Anger, despair, disappointment and sadness are the general feelings of a Toronto sports fan. However, there’s one more feeling Toronto sports fans are also accustomed to over the last 17 years. Hope. Why hope? What else are we supposed to feel? It’s all we have to hold on to. It’s either hope or apathy and it’s not in my nature to feel apathy. The day I feel apathy is the day I give up watching sports.

There have been many articles written about how bad of a sports town Toronto has become. ESPN has a yearly sports city ranking and Toronto has been near the bottom annually. ESPN, being the giant conglomerate that they are, uses vast resources to come up with a ranking system, in which they use attendance, ticket prices, player salary, and success. Being that I am a much smaller conglomerate with far fewer resources, I’ll use just one piece of data. Winning.

I don’t care how much ticket prices are, or that beer at the arena costs $10 or that a slice of pizza is $6.50. This is Toronto, and being a Torontonian for almost all my life, I’m used to corporations gauging money out of my wallet at every possible turn. It’s part of being a Torontonian, we pay more than anyone else for everything and we bitch about it. Good times.

All that matters are wins and loses. Where are they in the standings? Are they going to make the playoffs? Do they have a shot at a title? The ranking of a city in terms of its sports teams always comes down to one thing. Winning. So where does Toronto rank in terms of success? I decided to look at the numbers and made a spreadsheet. Thanks to Sports And The City’s older brother for teaching me the art of the spreadsheet. He is a master.

The data simple, enough so that most NFL players could understand them. I collected data from 1994 to 2010. I started at 1994, because 1993 was the last year a Toronto sports team won a title. Every city with at least a team in one of the 4 major sports organizations: NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA is included. The data includes the total number of seasons played over the time period (17 seasons per franchise from 1994 to 2010), playoff appearances, finals appearances and championships. Click on the chart below to take a look.

As the chart above indicates. San Antonio has by far the best success rate of any city. They win a championship roughly every 4 years. However, the data is skewed due to the fact that the city of San Antonio has only one franchise, the Spurs. A city with one or two franchises that wins a title will have higher success rate due to a fewer number of seasons compared with cities that have three to five franchises.

To get a better indication of success I  broke the data down further into two charts. The first chart includes only cities with three or more professional franchises, and the second only cities with two or fewer franchises.

The data above gives a better indication of the futility we have had to go through here in the city of Toronto. Of the 20 cities with three or more franchises, only Oakland has had less playoff appearances in the last 17 years than Toronto. It gets worse. Minnesota and Toronto are the only two cities that have not had a franchise reach a finals in the last 17 years. The final knife through the heart is that Boston and New York have been the most successful cities over the last 17 years. I just threw up in my mouth.

Looking at the data, you can deduce that the most successful sports towns have a team in the playoffs roughly every two years. It’s no surprise that cities around a 50% playoff appearance rate (PAR) also reach the finals more with a finals appearance rate (FAR) of around 25%. There are of course outliers, Chicago & Tampa Bay both have a FAR over 20% while having a PAR in the low 30’s.

However, if there is one franchise that other teams should model them after, it should be the San Antonio Spurs. In the last 17 years, the Spurs have reached the playoffs 16 times, winning a championship 4 times. Luck has had some part to play in their success, getting the #1 pick and drafting Tim Duncan the only year you miss the playoffs. Having said that, the type of sustained success the Spurs have experienced over the last two decades is due to an exceptionally run organization, from the owner down. The Spurs are the perfect sports franchise model.

I wonder what it feels like to have your franchises reach the playoffs once every two years or the finals once every four years like in Boston, Los Angeles or New York? I wonder, if I experienced that level of success here in Toronto, would I also turn into an absolute arrogant douchebage like the Massholes or New Yorkers? I doubt I would, but I all I want is the opportunity.

 

He Plax, guns are not toys.

Cheddar Burress

So the story is that Plaxico Burress was involved in a shooting at a New York club on Friday night.   And the reports from various sources claim that the moron shot himself in his right thigh while at a club called the Latin Quarter.   I guess the gun went off when the jackass was doing the merengue.   When I first heard the story on the radio I thought to myself, why in god’s name does this fool have a gun?   I know Plax isn’t exactly the brightest of characters, so maybe he thought it was a water gun.  Yup, he probably thought it was a water gun.  

Every week it’s something new with this guy.  One week his wife is calling the police on him, then another week he’s suspended for missing a team meeting.   He Plax, if practices are a problem, I’ll gladly trade places with you.   I’d be happy to attend every practice and make millions of dollars a year.   

Plax, in case you haven’t noticed, the Giants are winning without you.  In the NFL where contracts are NOT guaranteed, i’d be worried about my job if I were you.  But again, we all know Plax isn’t really the sharpest tool in the shed.  

If anything, at least Plaxico is always good for a laugh.  Here’s looking forward to 5 more weeks of Cheddar Burress.