[PortiesMaloneGate] AP, you and Arace mentioned in Cannon Fodder that some of the front office staff don't necessarily understand the bond that existed between this market and the first few teams, It almost seemed like you guys stopped short of further going down that rabbit hole... I understand if you cannot name names but can you provide some clarity to those comments?
[Portzline] It's a feeling, and it's held by far more people than just me and my esteemed colleague. I've talked to former players who hear people in Columbus talk about establishing roots with fans and getting the market off the ground, and that leaves them flummoxed. The roots were here, they note, but the years of losing and an increasing detachment between the organization and the fan base, has led them to wither on the vine. There are very few people left now who fully understand how special those first few years were, the love affair that existed between the players and the fans and the city. It's common to hear visiting media say "It's a shame" when they come to town and see the building. They remember what it used to be.I find this very interesting, largely because I literally wasn't in Columbus during this "what it used to be" period. When I followed the NHL, I wasn't following the CBJ. Thus, I have zero perception of what this magic "honeymoon" (my term) period was like.
I know for a fact that this blog is read by long-time hockey fans - many of whom became CBJ fans before the team even dropped the puck for the first time. Can I prevail upon some of you to offer your thoughts on this issue? Might someone be able to further explain the subtext behind the above dialogue? What made the early days of the CBJ so special? I'm genuinely interested to learn from your experiences, everyone.
If you have some brief thoughts, please feel free to post them in the comments. If you want longer space to share your recollections and perhaps a comparison to what we see today, drop me an email at darkbluejacket [at] sbcglobal [dot] net and I'll be happy to create a separate post for your efforts.