The gauntlet has been thrown down.
Boston fans can take the criticism. It only takes a reminder of five titles over the past seven years as a response to any brewed hatred of the Celtics, Patriots, or Red Sox. There’s some reason to be cocky, an excuse for pride on the local landscape, as it’s never been like this. Ever. Titles are now expected, not dreamt about, by a fan base that demands excellence in teams that deliver more often than not.
So, Celtics fans can handle the newfound hatred in their team, if only for the fact that they play across town from the defending baseball champions, or up the road from the universally despised pobody’s nerfect football team. “Another Boston team? Ugh.” Thus, an irrational hatred brews for those tired of seeing one town take all the glory. And it matters not one bit for those who bleed the green.
But this, well, this is obviously too much.
On Thursday, Cleveland-area Papa John’s pizza stores will offer Cavaliers fans 23-cent pizzas thanks to a promotion gone all wrong in Washington during last week’s Cavs-Wizards playoff series. A local Washington Papa John’s served up T-shirts last week that featured LeBron James’ No. 23 and the word, “Crybaby” after James complained about some of the hard fouls in the series. Now, Papa John’s has apologized and is all about the Cavs, offering their promo with a statement of rah-rahism and donating the profits to charity.
"At Papa John's, we're huge fans of Cleveland, the Cavs and LeBron James. Everyone wins, and we wish the same for the Cavs and LeBron through the playoffs."
Who’s everyone? Will I get my 23-cent pizza at any one of 10 Boston-area locations come Thursday? Nope.
This quite obviously comes as a necessary rallying call for the Boston Celtics, who had to endure a Game 7 at the Garden yesterday in order to finally put down the pesky Atlanta Hawks. In a game that was over by the time most of the West Cost audience had yet to file out of various Sunday cathedrals, Boston moved on, 99-65, and everyone is once again aflutter over NBA title dreams.
Yet, Papa Gino’s was still running pies at full price last night. Where is the anger?
We're all for cheap pizza, but this is obviously a slap in the face to Celtics fans, who watched their team win consistently all year long without a sniff of 23-cent pies. The time has come for someone to step up, and not only boycott Papa John's come Thursday (not really that much different from the rest of the week, granted) but to deliver a message to corporate offices: If and when the Celtics take the series, Papa John's words of encouragement for Cavs Nation will not go forgotten. And when that Better Ingredients, Better Pizza tool wants to jump on the bandwagon, there will be no room whatsoever. We feel very strongly about this.
Unless, you know, they want to honor Kevin Garnett with 5-cent pizza, which might be cool.
- The Cavaliers apparently aren’t afraid of the Celtics’ “mystique.” Cue Curt Schilling.
Yet unlike the Yankees of old, the Celtics don’t look to the past for ghosts in order to win now. Brilliant. Brian Windhorst of the Ohio Beacon Journal writes:
They have renamed the arena the ''Garden'' again but these aren't Auerbach's, Silas' or Larry Bird's Celtics. And not just because there's a dance team now and the new victory cigar is a wildly popular video clip from American Bandstand with a dancer nicknamed Gino who is now a cult hero in New England.
These Celtics don't thrive on tradition. They are blowout artists armed with physical defense and plenty of star power. That is what James and his teammates are now preparing for, a 66-win powerhouse with three All-Stars in Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Although the Celtics were pushed to the brink by the Hawks, who had 29 fewer wins in the regular season, the Cavs know what faces them.
Yup, three wins at home and a Game 7 in Boston.