It would be hard to see Tom Brady on another team. We might not have to.

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COMMENTARY

When a beloved participant or downright legend takes his recreation elsewhere, the fan base left behind by no means fully will get over it. I’d give you the proper instance of this, however do we actually wish to talk about Bobby Orr, No. 4, Chicago Blackhawks proper now, or ever once more? Did not assume so.

There are different annoying examples pocking Boston sports activities lore. Carlton Fisk is without end the spine of the 1970s Red Sox to me. When I consider him, the primary picture that pops to thoughts is … nicely, all I’ve to do is repeat Dick Stockton’s line, “If it stays fair …,” and I’ll wager the identical picture pops to thoughts for you too, one so acquainted and pleasant that it requires no additional clarification. It’s already in your thoughts’s eye. Always has been.

The second picture is Fisk slugging one Yankee or one other at house plate in a kind of oh-the-hate-is-real brawls from the rivalry’s heyday. It will at all times be tough to fathom that he spent extra years with the White Sox (13) than the Red Sox (11, together with cameo appearances as a prospect).

The similar goes for the best kicker in NFL historical past, Adam Vinatieri, who has now been splitting the uprights for 14 seasons as an Indianapolis Colt, 4 greater than he spent in New England. When I consider Vinatieri, the all-time main scorer in Colts historical past by greater than 500 factors and second to successor Stephen Gostkowski within the Patriots annals, I’m reminded of Bill James as soon as writing that when you cut up Rickey Henderson’s profession in half, you’d have two Hall of Famers.

Vinatieri may kick one other 5 years for the Colts — hey, don’t put it previous him, he’s solely 47 years previous — and the person who has hit at the very least 4 of the largest kicks in NFL historical past would nonetheless be without end a Patriot in our minds.

I deliver this up for causes that I presume are fairly apparent. This has been a very robust 12 months for departures in New England sports activities. Tom Brady is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and irrespective of whether or not he wins a seventh Super Bowl, turns into the Chiefs model of Joe Montana (nonetheless excellent and periodically magical, however injury-prone), or collapses into that unhappy Joe Namath/Rams or Johnny Unitas/Chargers shell, seeing him in pewter isn’t going to look proper. Same goes for sidekick Rob Gronkowski, whose well-known remaining scene ought to have been the attractive catch in triple protection that arrange the one landing in Super Bowl LIII.

I’m unsure Mookie Betts fairly qualifies as a legend but, since he spent simply five-plus seasons with the Red Sox earlier than being dealt to the Dodgers in February. But he was nicely on his approach to such standing, having received a Most Valuable Player award and turning into essentially the most full participant the franchise has developed within the draft period.

It’s disappointing to see Betts in Dodger blue, and it’s downright disconcerting to see Brady and Gronkowski in these unusual Bucs uniforms that haven’t any historical past. But I nonetheless can’t assist however marvel, given the growing proof that the virus is just not going to cooperate with the wishful restart-sports-and-everything-will-be-normal people, if we’re going to finish up in odd circumstances the place we don’t see these guys play for his or her new groups in any respect.

Betts, after all, is a free agent after this season — whether or not or not there’s a season. Owners applied a 60-game schedule this week after months of shameful bickering with the gamers’ union, and Spring Training 2.zero is meant to start out July 1 in groups’ house ballparks. That’s subsequent Wednesday, which is quickly, but a lot can occur between every now and then.

Multiple Phillies have examined optimistic for the virus. Rockies star Charlie Blackmon has too. And the true video games don’t even start till round July 24. The virus goes to have its say about these unexpectedly laid plans, and depend me among the many skeptics that we see a season in any respect.

We have seen Betts play for the Dodgers — a complete of eight video games this spring, which seems like about 9 years in the past — however it’s doable we by no means see him in a recreation that counts. It’s a minor plot level, however how bizarre would it not be if Betts by no means performs an actual inning for the Dodgers? It appears unrealistic to me that he’d return to Boston as a free agent, however it’s a good factor to dream on, and that commerce would abruptly appear to be a present.

As for Brady, he has a two-year cope with the Bucs, so even when this NFL season is canceled — an unlikely end result in the intervening time, maybe, however one that appears doable once you ponder the not possible logistics of a soccer staff making an attempt to socially distance — he’ll nonetheless have 2021 to put on all of his new swashbuckling gear. But he’d be 44 coming into that season, and his expertise will erode quickly, in the event that they haven’t in a refined manner already. We may even see him as a Buc. But we could by no means see him thrive as a Buc.

I miss sports activities. But I’m unsure I miss them as a lot as I’ll miss watching Betts and Brady, and Gronk too, do their factor for the native groups. I hope there’s a manner for all the leagues to proceed, safely and well, in these unprecedented occasions. In the meantime, I’m OK with different cities having to attend slightly longer to co-opt our favorites.