Being a sports fan in Boston has become embarrassment of riches
The rest of the country must be sick of us in Boston. We have all the champions. We have all the trophies. Sorry. No brag, just fact.
The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in Vancouver last week, completing Boston's Grand Slam of North American sports. In seven years.
It is the High Renaissance of sports. No city has ever sprayed so much Champagne in so few seasons. Overall, it's seven championships since February 2002. That's seven banners in nine years and four months. Our confetti is knee deep. The tires on our parade Duck Boats are balding. From Brady to Big Papi to the Big Ticket to Big Z. We are the champions.
There's never been anything like it. Want a little perspective? Try this: our local team with the longest championship drought is now the New England Patriots. They haven't won a Lombardi trophy since way back in 2005. What's wrong with those slackers?
You know those silly bets that mayors have every time there's a championship series? Boston mayor Thomas Menino has wagered crates of lobsters and cases of Sam Adams with mayors from St. Louis, Houston, Philadelphia, Denver, Los Angeles and Vancouver. Menino has hauled home a lot of swag from those municipalities.
Here's another nugget: our four championship coaches are still in office -- hoodie Bill Belichick, Terry Francona, Doc Rivers and Claude Julien. This has never happened anywhere. A club of four. All champs. All still in power.
They support one another. Francona wore a Bruins jersey to his pregame press conference when the Milwaukee Brewers came to Fenway last Friday.
"Me and Claude are tight now,'' said the Sox manager. "I called him. He [said], 'Hey, I appreciate the call. I'm glad you're interested in hockey.' I said, 'no, I really don't understand it and I don't like it, but you seem like a really great guy and I wanted to wish you luck.'''
Francona was unable to attend any Bruins playoff games because he's in season. But Rivers went to the Garden, conceded he knows little about hockey, then said he was impressed by the beer consumption of the Hub Hockey Krishnas. Belichick, meanwhile, was a regular on Causeway Street, appeared on the JumboTron, and was honored as "Bruins Fan of the Game'' during the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay.
In our town, the Bruins' championship quest most closely resembled the Red Sox's biblical journey to the World Series title in 2004.
The Sox hadn't won in 86 years, the Bruins 39 years. There was a full eclipse of the moon on the night of both team's clinchers.
The Sox of '04 were recovering from the hideous ALCS loss to the Yankees in Game 7 of 2003. Grady Little forgot to pull Pedro Martinez and the Sox blew a 5-2 lead in the eighth, then lost when Aaron Boone homered in the 11th.
In 2010, the Bruins led the Philadelphia Flyers, three-games-to-zero, then lost four straight. In Game 7 at home, the B's led 3-0, but lost, 4-3. It was bad.
The Sox of '04 trailed the Yankees three-games-to-zero, then came back and won. The Bruins of '11 lost their first two games (both at home) of the first round series against Montreal, then won. They trailed the heavily-favored Canucks two-games-to-zero in the Cup final, then won.
Good times never seemed so good.
Not to rub it in, but things are looking pretty good for the future, too. Despite a slow start, the Red Sox have the best record in the American League and look like favorites to win the whole thing for the third time since 2004. The Patriots are coming off a 14-2 campaign, have a raft of draft picks, and figure to benefit from the lockout because of the brilliance of the Belichick system. The Bruins have a young roster, a lot of signed players and room under the cap. At this hour, the Celtics are probably the longest shots to get back to the championship circle. But they still have three Hall of Famers, plus an All-Star point guard in Rajon Rondo.
It's been difficult to explain this to New England youngsters who have never had to wait. A teenager in Greater Boston knows only championships. There's no Curse of the Bambino, no Too Many Men on the Ice in Montreal, no pathetic Patriots of the 1990s, no 22-year Celtic drought.
The dark days of Butch Hobson, Rod Rust, Rick Pitino and Dave Lewis are far behind us. Today it's all sellouts, balloons and parades.
Truly, we're feeling a little guilty about all this success.
Our hearts bleed for folks in Cleveland, who haven't won anything since ... 1964. Ouch. Why should we have so much when some have so little?