It was anything but a king's welcome, but that didn't mean Ray Allen's return to the TD Garden was completely bereft of sentimentality.
One of the biggest story lines surrounding Allen's first game back in Boston since signing with the Miami Heat was how the former Celtics sharpshooter would be received by fans on his old home floor.
Thanks to a tribute put together by the Celtics, the crowd's reaction to Allen in a Heat jersey was mixed to start. During a timeout in the first quarter, a video on the TD Garden Jumbotron showed clips of some of Allen's best moments as a member of the Celtics. The crowd booed at first, but the boos turned to cheers as the highlights continued. By the end, it appeared as though a significant portion of those in attendance gave Allen a polite ovation.
But, in terms of niceties, that was it.
When Allen checked into the game later in the first quarter, he was met with a healthy does of boos. The first time he caught the ball, the boos were louder. And when he got to the free throw line in the second quarter, he was booed loudly and lustily. When he missed the first of two freebies, the crowd was overjoyed.
Today, with the Heat in town, and with the Celtics in the middle of a six-game losing streak, fans at TD Garden are rooting for laundry over anything else -- and Allen's wearing the wrong kind.
Tom Brady and David Ortiz have shared the spotlight in this region for more than a decade now as the faces of their respective franchises. They have a unique perspective on what it takes to the longevity that eludes most other athletes, and they know what it's like to be among the most recognizable faces in this part of the country.
There seems to be a certain level of mutual respect between the two local stars, something that Ortiz made quite clear in an interview with SI.com. Asked about Brady and Deflategate, the Red Sox slugger pulled no punches.
"I think it’s stupid, to be honest with you," Ortiz said. "Put it this way: You’re talking about the one player that everybody wants to watch play. We’re not just talking about any player. We’re talking about Tom Brady. If I turn on the TV on Sunday to watch a Patriots game and I know that Tom Brady is not playing, I would turn off the TV. I don’t want to watch that game."
Brady's four-game suspension was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this offseason, but the quarterback and the NFLPA recently filed a petition to request a rehearing. The Patriots organization submitted an amicus brief to the court last week that criticized the NFL's process and supported Brady's request to have his case heard once again.
As good as things have gone for the Red Sox so far in 2016, their 2017 prospects took a bit of a blow over the weekend.
Sam Travis -- one of the organization's top prospects, and someone who opened a lot of eyes with an impressive spring-training showing this year -- suffered a torn ACL on Sunday while playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox and will be lost for the rest of the season. He was hurt while playing first base, collapsing as he chased down an opposition baserunner during a rundown play. He had to be helped off the field, and the extent of the injury was announced on Monday.
With David Ortiz retiring at the end of this season and Hanley Ramirez expected to replace him as the full-time designated hitter, the door was open for Travis to become the Red Sox' first baseman next year. Playing at Triple-A for the first time, the 22-year-old Travis -- honored by the Red Sox as their Minor League Offensive Player of the the Year in 2015 -- was hitting .272/.332/.434 with 10 doubles, 6 home runs and 29 RBI in 47 games.
Now, however, it's almost a complete certainty Travis won't be able to start next season in Boston. And depending on what the Red Sox do in the offseason to replace Ortiz, such as a signing a free agent to a multiyear contract, Travis' path upward in the Sox organization may become less wide open . . . if not blocked.
The one thing we know from last summer’s NHL Draft: Anything can happen. See how the first round looks in Joe Haggerty's latest mock draft.
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