Terrence Ross and two guys I had never heard of were among the highlights of going back to the ACC.

Terrence Ross and two guys I had never heard of were among the highlights of going back to the ACC. (Photo: rantsports.com)

I went to my first Raptors game in about 10 months today, and it was…good.

Remember when you went back to your old high school for the first time since graduation? And everything was familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time? And it feels like it’s been a hundred years, but it feels like you never left? Yeah. Like that. To add to the high school reunion-type feel, the game opened with a video retrospective to celebrate the ACC’s 15th birthday. It was like watching a video yearbook. All that was missing was that Green Day “Time Of Your Life” song.

Anyway, it was good to be back. Here are some things I noticed.

Things that were the same:

1. The Dance Pak’s favourite move is still the hair flip. To the casual observer, there is no difference between a Dance Pak member and a woman in a Raptors bikini trying to remove a wig without using her hands.

2. The Raptors’ shooting is still excitingly unpredictable. In the first quarter, they shot approximately 6 for 832 from the field. Next thing you know, they’re up by 7.

3. During the “free t-shirt throw”, the people most likely to catch a t-shirt are the people seated 3 inches beyond my reach.

4. Jamaal Magloire is still there. I’m not sure in what capacity exactly, but there he was, helping some of the players work out before the game. It reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer starts working at that company, but he isn’t actually employed there. He just shows up and does stuff.

Things that were different:

1. New faces. Psycho T. Greivis Vasquez. John Salmons. Pat Patterson. Then there’s the replacement mascot, “Stripes”. He was kind of a non-mascot. He was invisible for most of the game, and then he’d look like he was gearing up to do something really big, sprint across the court, and…do nothing. This guy is the New Coke of the mascot world. Where did they find him? Was Aaron Gray unavailable?

2. The Free Pizza Deal has changed. It still exists, but now the Raptors have to get 100 points and win in order for your ticket to be worth a free slice. So now, nobody can accuse us of incentivizing failure, and Pizza Pizza can save itself some money. Everybody wins!

3. Jonas has a beard. The face that was once as patchy as a Lithuanian corn field in January is now sporting a very manly mane. They grow up so fast, don’t they?

4. THE RAPTORS ARE WINNING. The win against the Cavs puts them at 30 wins for the season. That’s more wins than I witnessed in two years as a season seat holder. They’re sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division…and yes, being first in the Atlantic Division is kind of like winning an arm-wrestling championship at a nursing home, but still. The last time I watched them play Cleveland, this happened, so I was happy to see them get the win.

In conclusion, we should do this again sometime.

Thanks, Cleveland.

 

An apology.

Posted: November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized
I lost my Raptors tie, and was forced to use my backup NFL tie instead. Please accept my apologies.

Over the past few weeks, the Raptors have unexpectedly fallen into second place on the list of things Torontonians feel mortified about.

The new season is well underway, and there has been embarrassing radio silence from us here at Holycraptors.

I am so, so sorry. The past is the past and we need to move on. I have neglected posting updates despite so many wonderful opportunities; the acquisition of borderline sociopath Tyler Hansbrough,  the hilarious optimism surrounding a first-place finish in the pre-season, a recent 2-point loss to the Charlotte frickin’ Bobcats…so many things to write about. And I haven’t written about any of them. I can’t even blame it on a drunken stupor.

Truth is, various other areas of my life have gotten busier, and I simply have not had time to post. Also, I did not renew my season seats this year. I thought it might be less depressing to light $4500 on fire and throw it out a moving car, so I’m giving that a try this year.

But I do plan on going to a few games, and I’d like to keep the “Hall of Shame” and “NBA Punching Bag” pages updated, too.

Happy 2013-2014, everyone. See you at the Finals.


I entered this contest in ’94, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them. Fingers crossed…

After the success of my first TFC experience, and since I had nothing else to do on a Monday afternoon, I decided it was time to take myself out to the ball game.

A bit of background here: the last time I went to a Jays game, the Raptors did not yet exist, Roger Maris still held the record for single-season home runs, and nobody knew what PEDs were. Times, needless to say, have changed, thanks to fitness innovators like Barry Bonds.

