Message from: Red Sox management
To: David Willis, sportswriter, Eagle-Tribune
If we reach October, STAY AWAY!!!!
To be honest, I don’t blame the Red Sox.
I’ve tried to deny the reality for years, tried to ignore the facts and continue on. But the Bruins’ stunning, devastating loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night cemented what was already clear.
The “Willis Curse” is real.
That’s right, I am bad — make that horrible — luck for Boston professional sports teams playing for titles.
Need proof? The evidence speaks for itself:
In 2010, I covered the Celtics in the NBA Finals. The result, a series loss to the hated Los Angeles Lakers.
In 2012, I was in Indianapolis to cover the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. We know how that ended, the Giants walked away champs.
Then there was last night, when a Game 7 seemed a given with the B’s holding a 2-1 lead and Tuukka Rask dominating in net. Moments later, the Chicago Blackhawks were celebrating a Stanley Cup title.
Coincidence? If only.
Two is a fluke, three is a trend.
I would love to pass the blame my editor, Bill Burt, who also covered all three rough losses. But he was also at the first three Super Bowl titles and the two Red Sox world series titles.
No, this one falls on the Curse of Willis and my 0-3 record in championships.
And the Sox aren’t exempt. Whose family loves me? Will Middlebrooks’, who was demoted to triple-A yesterday.
And the scary thing is, all of these losses were heart-breakers.
The Patriots were leading with 57 seconds left in the game when the Giants scored the winning touchdown. The Celtics led the Lakers 3-2 in the series, and led by as many as 13 points in the second half of Game 7 only for the Lakers to storm back.
Then there was the Bruins. Oh, the Bruins. They looked so dominant in Game 3 of the series when I covered my first Finals game. Needless to say, they didn’t win again.
And last night was more than a collapse, it was a catastrophe. It was the most devastating 17 seconds in the history of the NHL. How could it go from a sure-fire Game 7 to series over so quickly? How could Rask go from legend to goat, and that amazing defense fall apart in the most important of times?
It was Bill Buckner. It was Buffalo’s Scott Norwood wide left at the Super Bowl and Bucky “Bleeping” Dent.
And what was the one constant in all three Boston collapses in the last three years?
David Willis was in the press box.
And I’m not even counting the horrific AFC title game loss last season, or the Celtics’ collapse in the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat in 2012.
I shared an elevator with Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli after the game Monday night and I wouldn’t have blamed him if he hit me in the nose. I shutter to think what B’s president Cam Neely would have done to me if he had any idea.
Know why I grew my goatee?
Because I think the Kraft family may have posted a picture of me at the media entrance of Gillette Stadium with the words “Do Not Enter.” I keep getting calls on my cell saying “GO AWAY” that sound strangely similar to Bill Belichick.
With Doc Rivers no longer around the Celtics to protect me, I don’t know if Danny Ainge is going to let me around the team.
I sure as heck would like to break that curse. Maybe some garlic around my neck or a rabbit’s foot would help. Maybe an exorcism if that doesn’t work. But one thing is for sure, I need to kick this slump before the bans become official.
I’m also bad luck for TV shows I enjoy, most of which end up cancelled quickly (sorry Arrested Development).
But that’s a story for another day.