But after the Patriots suffered a 21-17 loss in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, that’s far from the case. Fortunately for Valentine, the Patriots’ loss could be a blessing in disguise for the Red Sox.
If the Patriots had prevailed over the Giants, it would’ve signaled two championship parades in Boston in the last year — counting the Bruins — and would’ve heightened the pressure for the Red Sox to maintain that pace in 2012.
Instead, the Patriots’ championship drought extends to eight years and they remain the last Boston sports team to claim a title. It doesn’t help that Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski and tackle Matt Light were among players drinking and partying after the loss.
Now, as a result of the circumstances, the Red Sox have a chance to become the city’s hero.
With the offseason overhaul, it’s time for the Red Sox to capitalize on the opportunity. A new spring training facility, a new general manager, a front office shuffle and a new charismatic manager are all the ingredients needed to re-energize the fan base.
During his introductory press conference, Valentine certainly acknowledged the magnitude of his position.
“I understand the rich tradition of baseball in the city of sports in this community,” Valentine said back then. “I understand the great rivalries that this team has and I understand the great talent that has been assembled here. The talent level of the players we have in this organization is a gift to anyone. And I’m the receiver of that gift.”
Are there questions on the roster? Of course. But last season, the Red Sox entered the year with little to no questions and wound up watching the postseason from the comforts of home.
So the spotlight shifts back to them with Spring Training just two weeks away. As the Celtics’ Big Three continue to struggle, the onus falls directly on the Red Sox to revive Boston’s pride.
Although the September collapse — and the clubhouse controversies — will still plague the city for the near future, the anguish from the Patriots’ loss alleviates the Red Sox’s burden just a bit.
A strong showing this season would make Valentine and the Red Sox look “A-OK.”
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