Toronto Raptors

Andy Gray's @si_vault Toronto Picture Dump

Andy Gray's @si_vault Toronto Picture DumpAndy Gray from Sports Illustrated is tweeting Toronto-centric pictures this afternoon.

I'm a Toronto-centric kind of guy who loves sports (and gets Sports Illustrated every week), so I'm collecting them all here along with Andy's accompanying tweets and some commentary from yours truly.


AG: Jack Morris, Dave Stewart, Todd Stottlemyre & Juan Guzman pose at a 1993 SI photo shoot

TM: Damn, I miss these days. I once stalked Stottlemyre at the CNE to get his autograph.


AG: Toronto Argonauts owners Bruce McNall, Wayne Gretzky and John Candy attend a 1991 game

TM: The kids and I just watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A few months ago, we watched Uncle Buck. I miss John Candy.


AG: SI photographer John McDonough took this great shot of Vince Carter

TM: Nope, I'm still not ready to make nice.


AG: Felix Potvin and his cat pose for a 1982 (sic) SI photo shoot

TM: Of course, Andy meant 1992. Speaking of stuff I miss, damn I miss Felix Potvin and this Leafs team that made the Conference finals twice in the early 90s.


AG: How amazing was this Toronto promotion (from 1946 Knicks-Huskies game)?

TM: I hate the name "Raptors" and wish we had gone with "Huskies".


AG: Get your cigar, recline your La-Z-Boy. We're going with Toronto photos all day. David Wells is excited!

TM: I saw STP and RHCP with David Wells... sorta.


AG: Tie Domi and Lyle Odelein get acquainted during a 2000 game between the Leafs and Devils

TM: My old pal.


AG: Marcus Camby poses for a photo at Raptors Media Day in 1997

TM: I can't believe Camby is still playing. He's old... he's my age!


AG: Blue Jays shortstop Danny Ainge in action

TM: NBA star Danny Ainge started at third for the Jays back in 1981. Here are the other starting third basemen in Blue Jays history.


AG: Joe Theismann in action with the Toronto Argonauts during the 1972 season

TM: This is the first photo, outside the Huskies ticket, that doesn't bring back memories.


AG: Cousins Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter in 1999

TM: T-Mac never seemed happy.


AG: Kelly Gruber celebrates Toronto Day at the SI Vault (for @GrubersMullet and Gruber lovers everywhere)

TM: Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.


AG: Roberto Alomar lays out for a catch during the 1992 World Series against Atlanta

TM: The greatest Blue Jay of all-time.


AG: Toronto fans celebrate after the Blue Jays won the 1992 World Series

TM: I'll never forget.


AG: Jesse Barfield and his son let their Soul Glo before a 1996 (sic) Blue Jays-Orioles game

TM: I loved Barfield, and I love this picture. There's my Exhibition Stadium in what is likely 1986. Barfield had a cannon for an arm.


AG: Wendel Clark scores a goal during a 1993 Caps-Leafs game

TM: All heart.


AG: Canadian legend Tim Horton played 18 seasons for the Maple Leafs in the '50s and '60s

TM: That's right, kids. Tim Horton was a Leaf. In fact, he was one of the greatest Leafs.


AG: Dave Keon and Pierre Pilote chase down a loose puck during a 1967 Maple Leafs-Blackhawks game

TM: I missed Keon's entire career, but I caught his return.


AG: Brian McNamee stretches out Roger Clemens before a 1997 Toronto-Baltimore game

TM: Roger Clemens, part of baseball's lost generation.


AG: How did Chris Bosh let SI take this photo of him?

TM: Bosh was more Vince than we realized. Go Celtics!


AG: SI's Chuck Solomon with a great aerial shot of Joe Carter scoring the winning run of the 1993 World Series

TM: Joe touched 'em all, and it's been all downhill since then.


AG: Toronto Day is over as I have to meet Robbie Alomar at his Skydome hotel room for dinner. Hope you enjoyed

TM: Fess up, Toronto. How many of you slept with Roberto Alomar?

