It’s not fun being a Toronto sports fan lately. And by lately I mean the last decade. It is beyond frustrating at this point for me. It is just plain crappy. I have a few close friends who suffer with me, but I also have a larger circle of friends who love the fact that the Toronto sports fan is as long suffering as we are. As I write this, the Toronto Maple Leafs have just blown a game against the Buffalo Sabres. This has been an epic season for the Leafs, epic in a bad way. This is the harshest reaction among Leafs I can remember in many, many years. The last time I remember this kind of negativity within Leafs nation was in the 1980’s during the Ballard years. Such a feeling of hopelessness. The Maple Leafs have had an absolutely brutal season, and the future really doesn’t look that much better. At least not the foreseeable future. The club has few prospects that would be a top six forward on any other NHL team. The defence is full of 4-5-6-7 type d-men, but no number 1-2’s that I can see. The goaltending is a whole different story. This team most likely is still a few years away from being respectable. And a few more years away from being a contender.
The Toronto Raptors are in a bit better shape I suppose. The team is among the worst in the NBA this season. Bargnani has been decent when healthy, but has spent a lot of time on the injured list over the last couple of seasons. A high draft pick at this year’s draft should help, providing the player pans out for the club. I am constantly being reassured by hardcore Raptors fans that the club is headed in the right direction. I’ve heard this before, but then McGrady, Carter and Bosh all left. Honestly, I don’t think this club is a year away from competing with the top clubs in the East.
The Toronto Blue Jays should be an exciting club this season at least. But if most experts are correct, the Jays won’t make the playoffs this season….again. The Jays are generally picked to finish fourth in their own division this season. There is some real talent on the team, Bautista has put up some crazy numbers the last couple of seasons. In the end though, this club seems doomed for mediocrity, to wallow in the quicksand that is the American League East. This current club would have to put together a dream season and hope that the usual suspects in the American League East falter badly in order to get a playoff berth. This has been the case since the back-to-back World Series in the early 1990’s. To be honest, I don’t see this changing over the next couple of seasons.
The Toronto FC are dead last in the league. The club has 0 points after their first three games. This club has never made the playoffs, and don’t seem to be on track to get there anytime soon. Toronto FC has been the hottest ticket in town since the city was awarded a MLS expansion franchise, but that fervour seems to be fading with the dismal results the club has put up.
The Toronto Argonauts finished dead last in the East Division last season, missing the playoffs. The Argos last won the Grey Cup in 2004, and have not been that competitive since 2004. The Argos have not been dominant since Doug Flutie played for the club in the 1990’s.
The Toronto Marlies have not won a Calder Cup since moving to Toronto. Much like their parent club (Maple Leafs), this team has been struggling to succeed. This season the club should at least make the playoffs. I guess Toronto hockey fans should be happy at least one of the two teams is seeing some playoff action.
The Toronto Rock are the lone success story in the city. Well, they were last season anyway. The Rock won the NLL championship last season, but are struggling this season and sit at .500. This team was fantastic during the earlier part of the last decade, with four championships between 2000 and 2005. Then the club bottomed out for a few years before winning the championship last season. Will the club be able to continue its winning ways? Will this club be the only dominant club in Toronto? I hope so, too bad the club gets next to no publicity in this market.
I have wondered, quite often actually, what it would be like for fans of this city to go through what the Boston fans have gone through in recent years. The Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots have all been dominant teams in their respective leagues as of late and have won championships in the last decade. Playoffs for these clubs are the norm, and winning in the playoffs is expected from their fan bases. Must be nice. Quite often I get asked how long my loyalties will last with these hapless Toronto teams and it is always the same answer. I will always cheer for the Toronto teams. Blind faith I suppose. My family has lived in Southern Ontario a long time, in one case I can trace my mother’s side of the family back six generations here in southern Ontario. I’m not giving up now. I keep thinking that because the wait has been so long and cruel, the championships will be extra special when they eventually come along. I hope I’m able to enjoy them though, instead of being too old to take part in any of the celebrations. I know it sounds greedy, considering what Toronto sports fans have gone through, but I don’t want the one-and-done scenario either. I want these Toronto teams to be in the playoffs every year and a contender for a championship every year. I have suffered long enough, and at the very least, I think I’m allowed to be greedy when it comes to my Toronto sports teams. So there.