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Fire me? I'm Honored!

November 3, 2008, 9:35 PM ET [ Comments]
Howard Berger
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
TORONTO (Nov. 3) – Finally, I have something in common with Richard Peddie.

It has nothing to do with salary, or responsibility at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, as King Richard would never threaten his own job security by placing me in charge of hiring the next GM of the Leafs. Richard and I, however, are the disconsolate subjects of websites aimed solely at our demise. Yes, a helpful e-mailer sent me an attachment this evening – “firehowardberger.com” has joined cyberspace alongside the more entrenched “firerichardpeddie.com.” And, you thought Peddie was in a class by himself.

Anyhow, the preamble to the latter-day website – addressed to my boss, the general manager and program director at THE FAN-590, reads as such… “Dear Nelson Millman: We Leaf fans are sickened by the work of Howard Berger. We, the undersigned, demand that his services with FAN-590 be terminated immediately. We are the station’s loyal listeners. If Mr. Berger is not terminated immediately, we will cease supporting your advertisers until such a time as he is fired.”

I spoke to Nelson tonight and though I couldn’t get him to commit to a raise in salary, I’m still confident I can work on him… but only if the signature count on the petition surpasses 1,000. At the moment, it doesn’t appear too promising, as the paltry total sits at less than 40. Had the “firehowardberger” site been launched a bit sooner, I may have been able to capitalize on the momentum from my “Most Valuable Losers” blog last Thursday. Truth kills in Leafs Nation and, surely, the signature flow would have been greater by now. But, Nelson hasn’t given me a deadline, so I’m confident there is still plenty of opportunity for the count to surge upwards.

In the meantime, I’ll have to turn to King Richard for counseling. Only he knows how to weather such a storm, and I’m still learning. I’m hoping to view top-secret videotapes from the MLSE board meeting in the summer of 2007, when Richard and Larry Tanenbaum almost came to blows over the future of then-GM John Ferguson. Apparently, the anti-Ferguson forces – lead by Tanenbaum – executed a frontal assault on King Richard, only to be scattered by an unseen voice that reverberated through the meeting room: “WE, THE TEACHERS, SUPPORT RICHARD!!!” the voice boomed.

I have no such advocate. In fact, I had to convince Nelson not to add his name to the petition. It might have inched me closer to the 1,000 mark, but the optics would have been lousy.

Oh yeah, the threat of boycotting advertisers from the “firehowardberger.com” folks had me mildly concerned. But, I checked the spot-log tonight and TOYS ‘R US isn’t part of our clientele. Whew!

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