Top 10 Boston sports story lines of 2013
Boston news intersected with sports more than ever before in 2013, with the Marathon bombings and Aaron Hernandez case grabbing headlines. But it certainly wasn’t all bad on the Boston sports front as the “City of Champions” earned yet another ring. The year 2013 could certainly be described as the most tumultuous and turbulent calendar year in Boston sports history. A look at the top 10 story lines:
1. Red Sox win it all
The word “improbable” is tossed around a great deal in the sports world these days. But if there’s one team that truly deserves the label, it’s the 2013 Boston Red Sox. The team hit rock bottom in 2012, as it flirted with a 100-loss season. But just over a year after firing manager Bobby Valentine, the Sox had won the eighth World Series title in franchise history. It was a title won by a group of bearded underdogs that brought fans back to Fenway Park in the summer months and gave Boston one the most thrilling October rides in history.
2. Boston healing
Sports played a minor but important part in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. The first major sporting event in the city took place at TD Garden two days after, and prior to the Bruins’ game against Buffalo, singer Rene Rancourt allowed Boston to unite as the crowd sang the anthem for the world to hear.
3. Bruins oh-so-close
The Bruins were less than two minutes away from forcing a Stanley Cup Game 7 in Chicago but the Blackhawks would score two goals in 17 seconds to shock the Black and Gold. Chicago’s Brian Bickell knotted the game, 2-2, and David Bolland netted the Cup clincher for the Blackhawks with just 59 seconds left.
4. Patriots mass exodus
Patriots fans were devastated in March when Wes Welker joined forces with Peyton Manning in Denver. Three months later, New England fans were both confused and angered due to the circumstances surrounding the incarceration of tight end Aaron Hernandez.
5. Pierce, KG shipped to Brooklyn
The Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett era in Boston came to a close on the night of the 2013 NBA Draft as Danny Ainge shipped the duo to Brooklyn in exchange for multiple first round draft picks. Pierce had played 15 seasons in Boston and Garnett was the catalyst to the C’s 17th title in 2008.
6. Bruins stun Maple Leafs in Game 7
The Bruins never would have made it to the Stanley Cup Final had it not been for one of the more remarkable games in Boston sports history, a Game 7 quarterfinal victory over the Maple Leafs at TD Garden. The B’s became the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.The B’s scored twice in the span of 31 seconds to tie it late in regulation and Patrice Bergeron send the already bananas Garden crowd into a previously unheard-of level of excitement when he scored at 6:05 of overtime to give the B’s a 5-4 series-clinching win.
7. Ortiz’s slam rocks Tigers
Red Sox fans felt the season slipping away in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers as Boston was down, 5-1, in the eighth inning. But David Ortiz once again came to the rescue in October. With the bases juiced, Ortiz ripped a ball toward the Boston bullpen. The ball, along with Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter went over the short wall in right and the game was tied, 5-5. The Sox would go on to win Game 2, 6-5 and they would eliminate Detroit in six games.
8. Bruins trade Seguin
Just days after their run to the Cup Final, the Bruins stunned their fans by trading away young star Tyler Seguin. Seguin struggled throughout the B’s 2013 playoff run and the Boston front office cited maturity issues with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft as the reason he was dealt.
9. Patriots fall in AFC title game
The Ravens avenged their loss to the Pats in the AFC title game from the year prior, thumping Tom Brady and crew in Foxboro, 28-13. Joe Flacco outshined Brady, as he tossed three touchdown passes without an interception, and Ray Lewis got the last laugh against the Pats.
10. Doc Rivers drama
For weeks, Rivers and the Clippers flirted with each other and finally a deal was made in late June with the Celtics receiving a 2015 first round pick as compensation. The C’s hired Brad Stevens two weeks later.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS