Hey! Boston took 3 out of 4 from Los Angeles this week!


Alright fine. Even I would have taken 2 out of 3 from the Dodgers if it meant the Celtics would have beaten the Lakers.

But hey, the NBA season is over and if you hadn’t noticed yet, the Red Sox are on a roll.

Buchholz has thrown his hat into the Cy Young race (despite a shaky first few innings) and will head off to Colorado tied with the Yankees with the most wins in baseball.

It’s not a parade… but it isn’t bad.

Anyway, let’s update the tally.

DODGED A BULLET GAMES – 22

April 4 – 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
April 10 – 8-3 win against Kansas City (Beckett out pitches Zack Greinke and nearly gets decapitated by a line drive.)
April 14 – 6-3 win in Minnesota. (Okajima gets Morneau to pop up with the bases loaded in the 7th and Papelbon wiggled out of a 9th inning jam.)
April 20 – 7-6 win against Texas. (Darnell McDonald introduces himself to Boston with an 8th inning game tying homer and a walk off hit in the 9th.)
April 21 – 8-7 win against Texas. (The Red Sox were down 4-0 early only to win it on Youk’s 2 out 11th inning double.)
April 23 – 4-3 win against Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 3-0 lead but win it on Adrian Beltre’s bases loaded walk.)
April 24 – 7-6 win against Baltimore. (The Red Sox score 6 in the 7th and hold off a late Baltimore comeback attempt.)
April 26 – 13-12 win at Toronto. (The Sox blow an early 5-0 lead but hang on for dear life in a slugfest.)
April 27 – 2-1 win at Toronto. (Buchholz holds the Jays down for 8 but it takes a bases loaded walk in the 8th to go ahead.)
April 28 – 2-0 win at Toronto. (Daniel Bard wiggles out of trouble in the 8th to help Lester shut down the Blue Jays and finish the sweep.)
May 4 – 5-1 win against the Angels. (Juan Rivera misplays Jeremy Hermedia’s 2 out flyball into a 3 run game winning double)
May 5 – 3-1 win against the Angels. (Papi and Beltre homer and the Sox hang on despite squandering many potential rallies.)
May 6 – 11-6 win against the Angels. (Dice-K puts the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole before they even bat. The Sox bats respond.)
May 10 – 7-6 win against the Blue Jays. (Sox blow an early 2-0 lead, take advantage of some errors and hang on.)
May 18 – 7-5 win in New York. (Sox climb back from a 5-1 hole. A day after hitting a walk off homer, Marcus Thames drops a fly ball to start the winning rally for the Sox.)
May 25 – 2-0 win in Tampa. (Big Papi supplies all the offense as Papelbon wiggles out of a 9th inning jam.)
May 29 – 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Zack Greinke holds the Sox to one run, but they make it stick)
June 1 – 9-4 win against Oakland. (Lackey puts the Sox in a 4-0 hole but Victor Martinez goes 5-5 and the Sox score 9 runs late.)
June 2 – 6-4 win against Oakland. (Dice-K puts the Sox in a 3-0 hole before they come to bat, but come back thanks to Papi’s homer.)
June 8 – 3-2 win at Cleveland. (With Papelbon unavailable, Okajima, Ramirez and Bard hang on to make a winner out of Wakefield.)
June 19 – 5-4 win against the Dodgers. (Sox make 4 errors, blow a late lead and let Manny homer, but they win it in the bottom of the 9th on a Pedroia single.)
June 20 – 2-0 win against the Dodgers. (Dodgers blow an early bases loaded scoring opportunity and allow Buchholz to settle down for the win.)
TEETH GRINDER GAMES – 19

