Sports


Toronto Popularity Contest: Argos vs. TFC

I'm writing this entry out of frustration. My pal Freddie P thinks I'm "a fool" because I told him TFC was more popular in Toronto than the Argos. In my humble opinion, TFC is more popular than the Argonauts in this city. Fred, obviously, strongly disagrees.

Fred bases 100% of his argument on the fact the Argos get higher national television ratings. He has no other metric to point to, and he's correct in that an Argos game will be credited with many more eyeballs than a TFC match across this fine nation. But those numbers are national in a ratings system that heavily favours an older demographic. Every other metric, anecdotal evidence and common sense tells you Fred is dreaming in technicolour.

Very quickly, in this moment of frustration, I tweeted the following:

There were many responses validating my opinion.

There were a couple of tweets referring to the aforementioned national television ratings, which is undeniable, but the overwhelming majority think Fred has lost his marbles.

In Toronto, the 416 Toronto with John Tory as mayor, which team has more fans: TFC or Argos?

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The Problem with Chief Wahoo

Cleveland swept the BoSox and will face our Jays in the ALCS. It all starts Friday night.

I've been intentionally referring to their team as "Cleveland" and not by the nickname "Indians" because I'm not comfortable with it. I know the story of Louis Sockalexis and understand it's meant as a tribute, I personally just choose not to use it.

The bigger issue is Chief Wahoo. I grew up with Cleveland in our AL East division and watching Major League, and Chief Wahoo always seemed wrong, but in my adult years he seems outright offensive. Chief Wahoo is a racial caricature.

Cleveland_Indians_logo.svg

Even if Cleveland doesn't change their nickname, the time to retire Chief Wahoo as their logo has long passed.

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My Oldest Two Kids Rank Toronto's Teams

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

  1. Leafs
  2. Raptors
  3. Jays
  4. Marlies
  5. TFC
  6. Argos

My 12-Year Old Daughter's Rankings

  1. Raptors
  2. Leafs
  3. Jays
  4. Marlies
  5. TFC
  6. Argos

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...

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Michael Jordan's Last 12 Minutes with the Bulls (with TV Ads)

I was mesmerized by this 40 minute video of the fourth quarter of game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz. It ended up being the last 12 minutes Jordan would ever play for the Bulls.

The original ads being in there make it even better as it feels like you're watching it again in real-time. That first Nike ad about the kid who wouldn't pass was pretty epic.

Then, there's the game itself. Jordan makes three plays in a row in crunch time that are remarkable. In fact, it's reminiscent of the plays LeBron James made in the final moments of the Cavs game 7 win against the Warriors last month.

It's also interesting how the lack of replay factored into this game. Harper makes a shot for the Bulls that wouldn't have counted today, and the Jazz made a 3 earlier in the game that would have counted today. That's a 5-point swing in a 1-point decisive game.

Enjoy Jordan's last title. It's as good as I remember it.

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6 Cities with Longer Championship Droughts than Toronto

Since I wrote last year about the cities with a longer championship drought than Toronto, the Warriors, Royals and Cavs won it all. With championships arriving in Oakland, Kansas City and Cleveland, that brings the list down to six.

Now before we proceed, this entry is about NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB championships. I realize Toronto has had great success in lacrosse and has won Grey Cups recently, but with all due respect, I'm not counting them as major championships. For Toronto, I'm only counting the Maple Leafs, Blue Jays and Raptors.

That means Toronto hasn't won a major championship since 1993. That's a 23 year drought. As bad as that sounds, six cities have it worse.

San Diego

Let's start with San Diego. The Chargers haven't won since 1963, the Padres have never won a World Series, and even their former NBA teams (Rockets and Clippers) didn't win a thing.
53 year drought


Buffalo

Buffalo only has the two teams, but that's enough to count. The Sabres have never won a Stanley Cup and the Bills haven't won since 1965.
51 year drought


Milwaukee

The Bucks last won the NBA Championship in 1971 with Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson and the Brewers have never won a World Series. I considered disqualifying Milwaukee because the Packers used to play home games there, but that hasn't happened since 1994.
45 year drought


Cincinnati

The Bengals have been consistently brutal throughout the years, never winning a title. Meanwhile, the Reds haven't won a World Series since 1990.
26 year drought


Minneapolis-St. Paul

The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, the North Stars and Wild have never won a Stanley Cup, the Timberwolves have never won and the Twins haven't won a World Series since 1991.
25 year drought


Washington

The Bullets / Wizards haven't won since 1978, the Capitals have never won, the Nationals have never won and their NFL franchise hasn't won a Super Bowl since 1992.
24 year drought

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Phil Kessel: Stanley Cup Champion

Phil Kessel: Champion

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In Defense of Homerism in Pro Sports

On May 16, I sat down with Marty York for a lengthy conversation. You can hear our entire chat in episode 174. He had some rather strong opinions about homerism in sports.

