Argos Grey Cup Bound and My TSN Cameo

I was at BMO Field for the Argonaut's Eastern Conference Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders earlier today. It was so much fun watching a great game in great conditions with a big crowd. 24,929 were there, the biggest crowd to ever watch the Argos at BMO Field.

The Argos won with a last minute touchdown that happened right in front of Bob Willette and me. If you were one of the millions watching on TSN, you might have seen me celebrating.

TSN

Before the thrilling ending, we got some face time with the biggest celebrity around.

Argos

Grey Cup bound!


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Sid_V

Great game today, and unbelievable performance by Ricky "Frito" Ray and the whole offense to claw back for the win.

The crowd was announced at 24,929 - bigger even than their home opener last year (24,800). Even the #NoArgosatBMO contingent seemed half-hearted at best today.

@TorontoMike, did you get a chance to check out the tailgate with 9am beer sales and Dwayne Gretzky on the stage? It sounds like it was a hell of a party.

November 19, 2017 @ 8:53 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Sid_V

I missed the tailgate. I couldn't get to BMO until 12:30.

It really was a fantastic game. I love it when the stakes are high!

November 19, 2017 @ 9:08 PM

elvis

Was it sold out? I don't know what a sellout number is for a CFL game at BMO.

November 20, 2017 @ 7:38 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@elvis

They reported a hair under 25,000 and Wikipedia says the capacity for the CFL configuration is 26,500.

November 20, 2017 @ 8:06 AM

elvis

How can people not love the Argos?!

November 20, 2017 @ 8:49 AM

Al The Royal Pain

I watched the game at home with my brother and sister-in-law and wife. My brother-in-law is the kind of guy who is glued to his TV every Sunday to watch every NFL game, but he enjoyed the Argos game. It didn't hurt that the NFL games were duds yesterday afternoon.

We were thoroughly entertained...especially in that last quarter when Saskatchewan took the lead and the Argos needed to score on that final drive. A FG would have sent it to overtime, but that last TD actually got me out of my chair!

And then I saw a familiar face on my 70' TV and shouted out, "HEY! That's Toronto Mike!" No one in the room knew what I was talking about, but I had to take a picture and share it with Mike. It seems a few others did the same.

I'll definitely be watching the Grey Cup this year. I always watch when the Argos are in it. If they actually manage to win that game, I'll be very interested to see what the parade will be like.

[steps on soapbox]
I was at the last Grey Cup parade in Toronto. It was equally enjoyable and underwhelming. It was one of those things that doesn't happen often in this city (A championship parade) and all I kept thinking was how unfortunate it was that so many refuse to just enjoy the league for what it is and join in the celebration. People who turn their nose at the CFL are missing out...and all because it isn't big league enough for them.

Guess what was also NOT big league. The Tragically Hip. But they were ours, and we celebrated them with great voracity.

The CFL is ours. There is no need to compare it to anything else. If you like football, then you'll like the CFL...and if you want to see a championship parade in Toronto THIS year, we have a chance to see two...TFC, and yes...the Toronto Argonauts.

So for those of you who don't care about the Argos I ask, "Why would you be against more celebration?".
[Step off soapbox]

November 20, 2017 @ 10:36 AM

The Voice of Reason

@Al

TFC will have a tough time winning against Columbus without its two top strikers.

November 20, 2017 @ 11:33 AM

bsmntdwllr73

@Mike
Congratulations on your big photo op/TV appearance!! You just might be on the cusp of a new,
lucrative career as that awestruck fan who appears on the Jumbotron during the clinching moment
of victory in nearly every sports movie!! You really seem to be at one with the universe in that picture!
So jealous: still anxiously awaiting to have my very own unique public moment of zen! I guess being
captured on CCTV regularly doesn't count?!?

November 20, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

andrew

Mike is the new Dart Guy for the Argos.

November 20, 2017 @ 12:59 PM

Barry

"... and that, boys and girls, is why history remembers it as 'The Toronto Mike Touchdown.'"

November 20, 2017 @ 1:11 PM

Beatts

Al, I had a similar situation where after yelling the same thing, I had to explain to my wife who Toronto Mike is.

Once hearing I was in fact a close personal friend of "Tee Ohh Boon" (my hilarious nickname for him) my wife was engulfed with many impulses and feelings and let's just say it was a fantastic, solid 13 minutes of debauchery**

** Clarification.

My wife stared blankly at me, paused and said "Who??" while shooting me dirty looks for spilling nacho dip on her chair. The following 13 minutes I am happy to report, were spent de-nacho'ing her chair to a rousing success.

November 20, 2017 @ 1:25 PM

The Voice of Reason

@Andrew

Dart Guy likely is better with the ladies than TM.

Sorry Mike.

