Godfrey jumps on CFL bandwagon??

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It was with great interest that Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey watched Sunday as his tenants at the Rogers Centre, the CFL Argonauts, announced the signing of high-stepping former Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams.

The huge ovation by a Jays crowd for the suspended NFL running back demonstrated the feelings of the city's sports fans.

"I'm a great believer that the better the Leafs, the Raptors and the Argos do, the better the Jays will do at drawing fans," the former Toronto Metro Chairman said. "I've always talked publicly that professional sports teams in cities create economic growth, create jobs, create tourism, but most of all and perhaps most importantly, create community pride."

The Teflon-lined Leafs do not qualify in any way under Godfrey's broad outline of mutual success. But the Argos have created a definite buzz with the Williams signing and their ebullient coach Michael Clemons. The Raptors have a new and respected GM in Bryan Colangelo and the No.1 pick overall in the upcoming NBA draft.

"If the other teams are doing well, the Blue Jays will do well," Godfrey offered. "Some people would say, I guess you're hoping the Leafs and the Raptors get knocked out.' I say, No, and I can't understand why you would say that.' I basically cheer for them.

"The better they do, it creates an interest in sports fans, especially in young kids. When young kids start getting interested in sports, they get interested in all sports."

That's an area where baseball in general and the Jays in particular have been perceived to be lagging. Baseball has been pigeonholed as an old man's game. People cite the need for speed among youngsters, with short attention spans and a society of trance-inducing video games, violence and speed.

"I went to a school last week with Reed Johnson and these are kids up to Grade 6," Godfrey said. "There was great enthusiasm. I was surprised how many players these kids knew. I bring a lot of kids down to the field. I find the players, you don't even have to ask and they come over. They understand."

Godfrey is right. There has been a noticeable increase in young fans, in their 20s and younger. But, then again, there should be. The attendance is up some 75,000 in 29 home dates over a year ago, with a team that is hanging in in the AL East race.

What is more noticeable and encouraging is that when the Jays announce a crowd, most of that number actually appear to be in the park, instead of no-shows, as in the recent past.

"We're substantially ahead in ticket sales," Godfrey said. "Groups, packs, internet sales, in every area. It's an indication that the public buys into the potential of the team. We'll surpass our budget numbers, but it's too hard (to predict a final total).

"It's the first year since '99 we've passed 10,000 in season ticket equivalents. There's a buzz around town, wherever I go. I haven't seen that for the last few years."

Godfrey is happy with the city's response but believes the glory days of attendance at the building formerly known as SkyDome will never return.

"I believe that although 4 million people came out in '92, '93, they came out for a variety of reasons — the new stadium and everything else," Godfrey said, referring to two World Series titles. "I believe that, ultimately, getting between 2.7 and 2.9 (million fans) on a regular basis is great. If we get a playoff contender, then we can get to 3 and 3.1. I don't think you can get to the 4s any more. We're being very realistic in this."

There is a caveat with the Jays. One-third of the way in, they have been expending max effort to keep up with the loping Red Sox and Yankees. If everything falls right and they contend to the end, Godfrey's attendance predictions will come true.

If the Jays fall out of the race and fans fall off the bandwagon, well, they'll always have Ricky and the Boatmen for those hazy days of summer.

It's about bloody time that Godfrey woke up and smelled the CFL coffee.

Seems like the Williams signing is going to be a big + for the Argos and the league in general.

I think it's great for the league that they sign a player regardless on what he does with his free time, unlike the fascist NFL, as I'm a avacit on decriminalizing certain illegal drugs.

My issue though with Williams is that he doesn't have the attitude of a football player or a team player, and I worry that he will just walk away from the Argos like he did with the Dolphins whenever it sues him.

maybe he's realizing the CFL is here to stay?

or hes in-sincere...

i suspect the later.

