Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's been a while...

But I figured I'd get back in the swing of things. School started up again, and I sent some more material to the Freep to try to get a weekly column. I think I really hit the nail on the head in this one. It might be a surprise to some people out there, but it's the truth. Even I can't keep defending Boston sports fans anymore.

As A League of Their Own put it, there’s no crying in baseball. If Tom Hanks doesn’t do it for you, maybe the Governator will. “You lack discipline!” Arnold Schwarzenegger may have been speaking to five year olds in Kindergarten Cop when he said that, but his wise words (along with Hanks’) apply perfectly to Boston sports fans right now. A decade ago, it was a different story. The Celtics were a mediocre team in a mediocre conference, the Red Sox had to compete with one of the best dynasties of all time in the late 1990s New York Yankees, the Bruins were a lackluster team with a couple stars, and the Patriots were a joke. There was endless complaining about the teams’ floundering, and there still is to this day. I can’t say much positive about the Bruins at this point, other than they’re improving, but the other three teams are drastically better.

Since that dismal period in Boston folklore, when the Celtics missing out on Tim Duncan wasn’t even the biggest misfortune, it has been a euphoric time to be a fan here. The Red Sox have won a World Series, and are poised to win another in the near future. The Patriots won three Superbowls in four years, beefed up their biggest weakness (wide receiver), and got the best defensive free agent on the market. The Celtics didn’t end up with Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, but in a bold move by General Manager Danny Ainge, they acquired one of the best complete front court players of all time in Kevin Garnett, and got Ray Allen for perimeter shooting. Now they’re trying to coax Reggie Miller, one of the most clutch players in NBA history, to come out of retirement.

Boston has been known for years to be a city of sarcasm and complaints, but the latter has no place here anymore. Fans from other areas have complained about the negative Nancy attitude in Boston, and they are absolutely right. The Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics now all have among the highest paid teams in the country, and all have legitimate shots at championships, or at least making it there in the case of the Celtics. The month of October this year will be one of the most exciting ones in years’ past. With the Red Sox most likely in the playoffs, and the Patriots and Celtics seasons starting up, the Cask ‘n’ Flagon will be packed every night.

Boston has also been known to be one of the worst sports cities in terms of winning, but it was the Philadelphia Phillies that reached 10,000 losses this season. The city on the Charles has four championships since 2002, including a stretch in 2004-2005 that featured the Red Sox’ World Championship sandwiched in between Patriots Superbowl victories. I may have complained on air at WZLX about the 10 game lead the Red Sox had in July, but that was sarcasm at its best. The Red Sox have an easier schedule than the Yankees for the remainder of the season (although not by much), and they already have a lead in the division. They have their best bullpen in franchise history, and have the Major League’s best run differential. There is no reason for Boston sports fans to complain anymore. Their teams are great now, and have been in the recent past.

Even before the run of championships in this decade, Boston was not as bad as people thought in team athletics. It was ranked in the top five of a recent study on city winning percentages on all four major team sports. Its overall championship drought was shorter than many other areas, including Cleveland, where there hasn’t been one since the Indians won the World Series in 1948. West coast metropolises such as San Diego have never had a championship (unless you count the now defunct American Football League). In other words, Boston fans should sit down, shut up, and enjoy the ride. It might not last much longer, and many places have been without a reign even close to this. Since 2002, New England has been the region to beat in professional sports. Being jaded by victory is the last thing Boston fans need on their minds, but it’s unfortunately already there. I’m a big Boston sports fan myself, and I know it’s hard to change your ways. However, if Boston pro sports fans want any respect from other fans, they will appreciate the greatness going on now.

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