The city of Boston needs the Red Sox to succeed this summer

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The other day, I was walking around Fenway Park, taking in the warm weather before the heat gets too oppressive going into summer. As I walked over the David Ortiz Bridge heading into Kenmore Square, I looked around at the other people on the streets, making their way to and from T stops and going about their day. I noticed something that surprised me, considering it was the day after Derrick White kept the Celtics' hopes alive in the postseason with his buzzer-beater to force game 7: everyone was wearing Red Sox gear. Even after a miracle was granted to Boston sports fans, you would think the only team in Boston that exists was the Red Sox.

Of course, my observed data may be skewed because I was walking around Fenway Park, but it still points to just how important the Red Sox are to the city, especially given the current landscape of Boston sports. The Celtics and Bruins both blew their chances at history in their own cruel, heart-wrenching ways, and the Patriots seem like they're destined for another year in the basement of a division they dominated for 20 years straight. The Red Sox, by contrast, are overperforming preseason expectations by simply being in the playoff mix a third of the way through the season. At this point in time, the city needs the Red Sox to latch onto, and the Red Sox need to respond by not falling apart completely.

The dog days of summer put the emphasis completely on the Red Sox

Now that any championship hopes for the tenants of the TD Garden have been dashed, we've hit the stretch of the calendar where the only major local sport going on is baseball (sorry New England Revolution fans, but the MLS has not hit that level yet). All eyes, ears, and hearts are going to be directed towards what the Red Sox are doing, how they are faring, and whether or not Fenway will see any postseason action.

As someone who was born and raised in Boston, we attach our primary fandom to the Red Sox, and the only times I've seen it shift elsewhere were during Bruins runs to the Stanley Cup Finals, Celtics runs to the NBA Finals, and the Patriots making their formerly-customary charge through November and December on their way to another first-round bye in the playoffs, when appearing in the AFC title game was basically a certainty during the Brady era.

For the majority of the year, however, all eyes are trained to Fenway, to watching our beloved Sox work their way through the onslaught of series against teams that are still trying to decide whether they'll push for the playoffs or blow it up to hopefully get a better draft pick. After an April and May wrought with heartbreak and disappointment, Boston sports fans need optimism, they need positivity to help us lead the way out of the circles of Hell we just suffered through.

Of course, these words are coming from a bitter Boston sports fan, and some of you reading may think I need to sit down, be quiet, and be happy with how well the 21st century has gone for all of my teams so far. And maybe you're right. Maybe I am overreacting to a couple playoff losses in the grand scheme of things. But our sports are core to the identity of the city. Our teams' successes and failures vibrate throughout every neighborhood and suburb, each fan having their own personal versions of past moments that they can latch onto when talking about what just happened.

As the Celtics made their comeback against the Heat from down 3-0, the comparisons were constantly made to the 2004 Red Sox (honestly to the point where it got a little sickening). While the obvious 3-0, never been done before connection had to be made, this year's Celtics team would have never toppled the memories of the 2004 Red Sox in the minds of Boston fans as the greatest comeback ever. Those Red Sox, feeling the weight of a heart-breaking loss at the hands of the Yankees the previous season and still fighting the infamous Curse of the Bambino, spanned generations and connected Red Sox fans, old and new, with their heroics. With each win, years of near-misses and the pain that came with each one started to heal, with the resounding game 7 victory practically guaranteeing a Red Sox victory in the World Series, based purely on destiny.

The Red Sox dominate the Boston sports identity, and any sort of Red Sox success from this year's team will be able to help Boston fans patch up the wounds the rest of the teams have given us these past couple of months. I just hope that they are up to the task.

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