Jays avoid longest playoff drought in sports

Like Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays need to swing for the fences if they want to compete in the big-spending AL. (Photo: Chris Young/CP)

For a few weeks, it appeared that the Toronto Blue Jays might take ownership of the longest current playoff drought in baseball — and in the big four North American professional team sports.

But the Kansas City Royals were eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday night, which means the Royals will retain the title for at least one more year.

The Royals last reached the post-season in 1985, when they eliminated the Blue Jays from the post-season. That year marked the beginning of an extended run of success for Toronto, which last reached the post-season in 1993.

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently clinched a playoff berth, ending a two-decade stretch of futility that didn’t include any post-season appearances.

The Blue Jays entered the season as World Series favourites only to start slowly and fall behind in the AL East. They enter play Thursday with a 72-86 record that will lead to a last-place finish in the division.

MLB recently expanded the playoffs to include five teams per league, making the path to October slightly more accessible. The Buffalo Bills, who last made the playoffs following the 1999 season, own the longest current playoff drought outside of MLB.

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