It seems like we were just talking about the Raptors gunning for fourth in the conference and a home court advantage for their first round in the playoffs. For those who don't follow the Raps, we finished ninth in the conference and that means we missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.
At least the Raptors played a playoff game three seasons ago. Our Leafs haven't played a playoff game since 2004. That's five seasons ago and six years. My daughter's about to turn six and she's not been alive for a single Leafs playoff game.
Of course, if we're talking playoff droughts in this city, the Blue Jays are the top dogs. The last Blue Jays playoff game ended with Joe Carter touching them all, and that was back in 1993. What's that, 17 seasons ago? Do we count the year they cancelled the World Series? Is it really 18 seasons ago?
At least it's tough to make the playoffs in baseball. Our Argonauts play in an 8 team league in which 6 teams make the playoffs, and they haven't qualified since 2007. It's not looking good for next season, either.
I could drag Toronto FC into this mess, but they're only in their fourth season. We'll excuse their three years of missing the playoffs. And the Marlies missed the playoffs, but they were there last year, if we're desperate for a silver lining.
Who am I kidding... there's no silver lining. The three teams with the largest fan-base, the Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays, have collectively been absent from the playoffs since the Raps lost to Orlando in the first round back in the spring of good 'ol 2008.
Warning: This is not for the faint of heart. Please do not watch this if you're at all squeamish.
Our Toronto Raptors mascot was caught on camera devouring a cheerleader whole. Unbelievable.
They say you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. I disagree. If the horse is a lemon, it's not gift at all. It's a big animal that you have to care for and feed and that's going to cost you lots of money for oats and a stable and such.
As part of their Experience G promotion, Gatorade took me to a Raptors game. As part of the deal, I got an Raptors cookie bundle. It's tough to explain exactly what a Raptors cookie bundle is, so here are a couple of pictures I took.
I actually ended up taking home two bundles, one for each kid. They look amazing, don't they? There's a brownie in there, and several big cookies, and each bundle retails for $9 at the ACC. As a brownie and cookie aficionado, I was quite looking forward to cracking it open and diving in.
They were so bad, even the kids couldn't eat them. How bad does a cookie have to be for a 5 year old to say no? I knew it was a weak bundle when even dunking the cookies in milk didn't improve things.
Stay away from these cookies. They look great, but they're not edible.
I've got nothing else to say.
There I was at the Air Canada Club, an hour before tipoff and enjoying my pasta, when the Gatorade guy told me why I was there to watch the Raptors and Celtics from the very first row. It's called “Experience G”...
"Experience G" will give sports fans the opportunity to score some unforgettable major league experiences - from court side at the Raptors or rink side at an Oilers game, to field side at a Bombers game, there will be tons of sporting events to choose from.
Fanatics can qualify by becoming a fan of the soon-to-be-launched Experience G Facebook page and uploading a video of themselves completing a specific a challenge that tests athletic ability and will to win - this could be anything from showing their best game face, touchdown dance or slapshot to a three point shot or crazy ball-handling skills. Tickets to sporting events across the country are available, so there are lots of chances to win.
I looked the guy from Gatorade directly in the eyes and asked him the big question. "Will this social media campaign at any time imply that we're cheering wrong and tell us exactly how to cheer?"
I'm promised there will be no cheer. This chant-less campaign is already 100x better than That Damn Pepsi Cheer as far as I'm concerned. And I'm not just saying that because they bought me lunch, let me order anything throughout the game on their tab and gave me first row courtside seats to see the Celtics.
It's better courtside. I was courtside before, but not first row. It's completely surreal and you get to enjoy the game within the game. I'm talking about all the trash talking, especially from the always hilarious Rasheed Wallace. Wallace killed us all afternoon and wasn't shy about replying to our heckles. When one loudster told him he sucked, his instant reply to us all across from the Raptors bench was "thank you very much".
Kendrick Perkins was also a treat to watch. At one point, he told us to "eat a dick". You don't get such demands in the Sprite Zone.
Although the Raps did pull within four with a couple of minutes to play, we trailed wire to wire. That's okay, because I had the best seat in the house. Check out these pics.
My buddy Kic is a big Raptors fan, so I asked him to chime in on the Raps periodically.
Here's his mid-season report card for our Toronto Raptors.
Hey Raptors fans! I know it’s been a while since I last blogged about our beloved Raptors team, so I thought I would give out some mid-season grades on the team so far.
Many fans feel that the team has underachieved again, great team on paper, won’t make the playoffs…..blah blah blah. But honestly the Raptors, who currently sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference at 17-18, are exactly where I would have placed them at this part of the season. It’s been a tough schedule for the Raptors so far, many back to back games, many road trips and a lot of tough Western Division teams played. But fear not my trusted Raptors fans, this is where the schedule gets a little easier for us. We have yet to play the Knicks this year, plus we still have a handful of games against the lowly Nets.
I find it quite fitting that the Raptors play the Magic next, especially since CB4 just passed Vince to become the all-time Raptors scorer. Personally, I feel that us Raptors fans need to stop booing Vince. I know that many fans will persecute me for mentioning this, but don’t we owe Vince credit for the Raptors franchise? He was the guy who wore that Toronto jersey as he turned heads at the slam dunk contest years ago. Not only did this put Toronto on the map for basketball, I started seeing Carter jerseys in music videos. I still think we have a franchise because of Vince and I will still proudly wear my Carter jersey….and stop booing him.
