Burke: Marathon Monday the best drinking, sports day on Hub calendar

Thousands of Red Sox fans make the trek over the Mass Pike and into Kenmore Square to watch the Marathon runners whiz by. (Getty Images)
Thousands of Red Sox fans make the trek over the Mass Pike and into Kenmore Square to watch the Marathon runners whiz by. (Getty Images)

Contrary to summer solstices and other scientific mumbo-jumbo, Marathon Monday aka Patriots Day, is the longest day of the year in Boston.

Obviously, it’s a drawn-out affair for the runners. But it’s also an excruciatingly painful 12-20 hours for the thousands of people who will flood the city Monday and make up for missed beers from St. Patrick’s Day.

Yup, know this: Marathon Monday is not only the best drinking day of the year in the Hub, it’s also the best sports day, period. Not so coincidentally, the two very much go hand-in-hand.

New Years Eve and St. Paddy’s Day are the ultimate amateur holidays in the city. You truly haven’t drank in Boston until you’ve chugged from a blue Solo cup along the Marathon route and/or channeled your inner Uta Pippig and relieved yourself in front of a mass of humanity in Kenmore Square on the third Monday in April.

Not a fan of watching 115-pound men and 95-pound women dash around the city streets? It’s OK. There are plenty of other sporting options to quench your thirst.

There’s an actual major league baseball game in the city that begins in the morning (Monday, 11:05 a.m. at Fenway Park, your Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays) and, in turn, there’s the annual issue of fantasy baseball geeks across the country forgetting to set their lineups in the a.m., leading to thousands of folks swearing the city of Boston up and down on the internet for having such a strange ritual.

The best wall-to-wall Boston sports day of somewhat recent memory had to have been Patriots Day 2009. The Sox clobbered the Orioles, 12-1, early in the day and 37,000-plus walked over the Mass Pike and into Kenmore Square to catch of glimpse of some of the best athletes in the world sprint by.

For the sports fans/booze bags that properly paced themselves that day, they were also treated to two thrilling playoff games by the Bruins and Celtics. The B’s beat the rival Canadiens, 4-2, to go up 3-0 in their first round series as announcer Jack Edwards made the signature call of his broadcasting career, insinuating that the Habs were the “red coats” on this Patriots Day and that the Bruins were the do-good, “rag-tag farmers” that conquered the overbearing empire.

At TD Garden that night, the Celtics and Bulls were in the midst of staging what would become widely regarded as the finest first round NBA playoff series of all-time. Old pal Ray Allen hit a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left on the clock and the C’s held off a scorching Ben Gordon (who poured in 42 points) to beat Chicago, 118-115, in Game 2 of that epic series.

All of it wrapped up around 11 p.m. that night, or 12 hours after the first pitch at Fenway had been delivered.

It’s not easy to cross the finish line of a marathon, but Tuesday hangovers be damned, we take the third Monday of April in Boston one hour and one Solo cup at a time.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and  columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS



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