Away supporters - the view from the petard

So, Chicago Fire fans want to send, are capable of sending, and are willing to pay for half a thousand fans to go to Toronto. I don't think they should. The Canadian dollar is KILLING us right now. It's like there's a 50% Leaving The Country Tax these days.

The only other insight I had about this: when Soccernet uses a picture of the Riot Squad as an illustration of Ives Galarcep's article? We're aware of how surrealistically inappropriate that is, and although I haven't met him, I'm going to guess that we'd be about his 20th choice for a supporters picture. It's a good thing we're so gosh-darned adorable!

Like Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell, I've looked at this from both sides. I've even read the threads on this board in order to be persuaded - usually, I come up with a knee-jerk opinion, then defend it to the death in the face of all facts otherwise. In this case, I agree with the last person I read. I support a team that sells out its stadium for rivalry games, therefore I understand and appreciate that Toronto would treat its casual, wavering fans better than it would the enemy's diehard fans. I and my friends enjoy travelling to San Jose to see games, therefore I understand the kind of fun Fire fans have on the road (and DC/Metro/Rev/Crew/etc.) - it's part of the experience.

So, I made a couple of calls and e-mails. I wrote or called UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, the Dodgers, the Maple Leafs, the Packers, and the Vikings to see what their policy was, or would be, if a group of 500 fans wanted to come over and cheer on the Enemy.

They said, "Soccer is a commie sport. Piss off."

They didn't really. The football cases were instructive. The Green Bay Packers have sold out Lambeau Stadium until the sun goes out. The Packers do organize trips to other, more accessible stadiums, but calling up the Packers and asking for tickets is utterly pointless, let alone if you're cheering for the other team.

Well, hey, since the Packers organize trips, maybe other teams organize trips to Lambeau? "The Packers don't give us anything," said the Minnesota Vikings rep wistfully. He did suggest I check out the local Green Bay newspaper website to see if tickets were available. I sincerely thanked him. So, forget getting 499 of your friends and cheering on the Vikes at Lambeau.

USC and UCLA might hate each other, but they have a lot in common when it comes to caginess about a simple question about how many tickets each school gives the other for their rivalry games. I'm sure my voice mails left at both schools' athletics departments will be returned very promptly. In both cases, though, you are allowed to sit with your friends and cheer on the enemy...provided you and your friends are very rich, and have been giving to the school for years. Nevertheless, it is possible. [EDIT - USC says they give UCLA 15,000 for Coliseum games, and receive the same for the Rose Bowl games. I seem to remember this was also 50-50 at one time, but then again, they did used to share the Coliseum.]

The Dodgers were much more helpful, when I asked how they would accommodate a small horde of Giants fans:

Cal and Stanford used to be 50-50, but Stanford moved into a tinier stadium, so negotiations are ongoing. Cal told me they give something like 10-15,000 (out of 72,000) for their home games, Stanford said they give "around 15,000." Again, expect to pay mightily for the privilege.

The very best response, though, was from Toronto FC's older brothers in blue. After all, the Maple Leafs have been in business for a while, this MUST have come up at some point. Here is their complete response to my perhaps too-cute phrasing: