This was truly a roller coaster of a weekend experiencing both the highs and lows of sports in this city. We have a team that has gotten off to their worst start in their history; two teams that were on undefeated streaks and then there was a couple of organizations entering our rendition of Thunderdome (which we call the playoffs) where two teams shall enter and only one shall leave. Forget about the answers, let’s examine the questions.
Do the Blue Jays seem blue?
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 16, 2017
Despite the odd and underwhelming offseason, there was still plenty of hope and expectation surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays. It is still early, but plummeting to a 2-10 start does nothing for a fan’s confidence level. They were swept by the Orioles, lost 3 out of 4 to the Tampa Bay Rays, got swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and lost 2 out of 3 to the Orioles. The good news is that only two of those losses was by more than 2 runs so they have been in every game. The bad news is that they have no offence. In 7 out of their 12 games they have scored 2 runs or less. This is a far cry from last year’s team and an even bigger departure from 2 years ago where they bludgeoned teams into submission. More bad news is that Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez are both on the disabled list with a calf injury and blister issue respectively. More good news? Nobody is paying as much attention to the Blue Jays with the other teams in the city playing well.
Who’s going to stop the Wolfpack?
— Ryan Gould (@GouldyMedia) April 14, 2017
Utter savagery. No, this isn’t a comment on the sport of rugby, it is a comment on the utter dominance of the Toronto Wolfpack in their first ever League One season. It has clear that this team is gearing up for bigger and better challenges than Tier 3 can provide, but the opportunity is now for the team to create some chemistry and an identity. Not only has the team been undefeated in the first five games of the season, they have done so in dominating fashion outscoring their opponents on average 62-7. This past Saturday’s 80-0 victory over the North Wale Crusaders saw the Pack jump to a 30-0 lead within the first 15 minutes of the game and eventually had 10 different players score tries. The Wolfpack home opener is Saturday, May 6th at Lamport Stadium and one can only imagine what dominance awaits as they play for the first time in front of thousands of cheering, hometown fans. Should be magical!
Are the Reds a Tragedy?
There’s something rotten in the state of Toronto FC. Yes, that is an exaggeration but it has been a long time since a Shakespeare reference has been used and well it had to be done. But since the beginning of the season, something really has seemed a little off with the Reds and it is difficult to point out what exactly. For the first 5 games it has been a question as to whether the glass was half empty or half full because regardless of having only 1 victory in that time frame, they haven’t lost either. Well, a trip to the unfriendly confines of Mapfre Stadium and TFC suffered a 2-1 defeat at “da feet” (sorry for the bad pun) of the Columbus Crew. The game was as perplexing as their season. They played incredibly well the first 35 minutes of the match including Jozy Altidore’s 21st minute goal, but after that two quick defensive mistakes in the 37th and 44th minute gave the Crew the victory. Sebastian Giovinco is struggling with only one goal in five matches this year and with centre back Drew Moor sideline with a heart condition the glass doesn’t look as full anymore for the Reds. That five game undefeated streak is now being looked at as a one win in six games streak and that won’t get them back to the MLS Cup.
Are Raptors just being the Raptors?
Speaking of teams that may not be able to get back to where they were it was a difficult weekend for this city’s basketball team. Losing to the Milwaukee Bucks isn’t much of a surprise as they were every bit as good as the Raptors were in the second half of the season. In fact even losing the first game of the series isn’t much of a surprise as in 11 playoff series, they have only won the first game once and that was back in 2001 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Last year the Raptors always found a way to bounce back and there is still hope that this year’s version can repeat the results.
How can you not like the 2016/17 Toronto Maple Leafs?
Some might argue there are no such things as “moral victories” in the world of sports yet some defeats are easier to take. The way these young men have represented that maple leaf on their jersey has been admiral regardless of the result. It is easy to be proud of the fact that the Maple Leafs have battled tooth and nail with technically the best team in all of hockey and after nearly 3 full games of play… they have been equals. If the goal of this year was to get these kids some playoff experience, they have already received for more than anticipated. The team has shown that they can play with controlled emotion. Yes, there were some dumb penalties but they also managed to show they could bounce back from a difficult defeat. A hockey team that this city is already proud of and a team that quite possibly could produce something magical.
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