2022 Blue Jays and the worst blown leads in sports
Josh Werle, Sports Editor
The 2022 Blue Jays were a squad who were consistently hyped throughout the Major League Baseball (MLB) season. After a dominant season from stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, fans were hopeful that this would be the year for a long playoff run. The Blue Jays squared off against the Seattle Mariners in the 2022 Wild Card round of the playoffs. Nobody expected the plot twist that laid ahead.
After being defeated in game one of their best-of-three series, the Jays came prepared for game two. They got out to a fantastic start to the game, leading 8-1 after only five innings, which made people think a game three is possible, but the Mariners had other ideas. The Blue Jays lost 10-9, and were subsequently eliminated from playoff contention — the Mariner’s victory was baseball’s largest comeback win to clinch a postseason series.
Fear not, Blue Jays fans, as there have been a few special cases where other athletes have made mistakes with a similar magnitude. Here are some of the worst blown leads in sports of recent memory.
2010 Sonnen versus Silva
Anderson Silva was one of the most dominant champions in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). To this day, he still holds the record for the longest consecutive winning streak with 16 victories in a row. After capturing the UFC middleweight championship, Silva defended the belt on 10 separate occasions. His fight versus Chael Sonnen was his seventh title defense, and after a lackluster fight with Demian Maia in his previous outing, Silva had something to prove.
Even so, he was still treated as though he was invincible — being listed as a -460 favourite against Sonnen. In a fight that was seemingly a forgone conclusion, Sonnen completely flipped the script. After months of trash talk from “The American Gangster,” Sonnen had done exactly what he said he would do — dominate Silva. Sonnen had won four of five rounds on the judges scorecard, and was on his way to completely shutting out Silva. His wrestling had been utterly unstoppable, and Silva was seemingly out of options.
With less than two minutes remaining in the fight, Silva tried to catch Sonnen in a submission. He succeeded, and forced Sonnen to tap out to a triangle armbar in the fifth and final round. Sonnen was mere seconds away from defeating a fighter who is commonly noted as one of the greatest of all time, but got caught before he had the chance to cement himself in UFC history. Although Silva may go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time, luckily, Sonnen will still go down as one of the UFC’s greatest trash talkers.
2013 Maple Leafs
Sorry to all the Toronto sports fans, but this list wouldn’t be complete without the 2013 playoff collapse by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs haven’t won a playoff series since 2004, and although they have lost multiple game seven’s over the past couple of years, none sting quite as bad as their 2013 defeat to the Boston Bruins. Aside from the fact that the Maple Leafs and Bruins are playoff rivals, this one hurt a little extra because the Leafs were up 4-1 in the third period.
The win was all but locked up for the Leafs, but the Bruins’ offense never gave up. With just under 10 minutes left in the third, Bruins forward Nathan Horton scored a goal to make the score 4-2. As the clock winded down, so did the hopes of the Bruins seeing the second round of the playoffs. In the final two minutes of the game, star players Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron each scored a goal for the Bruins, sending the game to overtime.
Overtime hockey is already a nail-biting process for hockey fans, but in a playoff game seven, it would be hard to describe what the feeling is like. Bergeron scored the game-winning goal in overtime, which sent the Bruins to the second round and the Leafs to the golf course. Although the Leafs’ playoff woes have continued over the years, none will compare to their 2013 loss to the Bruins, who completed one of the most impressive comebacks in hockey history.
The Golden State Warriors have been one of the most dominant sports teams in the world for almost a decade. Throughout the latter half of the 2010’s they seemed unstoppable, and achieved accolades that National Basketball Association (NBA) players dream of. Although they have since won three NBA championships, their 2016 season ending is one that will be remembered for as long as the sport of basketball exists.
In the 2016 season, star point guard Steph Curry won the first ever NBA MVP award with a unanimous first place vote, and joined Tom Brady and Wayne Gretzky as the only athletes to ever accomplish this feat in their respective sports. The Warriors team were on their way to winning a second consecutive NBA championship. They were up 3-1 in a best-of-seven series against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and were all but ready to be declared the greatest NBA team in sports history.
Instead, the Warriors became the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 lead in the finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA championship in what became one of the most impressive championship victories in pro sports history. So for all the Blue Jays fans out there who are hurting right now, it could certainly be much, much worse.