I've been blogging here for 14 years, and during that time there were some pretty low times in Toronto sports. Just four years ago I wrote this about the new bottom for Toronto sports teams. Things were very, very bad for the big five.In 2016, things got a whole lot better. In fact, there's something great to report about every team in the big five not nicknamed the Argos. Although we didn't win a championship, we were close!
Ten years after their birth, TFC hosted the MLS Cup final, losing a heartbreaker to Seattle. That second leg against Montreal in the semi-final was absolutely thrilling.
Toronto Blue Jays
For the second year in a row, the Blue Jays played in the ALCS. Unlike the hype train of 2015, this didn't seem likely in September as we sputtered into the playoffs, but an Edwin walk-off against Baltimore in the wildcard game and a sweep of the Rangers in the ALDS helped recapture the joy of the previous year.
For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors won a best-of-seven playoff series. And we did it twice! We even took two games against Cleveland in the conference finals, making this far and away the best Raptors season, ever.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Last season, the Leafs were bad. Very, very bad. This is a good thing, as it helped us land Auston Matthews with the first overall pick in the draft. Now, with Matthews, Marner and Nylander, the future actually looks bright and the present is a lot of fun, too.
Let's not ruin this entry with an Argos update.
In addition to successful developments for the big four teams in this city, Toronto hosted the Grey Cup, World Cup of Hockey and World Juniors. 2016 was a very good year for Toronto sports. Let's hope for a championship in 2017.
I never played soccer as a kid. I think everyone did but me. It just wasn't a part of my childhood.
As an adult I started getting into high profile soccer events, like the World Cup, but that was it. It's not like we had a Canadian team I could get behind. Soccer may have been the world's game, but it sure wasn't mine.
When Toronto was awarded an MLS franchise, I snickered. Check out this snark from 2007. I figured the team would be gone in 5-10 years.
But then I attended a match at BMO Field. My buddy Elvis took me to a game against the LA Galaxy. We were in the supporters' section and it was unlike anything I had ever seen in my life. It completely won me over.
Fast forward to 2016 and I've tuned in to watch every single playoff game. I just watched us beat Montreal to win the Eastern Conference and advance to the MLS Cup final and it was glorious. What a match!
Bring on the Seattle Sounders on December 10. Let's finish this thing we've started. Go Reds!
Toronto FC debuted in MLS back in 2007. I was pretty snarky about the team back then. You see, I didn't grow up with soccer, never played, and was only interested for a few weeks every four years during the World Cup.
But then, I went to a few games at BMO Field. Usually I was taken by my buddy Elvis who has seasons tickets in the supporters' section, but there was that one time I had my own section. It's true! If you bought tickets for my section that day in 2010, we all got scarves and were taken on the field at halftime.
Experiencing TFC live was crazy fun. This was before the 2015 Blue Jays revival, so there was really nothing else like it in Toronto sports. We sang and chanted throughout the 90 minute game and it was awesome.
Still, until last season, I had never tuned in a TFC match on television. Last year, I watched for five minutes to see how TFC did in their first ever playoff game. We were pummelled by Montreal. It was far less fun than casinosenligneca.com.
This year, I've tuned in for every TFC playoff match, and I've been loving it. The other day at Yankee Stadium, we made a statement and smoked NYCFC 5-0 to win the series 7-0. And they say soccer is the land of 0-0 finals.
Now I'm all in, incredibly psyched for the conference final against Montreal. When this team was born, I snickered at their prospects, but I'm now fully converted. It's a fun atmosphere, and we no longer suck.
C'mon you Reds!
In the world of professional sports, I'm focused on the Jays vs. Red Sox this afternoon. A win and we'll host the wild card game Tuesday. This is a big game.
I was just biking with my two older kids and we were chatting about the Jays. My 14-year old son is more excited about Auston Matthews' debut with the Leafs tonight. My daughter will "follow" the game on Instagram. This led to each of us ranking Toronto's big 6 teams in terms of personal preference.
