Oh, quack! The duck boats are coming again

  • Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce holds the NBA Finals MVP trophy after the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 131-92 in Game 6 of the NBA basketball finals Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Boston. Boston won its first NBA championship in 22 years. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Elise Amendola

  • ABOVE: Boston Red Sox fans celebrate the team’s ninth World Series championship in a bar in Boston on Sunday. BELOW, FROM LEFT: Tom Brady, Zdeno Chara and Paul Pierce celebrate championships in 2017, 2011 and 2008 respectively. AP

  • 2017 AP YEAR END PHOTOS - New England Patriots' Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game on Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) Darron Cummings

  • FIE - This June 15, 2011 file photo shows Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara hoisting the Stanley Cup after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Bruins will be raising the Stanley Cup championship banner Thursday night, Oct. 6, 2011, before their season opener. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) Julie Jacobson

  • Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara holds the Stanley Cup and pumps his fist during a rolling rally in celebration of their Stanley Cup hockey championship victory in Boston, Saturday June 18, 2011. Waving left of Chara is goalie Tim Thomas.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa) Charles Krupa

  • Boston Celtics captain Paul Pierce lifts the MVP Championship Series trophy over his head while riding at the back of a vehicle and acknowledging the cheers of fans along a parade route through Boston, Thursday, June 19, 2008. The team rode in a convoy of amphibious vehicles as part of a rolling rally to celebrate the teams first NBA Championship in 22 years. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Boston Red Sox fans celebrate the team's victory in the World Series on the Boston Common, in Boston, early Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, after Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1, in Los Angeles on Sunday to win the series 4 games to 1. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • Boston Red Sox fans celebrate while watching a televised World Series baseball game in a bar, in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, moments after Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1, in Los Angeles, to win the series 4 games to 1. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

  • The Boston Red Sox hold the championship trophy after Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Red Sox won 5-1 to win the series 4 game to 1. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) David J. Phillip

  • Boston Red Sox fans celebrate while watching a televised Game 5 World Series baseball game in a bar, in Boston, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, moments after the Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1, in Los Angeles, to win the series 4 games to 1. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Steven Senne

Monitor columnist
Published: 10/29/2018 5:14:20 PM

I hate duck boats, my surname notwithstanding.

In fact, all I have to say to Boston sports fans is Quack you. Quack you all.

Longtime readers know why I’m using this space to vent. I’m not one of you, and these are dark times for people like me.

I grew up in the Evil Empire, enjoying the days when the New York Yankees were World Series champions, not the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Giants were Super Bowl champions, not the New England Patriots.

Things have changed. In the 21st Century, Boston has earned the nickname of Title Town, or another label that my boss strongly suggested I use in my column.

Epicenter of the Sports Universe. Yuck. Quack.

The Patriots have won five championships. The Red Sox just won their fourth World Series in 15 seasons. And the titles won by the Celtics in 2008 and Bruins in 2011 only added to the aura of greatness around here, a fact that no New Yorker wants to admit.

This is a rub-salt-in-your-wound rivalry between the two cities, and in recent years, my wounds have not healed. I feel like a steak on the BBQ, seasoned with way too much salt.

And for Boston fans, the satisfaction here has been multi-layered. For one thing, all these championships followed desert-like droughts. The Celtics hadn’t won an NBA title since the Larry Bird-led team in 1986.

That’s 32 years, and the current roster has basketball fans dreaming of another title this season, with established stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward joining forces with the kid, Jayson Tatum.

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup seven years ago, following nearly 40 years of being cupless. The Patriots had never won a Super Bowl before the Brady-Belichick era.

And the Red Sox suffered from something called the Curse of the Bambino, a hex over the team that stopped it from winning it all because the Red Sox had let Babe Ruth, the greatest player ever, join the Yankees.

That started a decades-long mastery over the Red Sox and the rest of baseball that ended in 2004, when David Ortiz and Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller and Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez and all those guys led a comeback for the ages against the Yankees, pushing the Red Sox to the World Series and then their first championship in 86 years.

They’ve won three World Series titles since – ’07, ’13 and ’18 – and I wonder if any Sox fans had the same feeling I had when the Dodgers made buffoons out of themselves during Game 4 on Saturday.

Apparently, their starting pitcher, Rich Hill, had mentioned to Manager Dave Roberts in the dugout to watch him closely, in case he showed signs of tiring after six brilliant innings.

In the seventh, Roberts came out to speak to his pitcher, who assumed his manager was coming to get him. Watch the replay. Hill flips Roberts the ball without listening, giving his manager, who wanted Hill to continue, no choice but to call for a relief pitcher.

Hill, the narrative goes, had checked out mentally once he assumed Roberts was coming to get him. Plus, who ever heard of a manager giving the ball back to his pitcher once the pitcher has made it clear that he’s done?

Hill should have said nothing in the dugout and Roberts should have made his plan clear once the conversation had taken place. Instead, Hill and Roberts acted more like Shaggy and Scooby than a tight-knit segment of a championship team, with great chemistry as part of the formula.

And it reminded me of your Red Sox, pre-2004. It was Johnny Peksy holding the ball during the 1946 World Series; Mike Torrez throwing a meatball to light-hitting Bucky Dent of the Yankees in the 1978 one-game showdown; Bill Buckner not bending down far enough in the 1986 World Series; Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in too long during the 2003 league championship series against the Yankees; And, of course, the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.

That stuff no longer happens. Not to the Red Sox. Now, the right buttons are pushed nearly all the time. Now, everyone is on the same page.

Add the Patriots to the mix with their five Super Bowl titles, plus the Celtics and Bruins, and that’s 11 championships in the four major sports this century. Boston has indeed earned its Title Town status (or Epicenter of the Sports Universe, if your prefer).

Let me stop here and toss in a few jabs, a few darts to make myself feel better. The Giants are 2-0 against the Patriots in the Super Bowl, having won in 2008 and 2012 by a combined seven points in a pair of games that left the fan bases of both teams, I’m sure, with no fingernails left.

The fact that the Most Valuable Player in both games happened to be Peyton Manning’s little brother deepened the hurt a tad, as did Super Bowl XLII, the game in ’08, which derailed what would have been the only 19-0 season in football history.

It’s the only card I have left that doesn’t feature cobwebs on it, but the sting from those two losses has faded into the background now that the Patriots have since won two more NFL championships, including the greatest post-season game ever played, in any sport: their 25-point comeback against the Falcons in 2017.

So here we go again. Another win over the Yankees en route to another championship. Another celebration through downtown Boston, this one on Wednesday.

And more duck boats.

I hate duck boats.




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