May 07, 2008

Losing Chuck Swirsky

When the Toronto Raptors lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, that I could swallow. The Orlando Magic are a better team, so it was expected that we'd lose. Besides it wasn't a total loss -- we gained more playoff experience, Sam Mitchell discovered Jason Kapono was actually good -- a lesson I hope he remembers when next season begins.

What I do find hard to swallow is the loss of Chuck Swirsky, the Raptors' color commentator. This is a devastating loss to the Toronto Raptors, the organization, the city and the fans. It is one thing to have a person who comments on the games, it is another to have the type of class-act that Chuck Swirsky is, as a man, as an ambassador to the game, as a fan. Chuck was often criticized for being a homer, someone who said things about the Raptors that a professional like himself should never say. He voted Andrea Bargnani as rookie of the year, even though every single voter voted for Brandon Roy. He was the only man to vote for Bargnani.

But say what you will, broadcasts without Chuck Swirsky will never be the same again. To have that kind of chemistry is difficult enough, but to find a man who loves our city and our team as much as Chuck does, that will be irreplaceable.

His shoes will be tough to fill.

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