Somehow along the way, Toronto became a pro sports town that readily accepts injuries as an excuse for losing.
They don't even have to be major injuries to major stars. Just a couple of small ones will suffice, enough for management, coaches and players to be able to point them out as a real reason for failure.
The Blue Jays made all of last season about injuries and what those injuries didn't allow them to achieve.
The Maple Leafs would tell you they've been done in the past two seasons not by inconsistency, a lack of talent, poor coaching, errant management or any other factors.
It's been all about injuries. This year, it's to be believed that if Bryan McCabe and Carlo Colaiacovo had been healthy all season, the club would have easily have locked down a playoff berth by now.
It's as though no other team ever has players go down. Forty-one years of futility, and all of it, if you listen to some people and the home town announcers, due to injuries and bad refereeing.
And some fans buy this nonsense.
When the New Jersey Devils came into the ACC for their second game in a week on Saturday, they were missing their two best defenceman, Paul Martin and Colin White, and still won.
The Philadelphia Flyers have suffered crippling injuries of late, including those to Simon Gagne - their best player - Mike Richards, Joffrey Lupul and Mike Rathje. Still, the Flyers played strong hockey over the past two weeks, not allowing the Leafs to gain any ground, and not using those injuries as an excuse. The Colorado Avalanche have had one terrible injury after another this season to stars like Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, but have hung in there in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
Is there any way that attitude could be transported to Toronto?
Part of it, of course, is that players and other members of an organization can't or won't say what's really wrong with a losing team, so when pressed for an answer, injuries are a nice convenient option.
They're never going to say its because Johnny Smith is a drunk, is out of shape and is too stupid to understand what the coach is telling him to do. Instead, they're happy to say that Bobby Ray is a great player and a character guy and if he hadn't busted his leg in 11 places, why, they'd be planning a parade for us soon enough.
Still, the sports world is filled with examples of good teams that don't allow the loss of players to drag them down.
The Giants stunned the Patriots in the Super Bowl despite the mid-season loss of star tight end Jeremy Shockey. The Houston Rockets have won 19 NBA games in a row, seven of them since Yao Ming, maybe the league's best centre, was lost for the season. Heck, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers made a game of it at last November's Grey Cup despite losing starting quarterback Kevin Glenn in the Western final.
So enough already of the Leafs or the Jays or the Raptors can't win because this player or that player is out of the lineup. Accept that in a given season, a team will see some of its players lost for periods of time, and the mark of excellence is to have other players step up and others step in.