Opinion: A summer of ups and downs for the city of Boston

Alex Mellion
Journal Staff

Boston-area sports teams experienced both highs and lows this summer.  It was like a Clint Eastwood movie: there was the good (The Boston Celtics making a surprising run to the NBA finals, despite being counted out by the so called ‘experts’), the bad (The Boston Red Sox’ endless assortment of injuries, which ultimately doomed their season), and the ugly (The Boston Bruins being up three games to none in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, only to blow the series and lose four straight).

Shaquille O’Neal signing with the Celtics was a clear winner. On August 4th, the Celtics announced the signing of the “Big Aristotle,” pinning their hopes on him to help bring the Celtics banner No. 18 to the TD Garden.  The man of a thousand nicknames provides a front-court presence that should help the Celtics get over the loss of Kendrick Perkins, who is expected to be out until midseason with torn ligaments in his right knee.  A 15-time all-star, O’Neal is no stranger to postseason success, having won four NBA championships with the Lakers and the Heat.  With the addition of “The Big Shamrock”, expect the Celtics to once again make a deep run into the postseason and compete for another championship.

The number two pick in the NFL draft, Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin, was also a huge boost for the city. The Boston Bruins acquired the Toronto Maple Leaf’s draft pick in the Phil Kessel trade back in 2009, and they appear to have used that pick to draft a future star.  The baby-faced Seguin was rated as the top overall prospect heading into the draft, and the Bruins weren’t going to let this future stud be drafted by anyone besides them, choosing him No. 2 overall after the Edmonton Oilers took Taylor Hall with the No. 1 pick.  If the 18-year-old can live up to his enormous potential, the Bruins will quickly forget their 2010 playoff demise and have a formidable weapon to compete for the Eastern Conference title

The major let-down of the summer has to be the Boston Red Sox, and the mountain of injuries that derailed them. Every season, there’s at least one team in the majors who gets bitten by the injury bug. Unfortunately for Red Sox fans, the injury bug made its way over to Fenway park this year, ultimately dooming the team’s chances at another playoff run.  Mike Cameron, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia have all suffered season-ending injuries, and Josh Beckett missed two months with a back injury.  The team still managed to try and grind it out in the always tough AL East, and hasn’t officially waved the white flag, even though their season is pretty much over.  If it weren’t for career-best seasons from Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, and a resurgent season from David Ortiz, the Red Sox would be hovering at or below .500, rather than 15 games above it.  Terry Francona should receive Manager of the Year consideration for keeping the team relevant into September, and the team should be right back in the thick of things next season.

Ultimately, it’s been an up and down summer for the Boston sports teams. With the Patriots having just started play and the Celtics and Bruins starting in less than a month, here’s to hoping for a great fall and winter.