What a time of the year around these parts. You'd have to be a cheerleader for the next Depression just to get out of bed. Admit it. It's not really a lot of fun watching pro football teams in the playoffs when one of them doesn't happen to be yours.
Don't give me that "we are spoiled" B.S. It is just miserable living in a world that would even be too cold for Dr. Zhivago. I actually might start smoking again. That's how bad things are around here. And it started just before Christmas. Mark Teixeira, who was supposed to be the linchpin of the Red Sox' future, apparently never wanted to come to Boston in the first place. Apparently, it was always the Yankees for him.
I'd like to throw in a big middle finger at Tex's free-agent contract with New York, an eight-year, $180 million deal that was announced on Christmas Eve. Or was it the eve of the eve? It almost made one feel as though he or she was living in a time warp. A time warp back to those "Second-Hand Rose" days when every fan living in Boston felt inferior to those inhabiting the city that never sleeps. Once again, the Yankees made us feel that way, just when we thought we'd dug ourselves out of that hole. The Red Sox have won two World Series in this century and have fielded a contender just about every year. So I kind of thought we were well beyond those days when we appeared to be at the mercy of New York.
By the way, hand me that pack of Camels, would you? The pack without the surgeon general's warning on the back. The one I have been saving for Januarys like this one. No Teixeira, no NFL playoffs, which means no Super Bowl dreams this time for the Patriots.
You know, the Super Bowl was actually becoming an annual holiday around here thanks to the local entry. We were going to rename it PITS Bowl Day. As in Patriots in the Super Bowl Day. The notion of PITS Bowl Day is a memory now. It would easily have trumped Groundhog Day around here. Now, I can't wait for Groundhog Day. It will be the highlight of the winter.
By the way, please hand me that butane lighter so I can light up. It's next to impossible to write about anything positive. We're selling bumper stickers: Doom Looms. It's called the "undertoad" in The World According to Garp.
Whatís on the horizon?
Letís try to get a bit more positive here. In the not-too-distant future, it will be time for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training. Red Sox pitchers and catchers. Excuse me, what catchers? I forgot that we donít have any. At least we donít have any to speak of right now.
Apparently weíll try to win with our young arms, our new/old arms (Brad Penny, John Smoltz), our MVP second baseman (Dustin Pedroia), our talented and fiery first baseman (Kevin Youkilis), our third baseman returning from injury (Mike Lowell), a full season out of left fielder Jason Bay, 71 to 75 games from J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Rocco Baldelli, Jonathon Papelbon, and the new Ramirez in the bullpen, fresh from the Kansas City Royals in a trade for Coco Crisp. The way I look at the Sox this season is something like this: Penny wise, optimism foolish.
Itís up to the Bruins
Listen up. Right now. Right here. Only the Bruins can save us. Incomprehensible as it may seem, the Bruins are carrying the torch for us right now. I never, ever thought I would say that again in my lifetime. But I was wrong. I was very wrong. The Bruins now hold our collective, fragile sports psyche in their hockey gear.
Forgive me for not even mentioning the return of Tom Brady from a devastating knee injury ó when and if. My mind has totally blocked out the rehabilitation involving the Patriots quarterback. Itís like a recurring nightmare. The one so terrifying that you try to stay awake so you donít have to fall asleep and be in the middle of that nightmare again.
So let us recap. No Teixeira. No Brady. No NFL playoffs. Only the Bruins to look forward to right now. Because even if the Celtics actually win it all again, it wonít be the same feeling around here as championship No. 17 last season.
Again, the pill for what ails us in this winter wasteland of 2008-09 is the Boston Bruins. They even have created the best slogan of the year: ďWe want it as much as you do.Ē There, I feel better already. The Bruins are on record as wanting the same thing I want. I donít feel so alone, so cold, so inferior after all. And it took the Bruins to get me through this.
I can put the Camels back in the cabinet. I am saving them for another day. Unless, of course, you want to smoke them. But remember, smoking is not good for your health. Neither is pessimism. Weíre going to come roaring back. Brady? Heíll be fine. The Soxí brain trust will win over the government bailout the Yankees received. Itís going to be fun again. Count on it. Take it from me, the cheerleader for the next Depression.
Veteran TV personality Bob Lobel is an OT columnist and can be reached at email@example.com