After waiting for a painful two decades, Toronto sports have found a groove. Each team, look like a contender, each team started from the bottom. They have now added the essential pieces to attain championship status for many years to come.
- That was the last year a Toronto team won a sports championship and the entire city came together to celebrate the Blue Jays success. A couple days after the Blue Jays won the world series, it a parade in downtown Toronto. 52,000 Torontonians flooded the streets for the victory parade. Everyone was in pure joy and excitement after the team won back to back championships.
For the past 23 years, Toronto sports teams attempted to rebuild their teams and their plans have failed. This year all the past was used as motivation to finally succeed, and 2016 was the year where success was achieved.
For, Ronklin Gracian who was 11 at the time, 1993 will always be remembered as the greatest sports year of his life.
“I was so young, and when Jimmy Carter hit that home run, my entire house was ecstatic,” Gracian said. “We began running outside of the house and celebrating with all of my neighbours while cars were honking without a halt at 11 p.m. at night.”
“I doubt Toronto will ever be at that level of happiness again”.
After their historic back to back championships, the players value rising, and the Jays were forced to trade away their superstars or let them walk away. The team moved from the top of the rankings to last in their division, the team wasn’t moving the right direction.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have carried a negative connotation in most water cooler discussions. The Maple Leafs haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1966, and giving up a 4-1 lead in a Game 7 game. Now, the team has a completely new look, and are heading in the right direction.
Raptors and Toronto FC have recently entered the sports world; Raptors joined the league in 1996, and Toronto FC joined the MLS. Since 96’, the Raptors reached the playoffs twice and both had two early playoffs exits. 2016 was different. Toronto FC, on the other hand, haven’t tasted the playoff atmosphere since they joined the league. 2016 is the year where Toronto FC brought playoff soccer to the city.
Since the Blue Jays championship, all Toronto teams have been struggling to reach the playoffs, so Toronto fans already expected the team not to go far. After spending years of building a solid foundation, our young teams are ready to peak.
Maple Leafs are succeeding in a different way compared to the other teams. The Leafs are famous for overpaying for superstars, and these superstars turn to duds. After nearly 8 years of constant failure, the Leafs are changing their entire direction. The Leafs purposely traded away all their stars last season, and they ended up finishing dead last. This time finishing dead last benefited the Leafs, as last summer they drafted the future of hockey, Auston Matthews.
Auston Matthews is expected to take the NHL by storm, and he will be the leader that guides this team to greatness. The Leafs also brought together a good core of young talent to stand behind Matthews, and strive for the Stanley Cup.
The Leafs have shaken up their team to push themselves in the right direction.
The Blue Jays were 2 wins away from the World Series last year, and after that loss the city knew that it would be next to impossible to make the playoffs next season
Blue Jays fanatic and Head editor for The Score, Bryan Mcwilliams, knows this year for the Jays will be one of the most surprising.
“Heading into the season, our pitching staff was ok but not great, and all of the other teams in our division stocked up, and it would be a long shot for us to make the playoffs,” Mcwilliams said.
Blue Jays signed former Pirates Pitcher J.A Happ, and Marco Estrada, who both had career best seasons this past season. Mcwilliams didn’t believe the Jays would make the playoffs.
“Mid-way through the year I expected them to finish 3rd in the division because Baltimore and Boston were on fire,” Mcwilliams said. “Then when September started creeping around, and the Jays were rolling, I was in shock, that they slipped into the playoffs.”
The Blue Jays erupted in August by going 19-7, and creeping up to the top of the standings. Also beginning to be in talks for being world series contenders.
McWilliams had a feeling we had a slight edge in the wild card game, but the Rangers would be a large roadblock.
“I had a slight feeling the Orioles would be hard but not extremely difficult, we had the home-field advantage,” McWilliams said. “But if you told me the Blue Jays would sweep the conference best Texas Rangers 3-0, I’d be laughing in you face.”
“Texas recuperated from last season by bringing an elite pitching staff, and speedy baserunners,” Mcwilliams said. “They Jays bats caught a big momentum swing from the wild card game and surprisingly thumped the Rangers.”