When it comes to our local sports media, I believe he has a valid concern. Just look at the current ownership landscape:

  • Blue Jays - owned by Rogers, which owns Sportsnet
  • Argonauts - owned by Bell which owns TSN
  • Maple Leafs - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Raptors - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • TFC - owned by Rogers and Bell
  • Marlies - owned by Rogers and Bell

It would be prudent to be aware of these inherent biases when absorbing content from these sources. That's just sensible behaviour. We've been on high alert since Mike Wilner's suspension, and you can kick that up a notch following Bob McCown's admission Bob Elliott was banned from Prime Time Sports for something he wrote about the Blue Jays.

Where Marty York lost me was when he attacked the fans for homerism. He pities the suckers who collect at Jurassic Park to take in a Raptors playoff game, or the thousands sporting Jays caps and believing they can repeat as AL East champions.

Sports has one purpose, and that's to entertain. Although it sometimes doesn't feel like it, it's supposed to be fun. Rooting with your city for the home team is a huge part of the experience. I've always been a homer, passionately rooting for Toronto's teams and passing on that same love to my children. I'm a homer, but I'm a realist.

That means I'll tune out when the Leafs are just awful with no redeeming qualities, and tune back in at the beginning of the next season. If prices are too high, I stop buying tickets, and watch on television instead. My collection of paraphernalia is minimal. But make no mistake about it, I want the Jays, Leafs, Raptors, TFC, Argos and Marlies to win.

I think it's fantastic when fans collect to watch playoff games. I love the fact the Jays and Raptors were both two wins away from the finals. I can't wait to see Auston Matthews in a Maple Leafs uniform next year. I'm even excited to see the Argos play their opener at BMO Field later this month.

Call me a homer. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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The Final Expo Home Run

Baseball fans likely know by now that Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon went deep the other day. He's the oldest player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit his first career home run. He was exactly 42 years and 349 days old. That's older than me!

Here's a nice mash-up of Colon's homer and The Natural.

In 2002, Colon pitched for the Montreal Expos, which makes him the last active player to have suited up for the Expos. And now, it's quite likely we've seen the final Expo home run.

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How Does Rogers Hockey Decide Which Games to Broadcast?

I've been watching quite a bit of playoff hockey these past three nights. My oldest and I toggled between three games last night, watching Tampa Bay, Florida and Chicago win.

Although Rogers broadcasts all playoff games, they've only sent their crew to broadcast four of the eight series. Bob Cole is covering Tampa Bay vs. Detroit, Paul Romanuk is covering Anaheim vs. Nashville and LA vs. San Jose and Jim Hughson is assigned to Washington vs. Philadelphia.

I understand why Rogers would want to save some cash by simulcasting four of the series, but I find their choice of which series to send a crew to be rather curious. When I look at the eight series, a few pop out as series that would lure in a hockey fan without a geographic rooting interest. One, without a doubt, is Chicago vs. St. Louis.

Chicago is as close to a dynasty as you can get in this era, and this first round match-up looks to be stellar. Shouldn't Hughson and the crew be all over this one?

Another series that is screaming for Bob Cole is Pittsburgh vs. New York. Plenty of big names in that one, including Golden Goal and current best-player-on-the-planet Sid "The Kid" Crosby. Oh baby, Cole would sound great calling Crosby's breakaway goal in game one.

Does anyone know how the Roger Hockey decision makers chose which series to cover and which to merely simulcast? Anaheim vs. Nashville seems like a particularly curious choice.

Leave your thoughts and/or facts in the comments.

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The Dinosaurs that Walk Among Us

I remember watching Goose Gossage play. You simply don't forget a moustache like that. And as a kid, I thought Goose was a pretty fun nickname.

Goose went off on Joey Bats Thursday. "Bautista is a fucking disgrace to the game," he told ESPN. "He's embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto."

Goose Gossage is a dinosaur, one of many still covering baseball. This incident reminds me of when Jonathan Papelbon choked Bryce Harper in the dugout last September. One by one, the dinosaurs came out to defend Papelbon, condoning the physical altercation as part of the game.

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The picture above seems rather appropriate for this entry. It's me in my Bautista bat flip shirt and Kevin Barker. He recently accompanied his wife Hazel Mae on a visit to my home. Barker and Gregg Zaun are two dinosaurs living in a different era.

Goose Gossage, Gregg Zaun and Kevin Barker are cherry picking their memories, after all. Here's a tremendous clip of Goose getting punked by Kirk Gibson in the '84 World Series.

The bat flip is beloved in this city, and rightly so. The dinosaurs can either adapt or get out of the way. They're blocking my view of this beautiful game.

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