Rogers anything but model ownership

Toronto Maple Leafs president and CEO Richard Peddie says the team remains in the dark about the...

Toronto Maple Leafs president and CEO Richard Peddie says the team remains in the dark about the Rogers rumours. (Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY)

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:46 PM ET

TORONTO - I received a call this week from a Rogers representative reminding me I owed them a whopping $26 for my cable service ... or my daughter’s cell phone. I’m not quite sure which. I never am.

Not that the money was overdue or I owed a lot.

They basically wanted the $26 and they wanted it right away. The good news is, they didn’t threaten to break my legs and I could actually understand the guy on the line. I don’t mean to be flippant about that. Often times, I simply can’t capiche when these representatives call. Please forgive me for that. I realize my inability to decipher all the world’s accents is my fault. For that, I feel deep remorse.

Anyway, I promised the dude I’d drop a cheque in the mail this week. He then droned on about other Rogers services, but continued to press if I truly planned to send them money by this Friday.

If not for the fact the call was “recorded for quality purposes” I would have told the guy to suck a lemon.

I was oddly pissed off afterwards.

Just the thought of a huge corporation pestering me for $26 when it wasn’t necessarily overdue didn’t sit right.

But to be fair, I’ve had a grudge against Rogers for a long time.

Rogers owns the Blue Jays, one of the sports teams I genuinely care about, and the Jays have done nothing, post-season wise, since Rogers purchased the franchise in 2000.

And unlike the Maple Leafs and the Raptors, which compete in leagues with a hard salary cap, nothing has prevented Rogers from spending their way to the post-season, like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

In my world, Rogers has been anything but a model team owner in this market. Their track record has been spotty at best.

Now comes word Rogers is in play, possibly, perhaps, to purchase controlling interest of the Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC and the Marlies.

If true, you’re basically going to have one giant corporation, that has done nothing with their sports franchise, buying out another corporation, which has done nothing with their sports franchises, forming a mega corporation that promises to do nothing with all the sports franchises in Toronto, save the Argos.

Is that good news?

Not for me.

Rogers will have a virtual monopoly on the face of sports in this city if the supposed deal goes through and monopolies are usually not a good thing.

Most Toronto sports fans don’t care if Rogers has plans to merge their cell phone and cable interests with their pro sports franchises and create a Yankee Global Enterprises-type media/sports conglomeration.

Fans want a winner. And there haven’t been any winners in these parts for a long time. Including the Rogers-owned Blue Jays.

Not everything about Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban I like.

Once when we were covering a Raptors game at the American Airlines Center, a Mavs player went down with an injury and Cuban charged on to the court like a paramedic, hunching over the player like a ghoul. But that’s all part of his persona. He needs to be seen and heard 24/7. Even during a bloody game.

But, there’s also something to be said for an individual owner of a franchise, like Cuban, who lives and breathes the team like the fans do, like a corporation cannot.

A single owner is front and centre when things go wrong.

Who do you call or write at Rogers if you’re fed up with the Blue Jays? Who do you blame when they don’t win year after year?

The president of Rogers Communications? I would guess the average fan doesn’t even know who the guy is.

Hell, Cuban puts his email address out there and actually answers fans and sports reporters.

Can you imagine Rogers doing this if they owned the Jays, the Leafs, the Raptors and Toronto F.C.?

Have you tried contacting Rogers lately about anything?

Whether the deal materializes is the big question.

Most of the parties supposedly involved are refusing to comment, so the media is left to interview “insiders” and “analysts”. My boss suggested I get in touch with any “analysts” I might know. So I did.

“Doc, what do you think of reports that Rogers is trying to buy the Leafs, Raptors and TFC?”

“What does that have to do with your deep-seeded emotional problems?”

“I don’t know. You’re the analyst.”

“I’m not that kind of analyst, dummy,” he said.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezer


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