The Celtics and Bruins are favored to win championships in their respective sports.
That’s why we should be gearing up for Game 7 of the NBA Finals at the Garden on Sunday night, wondering if Joe Mazzulla can figure out a defense to stop Nikola Jokic. Celtic should be ready to hoist the No. 18 banner on the parquet floor.
Game 7 was supposed to take place on Causeway Street on Father’s Day night. The Celtics would be favored. Just like they were in Game 7 against the Miami Heat…before Jayson Tatum turned into a squash and Jaylen Brown became a turnover machine.
Ah, what about the Bruins? If all had gone according to plan, they would have played Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Las Vegas on Friday to tie their series 3-3. Game 7 was supposed to be at the Garden on Monday night — after the Bulls cleaned up the summer parquet floor and cleaned the Celtic confetti from the lower bowl.
Let’s imagine. The greatest NHL regular-season team in history will play its former coach in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final one day after the Celtics won all titles.
Our duck boats will be refueled and ready for back to back parades. It could be Wednesday for the Celtics, Thursday for the Bruins.
What a week. Back-to-back Finals Game 7 at the Garden on Sunday and Monday. Then it rose consecutively on Wednesday and Thursday. Imagine Mayor Michelle Wu working overtime while the government center offices are empty while everyone takes time off to celebrate our first championship since Tom Brady left town. Our friends all over the country will be envious.
Instead, we have the bottom-flight Red Sox and the Aaron Judge-less Yankees at Fenway. That’s not what we’re looking for this Father’s Day weekend.
▪ Quiz: Name three future Red Sox managers who were (briefly) teammates with the Cincinnati Reds in April 1962 (answers below).
▪ Is the Revolution more attractive than the Red Sox right now? The Revs drew a crowd of 36,235 for Gillette on June 10 against Inter Miami. Heading into this weekend, there were only two more Red Sox games all season with more fans at Fenway.
▪ Has anyone else noticed that John Henry and Tom Werner had more success in MLB when Larry Lucchino was one of them?
▪ Dave Schumacher of Big JAB Radio in Portland, Maine, wonders if Bruce Cassidy will bring the Stanley Cup to City Hall Square like Ray Bourque did.
▪ The Cardinals, who swept the Red Sox in a weekend series at Fenway in May, are 27-42 entering the weekend and on track for their worst season in 110 years.
▪ Boston’s Chris Sale’s myth is that while hopelessly fragile, he’s worth it all because “he won the World Series in 2018.”
Indeed, since Henry and Dave Dombrowski agreed to a five-year, $145 million extension to his contract in the spring of 2019, Sale’s contribution here — even though he might return and perform well — — almost zero.
But let’s go back to the beginning, back to the 2018 champions. Sale dominated his first year and a half in Boston. He struck out 308 and went 17-8 in his first season (2017), but was eliminated in two postseason losses to the Astros (0-2, 8.38 ERA).
The lanky southpaw had a solid first half in 2018, but he injured his shoulder in July, was placed on the disabled list and played in just five regular-season games after July 27. People have fallen in love with the image of Sale coming to bottom in the ninth inning of the World Series (leading 5-1) and fanning the flames for the team, but that belies Sale’s actual contribution to the title race.
Sale was essentially the opener in that postseason, pitching five games (three starts) and going 1-0 in 15⅓ innings. In his ALCS and World Series starts, he didn’t finish fifth. His World Series pitching line: Zero wins, five innings, 5.40 ERA.
Overall, Sale has gone 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in the Red Sox’s three postseason campaigns (2017, 2018, 2021), appearing in 34 innings in 10 games. (7 starts), 36 hits and 13 walks. Not exactly a Bob Gibson thing, is it?
Everyone knows what happened in the four years since Sale’s contract extension. He played 107⅓ innings for Boston, pitching 22 games and earning $119 million. Let’s not pretend it was all worth it because Sale took the title. He didn’t.
