It’s a very sunny, hot Friday night here in Toronto. And what am I doing? Watching the Pirates and Cubs game waiting for the Rangers-Devils game and the Blue Jays-Rangers series to start. I may have a problem…..oh well. Watching these two teams tonight has got me thinking about other pro teams. By ‘other’ teams I mean other teams that aren’t the teams I cheer for. What if I were to give up the current teams I cheer for and was to begin cheering for other clubs? What teams would I choose? Why would I choose these clubs? The Cubs and Pirates have a ton of history but are associated with a ton of futility as well. Both of these clubs appeal to me, not because I am a glutton for punishment, but because of ‘what’ these clubs are. They are old, historical franchises in great sports cities. I can look past the fact the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since Cleopatra was dating Marc Antony. I can look past the fact that the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since Hulk Hogan had hair. I wonder though if I would choose either of these teams to be ‘my’ team if I was to ever bail on my current teams. Just for the record, I am extremely loyal and don’t see that happening….ever. But just for kicks and to pass some time tonight while A.J. Burnett continues along at his .500 pace, I’m going to look at picking some new teams….if I were to ever change sides….this is real ‘fantasy’ though…..seriously…I’m not changing teams anytime soon.
Alright, since I am watching MLB, I’ll start with baseball. I was raised and continue to live in the Toronto area, which means I am a Jays fan. I have a real hate on for most of the clubs in the AL East and AL Central. The AL Central because the Jays used to play some of those clubs on a regular basis back in the day when there were only two divisions. So I wouldn’t pick any teams in those two divisions. Which leaves the AL West, but I see those teams often enough to not like any of them. I’m thinking I should look to the National League? I can’t stand the Mariners, the A’s beat up on the Jays for a few years, the Rangers are George Bush’s old team and the Angels are confused about where they want to call home. Yep…National League it is. I don’t like expansion teams or ‘newer’ teams so that eliminates teams like the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Marlins right away. I live on the east coast and actually want to watch this ‘new’ club I would be cheering for, so I can eliminate the NL West. I don’t like the Cardinals, I don’t know why, but I just don’t, so they are out. The Brewers are an old American League team and just a dead franchise in my opinion, so that club is out. The Houston Astros I haven’t like since I was kid because of the old uniforms. I had a jersey as a little kid and it itched like crazy…so…the Astros are out. I can’t get behind the Reds for some reason, I just can’t….I don’t know why really. Cincinnati just isn’t a good sports town in my opinion. So the Reds are out. The Nationals, well, that’s a ‘new’ team and I hated the Expos, which means…nah…no Nats. The Braves I can’t stand cause they are b-o-r-i-n-g. Atlanta is a crappy sports town also. Which means I am down to four clubs – the Mets, Phillies, Pirates and Cubs. I can eliminate the Mets right away, just a New York thing. So the three remaining clubs have some of what I am looking for – history and are from good sports towns. However, the Cubs and Pirates just don’t appear to have winning anywhere in their near future. Now winning isn’t everything, I don’t need a franchise to be a perennial winner right now, but the prospect of winning sometime in my lifetime is a bonus. I guess that leaves me with the Philadelphia Phillies. I’m ok with that. It won’t happen, but if I was forced to change teams, I would choose the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philly Fanatic.
Alright, let’s move on to the NBA. I am a Raptors fan of course. There isn’t a lot of history with this club since the Raptors were born in 1995. Let’s just eliminate the Western Conference right now for the same reason I did with the National League West, I want to be able to actually watch a few games and not have to become a vampire to do it. I can eliminate a few other teams right away – New Jersey (ewww), Washington, Cleveland, Charlotte (Ric Flair country!), Milwaukee, Orlando, Atlanta (see the Braves), Indiana and Miami. I cannot cheer for the Miami Heat, I have a severe dislike for players like LeBron and Chris Bosh. Even if they both left, I still couldn’t cheer for that franchise, it is forever tainted. I am going to take the Pistons out of the equation right away. I have never liked the Pistons, Isaiah is a punk and set the Raptors back several years. I won’t pick the 76ers, I don’t think I want to be tied to one city like Philly right away. The Bulls are an option, but my brother was a big Bulls fan for a few years, so I cheered against them. The Bulls seem like a really trendy team to cheer for right now. It would seem more like a bandwagon jump to me, so I’ll stay away from Da Bulls. Which leaves the Knicks and Celtics, because there is no way I’m cheering for the Pacers. What the hell is a Pacer? This is easy, the Celtics. Great sports town, great history, the team has won in the last decade or two and appears that they will win again in the next decade. And I really, don’t like the Knicks (New York thing ya know?). So the Celtics it is. Which is good since I have a lot of Irish ancestry in my veins! This is easy!
Alrighty, let’s quickly move onto the MLS. This is going to be a quick one, most of these teams are relatively new and there isn’t much history to the league in general. Since I don’t see TFC games on a regular basis now anyway, I don’t think I’ll rule out the Western Conference right away. I won’t spend a lot of time on this one….hmmmmm….the L.A. Galaxy. Done. I like Beckham. I like that franchise. Screw it…done…write it down.