November 20, 2017 @ 1:40 PM

Barry

Did any other TV viewers find one vuvuzela particularly annoying? It was driving me nuts the whole game -- the same guy was blowing it almost constantly. And he seemed to be positioned near a mic.

I really hate vuvuzelas.

November 20, 2017 @ 1:42 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm no Dart Guy. He's got a two hour show on TSN Radio. I just have a podcast recorded in my basement.

November 20, 2017 @ 1:44 PM

collingwood dave

@ Al the Royal Pain.. that is the best comment I have seen on this Website in a long time...

November 20, 2017 @ 2:23 PM

Urooj Islam

Mike, what was the crowd make up (age, demographics, etc.) at the CFL East Final? Really curious about what kind of audience this team draws when they peak.

November 20, 2017 @ 2:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

It's an older crowd, for sure. It's not as young as a big Jays crowd or TFC crowd of Raptors crowd. And it's as white as a Leafs crowd.

There weren't a lot of 20-somethings that I could see, unless they came with their dads...

November 20, 2017 @ 3:10 PM

WCI

I don't much care for sports, but what a waste this is. The Argos are not even a side show in the GTA. No one cares. Compare that to the Roughriders in Saskatchewan. Ask Blind Dave what Rider Love is about. I'm not big fans of the watermelon wearing type but I'll give them this much. They love their team. You can buy a license plate in the flatlands with the Rider logo on it. That is a fan.

And the whole "who cares about the CFL" is just another perfect example of Eastern arrogance. The CFL is alive and well in Western Canada. Where it's not alive and well is Southern Ontario but that's not all of Canada (even if people here like to think it is).

The Argos should be moved out of Toronto and located some place else where people will actually care.

November 20, 2017 @ 3:19 PM

Al The Royal Pain

@Reason
It will be a challenge, but TFC have beaten them before without Altidore or Giovinco (5-0). Plus, because they play the first game in Columbus, if they can score just one goal, they'll have an edge in game 2 since away goals are more valuable than home goals in these series. That is...of course if they can keep Columbus off the scoresheet. Look at me talking soccer as if I know what I'm saying. ;)

@Beatts
LOL!

@Barry
I'm with you regarding the vuvuzelas. Ever since that South African World Cup, they've been a pain in the ear. Sadly, they've been used at Argo games long before that World Cup.

@Mike
I haven't heard one second of Dart Guys' radio program...yet I've heard every second of your podcast. Small comfort, I know....but I'm positive more people have heard more of your podcast (in total time per person) than they have listened to Dart Guy's radio show.

@Collingwood Dave
Thank you sir...it was from the heart. I'm by no means a CFL apologist. I just don't understand why any sports fan would choose less sporting enjoyment because of some perceived inferiority. To me...if the stakes are high enough, I'll enjoy any game.

@Urooj Islam
From what I saw on the telecast, there were the usual middle-aged blue collars in the crowd...but I did see a few patches of young fans as well! Hopefully that trend can continue.

November 20, 2017 @ 3:24 PM

Al The Royal Pain

@WCI
I've always thought that the Argos would do better north of the city (like Downsview) where people from east west and north of the GTA can more easily get to a game by car and where there can be more space for proper tailgating.

November 20, 2017 @ 3:30 PM

Urooj Islam

Thank you very much for the crowd make up info, Mike and Al. That stuff, especially when it comes to the sports scene of a city as diverse as Toronto always interests me a lot.

Maybe I am way off (and feel free to vehemently disagree with me) but I don't think it is the perceived self superiority of the Toronto sports fan that hurts the Argos, it's the fact that the team and league doesn't appeal to a wide group of people and they're really bad at cultivating young fans especially immigrants and first generation Canadians.

If Toronto fans had as much of a "superiority complex" as some claimed, the MLS would have never worked here with world class European soccer as easily accessible as the NFL these days.

November 20, 2017 @ 3:40 PM

The Voice of Reason

@Irv

Okay you want the Argos to be moved, yet you profess that you do not care for sports? Now for just a few minutes think deeply. Who would finance a stadium for the relocation???? Halifax has been back and forth on the cost of building a CFL ready stadium for the past two decades and cannot justify the cost for essentially 10 dates a year.
Now seeing how you are an authority on Western Canada, explain to the Rider faithful why the Riders would build a new stadium for almost $300 million dollars yet not place a roof on it?
Thats right it was financed by mainly tax dollars and surcharges. The Riders were on life support 20 years ago, the way they rape the general public for their tickets, they could easily end up on life support again.

November 20, 2017 @ 3:53 PM

H.o.E.

Did those two guys want to get their picture taken with you because you were such an oddity? It's probably been a long time since they saw someone as young as you at an Argo home game.

