By Staff Writer Greg Estabrooks.
Boston. The City of Champions. Titletown. Call us what you will, but Boston is hands-down the greatest sports city in the country.
In the waning days of October, the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in five games to capture their 4th World Series title in the past 15 years. The Sox won a club record 108 games during the regular season, and were clearly the best team in baseball all year long.
The World Series victory this year is just one of many for Boston sports teams over the past few decades. Since 2000, Boston has 11 professional sports championships.
This includes five by the Patriots (’01,’03,’04,’14,’16), four by the Red Sox (’04,’07,’13,’18), and one by each of the Celtics and Bruins (2010 and 2013 respectively).
Looking at all-time sports championships, Boston only trails rival New York City, by a tally of 54 to 38, although a majority of these are via the Yankees, who have dominated the league at various times.
But in terms of recent success, Boston is unmatched. And with this sustained period of excellence, Boston sports fans have begun to expect nothing less than championships. At the beginning of every season, for every team in Boston, there is immense pressure on all teams to bring home another trophy to Beantown.
Due to this pressure, playing for Boston sports team can be rough at times. Players experience non-stop onslaughts of criticism from all sorts of Bostonians, from sports radio talk show hosts to casual fans watching the games at their local bar.
Even during periods where fans of another city would be ecstatic about their team, fans in Boston will find something to complain about, whether it’s David Price playing too much Fortnite and repeatedly choking in the playoffs, or Marcus Smart shooting too many 3-pointers.
Price finally put his demons to rest and silenced the critics this year in the playoffs, with a string of three dominant performances in the ALCS and World Series. Marcus Smart is still shooting too many 3-pointers. Please, just play defense and pass the ball Marcus.
Some think that Boston fans are spoiled and cynical, and that we should stop complaining and just enjoy the success that we are having. I would say to those people, that is not the Boston way, and the pressure and expectations for greatness that we have for our teams is exactly what makes us so successful.
Players on Boston sports teams, knowing that they are constantly under the microscope of our passionate fan base and critics alike, find ways to raise their level of play in order to meet the high bar that has been set by the winning teams of the past.
This attitude and culture of never being satisfied, and setting our sights on another championship right after a short and rowdy celebration of the last, drives Boston sports teams and fans to become the best.
With one championship under our belt in 2018, we can look forward to competing for a few more in 2019. Tom Brady has kept up his level of play even at the ripe age of 41, and the Patriots are looking like a serious Super Bowl contender.
The Celtics are bursting with talent, and with a healthy Gordon Hayward, an emerging star in Jayson Tatum, and two 5x NBA-All Stars in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, they may be able to give the Warriors a run for their money this year.
The Bruins are also quite capable of making it to the playoffs for a third straight season, as they boast of solid mix of veterans and good young players, most notably David Pastrnak, who is currently tied for the league lead in goals.
It is a good time to be a sports fan in Boston right now. Enjoy the victories, and keep looking forward to the next.