The Impossible Dream vs The Improbable Team, Part II
A Hub Blog reader wrote in the following in response to the post immediately below:
might take a little issue on the ’75 Sox as entirely beloved team only because
of how Fred Lynn ultimately squandered what might have been – a fun group but
the memory of the team seems a little bittersweet in retrospect.
say ’75 sox more beloved than this year’s Celts – probably, but this year’s
Celts aren’t a team that fans have that kind of affection for. We admire them,
respect them, and root for them but they aren’t a warm and fuzzy bunch. Too
many prickly characters (Rondo, Pierce ) or stately and remote (Allen) or
intense and intimidating (guess who). Is it any wonder Scalabrini garnered so
much affection during his stay here – he was the one fan friendly personality
they had. They don’t have this kind of character on the team now, or none that
I can think of. It is hard to remember any successful Boston sports team
completely bereft of a player “mascot” athlete like this year’s Celts. The Pats’
Gronk is the best example in the city right now; it could have been Ocho had he
produced even a little.
would be interesting as a counter discussion, to look back at those teams
completely reviled not just for losing, but for the way they lost. In typical Boston manner, the public affection switch was
flipped irrevocably and angrily upon their loss.
examples would include the ’85 Pats, with frustration focused largely on their
quarterback Eason, who folded in the ’86 Super Bowl under pressure, never
really to recover again. Who can forget when Grogan went
in – we knew we were losing but at least we weren’t going to act like wimps in
Sox … no comments necessary.
sudden, but thoroughly ingrained is the anger over last year’s Sox sinking. I
submit that last year’s Sox collapse has changed the local attitude about the
Red Sox in a way that will take years to detect – but the mania is slowly
my age can remember when tickets were easy to get, and empty seats weren’t
unheard of – why can’t it happen again? …
I’m rambling, what about the underappreciated? I’ve always wondered why the
Cowens, Hondo, White Celtics have been – as I see it – almost completely
eclipsed in Boston’s collective memory. They won
two rings and were a frustrating foot injury away from a third – yet the local
dialogue is always about the Bird era.Sure
I understand how nationally the Bird–Magic story is compelling, yet the Cowens
era was an exciting time to be a Celts fan. "
-- From Reader AM:
"The '67 Sox and
the '11-12 Celts are not at all comparable. First off, the Sox actually won the
pennant and went to the finals. (A better analogue for the Celts might be the
'03 Sox, except that nobody believes they'll do better next year.)
"But there are
three other big differences.
"(1) The '67
pennant race was really, really exciting. With playoffs, no regular season
today, in any sport, can begin to match it.
"(2) In '67, the
Sox hadn't won anything for a long time (since '46). They really hadn't
contended since, say, '49, and hadn't had a winning record since '58; they'd
finished ninth the year before. This Celts team represents declension from the
versions that lost in the finals, and that actually won.
"(3) The '67 Sox
were a young, largely home-grown team. All of the regulars came up with the
Sox; Smith, Andrews, Foy, Scott, and (essentially) Ryan were first- and
second-year. Yaz, Petrocelli, Conigliaro, and Lonborg were young (27, 24, 22,
25) veterans. (All younger than just about anyone on the current Sox,
"Point 3 is very
important, I think. Garnett and Allen are comparable to -- who? Gary Bell and
John Wyatt? They're hired guns associated primarily with other teams. Pierce
and Rondo are our guys, of course, but both though excellent players are
considered kind of iffy -- rejected from the national team, etc. No one else is
"Come to think of
it, one could argue that the '11-12 Celts are more like the '11-12 Sox than
like the '67 Sox."