Manitoba keeps on makin' it, Boston keeps on takin' it...OK, something like that. Yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays traded their ace Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for a measly three prospects. With the move, the Jays gave up one of the top pitchers in the game, shaved off about 20 desperately needed wins from their 2010 season, and probably saw their already dismal attendance plummet even more.
Of course the Jays giving up the '03 Cy Young award winner and six time All-Star isn't the first (and won't be the last) time a Canadian sports franchise has been strong-armed into a deal by an American team. It's not really cool (cold as ice in fact!), but it's true: Canada often plays second fiddle to the U.S., and nowhere is it more evident than in sports. Whether it's losing what should've been franchise players, or franchises altogether, Canadian franchises always seem to be gifting their best to the U.S. Maybe that's why they've got the reputation for being so nice, eh? Here's a list of the biggest sports move robberies north of the border over the past three decades...
WARREN MOON, FREE AGENCY
TEAMS: From 1983 Edmonton Eskimos to 1984 Houston Oilers
WOE CANADA: To say Warren Moon was a beast in the Canadian Football League (CFL) would be an understatement—dude straight ran that league. In the six years Warren was in the CFL he won five consecutive Grey Cups (the CFL equivalent to the Super Bowl), he racked up two MVPs, and set a record for most passing yards in a single season. Once Moon moved to the NFL, he was named to five Pro-Bowl teams. When Moon ended his career in 2000, he ranked within the top five in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and pass completions. The CFL believed in a black quarterback long before the NFL did, and what did they get in return? Akili Smith.
LARRY WALKER, FREE AGENCY
TEAMS: From 1994 Montreal Expos to 1995 Colorado Rockies
WOE CANADA: All signs pointed toward Larry Walker being an Expo for life, he's Canadian, and was an All-Star, Gold Glover and Silver Slugger award-winner, all by the time he was 28. Of course the '94 player's strike effectively sunk baseball in Canada, and the Expos could only afford to pay Walker five snowballs, so he went to the Rockies and earned another five Gold Gloves, four All-Star appearances, two Silver Slugger awards, not to mention the 1997 NL MVP award. He did keep his Canuck Mullet for a while though.
PEDRO MARTINEZ, TRADED
TEAMS: From 1997 Montreal Expos to 1997 Boston Red Sox
WOE CANADA: If you win the Cy Young Award and have a league leading ERA of 1.90 in your contract year you figure the team you play for would do everything possible to keep you around as their franchise player. Unfortunately for the 'Pos, Pedro hated poutine, so instead of letting him walk, they traded their 26-year-old ace to Boston, where he would win another 2 Cy Young Awards, notch a 23-win season, and help the Sox break that 86-year-old curse in '04. The Expos played half their games in Puerto Rico that year, which was nowhere near as fun as it sounds.
TRACY MCGRADY, TRADED
TEAMS: From 1999-2000 Toronto Raptors to 2000 Orlando Magic
WOE CANADA: Back in 2000, T-Mac and Vince Carter helped lead the Toronto Raptors to their first playoff series in franchise history. The following summer he was traded to Orlando where he went on to become a seven-time All-Star, seven-time All-NBA team player, and two-time NBA scoring leader. McGrady may have shed some tears over not being able to make it out of the first round but it's the Raptors who've only had three winning seasons since T-Mac left nine years ago.
VINCE CARTER, TRADED
TEAMS:2004-05 Toronto Raptors to 2005 New Jersey Nets
WOE CANADA: In the late '90s and early 2000s the Raptors had a hold of one of the most exciting players in the NBA in Carter, or half-man/half-amazing, a consistent all-star who single-handedly revived the NBA dunk contest. If fans didn't show up to see the Raptors get a lucky win then at least they showed up for the ridiculous in-game dunks from the guy they called "Air Canada." That all went away though in '04 when he was traded to the Nets. VC continued to be a high flying All-Star in the next few years with the Nets, and the Raptors continued their rep as the Santa Claus franchise of the NBA. Word to whatever team steals Chris Bosh this coming off season.
CAM NEELY, TRADED
TEAMS: From 1985-86 Vancouver Canucks to 1986-87 Boston Bruins
FAIL: In 1986 for reasons still unknown Vancouver traded the 21-year-old Neely and a first-round pick in the upcoming year's draft to the Bruins for 25-year-old Barry Penderson who was fresh off of two shoulder surgeries. Over the next five years Neely averaged 44 goals and 80 points per season. After the age of 27, Penderson failed to reach 100 total career points. The trade is widely viewed as the most lopsided in NHL history, Neely + Penderson x still no championships = conniption fits for Canuck fans. C'mon Can-Fam: y'all are supposed to know hockey!
ALEXANDRE DAIGLE, DRAFTED
TEAMS: Drafted in 1993 to Ottawa Senators
FAIL: Prior to the 1993 draft, Daigle was seen as the face of the new generation in the NHL. The Senators bought into the idea so much that many believed they threw some of their games the previous season in order to secure the number one pick, prompting an investigation by the league. The Senators got the pick and signed Daigle to a five year 12.25 million dollar deal, the largest rookie salary in league history. Daigle was feeling himself too at the time, saying "no one remembers number two." He led the dismal career of a journeyman, achieving his career high 51 point season total in his rookie year and taking a couple years off to pursue true passion of acting along the way. Ottawa's a long way from Hollywood and Daigle proved to be far from a good hockey player. Oh, and that no. 2? Chris Pronger, who went to the Hartford Whalers, was selected to five All-Star teams and won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in '07. What's Canadian for "krikey"?
WINNIPEG JETS MOVE TO PHOENIX
TEAMS: 1996 Winnipeg Jets become 1996 Phoenix Coyotes
WOE CANADA: You figure that if there's one thing Canada would be able to hold onto it would be storied hockey franchises. Imagine them taking one of our NFL teams, it just ain't happening (until 2012 when the Toronto Bills kickoff). However this was the case when in '96 the J-E-T-S Jets were forced to move to Phoenix due to financial trouble. We don't know much about Winnipeg but we're figuring it has more hockey history than Phoenix. Oh well, at least they still get shine for some things that've moved to the U.S.
DOUBLE BONUS: REVENGE!
VANCOUVER GRIZZLIES, MONTREAL EXPOS: LEFT TOWN
TEAMS: Grizzlies to Memphis in 2001, Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2004
WOE CANADA: We all complain about how bad our home teams suck, but it's better to have a team to complain about than no team at all. Just ask Vancouver Grizzlies and Montreal Expos fans. Trick question: there are no Vancouver Grizzlies or Montreal Expos fans. So Canada got a measure of revenge and re-gifted a couple of crap-tastic American sports sports teams. Way to go, eh!