Not-so-instant karma

By ADAM REILLY  |  December 19, 2007

On top of all this, the Sox are favorites to win it all again next year. And they’re the current front-runners to land all-world Twins lefty Johan Santana, which would give them one of the best starting fives in baseball history, and set them up for a decade of Yankee-esque dominance. (The old Yankees, that is, not the new Yankees.) The Sox, like the Patriots, did something that’s very, very difficult in 2007: they took excessively high expectations and utterly surpassed them.

Weird new world
Then there were the stealth successes of 2007. Hockey fans know that the Bruins have had a tough couple of years: missing the playoffs twice was bad, and watching banished former number-one overall pick Joe Thornton become the league MVP in San Jose was worse. This autumn, as sports fans reveled in the manifold glories of the Sox’ championship and the excellent start by the Patriots and Celtics, they made quiet asides like, “Too bad the Bruins suck.” Surprise! The B’s are quietly putting together a pretty successful season: at press time, they’re 18-12-3, good for second place in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The Bruins’ resurgence has gone largely unnoticed because they’re not, well, undefeated. Come next spring, though, that all could change in a big way — especially if they make a serious Stanley Cup run, and especially if they’re trying to give Boston its fourth consecutive championship in a row. Which, the way things are going, they will be.

Boston College got in on the act, too: in a less anomalous year, the Eagles’ football season — which featured a brief number-two national ranking and the emergence of QB Matt Ryan as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender — would have dominated the headlines. Even after a pair of close losses, the Eagles still found themselves playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game (in which they were tied at halftime 16-16, before ultimately succumbing by two touchdowns to Virginia Tech). BC’s cross-river non-rival Harvard clinched the Ivy League football championship with a blowout win over archenemy Yale. And even Boston’s most obscure team did its part, with soccer's New England Revolution making it to the MLS Cup finals. Add it all up, and it seems reasonable to propose that Boston, right now, is having the best sports run of any city — ever.

But here’s the million-dollar question: how quickly can Boston fans process this weird new reality? The sooner, the better. The old Boston-fan Zeitgeist doesn’t work anymore; we can’t rail against Fate when Fate favors us to an almost obscene extent. We also can’t bitch the way we used to — whether it’s about Manny Ramirez waxing nonchalant in the face of impending playoff defeat (turns out he knew exactly what he was talking about), or Randy Moss sullying the Patriots brand, or J.D. Drew underperforming, or Dustin Pedroia not being able to handle the playoff pressure, or the hand-wringing over the Pats’ offensive game plan after eking out close wins against the Eagles and Ravens, or calls for the head of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, or countless other twists that incurred the anxious wrath of Boston’s stuck-in-the-past fan base.

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