Forget hockey – baseball’s on

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 1-0 in an exhibition game to the Montreal Canadiens yesterday.

In other Toronto sports news, the Blue Jays celebrated clinching their first playoff berth since 1993 with a 10-8 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and champagne showers.

Hockey is and always will be my favourite sport. I will never cheer for a professional sports team based outside of Toronto. As a Toronto sports fan, I don’t know what it feels like to root for a championship team, or even a team that is consistently competitive. I’m sorry, Argonauts, that was not the championship we were looking for.

Success drives interest – the 2013-14 Raptors were proof of that. Their first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets brought the city closer together than the Leafs’ 2013 first-round series against the Boston Bruins did. Sure, Toronto is and always will be a hockey town, but I’d take #WeTheNorth over the #SeaofBlue any day. Though Kyle Lowry missing the game-winning shot was heartbreaking, his reaction even more so, the city was proud. Their first-round defeat at the hands of the Washington Wizards was a setback, but the team earned a lot of love the year previous. It was romantic, in more ways than one.

Baseball is perhaps the romantic sport. You can stash the film Moneyball in the evidence locker. The Blue Jays were essentially playing .500 baseball until the All-Star break, but what has transpired since then has been magical.

All sorts of storylines have contributed to this special season. Talk of ’92 and ’93, and perhaps 2015 topping them. All sorts of records shattered, personal and franchise. Josh Donaldson’s MVP bid. Three players with at least 30 home runs and more than 100 RBIs. LaTroy Hawkins, the oldest player in the majors, and Roberta Osuna, the youngest. The league’s most potent offence by far, an incredible defence, a solid rotation anchored by a legitimate ace, and a vastly improved bullpen with one of the top rookies in the AL as the closer.

And as we approach October, we get set for a few things in Toronto: playoff baseball, a chance for the Raptors to prove 2013-14 wasn’t a fluke, and yet another kick at the can for a Leafs team that has an all-star front office but is again destined for the league basement.

I know what I’ll be watching.