Fri Jun 17 01:20pm EDT
You know how you're having a stupid sports argument and the other guy is totally outwitting you and making you look foolish, so you say something ridiculously juvenile like "your city sucks"? Good news: if you're talking about Toronto, you're right!
According to ESPN, Toronto is the worst city for pro sports in North America in the realm of the Big Four (baseball, basketball, football and hockey).
In its ninth version of the Ultimate Standings (which essentially measure what fans get back from their teams versus what they give), Toronto's three major franchises combined to bring Hogtown to the worst-average score of any city with more than one pro sports team.
(Sacramento is technically the worst, but it only has one team, and they're probably moving somewhere else next year anyway, and this is a Canada blog, so let's bash Toronto some more.)
• the Maple Leafs are the worst team in the National Hockey League in the ranking, and third-worst overall
• the Maple Leafs are last overall for bang for your buck and affordability
• only the Cincinnati Bengals (fan relations, effort and likeability of players, title contention) finished last in more categories than the Leafs
• the Raptors are the third-worst organization in the NBA
• the stadium experience at a Raptors game is apparently 19 spots better than that of a Leafs game - even though they play in the same building
• the Leafs' ownership is 8 spots better than the Raptors (both teams have the same owner in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment)
• the Blue Jays' home experience at the Rogers Centre is ranked as the fourth-worst in baseball, behind only Florida, Tampa and Oakland
• if you're a Toronto sports fan, your best chance at experiencing any sort of title comes via time machine; your best odds, apparently, come from having been alive and a Jays fan in 1993
• the Raptors are 4th-worst in the NBA for title hopes; and the Maple Leafs are ahead of only Winnipeg/Atlanta, Columbus and Florida on the winning scale. (Surprisingly, the Ottawa Senators are rated at #66 - firmly in the middle of the pack - to win a title any time soon)
Before you get too wrapped up in Schadenfreude, Canada's other cities don't fare much better:
• the best feature in all of Canadian professional sports is apparently the ownership group of the Vancouver Canucks
• the best stadium experience is at a Montreal Canadiens game, but the fans are still getting ripped off, since the Canadiens are way down in the Bang for your Buck category;
• the Toronto Raptors' coaching rating is one spot better than the Ottawa Senators, which must be horribly insulting to newly-hired Sens coach Paul McLean, since the Raptors don't even have a coach
• the highlight of being an Oilers fan, according to ESPN, is that there's a good chance you've seen your team win a title (even if it was over 20 years ago).
That last category is likely to draw the most criticism; the ranking basically credits teams for ever having won, and the more recently, the better. Which is why the Vancouver Canucks finished 21 spots behind the Montreal Canadiens, despite the Canucks' having been 60 minutes away from a championship 48 hours ago.
The best franchise in sports, it seems, is the Green Bay Packers; they ranked in the top 10 in six of eight categories. The Tampa Bay Lightning surprised as the top NHL team, thanks to a combination of affordability and on-ice success.
If you're looking for some solace or an excuse to dispel the rankings with a wave of the hand and a hearty "Shut up! My Leafs are awesome! ESPN is dummyheads!", here's one: the Phoenix Coyotes were the most highly-rated team in Arizona - ahead of the perenially-adequate Suns, or the Super-bowl-playing Cardinals. The Coyotes. Who will probably end up in the same place as Sacramento next year. The Coyotes actually finished 28th overall in the rankings, begging the question: should teams without fans be eligible for fan-focused surveys?
No word on whether Vancouver and Montreal will lobby to have "rioting" included as a category to raise their profile for next year's survey.
Follow Andrew McKay on Twitter @apmckay