Stories in Unbalanced that you’ll love, handpicked by our team.
Maple Leafs, You Have One Job!
On Sunday, March 26, 2022, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2, behind two goals from their captain, John Tavares. On the following day, the Leafs were off, but they could clinch a playoff spot during their idle day with a loss from the Florida Panthers. Even better, because the Leafs picked up two points, Florida's loss didn't have to be in regulation. In a crazy scenario, the Panthers were in Ontario, but against the province's other franchise, the Ottawa Senators. This meant that the Leafs and their fans had to (for that night) pull for their provincial enemies to pull out the victory. The Sens did just that, winning 5-2 over the struggling Panthers, and that gave the Leafs another playoff appearance.
Thank You, Willie O'Ree
Funny story; a fear I had when watching hockey as a kid was that I wouldn't be able to find the puck, hence why I was grateful to the NHL on FOX for giving us the glow puck. I never thought I'd be into hockey as much as I am now. And no, it wasn't because I'm Black. Mainly, it was because I didn't have cable as a kid. Basketball, baseball, and football were available daily without cable, but hockey really wasn't. I followed everything via the sports section and only watched the All-Star Game because it was on a non-cable channel. When I got cable in 1997, I watched more hockey...way more.
Playoffs? Are You Kidding Me?
Hello readers, I hope you all have been enjoying my recent posts. It’s been a while since I’ve written an NFL blog, but I’ve decided to give it another try. We are almost a third of the way through the 2022-23 NFL season and so far, there have been a handful of teams that did not make the postseason last year but have showed some noticeable improvement and/or displayed flashes of upside that seem to indicate they could be contenders when January arrives. I’ve identified seven such teams and consulted my (imaginary) magic eight ball to seek answers to the question… will (insert team name here) make the playoffs this season?
Yankees Are Beasts of the East
On September 27, 2022, the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2, to clinch the American League East for the 20th time in franchise history, and the first time since 2019. Divisional play began in 1969, with the American and National Leagues divided into two divisions: East and West (the Central Divisions were formed in 1994). It wasn't until 1976 that the Yankees won the AL East for the first time, but despite that long wait, the Yankees' 20 division titles are the most in the division's history, with the Boston Red Sox being second with 10, which is half of the total of their hated rivals.
Why Demographics Are Indeed Destiny for the Growth of Women’s Professional Sports
Overview One thing we know that holds true throughout the history of American sports is this: There is - and has always been - an ongoing evolution when it comes to the popularity and interest in specific sports. There was a day, back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, that baseball, boxing and horse racing were the 3 most popular sports in the land. And while football had done “well enough” for decades prior, the 1960’s and 1970’s were pivotal - with television, with technology innovations, and with the full integration of college football - in laying the groundwork for both professional and college football to become the big money, dominant sports that they are today. And what are some of the major sports today have not had smooth paths to their places of prominence today. The NBA’s ratings were so bad in the 1980’s that even many of their playoff games were shown on a delayed basis, rather than being shown live. The then-fledgling UFC was almost banned by the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990’s, with Senator John McCain labeling mixed martial arts not a sport, but “human cockfighting.”
Stanley Cup Final Game Six: After 21 Years...
Where were you on June 9, 2001? You know where I was? I was in my living room watching Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils. I watched as Alex Tanguay scored those two goals (one in the first, one in the second), and Joe Sakic put one in as well. I watched as the Avs won 3-1 and captured the Stanley Cup, and I remember that feeling so well. I wanted it again. Fast forward 21 years and 17 days, and that feeling returned.
What Went Wrong: Oilers Swept in Chaotic West Final
The Battle of Alberta series didn't just determine who would represent the Pacific Division in the Conference Finals, it was a battle to see who would be the last Canadian team standing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That honor ended up going to the Edmonton Oilers, after a five game series win, and it was their first Final Four appearance since 2006--the year that the Oilers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final and fell just one win short. The Oilers faced off against the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final, and it was a marquee matchup: Connor McDavid vs Nathan MacKinnon. I was one of many fans who was salivating over this battle between two of the biggest stars in the NHL.
Thank You Buster Posey
Seeing news circulate social media led to ultimately coming to terms with reality — Buster Posey’s retiring from Major League Baseball.
What Went Wrong: Flames Extinguished in Battle of Alberta
We were really excited for this, weren't we? For the first time in 31 years, we had the Battle of Alberta in the Stanley Cup Playoffs; an occurrence that--many say--was set to happen in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused that season to be paused. We all salivated over this, and yes, I was part of the "we all." I was six years old when the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers last met in the playoffs, and I wasn't even thinking about hockey at that time, so this was really my first time experiencing this. I was looking for a seven-game, knock 'em out, street fight between these two longtime provincial foes. Instead, we got a short series that went the way of the Edmonton Oilers.
What Went Wrong: End of an Era?
Nothing lasts forever. Those three words pertain to literally everything, even sports. In this case, it's about the Pittsburgh Penguins. 16 straight playoff appearances; the longest active streak in pro sports. In those 16 years, the Penguins have reached the Final Four five times, which resulted in four appearances in the Stanley Cup Final, winning three of those four. Among the three Cups includes winning back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017, becoming the first team to achieve that feat in nearly 20 years. Since then, however, the Penguins haven't fared well in the playoffs, winning just one series since then.
NBA Fantasy: Which Team Matchup Would You Choose to headline the NBA Finals?
Welcome to the ‘NBA Finals fantasy matchups’. So far, the playoffs are in accelerating mode with a few teams advancing to the ‘Conference Finals’. The four teams who are the favorites to advance are Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Warriors, and Suns.
Is This the Official End of "The Process?"
I’ve written articles about “The Process.” In fact, 11 months ago I wrote this article detailing the Problem with The Process. This is not a hot take, but one that began once the Sixers started tanking.