April 6 – 6-4 loss against the Yankees. (Scutaro’s error leads to the winning run.)
April 7 – 3-1 loss against the Yankees. (Sox leave the winning run on in the 9th only to lose on Granderson’s 10th inning homer)
April 9 – 4-3 loss in Kansas City. (Bard coughs up the lead, denying Wakefield a win.)
April 17 – 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Sox can’t score with the bases loaded and nobody out in the 11th… lost it in the 12th.)
April 17 – 6-5 loss to Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox comeback falls a run short, leaving two on in the 8th)
April 25 – 7-6 loss to Baltimore. (The Sox blow a 4-1 lead, leave the winning run on second in the 9th, let up 3 in the 10th and could only score 2 in the bottom of the 10th)
April 30 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (Tejada ties the game with a 2 out 8th inning homer and wins it with a bloop in the 10th)
May 1 – 12-9 loss in Baltimore. (Dice-K and Wakes get pounded, wasting 2 homers from Ortiz and an early 4-1 lead.)
May 2 – 3-2 loss in Baltimore. (Varitek is thrown at home trying to score with 2 outs in the 8th. Sox get swept in the 10th.
May 12 – 3-2 loss against the Blue Jays. (The Sox rally in the 9th comes up a run short and Kevin Gregg gets an ugly save.)
May 15 – 7-6 loss in Detroit. (The Sox blow a 6-1 lead and lose it on a 2 out bases loaded walk in the 12th.)
May 17 – 11-9 loss in New York. (The Sox come all the way back from a 5-0 first inning hole to take a 9-7 lead in the 9th… but Papelbon lets up a 2 run game tying shot to A-Rod and a 2 run walk off shot to Marcus Thames.)
May 21 – 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. (Big Papi’s bid for a game tying 9th inning grand slam is caught at the warning track.)
May 274-3 loss to Kansas City. (Dice-K walks the go ahead run in and lets another score on a wild pitch as the Royals no name bullpen shut down the Hot Sox.)
May 28 – 12-5 loss to Kansas City. (Sox blow a 3-0 first inning lead to be blown out in Fenway.)
June 3 – 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox lose a slugfest where two Boston runners are thrown out at home.)

June 6 – 4-3 loss in Baltimore. (Sox rally to tie the game in the 9th only to lose it on a small ball rally in the 11th.)

June 10 – 8-7 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow an early 5-0 lead and then after rallying in the 9th to take the lead coughed it up with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th)
June 13 – 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. (Sox 9th inning rally comes up short)

All the way up to +3.

Look, Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals is going to go down as one of those “haunt us for the rest of our lives” sporting events right there with the Aaron Boone homer and the Magic skyhook.

Accept that and cheer on the Sox who just might be on to something this year.

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My fellow Boston fans… the 2000’s are over

When the game ended at the Staples Center Thursday night and Kobe and company were crowned as repeat champions, a thought crept into my head:

This wouldn’t have happened in the 2000s.
If this were the 2000s, the Celtics would have drained a bunch of threes in the last minute and the Lakers would come up just short.

That’s the way the 2000s were for Boston teams it felt like.
But it is 2010 now… and despite some nitwits insistence that it isn’t a new decade yet, the results on the field, on the court and in the rink suggest otherwise.

For so long, the Boston sports scene was a place of futility. And after the 1986 Celtics title it was barren of titles.

After the Celtics beat the Rockets that year you had the 1986 World Series and the legacy THAT gave Boston.

You had Magic’s hook shot over the Celtics. That along with the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis, the breakdown of Bird and the M.L. Carr and Rick Pitino years turned the once proud Celtics into just another team on the schedule.

You had the two Stanley Cup Finals where Edmonton waxed the Bruins (and the lights were shut off in the Garden during one of the games.)

You had the Patriots in the Super Bowl against the Packers, only to lose and the Bill Parcells/Robert Kraft Soap Opera hanging over the entire game. And let’s face it, the Patriots were an afterthought in New England.

For 16 years that was it. The 1990s saw each Boston team sinking into irrelevance and the Yankees AND Lakers transformed themselves into dynasties by the beginning of the 21st Century.

It was tough being a Boston fan. We thought Drew Bledsoe, Joe Thornton, Antoine Walker, Mo Vaughn and Nomar Garciaparra would be the next great Boston sports hero… but all fell short.

Then came the 2000s.

And the change in Boston sports came without warning. The tuck rule went the Patriots way, but the Super Bowl was going to be yet another mismatch like the Bears in 1986 and the Packers in 1997. The Rams were going to kill them.

But when Vinatieri’s field goal went through, I remember my friend and current workmate Jon Corbett yelling with disbelief “I can’t believe the Patriots won the Super Bowl!”

It is hard for young Boston fans to understand how unbelievable this was. Using my theory that you don’t really follow a sports team until you are 8 years old, there are 16 year olds who only know Boston sports as a place where championships are expected.

But between the 86 Celtics and the Patriots first Super Bowl win, there was a grand total of zero victory parades in Boston.

That’s a 16 year gap. There were 24 year Boston fans where that Super Bowl was the first real memory of one of their teams winning.

Then they did it again… but when Grady left Pedro in too long, it looked like more of the same for the Red Sox. Sure the Pats could win, but the order of the universe was still the same.

Then Dave Roberts stole second… and anything became possible.

Could the Red Sox beat the Yankees?

Yes and in humiliating ways never seen before.

Could the Red Sox win a championship?

You bet… and like the Patriots, they could have MULTIPLE titles.

