For the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays, being just north of the border is sometimes made out to be like playing on the other side of the planet, if you ask certain players.
At first glance, it seems like it could be tough logistically for these Toronto teams to operate while being the only ones in their respective league’s outside of the United States. However, Alex Anthopoulos — the former general manager of the Blue Jays and member of the organization from 2003-2015 — said he doesn’t believe in the negative narratives that surround playing in Toronto on Sportsnet’s Tim and Sid.
“I think any other narrative that was out there, country, currency, travel, TV channels, all that kind of stuff, it's irrelevant. I just don't buy it, I don't subscribe to it. You have a winning competitive club, when guys get to free agency, they've been to their all-star games, they're going to make money regardless, at that point they want to win, and they want to go to a winning club.”
The Atlanta Braves executive brought up the topic rather unprovoked on the show as he was asked about how the turf at Rogers Centre impacted ex-Jays star Josh Donaldson — which Anthopoulos stated was a non-issue for all players, aside from the case of Troy Glaus. He additionally claimed that Donaldson shares a similar mindset about being in Toronto.
The supposed issues that surround playing in Toronto can be frustrating to hear for the fanbases. That’s why, when you get players like Marcus Stroman and recent Blue Jays acquisition Anthony Kay, who explore and embrace Canadian culture, they often turn into fan favourites.
While even some members of the U.S. media like Stephen A. Smith have certain biases against the success of Canadian franchises, Anthopoulos, a Montreal, Quebec native who speaks from experience, doesn’t see it being such a bother for players.
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