Toronto can't even win at the Misery Index

The Misery Index top 5
The Misery Index top 5

A couple of years ago, we figured out that Toronto was the worst sports city in North America. Now, the self-proclaimed Centre of the Universe has been tagged as the second-most miserable sports city on the continent as well. What’s not to love about being a sports fan in Toronto?

The accolade was bestowed by website The site measured cities with at least three major-league teams, eliminating all other Canadian cities from consideration. But let’s be serious - even if they included Edmonton, or Vancouver, or Sudbury, Toronto was always going to lead the Misery Index in Canada.

Here’s how the Misery Index was scored: one point each for each season in the last 30 years that has passed since a team last made the playoffs, last won a playoff series (which doesn’t include MLB play-in game wins), and last won a championship. The numbers for each team in a major league are averaged to get the city index.

“Toronto fans have, for the most part, suffered in a more soul-crushing way. Toronto’s is a grinding, slow-burning torment, the result of year-after-year of losing seasons, poor decisions, and little expectation of future success.”

Let’s take stock, quickly: the Maple Leafs are scant days away from ending yet another lost season, which saw a fired coach, jerseys thrown onto the ice, an end to the years of sell-outs, errant tweets, and a captain who wanted to be traded. The best that can be said for 2014-15 is, barring a boneheaded trade or a scouting disaster of Belleville-like proportions, the Maple Leafs will finish poorly enough to get a top-five pick in a strong draft year.

The Raptors, meanwhile, are headed back to the playoffs. But expectations are so low that even as the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed, they’ll be the underdogs in the hearts of every fan with low expectations and  passing knowledge of how these things usually work out. Last season, the Raptors finished third in the conference, faced a Brooklyn team that finished sixth, lost in five seven games - and the season was considered a breakthrough success.  If the Raptors manage to get a first-round matchup with Washington - against whom they’ve won seven of eight dating back to last season - Toronto would still likely lose its mind with amazement if they managed to advance to the second round.

As for the Blue Jays, it’s another season of expectation and excitement. or it was until Wednesday in New York, when the bullpen blew a 3-1 lead in the second game of the season.  Even with the addition of Josh Donaldson and the emergence of kids like Daniel Norris, this is a fan base that’s been waiting to be disappointed again since Marcus Stroman popped his knee, and along with it the balloon of hope that springs eternal everywhere except Toronto.

No, it’s no surprise that Toronto’s considered one of the most miserable sports cities in Norh America. The only surprise is that somehow, Cleveland is even worse. While the city is a perpetual laughingstock in sports, Cleveland teams won playoff series as late as 2007 (Indians) an 2010 (Cavaliers). By contrast, the last Toronto team to win a playoff series was the 2004 Maple Leafs; only Matt Stajan and Carlo Colaiacovo from that team are still in the NHL. If it weren’t for the Blue Jays’ World Series wins over 20 years ago, Toronto would lead the Misery Index by a wide margin.

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