don't want more of my money ending up in Rogers' pocket. But in the end I/we have no other choice and if I am/we are going to spend money on a jersey or get together even in the slim hopes my team is going to win (personally I couldn't be bothered and prefer the comfort of my home), so be it as that's what being a fan is all about.

June 8, 2016 @ 5:04 PM

Doug

I found Marty's comments to be insightful and honest. My only disappointment with the interview was that he did not delve into the area of PEDs. Not only are many of these so called heroes jerks, they're also cheaters.

As for our host, I encourage him to fully support his teams. No shame there.

June 8, 2016 @ 7:48 PM

Daniel

@Mike

I agree with 95% of your comments there.

I do feel there is a journalistic integrity issue with reporters who work for the same company as the team, and so I take their "reports" with a grain of salt. Its also why I focus on PTS when the SI guys are on and not Buck Martinez

I also agree with your comments on the meaning of sports for fans. However, I'm bothered by die hard jays fans who have been fans since September 2015

I watch/listen 70% of jays games when they are good and 50% when they are bad. But the people who completely ignored the jays for 20 years and are now the biggest supporters just get to me. They weren't there for the JP Riccardi days, or when Boston stole our manager because they could. But I guess I sound like a child with a toy and I don't want to share it. But its how I feel

June 9, 2016 @ 8:35 AM

James

Agree 100%. There is definitely a problem when a team is owned by the same people broadcasting the games. Marty is spot on about that. I don't agree with anything else he says though.

Marty calls himself "objective" but he's far from it. I don't think he knows what that word means. He's completely incapable of finding positive things to say about Toronto teams when it's warranted. When the Ratpors/Jays play well and win, you'll see one tweet whining about how "boring" the game is. When they're awful and losing, you'll get 15 tweets bashing everything and everyone. That's supposed to be objective?

Insulting fans for supporting their home team is just sad. That's what FANS do - they SUPPORT their team. Even when they're awful, even when they are up against a far better team. For example, I don't think you'll find any Raptors fan who would honestly contend that the Raptors are a better team than the Cavs. But that doesn't mean that fans won't still root for the Raptors and believe that they can still win. It doesn't mean that people shouldn't have a good time watching the games together and it doesn't mean that a "proper fan" should be whining and bashing the team instead of supporting them. Maybe there's something a bit irrational about that, but it's what makes being a fan so much fun. At least it's better than spending 2-3 hours watching sports and complaining the whole time.

June 9, 2016 @ 9:23 AM

James Edgar

@ james
"Marty calls himself "objective" but he's far from it" Marty is the cheryl of twitter sports feeds. Anybody but TO. at least from what i've read. Frankly that kind of drivel is boring to me.

Very cool name BTW.

June 9, 2016 @ 3:07 PM

Brian

I may or not be starting a war with my comment but don't expect Matthews to Toronto a done deal. By taking him and trying to build a team with mostly young players around him will result in an Edmonton situation. I fully expect that Toronto wants to take a shot at Stamkos. To do so he needs to be guaranteed first line. Drafting matthews would give first line minutes unless Stamkos comes then it's second line duties. I truly believe we need veterans and strong goaltending. My thought is trade first for a player able to contribute now as well as a first round pick between 6-10 position. Then there is a chance they can draft marners linemate tkachuck or even nylanders brother. It would better equip the team both short and long term. By drafting Matthews and relying on a young core it may damage careers of so called superstar players. The shanaplan as is stands right now is essentially copying Edmonton by trying to have mostly developing players on the team.

June 9, 2016 @ 3:50 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Brian

I'm 99.9999% sure the Leafs draft Auston Matthews.

June 9, 2016 @ 3:52 PM

Brian Cook

@Toronto Mike.
I was in the same camp but I have some friends that work in the front offices at a couple of other Canadian teams and from what I have heard is the leafs are considering options. The belief if the leafs want Stamkos. They also know they will be paying 9-10 million a year. Based on other recent signings and the max salary a guy like matthews will make drafting Matthews would limit money the team can spend on Stamkos. If they go after Stamkos and offer full money then drafting Matthews won't make sense. If they trade down and get a bargain veteran player and a pick in the 6-10 range then the team can spend a couple years developing that player. Freeing up cap space. I would love to see matthews come to Toronto but I also want to see Stamkos come and you can only have one based on the cap.

June 9, 2016 @ 10:18 PM

Anonymous

They'll take Matthews. First off they get him on an entry level deal. Second, the draft is before the start of free agency, so unless there is some significant behind the scenes tampering there isn't any way to have a firm commitment from Stamkos. Matthews is unlikely to garner many first line minutes for at least his first, maybe second year which I think would be how LL typically likes to bring developing players along. In terms of the Edmonton analogy I think the Leafs at least have a little higher pedigree on the backend. No shortage of areas needing improvement though.

Back to homerism, Fans are never going to have the sort of objectivity that Marty Y thinks they should have. They're just not looking through the same lens. I like the approach of some critical thinking and pointed views regarding the sporting corporations, but I don't see how belittling fans really contributes to anything other than insulting people.

June 10, 2016 @ 2:48 PM

Leave a comment


Only 18 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« Raveena Aulakh Open Mike »