Well The Thing He Said That Doesn't Really Makes Sense Is When All The Other Teams Do Well It Helps The Jays. I Don't Think So, Although The Jays And Argos Aren't In Direct Competition Because They Both Play In The Building Formily Known As The Skydome. However The Jays Are In Direct Competition With The Leafs, As Is Anything Else In Toronto, Including The Theater, Other Sports Teams And Even The Baby Leafs. Notice This Year How Poorly The Leafs Did (Not Even Making The Playoffs) And How Much Of An Increase There Is In Interest In Baseball.

I think hell has frozen over.

What about the Raptors?

The Craptors were pretty much darned this past season when former GM, Glen Grunwald (or was it Rob Babc*ck? Can't remember) said that fans should expect a record worse than the one the year before; before the season ever started, when in actual fact, they finished about the same.

After The Argos Lost The East Final I Was Walking Back To The Subway Via Union Station, With 60,000 Fans That Were Also Coming From The Game. Amongst This Group Were Two Lonely Raptor Fans Chanting Argos Suck And All That After The Argos Won Only There Second Game Of The First 12 Games In The Season. Getting In An Arguement With Some Lady Who I Assume Must've Been Saskargo. Anyways, Out Of All The People Walking Through Union Station Only Two Of Them Had Been Obvious Raptors Fans. So I'll Treat Them Like The Rest Of Toronto Does, Just Ignore Them.

the NBA lives and dies on thier star players..when the raptors had one, they were doing well...now hes gone, they are doing worse each year.

NBA fans only care about the stars, not the team...this years canadian NBA tv ratings prove that. ( 40,000 average nationally )

Lets see Godfreys statement for what it is. He thinks he's one step closer to getting an nfl team up there simply because Williams is there.

The Craptors and the NBA are a non factor in Canada.
Only a small percentage in Toronto are fans and a good portion at ACC are blackmailed by MLSE to buy tickets. It's only a matter of time they go the way of the Grizzlies.
As for the Crap Jays, it would not surprise me the same as the Expos will occur.

It the same type of deal in the City of Angels, only it worked in reverse,when the Staples Centre first opened. If the fans wanted Laker season tickets , they had to take Kings' season tickets as well. It might take another cant miss kid to save that franchise yet again.

Raptors fans will definately come back if they just make the playoffs for god sakes.

Back from some holidays after turning 50 on Monday.
Godfrey saying anything positive about the Argos is noteworthy, regardless of the reason or reasons. He wants to be associated with anything "big time American image wise", like a lot of people in Canada.
I really think if he wants the NFL to take him seriously, rather than bashing the Argos and the CFL like he has done in past and his dream talking of the NFL, what he really should do, and DO is the operable word here, is promote the Argos and see that his stadium is filled for every game. The NFL wants to see that Toronto is a football town, they don't care much if the Jays draw well or not. I'm thinking that maybe Godfrey will realize that if the Argos start putting up big numbers in the Rogers Centre, this may make the NFL notice and maybe bring a regular season game there at some point in the near future. The NFL doesn't want to hear Paul whine and cry, they want to see some football action there in Toronto which everyone sees as a hockey town first (of course), and after the 2 NFL exhibition games in the 90's that didn't come near sellouts, Paul and his gang have a lot of work to do to catch up and show that Toronto is a football town. Best place to start is with the Argos IMO, they are the football game in town Paul.

Taking Numbnuts at face value is about as safe as trusting Satan himself. (Not the hockey player). This man needs to be listened to, not with a grain of salt, but with the whole shaker.

For sure about the salt shaker af4life, true enough.

I really hope the Jays and the Raptors work out, if nothing else, they will be supported from Buffalo, and 40,000 isn't bad.

and the Kings will stay, since they are Sacramento's only pro team, and they do well year after year.

The team that will relocate next will be the Clippers, trust me.

The NFL is not interested in Toronto. PAUL is just out of touch.

hellothere: Do you think Godfrey is one of JT's son's clients?