I suppose the word “gun” didn’t go over well with the politically correct higher-ups at MLSE and they had to settle for something that reminds you of little kids. No matter what you think of the name Young Onez, let’s just agree that Don Draper didn’t come up with this one. The site was launched to some fanfare at Real Sports Bar on Saturday afternoon at 3PM. Note the timing, it’s important for two reasons:

  1. The Leaf game at 7PM would’ve filled the bar with people who couldn’t care less about the announcement and would only wonder why there’s a Z instead of an S used in the name.
  2. The 3PM time gives fans of this movement enough time to come out, have a coke, and then be home in time for their 6PM bedtime. I’m being harsh, I know.

The website defines the Young Onez as:

The Young Onez are the heart and soul of Toronto. The life-line of the ACC. They are the group of die-hard fans who never stop cheering for Sonny, DeMar and Amir, and the entire Raptors squad. Are you one?

I suppose I don’t qualify because I actually stop cheering for Amir when he picks up his third foul in eight minutes, and I stop cheering for Weems when he lets a clearly pregnant Bill Walker blow by him. I might resume cheering for them if they do something that shows mild interest in the proceedings later on in the game, but until then, I’m swearing more than cheering.

There’s one big positive about this and one little aspect of it that is watering down the hype. On one hand it’s great that three professional athletes have accepted the city and the team as their own and have designs on planting their roots here. This kind of public commitment is rare when it comes to the Raptors, the only thing which kind of comes close is how Vince Carter had his summertime All-Star classic where he represented Toronto well and publicly showed how committed he was to the city. Maybe you disagree, but I certainly saw it that way.

The downer is that none of these players are proven commodities. Sonny Weems was an absolute nobody up until midway of last season, Amir Johnson is still a garbage man, and DeMar DeRozan is a rookie that carries very little clout in the league. So having these three endorse the city and the team is like having Maurizio do a Red Bull commercial. If two of the three become stars and transform this team into legitimate contenders, then they really will be the “heart and soul” of Toronto, but until then this is much like Mike James, Rafer Alston and Charlie V forming a coalition called The Axis of Mediocrity.

Section 111 is the official supporters (of the team I think, not the three players) zone and hopefully they can provide fans with no-strings-attached cheap tickets. If you recall, this is an extension of an idea originally executed in Milwaukee by Andrew Bogut who bought out some seats to fans as long as they show up every game. Where’s the RR Supporters Zone you ask? Oh, it’s coming, it’s coming…They also want to do chants which is awesome. As a soccer fan, I must warn them that all the good ones will either be deemed too blue or too mean by MLSE. Here’s one for Kevin Garnett:

KG watches Glee, he’s a pussy
A racist prick, knock him out, that’ll do the trick

Some CBA talk about reducing player salaries and contraction. David Stern’s painting a picture of doom and planting seeds that the owners aren’t getting a fair-shake of the basketball-related income, and that eliminating jobs (contraction) could be used to curb expenses. I’m actually going to go ahead and side with the players on this one, who exactly is asking the owners to sign marginal players to ridiculous contracts? Maybe if they weren’t so quick to write a cheque they wouldn’t be in this alleged position. Nobody’s suggesting collusion, but damn it man, control your impulse before handing out contracts and outbidding yourself.

Scratch that, collude! If players playing under contract can decide where to sign and for how much, why can’t the owners do the same? Not openly obviously, but have a pact or something, passwords, secret codes, special handshakes, secret meetings in robes, whatever it takes. Just look at this summer and see the contracts handed out to Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, Al Harrington, Raymond Felton….hell, just check them out here. After seeing that kind of cash being splurged in the market, the owners and Stern tell us that the teams aren’t making money and want to “get profitable, [and] have a return on investment”? What? That’s like selling our house and using the cash to pay Cadillac-money for a Honda and then complain that you don’t have a roof over my head. Get real.

Back to the Raptors, they still haven’t established a starting five. Have your say on who you think should start, I think the power forward, small forward and maybe even the point guard starting positions are up for grabs. Kleiza’s going to win out at small forward just because there’s nobody better and Bryan Colangelo would rather sacrifice his first born than let David Andersen start ahead of Andrea Bargnani.

We’ll have more rotation talk tomorrow.

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