When it comes to sports, Toronto is a city of losers
Lacklustre ownership only partly explains why the Leafs, Jays and Argos underperform so consistently – the fans are also to blame
The question deserves asking again, after another terrible season for the Maple Leafs and as another dreadful one beckons for the Blue Jays: Why are Toronto sports teams the worst collectively in North America?
On the ice, field and court, Toronto teams are mediocre-to-awful, year after year. Together, they are the poorest performing group of sports teams of any city in North America.
Go ahead. Name another market of comparable size where all major-league teams are consistently so bad. Washington? The city’s baseball, football and basketball teams are poor, but the hockey team is arguably the best. Detroit? The baseball, football and basketball teams struggle horribly, but the hockey is consistently championship-calibre or close. No, Toronto is the worst.
The Maple Leafs, we are told, have a promising future. We are always told that toward the end of the season when the Leafs win some games, mostly against teams that are taking the night off against a weak opponent. Still, the Toronto media – and national media – lavish such attention on Toronto, while playing down coverage of much better teams, that one supposes they have to say something. So why not another dose of false optimism?
The Leafs, under the guidance of their new general manager Brian Burke, actually went backward this year. They got 81 points in 2009 and finished seventh from the bottom overall; this year, they will finish with even fewer points and wind up second-worst overall. And, by the way, the Leafs have traded their first-round draft pick for this year and next year, plus this year’s second-round pick.
The Blue Jays had 75 wins and 87 losses last season. They look bad again this year, and will be lucky to match last year’s number of victories. The doleful legacy effects of the Paul Godfrey/J.P. Ricciardi in the senior management positions will be felt for years to come.
The Toronto Argonauts were the laughingstock of the Canadian Football League in 2009, winning three and losing 15.
Last season the Toronto Raptors basketball team won 33 games and lost 49. This year, they hover around .500, which for a Toronto sports team represents almost a championship season