It’s springtime in Boston and that used to mean dust off the Varitek jersey, put on the ball cap, pink hat for the ladies, because its time for the Red Sox obsession to kick off for another season.
Well, it’s officially spring and everyone still has their black and gold on mixed in with green and white. Boston is not just a baseball town anymore like it has been for the past decade. Boston is turning back the clock to a time when spring automatically meant playoffs. Spring meant a ton of action at the Garden both on the ice and on the parquet floor. In recent years, the Bruins and the Celtics have given the Boston fans something else to cheer about in the spring rather than the Sox and it’s a welcome change. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sox and all, but I would much rather be focused on the Celtics and Bruins in the spring time rather than is Wakefield going to the bull pen or will Papi hit a home run.
The shift happened almost instantly when a superstar came to Boston in 2007. He wears number 5 for the Celtics and single handedly turned the franchise around. Of course, I’m talking about the Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett. KG won over the Boston fans in his first press conference. He was charismatic. He was intense. He was funny. And he was good. He had all the makings of another Boston sports legend.
Although the Red Sox won their 2nd world series in three years in the fall of 2007, once the series was over all of the attention went to the men in green. Celtics had the Big Three, KG, Allen and Pierce. How good would they be? Were they a championship team? The 2007-08 season was magical. The Boston Celtics were relevant again and the 2007-08 season would be one of the best years the franchise ever had. The Celtics went on to win banner 17 by beating the Lakers in the Finals. The natural order of things was restored. Springtime meant playoffs. Springtime meant championships.
Flying under the radar that season were the Boston Bruins. After the lock out and failed attempts to make it passed the first round, the Bruins were a hurting franchise. The Bruins were a distant 4th in the Boston market behind the Red Sox, Patriots and the Celtics. In 2008, the Bruins made it to the playoffs as the 8th seed and faced off against the hated #1 seed Montreal Canadians. Bostonians had little hope. After being down in the series, the Bruins recovered and won game 5 forcing a game 6. All of sudden there was a rumbling in the local pubs. Bostonians were getting excited. Then the Bruins won an instant classic in game 6 forcing a game 7. It was one of those games where you remember where you were when you saw it. The Bruins fans had something they haven’t had in a long time…hope. Although the Bruins lost game 7, the fans were thrilled with the effort in the series and looked ahead to the next season.
In the spring of 2009, footage of the Red Sox buses leaving for Florida were on the local Boston stations, but people didn’t care as much. After all the Bruins were kicking butt and the Celtics were on top as well. Who cares about some bus filled with baseball equipment. And again in the spring, both the Celtics and Bruins were in the playoffs. With the loss of KG, fans were not as confident in the Celtics winning a championship, but no one lost hope. The Celtics would need 7 games to get past the Chicago Bulls in one of the best playoff series I have ever seen. And the Bruins took care of business as well in the first round. The Garden was a rocking place that April. In the second round, both teams played 7 games and both teams lost the series. After the playoffs, the Red Sox were the only team left playing, but it was hard for the locals to get excited about them. And then the Yankees won the world series and the balloon deflated for the Sox and their fans.
It’s springtime in Boston again and yes, both the Celtics and Bruins are in the playoffs and heading to the second round. The Red Sox are at .500 after a poor start, but I suspect most Boston fans haven’t noticed yet. It’s the springtime and that means playoffs. I’m hoping springtime also means championships.
Go C’s. Go B’s
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Written by johnw