BOSTON — Holiday wish lists were written and mailed to that big man at the North Pole a long time ago, but there’s always one request kids turn down a few days before the big day. And then there are those gifts you can’t wrap and leave under the tree.
The gifts we want from our Boston sports teams are in the latter group. Of course, it’s always fun to pick up a Celtics or Bruins winter hat, or a pair of Red Sox socks, or a Patriots hoodie (sleeves optional), or a fancy new Revs kit. But what we really want from our teams will probably have to wait a few months.
But it’s never too early to make a wish list, just like the kids who start making theirs in August. And while we’ve been spoiled by our sports teams over the past few decades, the trophy case hasn’t had any new additions in four years.
So another trophy—or two, or three—is definitely on our wish list for Boston’s 2023 sports festivities. We’re not asking for much; just to get back to normal in this sports-crazed city.
Celtics: Happy and HEALTHY new year
A lucky 2024 will obviously include the Celtics winning their first title since 2008. Health seems to be the only thing that could prevent these Celtics from achieving that goal. (That and their old habits of not shutting down teams, but maybe that will be their New Year’s resolution.)
So here’s to good health for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. For Kristaps Porzingis and his … whatever comes up between now and July.
Bruins: Stop blowing the leads
Despite losing Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, the Bruins own the second-best record in the NHL. They could have the best record in the league if they stop losing games in the third period.
They have done so in three of their last four games and have now lost five games in which they led after two periods. That’s the most in the NHL. Last season’s team was 47-1-2 when leading in the final period.
Patriots: Franchise quarterback
That will likely have to wait until the NFL draft in April, but a franchise quarterback would be a gift worth waiting for. It looks like the Patriots will end up with the No. 2 pick (that in itself might be wishful thinking) and could potentially end up with North Carolina’s Drake May. If they fall to the first overall pick, they’ll have to choose between Maye and projected No. 1 pick Caleb Williams of USC.
Whatever happens, we’d really like it to end with the Patriots finding their franchise quarterback for the next decade and more. Is that too much to ask?
Red Sox: At least two pitchers
It doesn’t even need to be Yamamoto at this point. Craig Breslow just needs to introduce an arm capable of starting 25-30 games and giving the team over 180 innings. And then he has to bring in another hand that can do all that.
Revolution: The first title in the franchise
Is that too much to ask? The Revs looked like they were going to compete for the MLS Cup for most of last season until things really went sideways both on and off the field. Stars left, Bruce Arena got punished and then resigned for…something, and then the wheels fell off the bus.
But the Revs have plenty of young talent, they still have Carles Gil and new head coach Caleb Porter has two MLS Cups under his belt. Could this be the year the Revs finally win it all?
Red Sox: Time Machine
Tom Werner would probably like to go back and stop talking before the phrase “full throttle” comes out of his mouth. (And he’d probably like to go back a few more years and put the kibosh on that Mookie Betts deal, too.)
Celtics: December Jaylen — All Year!
Jaylen Brown was an absolute monster in December, averaging 24.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He hits 53.6 percent of his shots from the floor and throws down some great dunks that would look great as a series of posters for your wall.
If he keeps this up, the Celtics will be nearly unstoppable.
Revolution: Tickets for April 27th
Who wouldn’t want to go see Lionel Messi play at Gillette Stadium? This is going to be a hot ticket, so don’t even bother asking. Better to go straight to begging.
Celtics: All-Star Game for Derrick White
Tatum and Brown will likely make it, and Porzingis will have a chance as well. But if anyone truly deserved it (and not just for name recognition), it’s Derrick White. He has been Boston’s MVP so far this season and the most consistent player in green.
It will fill us all with joy if we can see Buffalo make their first All-Star team in a few months.
Patriots: Some direction
If Robert Kraft decides to move on from Bill Belichick at the end of the season, the franchise will need a new direction. A new focus. The Patriots can’t expect the next guy — whether it’s Jerod Mayo or someone with no ties to Belichick — to come in and continue to run the same system the same way.
And if Kraft decides to give Bill another season, you’d be better off helping him out with a little more personnel decisions than anything else you’ll get this holiday season.
Red Sox: A fit, competitive season
Do you remember these? Seasons that stayed interesting throughout September. Some teams even play in October!
It would be nice if the Red Sox could get back to that this year. Or sometime in that decade.
Celtics and Bruins: Finish the season with a banner
It was too long for both teams. The Celtics are right there and seem to have what it takes to host a parade this summer. If they can get out of their way in the playoffs, the quest for Banner 18 could finally be over.
The Bruins aren’t the wagon they were last season, but maybe that’s for the best. The pressure obviously got to them last postseason when they were eliminated in the first round. The team looks a lot weaker this year, but still has incredible net play and will be in the conversation when the playoffs roll around.