▪ Hall of Famers Bob Ryan and Peter Gammons changed the way sports coverage is done and continue to grace us with great writing. They were Globe interns in the summer of 1968 (imagine Ruth and Gehrig coming to the Yankees on the same day), and last weekend marked the 55th anniversary of their first Globe story—a double-credits piece on the sports world’s reaction to the assassination Article by Senator Robert Kennedy.
Gammons tweeted: “I vividly remember the feeling of our double credits on the late PM Globe stock edition at 3:30pm, followed by beer and hot dogs at the Erie bar… 2 college kids already knew by the time we left the bar what we want to do for a living.”
I grew up a mile away from the Gammons’ house in Groton and would see Ryan on my porch every Wednesday. There are also stories that I haven’t heard. Last week, Bob recalled the day of the ’73 NBA draft, when he was in the athletic department and he got a call from a guy who wanted to know if Harvard’s James Brown had been drafted.
“Yes,” Bob said. “He went to the Eagles in the fourth round.”
Ryan couldn’t help asking, “Who’s calling?” The voice on the phone said, “I’m James Brown from Harvard University.”
▪ Hours before Denver won its first NBA title, ESPN’s talking head questioned whether the Nuggets were a budding dynasty. After the win in Denver, braggarts thought Jokic might be the best NBA center ever.
I like Jokic. He cares more about the team than himself than most American-born NBA stars. But the best ever? When were Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar killed?
▪ Last weekend, the Red Sox and Yankees played three games of less than three hours (10 innings of 2:28, 2:29, and 2:51). We want more of these.
▪ According to the Wall Street Journal, Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca has listed his Weston mansion at $8.999 million. There are two basketball courts at home, one indoor and one outdoor.
Days after the Greens lost Game 7 to the Heat, Pagliuca flew to Italy to watch his Atalanta beat Monza to qualify for the Europa League. Pags claims that the Italian media is less critical of his football team than Globe columnists are when they write about the Celtics. Liverpool/Red Sox/Universal owner John Henry would probably agree.
▪ This is anecdotal, of course, but while wandering the streets of Italy for eight days, I found four Yankees baseball caps but not one Red Sox baseball cap.
▪ Rest in peace sprinter Jimmy Hines, who won Olympic gold for the United States at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and later had a cup of coffee with the Miami Dolphins. Hines died on June 3 at the age of 76.
▪ Rest in peace wide receiver Homer Jones, probably the only player in the 1960s who was faster than Hines. Jones, a native of Texas, died last week at the age of 82. He was one of the few stars of some bad New York Giants football team in the 1960s, when their games were beamed home to New England every Sunday. Jones invented the touchdown post-spike.
▪ Rick Pitino, current St. John’s coach, throws the ceremonial first pitch in a Mets game.
▪ The New York Post reports that former All-Star Game and World Series starting pitcher Matt Harvey has joined a commercial real estate firm in Newark as managing director of multifamily debt origination.
Known as “The Dark Knight,” Harvey, 34, started for the NL in the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field and is known for his eight-inning loss to the Royals in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. Harvey balked after eight innings, and the Royals found him in the ninth, winning the final inning in overtime.
▪ Thirty-five-year-old Phil Kessel has won three Stanley Cups since the Bruins traded him in 2009 — twice with the Penguins and once with the Golden Knights.
▪ JW Aiken, Assistant Facilities Manager for the Stanley Cup Champion Golden Knights, graduated from Groton-Dunstable Regional High School in 1999. Hopefully he’ll be in Groton for a cup game.
▪ Has anyone else noticed the black smudge on Justin Turner’s back? It was the pine tar from his bat staining his uniform jacket.
▪ Trying to watch the Red Sox with Fubo on NESN was a terrible TV experience. Makes me miss the days of trying to find the puck while adjusting the tinfoil to the antenna, watching Bobby Orr & Co. skate to the tune of “The Nutty” on snowy Channel 38.
▪ Quiz Answers: Darrell Johnson, Eddie Kasko, and Don Zimmer (I bet even Gammons had this problem).
Dan Shaughnessy is a Global columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com him on twitter @dan_shaughnessy.
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