For years Toronto sports fans have endured tough times, but it looks like things are starting look up, with the Toronto Blue Jays taking center stage
When it comes to Toronto sports teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken center stage for decades as having the most passionate fan base. An argument can be made that Leafs fans are the most loyal compared to other North American sports teams, since they have not won a championship since 1967.
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When it comes to the other Toronto sports teams, they all share in the same misery that Leafs fans do. The Toronto Blue Jays have not won the World Series in 22 years, the Toronto Raptors have not won a league championship, Toronto FC has never qualified for the playoffs and the Toronto Argonauts struggle to attract fans, even after winning a Grey Cup in 2012.
Not many sports towns have endured the same amount of disappointment that Toronto sports fans have. However, cities like Cleveland, Atlanta, Minneapolis (Minnesota), Washington, Nashville, and Buffalo have gone through similar tough stretches.
Over the past few years, Toronto has had a small preview of what happens when their sports teams have some success after years of misery. When the Argonauts won the Grey Cup in 2012 the city was alive and it looked like the team might gain some relevance, but that was short-lived as they are setting lower attendance records this season.
Sep 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock at a post game media conference following a win over the Ottawa Senators at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Ottawa 4-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
When the Leafs earned a postseason berth in 2013 (albeit in a lockout shortened season) the city was buzzing until the whole thing blew up in gmae seven against the Boston Bruins. The Toronto Raptors won their division the past two seasons, but were unable to move past the first-round – even the Toronto Marlies have found success recently, after losing in the Calder Cup Finals in 2012.
The Leafs now have a management group focused on the long-term success of the team and hopefully with patience and hard work they will be a formidable contender. The Raptors are hoping their current group will continue to improve to the point where they can move past the first-round this season.
The Argonauts have a chance to take the East, after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost Zach Collaros for the rest of the season. The Marlies have a promising team with a lot of younger players under the guidance of new coach Sheldon Keefe, who enjoyed success in the OHL.
When it comes to the Blue Jays and TFC, there was not as much optimism that either team would challenge for the playoffs in their respective leagues. However, both teams are on the path to proving doubters wrong as the Blue Jays secured a trip to the postseason and are close to clinching the division.
Sep 27, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) hits a home run in the ninth inning to give the Jays a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
TFC can clinch their first ever playoff berth on Saturday if they win and either Orlando FC loses or earns a draw against the Montreal Impact. Even with the Leafs going through a much-needed change under Brendan Shanahan, it looks like the Toronto sports scene is taking a turn for the better – something this city has been wanting and deserves.
The success of TFC and the Blue Jays can be credited to the outstanding play of stars Josh Donaldson and Sebastian Giovinco, who are both strong candidates for MVP awards in their respective leagues. Another reason for both teams being successful is also a result of strong management who worked hard to put together strong playoff contenders, although TFC still needs to work on their defence going forward.
For the first time in a long time there is a lot of optimism that one of these teams can not only go far in the playoffs this year, but also sustain this success in the future. That team would most likely be the Blue Jays, given the fact that most of their players are returning next season – if they can keep David Price, there is no reason why this team cannot continue their success going forward.
Are Toronto sports teams finally turning the corner given the recent success of most of their teams, or is it too early to say right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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