Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Joys of Being a Boston Fan in the 21st Century

The Bruins advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals is the latest example of what's been a trend in Boston sports: deep playoff runs. As a sports fan growing up in the '90s, when it was a major achievement if teams merely qualified for the playoffs, this is simply a terrific time to be a Boston sports fan. These are the good old days.

Since 2001, this will be the 11th time that a Boston team has been in a championship series/game. Each Boston team has been in at least 2 championship series/games. There have been 49 total championship series/games this century (would've been 50 if not for the NHL Lockout in 04-05), and Boston teams have won 7 of them (14%), and been a part of 11 (22%). Almost 1 in 4 championships involve a Boston team.

What's really enjoyable are the deep playoff runs. Because let's face it, none of us have any impact on the on-field/court/ice success of these teams. We share in the glory as if we did, but we don't. And we also conveniently don't share in the epic failures, like the collapse of the 2011 Red Sox, or in 2010 when the Bruins blew a 3-0 series lead against Philly. So as much as we gloat about our teams winning, it's more about the fun of watching our teams win.

What's truly fun is enjoying the extra baseball/football/basketball/hockey. What's fun is going to a packed bar on a Tuesday night to share an experience with strangers and friends. And anything that can postpone the time when baseball is the only sport available is a good thing.

The local teams have been in the final four of their league's playoffs 16 times this century (Patriots 7, Celtics 4, Red Sox 3, Bruins 2). We've seen a total of 76 playoff rounds involving Boston teams (Patriots 24, Celtics 23, Bruins 17, Red Sox 12), and we've seen our team triumph in 48 of those series/games (Patriots 17, Celtics 14, Bruins 9, Red Sox 8).

We've been able to enjoy hockey and basketball in May and June. We've been privileged to watch baseball in October. And football season for us extends into January and February. Our weather seasons up here are sometimes erratic and sometimes very short. But our sports seasons in New England, in this century, have been significantly longer than average.

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