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Rivals?

While watching Oakland A's celebrate Eric Chavez's walk off homerun Monday night/Tuesday morning against the Redsox, I remembered the tension that exists between the two teams. In my mind it goes back to their 2003-playoff series when Manny Ramirez unveiled one of his ridiculous homerun trots. Later Derek Lowe may or may not have pulled the old WWF suck it gesture, in Miguel Tejada's general direction, after a game ending strike out. Maybe it's not a full-fledged Yankees style feud, but it's more than you would expect from two teams in different divisions on opposite coasts. Or consider the bad blood between the Red Sox and the Devil Rays that has produced several altercations. Keep in mind that Boston and Tampa Bay are generally separated by 25 games in the standings come October.  

That brings me to the Celtics. It's a given that fans around the country despise Boston. And as a Celtics fan I hate my fair share of teams - the Lakers, Knicks, and strangely the Bucks come to mind. Furthermore, I understand that Boston's feuds with the Lakers, Pistons, and Sixers of the 80s are a thing of the past. It's a different NBA and the C's simply are not that good anymore. Larry Bird is not walking through that door, etc. Yet as I look back on last season it amazes me that the Celtics never mixed it up with anyone. The Bobcats gave it a shot one night, bludgeoning Paul Pierce to the point that Doc Rivers feared for his health. The end result? The C's emptied the bench and set off a round of tanking stories. I'm not saying the C's don't have heart. That victory over the Spurs in San Antonio was an epic effort. It's just disheartening that most teams seem to view the Celtics as the little brother who is somewhat comical in his attempts to hold his own.

To be clear I'm not calling for Boston's participation in a Knicks/Nuggets type incident. As always winning is the ultimate goal. Yet as the Celtics enter a new 5-year plan I just want them to be relevant again. And that means graduating from their current laughing stock/pushover status. They need to approach this coming season with a chip on their shoulders and a bit of an attitude. I will not abide by another toe...um 18 game losing streak.