Monday, August 30, 2010

Sad sports landscape lately in the T-Dot

This entry is dedicated to my fellow Toronto sports fans...the professional sports landscape in the T-Dot has been suffering of late...gone are the days of 50,000+ at the SkyDome for a Jays game...the Leafs have not been relevant as a legit contender in the NHL for eons (remember that 1967 isn't just the last time the Leafs hoisted the Stanley Cup, it is also the last time the team even went to the Stanley Cup Finals)...the Raps have never been significant in the NBA...the Argos seem to have their best days behind them (especially if there is not a stadium answer like in Montreal where the new stadium helped create an atmosphere that has turned that franchise into one of the CFL's best...Argos in the half-empty Rogers Centre is a poor venue/atmosphere)...the Rock are the current toast of the town as they are the only pro team in the T-Dot for more than 2 years to compete in the post-season...let's take a look at our fair city and the pro teams that represent the great GTA

a jubilant Carter rounds the bases
Toronto Blue Jays - Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger homerun in your life...that was Tom Cheek's call on October 23, 1993 as the Jays completed back-to-back World Series Championships capped by a 3-run 9th in Game 6 courtesy of Joe's blast...17 seasons later the Jays have one 2nd place finish, nine 3rd place finishes, and 2010 will be the fourth time the Jays finished in 4th place (3rd year in a row for 4th place)...three 5th place finishes too...only one time since Joe Carter hit that Home Run have the Jays had a season where they finished less than 10 games out of a playoff spott...Guys like Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston have the organization on the right track to return to the Fall Classic...

Captain Mats celebrates tickling the twine
Toronto Maple Leafs - April 30, 2004 a 3-1 home victory over the Flyers to even that semifinal series at 2-2...Captain Mats scored twice in an Ed Belfour win...Leafs would lose Games 5 and 6 to be eliminated...6+ years later the Leafs fans have seen their team in zero play-off games...Brian Burke has the keys to the organization going forward...with names like Phaneuf, Monster, Kessel, Kadri the future seems bright, but Leafs fans are desperate for a Stanley Cup Title to end the 40+ year drought...the short-term question is when will this young team jell to at least end the 6+ year play-off drought...I mean come on folks - 8 teams in each Division get in the play-offs so for the Leafs to not be in the Top 8 in the East for this many seasons in a row (we know one season was lost due to the Lockout, but still COME ON!) is unacceptable

2008...both Raps in this pic are now ex-Raps
Toronto Raptors - April 24, 2008 a 108-94 home victory over the Orlando Magic was the last smile on a Raptors fan face...that put the first round play-off series at 2-1 for Orlando...T.J. Ford led with 21 points...Jamario Moon with 10 boards...Magic rebounded with double-digit wins in Game 4 and Game 5 and 2+ years later Raptors fan are as grumpy and down on the franchise as they have ever been...Brian Colangelo was once thought to be the saviour of this franchise, but that was a long time ago...the Regular Season wins and losses have been brutal...this off-season saw them lose Chris Bosh for nothing (so far anyway...Raps did get a Trade Exception in return which has to be used this year so we will see what asset BC can add to the Raps with that) plus were humiliated not once, but twice by deals gone wrong this summer...word was out on the Toronto-Charlotte trade to the point where the involved players were already tweeting the news only to have Michael Jordan (owner of the Charlotte Bobcats) take the deal back the next day and make a different trade with a different team...then the news breaks that Matt Barnes has been signed by the Raps...perfect player for this team and he too was tweeting about his new NBA home...but alas the sign-and-trade with Orlando for Barnes fell through due to the fact that it violated NBA trade rules...how Colangelo and company did not know that they were in violation is of course insane and only adds to the diminishing confidence Raps fans have with BC

Toronto Argos - November 18, 2007...19-9 home loss in the Divisional Finals to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers...2+ years and 4 Head Coaches later the Boatmen are still trying to right the ship...Jim Barker is back at the helm and the Argos are looking to join the Toronto Rock as teams putting the T-Dot back in the play-off picture...as we speak the Argos are at a very impressive 5-3, and have CFL newcomers like Cleo Lemon and Cory Boyd to lead them

For those of you who are sports fans in Toronto, and NFL is amongst your interests, then statistically speaking you are a Buffalo Bills fan...I jokingly refer the the Bills as "Toronto's own Buffalo Bills"...the Bills have not made the play-offs in the 2000's, and 2010 will absolutely not change that...even the 2 Regular Season games that the Bills have played in the Rogers Centre so far have both been lopsided loses

Toronto Rock - play-off absence in 2008 and 2009 ended with a run to the Championship game where they lost to the Washington Stealth...the May 1, 2010 home win over Buffalo provided the first home play-off game in the city of Toronto in 2 years...what a sports scene we have here when the Toronto Rock (all due respect to the Toronto Rock) are the best of the bunch...the SkyDome was once the place to be...the ACC is ROCKIN in the play-offs for Leafs or Raptors...but for multiple years now we only have the Rock as a success story...for me that falls under the "God help us" heading...

Send me an email with your thoughts/comments on this, or any other entry... craig.ballard@hotmail.com