Raptors Win 7-Game Series

Heading into last night's game seven at the ACC, I was asked for my prediction. With apologies to Forrest Gump, I ended up comparing the Raptors to a box of chocolates. I could see us winning big, but I could also see us losing big.

Despite our two all-stars still struggling to make buckets, we were up by 14 to start the fourth quarter. A 14-point lead never felt so fragile. With just under three minutes to play, that lead was down to 3.

We held on, as you know, to advance to the second round for only the second time in franchise history. We'll face the Heat and I'm thinking we'll have to shoot better than 38.2% if we're going to have a chance at advancing.

Thank you Cory Joseph, thank you Norman Powell, thank you Patrick Patterson, and thank you DeMarre Carroll. Bring on the Heat!

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Leafs Win 2016 NHL Draft Lottery

The Leafs had a 20% chance of winning tonight's 2016 NHL Draft Lottery and the balls bounced in our favour for once. We've won the lottery and will draft first overall on June 24.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy. It's nice to know all that losing last season has paid off. Auston Matthews is all but a lock to go first, so if the Leafs don't trade the pick, Matthews will be the big talented center we've lacked since Mats Sundin.

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If the Raps win game 7 tomorrow night, this would be one helluva sports weekend in this city.

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Damn Raptors

Let's go back to the Rudy Gay trade. It was late 2013, and the Raptors traded Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings in a 7-player deal. The Kings sending John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes to Toronto in exchange for Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy.

That's when the Raptors team I fell in love with was born. Everything came together the remainder of that season. They immediate went on a 10-3 run and finally rose above .500. DeMar DeRozan was an all-star. We won the Atlantic Division, but lost to the Nets in the first round. Fuck Brooklyn.

We started the 2014-15 season 24-8. The core of Kyle Lowry and DeRozan won us another Atlantic Division title. We won a franchise record 49 games that season, but not a single one in the playoffs.

That brings us to this season. I watched more Raptors basketball this season than ever before. Lowry and DeRozan were all-stars again, and this team was exciting. 56 wins is a new franchise record, and for the first time ever, the Raps were a 2 seed in the conference. As pleased as I was with the regular season, I'm no fool. Here's a thorough explanation as to why I was showing restraint.

The Raptors have never won a best-of-seven playoff round. Never. This team was built to change that, but proof is in the pudding. Winning one round is essential, but it's going to take at least two to satisfy fans.

This pudding tastes like shit. Our all-stars are shooting miserably. At least Lowry is contributing in other ways. On most nights, DeRozan is most helpful with his ass nailed to the bench. I'd argue, with Lowry and DeRozan unable to make baskets, we're the least intimidating 2 seed in NBA history.

Tomorrow night is game 7. As a guy who has invested so many hours in this teams, I'm pissed, hurt, disappointed and dismayed. Do I believe we can win this series? Hell no. I hope I'm wrong, but I know stealing this series in seven likely means getting swept in round two. This is not a team built for the playoffs. This is a team built for the regular season.

Our We The North flag continues to hang in the bay window, and we're still hoping the regular season Raps show up Sunday night, but the writing's on the wall. The team needs an enema.

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Open Mike

Welcome to this week's Open Mike. I'm Mike and I'll be your master of ceremonies for the day.

Feel free to use this space to vent, rant, share a story and/or ask a question of the hivemind.

Open Mike on Toronto Mike

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 170: Steve Simmons

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 170In this 170th episode, Mike chats with Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons about his years at the Sun, his relationships with Damien Cox, David Shoalts and James Mirtle, his thoughts on analytics in hockey, his Phil Kessel story about hot dogs, how he got Howard Berger fired and what it was like being a day oner at The Fan 590, The Team 1050 and The Score. This episode is exactly 1:34:59.

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Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 169: PJ Fresh Phil

Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 169In this 169th episode, Mike chats with PJ Fresh Phil about his decade on YTV working with the Grogs and Snit and what he's been up to since. This episode is exactly 1:28:27.

