The Toronto Blue Jays are out of the Major League Baseball playoffs following a loss on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre. The Cleveland Indians eliminated Toronto four games to one with a 3-0 victory in game five. The Indians now await the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs, two teams who are tied at two games apiece in their series.
Updating the Canadian slump total
The elimination of Toronto keeps a streak active for futility in mixed North American top-level sports leagues. No Canadian-based team in #MLB, the NBA, or the NHL has won a league championship outright since the Blue Jays did it in 1993.
If you are in your 20s and can't remember the fall of 1993 then Canadian teams not winning championships is just part of your sports-watching life. Perhaps you think that it's just the norm. After all, besides the Blue Jays, none of the following teams have a championship since the fall of 1993 (some of the work below I did for an April 2016 article at MovieTVTechGeeks with one correction).
- All of the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Vancouver Canucks, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Ottawa Senators (each 0 for 22 and combined 0 for 132)
- The Quebec Nordiques: 0 for 2
- The Winnipeg Jets Part 1 (to 1996): 0 of 3
- The Winnipeg Jets Part 2 (from 2011): 0 for 5
- The Vancouver Grizzlies: 0 for 6
- The Toronto Raptors: 0 for 23
- The Montreal Expos: 0 for 10
- Combined total including the Jays' 0 for 22: 0 for 203
If you are double checking my math (please do) then be aware that there was no World Series in 1994. Furthermore, there were no Stanley Cup playoffs in 2005.
Moreover, I don't include the short-lived CFL seasons where the league expanded into the USA. Lastly, I don't include sports like lacrosse and soccer, because the North American leagues aren't the top club levels of the respective sports in my view.
The 0 for 203 streak in attempts for Canadian-based clubs to win a league outright is a bigger streak than the one that belongs to the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs combined. Chicago has not won since 1908 and Cleveland has not won since 1948. That's only 106 + 56 for a total of 162 team seasons of futility between the two clubs. For all the attention paid to the struggles of these franchises, they've got a long way to go before they match the current Canadian Slump.
Jose Bautista ambiguously mentioned "circumstances" as a factor in Toronto's demise in the ALCS. As a result, he's the target of much lampooning. What he meant exactly isn't clear and I'm not going to put words in hi mouth. However, the strike zone was really far off in games one and two and in favor of Cleveland pitching in my view.
More population = more customers
The circumstance I believe in is that the Canadian-based franchises are disadvantaged in the playoffs against the American ones due to economics. That certainly doesn't mean that every instance of a Canadian-based club losing to an American one should be attributed to economic circumstances. There are many factors that go into a sports-result outcome.
However, one factor might be the perception of Canadian teams by the powers that be as less marketable in American broadcasting. If that's true then it can help explain a lot - like why the strike zone was so large against Blue Jay hitting in games one and two of the 2016 ALCS. Something similar happened in game six of the 2015 series.
I see the NHL disfavoring Canadian-based franchises, because of an interest in making in roads in the American market. Awarding the Stanley Cup to strong teams in the states that can do part of the work on their own could be part of a marketing strategy. Interestingly enough, the Canadian Slump in NHL hockey is perfectly correlated with Gary Bettman's tenure as commissioner, at least when you discount his first partial season. I see Major League Baseball not wanting the Blue Jays in the World Series possibly because of TV ratings, a point Don Cherry made last year. #TorontoBlueJays #ClevelandIndians