It is that season where the joy of giving is so much deeper than the feeling one has when receiving, but I find myself in no charitable mood when it comes to sports, specifically the Boston sports scene which has once again hit is high water mark.
My good friend Michael Flaherty is coming to town with a half-dozen “Pack” fans from the great state of Wisconsin and I am uncertain how to greet him when I pick him up late tonight at Logan Airport. “Is Aaron with you?” I might ask, a truly unkind reference to the Packers star quarterback Aaron Rogers, who will apparently be sitting out the Patriots-Packers showdown at Gillette Sunday night after suffering his second concussion of the season this past Sunday. It is unlikely that the Packers can get back into contention this season, particularly without Rogers. I feel bad, I really do. These are friends, all good people, flying in at great expense and taking ME to a game that they can no longer be looking forward to. That is a charitable act on their part, but I sense they are not feeling the joy of giving toward me and will be feeling that even less so on Sunday. I am thinking that painting my face in Patriots Red and Blue may be rubbing it in a little bit, so I have decided to leave my war paint at home. Now I am starting to feel that warmth of generosity!
And then there are the Red Sox. My friend and colleague Sean Findlen, who hails from the upper reaches of Maine, is (should I really be telling people this?) a Yankees fan. How a guy from Maine wound up being a Bronx booster is something I cannot fathom and frankly don’t want to know. As the winter meetings in Florida were getting underway, the Sox suddenly announced the signing of first baseman and slugger Adrian Gonzalez. Wow! That seemed to seal the deal for the 2011 Sox who had let a couple of beloved players go over the winter and seemed to be on a steamer to mediocrity until the Gonzalez signing was announced. So who was going to land the next big winter prize, Carl Crawford? Did the Sox have enough money? Could they compete with the vaunted checkbook of the Steinbrenner Yankees? Yup. Prize number 2: Carl Crawford is now a Red Sox. Holy Toledo! But the Bronx Bombers live for this stuff. They usually outmaneuver every other team to get what they want, and what really wanted was to sign Cliff Lee, the phenom pitcher that every fantasy league player – and MLB general manager – wants to have on their roster.
There was little question that the Yanks would get their man, particularly when they upped their offer to give him a 7th year. And then, boom! Disaster in Gotham City. Lee signs with the Phillies and it seemed that the most celebrated team in baseball history was going to get little more than coal in their stocking. I tried very hard to be tight-lipped about all this in front of Sean (and our colleague Shannon Mullen who is a Rangers fan where Lee last threw lightning). I am very optimistic about our prospects this year, but I am not going to get stupid about it. I will just say, in the spirit of the season, that I hope the Yankees win some games next year. There!
And while we are counting our riches, we have to talk about the Boston Celtics. We don’t have the star power of the Miami Heat, but we have our Big Three plus Rondo and Nate Robinson and the Shaq. This is a fun team to watch and after last night’s buzzer beat win in New York, you have to think that the North Pole this year is located in Boston. Did I say New York again?
I haven’t given up on the Bruins, but it is possible they have given up on themselves. This is the season of giving, though, so I will take three out of four and see if the Bruins can get back into this thing.
Right after Christmas is over, I will be counting the days until the equipment truck leaves Yawkey Way heading to Spring Training.
N.B.: Because of travel obligations, Mr. Corrigan asked me to post this piece on his behalf. Because I am also in a charitable mood, I took the liberty of adding photos to complement his post. I hope they meet his approval. -S.T. Findlen