Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Toronto Maple Sox?

The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.

The Leafs are 0-6-1 as of Saturday’s loss to the Rangers. Don Cherry has already begun decrying Ron Wilson and Brian Burke but it’s early and Don Cherry’s a Leafs fan deep down. (Note: Any Leafs fan that can confirm or refute the previous statement, please do so). It appears that the Leafs again have issues “in the nets” as former Sharks back-up goalie Vesa Toskala has been less than stellar to say the least. Furthermore, his back-up, Jonas Gustavsson alias “The Monster,” is injured. This -- it seems -- is just another year in the season of the Maple Leafs.

I have tried to figure out a baseball comparison to the Maple Leafs. My first thought was that they were the Boston Red Sox of hockey. They were the second-class team to the Montreal Canadiens and had a history of “almost” just as the Red Sox did. The Leafs did, however, win 13 Cups from 1918 to 1967 and were fairly dominant in the pre-expansion era.

My second thought was that they were the Chicago Cubs of baseball. This, I know, is a tough thing to saddle anyone with. I have a great deal of respect for all the history and lore that is the Chicago Cubs. They have my favorite ballpark (outside of the Coliseum) in Wrigley Field and as everyone knows, haven’t won the World Series since 1908. Furthermore, they haven’t even made the World Series since 1945. What turns me away from a full-on Cubs-Leafs comparison is that there is a part of the Cubs fandom that embraces being the “lovable losers” partying down at 1060 W. Addison 81 times a year. This does not seem to be the arc of the Leafs fan.

I am thus at a bit of a standstill. I know that all three cities have powerful sports media bases scrutinizing their teams. Until the Cubs were just sold, they were owned by the Chicago Tribune. It is my common belief that every last Red Sox game is beamed live and in HD on NESN. Each game has an hour long pre-and-post-game show covering about as much as ESPN tries to do with Monday Night Football. The Leafs are the official team of Toronto even if the Argonauts, Blue Jays, and Raptors continue to play. The only time this may have wavered was 1992 and 1993 when the Blue Jays won the World Series -- although Dougie Gilmour and the Leafs were in the midst of trying to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

I would like to pose the following questions to Leafs fans: 1. Do you believe the Leafs are comparable to either the Red Sox or the Cubs? 2. Do you think that the Leafs are capable of winning the Cup sometime in the foreseeable future?

A quick revision: I wrote in a previous post that Maple Leaf Gardens was no longer standing. This is false and I will go see it when I’m in Toronto.


huh? said...

As a Cubs fan, I get extremely annoyed at comparisons to the Saux. We never had near misses, we don't have Carlton Fisk homers or Bill Buckner errors and, as noted, WE HAVEN'T BEEN TO THE SERIES SINCE '45! (Bartmann doesn't count, leave the guy alone already. He was the unlucky sap who touched the ball with a sea of hands going for it).

Ineptitude is defined by the Chicago Cubs. The Saux fan (can we please stop referring to everything as the something 'Nation.' It's both annoying and stupid) just bitch and moan a lot, never mind they've WON two Series in the last several years.

Anonymous said...

I do apologize. I understand the ineptitude of the Cubs and their lack of playoff success. I was 6 when they lost to the Giants in '89 to Will Clark's single. I rooted hard for the confluence World Series in 2003 (Sox-Cubs over Yankees-Marlins). One can place blame on ESPN for reminding us the Saux are "the Nation." I know it wasn't Bartmann's fault, there was a double play to boot at second and the complete overreaction by Moises Alou. I suppose I could have gone with the Indians lack of winning since 1948. Though they were in the World Series in 1954 and 1995. If you have a different example that fits better, I am happy to consider that over the Sox. Thanks. David