Thursday, September 01, 2016

Toronto sports teams start to shake underdog reputation

Other than a short period of baseball success in the early '90s, Toronto has been a perpetual underachiever in professional team sports for as long as I can remember. Currently, though - dare I say it? - the city is going through.something of a purple patch.
Our baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, almost went all the way last season, topping the American League Eastern division, and narrowly (and contentiously) losing the American League title to eventual World Series winners, Kansas City. This year, they are currently sitting pretty at the top of the AL East, and look set for another post-season. Expectations are high.
Our basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, qualified for their second ever play-offs last year, after winning the Atlantic division with record stats, only to fall to eventual championship winners Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals. Expectations are also high for next season.
Unexpectedly, Toronto's soccer team, Toronto FC (the Reds), who experienced their first foray into playoff territory in 2015, are also top of the Eastern division at the moment, above main rivals and fellow-Canadians, the Montreal Impact. Another post-season may well be in prospect, although expectations remain relatively modest (apart from among their rabid core supporters).
And our hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs? Well, they remain a work in progress. They made a brief (and unexpected) appearance in the playoffs in 2013 for the first time since 2004, but have languished at or near the bottom of their conference ever since. Expectations are pretty much non-existent for next season. But, buoyed by the stellar performances of our other teams, who knows?

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