The debate on campus over professional sports teams is intense year round, as fan loyalties lie with popular student hometowns in New York, Pennsylvania and California, in addition to Massachusetts. But love ’em or hate ’em, any sports fan must admit that Boston is home to some of the most legendary players, teams and moments in sports history.
In recent years, the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots have been some of the most successful professional sports franchises in the country. Here’s the Daily’s breakdown on pro sports in the Boston area:
Boston Red Sox
Venue: Fenway Park
Public Transportation: Subway – Green Line, Kenmore Stop
There may not be a more storied American stadium than Fenway Park. Though the stadium ranks fourth to last in terms of seating capacity, it remains one of the best places to watch America’s pastime and has rightfully earned its nickname “the cathedral of baseball.”
If you have never been before, make sure to get to the area early for a chance to soak up the history. The streets around Fenway transform into a pedestrian mall on game days, so eat at one of the many local sports bars or shop for souvenirs on Yawkey Way and Landsdowne Street. Once inside the park, make sure to check out the autograph-laden Pesky Pole and the most famous wall west of Berlin, the Green Monster.
While Yankees-Red Sox might be the premier rivalry in all of American sports, a ticket to this spectacle will take quite a toll on your cash-strapped collegiate wallet. Other regular season games, specifically those against struggling teams, are much more manageable.
Be aware that because Fenway was built in 1912, the ballpark has a number of interesting sight lines that can make it difficult to get a clear view of the action from some sections. However, the stadium is so small that nearly any seat will give you a great baseball experience.
The Red Sox are once again almost certainly playoff-bound and will be looking to win their third World Series since 2004 in October. The team’s final home stand of the regular season is Sept. 13-22.
New England Patriots
Venue: Gillette Stadium
Public Transportation: Commuter Rail – Franklin Line, Foxboro Stop
While not technically a Boston sports team, the Patriots have the support of nearly every football-loving person in the region despite playing in the small town of Foxboro, which is located about 30 miles southwest of downtown Boston. Luckily, public transportation is available by means of a train station open only on game days, bringing you right into the stadium’s parking lot.
There is not much to do in Foxboro, but Gillette has you covered with Patriot Place, a 1.3 million-square-foot center of food, shopping and entertainment built in 2007 that’s a stone’s throw away from the stadium. Get to the game early or stay after to make it a full-day event.
During the Tom Brady era, the Patriots have consistently been a powerhouse, only missing the postseason twice in 12 seasons, though they have not won a Super Bowl since 2004.
New England opens at home Sept. 12 against the New York Jets, a division rival. Other important home games for the Patriots include their matchups with the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 27 and the Denver Broncos on Nov. 24.
Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins
Venue: TD Garden
Public Transportation: Subway – Green or Orange Line, North Station
Located close to Faneuil Hall and other historic downtown landmarks, the TD Garden is certainly one of Boston’s most prominent venues and home to two of its best sports teams.
The arena itself is actually quite new, completed in 1995 to replace the aging, original Boston Garden. With a capacity ranging from 17,565 for hockey to 18,264 for basketball, the arena has also hosted many other famous events such as the 2004 Democratic National Convention and the annual Beanpot hockey tournament between Harvard, Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern.
The real attractions, though, are the arena’s regular residents, starting with the Boston Celtics, arguably the most successful franchise in NBA history. The C’s boast 17 NBA titles and some of the greatest players in league history, such as Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Though currently entering a rebuilding phase after trading away franchise players Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the team’s historic rivalry with the Lakers is still considered one of the best in professional basketball.
Meanwhile, the Garden’s other resident, the Boston Bruins, were one of the NHL’s Original Six teams. Although they have six all-time Stanley Cups, the Bruins had not won the league championship since 1971-72 until the 2010-11 season, when heroic performances from goalie Tim Thomas and defenseman Zdeno Chara propelled the squad to another title.
Last season, the core group from their championship-winning squad almost pulled it off again, only to lose in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Without a doubt, the B’s are one of the most physical and exciting teams in the league and their games are great entertainment for everyone from hockey newbies to the most experienced observers.
Editor’s Note: This article contains information used in previous Matriculation issues.