Not a Bad Town to Live In, Considering the Gig

I’ll always have Ted.

The Boston sporting universe as we know it could come to an end tomorrow and I’d still have plenty of opportunity to draw some sports-related art for people, because we have Ted. Boston athletes come and go, our love affairs with them blossoming and eventually withering (usually in an ugly or petty fashion), but The Kid occupies a zone impervious the the whims of the sports talk-show caller or message boarder. He had the presence of mind to be incredibly talented yet equally cantankerous in an era where that was less damaging to one’s public image, an indictment of both Ted and the times we live in now. And since so many of us were born after he stopped playing, he’s simply a Warhol-esque icon, shorthand for some larger statement about the game and ourselves. I can do charcoal drawings of Ted until they put me into the ground, and there will always be a taker for them. I just finished the above commissioned piece, and I’ve got another one of Willams that’s almost-completed and already has a few prospective owners (I started it without a commission attached, I just liked the picture). Progress below:

But consider this. Boston also has the following athletes who occupy the next tier down from Ted, a tier that is still in rare air but slightly short of that iconic God status (which your Jordans, Alis and Ruths have attained): Larry Bird, Bobby Orr and Bill Russell, with Tom Brady waiting outside but ready to knock on that door.  And by all rights Pedro Martinez should be included amongst that group, but his period of utter dominance was Koufaxian in its brevity, and he had the nerve to leave town of his own accord, so I doubt he’ll be truly appreciated for what he was by the majority of Boston sports fans until years from now, if ever.

Then you’ve got the tier below that: Yaz, Havlicek, Bourque, John Hannah (who would be ranked higher if he played a sexier position, nobody wants drawings of offensive linemen). Ortiz and Manny occupy this level now, and Manny would be higher if he didn’t dog his way out of town, because based on skill alone he’s the second-best Sox hitter ever after Williams. Ortiz could move up with a few more good years and one more transcendent October or two.

I don’t think any other city in America can rival the depth and breadth of this pool of sports icons, and if it can, it’s because it boasts multiple teams per sports league, like New York, Chicago or LA.

I benefit from this twofold: they’ve provided a huge positive impact upon the teams I root for, and they also possess that je ne sais quoi that make people want artwork of them.

I could live in worse places, and this was even before this current and remarkable decade, in which Boston has turned into Titletown. It’s easy to forget sometimes.

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