Noonan: Thoughts on the Best Boston Sports Rivalry
By Matt Noonan
Throughout the city of Boston, all four teams matter. That’s right, I said it, all four teams matter.
While fans may want me to say, “Hey, this is a baseball town,” I think it is quite fair to say that every team is loved and quite frankly, is just part of a pure “sports town.”
In fact, walk into any sports bar in Massachusetts and you’ll see fans ranging from those who have supported to Bruins since their last Stanley Cup championship in 1972 to Red Sox bandwagon riders from 2007.
Throughout the past couple of years, it has officially dawned on me that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry is and will always be considered “real.” If the 2004 American League Championship Series wasn’t enough for the casual fan, just think about what every Friday, Saturday or Sunday means to all Bostonians and New Englanders when the Bronx Bombers invade the Boston Harbor throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Travel across town to the TD Garden where all the “Black and Gold” supporters will not cheer for the Montreal Canadeins, but jeer.
Those same fans that bleed “Green and White,” don’t like the Los Angles Lakers, but are the Bruins and Celtics rivals more about hate than history?
Don’t Red Sox fans “hate” the Yankees too?
Then there is the New England Patriots, who may not seem like the friendliest team due to their overwhelming list of rivals, which consists of the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts. Although, the Patriots haven’t always experienced success, but it did start with the arrival of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who have led the squad to three Super Bowl champions, so it is fair to say that they joined the rivalry party later than the other three teams.
All in all, it seems that the most consistent rivalry between all four teams revolves around Red Sox-Yankees series. In fact, if Babe Ruth hadn’t been traded to New York, would Boston and New Englanders possibly display some signs of respect toward the Yankees? Probably not, especially since they have won more pennants and World Series championships than the Sox.
Perhaps the Celtics-Lakers rivalry has a special meaning to the city because not only has it featured Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson, but currently, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett vs. Kobe Bryant.
As for the Bruins, well, it just seems that every year their particular rivalry with the Canadiens grows stronger and stronger. There’s no need to name players, coaches or spectators who have been around this series because clearly, that rivalry began before World War I and still causes a great deal of buzz around the city.
Yet, there may not exactly be an ideal, “BEST” sports rivalry in Boston, but instead, four great teams with rich histories that are always striving for acquiring championships, banners and rings, which certainly makes all of their fans quite happy. So, is there one great Boston sports rivalry? Who knows, but again, Boston happens to be the home to four great sports teams that always keep their fans eager for championships, wins and much more.