Boston Red Sox: Is It Time to Focus on the New England Patriots?
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Whether it's the Boston Red Sox or the New England Patriots, the Boston Celtics or the Boston Bruins, Beantown has become accustomed to success. Self-proclaimed the "City of Champions", Boston has been spoiling its fan base with winning sports franchises for much of the 21st century.
Since 2001, the Red Sox (two), the Patriots (three), the Celtics (one), and the Bruins (one) have all won a championship in their respective sports, and each has won one within the past eight years.
A particularly successful campaign came in 2007, when the Red Sox won their second World Series title in four years. The Celtics won a championship of their own in the first year of the "Big Three" era, recording a blistering 66-16 record and beating the rival Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
The Patriots completed a perfect regular season, going 16-0, before losing to the dreaded New York Giants in the Super Bowl. And even the Boston Bruins battled for their first winning record in four years, 41-29, but lost in the conference quarterfinals.
The Red Sox are struggling to continue this trend during the 2012 MLB season. Sitting four games under .500 at 59-63, the Sox are 7.5 games back of the second wild-card spot in the AL and just a game ahead of the lowly Seattle Mariners, a team that has had just two winning seasons in the past nine years.
Additionally, if the Sox can't surpass the .500 mark by the end of the year, it will be the first losing season for any Boston sports team since the Celtics were 24-58 in the 2006-2007 season.
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What's even worse, it will be the first losing season for the Red Sox since 1997 when they went 78-84 for Jimy Williams. At least that year the Sox made a critical move at the trade deadline that paid off, sending Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for Derek Lowe and eventual captain Jason Varitek.
So is it time to write off the Sox and start focusing on football season? After all, the Patriots opening season match up against the Tennessee Titans is less than three weeks away.
The hype surrounding the upcoming Patriots season continues to build as interest in the soap opera at Fenway slowly succumbs to pity.
National writers, such as Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com, are predicting another 16-0 season for the Patriots. That's something to look forward to.
The preseason, for some, is just a few weeks of warm up football that does not draw the interest of the everyday NFL fan. But with the Red Sox on a severe downward spiral, the three games remaining against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Giants should become more appealing.
And there are story lines to follow.
Will cornerback Devin McCourty be able to return to his rookie form in 2010 when he hauled in seven interceptions?
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Does Olympian and silver medalists Jeff Demps have what it takes to make an impact on a deep Patriots' depth chart?
After the departure of Benjarvus Green-Ellis, what will the Patriots' backfield look like with second-year backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, utility man Danny Woodhead, and undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden?
Can breakout tight end Rob Gronkowski repeat his record breaking season of 2011?
While the Red Sox struggle to remain on the same page (or rather, in the same book), the Patriots were in full throttle at training camp. Encouraging words from reporter Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com relayed that new acquisition Brandon Lloyd is creating wonderful chemistry with Brady catching "almost everything thrown his way."
Lloyd will provide the deep threat the Patriots have lacked since the days of Randy Moss. That improbable year of 2007 saw Brady connect with Moss 23 times for touchdowns, nearly half of Tom's 50 total TDs.
Now, let me ask you, is it time to focus on the Pats?
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), yes.
Red Sox fans under the age of 25 have learned from this single season what it was like to root for the team from 1959-1966 when they didn't record a winning season. Or for nearly every year following that when they did end the season above .500 but couldn't win a title.
Which team has your focus?
To put it in perspective, young Sox fans have learned what it is like to cheer on the Kansas City Royals.
With each single win, which occurs painfully infrequently, fans pray for another to follow. Those prayers are rarely answered.
The Red Sox have strung together two wins just three times since the All-Star break and compiled an amazing four game winning streak once. Of the eleven series they've played in the second half, they've dropped seven of them.
It's slowly transitioning to football season in Massachusetts and the rest of New England.
You'd be smart to tag along.
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