When T.S. Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month," was he talking about how the last few weeks unfolded for New England's major sports teams? The Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and the Patriots (thanks to a ridiculous Tom Brady) have all pushed their fans through an emotional gamut that ran from disappointment to outrage. What in hell is going on here?
RED SOX If you listened to sports radio during spring training, you heard caller after caller predicting the number of wins the Red Sox would have this season. The fans had overwhelming confidence, with anybody suggesting fewer than 90 victories being called an unrealistic defeatist. Yes, the Old Town Team signed some impressive names: speedy outfielder Carl Crawford and slugging third baseman Adrian Gonzalez, but their pitching remains suspect, to say the least. This new, supposed juggernaut edition of the Sox rewarded fans by delivering the team's worst start since the 1940s. I know; it's only April, and the season is long. April games count, though, despite what people say, and in a division so competitive, that's always so close come October, these first three weeks of the season might prove their undoing.
CELTICS The team that was in first place for half the season limped into the NBA playoffs. No matter what happens to the Celtics from here on out, it's hard to imagine anything short of an unlikely championship dislodging the Kendrick Perkins trade as the signal moment of this campaign, even in a year that featured Ray Allen becoming the NBA's all-time three-point king. The media was full of reports of how angry the remaining Celtics were about the trade, but that shouldn't matter. After all, they're millionaire professionals, right? Whether from angry intransigence (Rondo, Perk's best friend on the team, seemed unable to get over it) or from not clicking with the new players, the Celtics have every remaining potential opponent licking their chops.
PATRIOTS What the hell is Tom Brady crying about? In an ESPN interview, Brady wept when asked about being chosen 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. Wow. Has Brady been hanging out with John Boehner? Suck it up, dude. You're the modern-day Joe Montana. You have three rings, millions of dollars, a supermodel wife, and a one-way ticket to Canton when you retire, so give all of us working stiffs a fucking break! Did Michael Jordan cry over getting drafted behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie? No. That just made Jordan mad, and increased his will to win. Between this latest lachrymose bullshit, his hair, and the way his team has recently sucked in the playoffs, I've about had it with (Marcia) Brady. That might be sacrilege, but it's how I feel. He's a crybaby. People in the real world, who have real problems, don't want to hear his misplaced, self-pitying pap.
BRUINS What could be worse than the Bs' astounding collapse in the second round of last year's playoffs? How about getting throttled by their most hated rival in the first round of this year's postseason? In their long history, the Bruins are 0-26 after losing the first two games in a best-of-seven series. Once again, the Bruins are on course to let New England down. That's one thing we can count on, it seems.
I know I sound cranky, but given this month so far, I'd say I came by it honestly. Our teams should remember the old axiom: Give the people what they want. And the people don't want tears, or excuses. The people want victory. Maybe we'll see some in May.
Rick Wormwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.