Toronto Sports Wishes Came True

TORONTO (Oct. 4) — The moral of the story is simple and somewhat a cliché: Be careful what you wish for.

Moments after the Maple Leafs kind of fluked their way to a playoff elimination of the Tampa Bay Lightning, euphoric fans in the square outside Scotiabank Arena began chanting “we want Florida!” Loudly. And, for several minutes. The roar was understandable. The following night would offer up Game 7 of the opening–round series between the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins — the latter having eclipsed regular–season standards in the National Hockey League for victories (65) and points (135). Florida finished 43 points behind Boston and 19 in arrears of Toronto. Neither had the Leafs upended the Bruins in a playoff clash since 1959. So, of course the denizens were chanting for a Panthers upset, which occurred at the TD Garden. Twelve nights later, Toronto fans were ruing their choice, as Matthew Tkachuk and the south–Floridians annihilated the Leafs in five games.

On Sunday of this week, amid the absurd spectacle of the Blue Jays enjoying a champagne party at Rogers Centre for losing two of three to Tampa Bay and backing into the last wild card playoff spot, baseball fans around here were decidedly in favor of avoiding the Rays and matching up against the weakest of the Division winners (Minnesota) in a best–of–three series. Which, all–too predictably, ended after just two matches at Target Field — the visitors having scored one whole run in 18 innings. The Jays couldn’t hit a beach ball with runners in scoring position all season. Nor could they in meekly bowing to the Twins. Again, Toronto sports fans got their wish. And, watched forlornly as Tampa Bay was destroyed in consecutive games on home turf by the Texas Rangers.


On one hand, the similarity between the Maple Leafs and Blue Jays is uncanny. Both clubs have gifted players that cannot perform when it matters. There is also a marked difference among the teams: at least the Blue Jays stunk for six months with runners at second and third base, merely continuing their ineptitude in two playoff matches. The Leafs, conversely, performed to (or beyond) standard during the regular schedule… only to choke once the pressure mounted against Florida. As they’ve done every year in the Auston Matthews–Mitch Marner era. Should it be of even minimal surprise that the stubborn moguls on Bay Street are running it back for an eighth consecutive season with the Corpse–4? Does anyone reading this honestly expect a different result next spring?

Blue Jays fans are calling for the head of manager John Schneider after the preposterous removal of starting pitcher Jose Berrios against the Twins. Berrios tossed only three innings, walking one and striking out five. It was a bizarre repeat of Schneider yanking Kevin Gausman in Game 2 last October against Seattle with Toronto leading, 8–1, and two out in the sixth inning. The bullpen collapsed historically and the Jays were bounced by the Mariners. These nearly identical calls, however, cannot be pinned solely on Schneider, who receives far too much “input” from general manager Ross Atkins, an analytics geek that has no comprehension of the heart of a baseball player. If the advanced metrics say it’s time for the pitcher to leave, good ol’ Schneider follows the script.

Neither the manager nor the general manager should return after the latest Toronto sports fiasco.


The playoff narrative for the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs never changes… because the teams never change. They nibble around the periphery every year, but retain the nucleus of a roster than cannot get it done. Demonstrably and repeatedly. With the Leafs, it’s nearly comical. The same spineless cast authors the same result every year over the span of nearly a decade… yet the tall foreheads in ownership and management are frighteningly oblivious. “This team is different,” they claim each Autumn, without a smidgen of evidence… or legitimate hope.

The Blue Jays keep banking, to no avail, on Vladdy, Bo and George. Skilled performers that might succeed in a different circumstance. But, not as part of the same line–up. Ditto for Marner, Matthews, William Nylander and John Tavares with the Leafs. You don’t have to be a devoted follower of baseball or hockey to figure this out.

Even a casual fan knows when a particular group cannot elevate performance.

But, again, nothing changes here in the Big Smoke. Neither the bodies nor the end result.

Aren’t you growing weary of it?


