BY Seth Kolloen 12:08PM 06/17/2011

Kolloen: Riot after a loss? Fans confuse, impress

Post-loss violence? Unheard of in the States. Canuck fans sure have it backward…or do they?

Riots in Vancouver spoiled what was otherwise a splendid Stanley Cup Final. / Elsa, Getty Images

I am a first-generation American. My parents speak perfect English, they understand the rules of baseball, they do not force me to enact odd folk rituals, but one of them was not born here. My mother is Canadian.

(My grandparents emigrated here when she was two; partially on the basis of a less-than-honest residency application, I’ve since learned, making us illegal immigrants. Sorry for taking your job.)

Yet despite my Canadian heritage, I here pronounce myself baffled by the violent behavior of Vancover Canucks fans Wednesday night, and by Canadian sports fans in general. Baffled, but a little impressed–especially by these two lovebirds.

In America, we burn cars and loot retail establishments when we win. It’s as if the euphoria of victory sends us back to our forest-burning, land-stealing colonial roots. I’ve never heard of American fans rioting when their team loses, no matter how enraging the defeat.

Take the Huskies’ 2006 NCAA tournament loss to UConn. A moronic foul, a lucky buzzer-beater, questionable refereeing, the second heartbreaker to the same team–if anyone had the right to a post-loss riot it was UW fans. But I sure didn’t hear of one, did you? I mean, my roommate David threw a garbage can down the stairs and chased a raccoon down the alley behind our house, but neither my ’99 Saturn nor the nearby Wireless Toyz store became a target of his rage.

And how about the Super Bowl XL loss? We all agreed, and head official Bill Leavy later confirmed, that referee incompetence cost us a world championship. Where was, as Bob Dole would say, the outrage? Confined to the comment section of local newspaper websites, as far as I can tell. I watched the game with three longtime friends, and our post-game response was to get drunk and watch a Steven Seagal movie. To forget. (And for some cooking tips.)

Maybe Canadians are just bigger sports fans. When American fans’ teams lose, we move on with our lives. Canadians, or at least Vancouverians, are too hardcore for that.

Canadians’ continued support of the NHL goes beyond loyalty. The league has, to talk Canadian, “hosed” that nation, yanking two teams out of Canada in the 1990s while adding teams for such dedicated hockey fanatics as the citizens of Nashville, Phoenix and Miami. You know how deep the hatred runs if you watched the post-game ceremony Wednesday, when Vancouver fans booed NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman as lustily as David Stern would be at a Sonicsgate screening. And yet they still come out to games.

Impressive dedication, and also impressive intelligence. Take Canadians’ attitude toward college sports. There isn’t one. Hockey’s the national sport of Canada, right? Well, here was the attendance for the 2010 national championship game at the highest level of Canadian university hockey: 3,770.

Here in the U.S., the NCAA Division III lacrosse championship drew more than 18,000 fans.

We’re addicted to college sports here, despite the fact that big time college athletic programs are as reliably corrupt as Congress. (Canada is the sixth-least corrupt country in the world) We agree that athletes are exploited, that universities often prioritize sports over academics, and yet we still watch. I still watch.

What if my family didn’t leave Canada. My nights would be filled with deeply felt passion for the world’s most fast-paced team sport. My fall Saturdays would be completely free. Then again, I don’t have comprehensive coverage on my Saturn, so maybe I’m better off here.


  • RadioGuy

    Ha ha, Old Goat, great reference…I could see Wedgie saying “I’m going to KILL you, bwahahaha!” to some batter who watched a called third strike to end an inning with a runner on third.

    God it hurt reading those names, Art.  Who knew about Ortiz but Jones should never have been dealt away for Bedard, Cabrera AND Choo should still be in Seattle, you never give up on a knuckleballer like Dickey because they eat innings like Kobayashi eats hot dogs, LaHair was given away after never being given a fair chance and it’s safe to say that Beltre has done just fine since leaving Safeco.  Oh well, hindsight is what it is.

    Boston may be the only team more happy to get away from Safeco than the Mariners…Seattle’s pitching for the entire series was superb.  But the hitting?  Argghh!  They’re swinging the bats like they’re afraid to fail.  Tough to watch.

    • Artthiel

       And the list didn’t even have A-Rod. To be fair, lots of teams passed on LaHair and Dickey. But Jones is a killa.

