Before my young friend takes over and writes stuff about the game and team that I can’t, here’s a bit of football poaching to start the week.
I’m not sure the casual fan around these parts quite understands this but, to my mind, what we’re seeing with the TFCs is nothing short of a local sports dynasty and since we haven’t had anything remotely close since ’92-93 with the baseball, it should probably be celebrated just a wee bit more than it has been.
Think about it:
The Reds are off to Seattle later this week to play in their third MLS Cup in the last four years, an unprecedented run of championship contention in this area.
Doesn’t matter the team nor the sport, Toronto clubs don’t play for three titles in four years EVER – at least not since the Original Six era back in the day – and it’s even harder to do now than it was then.
I have no idea if they’ll win – and I’m gonna have to wake up kind of early in LA on Sunday morning to watch it – but the fact they are there again speaks volumes about how good this franchise has become after a rather dubious early existence.
This run has been, frankly, amazing.
Teams don’t struggle as much as they did early in the season, not only make the playoffs but get a first-round home game after some crazy shenanigans around the league on the last day of the season and then win TWO road games to get to the final.
And teams certainly don’t come from down 0-1 in the conference championship, get a remarkable penalty save and then steal an away win on two gorgeous strikes.
This is a special, crazy team that, in some ways, reminds me of the basketball squad. They know they’re good, they hang around long enough to figure out what they have to do and then do it when it matters most.
That’s pretty special and I don’t really care what you think of MLS and the calibre of soccer but you’ve got to beat whoever you have to beat to play for a title and, in three of the last four years, they’ve done it.
The one thing with the team that I keep harkening back to with this franchise is just how far it’s come from dark, dark days when it seemed as inept as any franchise in North American sports.
They went through like six coaches/managers in something stupid like five years or something, changed presidents and people in charge like some of us change socks, brought in this star and that star and all of ‘em were major disappointments and the most stunning thing was that fans stuck with them and they somehow figured out how to get it right.
I actually was covering the team – filling in for someone I can’t recall right now, it might have been Not Grace back in those days – the wacky Labour Day weekend when Ryan Nelsen basically got himself fired by ripping his GM after a game, was let go the next day or the day after and they gave the job to this relative unknown (to me at least) guy by the name of Greg Vanney and that strikes now as a stroke of genius.
That news conference was, as I recall, as much about whether they’d transfer out The Bloody Big Deal guy by that weekend’s deadline as it was about the new coach but it sure worked out, didn’t it?
Sure, he’s no Preki or Aron Winter or Mo Johnston but his team wins and wins a lot and I think it was Bezbatchenko who promoted him so good on him.
So I would suggest you all get on the bandwagon and read Laura and my buddies Beezer and Neil and familiarize yourselves with this squad ‘cause I don’t know when we’ll see something like it again around here.
You sure the heck did good job on yesterday’s mail and for that I’m eternally grateful.
So let’s start filling up this week’s bag at email@example.com.
I plan to be absent from here tomorrow, will have the usual fare Wednesday and a quick Three Pointers on Thursday after the Kings game. Jury is still out on Friday ‘cause I’m getting on an aeroplane for Los Angeles and I’m not sure how the morning will shape up.
Same with Saturday ‘cause we’re not going to be in New Orleans on Friday night, Laura’s going to be in Seattle with the soccer and I don’t know if I can “cover” a game in NOLA from L.A.
That’s going to take some figuring out ‘cause I’d like to maybe go see the Lakers play Friday night after I land.
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This is a pretty cool thing the pucks people did.
Being a guy who basically doesn’t sleep – 90 minutes at a time, tops – this whole “gaining an hour” stuff yesterday has little or no impact on me and I don’t get the kerfuffle about it.
I am totally in denial that it was 24 years ago yesterday that a lot of us gathered at the SkyDome for the first NBA game in Canada because that hammers home the fact I’m stupidly old but …
It was truly a stirring moment in so many respects, emotional and fun and the start of a helluva ride.
It’s impossible to pick out one moment from that night, there were so many.
The Alvin Robertson shot to start it all.
The fact it was finally real and in front of us.
Been a helluva ride.
And we’re at this Mighty Quinn-organized bun-toss and chinwag last night – some fun was had hanging with the trophy – and it struck me just how far things have come.
Really been a journey in 24 years and a day.
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