You can listen to this episode in a variety of ways:

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All-time Blue Jays Home Run Leaders

Yesterday, I witnessed Edwin Encarnacion's 200th home run as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. It was the lone bright spot in a dreadful game. All the fun and excitement was happening down the street where my Raps played a ridiculous fourth quarter to escape with a big win in game 5 of their first round series against the Pacers.

Encarnacion's 200th puts him 6th on the Blue Jays all-time list. Here's the current top 10. I'm pleased to say I've witnessed homers by all 10 of them.

  1. Carlos Delgado - 336
  2. Jose Bautista - 247
  3. Vernon Wells - 223
  4. Joe Carter - 203
  5. George Bell - 202
  6. Edwin Encarnacion - 200
  7. Jesse Barfield - 179
  8. Lloyd Moseby - 149
  9. Adam Lind - 146
  10. Ernie Whitt - 146

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Don't Steal My Bike

The Star has an article today about the worst streets for locking up your bike. Not surprisingly, downtown is where most of the thefts occur.

Toronto is the bike theft capital of the world with more than 18,000 bikes reported stolen between Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2015. As a cyclist, I'm rather sensitive to this, and as careful as possible.

For the vast majority of my rides, I don't lock up my bike at all. And when I do bike to a destination, as I did today, I'm careful to choose a highly visible area and use multiple locks, including my trusty Kryptonite.

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No lock is unbreakable, but I like to think thieves with smaller tools will bypass my locks for an easier score. So far, so good.

I haven't had a bike stolen since I was 14 and it was lifted from the family garage. Have you had a bike stolen in this city? If so, what kind of lock did you use and where did you leave it?

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My Asthma Overdiagnosis Story

With great interest I read this CBC article about the fact many Canadians diagnosed with asthma don't in fact have it. This was my experience with my firstborn.

Weeks before his second birthday, my oldest ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I spent five nights sleeping on that cot while we watched old VHS tapes of Sponge Bob Squarepants. During this stay, an asthma specialist at St. Joseph's Health Center diagnosed my son with asthma and prescribed two inhalers. One of these inhalers was to be taken by my son every morning, so we started him getting used to this new ritual.

Coincidentally, and sadly, his pediatrician at this time died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer. We switched him to a new pediatrician and I'll never forget the convo I had with him, only a few months after James's asthma diagnosis.

Doc: He only had pneumonia the once?
Me: Yes
Doc: And there's no other difficulty breathing?
Me: Correct
Doc: And the doctor diagnosed him with asthma and prescribed this puffer to be taken daily?
me: Yes
Doc: He doesn't have asthma (proceeds to throw inhaler in garbage). He doesn't need this treatment.

This was about 12 years ago, and there hasn't been a symptom of asthma since. The doc who made the original diagnosis was well regarded in his field but time has proven him wrong. I'm not at all surprised to read about studies like this Dutch one. More than 600 children diagnosed as having asthma were examined and it was found nearly 54 per cent likely did not have it.

I am not a doctor, but if your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you may want to get a second opinion. And then, if it's all tied up, a third opinion. Inhalers have negative side-effects. You don't want your kid taking one every day if they don't have to.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Midges

I hated the midges during my first spring living by the lake. At the time I didn't even know they had a name. I just knew there were swarms of annoying bugs everywhere and I even biked wearing a balaclava to avoid ingesting dozens of them at a time. Yes, even in twenty degree weather I donned a balaclava because of these damn bugs.

Last spring, they bothered me far less. I stopped wearing the balaclava and stopped complaining about the midges. After all, they're harmless.

This spring, I see them as a sign summer is indeed coming. It's a springtime tradition on and near the waterfront in this city, and I'm not going to let them bother me. I pick them out of my eyes and nose and consider it bonus protein when they get in my mouth.

The midges aren't going anywhere and neither am I, so I learned to stop worrying and embrace this slice of life in south Toronto.

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