OK, I get that Boston sports fans historically took a certain perverse pleasure fromÂ the tendency of their teams to, let us say, disappoint. Eighty-six years without a World Series appearance, Bill Buckner, Curse of the Bambino, yada, yada, yada. But, seriously?
But these days, Boston fans are suffering a profound crisis of identity. They are winning, in a manner that is historically unprecedented. Last month, the Sox swept the Colorado Rockies to claim their second World Series in four years. The Patriots have become the NFL's 900-pound gorilla. They are 10-0 this season and being lauded as one of the greatest teams ever. Tom Brady, the team's dashing All-Pro quarterback, appears poised to shatter every gridiron record known to man. The Celtics -- after acquiring two all-stars in the off-season -- opened the season with eight straight wins, most of them routs, before losing Sunday night. Even the hapless Bruins have a winning record.
The effect on the local fanotariat has been paradoxical. They're not so much overjoyed as disoriented.
Take Matt, for example. Matt is the quintessential Red Sox fan: chronically pessimistic, and deeply attached to his unhappiness. He tapes every game that he can't watch live, and gets furious if anyone tells him the result. I've watched playoff matchups with the guy. It's something like attending to a colonoscopy patient.
Now that the Sox have replaced the Yankees as the official rich bullies of Major League Baseball, his enthusiasm has actually diminished. "I'll be honest," he told me, on the eve of the team's latest Series win. "It's just not the same as it used to be."
Wah, wah, wah.