In the sports universe, Boston earns its nickname as 'The Hub'
The city's dominance in football, baseball, and basketball has fans in a rare feel-good mood.
At first glance, Boston looks as it always has. There's still a lot of middle-aged guys walking around in duck shoes and there's still no way anyone could call the building formerly known as FleetCenter attractive.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
But Boston's teams are enjoying a level of success that is unprecedented not only here but anywhere else.
The Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in four seasons, the New England Patriots are on their way to yet another Super Bowl, and the suddenly star-studded Celtics have the best record in the league.
As painful as it is for New Yorkers to ponder, Boston has become the world's best professional sports town, a city full of winners, not whiners. And perhaps the most amazing thing about this transformation is that only a few years ago, Boston was a city of slumped shoulders, a city whose sports fans would readily and almost proudly tick off their agonizing sports moments – the Babe Ruth trade, the Bucky Dent home run, the Bill Buckner error – until you wanted to scream, "OK, enough already! Go tell it to Oprah."
The guys in duck shoes have some swagger now. And so do the guys in Patriots starter jackets. Even the most veteran Boston sports observers can't help but be impressed.
"Has anyone in any city ever lived through anything like this?" asks Bob Ryan, a longtime sports columnist for The Boston Globe. "This is new territory we're exploring. It's beyond fair, it's beyond right, it's not what a fan existence in any city should be. I say to the fans, if you're not enjoying this, it's on you."
Except for some Patriots fans who aren't exactly famous for their restraint, many New Englanders seem to be enjoying their newfound success in a cautious, almost philosophical way.
Lee Hemenway, an architect, says the first phrase he learned watching Boston sports as a kid was, "Wait until next year."
"Now," Mr. Hemenway says, "who really wants it to be next year?"
Certainly not the businesses around the Garden, which are enjoying the sudden surge in interest in the Celtics. The Celtics recently announced that merchandise sales at the Garden have increased by 93 percent over 2006. The team also expects to sell out all 41 regular-season games, compared with only nine sellouts last season.
Who wants to wait for next year? Certainly not Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, who, after years of watching the accomplishments of Bill Belichick and Terry Francona, now can feel for himself what it's like to have a little success in Boston. "It's just neat to be around winning," Mr. Rivers says.