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Jackie MacMullan

You just can't be everywhere at once ... but it would be nice

MANNY DELCARMEN Boston sports fan MANNY DELCARMEN Boston sports fan

DENVER - We have the local big-time college football program, which features a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate, Matty "Ice" Ryan (even the nickname shouts, "Vote for me!"), and Thursday night pulled off the biggest comeback win in its history since The Little Quarterback That Could threw a bomb to Gerard Phelan in the Miami Hurricanes' end zone back in 1984.

Down the street, the local professional collection of pigskin experts, also undefeated, also sport a quarterback for the ages who is well on his way to being the most valuable player in the NFL. Tom Brady's numbers are just sick, but the QB doesn't have us hypnotized the way he normally does.

It's that baseball team.

The World Series shadow of the Red Sox continues to obscure most everything else in the Boston sports scene. Although the Boston College Eagles are receiving well-deserved congratulations for their incredible win over Virginia Tech in the final seconds, and the Patriots are duly recognized as a Super Bowl juggernaut, and the Celtics are so tantalizing with new additions Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen they find themselves on the cover of Sports Illustrated, there simply isn't enough sports love to go around right now.

And we haven't even mentioned yet that the Revolution are in the playoffs and the Bruins actually boast a winning record and a rough-and-tumble brand of hockey.

At this moment, Boston is the center of the sports universe, yet our eyes can't help but keep wandering toward our local nine, who will try to boost their World Series lead to 3-0 over the Colorado Rockies tonight at Coors Field, where the air is thin, the DH is nonexistent, and the Nation is ripe with anticipation.

"It's an awesome time to be a Boston sports fan," said Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen, who grew up in our fair city dreaming of times just like these. "[Before Game 2] we had the start of the BC-Virginia Tech game on in the clubhouse. It was 0-0 when we went out to play our game."

When the result of BC's brilliant finish flashed on the scoreboard in the eighth inning with the Sox embroiled in a 2-1 ballgame, a spirited cheer wafted over Fenway Park - albeit a cheer of the non-baseball variety.

"It was great," Delcarmen noted. "We were all saying, 'All right, BC won.' "

The Eagles and the Sox have ties. BC athletic director Gene DeFilippo is good friends with Red Sox executives Larry Lucchino and Mike Dee, and the three traded text-messaged "Good Lucks" Thursday. Closer Jonathan Papelbon taped a rundown of the BC lineup for ESPN Thursday night.

When BC recovered the onside kick, and marched down and scored with only seconds to spare, DeFilippo texted Dee to let him know the result. Dee responded with: "Two outs in the eighth, Papelbon on the mound."

"Mike called me right after the Sox won," DeFilippo said. "We are very, very happy for them. I've talked to Terry [Francona] a number of times. We love the Red Sox."

Delcarmen can't wait to see the new Celtics, and he's enjoying the new crop of receivers who have helped Brady's numbers become so gaudy.

"Obviously, we are concentrating on winning the World Series," said Delcarmen. "But whether I want to know what's going on [with the other teams] or not, it doesn't matter. My buddies are huge sports fans. They are texting me every 10 minutes."

Last Sunday in Miami, the Patriots had just dispatched the hapless Dolphins to run their record to 7-0 when some players spotted this reporter, who had been dutifully backing the Sox but took a temporary detour to Florida to check the pulse of Brady and the boys.

Nobody asked what time Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against Cleveland was later that day. They already knew. What inquiring Patriots minds wanted to know was this: Was Ellsbury in the lineup?

He was. Because the baseball game started at 8:20 p.m., and my flight boarded at precisely that time, I flew home unable to follow the do-or-die heroics of Dustin Pedroia. I was hardly alone. I was surrounded by diehard Patriots fans who proudly wore the names of Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady, and Troy Brown (he didn't come back while I was chronicling Daisuke's pitch count, did he?) on their backs. These are people who faithfully make the pilgrimage to foreign stadiums for each road game and consider that a badge of honor. But just this once, many sheepishly acknowledged they wished they were home in their chaise lounge, waving their Sox pennants and hollering at Francona for leaving in Gagné too long.

Sox utilityman Eric Hinske is a big sports fan. He's been amazed by the domination of the Patriots and mildly surprised baseball trumps all.

"Obviously, I didn't grow up in Boston," said Hinske, a native of Menasha, Wis. "It's a little weird. The Patriots are pretty much unstoppable, and nobody is talking about them.

"I guess that's the power of Red Sox Nation. All I know is the Patriots might end up being one of the all-time great teams."

The Patriots' time will come. So will BC's, especially if it can beat Maryland and Clemson. The Celtics are heartened to know Opening Night for them is one day after Game 7 of the Fall Classic, if it goes that far.

By then, the Red Sox will either be World Series champions - or seriously traumatized runners-up.

Either way, their fans will be ready to soak in the Next Great Thing in the center of their sports universe.

Jackie MacMullan is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at

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