Last night, evil of all colors invaded Boston. The bad guys were unavoidable. Whether it was the French language or the New York dialect, evil was visible and audible. Yes, we’re talking about sporting events here, but war is all too often associated with sports, whether it should be or not. Last night, the Boston boys resisted the enemy offensive and planted a flag of victory in good old Beantown.
It started on Causeway Street. Few in the building, whether wearing a spoked “B” or a blue and red “CH” on their chests, thought the Bruins had a chance to win a game, let alone the series. The Canadiens were faster and far more skilled. I mean, after all, this Bruins team was in over it’s head anyway, right?
But when the first “Olé” chants started to ring up from the crowd and the puck dropped, all that was forgotten. The black and gold blood, long dormant and coagulated, starting pumping again. The Bruins were in the playoffs and they were playing the Canadiens. Logic and despair hold no weight here.
Meanwhile, down Commonwealth Ave. in Kenmore square, the blues and reds receiving a chorus of boos, expletives, and projectiles were in full force. But there were no Canadians or Canadiens here, this was America’s pastime. And what’s more American than despising the Yankees?
Red Sox Nation, card-carrying members or otherwise, was hungry for Yankee blood and wanted to see a win. Thanks to Fox, the final out of the series’ second game was not broadcast because the likes of Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon on the second lap of an agonizingly long race was deemed more important to air. Many Sox fans didn’t see the game’s final out, unless they tuned to FX expecting to see another Nip/Tuck rerun. Two World Series championships later, an April Red Sox victory over the Yankees is just as important as ever.
On Causeway Street, neither side would relent. Bruins, Canadiens, back and forth; NHL playoff games are like none other.
It all lead to an overtime period that the Bruins needed to win. An overtime loss would end the Bruins. They’d be done. Game two was agonizing enough the night before, another loss, this time on home ice, would be traumatizing. Why couldn’t NESN cut away to NASCAR coverage? But Marc Savard, with all of three playoff games under his belt, would have none of it.
Speeding into the offensive zone an alert Peter Schaefer held onto the puck for hours, maybe days. Within moments, the puck off Marc Savard’s stick was headed towards Carey Price on a mission for one simple thing…
The strike zone must have felt as large as the head of a pin. It was freezing cold at Fenway Park, making every snap of the wrist and finger-grip that much more difficult. Daisuke must have been contemplating this whole American baseball thing as he toed the rubber to deliver to rivals and countrymen alike.
Strike counts were low, base runners had a field day, swiping bases with reckless abandon, and the Red Sox lit up the scoreboard early, all while a freezing wave of red and blue (and, yes, some pink) clapped and rooted from their cramped plastic seating.
The Yanks edged back, but the result was never truly in doubt. In the ninth inning, fans and body warmth were in short supply. April baseball games are like none other.
Hideki Matsui’s weak grounder off the end of the bat was handled easily by Destin Pedroia. Fans knew what that meant…
But more than just a win, a triumph. The Yankees fans left – most of them before the game’s conclusion – dejected and defeated, inferiority in tow, egos in check.
Sunday night was a night of superiority in Boston. The Bruins and Red Sox aren’t supposed to win against the Canadiens or Yankees. They’re not supposed to exorcise those demons. Boston was not supposed to win, unless your team wore green.
Today, the Bruins are winners. Today, the Red Sox are winners. And, today, Boston took back the city.