Throughout the 1980’s, there was one particular chant that echoed throughout the old Boston Garden. This memorable phrase was “Beat LA!, Beat LA!, Beat LA!”; which became a common vocabulary among Boston sports fans for the entire decade. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, led by superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, had ruled the NBA. The chant that roared throughout the venue did not originate during a game between these two franchises. In fact, this phrase was born during Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference Finals versus the Philadelphia 76ers. With 26 seconds remaining in the game, and the Sixers all but sealing the victory, “Beat LA!” roared throughout the sweltering hot Garden. The reigning NBA champs season was over and Julius Erving and his team would be squaring off with the nemesis Los Angeles Lakers.
For the first time since the 2010 NBA Finals, this chant will indeed resurface. This time it won’t be in the TD Garden but in the historic Fenway Park. Starting Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers will square off in the 2018 World Series. This is the MLB’s desired championship matchup consisting of two marquee franchises from major markets and filled with larger than life personalities. At 8:09 PM ET Tuesday, the first pitch will be thrown by Red Sox ace Chris Sale; where he will be opposed by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. David Price will take the mound in Game 2 while looking to keep up the success he had in the ALCS clinching game 5. No other player has been under the microscope more than Price, who the Red Sox hope got the monkey off his back during his first ever playoff victory. The Red Sox led all of baseball in runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging, total bases, and OPS; led by MVP hopeful Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. Los Angeles were atop the National League in runs and homers, led by former Orioles villain Manny Machado. Manny is despised in Fenway Park dating back to an instance in 2017 where he “spiked” Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. This should be an exciting series, with stars such as Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Kenly Jansen, and Craig Kimbrel set to make some headlines. This World Series could generate a record-setting audience and some high-level entertainment.
Super Bowl LIII will kick off on February 3, 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia. To this date, the odds-on favorites to reach the Super Bowl are the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. The Patriots currently stand at 5-2 and only trail the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC at 6-1, whose only loss came by way of a 43-40 Patriots victory in week 6. After years of residing in St. Louis, the Rams made Los Angeles their home again in 2018. The Rams have come out of the gates blazing to a perfect 7-0 record and chances are high they finish the regular season undefeated. They are led by MVP candidate running back Todd Gurley, who has an astonishing 14 TDs, and the team holds a league-leading +107 point differential. Los Angeles could be the first team to achieve this feat since the 2007 Patriots team that started 18-0, only to lose in Super Bowl XLII to Eli Manning’s New York Giants. During the 2001 season, the two teams squared off in Super Bowl XXXVI, in a David verse Goliath matchup where relatively unknown Tom Brady squared off against Kurt Warner’s team known as “The Greatest Show on Turf”. Belichick, Brady and the Patriots came into this game as 14 point underdogs and came away victorious with a final score of 20-17. Brady won his very first Super Bowl MVP and a modern-day dynasty was formed. On the back-end of this eternity-felt dynasty, let’s imagine that the 18-0 Rams reach Atlanta while being opposed by Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Rams would be seeking revenge from the 2001 Super Bowl, while 41-year-old Tom Brady and Bill Belichick would be attempting to prevent a remarkable feat that they failed to achieve back in February 2008. Oh man, what a storyline that could be!
The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics remain the most historic rivalry in the NBA. Between the two franchises, there are a total of 33 championships, with the slight edge of 17-16 going to the Celtics. Kobe Bryant faced off against the Celtic’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen in the championships in 2008 and 2010. In 2008 the Celtics won their first title since 1986 and the Lakers returned the favor by coming out victorious in a deciding Game 7 in 2010. Lebron James’ departure from Cleveland has opened the door for the Celtics to once again become favorites in the Eastern Conference. This Brad Stevens led group went toe-to-toe with Lebron and the Cavs in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals where they lost in 7 games. The team’s two stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward both sat out this series due to injuries. This season both Kyrie and Gordon have returned to the court. They will team up with a great supporting cast, led by dynamic young wings who showed glimpses of stardom in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Lebron pairs with young talents Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram; as well as nemesis Lance Stephenson, Javale Mcgee, Micheal Beasley, and former Celtic Rajon Rondo. There’s a steep hill to climb to reach the NBA Finals this season. Golden State is going for the first three-peat since Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, and have added Demarcus Cousins to their already assembled super team. In 2016, Lebron and Kyrie teamed up to bring Cleveland their first NBA title. Lebron won finals MVP but it was Kyrie who hit the biggest shot in Cavs history, a three-pointer in a tied game with under a minute remaining. Kyrie demanded a trade in the summer of 2017 and it was the Celtics that came knocking. It was rumored that he did not get along with Lebron and wanted out of his shadow. Imagine the Celtics and their 17 rings, squaring off against the Lakers and their 16 rings, and most importantly Lebron verse Kyrie? Wouldn’t that be something?
It is an exciting time for those whose sports fandom resides in Boston and Los Angeles. There are not many cities who can go toe-to-toe with Boston across all major sports, and this year could be an exception. As far as hockey goes, the Bruins are poised to make a deep playoff run, but the mighty LA Kings have fallen and that matchup isn’t as likely. The “Beat LA!” chants could begin tonight during the first game of the World Series and last all the way to through deep June for the NBA Finals. Titletown U.S.A has a chance to add a few banners to the collection, and most importantly show the rest of America that their championship aspirations lie in the hands of Boston’s hated professional sports teams.
Author: John Moreau
Photo: TV Insider