  • Bayviewherb

    watch for Olivo, Ryan and Figgins to either be traded or released. Olivo is a veteran third catcher that doesn’t need one. Ryan is an acrobat on defense but look for another team like the Dodgers that need help at SS and perhaps another power team that doesn’t expect offense from a SS. Then there is Chone. Apparenty they don’t want to wastethe huge alery he is contracted for. Get real. They already have. Open jup a roster spot for one of the many overachievers in AAA  

    • Artthiel

       Those three are throw ins on a deal involving Vargas. No team will seek them on their own.

  • FedUp

    My brain can’t seem to retain the name of our current manager and GM in the same way that I can’t seem to find memory space to learn new phone numbers. What’s the point, anymore? 

    • Artthiel

       I’m sure there’s an app for autosaving Mariners managers/execs.

  • LeonRussell

    SOS from Wedge.  What a joke.  What Wedge says means nothing.  Makes no difference at all.  All managers say this same shet when their teams play badly.  Does Wedge honestly think what he says will make any difference, or is he just putting on a show?

    This team has almost no talent.  How can any manager win without talent?

    As I wrote about a month ago, after a similar rant by Wedge, Wedge should just shut up and stop making a fool of himself.  This is not his fault   He has no talent to work with.  

    And if the pitching comes back down to earth in the second half, this is going to get really, really ugly.

    By the way, not even close to one game sold out for a weekend series against the Red Sox?   Those games used to be sold out before the season started every year.  I’ll be there’s still a lot of tickets left for when the Yankees come to town this month, also.

    This should be a lesson for all the pathetic NBA fans in this town:  a new stadium/arena doesn’t make any difference at all, if the team playing in it isn’t worth a dam.

    • Artthiel

       Flowers to Leon. He needs cheering up.

      Wedge cannot say nothing. That was part of what fired Wakamatsu. Wedge also has to manage up (front office) and out (fans and media) , which is what a lot of the words are aimed at. But he’s not a phony — he believes what he says.

      Although I’d go real light on the “I didn’t come out there to fail” rhetoric. M’s managers are set up to fail.

  • Will

    Rooting for the Mariners is akin to rooting for a squirrel on a cage wheel. No matter what, they continue to spin and go exactly nowhere.

    • Artthiel

       Now that the Wash Nattys are the best team in NL, they may well make the World Series, leaving the Mariners as the last team in MLB without the honor.

  • Old Goat

    Especially if the Squirrel gets loose and ends up flattened in the road.

  • jafabian

    All the problems the team has been having offensively at home makes the early years at Safeco even more impressive.  But really, the difference is that a veteran team made up the club whereas this is a young one.

    • Will

      They’re up and down like a yo-yo, spinning all the while.  Seriously, if you’ve ever followed a team having the occasional low time but then bounces back, that’s a very different experience (I once lived in SF and LA) … the Mariners are in the dictionary … look up “futility”.

      • Artthiel

         Actually, it’s a function of too much youth in too many positions, and too much old in two — RF and C.

    • Artthiel

       Lots of veteran crust on the 01 team. Also before steroids were a bad thing.

  • Let us not forget about Michael Morse and Shin Soo-Choo.  If either were still with Seattle, they would easily be the best hitter in our lineup.

    • Artthiel

       Aren’t you too young to remember those guys?

    • RadioGuy

      Shoot, I’d totally forgotten about Morse.  Another giveaway of a guy who could play multiple positions but kept getting jacked around and never got a legitimate shot in Seattle.  Now I really want to barf.

  • Kelly B Peterson

    I’m wondering why no one is seeing a correlation with Mariners hitting in 2010, 2011, and 2012 with this announcement in February of 2010.  Think any other teams will sign up after Mariners exclusive agreement is over at end of season?

  • Artthiel

     I like it. Wedge as Inspector Dreyfus. Replace the Moose with with the Pink Panther.

  • I should also add that the team’s offensive approach is what leads to a lack of run production.  With a lineup lacking a true power hitter, the Mariners must play “small ball” every single home game.  No hitter should be immune to laying down a bunt or executing a hit and run.  Every time the M’s manage to get a runner to first with less than one man out, I’m having the next guy lay one down if I’m Jeff Datz- especially when we’ve shown we can’t string together hits or hit for power.

    Safeco Field was built for team’s to play small ball.  The Mariners have lost sight of that over the past three years.  Instead they opt to complain about how the fences are too deep.