Could the Celtics be champs again? Why not? And why not have one of the biggest thumpin’s in NBA history for a clincher against the Lakers no less?

Could the Patriots go undefeated in a regular season? Check the videotape!

Could the Red Sox win an elimination game where they were down 7-0? Do you even doubt it?

The Duck Boats got a lot of miles on them and we Boston fans showed we could be just as obnoxious in victory as we were in victory.

There were so many new heroes in Boston sports lore that they threatened to push many older legends out of everyone’s memory.

Tom Brady! Tedy Bruschi! Richard Seymour! Curt Schilling! Big Papi Ortiz! Josh Beckett! Paul Pierce! Ray Allen! Kevin Garnett!

And cult heroes like Kevin Millar, Ty Law and Big Baby Davis!

But it was more than just victory… remember with every victory there is a team defeated and for a glorious period of time some of the most hated figures in Boston sports kept wetting the bed.

The Yankees had two of their biggest collapses in team history in the 2000s with the 2001 World Series and the 2004 ALCS… and after 2004, they couldn’t make it out of the Division Series and missed the playoffs altogether in 2008.

And the pick up of A-Rod seemed to blow up in their face as he kept folding like a tent and slapping wrists in the playoffs.

The Lakers imploded in the 2004 Finals and the team was dismantled to please Kobe… and the titles dried up as Kobe couldn’t deliver a title without Shaq.

And Peyton Manning had the stats, but Tom Brady was the CHAMPION.

Phil Jackson and Joe Torre wrote books about how rotten things were behind the scenes.

It was a glorious time and it was a petty time.

It was a time of happiness for our team’s victory and for schadenfreude for other fan base’s misery.

It was a perfect storm of our ability to celebrate and be pricks.

And it’s over now.

Manning? He’s a Super Bowl champ now and he’s won one more recently than Brady because of the OTHER Manning.

A-Rod? He’s a World Champion now and he hit key game tying homers and game winning hits in the Division Series, ALCS and World Series to get his ring.

Kobe? He has back to back titles now, the last one coming at the expense of our Celtics not being able to hold a 13 point second half lead. People are now talking about him in the same breath as Michael Jordan.

Since October 2009, Papelbon let up 3 ninth inning runs to eliminate the Red Sox, the Patriots got blown out at home in the playoffs, the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead and the Celtics blew a shot at the NBA championship with less than 6 minutes to go.

The swagger is gone and that sense of impending doom has sadly crept back into our consciousness.

It’s kind of like the movie Awakenings. For a brief moment we were able to come out of our slumber to experience the joys of winning teams, only to slip back into our immobile state.

Now in full disclosure, I am not a Boston Bruins fan. I am a San Jose Sharks fan and they have their OWN issues!

And my devotion to the Patriots is tenuous at best. I would trade all three Super Bowls for J. D. Drew to get a double off of David Price in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS… or for the Celtics to hang on to the 4th quarter lead on Thursday night.

And I am sure my friends who follow the Bruins primarily would trade the 3 Super Bowls, 2 World Series titles, and the NBA title for one Stanley Cup.

Maybe it will be good for us Boston fans to take a few lumps. It will help us appreciate what an amazing decade we experienced. What a huge class of water we had after a long thirst.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t root hard for our teams. We should.
I’m not saying we won’t see our teams win this decade. I bet some will.

But perhaps it was appropriate that Manny showed up t Fenway the day after the NBA Finals loss.

It was a reminder of that glorious decade where everything seemed to go our way.

We may never have a decade like this again.

Think of how lucky we are that we could experience it.

I feel bad for the kids born in 2002 and are 8 years old just following teams now. They missed out on a great decade.

Turn the page and let’s give those kids some memories of their own!

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Ooof

Someday I will appreciate that it was my great privilege to watch one of the great NBA games in history unfold tonight.

Someday I will look back and say “Wow… that was amazing. Even though the final outcome wasn’t what I wanted, both teams showed so much heart.”

That day is not today.

I am a Celtic fan living in Laker country. And my team had the lead in the 4th Quarter of Game 7 of the NBA Finals with under 6 minutes to play.

And they lost.
To the Lakers.

And the Lakers have are now just one title behind the Celtics.
And Kobe will now be discussed as one of the great players in NBA history.

And the Celtics are probably done with their title runs. The big 3 of Garnett, Pierce and Allen are past their primes and soon Rondo will need a new supporting cast.

The window is small… and if LeBron leaves for the West, we’ll probably be seeing Orlando be the dominating team in the East.

And the Lakers will continue to win titles.

And typing that makes me physically ill.

Someday I’ll see how cool this game was.

That day won’t be coming soon.

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