Last year, I complained about the state of Major League Baseball. I pointed out the “True-Major League” was comprised of the 14 teams who spend more than $90 million and have won the last six World Series, and I professed that I wanted the New York Yankees to win the World Series every year until the rest of the country became enraged about the inequity between team spending and forced the institution of a salary cap.
Well, that didn’t happen…the Yankees never made it to the World Series. Instead, the San Francisco Giants (salary $98 million) were eventual winners, and there was no uproar across America. I fear there never will be, so I have resigned myself to the fact that in order to compete, especially in the American League East, a team must spend obscenely (even if it means that half the teams are merely fodder for the top tier) to keep pace with the Yankees. With the acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Boston Red Sox have added $40 million in annual salaries, long term, to make their roster the best in baseball, and I am happy to live in a metropolitan area where the sports teams value excellence and success.
In fact, being a sports fan in Boston is an absolute joy these days. In addition to the recent Red Sox personnel moves, it is just plain fun to watch the Celtics and Patriots play on a regular basis. I’ve never been the greatest hockey fan—it’s hard to root for a sport where bare-fisted brawls are encouraged—so I’m less concerned about the Bruins’ average performance.
Let me list a few names (alphabetically): Ray Allen, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Bill Belichick, Patrice Bergeron, Tom Brady, Clay Bucholtz, Carl Crawford, Kevin Garnett, Adrian Gonzalez, John Lackey, John Lester, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Shaquille O’Neal, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers, Rajon Rondo, Tyler Seguin, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork, and Kevin Youkilis. Nearly all have been all-stars, and many will wind up in the halls of fame for their respective sports. Even in cities like New York and Chicago, where some sports offer two major league teams, no other city can boast such an impressive list of professional athletes, nor can they profess to have a realistic chance to win championships in three major sports (as already happened here in 2007).
I realize that these opportunities are dwindling—the Celtics are aging, and every team is subject to injuries—but it is fun to revel in the Patriots’ recent drubbing of the New York Jets, the Celtics’ current nine-game win streak, and the Red Sox’ spate of high-profile acquisitions. So, let it be that during this time when the economic downturn has hurt my business and family health issues have consumed our lives, I can at least gloat about something over which I have no control, but nevertheless brings me happiness. I am indeed glad to be a Boston sports fan.