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The Latest Raptors Recap Ever

The Latest Raptors Recap EverI watched the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminate the Los Angeles Lakers last night. That's rather significant, because I can count the basketball games I've watched this season on one hand.

Since the Raptors arrived in 1995 this is by far the least I've followed them. For one, it was a shortened season, and I was rooting for the lockout. It was a lost season and we all knew it so why emotionally invest? I opted out.

Having said that, I've never opted out of a lost Leafs season, and there have been plenty of those. I chalk that up to the simple fact that I'm a bigger hockey fan than I am a basketball fan. Still, I'm shocked at how invisible this Raptors season was... it started and then it was over.

Heading into this season, I wanted two things. I wanted the Mavs to fizzle out because I didn't want Vince Carter winning an NBA Championship. That happened. And I'd like the Heat to lose.... just because. Here's hoping that happens in the 2nd round against the Pacers.

So that's my super late Raptors recap. We stunk, but we knew we'd stink, and we think we have a decent coach and brighter days ahead.

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Leafs Sold to Rogers and Bell, No Longer Pension Plan Puppets

leafsSo this just happened...

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has sold its 79.53 per cent stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to Rogers Communications and BCE for more than $1.2 billion. BCE is fancy talk for Bell. That's right, Bell and Rogers now each own 37.5% of MLSE, which owns, among other things, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Toronto Raptors, TFC and the Toronto Marlies.

A couple of thoughts immediately spring to mind... These partnerships between Rogers and Bell make me very nervous. We need them to hate each other, right? It can't be good for the competitive landscape, for those of us who need Internet access and mobile talk and data plans and cable tv, when these telecom behemoths keep jumping into bed together.


And what will become of Pension Plan Puppets, the go-to Leafs blog in these parts? I hope they keep the name for tradition, the way we secular folks still call this Santa holiday Christmas.

But what matters most, of course, is will this help my Leafs win the cup? Since we've already given Brian Burke autonomy and let him spend the cap, I'm thinking it won't make a difference. At least it won't hurt...

What do you guys think of the sale of MLSE?

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Why This Raptors Fan Was Rooting For the Lockout

nbaNBA players and owners tentatively agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement early this morning and a 66 game season will start on Christmas Day. As a Raptors fan, I was rooting for the lockout.

This is going to be a lost season for Raptor fans. Bryan Colangelo is in the midst of another rebuild, working to have as much as $24 million in salary cap flexibility for the 2012-2013 season. That certainly won't help us during this abbreviated season.

Take a look at our current roster. Sure, we all like how DeMar DeRozan keeps getting better, but what really does Dwane Casey have to work with? What real hope is there that we squeak into the playoffs? Slim to none, and slim just caught a Greyhound to Cleveland.


At least there will be playoffs at the ACC this spring. That's right, I'm calling it. Go Leafs Go!

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Chris Bosh Back in Toronto, Awaits Deserved Boos

raptorsI can't remember the last time I wrote about the Toronto Raptors. It's been that kind of forgettable season. We're awful.

We might be awful, but tonight there's a good reason for casual fans to get excited again. Chris Bosh is back in town with his Miami Heat teammates to face the Raps at the ACC and he's going to get the Vince Carter treatment. He's getting the Vince Carter treatment because he deserves the Vince Carter treatment.

Admittedly, I defended his Raptor career when he signed with Miami and didn't see the Carter comparison right away, but I've since seen the light.

Appearing on the FAN 590, Bryan Colangelo said Bosh wasn't the same player toward the end of last year. In essence, he quit on us.

Colangelo said on Monday's show that whether Bosh was "mentally checked out or, you know, just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy. And I think everybody saw that, just no one wanted to acknowledge it."

Quitters deserve to get booed. Tonight should be fun.

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Like A Bosh

basketballYou thought it would be awesome, but it's not. It's like a Bosh.

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Heat Schadenfreude as CB4 Faces the Raps

raptorsThe Raptors suck this season. Even die-hards have to admit it. We're 1-7 and look terrible.

