Monday, October 22, 2007

The Boston "T" Party: The Quest for Titles in New England

Bean-town can rejoice once again. The Red Sox have done the unthinkable and come back from a 3 games to one disadvantage to defeat the Cleveland Indians. Now Boston is bound for the World Series, and has a chance to win its second title in four years. So much for the curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox finished the regular season 96-66, tied for first in baseball with the team they just defeated in the ALCS, the Cleveland Indians. The offense scored more runs than everyone but the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, and the Philadelphia Phillies, and starters Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield came up big, posting a combined 37-19 record. The last time they came back to win an ALCS they went on to win the world series in 4 games. The momentum of having been the first team to come back from a three games to none hole, winning four in a row against their biggest rival, the New York Yankees may have helped to propel them to the sweep of the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals. Now they face a foe that has won 21 of its last 22 games, and is hotter than any team in baseball. The Rockies swept both of their playoff series, beating the Phillies in 3 and the Diamondbacks in 4. Will Boston be able to use its momentum to vanquish yet another foe? Boston fans sure hope so.
The Red Sox may be the talk of the town, but there are plenty of other things to look forward to in the Boston sports world. The New England Patriots are 7-0 for the first time in team history, and look nearly unbeatable. Michael Wilbon, of the Washington Post, an admitted Chicago Bears fan, wrote that the scores by which the Patriots are winning their games (38-14, 38-14, 38-7, 34-13, 34-17, 48-27) suggest that they are untouchable. He does go on to say that no matter how dominant a team has looked in the past, everyone messes it up before the season ends. Except for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, of course. Whether or not they lose a game this season, they are very, very good. They are the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl right now. So even if the Sox can't beat the Rockies in the World Series, Boston may be Super Bowl bound.

As if that weren't enough, the Boston Celtics made some big off-season acquisitions, and could be poised for a run deep into the playoffs. After going 24-58 last season, the Celtics missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. In response, the Celtics traded for Ray Allen during the NBA draft, and then picked up one of the top players in the NBA, Kevin Garnett, from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Alongside Paul Pierce, the nucleus of the team for the past nine seasons, the Celtics "big three" has the team looking big. They crushed the Knicks in their preseason home opener, 101-61. There is a buzz surrounding the team. The team website displays the words "Think Big". How big are they thinking? As big as the Red Sox and the Patriots.

The Bruins are not even on the same plane as the other three. The ESPN power rankings currently show the Bruins at 25th out of 30 teams. They should not even be mentioned in an article about title hopes in the greater Boston area. Yet they are 5-2 after 7 games, and are tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference. They have not beaten any of the NHL's top teams, and are stuck in a division with last season's Stanley Cup runners-up the Ottawa Senators and last season's President's Trophy winners, the Buffalo Sabres. They have yet to play either of those teams, and will face each 8 times over the course of the year. Should they hold their own, they might have just enough to make the playoffs. Boston shouldn't hold its breath for a Stanley Cup, but it may not be as bad a season as one would have thought based on preseason predictions.

With all the potential in Boston area sports, and the recent memory of bad seasons from all of the 4 major teams, New England fans must be ecstatic. Even though the Pats won three Super Bowls in four years, they were 5-11 in 2000. The Bruins and Celtics were under .500 just last year. The Red Sox missed last year's playoffs. Now Boston fans are all but assured of at least three winning seasons, barring major Celtics injuries. After all, even if the Red Sox lose, there is still football season. And if the Pats have trouble, Basketball season will be well underway to divert attention. According to Boston fans, however, football and basketball titles mean far less than the success of the Red Sox. Greg Sullivan, a life-long Boston resident, described the Boston sports strata as #1 Red Sox, #2 Patriots, #3 Celtics, and #1,000,000 Bruins. He supports this opinion with a story about a sandwich shop in downtown Boston. He walked past the shop a few days before the Patriots were to play in their third Super Bowl in four years. Posted on a board in the front of the shop was a sign that read "12 days until spring training starts." Talk about baseball crazy. Dick Johnson, curator of the sports museum in the TD Banknorth Garden, said (as quoted in the Boston Globe) "If you were able to do an electroscan of the average sports person here in Boston, well, the beating heart has stitches on it." In a poll just before the Patriots third Super Bowl appearance in four years, and just after the Red Sox won their first world series in 86 years, found that 82% of the respondents cared more about the Red Sox than the Patriots. And the poll was located on the Patriots section of the website. All evidence points to Red Sox favoritism. That's just fine for Boston, as the Red Sox are poised to win another World Series. If they do, maybe then the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins will get some attention.

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Joyce Ogirri said...

Your story is great! You have a lot interesting facts with great comparsions and useful websites. This story explains a lot of the history of sports in Boston. I think any person can understand your love for sports.

Justin udo said...

Good story, You most likely could tell by my outburst in class what my favorite part was. Like how you intertwined all of the teams together.