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No time like the present

Boston is on quite a run, but has lost some mystique

Posted: Wednesday October 24, 2007 11:20AM; Updated: Wednesday October 24, 2007 5:14PM
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Boston Sports Party
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Well, it's just all clicking for you right now, isn't it, Boston? Every bounce of every ball in every sport seems preordained to take you, the New England sports fan, to ever greater heights of euphoria. The Red Sox open the World Series tonight against the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park, which seemed unlikely several days ago when they needed to win three straight games from the Cleveland Indians to avoid elimination in the American League Championship Series. But the Sox pulled off the comeback, as anyone who has followed the Boston sports scene lately knew that they would. Failure is not an option in Massachusetts anymore.

It's all good in the Boston area these days. No, strike that. It's all unbelievably, off-the-charts great in Boston these days -- wicked awesome, as some of the locals might put it. The Sox are in the Series for the second time in four years. The Patriots aren't just undefeated, they've been so dominant that it looks like they just sent the Super Bowl trophy over to the Indianapolis Colts last year for cleaning and polishing before they come back to pick it up. The Celtics -- remember the Celtics? -- have brought in a couple of All-Stars, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, who should help them get back in the championship mix in a hurry. Boston College, ranked second in the BCS, is making a surprising run at a college football national championship.

Any day now, we're expecting Bobby Orr to dip his knees in the Charles River, pronounce himself 40 years younger and come back to lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup. That's how much of a fantasy world the New England area has become. Everyone, it seems, comes to Boston and gets his mojo back. Randy Moss, an absolute dog in Oakland, joins the Patriots and becomes, well, Randy Moss again. Garnett, wasting away on a bad Minnesota team, puts on the Celtic green and becomes relevant once more. Mike Lowell, a fine player who seemed on the decline in recent years, suddenly puts up MVP-caliber numbers this season.

Enjoy it all, Boston, but understand that that the rest of the sporting world is getting a little tired of your act. Winning all the time gets on people's nerves, especially when so many other fans would kill for a fraction of your recent success. How do you think Cleveland fans are feeling right about now? The Cavaliers don't have a championship to their name, the Browns have never been to the Super Bowl and the Indians, who haven't won a World Series since 1948, have the Sox to thank for their latest misery. Out in the Bay Area, the Giants, A's, Raiders and 49ers have combined for a grand total of zero championships since 1994. Things are so dry by the Bay that fans went crazy last season when the Warriors won one -- that's right, one -- playoff series.

That's what it's like out in the real world, Boston, where teams don't routinely wipe out 3-0 and 3-1 playoff deficits and sixth-round draft picks (hello, Tom Brady) don't turn into flawless quarterbacks who win Super Bowls and date supermodels. So forgive the fans of less fortunate teams who have just about had it with Ben Affleck and his Sox cap, and all the references to "Red Sox Nation," and Bill Belichick's hoodie and all the other symbols of Boston's sudden sporting dominance. If the Sox, Pats and Celts somehow all manage to hold championships simultaneously, you can expect the rest of the nation's sports fans to attack Boston like the Redcoats.

Maybe it says more about us than it does about you, Bostonians, but you were far more likable when you were long-suffering. Winning all the time might be fun, but it's not nearly as charming. We felt for you when you would face another bitter winter after the Sox had found one more agonizing way to lose to the Yankees. We enjoyed those long, melancholy odes to despair that you would produce as the Celtics floundered in the post-Larry Bird years. Writers such as Stephen King and Doris Kearns Goodwin turned Boston's mystique of losing into something grand, something literary.

Now you're winners, but you've lost something, too. Boston and its teams will never be quite as embraceable, and the local fans will never be able to wallow in their misery, which, deep down, we suspect many of them actually enjoyed. Congratulations on being the capital of the sports world, Boston. Now go douse each other in champagne again, or whatever it is you winners like to do. The rest of us will go on suffering without you.

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