Yesterday afternoon, Hockey Insider, Smart Man, and Breaker of Dreams Bob McKenzie tweeted that the Toronto Maple Leafs were making some sort of promotional video to try to convince possible-free agent John Tavares to sign with them.
No. Absolutely not. I won’t have it.
Kurt wrote something really smart and measured about John Tavares, and I suggest you read that instead of reading this, because this? This won’t be pretty. This certainly won’t be smart or measured. Hell, it won’t even be funny. This is just something I have to do. I need to throw my hat in the ring. I can’t live my life with regrets hanging over me like tremulous, foreboding clouds.
I’ve written something in the same vein before (e.g. a big good sports man native to the Toronto area is supposedly gonna hit free agency), but when it was Steven Stamkos, I messed around. I tried to be cute, tried to crack some jokes. None of that this time around. I’m dead serious about this. Balls to the wall.
Mark my words: John Tavares will not slip through Ron Hextall’s delicate, knobbly fingers. Not on my watch.
This will be my heartfelt, absolutely one hundred percent genuine appeal for one John F. Tavares to please, holy shit, please come to the Philadelphia Flyers.
If seeing a grown woman beg makes you uncomfortable, I don’t know what to tell you. Look away, I suppose.
From now on, I’ll be addressing John Tavares directly.
God, that’s too informal. Shit, I gotta start this over.
What time is it where you are? Um, let’s just hope it’s evening. Okay, okay, start over. Clean slate.
Good evening, John.
Oh, is it...is it cool that I call you John? I can’t call you Johnathan, that’s more of a twitter goof than anything, I doubt you’d like being called that. Johnny? Yikes, definitely not that. Even Mr. Tavares sounds kind of silly, I don’t know. I’m only about two years younger than you.
Hey, who cares, though! If that’s what you want, then that’s what you want! No problem! Hah, no problem at all, Mr. Tavares.
Mr. Tavares, I just wanted to start off this by saying how big of a fan of yours I am! Couldn’t be a bigger fan. Absolute huge fan of your work. The way you….shoot that puck and everything? Great stuff, really phenomenal. I respect your hockey playing so much. Like, more than any other person in the world, maybe! You know what? At this moment in time and space, I can say with absolute confidence than no human being wants you on a hockey team as much as I want you on the Philadelphia Flyers.
But you’re a smart man (just one of the many qualities I admire about you, Mr. Tavares!), so I don’t expect you to be convinced with just a few compliments and an impassioned plea.
No, I have way more in store for you. You deserve that.
I have a power point presentation that I have stored on a flashdrive on my keychain at the ready for whenever you want to listen.
Consider this open letter a distillation of that presentation. With less swearing and also less pictures of you photoshopped into a flower crown and a Flyers jersey.
I know what you’re thinking to yourself: what do the Flyers have to offer than I can’t get anywhere else? And God, have you come to the right place because I have several answers for you.
I don’t know how much Canadians follow the NFL, but I figured I would start with something that it brings me immense pleasure to announce: my (soon to be our) Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. Pretty amazing, right? I mean, if you come to Philadelphia, you know you’ll see Tom Brady dropping that pass at least once a week while you’re here. And who doesn’t like seeing Tom Brady failing? It’s one of the simplest joys in life. The Eagles are almost certainly going to repeat next year, so what can I say? Get with the winners, Mr. Tavares!
Speaking of winners, you can’t imagine the type of welcome you would receive here. Because you are a winner, Mr. Tavares. I know it, you know it, Sidney Crosby knows it. You have that winning gene in your DNA, and you know who loves that gene? Me! And everyone else in Philadelphia. We worship the ground winners walk on. It’s almost embarrassing the treatment you’d get. You won’t find that kind of dedication anywhere else.
Wow, I haven’t even mentioned the arts! The food! The music! The atmosphere! The ambiance! The culture, Mr. Tavares! Philadelphia is a city on the rise like none other! You can be as corny and tourist-y as you want. No one will say shit to you because you’re John fuckin’ Tavares. Eat a cheesesteak on the art museum, I’m sorry, the Rocky steps. Scream Philadelphia Freedom at the top of your lungs in Love Park. In Philadelphia, you will be immortal. Untouchable. A god among men.
You don’t need me to tell you about our hockey. You’ve got your agent to do that for you. He’s probably got all kinds of book reports lined up for you about this shit. There’s just one thing you gotta know: we’ve got pieces. We just need you. Of this, I am sure.
To close, here are some rapid-fire offers that I am qualified to make as part of your signing package with us, the Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux would be your best friend. During downtime on road trips, affable youngsters Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick would play you in whatever video game you like best, and you would win almost every single time (I know you, Mr. Tavares, you’d want it at least a little competitive). I would make a fresh batch of your favorite type of cookie every single day until the contract you sign expires, and I would hand deliver them to your doorstep each morning. Actually, no, I would pay Kevin Hart to hand deliver them to your doorstep each morning. You like Kevin Hart? Kevin Hart would sit courtside with you and Meek Mill at Sixers games. The Sixers would win the championship and would immediately hand the trophy to you. The Philadelphia Eagles would not only give you season tickets to their football games, but would also let you suit up just to walkout with them if that’s something you were interested in doing. I would petition Mayor Jim Kenney to change the coat of arms of the city to a picture of your handsome face. I would petition Mayor Jim Kenney to change the motto of the city to “Eight years, eighty million” based on your contract terms. Hell, I would petition Mayor Jim Kenney to make you the mayor.
John, I know that it must be a confusing, exhilarating, anxiety-riddled time, trying to sort through all the offers and decide where you’d like to be. You have so much in front of you, Mr. Tavares. You’re spoiled for choice.
And really, you don’t need any of them. But they all need you.
I’ll make it short, now that I’ve said my piece. Go ahead, Mr. Tavares: give this beautiful, ballsy, buckwild city a shot. You will not regret it.
With respectful love and admiration,
Allison (and the rest of Philadelphia)