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.

Now that picture right there is a thing of beauty. I know what you’re thinking. Another delusional Maple Leafs fan over reacting to a hot start. Nope. That’s not it.

It’s early in a long season. The Maple Leafs will not go undefeated, unless I’m playing NHL 09 for Xbox 360 on the rookie level. That hasn’t happened since December 2008, the rookie level I mean. The Maple Leafs will not win the Stanley Cup. I do expect the Maple Leafs to make the playoffs, for one simple reason. NO TOSKALA.

Truth is, I don’t know how the rest of this season will unfold. Right now I just want to live in the moment, and appreciate that picture above.

 

Erin AndrewsErin Andrews, ESPN sideline reporter, recently has made national news. I’m sure by now most of you know about the peep show hotel tapes of her circulating around the Internet. If not, just about a week ago a video tape was posted of Andrews naked in her hotel room. Andrews was video taped through the peep hole of her room door from the hallway. The video while very blurry is of Andrews, her legal team confirmed. The five minute video shows Andrews doing mundane things such as curling her hair.

Andrews, plans to take criminal action and file civil lawsuits against the person who shot the video and anyone who publishes the video. So sorry fellas, you won’t find the video on this site. Not only because of legal reasons, but also for moral and ethical reasons. Andrews was video taped surreptitiously without her knowledge or consent. She was in the privacy of her hotel room and was violated, wronged.

Andrews, 31, is probably the most well known female sportscaster in North America. She was a Internet sensation before the video. Playboy named her the “sexiest sportscaster” in 2008 and 2009. While her beauty is without question, she is also a very accomplished sportscaster. At ESPN since 2004, she has covered MLB, College sports, and the NHL, very well actually.

While authorities are still trying to find the person(s) involved behind the video tape, it begs the question: What is happening to our privacy? How is it that a man can stand in a hotel hallway for 5 minutes with a video camera and the hotel doesn’t know? Don’t hotels have video camera’s in the hallways for security reasons? If so, isn’t anyone watching these video feeds making sure their paying customers are safe?

Few media members have spoken out about this incident. ESPN refuses to make reference to the situation, citing it has no bearing on her talents as a sportscaster. While some members of the media have spoken out in defense of Erin Andrews, USA Today’s award-winning  sports columnist Christine Brennan seems to have taken a shot her. Brennan via twitter and facebook made this comment:

On the Erin Andrews situation, a quick thought for those who have asked: There are hundreds of women covering sports in this country who haven’t had this happen to them. I wish it didn’t happen to Erin, but I also would suggest to her if she asked (and she hasn’t) that she rely on her talent and brains and not succumb to the lowest common denominator in sports media by playing to the frat house.

That sounds like a shot at Andrews and her coverage of college sports. Andrews who regularly covers college sports has a huge following of college males. With the majority of Andrews fan base being college males, who’s lives revolve around sports, sex and drinking, Brennan’s comments seem to indirectly convey that she was playing with fire. It almost seems like Brennan blames Andrews and what happened to her was inevitable due to her seemingly immature fan base.

I’m not sure how ESPN assigns their reporters, but I’m sure they are behind Andrews covering college sports. ESPN is a business, and a smart business. I’m sure they know of Andrews popularity among the male college contingent due to her beauty and I’m sure they take full advantage of it. Sex sells, ESPN knows this. Maybe Andrews has no choice but to play to the frat house, I wonder if Brennan thought along those lines. Brennan comes off classless, taking a shot at a colleague who did nothing wrong but do her job and did it well; taking a shot at someone who’s privacy was grossly violated simply because of her beauty.

This is one of my favorite days in the hockey season. The NHL trade deadline day. The excitement, the intrigue, the surprises. First I’d like to take a minute to bid a fond farewell to Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore. You guys wore the Maple Leaf sweater proudly. Played with heart. Sports And The City said it perfectly, I suggest you check him out. 

