With the Blue Jays playing really well and everyone thinking the Raptors might be an actual good team, I was thinking about this the other day: will a team from Canada ever win a title from a major US sport? The short answer, I believe, is no. It will never happen.
I wasn’t going to include hockey in this discussion, but you know what? A Canadian hockey team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in 20 years and when teams from fucking Tampa Bay and San Jose are making championship series and winning titles, shit’s not looking too good for our neighbors from the north.
In all of the four major sports, there are a total of nine Canadian teams. Seven in the NHL, one in MLB, one in the NBA and zero in the NFL. So for starters, there are nine out of 122 major sports teams from Canada. Assuming each team has an equal chance to win a title at the beginning of a given season (which as we all know, they don’t) there is about a 7% chance each year that a team from Canada will win a title. The NFL doesn’t have a Canadian team yet, so let’s take them out of the equation. That raises the odds of a Canadian championship to a whopping 10%.
Obviously when teams come into a season, everyone does not have an equal chance of winning a title so I’ll look at the Vegas Odds for the most recent season. For baseball, the Blue Jays came into the 2016 season with 15/1 odds to win the World Series. Not bad. The Raptors in basketball have 40/1 odds to win the 2017 NBA title which is eighth among all teams. In the NHL, the Canadiens are 15/1 favorites to win next year’s Stanley Cup, putting them 6th among all teams. After that, the Senators are at 60/1, Oilers, Jets and Flames are all 75/1, the Canucks are 85/1 and the Maple Leafs are 100/1. So other than Montreal, nothing too promising.
Yeah but everything goes in cycles, right? Eventually the Blue Jays, Raptors and all the Canadian teams have to win, right? I’m basing this off of absolutely nothing, but no they don’t. In reality, yes I could absolutely see a Canadian NHL team winning the Stanley Cup in my lifetime. However, I truly cannot see the Raptors or Blue Jays winning a title in their respective sports. No matter who they sign, no matter how good they get, no matter how good their Vegas Odds are, the Blue Jays and Raptors will never win a title.
The Blue Jays play in arguably the toughest division in baseball, the AL East. The past few years they’ve been able to slug their way to respectable records and playoffs. But Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are free agents at the end of this year there’s many rumblings of them moving elsewhere. Where does that leave the Blue Jays? They still have Donaldson and Tulo and I don’t know, Justin Smoak is an okay hitter but they’re basically starting all over again once the two Dominican Republic sluggers inevitably walk. Then what? Another 20 year rebuild like before?
Now to the Raptors. I’m hearing a lot about how the Raptors have a “nice” team that “can contend.” I agree that they have a nice team. DeRozan and Lowry are both really good and they have a lot of good role players too. Valanciunas is a pretty solid guy in the middle and their style of play really works. But here’s the thing: they’re still the fucking Raptors. This isn’t like the Bulls who have won before and are kind of in rebuild mode. This is the Raptors. The Raptors just barely squeaked by the seventh seed Pacers – their first postseason series win, then needed seven games to get past the Heat before getting demolished by the Cavs. Yeah they won two games against the Cavs, but those were the only two games that the Raptors scored over 90 points in the entire series.
Here’s the thing: Nobody wants to go to Canada. I have heard Toronto is a cool city, but it’s fucking cold up there and the Canadian dollar is worth about 25% less than the US dollar. So they may be able to draft some good players or get some home grown talent, but nine times out of ten once that “home grown talent” becomes a free agent, they are booking it out of there. The only chance Canada ever has of winning a title in baseball or basketball is to have their entire rosters be Canadian. Then they might actually have the passion to not only succeed, but build a power. But again, this will never happen.
So to end my argument, here is my answer: A Canadian team will NEVER win a title in baseball or basketball. They might in hockey, but it’ll be a while.