Boston fans relish teams’ dominance
Vial, CO Colorado
BOSTON ” You’ll have to forgive some Boston sports fans if they just don’t feel comfortable with all this success.
With the Red Sox in their second World Series in four years, the Patriots undefeated, Boston College ranked No. 2 in the nation, and the Celtics boasting a new “Big Three,” fans like Paul Hutchinson worry people will forget what makes Beantown fans truly special: enduring the pain of decades of disappointment.
“I hope we don’t have bandwagon fans that just want to follow along and just want to be winners,” Hutchinson said Monday as he walked through Boston Common. “I hope the folks that want to be Red Sox fans are Red Sox fans because they like the opera of it all.”
So far this fall, Massachusetts sports have been anything but tragic. It’s been more than two decades since Boston has had this much to cheer about:
” The Red Sox came from 3-1 down to defeat the Cleveland Indians for the American League championship on Sunday night to face the Colorado Rockies in the World Series beginning Wednesday night.
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” The Patriots are 7-0 for the first time in franchise history, and quarterback Tom Brady is two touchdowns away from surpassing his career high of 28 TDs in a season ” with nine games left.
” The Celtics start their season next week with high expectations for Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
” The New England Revolution are playing in their sixth-straight Major League Soccer playoffs.
” Boston College is at its highest ranking since 1942.
Even the usually terrible Boston Bruins are off to a 5-2 start.
“It’s due after all these years. The Celtics are going to be great. The Bruins, I guess, have a great record right now,” said Adam Sainsbury, who was wearing a Patriots shirt and a Red Sox hat. “I think the Red Sox can definitely pull it off against the Rockies.”
It hasn’t been this much fun to be a sports fan in this area since 1986, when the Celtics, the Red Sox and the Patriots all played in championship games.
“Twenty years later, the stars are aligning once again,” said Hutchinson, a Boston University employee from Hancock, N.H. “It’s all coming back and it’s all going on here.”
But die-hard fans also remember what the end of 1986 brought. The Red Sox lost the series to the New York Mets and the Chicago Bears drubbed the Patriots 46-10.
That title the Celtics won? It was the city’s last until 2001, when the Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
So it’s not hard to understand why some Bostonians are keeping their emotions in check for now.
Ray Cryan, a 63-year-old state employee, said younger generations may start taking winning for granted because it’s all they know, but older fans won’t every forget the pain their beloved teams have caused.
“They’ve never going to let their hearts totally go,” said Cryan, who was wearing a Red Sox cap on an unusually sunny day. “They don’t want to get hurt.”
Not that some fans even want to forget, Hutchinson said. That ball that rolled through Buckner’s legs or the tragic death of Len Bias hours after being drafted by the Celtics are as much a part of being a Boston fan as Curt Schilling’s bloody sock or Bill Belichick’s genius.
That’s one lesson Hutchinson plans to teach his 21/2-month-old daughter, Charlotte, just as his father reminds him of the 1975 World Series tickets he was forced to give away as he awaited the birth of his son.
“We will drive that into her head,” he said, his tiny daughter asleep against his white Boston jersey. “Every day, she will hear about the curse, she’ll hear about if you ever need proof of what faith it, it’s the 2004 World Series and all that. She’ll get that in rich detail.”
Fans hardly know what to do with all the joy.
The crowd started chanting “Let’s go Red Sox” during the Patriots’ 49-28 blowout ” in Miami. David Ortiz did pregame inteviews before Game 7 against the Indians in a Patriots hat and shirt.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona gave a light-hearted response when asked Monday about playing in the hottest sports city in the country.
“I’ve got to tell you, when I interviewed here I didn’t care about the Patriots. I wasn’t asked any questions (about them). I didn’t know (Jeff) Jagodzinski was going to be the coach at BC. That really didn’t enter into it,” he said. “I’m thrilled for them. I’m a big Doc Rivers fan. I love the Celtics. I watch the games when they’re on the West Coast, but that’s not going to help us beat the Rockies.”