Remember when Canadians were lovable hosers in the Bob and Doung McKenzie mold? Well, Canadians are now out-phillying Philly fans in boorishness booing the American national anthem on a few occasions.
Now even the Candian teams are getting into the act. The Toronto Blue Jays have an ad campaign which might be preparing them Napoleanically to fight on two fronts, Japan and the USA.
Taped to the door of the Yankees' clubhouse was a team-sponsored newspaper ad that targeted Matsui. "Boo Matsui," it read, in English and Japanese, with a photo of a Yankee cap pelted by bird droppings.
A) Matsui has yet to proof himself a boo-able commodity. There are doubts among many that he will as big a power hitter in the states as he was in Japan. No one posts adds to "Boo Todd Zeile."
B) Even if Matsui becomes the next power-hitting Ichiro, he had better take a number and get in line when it comes to Yankee personalities to boo. Now, an ad campaign to boo David Wells is something even a number of Yankee fans could get behind.
C) What ever happened to being a gracious host? I guess this is a back-handed compliment but in the simpler days of my youth teams would feature the stars of the opponents with a subtle nod to the division rivalry: "Come see our Phils play Willie Stargell and the Big Bad Bucs" (or words to that effect).
D) As a regular visitor to the Bronx shrine, I would advise the Blue Jays to let those sleeping giants lie. Trust me, there is nothing that the pathetic Canadian fans can say that would be new to anyone who has played in the Bronx. All this does is invite payback for their players, if any are known to Yankee fans, on their next trip to the Stadium. To quote Rick Blaine from Casablanca, "There are certain sections of New York [the Bronx being one of them], that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade."
E) Finally, are the Blue Jays advocating that the local Torontoan bird population empty their spleen, literally, on Mr. Matsui in some sort Mel Brooks-ian refraction of Hitchcock's The Birds? Domo arigato..not.
Matsui, to his credit, seems unfazed:
"I don't have anything special to say," he said through an interpreter. "I guess I'm happy that the fans are actually aware of my name."
Manager Joe Torre wasn't exactly pleased by the ad:
Torre saw the ad while riding the team bus this morning. He believed it was inappropriate and said it went "beyond having fun."
"I thought it was tasteless, especially in the climate of what's going on in the world," Torre said. "I can understand fun and games, but I thought it was a little bit too much."
I consider sports a form of escape from serious issues like war, but I guess I see his point.
Jason Giambi, after only one year in Yankee garb, was surprising circumspect and blase about it:
"I don't think everybody who comes out is going to boo Matsui," first baseman Jason Giambi said. "They're going to boo the Yankees, period."
It is surprising that such a young and exciting team like the Jays needs to resort to these tactics to sell tickets. I guess that's what happens when one's currency is so debased that it converts almost even up with lire.