The surprising sweep of the Texas Rangers didn’t prepare the Jays for Cleveland. As Mcwilliams suggests that Cleveland was very underrated.
“Cleveland pitching was lights out in the first round,” Mcwilliams said. “After they beat the Jays I was disappointed in the Jays but I understood.”
“Cleveland was properly equipped for the Jays, Jays put everything they had on the field, and we should be more than thankful for the memorable season they gave the fans of Toronto and Canada especially.”
The Blue Jays surprised the world with repeating with another meeting in the ALCS. Hopefully, they can find a solution this year and bring the team to the world series.
The 2016 Raptors team is the elite squad that all of Toronto were waiting for. Before this season, the Raptors had a problem in the playoffs, they couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs.
Shea Serrano, Staff writer for the Ringer, and New York Time best selling author, shared his perspective on the Raptors as an American.
“I swear to God I didn’t know anything about the Raptors last year,” Serrano said. “Then February kicked in and they were second in the conference and top 5 in the league and I was honestly shocked.”
Last season was the greatest year for the Raptors. They set a franchise high in wins in a season with 56, most home wins with 32, and most road wins with 24. Most importantly, making it to the conference finals for the first time ever.
Serrano did his homework on the Raptors history right before the playoffs.
“Right before the first round, I checked a bit of background about the Raptors and realized they weren’t a playoff team,” Serrano said. “They would always make it to the first round, end up losing, it was sad trend for three straight years.”
Raptors got past the first round in 12 years, and they gained a surge of energy that powered them through the second round. Toronto defeated one of the best playoff teams, and Toronto knew the momentum from beating that team will allow them to challenge the powerful Cavaliers. Although they only won two games to fall in the series 4-2.
Serrano knew the Raptors would give the Cavaliers a fight, but they would lose in the end.
“Raptors put up a fight by stopping their winning streak, but there was no way they’d beat the Cavs in the series,” Serrano said. “Even Lebron paid his respects to the Raptors and the fans after the series was over for putting up a fight till the end.”
The Raptors ended their 8-0 playoff win streak, and checked off plenty of milestones this past season. The city has more than enough reasons to be happy.
Nonetheless, Raptor fans had three instances in the playoffs where there was no chance for them to win. They had the “no point we lose moment”, then they did it, Raptors proved all of Toronto that they are better than they think.
The best thing about the Raptors …. Is that they are only getting better.
Lastly and most importantly Toronto FC. They have been in the MLS for 10 years. It has been 9 years straight of missing the playoffs. Then it happened, Italian star boy, Sebastian Giovinco carried this team to their first playoff birth.
Anthony Lopopolo, Head editor for The Score for Soccer is still in shock on how well the team is currently performing.
“No one in Toronto expected our team to be fighting for a spot in the MLS finals,” Lopopolo said. “I’ve been watching TFC since they first came out in 2006, and this is the best they’ve ever performed.”
Toronto FC is having their best season statistically by finishing highest in the standings, and scoring the most goals in a season.
“All the praise goes to the management as they brought in the two European strikers of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore,” Lopopolo said. “ The two European strikers had their fair share of championships with their European teams, and they brought heir experience to the young Toronto FC side.”
Sebastian Giovinco lead the entire MLS in goals and assists this year, and English Jozy Altidore is leading the entire playoffs by scoring 5 goals in 5 games.
The team is set to play the final game of the playoffs next Sunday in Toronto against Seattle Sounders. Lopopolo believes Toronto has the edge.
“I understand Seattle lost in the finals last year, but when your watching the game and you hear the energy inside that Toronto field,” Lopopolo said. “It’s honestly ridiculous how loud that arena can be”
“I believe that Toronto FC will win the game 3-2, and bring Toronto a much-needed championship,” Lopopolo said.
All of Toronto sports came together this year, and brought an entire level of success. Toronto isn’t only happy that one team is bringing home a championship. Every single Toronto team have found their own niche, and are on the road to greatness. This year all of Toronto sports exceeded all their expectations, and are moving in a great direction.