Toronto teams may be down but not out

Matt Ingram
Sports Editor

With another baseball postseason starting, and the NBA and NHL starting this month, I can’t help but feel depressed.

The gods have chosen Toronto as my nearest sports city, meaning I’m stuck with the Leafs, Raptors, Jays and Argos as my four teams of geographical affiliation.

Not exactly the cream of the crop – at least for the first eight years.

The most disappointing of Toronto teams are the Maple Leafs. The team missed the playoffs for a team-record fifth straight season in 2009-2010, which means six years with no playoffs if you include the lockout in 2004-2005.

The acquisition of players like Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf have raised the hopes of many in Toronto, but in my opinion, it will still be a few years before the Leafs are in contention.

If you think the Leafs are the only ones in trouble, then you aren’t familiar with the recent history of the Raptors.

The Raps have made the playoffs just twice in the last eight years and five times in their 15-year history. Also, they’ve only made it out of the first round of the postseason once, back in April 2001.

The Raptors have a total of 11 playoff wins in 15 seasons. And with the recent departure of superstar Chris Bosh, don’t expect that number to increase for some time.

But if it’s playoff futility you’re after, the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely the front-runners.

Canada’s only baseball team won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993. Since then, the Jays have missed 17 consecutive playoffs.

To their credit, the Jays did win those two World Series titles. But because I was four and five-years-old at the time certainly diminishes my good memories of the franchise.

Even the Toronto Argonauts, who play in the CFL, which consists of only eight teams, struggle to make the playoffs every year. They did manage to win a Grey Cup in 2004, the only one they’ve won since 1997.

With the seemingly chronic struggles of teams so close to home, fans like myself who want a winner to cheer for have to go elsewhere.

The one saving grace for Toronto fans like me who are fed up with our chronic losers?

The National Football League.

With 32 NFL teams, all based in the United States, means anyone who likes the sport has to pick a U.S. team to affiliate themselves with.

Call me crazy, but week in and week out, my wagon is hitched to the Green Bay Packers. The Cheeseheads have made the playoffs five of the eight years I’ve been a fan, and appear on their way to making it this year which at least gives me a shred of hope my team’s going forward.

The NFL season gives me at least one team on my radar that actually has some degree of success.

I may be a Cheesehead but I still support my Toronto losers.

The key for fans in this city is to remember not to give up hope. There’s always another team roster, always new management, new seasons.

There’s always the next game…

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