9 comments on “Toronto Sports Wishes Came True

  1. The Blue Jays will likely be a trendy pick to finish last place in the American League East next season with the Yankees and Red Sox expected to be active in the Free Agent and Trade Market while the Orioles and Rays will be in the hunt as well. The Blue Jays Roster you saw in Minnesota will be far different if not worse next season on Opening Day at their House of Horrors known as Tropicana Field. It wouldn’t shock anyone to see the Blue Jays Payroll get trimmed next season which might mean trading away George Springer’s contract and one of the Starting Pitchers on a big contract.

  2. Similar situations in both MLSE and Rogers. Top down, both have flawed philosophies and strategies on getting to and winning a championship (both clearly have proven theirs do not work) along with no consequences or accountability, which neither holds anyone in a position of power to. In game one, even before the first pitch the commentary seemed to solely focus on how the Twins would be very patient, had Kevin Gausman’s number and would lay off his splitter making it a very difficult situation for him. To me, if I knew that in advance (which the Jays clearly did) then I would have not started him in game one, even if he is “the ace”. They pulled Berrios for a matchup / statistical strategic reason in game two – so why have Gausman start game one when they knew the risk? Look at all four wild cards – all four teams that moved on won game one. I know…”if’s and buts”…but wouldn’t it have given the Jays better odds to win game one by starting Chris Bassitt? With eight pitches in his arsenal, to me, he would have been the ideal pitcher for game one, Berrios game two and if needed they could have done the dual pitcher strategy in game 3 with Gausman and Kikuchi if required. Game one is THE crucial game in a best of three wild card series and this is where the Jays really dug the hole, further proving their flawed analytics and strategy throughout the short series was doomed before it even started.

  3. Atkins + Dubas = 0

    Leafs stink. Jays stink. Raptors stink. TFC stinks. Go Argooooos.

    Oh and the Pens will stink too.

  4. This Theory of replacing manager know how with the algorithms of statistics when major decisions are made is ruining baseball very very quickly. Example: pulling Berrios this afternoon as he is pitching his ass off and arguably maybe pitching his best game of the year is just like pissing into the wind. And then to say that this was a organization decision ( ie Atkins and Shapiro called the shot and Schneider delivered it to the team), is a total piece of dogshit. Why do you have a lame duck manager in a uniform?! Another reason to let Schneider go away. But since he is part ( a minor one albeit) of the so called leadership, the team has no chance to win. One extra base hit in 2 playoff games doesn’t help!

    1. One extra base hit doesn’t help? Its the story here plain and simple.
      To hold the Twins to a few runs each game is to me, very beatable. The Berrios move whether it was a swing in momentum or not is not the elephant in the room. Its the hitting or lack thereof.
      Being picked off doesn’t help as it is certainly a major rally killer.

  5. I don’t grow weary of it because the decisions the managements of these teams make is out of my control. The only thing I can do is choose to not watch, not support these bad teams. I barely watched the Jays this season all the way through, because they can’t be taken seriously. I cannot stop watching the Leafs though. Not yet. maybe someday I will though. I have stopped buying tickets to the Jays and Leafs. I used to go on occasion, but It’s not worth the time, effort or cost of going to see them live. Now that the Jays are out we will be able to look forward to the quite possibly absurd decisions Brad Treliving will make as the Leafs become cap compliant. Best way to do it is to waive the three expensive ufas he just signed. Bertuzzi Klingberg Domi. If he does that the team would be alright, cap compliant with a full roster and a healthy injection of talented youth, and protecting Martin jones from going to Tampa for free. But he won’t do that.

  6. They tanked that game Sunday because they wanted to play Minny, not Tampa. Pitched a minor leaguer and let him suck up nine runs. Good call. Now, Auston Guerrero and Mitch Bichette remain winless, career, in the post-season. Guerrero lifetime post-season stats: .136 BA, .422 OPS, one RBI but only the one pickoff. This front office will probably give him $300 million next. But they lead the league in selling $15 beers, so what else matters?

  7. You are dead on re Atkins, a puppet was the manager of this team, Time for a very big change this time , Starting at the very top.

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