Up until last week, I was bemused by the fact that I could watch the Bruins in playoff hockey, the Celtics in playoff basketball and the Red Sox by flipping back and forth between channels during commercials. Or I'd go to a sports restaurant and watch all three at once.
What other city has that?
In case you are wondering: None. That's who. Only in Boston.
It's fun to be a fan in the Golden Era of Boston Sports!
And maddening ...
First, a word about the "great collapse." No one expected the Bruins to go anywhere this year. So when they knocked off the Sabres and went up by three games to none while the eighth seeded Canadiens were waiting in the wings, everyone began expecting the Stanley Cup to come back to Boston for the first time in almost 38 years. I distinctly remember the morning at the bus stop in 1972 when every kid in Framingham wore a Bruins cap and talked about Bobby Orr's and tried to act out his game winning goal flying through the air.
But 2010 was not to be. It was the fourth greatest collapse in postseason history by any professional team. To put it in perspective, this playoff run was made by a woefully inconsistent, streaky team that got as far as they did because they played as well as they could in three playoff series, but then lost four in a row just like they did many times in the regular season. It is maddening, but perfectly believable. On the bright side, they'll be back in the playoffs next year and the year after.
As Forrest Gump would say: "And that's all I have to say about that!"
Ten down, six more wins to go!
In a recent blog post, I asked, Can the Celtics flip the switch? I argued that they could still beat any team any time they are all healthy. They can go in a moment from being a sometimes-good-sometimes-mediocre team that blows big leads late in games, to being the Celtics that have won 17 World Championships.
In the postseason, they've become the creaky old veteran team that makes every young NBA star look bad. What is beautiful about this Celtics team is that they are so old school. They play team basketball. They have the "Big Four" in Allen, Garnett, Pierce, Rondo and the deepest supporting cast. Every other team they have faced has one superstar that they can neutralize. They made the best player in the NBA, Lebron "King" James, look so awful he actually quit trying in game six of the quarter finals. They are in the process of making Dwight "Superman" Howard look even worse. Then they can beat you offensively with four different players -- one per quarter.
I'll go further out on a limb with a prediction. The Celtics are going to sweep the Magic by taking the next two games in Boston and arrive with fresh legs to play over-rated west coast team. They are now 62.5 percent of the way to their 18th banner. Then they have Rajon Rondo coming on strong. The Celtics will be playoff bound for years to come.
As Mark Twain would say, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
40 games into the season, the Sox have won 20 games and lost 20 games.
"Everyone knows that the season is ovah!"
Not so fast. What has done in the Red Sox so far is inconsistent pitching and numerous games lost by one or two runs. The prognosis at the beginning of the year was that they had the best pitching staff in baseball -- a fearsome starting line-up with three aces and three more quality starters. They had Gold Gloves in half their defensive positions. On paper, they were supposed to be the best defensive team in recent history. The big concern was an aging offense in Ortiz, Varitek, and Lowell with too few younger sluggers in the starting line-up.
Ironically, the pitching and defense has been bumpy to say the least. But this will right itself. Still people are saying that this team is too far behind to gain any ground on the Rays and the Yankees, who have played stellar baseball in the first month and a half.
But hold the phone!
As of today these are the offensive statistics for the Red Sox:
First in the Majors in Runs Scored (210)
First in the Majors in Hits (378)
Second in the Majors in Home Runs (55)
Second in the Majors in Total Bases (636)
Third in the Majors in Slugging Percentage (.454 SLG)
Third in the Majors in On Base plus Slugging (.804 OPS)
This is without two of the key members of their starting line-up, Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury, who have been out for almost all of the season so far, but will both be back by next week. When the starting pitching clicks into place, the Red Sox will go on a tear that could last most of the season. Six games behind in the Wild Card standings is nothing at this point in the season. I won't guarantee they will win the division. But I predict the Red Sox will be in first place either in the division or the Wild Card at some point before September.
Let me pick a random date: How about July 23rd? That's day I have right field box seats at Fenway Park. It will be vs. the Detroit Tigers -- Johnny Damon's triumphant return from disgrace -- the first player since Babe Ruth to win World Series rings with New York and Boston! That is a good omen if there ever was one. I'll write a blog entry on July 24th and report on where they are at in the standings.
Hey, it's May! If you are thinking about football already you are not from Boston.