EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 24, 2008

Boston, not New York, is epicenter of sports universe

New York City has Donald Trump, Central Park, 42nd Street, happy hours, 24-hour-a-day nightclubs, Broadway, Gisele Bundchen and the Statue of Liberty.

I'm not even going to try and compare our icons and monuments, since Boston loses most of those head-to-head match-ups | though I'll take Jack Welch over Trump and Tom Brady over Bundchen any day.

But here's a place Boston has New York beat like a rented mule | professional sports.

It's really not even a fair fight these days.

In terms of rivalries, the Patriots vs. Giants is akin to the Red Sox vs. the Orioles. It really isn't one.

Until now.

This is the Super Bowl. All of the New York media will be there, holding the back cover of the respective tabloids, looking for a mole hill to turn into a mountain.

This will become a rivalry.

The Yankees seem to have the Red Sox' number during the regular season. But recently, they and their $200 million worth of talent regularly fade like a tired thoroughbred come October.

The Red Sox have not only taken hold of the beginning of the 21st century with a pair of World Series championships in the last four seasons, but their future is even rosier. Cleveland Indians general manager Mark Shapiro recently said the Red Sox are built to keep this up for "a decade," which is unheard of in this era of baseball.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Shapiro. "Boston is an example of what you can do with a lot of resources and very good management."

He didn't say it, but I will. The Yankees have been an unmitigated disaster with beefy contracts, big bats and little pitching. Wasn't that the old Red Sox formula that failed time and again?

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