Golden State Warriors centre DeMarcus Cousins (0) jumps for the basket under pressure from Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green (14) and Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka, back, during second half basketball action in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Golden State Warriors centre DeMarcus Cousins (0) jumps for the basket under pressure from Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green (14) and Toronto Raptors centre Serge Ibaka, back, during second half basketball action in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Rickter Scale: Meanwhile back in Toronto

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

If you hail from Hogtown, it’s best to stop reading any further immediately.

The Raptors run towards a National Basketball Association championship has illuminated once again how easy it is to despise a city whose citizens, and sports networks in particular, consider themselves the centre of the universe.

Let’s begin with a trio of reasons why Toronto is spelled with three zeros. People there have zero concept of how poorly they are perceived by the rest of us in Canada. They have zero understanding of how much the Raptors’ catchphrase, ‘We the North,’ annoys the eh out of the rest of us. That term should be strictly reserved for that part of our native land renowned for its obnoxious arrogance. And finally, people in our largest city have zero inkling of how much the rest of us hate Drake’s camera-hogging courtside antics during Raptors games.

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As a quietly patriotic Canadian, I do hope the Raptors win, based on revelling in any opportunity to flip an imaginary finger to our equally superiority-soaked neighbours to the south. Win or lose, Toronto’s title trot bodes well for our country’s growing contribution to the NBA’s ranks and the nationwide growth of the game of giants. You only need to watch the last 10 minutes of any game though, to experience the event in its entirety.

That will mercifully limit the obligatory hundred sideline shots of Drake, and plenty of time to develop a deep disdain for Rod Black, who will never be accused of sleeping with the enemy. What passes for objective play by play takes homerphobia to new levels. Black’s verbal hyperbole is particularly sickening when he raises his voice in crescendo-bending exclamation points, which occurs after every positive Raptors play. Remember to allot 40 extra minutes to allow for the inordinate number of timeouts, however, irrefutable proof the creators of the PVR had NBA games in mind.

What’s equally gag worthy is how the Toronto Sports Network and Sportsorontonet have fallen over each other to milk the Raptors run. Pregame shows have ballooned to two hours, and half of what was once an hour of coverage of all sports is now devoted to the Raptors, whether they played or not.

It makes you cringe to consider what kind of coverage would have been inflicted upon us if the Maple Leafs had managed to make to the Stanley Cup final. (Insert extended version of hilarious laugh track here.)

Apology addendum: The contents of this column are in no way meant to reflect poorly on the dedicated employees of Black Press Media from Toronto who saw the light and moved to Victoria. That fine collection includes, in particular, Michelle Cabana, publisher of the Goldstream News Gazette. A true blue Leafs fan, Cabana continues to pay the price for hiring a columnist from Montreal, much to the constant consternation of the few irregular readers of the Rickter Scale.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


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