My 14-Year Old Son's Rankings
My 12-Year Old Daughter's Rankings
Straight from the mouths of babes, as they say. Despite the fact I watch most Jays games and talk about the team often, the team is a distant third on each of their lists.
You can lead a horse to water...
I'm an unabashed Toronto sports fan. I've been root, root, rooting for the home teams for as long as I can remember.
This past month has reminded me of the three-tiers of pro-sports in Toronto. There's group A, consisting of the Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors, and group B, composed of TFC and the Argos. There's also a group C, which includes the Marlies and Rock.
When a team in group A makes the playoffs, it's a big deal. Most of the city gets incredibly excited and rallies behind our boys. I personally won't miss a minute of Leafs, Blue Jays or Raptors playoff action if I can help it.
When a team in group B makes the playoffs, you're happy, but there sure isn't a buzz in the city. TFC recently played their first playoff game ever, and if you weren't paying attention you likely missed it. I actually tuned into 3 minutes of this game before realizing we were getting trounced and I didn't really care. The Argos played a semi-final game yesterday, and if it wasn't for a few tweets I saw, I still wouldn't know what happened.
And don't get me started on group C. I'm mildly curious about the Marlies because I'm interested in how Leafs prospects like William Nylander are performing, but I couldn't tell you how many titles the Rock have won or when they last won without Googling it.
So yes, TFC and the Argos recently lost playoff games, but this city barely noticed and hardly cared. But when one of the big three make it, you won't be able to ignore it.
Thanks to my buddy Elvis, I was able to take my daughter to her first TFC match yesterday. She had a lot of fun, heard a lot of swear words in the Supporter's Section and we both scored free toques.
We biked to the game, but because I totally screwed up, we ended up at BMO Field with three bike locks and no keys. When I realized this 20 minutes before game time, I felt terrible. What was I going to do with two bikes and nothing to lock them up with?
My first thought was to have a heartfelt chat with a security supervisor. I explained the situation, that it was my daughter's first match and suggested there must be a creative solution. Alas, there was no way I was getting these bikes inside of BMO Field. I was going to have to leave them unlocked outside the facility for the two hour game.
I leaned them right up against the BMO Field fence, with my bike on the inside and Michelle's bike on the outside, and I wrapped my cable around them as if they were locked. Holding the cable together was a stick I found on the grass. Here's a pic of our bikes, from inside BMO Field and outside BMO Field.
The bikes were still there at the end of the 1-1 draw with Montreal and we enjoyed a cool ride home. Bullet dodged and lesson learned.
Elvis and I catch a TFC match from the supporters section at BMO Field at least once a season, but this year he was called out of town and couldn't make it. I still got the tickets though, and took my wife.
Down 1-0 to Columbus Crew late in the 2nd half, the skies opened up. We got drenched, but we also got an unexpected surprise. TFC scored in the 87th minute to tie the match. The goal ended a goalless drought of more than 420 minutes.
Then, with the rain continuing to fall hard, TFC scored again in the final minute of injury time for their first win at BMO Field in over a year.
You're welcome, TFC fans.
Toronto Sports fans, I have good news. It seems we bounced off the bottom in August and things are looking up.
At that time, the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC and Argos were all in pretty dire straits. You'll have to click back for details. I called it a "brand new low", but as I type this today I'm pleased to report the Argos are Grey Cup champs, the Blue Jays are entering the pre-season as World Series favourites and both the Leafs and Raptors are on four game winning streaks. Heck, the Leafs might even make the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
And let me tell you as someone who is watching both the Leafs and Raptors these days, they're both entertaining and full of hope, something that's been sorely lacking the past few years. The Toronto professional sports scene is suddenly respectable again.
Go Jays Go! And go Leafs, Raptors and Argos, too! I'm not sure about TFC, but the other teams are headed in the right direction.
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