When your team is in the dumps, it's fun to hate on other teams. This season, I've decided to root passionately against the Miami Heat. The whole Lebron / Wade / Bosh trifecta has me angry. And Bosh... I'm glad he's struggling. He went from being the guy here in Toronto to being third fiddle in Miami. That tells you all you need to know about his character.

Bosh is facing the Raps on Saturday. It will be fun to root against #4 and his unholy Heat alliance. But first, there's a certain artist formerly known as Air Canada tonight as we face Vince Carter's Magic.

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

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Bosh More Vince Than We Realized

RaptorsI'm just coming up for air and catching up with some of the news from this past week. One item on Chris Bosh is really bugging me.

When Bosh signed with Miami, I defended his legacy in a Raptors uniform.

He was our best Raptor for 7 years, and unlike Vince Carter, he never quit on us.

Appearing on the FAN 590, Bryan Colangelo said Bosh wasn't the same player toward the end of the year. In essence, he quit on us.

Colangelo said on Monday's show that whether Bosh was "mentally checked out or, you know, just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy. And I think everybody saw that, just no one wanted to acknowledge it."

I hate quitters.

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Chis Bosh: 7 Years, 3 Playoff Wins

basketballI've already said goodbye to Chris Bosh. There was no doubt he'd sign elsewhere. His announcement today that he's joining Dwyane Wade‎ in Miami makes it official, but it's hardly a surprise.

I should preface the following by admitting I liked Chris Bosh. I liked him a lot. He was our best Raptor for 7 years, and unlike Vince Carter, he never quit on us. He'd rub me the wrong way with his album promos and DVD sales pitches, but he was a bona fide all-star and he was ours.

But with Chris Bosh as our leader these past seven seasons, our Toronto Raptors won a grand total of 3 playoff games. That's it. 7 years, 3 playoff victories.

It's a good thing Miami still has Dwyane Wade‎.

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An Open Letter To Vince Carter

Vince CarterHey Vince, remember me!

I loved you, man. You were our Rookie of the Year, Air Carter, you were our Michael Jordan. I was at your 51 point game against the Suns. I cheered the loudest when you won the slam dunk competition. I busted a television when you missed the buzzer-beating three in game seven against the 76ers and I constantly defended you when others called you lazy, fragile or worse. You remember me now, don't you?

Here are a few entries I wrote about you. As you'll see, there were peaks, followed by a rather deep valley. I'll let you catch up on our tumultuous history before I get to the point of this letter.

  1. The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 @ 12:53: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
  2. Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 @ 15:03: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
  3. Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 @ 08:04: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
  4. Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 @ 14:00: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
  5. Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 @ 11:09: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
  6. Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 @ 15:45: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
  7. It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 @ 11:04: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
  8. Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 @ 09:04: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
  9. The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 @ 10:55: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
  10. Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 @ 21:37: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
  11. Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 @ 14:48: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
  12. My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 @ 08:23: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
  13. 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 @ 13:11: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
  14. More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 @ 07:56: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
  15. The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 @ 17:36: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."
  16. Vince Carter Is A Dick - January 7, 2005 @ 15:36: What a surprise... Carter actually tries for the Nets and admits he didn't give his all for the Raps. "I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. F him"
  17. Formerly Known As Air Canada - February 22, 2005 @ 12:02: The Raptors first game in New Jersey against Vince. "#15 quit on us and started lighting it up the moment he was out of here. Lets humiliate the bastard."
  18. NBA Championship Tonight - April 15, 2005 @ 07:52: Vince's first game in Toronto since the big trade. "Go Raps! Beat Vince!"

Vince, you've moved on to the Orlando Magic and you're in the conference final, but you're down 2 games to 0 against the Celtics. Although I'm over you and I've moved on, I'm going to ensure you never win an NBA Championship. It's not going to happen. Not on my watch.

With every vibe in my body and every ounce of my soul I'm hoping karma is a total bitch to you. I can't wait to see you eliminated once more.

Toronto Mike


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