Baseball...uh...strategy has changed a lot since I last went to a game.

The, uh, shape of baseball has changed a lot since I last went to a game. (photo: cofosho.wordpress.com)

Another thing that has changed is the Jays’ winning percentage. In the championship days, I can remember when the top three hitters in the American League were all playing for Toronto. I knew there had been a fair bit of hype around the team this season, because they had spent a lot of money on some top-notch drugs players, so I wanted to see how the team was doing.

So you can imagine how happy I was to find out that the franchise has obviously been privy to the same memo passed around to the Leafs, Raptors, and TFC, and have hopped on board the crap-wagon.

Some key points from today’s game against the Oakland A’s:

  • I was 37 seconds late for the game, and it was already 1-0 Oakland when I sat down.
  • The Blue Jays currently have one guy hitting better than .280. One guy.
  • Baseball pants are now almost as baggy as basketball shorts. I blame the Fab Five.
  • The name “Rogers Centre” sucks. It’s got no personality, and nothing to do with the sport or the stadium. The dome was in the process of opening through the first inning, and it was fascinating to watch the giant steel roof disappear to reveal the sky above. It’s the SkyDome, Rogers. Just call it the SkyDome.
  • I always knew baseball was slow, but having become so used to the pace of basketball, the difference was incredible. A family next to me left because all three of their kids had fallen asleep. It was the top of the fourth.
  • The only player who didn’t look hopped up on PEDs was the A’s second baseman, who looks like he’d be more at home working at an independent record store than for a professional ball club.
  • After a long pitching duel, the Jays tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the eights. “Oooh!” I thought, “extra innings, maybe?”
  • They then brought in their “closer”, who quickly gave up 4 runs in the ninth.

Final score: Oakland 5, Toronto 1.

Was it a classic Toronto sports team late-game fall-apart? Yes. But did I enjoy myself? Absolutely. Even though the glory days of Blue Jays baseball are long gone, and the crowd probably could have fit into the ACC with room to spare, there’s nothing quite like sitting outside on a sunny day, beer in hand, watching another Toronto team finding creative ways to lose.

Thanks, Blue Jays.

jaysfans

A Raptor Fan Experiences TFC

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Limbs were flying at my first ever MLS experience, as TFC played host to the New York Red Bulls. (photo: Vancouver Sun)

Limbs were flying at my first ever MLS experience, as TFC played host to the New York Red Bulls. (photo: Vancouver Sun)

Now that the rest of the NBA universe is wrapped up in that whole “playoffs” thing, I found myself with a lot of pent up sports energy and a free Saturday afternoon. So I figured it was high time I went and paid a visit to the team that carries the MLSE banner of failure through the summer months: Toronto FC.

And gosh darn it, it was fun.

Sure, the quality of play wasn’t quite at the level of the last live football match I’d seen (Liverpool vs. Arsenal at Anfield), but the weather was beautiful, the view of downtown was great, and the fans were pretty lively. Here’s a summary of things I learned and observed at my first TFC experience:

  • Walking around the stadium before the game, I felt really tall.
  • There is a hawk that is trained to keep seagulls away from people’s food. Its name is Bitchy. I’m not kidding.
  • BMO Field’s two on-tap beer options are Bud and Bud Light. Someone needs to be fired.
  • On the bright side, BMO Field features Smoke’s Poutinerie. If that existed at the ACC, I would weigh at least 400 pounds by now.
  • When TFC scores, fireworks erupt around the stadium. From this I learned that fireworks inside the ACC with the lights way down are far more impressive than fireworks outside at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
  • Despite the fact that soccer teams typically have a corporate logo on their jerseys, I felt much less bombarded by advertising than I do at the ACC.
  • People were throwing toilet paper at New York’s star player, French legend Thierry Henry. This would get you tossed out of an NBA game. I think it’s awesome that there is one situation in which it is socially acceptable to throw toilet paper at a millionaire.
  • After tying the game 1-1 late in the second half, TFC imploded and gave up the winning goal with less than two minutes remaining. Heartbreak must be somewhere in MLSE’s mission statement.