November 20, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@H.o.E.

Did you just refer to Santa Claus as just a "guy"?

He's a freakin' wizard! Or Elf? Or something like that!

November 20, 2017 @ 4:36 PM

collingwood dave

Grey Cup # 105... Super Bowl # 52... Just Sayin...

November 20, 2017 @ 6:49 PM

Geez Louise

Congrats to TO Mike for getting on TV and for being at the game. It certainly was a thriller. I am looking forward to watching the game with my brother - another Collingwood Dave who has been an Argo fan as long as I have..

November 20, 2017 @ 7:07 PM

WCI

One doesn't have to be a fan of sports to know when a sport is popular. I lived in Western Canada for about half of my life.

As for the Riders, why would they put a roof on a stadium in a province with 1 million people. Not like they'll get a baseball team or anything. And residents of Saskatchewan aren't puffballs and can tolerate the cold. It's part of growing up just like skating on a pond is.

As for the Riders being bankrupt 20 years ago, so was Saskatchewan. Now it's not. Even with $60 dollar a barrel Sask has money. It's also a "have" province unlike Ontario so you should be thanking Saskatchewan for contributing to pay the bills of this financial wreck you call a province.

As for Rider fans balking and walking away, I doubt that. You see, the oil and potash boom gave Saskatchewan pride in itself. Let's talk the Saskatchewan Party. Let's talk Rider nation. Let's talk the provincial flag flying everywhere. They've become a mini-Alberta. When I was driving East I was listening to talk radio. It wasn't about the potholes. Or the lack of services. The talk was how tired they were of being treated like shit by the East. They weren't asking for a bailout. They were just asking to keep the money THEY earned.

Loosin' Lately Gambler?
Corb Lund - Long Gone To Saskatchewan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkhcjI5Pwi0

November 20, 2017 @ 7:44 PM

The Voice of Reason

@Mark

Take a drive on Saskatchewan highways, you will know the difference between smooth and rough really quick.
They may be a have province at this moment, but they are dropping quite fast. If you think that $8 billion and climbing is booming, it is no wonder why you came crawling back to civilization in Ontario.
You may slam us IRV, but the first chance you had, you came running back.

November 20, 2017 @ 8:56 PM

Sean

I watched it on TV! Such a close game!

November 20, 2017 @ 9:31 PM

H.o.E.

@Urooj
Yep, that's their problem. They have failed to attract new young fans, immigrants and first generation Canadians who make up a large percentage of the GTA's population for about the last 30 or 40 years, while other sports (basketball, soccer, even baseball) have done. In a survey two years ago, "among the 18-34 demographic marketers covet, 23 per cent are Jays supporters while not a single respondent identified themselves first and foremost as an Argos fan. Not one."
http://www.thestar.com/sports/2015/12/31/poll-shows-sports-fans-warmed-up-to-blue-jays-but-coldly-indifferent-to-argos.html

-And BTW, it's a sport -- like dozens of others. People are interested in watching maybe the two or three sports they like most, and have time for. I'm not sure how or why any reasonable and logical person would attempt to distort that into something like "those people in Toronto are 'refusing' to watch" -- as though this one particular league is somehow a victim of something other than its own incompetence and failure over the last few decades to attract the size of paying audience they strangely seem to think they're divinely entitled to get. I suppose people in Toronto have also been "refusing to watch" roller hockey, indoor soccer, arena football, volleyball, Kabaddi, team handball, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, elephant polo, quidditch, etc., etc.

November 21, 2017 @ 1:00 PM

Urooj Islam

@H.o.E.

Well said, thanks for that information.

It's another in the long line of thought in this city that blames the sports fan for something that is not their fault. I guess it's easier to blame the fans for not being interested than the Argos for not being good at marketing their team and their product.


November 21, 2017 @ 2:11 PM

H.o.E.

Well, I might have to admit this is one sport(?) I would refuse to watch.
http://quidditchcanada.com/videos/

Could someone please pass along a link for that video to Mike Richards. It needs to be mocked on his YouTube podcast. It looks like something he would accuse his young tech guy, Russell "Roast Beef" Graham, of being involved in.

November 21, 2017 @ 4:33 PM

Al The Royal Pain

@H.o.E.
That video...wow...

November 22, 2017 @ 10:09 AM

Urooj Islam

Harry Potter fandom is so weird that it created a real game out of a fictional game.

November 22, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

collingwood dave

Wow, so sorry I missed that TFC game last night. That 0-0 game must have been a real barn burner.

November 22, 2017 @ 8:45 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@collingwood dave

I actually enjoyed the game because it was high stakes and intense.

The 0-0 is fine by me... now we go home with our full squad just having to win the game. GIddy-up!

November 22, 2017 @ 8:48 PM

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