February 22, 2018
June 21, 2015
#apps4TO Kicks Off + the week in TO innovation and biz:
Microbiz of the Weekend: Pizza Rovente
June 18, 2015
Amy Schumer, and a long winter nap.
October 30, 2014
Vice and Rogers are partnering to bring a Vice TV network to Canada
John Tory gets a parody Twitter account
The Distance Between Boston and Toronto (in Sporting Terms)
In which we measure the differing conditions of sports fandom in the two cities by turning to two distinctly different children's stories.

The Grinch in Boston Stephen Marche, a man of letters, a man of opinions, and, of course, a noteworthy Torontonian, recently made efforts on Grantland.com to contextualize the modern condition of being a sports fan in Toronto. In part, he’s responding to that article from ESPN Magazine this summer that named Toronto the worst city to be a sports fan in North America; he also wrestles philosophically with the simple the act of buying his son a pair of Toronto Maple Leaf pyjamas. Meanwhile, it’s the city of Boston that has really been crowding the city-scape of sports this week. Which leads me to contemplate the distinct fates of both Boston and Toronto. It isn’t exactly a tale of two cities, but by way of comparison, I can think of suitable childhood tales for each of the two of us. Casey at the Bat Boston’s name is Mudville. Not only did the New England Patriots get rocked by the Buffalo Bills despite resting comfortably in the 2nd quarter with a 21 point lead, but the Red Sox have had a September worth having scrubbed from anyone’s memory. The stakes were as high on Wednesday night for the Red Sox as they were for anyone. It was a last ditch attempt to make up for wasting a 9 game lead on the now playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays. There was a lot of baseball played on Wednesday. It might be worth noting that it was the first ‘Final Wednesday’ in history for the MLB, as it normally wraps up the season up on a Sunday. It’s always odd for baseball, such a tradition-heavy sport, to break from custom, so it sort of makes sense that things went a little haywire on the night in question. The Rays and the Yankees played 12 innings. The Rays capped off an improbable comeback by cashing in on a 6-run 8th inning (they were down 7-0) to eventually tie the game and then win it in extra frames. I think the Yankees went through 11 pitchers on the night, but the Rays weren’t to be denied. And that was bad news for the Red Sox, because they actually needed their hated rivals, the New York Yankees, to beat the Rays on their behalf. Or at least they themselves needed to beat the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, so that the worst outcome for them would be having to play on Thursday in a winner-goes-to-the-playoffs tie-breaker against the Rays. Boston held a 3-2 lead going into the very lengthy rain delay in the 7th inning. But it played out in a way that seems only fitting, Boston surrendering their lead to let any reward for their season slip away. They lost 4-3, sending the Rays to the playoffs in their stead, without the need even for a tie-breaker. To add a further note of weird insult-to-injury (sort of). NBA player Delonte West, who spent last season playing for the Boston Celtics, recently posted to Twitter his job application to a furniture store. He added the announcement that he was now officially an employee there, because he needs to make ends meet during the NBA lockout. The Boston Celtics, in fact, will be hit quite hard if this NBA season ends up being cancelled. They have a rapidly aging core of players and can scarcely afford to miss maybe their last chance to be a legitimate contender to go deep in the playoffs. So as ESPN Magazine (who brought us the Toronto-is-the-worst revelation) launches its first ever ‘Boston Issue’ to commemorate the wealth of championships the city’s been blessed with the last few years, Boston sports teams have stepped up to the plate. And late in the count, it comes to light that mighty Casey has struck out. How the Grinch Stole Christmas I know I might have gone on a little long about the sufferings and indignities of sports in Boston of late. It’s a little bit of Schadenfreude. But I shouldn’t get carried away because let’s not forget that they carried home a trophy this past spring that a huge part of Toronto’s population would do unspeakable things to be able to call our own. The litany of things that are wrong or keep getting worse in Toronto in terms of our own sports teams is well documented. ESPN magazine gave it a good introduction and on Grantland.com Stephen Marche fine-tuned the list. So more on this might really be overkill. However, what I took particular note of in Marche’s essay is his anecdote of a Leaf fan’s rationale for not wanting Sidney Crosby on our team. Because of course, after being concussed, it just reinforces everything Marche’s overheard Leaf fan had thought all along: Crosby’s too soft, made of glass. Marche seems tobe  arguing that there is a kind of unhappiness that permeates the nature of the Maple Leaf fan. For the Leaf fan there is no valid counterargument to being a Leaf fan. It’s just that the on-going malady of Leaf fandom is due to a lack of the players we need to play that vaunted style of tough-guy Leaf hockey. Without those players, it’s almost honorable not to win. You see, with all of the difficult seasons we’ve endured recently from the Leafs, the Raptors, the Jays, the Argos, etc, it is a little like we’ve had Christmas stolen out from underneath our noses. Post-season appearances are just like so many trappings of the holiday (the tree, the lights, the goose) snatched up and carried away by that house-ransacking Grinch. But maybe this hockey season will give us a chance to do something about it. We go to the polls on October 6. But what if it wasn’t just for the provincial election?After all, the Leafs’ season starts the same day. Last year saw a new Leaf’s captain anointed, Dion Phaneuf. He’s profiled in the Toronto Sun as being a diplomatic, even democratic sort. So let’s say, as an encumbent leader, before October 6, Phaneuf took to the airwaves. We’ve already had our say about the last place ranking ESPN handed us, we’ve sung out about it. But what if Phaneuf made an appeal to the Leaf faithful: tell us what kind of a team to play as. Tell us what to deliver. Maybe then as fans we can take responsibilty for the direction of the team, it can be something we voted on, something that we’re going to make work. Finding solace in a team really being our own, accepting that we’re going to win or lose on our own terms, instead of whatever ideal exists about tough-guy hockey from the past–that seems to me to be something that could be attained with a little bit of PR work. It’s the equivalent of the Whos in Whoville gathering together to sing on Christmas morning even when they’d all been robbed. And you know how much that singing affected the Grinch. __ Kyle Buckley is Toronto Standard’s Sports Critic.

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