New England sports fans everywhere woke up today still mourning yesterday’s news of Tom Brady’s departure. Those same fans were most likely so consumed with the Patriots news, they may have missed yesterday’s news that the Red Sox stepped up to the plate – financially. Then there is the point of the Red Sox being poised to re-take one of their former titles.
The talk of Brady going to Tampa after 20 years and 6 Super Bowl Championships with the Patriots continues, but the Red Sox deserve props for announcing yesterday that they are donating $1 million to help all of those employees outside of the team’s work force who make Red Sox home games possible.
The Red Sox needed some positive publicity after unloading the contracts of Mookie Betts and David Price this off-season, by trading them to the Dodgers. Now it’s not like a team that is valued at $3.2 billion cannot afford a $1 million donation, but this commitment is indeed generous and the right thing to do, so give the Red Sox and, in fact, Major League Baseball credit.
The Red Sox are not alone in this commitment as the other 29 major league teams are contributing one million dollars as well. What this world needs now is goodwill, especially generous goodwill from those who can easily afford to contribute.
Now back to the Red Sox re-claiming one of their former titles. No, I’m not delusional enough to think that they can win the World Series having recently traded away two of their best players for a few younger, much less established players. I’m talking about reclaiming their title as the most popular sports franchise in New England.
In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski won baseball’s triple crown, leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant in a season dubbed the ‘Impossible Dream Season.’ This overachieving team captured the imagination of New Englanders, propelling them to the title as the regions most popular sports franchise. Then Tom Brady arrived.
The Red Sox did not immediately relinquish their ‘most popular franchise’ to Brady and the Patriots, who won three Super Bowls in four years at the beginning of the century. The Red Sox epic, long-awaited 2004 World Series Championship allowed them a stronger hold on the ‘most popular team in town’ title and winning again in 2007 solidified that claim.
David Ortiz was as popular as Tom Brady, or visa versa if you’d like, and so the title of ‘most popular team’ continued to flip flop. When Ortiz retired after the 2016 season, the ‘most popular’ crown was handed off to Brady and the Patriots and solidified a few months later by the Patriots’ ‘greatest Super Bowl comeback’ win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Just 20 months later though, the Red Sox made their claim to regain the most popular franchise tag by completing the most winning season in franchise history, with their fourth World Series title in 15 years. Leave it to the Patriots to continue this back and forth by, just four months later, winning yet another Super Bowl title – the team’s sixth, with a 14-3 win over the Rams in February of 2019. But now, with the departure of Brady, the crown is up for grabs.
The Boston Bruins presently have the best record in all of hockey, but will they even have a chance to win another Stanley Cup with the presently suspended NHL season? The Celtics are good, but not a real threat for the regions ‘most popular franchise’ tag, which leaves us with the Patriots and the Red Sox, both of whom are predicted not to have championship-caliber teams.
This region’s ‘most popular team’ title is up for grabs, but this is New England, home of 12 world championships in the last 19 years, so you figure that the next title is just around the corner. With that title will come the regions new ‘most popular team.’