So here are my grades for the team so far:
CB4 = A (an absolute beast…..and he’ll only get better)
Bargnani = B+ (really starting to pick up his game and now that December is over, so should the slump)
DeRozan = B (limited minutes, however, very exciting to watch him play this year…he is the future)
Turks = C+ (has had some clutch games, however, he needs to get the ball more….hear that Jay)
Calderon = C+ (ya he has flashes of greatness, but man…..he really needs to learn how to play some D)
Jack = B+ (has really looked good this year coming off the bench, I still feel he should start over Jose)
Belinelli = C (has been way too cold this year, still waiting for some consistency. Here’s hoping he doesn’t become the next Kapono)
I said it before the year started and I’ll say it again….this team WILL make the playoffs, and I’m still predicting we make it past the first round.
Looking forward to heckling both KG and Paul Pierce while I attend the game on Sun.
Kic is best known as the bananas guy on that FutureShop ad.
Chris Bosh is a fantastic Toronto Raptor, and for a while he was fun to follow on Twitter as well. He used to give us an interesting insider perspective, a glance behind the curtain of NBA stardom. He was one of the few celebrities worthy of being followed.
Lately, Chris Bosh is all about selling his DVD. It's tweet after tweet about where to get his DVD, RTs of people who claim they've got it and instructions on how to order this DVD. Chris Bosh has gone into inventory sales hyperdrive and it's forced me to unfollow him.
It's likely for the best. After saying goodbye to Roy Halladay this week, I'm thinking it might be smart to emotionally distance myself from CB4 now...
And Chris, if you're reading this, I'm glad you made a DVD and can make some extra scratch from it, but I understand you have another gig that pays fairly well. I'd focus my energies there.
Congratulations are in order for the members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors. They're all expecting!
I assume they're pregnant, because I know they're over the age of five, and they've all received their H1N1 vaccinations while the shots are reserved for high-priority groups. It's miraculous to consider one man becoming pregnant. Over 30 men becoming pregnant is something else entirely.
I want to be vaccinated as well, but as a healthy non-pregnant adult I'm not in the high-priority group so I have to patiently wait my turn. Ontario health minister Deb Matthews says we'll run out of the H1N1 vaccine before school-age children like my very own can be vaccinated.
But at least pregnant folks, like members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, can jump the line before the province’s supply dwindles. Good on them.
The Toronto Raptors kick off their NBA regular season tomorrow night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I enjoy following the Raptors, and have been doing so since day one, but I don't know Raptors basketball the way Kic knows Raptors basketball.
Throughout this season, I've asked the Kicster to submit guest blog entries about the Raps. This is the first. Btw, at the time Kic wrote this, the Leafs were in fact winless.
To be a sports fan in Toronto these days seems to be a joke. The Blue Jays teased the city with a potential playoff appearance early in the MLB season but reality kicked in and they ended up finishing 4th (yet again) in the American League East. The Argos (I think some people in this city follow them) have been absolutely horrendous this season and even our rivals to the west have been better than us. The TFC were the one team where many Toronto sports fans thought they could root for and had potential to make their first playoff appearance, but low and behold they ended up choking in an embarrassing loss to the Red Bulls. Do I even have to mention the winless Toronto Maple Leafs? Nope, I've heard all of the jokes so let's move on.
Enter the 2009-2010 Toronto Raptors. In a city where many forget what it's like to watch playoff sports, the Toronto Raptors definitely have high expectations and maybe even some new fans because of the lack of winning in Toronto. A lot of new faces have been brought into the Red and Black Raps, in case you forgot they are:
- DeMar DeRozan
- Reggie Evans
- Jarrett Jack
- Amir Johnson
- Rasho Nesterovic (yup he's back)
- Hedo Turkoglu
- Sonny Weems
- Antoine Wright
The first thing many people look at is the pre-season record for the Raps, yes they went 2-6 and their rivals (see Vince and the Magic) were unbeaten, but, if we went by pre-season records the Leafs would have more than 1 point by now. People have to remember, Colangelo added 8 new players to the Raps lineup and it takes more than just 8 games to gel. Expect, Chris Bosh to have a monster season, he added 15 lbs, is in his contract year and continues to be the other guy in the class of 2010. Not only did the Raps address their bench issues, they now have a bona fide clutch play with Turkoglu, this guys is as clutch as it gets. Rebounding is still an issue that many Raps fans have and with Reggie Evans still nursing a foot injury, many feel that this is Toronto's Achilles heel. Many American as well as Canadian sports paper's have the Raptors finishing no better than 6th, but in a weak East things can change, quickly.
The Raps do however, have a tough schedule to begin the season, that and the combination of 8 new players may lead to a same old losing mentality in Toronto. However, I think CB4 is a man on a mission, Bargs is going to continue last year's late season success and a healthy Jose is going get things done.
The test for the 09-10 Raps begins this week when they face that Lebron guy with his new big man, and Dwight and Wince this week. But Toronto fans fear not, as I am predicting this will be the only Toronto team playing in late April next year. And that's one thing I am certain of.
Kic sent me an angry Blackberry message the other day. "Where's the Raptors love? We're going to be awesome with Marco Belinelli in the lineup next year!"
Truth be told, I wasn't sure what a Marco Belinelli was. It turns out the Toronto Raptors acquired shooting guard Marco Belinelli from the Golden State Warriors for cash considerations and forward Devean George. Belinelli, 23, averaged 8.9 points, 2.1 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 21 minutes in 42 games last season, his second in the NBA.
I dig the Raps, I really do, but this is Kic's department. Here's his thoughts.
Ok BC is a smart GM, he signed Jarrett Jack (who's Bosh's friend from college). BC went and got Belinelli who is great friends with Bargs. Since Bargs just signed an extention BC wants to keep his core players. Yes, they may have overpaid for Jarrett Jack but if that keeps Bosh happy, then he has a better chance to resign him in the summer. Belinelli is still young and cheaper than Delfino. This is a solid team and has a better bench than the Kings starting 5
I think that's bananas.
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