Long before their Tuesday night blowout championship win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the signs of a Boston Celtic championship win were clear to Rich Merullo.
“What’s the date today, 6/17, right?. The sixth game of the series and they’re after their seventeenth championship,” the Oak Bluffs summer resident from Ramsey, N.J., said during the first quarter.
And if that didn’t prove the game was a lock, Mr. Merullo pointed to the rising full moon during a halftime break outside a rocking Seasons restaurant and bar on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs. “Remember the 2004 and 2007 World Series Red Sox wins? Full moon both times,” he said.
Evidently the Boston Celtics and their fans have been in synch for this whole series.
For example, neither showed up until late in a game five loss late on Sunday. Unlike Tuesday night’s roaring crowd of more than 100 fans at Seasons, crowds were not roaring on Sunday until late in the fourth quarter. In fact, there weren’t any crowds until then. Three people working on their laptops in the dark in Post Office square showed more intensity.
Tuesday night was different. Seasons was packed early with fans seeking the best seats, surrounded by 13 high-definition large-screen televisions, several installed this week. For owner Mike Santoro and his staff, the series has been a godsend. “This is great for our business”, he said, surveying more than 100 fans squeezed into every corner of his establishment. “Our nighttime business has been solid but lunch is way off so far this season,” he said.
His staff agreed that they had doubled their income for a normal mid-June Tuesday night. “We want them to win . . . on Thursday,” smiled hostess Devon Brown.
Are Boston sports fans are getting persnickety about where and when their teams clinch? With five world championships since the turn of the century between the Red Sox and the Patriots, several Island fans said they were satisfied with the Celtics’ close loss in Los Angeles on Sunday night. They wanted the championship to be won on the Banknorth parquet in Boston.
John Hewes is one such fan. Visiting from Mystic, Conn., with his sons who are vacationing on the Island, Mr. Hewes said on Sunday with a shrug and a smile: “That’s how they want it and that’s how it’s going to be.”
Brian Boleman of Oaks Bluffs wore Celtics gear on Sunday night but was dressed in somber black from head to toe on Tuesday. “I jinxed them Sunday and I never wear the same stuff two games in a row,” the Steamship Authority employee said.
And while Los Angeles is known for attracting stars like Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson to court side, the Island has its own off-beat brand of big names.
On Sunday night, descendants of the German philosopher Friedrich von Schiller and the American comedian Jackie Gleason watched the game at Balance restaurant. But Aaron Schiller and his friend Brooke Gleason were more excited about their fishing trip that day than the Celtics. Ms. Gleason had just landed a 38-pound striped bass aboard Jonathan Boyd’s Menemsha fishing boat (the same weight as the number of points scored by Paul Pierce in the losing effort).
And on Tuesday night, Rich Merullo the cosmic statistician laid proud claim to family ties with Len Merullo, second baseman for the Chicago Cubs in their last World Series team in 1945. His mate, Rob Collins, a transplanted Dubliner, claimed perhaps the most famous pedigree, depending on your perspective.
Mr. Collins, quietly bemused at the basketball fever raging all around him, said he is the great-great-great-grand nephew of Michael Collins, the fabled Irish nationalist who helped lead the failed 1916 Dublin Easter Rising against British rule. How does basketball fever compare with soccer in Europe? “It doesn’t,” he said. “Soccer is not a sport in Europe, it’s a religion. Did you know soccer’s the only sport that’s ever started a war?” he added, referring to the 1969 so-called soccer war between Honduras and El Salvador.
Two other holders of famous monikers were unrelated to the more famed names. Mr. Santoro admitted he is unrelated to the Santoro submarine sandwich chain in Boston. “But I get that question all the time,” he said. And Justyn Mayo of Oak Bluffs is not related to NBA phenomenon O.J. Mayo. “I wish,” he said.
By game’s end, Celtics fans were euphoric and the party was not over for Kyle Robertson of Oak Bluffs. Flashing his bicep tattoo of the Celtics leprechaun mascot, Mr. Robertson said, “The parade, baby. I will be there.”
Yesterday in Boston a parade honored the champion Celtics.
Presumably Mr. Robertson was there.