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Top 10 Boston sports stories of 2014

The Jon Lester saga was a year-long deal in 2014.Getty Images

1. Jon Lester saga

The Red Sox are usually active at the MLB Trade Deadline, but not as the sellers. They were sellers this year, though, as the awful Sox traded their ace Jon Lester in the last year of his deal, bringing back Yoenis Cespedes in return. It was a risky move, but there were plenty of people optimistic that Lester would re-sign with the Sox in the offseason, and he didn’t say anything to make them think otherwise . . .

Oops. Jon Lester is now a Cub. After what felt like an eternity in the decision-making process, Lester finally came to grips with the fact Red Sox ownership didn’t want him enough. Their four-year, $70 million offer at the beginning of last season was laughable when you consider Lester signed for six years, $155 million, with a vesting option for seventh year. The Sox offer never reached higher than $135 million over six years. Now, they have four No. 3 starters. Good times ahead.

2. Boston Marathon

In a city dominated by sports, the Boston Marathon is always the most celebrated day of the year – and rightfully so. This year was even more special, as it marked the first Boston Marathon since the 2013 bombings. It was an emotional week filled with laughter and tears, but as runners crossed the finish line, a packed city cheered them on as they do every year. It didn’t matter who won, but that somebody won at all. Thousands would cross that line in the hours after. Boston Strong indeed.

3. Patriots smoked by Chiefs, offense in shambles

“Brady’s done!” … “Start Garoppolo!” … “The Pats should actually trade Brady and get something while they can!” Hmm… that quieted down real fast. The talk of Brady’s demise has turned into talk of him potentially being the MVP this season. Yes, the Pats looked awful after Week 4’s 41-14 shellacking at the hands of the Chiefs. They got punked on the national stage. Panic set in across New England – but not inside the Gillette Stadium doors. The offensive line toughened up, Brandon LaFell emerged, and Rob Gronkowski got healthy. The Pats ripped off seven straight wins and now sit atop the AFC. Hi haters!

4. Summer of Love

It was the Summer of Love . . . and then it wasn’t. Shame on us, Celtics fans. We had visions of Kevin Love dancing in our heads and in our hearts. But now, he’s dancing with the devil. Well, that’s a bit harsh. But once LeBron James signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the writing was on the wall. All of a sudden, the city of Cleveland didn’t look so bad. And as soon as the Cavs could trade Andrew Wiggins, they did – and Love went to Cleveland. Yes, C’s President Danny Ainge helped facilitate the trade, but only after he knew Love wasn’t happening in Boston. Folks, Tyler Zeller is your Kevin Love. (Hey, Love is a free agent next season, just sayin’...)

5. Bruins elimated in second round to Habs
This one hurts. The Bruins finished the season with the best record in the NHL. They were clicking on all cylinders and were about as healthy as a hockey team could be in the postseason. Then in the second round those freakin’ Canadiens came to town and out-skated Boston in seven games. The B’s tough-guy game was a bad match for the speedy Habs, and they once again got the best of Boston. It’s time to close the borders.

6. Hanley/Pablo signings

To anybody who followed the Red Sox this year: Our apologies. Unless, that is, you’re a fan of those 1-0 losses. No? We didn’t think so. The Red Sox needed a few things over the offseason. One of those was a No. 1 pitcher (TBD…). But they also needed some bats, particularly a left-handed bat and a third basemen. They got one in Pablo Sandoval, who signed with the Sox for five years and $95 million, with a club option for the sixth year. On the VERY SAME DAY, they came to terms with Hanley Ramirez on a four-year, $88 million deal, with a fifth-year vesting option. Random, right? It turns out Ramirez pretty much called them and said he wanted to play for Boston. But the Sox had a shortstop and a third baseman, so Ramirez agreed to play left field. Yoenis Cespedes, we barely knew ya (traded to Detroit for Rick Porcello).

7. Patriots sign Revis

Once in a while a free agent comes along that just blows you out of the water upon hearing the news of his signing. Darrelle Revis was that free agent this season. You can probably remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the Pats were signing Revis. It was that huge – and he’s certainly lived up to the hype this season. What made the signing even better was that it came right after Aqib Talib signed with the Denver Broncos. We’ll take that trade.

8. Celtics net sixth pick

Celtics fans suffered through a pretty rough 2013-14 season, with hopes that they would be rewarded with one of the top picks in the NBA Draft. Everybody’s eyes were set on Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Joel Embiid. Well . . . wouldn’t you know the Celtics ended up with the No. 6 pick. Shucks. And to make matters worse, the Cavs got the top pick (eventually allowing them to trade Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota). The lottery just hasn’t been kind to Boston. They took Marcus Smart with the pick, and it’s still to be determined how that will work out for them. But with Rajon Rondo’s future in Boston very iffy, we may see a lot of Smart very soon.

9. Pierce/KG return to Garden

A real tearjerker, this night was. Not just for the fans watching in the arena and at home on their televisions (or at the bar, crying into their beers), but for both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Celtics are a great organization and know how to treat their players, past or present. Both stars got their own video tribute and long standing ovations. Both were very emotional during the game and even after the game in their post-game press conferences. It was obviously a tough trade for Ainge to make, but ultimately the right one, as Boston will prosper from those Nets picks.

10. Bruins trade Boychuk to Islanders

This was a move that nobody in the Bruins organization – and certainly none of their fans – wanted to make. But the salary cap hit the Bruins where it hurt, and they had to part with one of their best defensemen. Johnny Rocket, as they called him, was a key member on the blue line, and in a season where defensemen like Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug have been hurt, he’s been needed even more.

 
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