Next week at the TD BankNorth Garden, Kevin Garnett will finally bless Boston with his long-anticipated debut for the Celtics. Want tickets? They’re sold out—hopeful fans in brand-new Garnett jerseys lined up weeks ago to score seats.
But with all the excitement in Boston sports these days, all the talk in Beantown is about its favorite team: the Red Sox.
Why? Boston is decidedly two things: a college town and a baseball town. For Harvard students, that combination means great things.
It means celebrations like the one we saw in Harvard Square three years ago, when the Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918.
It means a Bartley’s burger named for Manny Ramirez, Boston’s beloved and spacy slugger who, by the way, is batting nearly .500 for the 2007 postseason.
And unfortunately for those of you who have lost a little love for Tito’s boys over the past three years, it means the ubiquitous Sox caps and T-shirts all over campus, from Leverett to Lamont, from Cabot to Kirkland.
Sure, a lot has changed since 2004. The Sox have spent countless millions of dollars on mediocre players. The Sox have put their history of heartbreak behind them. The Sox won’t be underdogs again for a long time. Yes, a lot has changed.
But one thing hasn’t: the Beantown nine are still a collection of likeable guys, guys that, despite the recent success of their franchise, are fun to root for.
With his blazing speed and nifty glove, Jacoby Ellsbury is just one of a few rookies brightening the Sox’ outlook. Mike Lowell, a thought-to-be aging star, is arguably the team’s season MVP. Daisuke Matsuzaka looks alarmingly like a polar bear cub. It’s a group I’m proud to see add a new chapter to Fenway Park’s legend.
While Massachusetts prides itself on a storied history—generally disappointing though it might be—Colorado is a mysterious land famous for commodities other than quality baseball. Great skiing. National Parks. Ice-cold beer.
And, to be fair, championship football. Just as we in the Bay State love our starting nine, so Colorado relishes the glory days of John Elway and playoff pigskin at Mile High Stadium. The proudest Denver resident in our midst readily admits to a stronger allegiance to the Bronco orange-and-blue to the Rockie purple.
And sure, the Rockies’ sudden success is a great thing for Major League Baseball on multiple levels. It renews fan interest to have new teams rotating into the upper echelon of the league, and a winning streak like Colorado’s gains the interest of the passing fan.
Most of all, the Rockies’ success creates the unbeatably marketable David and Goliath scenario. As Dane Cook would say: this team stands “A MILE HIGH.” With the steroid controversy more present than ever in the Commissioner’s Office and in the minds of fans, America is happy to root for the scrappy underdogs against the big, bad, money-laden sluggers.
And Boston fans know better than any how fun it is how to play the underdog. While the Sox’ 2004 run to the World Series title was more about the extra-inning nailbiter than the seemingly-unstoppable streak, Bostonians and baseball fans rallied around a collection of loveable losers turned losers-no-longer.
But the fun hasn’t stopped. As the Sox cruised through the final innings of their pennant-clinching win over the Indians Sunday night, groups of Boston fans gathered in common rooms all over campus. As the team celebrated at Fenway, fans spilled out into Harvard Square and celebrated the return of the World Series to our fine college town.
I stayed behind, lingering over the highlights from the clincher. I’m saving my street celebrations for next week.
—Staff writer Emily W. Cunningham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.