On the bright side, Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina are still Maple Leafs.

Every year there are a ton of deals and usually one or two star players changing teams along with draft picks. What’s amazing about this year is that ONLY ONE first round pick was traded, I can’t remember the last time that only one first round pick was dealt on deadline day. It seems like GM’s are really clinging to their first rounders. 

Seems like the Rangers stocked up, Antro & Derrick Morris. However, in my mind, so far the Flames have made the best move landing Olli Jokinen. Imagine a line with Jokinen and Iginla.

It seems like the Ducks are slowly heading towards rebuilding based on the trades they made.

UPDATE – It was just reported, Patrick O’ Sullivan was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. I honestly don’t understand why the Kings would give up such a promising young player. But when does anything the L.A. Kings do make sense. Then the Canes have turned around and traded O’Sullivan to the Edmonton Oilers for Eric Cole. Apparently Buffalo is also involved in the deal with Kotalik also going to 

On another note, WHY THE HELL ARE THE LEAFS PICKING UP MARTIN “SOFT AS A BABY” GERBER OFF WAIVERS? And why the hell is Ottawa trading for a goalie? Do they not realize they are out of the playoffs? Seriously, it’s over.

I wonder what other trades will trickle in as the day moves along…

IdiotsA few Friday nights ago I was driving home from a friend’s place.  It was around 2 am and I was listening to the Fan590, as per the usual.  For those of you wondering, the Fan590 is a sports talk radio station.   It’s pretty much the only radio station I listen to, since most of the music stations on the dial here in Toronto are absolute GARBAGE.  That’s right FLOW, you’re GARBAGE.       

Anyway, this Friday night I decided to flip through and, surprise surprise, ended up on FLOW 93.5, Toronto’s only exclusive hip hop, r&b and reggae radio station.   However, they were playing house music.  I’ve got to admit, I love house music.  And this was sick house music.  I was feeling it, and wondering where Flow was broadcasting from.   After about a hype 20 minute set the DJ came on and started to speak.  It was one DJ Tricky Moreira.  That’s when things turned shitty.   He sat there and spoke over the music for a good 20 minutes.  TWENTY GOD DAMN MINUTES.  Does this guy not understand the concept of a radio station?  People tune in to hear MUSIC.   Not Tricky Moreira. Music.  Tricky proved that he’s an extremely talented DJ, without a doubt, but someone needs to tell him to just shut up and play music.  It was brutal hearing him ramble on and on about pointless drivel.   The worst was when he started promoting him self to women.  It was pathetic.  He sounded like an e-harmony commercial.    I had to change the station ’cause while the music he was playing was dope, the man just wouldn’t shut up.

Then there was Saturday night.  I’m sitting down with a beer, along with my paps, enjoying the first period of the Leafs and Canucks hockey game.  Then came the first intermission and a couple of Canadian icons, Don Cherry and Ron Maclean.   I used to be a Don Cherry fan, when I was younger.  Now, not so much.  He did his thing, and went off on yet another rant about head shots.  However, he placed the blame squarely on European players.  The basis of his argument was that European players come into the NHL with their visors, or sheilds as Cherry likes to call them, and change the culture of the game.  

Don Cherry, you are a bumbling idiot.   Really, head shots are a result of Europeans?   Have you lost your damn mind?   Head shots are a result of kids not being properly taught to hit when they’re young.  Head shots are a result of ridiculously big and hard equipment which the NHL needs to regulate.   Head shots keep happening because the NHL doesn’t dole out punishment worthy of the crime.  Not because of Europeans you old, whiny, xenophobic prick.  Also, this so called hatred of “sheilds,” let’s look at some players who wear them: Sakic, Iginla, Crosby, Tangauy, Neidermayer.  They are GOOD OLD CANADIAN BOYS Mr. Don Cherry.  So what’s your argument now? 

 

Tricky Moreira & Don Cherry, please, SHUT UP.