Let’s jump to the NFL. I love my Oakland Raiders. This is hard to even think about in all honesty. I will rule out all the teams in the AFC West (Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers) and will also rule out the Seahawks because they used to be in the AFC West. The entire AFC South seems lame to me, so that entire division is out. In the AFC East I will rule out the Buffalo Bills, I hate that team with a passion. Never-ever will I cheer for the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are not what I want. I can’t stand what they are doing lately as a club. I liked the old Jets with Gastineau and Al Toon….but those days are long gone. So the Jets are out. I won’t cheer for New England, they are just too trendy. And I hated the Patriots growing up, I don’t hate them as much now….but I won’t pick them. Miami is a possibility. In the AFC North I can eliminate the Bungals and the Brownies right away. Baltimore is a possibility, but unlikely. I can’t cheer for the Steelers because my brother cheers for the Steelers…and the Steelers beat the Raiders a lot in the late 70’s. So the Steelers are out. Similar to my MLB pick though, I think I would like to get out of the AFC altogether, so I will get rid of the Dolphins and Ravens. I will eliminate the NFC West, just because it’s the NFC West. Not because of geography (after all, I cheer for the Oakland Raiders) but because of the teams. The Seahawks I already talked about, the Rams remind me of the old L.A. Rams, which I never liked because they were the cross-town rivals of the Raiders for a short time. The Cardinals…used to be in St. Louis, and I hated that team back then. That hatred still lingers for some reason. Maybe I am jealous of the climate in Arizona, I don’t know, but the Cards are out. The 49ers are an arrogant franchise in my opinion. Too much winning back in the 80’s. I always associate this club with a Dana Carvey stand up I watched years ago where he sang a little song about the 49ers. I love that song, so for that reason alone I can’t pick the 49ers. If you have seen the stand up, you will know what I am talking about. The NFC South is out, the only team I would consider is the Saints, and my wife cheers for them, so they are out. In the NFC North we have the Lions, Packers, Bears and Vikings. The Lions are intriguing but remind of the Pirates and Cubs, so they are out (I may revisit this soon though, they are looking good lately). The Bears are out cause my other brother cheers for the Da Bears. The Vikings I can’t choose for some reason. I’m not sure why exactly…..I am just not fond of that club. The Green Bay Packers have the history, have won recently and will probably win again soon. But Green Bay just isn’t a good sports town….it’s barely a town! So the Packers are out. Which leaves me with the NFC East. The Giants are out right away, cause they are a New York team. The Eagles I have never really liked, again I’m not sure why…I also don’t think they will ever win. They seem to be able to put together good teams every few years but always find a way to lose. The Eagles are out. I am down to the Redskins and the Cowboys. I like a lot about both of these teams. Washington though is not the city I’m looking for…so I will pick the Dallas Cowboys! How bout dem Cowboys! Lots of history with this club, they won a lot in the past and I think they will win again. So I’m good with this pick. Plus that Troy Aikman is just so darned likeable. Big D it is in the NFL!
Now we go from tough to really tough….I can barely summon up the energy to type this out. If I were to…ever…switch….teams….from…the….Leafs….ugh…that is so hard to type and think about….I have a cold headache at the moment without even drinking a Slurpee. Ok…breathe….breathe…just get through this and then go put on a Leafs jersey. I can eliminate a few teams right off the hop – the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. Yup. Gone…absolutely hate these two clubs. The Sabres can go as well, I hate anything Buffalo. The entire Southeast Division is useless, so that division is gone. As is the entire Northwest Division, there isn’t a single team in that division I even want to look at. In the Pacific Division I cannot cheer for the Coyotes, Sharks or Ducks because they are so new (and well, the Ducks used to be the ‘Mighty’ Ducks….absolutely not). The Stars used to be based out of Minnesota when the club was in the old Chuck Norris Division. They were an old Leafs rival, so they are eliminated. The Kings are interesting….they have never won anything though. However, they have come close and are close now (see NHL Playoffs if you are daft). I think I’m crossing the Kings off though, west coast team and the non-winning thing enough to eliminate them – gone! In the Central Division I can eliminate the Blue Jackets because they are new and the Predators for the same reason. The Blues used to be in that Chuck Norris Division, so they are also out. The Red Wings are like the Patriots to me, so they are out of the running. The Blackhawks are alive. Jumping back to the Eastern Conference….I eliminated all the teams in the Northeast Division with the exception of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins have all the criteria I like, so the Bruins are still alive. That leaves the Atlantic Division….I can eliminate the Devils right away…New Jersey is just filthy. I cheered for the Islanders in the 80’s when they were a dynasty. I wasn’t necessarily cheering for them as I was cheering against the upstart Oilers. This team has been so screwed up now though for so long, I am crossing the Islanders off the list. The Flyers I cannot cheer for because of their old rivalry with the Leafs. The Rangers I don’t want to cheer for because, well…if you’ve been paying attention…they are from New York. The Penguins I have always hated. Mostly because of Mario and Jaromir’s awful Jofa helmets and because of Jagr’s mullet. So the Penguins are out. That means I am down to the Bruins and the Blackhawks. This is tough one. I see these teams as almost the same. I can’t see myself logically being able to pick one over the other so I will flip a coin. Heads is the Bruins and tails is the Blackhawks……..here goes……. Tails! I am of course telling you this because you aren’t here to see the coin toss, and I don’t want you to think I cheated. So tails it is. And the Blackhawks are the team.
To recap, if I were to ever abandon the Leafs, Raiders, Blue Jays, Raptors and Toronto FC I would replace them with the Blackhawks, Cowboys, Phillies, Celtics and Galaxy. I’m satisfied with those clubs, so I won’t have to worry about any do-overs. I feel guilty now though…kinda slimey even. I’m going to have to make up for this somehow. Counselling or something. And just to repeat, I am not actually abandoning my teams, this was all just to pass some time. Honestly.