Everybody has a favourite team. We suffer with them when they lose and rejoice when they win. The trouble is some teams never seem to win. Of the 30 teams in Major League baseball, eight have never won the World Series.
In the American League, Tampa Bay, Seattle, Texas and Houston have never celebrated victories in the Fall Classic, but at least the Rays, Rangers and Houston got that far. Seattle, the Blue Jays' expansion cousin, never has.
In the National League, Washington/Montreal, Milwaukee, Colorado and San Diego have never emerged victorious, though all but the Nationals/Expos have made it to the World Series.
Washington and Milwaukee have actually tasted victory, but with other franchises in the past - the Senators and the Braves.
All of this made me wonder how the other "Big 4" sports compare.
In the NHL, 12 of the current 30 teams have never won, though Ottawa and Vancouver did capture Cups in the early 1900's. Still, essentially that is 40 per cent of the teams that have never reached the "promised land."
In the NFL, 14 of the 32 teams have never won the Super Bowl, though I must add some of those 14 teams won titles in the old AFL, or in the NFL before the merger.
Still, that's just over 43 per cent who haven't been Super Bowl Champs.
The NBA has the worst percentage of all. 16 of 30 teams have all been also-rans for their entire current existence, or just over 53 per cent.
I don't really know what any of this means. Someone once told me, it's all about the journey and not the end result. The emotional ups and downs make sports what they are and why they are so compelling.
The debate over the Washington Redskins name and whether it should be changed has pretty much reached the boiling point now. I'm in the camp that believes it should be changed, but it's interesting how the name came to be and its baseball connection.
Washington wasn't the original home of that NFL franchise. They began in Boston in 1932, as the Braves. They played in the home park of Boston's National League franchise, the Braves, so owner George Preston Marshall figured it was best to stick with the same name.
The following year, though, he struck a better deal and moved the team to Fenway Park; the home of the American League Red Sox. To pay homage to the Bosox, he wanted to include the word Red in the team's new nickname. It also so happened that his coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, had a mother of Indian heritage. That lead Marshall to combine the colour with a rather strange tribute to his coach, who eventually wound up in the College Football Hall of Fame. None of that justifies the name; it's just interesting to find out how it came about.
There was a special anniversary this week. November 7th marked 50 years since the Yankees' Elston Howard won the American League's Most Valuable Player Award. The Yankees have had so many great catches over their history; from Bill Dickey to Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada, that at times Howard gets pushed into the background. But he occupies a special place in Yankees history. He was the first African-American player to suit up with the Yankees in 1955. That was a full eight years after Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was to the Yankees' shame that it took that long for them to employ a black ballplayer.
Jackie Robinson played his first season in the Dodgers' organization at Montreal with the old Royals. Elston Howard too had his Canadian connection. He was an all-star with the Pennant-winning Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League in 1954 - the year before joining the Yankees. In addition to the MVP honours, Howard won four World Series rings with the Yankees. He was also with the Red Sox in 1967 for their miracle run under Dick Williams, which ended with them losing the Fall Classic with St. Louis. That Boston club was the parent team of the Maple Leafs.
Baseball's offseason activity is really going to start to percolate next week. The 13 players who were offered those $14.1 million qualifying offers will have to decide by November 12 whether to accept or reject them. At the same time, the general managers will be meeting in Orlando, Florida from November 11-13. Remember, the GM's meetings were a couple of days earlier a year ago and that is where the genesis of the mammoth 12-player deal began to evolve. That deal was completed on November 13 and was finally approved by commissioner Bud Selig on Monday November 19.
I'm not saying the Blue Jays are going to pull off anything close to a deal of that scope, but they have to be active; they must improve. The next week or so should be very interesting.