06/18/08 1:35 PM ET
Francona, Sox enjoy Celtics' NBA title
City of Boston claims sixth pro championship in six years
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
The Red Sox might have been in a different city from the new champs of the NBA, but they were hardly removed from the magnitude of the moment.
Just eight months ago, the Red Sox won their second World Series championship in four years.
Factoring in the three Super Bowls won by the Patriots, the city of Boston has been home to six championship teams since February 2002.
"I think this city right now, there's a certain air of confidence you have to have to play in this city, and I think that the big thing is, they have that," said Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. "It's not easy to play in this city. It's obviously tough. But at the same time, you get the support that you probably don't from other cities. There is a lot of pressure to keep up with the norm, so I guess they're keeping up with the norm."
If champions have become the norm in Boston, you know it's a golden time for the crazed sports region of New England.
"Boston is lucky right now," said Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. "We just hope finally one day the fans will realize how special it is. There should be such a positive overtone in this city, because there's so much going on. We still see on a daily basis, there's a lot of negative. It just doesn't make sense. You need to realize how lucky you are to have championship teams and teams that compete and go to the playoffs.
"I think the fans need to realize that there's no more suffering in Boston. If they want to see some suffering, they should go to Cincinnati and watch my Bengals."
Red Sox manager Terry Francona is hardly a Celtics' bandwagon jumper. He was a frequent visitor to the TD Banknorth Garden over the recently frustrating seasons in which fans were ridiculing his good friend, Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
Needless to say, Francona was thrilled by what he witnessed from the comfort of his hotel room on Tuesday night.
"Got back at like the nine-minute mark and just planted it there and watched," said Francona. "At that point, I just wanted to see the reaction of the players, the fans. I kept flicking channels going back to see how people reacted. It ended so uniquely. When do you ever see an NBA game where kids are on the bench and guys are holding their kids? You never see that."
Much like Rivers, Francona was often maligned before becoming a champion for the first time.
"I was happy for everybody," Francona said. "You watch something and you don't know how their emotions are. When it was happening, my daughter and I were laying there and I caught myself just kind of smiling. I was just really happy for him. I was happy for the whole organization."
Winning it all is a feeling that translates between different sports.
"It's great," said Youkilis. "It's great for those guys to win a championship. That's a good thing. It's great for anyone to do something you've never done before. Your whole goal as an athlete is to win the whole thing, so that's great for those guys."
"It's up to the Bruins now," quipped Francona of the tradition-laden hockey team that last won the Stanley Cup in 1972.
The Red Sox are planning to honor the Celtics at Fenway Park before Friday night's game against the Cardinals.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.