In case you’ve been out of touch with the Raptor world, things have been happening. Perhaps the Maple Leafs making the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade has lit a fire under someone’s behind…who knows?

But in the meantime, do yourself a favour and take in a game at BMO field.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again. The time to look back, not in anger, but in resigned acceptance of the tattered remains of a franchise that is our beloved Toronto Raptors. So gimme a drumroll, or a slow-clap, or even just a despairing sigh, for the Bottom Ten plays of the 2012-2013 season:

 

Mmmmm....losing.

Mmmmm….losing.

Got some sporty friends coming over for a special occasion? Want to impress them with your ability to cook up failure, disappointment, and mediocrity? We’ve got you covered.

Chef Colangelo’s tried-and-true recipe should do nicely. First, the ingredients:

(Serves a city of 2.6 million)

  • 2 cups of marketing
  • 8 lbs of optimism
  • 1 tsp or less of talent (optional)
  • 1 point guard controversy
  • 1-2 talented but over-hyped rookies
  • 3 cups of NBA journeymen
  • 1 rock (for pounding)
  • 2 apologies for poor officiating
  • 1 secret ingredient (be sure to overpay grossly for this one)
  • A pinch of Primo pasta sauce
Directions:
1. Before cooking, tell your guests how awesome the meal will be.

In the pre-season, word was that the Raptors would be back in the playoffs in April. Last year’s defensive boost, thanks to Coach Casey, was sure to continue. We were a lock for the 8th spot, at least. And with Valanciunas the Lethal Lithuanian on board, this was bound to be a great year.

2. Start slowly. Very slowly.

One of the worst starts in franchise history had people screaming for a total rebuild before Christmas. Word spread around the league that this was a surprisingly bad team. One of my favourite quotes from the early season came from Ben Golliver at The Blazer’s Edge, writing after the 4-18 Raptors had visited (and lost by 18 points to) his hometown Blazers:

The horror stories bubble quickly around the NBA and the word has been out about the Raptors for a few weeks now. It’s never the same until you see it up close though. This wasn’t 2012 Charlotte Bobcats bad or 2011 Washington Wizards bad, but it was worse in a way, because the Raptors seem like genuinely nice and good people who are trying to win, or at least not actively trying to lose.

It’s a beautiful quote because it’s so completely Toronto. We’re the lovable losers. The dinner guests you invite over because you feel bad for them, and they bring you an awful bottle of homemade wine that tastes like tepid grape juice and gives you the runs.

3. After simmering for a while, change ingredients.

In one of the season’s most bittersweet moments, the beloved Jose Calderon was moved, along with Ed Davis, in a three-team deal that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto. Gay appeared to have an immediate impact, pouring in the points and hitting big shots. For the first time since Mookie Wilson, Torontonians had a sports star whose name could be chanted and sound like booing:

But the honeymoon didn’t last long, as folks started to realize that for every big shot he hit, Rudy was hoisting up about a thousand others that would clang off iron. His shooting percentage was shockingly low, and before you could say “buyer’s remorse”, fans were wishing we could go back to the days of a reliable, pass-first, shoddy-defending point guard.

4. Serve sheepishly, but with assurances that dessert will be amazing.

When the chefs at MLSE realized that they’d served Toronto yet another helping of lousy basketball, they were ready with 17 excuses reasons why fans should be ready for some serious contending next year. Seriously. For serious this time. They even made a website and video about it:

But in all honesty, we know what next year will be like. If the chef is the same, the meal will still have the same odd smell, the same mealy texture, the same bitter aftertaste.

The Raptors finish 2012-2013 moving into un-charted territory, even for a club with their sad history: for the first time, the team has seen five straight seasons with no playoffs. The drought has been on for so long that we’ve started to forget what water even looks like.

But don’t worry. Chef Colangelo’s cooking up something great for next year.

Last night’s 17-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks not only allowed the Bucks to clinch a playoff spot, but it also provided a nice opportunity for me to piggy-back on a terrible Raptors performance by offering you a preview of this year’s “Bottom Ten”.

Critics are already hailing it as the best “Bottom Ten” of all time, calling it “hard to watch”…”painful”…”I threw up in my mouth a little bit.”

Are you ready?