October 31, 2013
Red Sox Deliver A Coronation For Baseballís Cathedral
BY: Bob George/BosSports.net
This is what it would have felt like if it was Bob Gibson had worked Game 7 on short rest instead of Jim Lonborg.
This is what it would have felt like if Carl Yastrzemski had singled and Carlton Fisk had launched another one towards the foul pole, waving it fair like he did in Game 6 the previous night instead of flying out to Cesar Geronimo in center.
Now we know.
Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out. Fenway Park exploded in celebration, a celebration that looked like and felt like 95 years in the making. The World Champion Red Sox became the first team to solve Cardinal rookie pitcher Michael Wacha, scorching him for six runs over 3 2/3 innings, and coasted to a fairly easy 6-1 win in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series. The Red Sox win the World Series, 4 games to 2, and secured their third world championship since Y2K and eighth in franchise history.
Not since the Red Sox defeated the Chicago Cubs 2-1 in Game 6 to win the 1918 World Series had the Red Sox clinched a World Series at Fenway. The Sox won their last two World Series on the road in four game sweeps. On Wednesday night, the Fenway fans finally got to see a coronation live and firsthand. Seeing it finally happen might make this championship the most satisfying of the eight titles won by Boston teams in this glorious millennium.
The fact that this title was won at Fenway was simply the icing on the cake. So many sidebars contributed to make this one of the most endearing years of any team in area history, not just in Red Sox history. The culmination of a World Series title is a wonderful exclamation point, but to see how the Red Sox got here makes this one of the most wonderful sports tales in area history.
April 15, 2013. A frightening day in Boston history, and USA history. Two bombs explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring many others. David Ortiz rallies the entire city at the Fenway Park tribute with the most eloquent F-bomb in the history of the English language. The team concocts this "Boston Strong" patch to symbolize the mettle of the city and to underscore Papi's iconic speech. The team maintains a "Boston 617 Strong" game jersey in their dugout for the remainder of the year.
When things got going, the Red Sox looked to their new manager, former pitching coach John Farrell, to provide the proper leadership and erase the stench left over from the horrid 2012 season under Bobby Valentine. Farrell came right in, knew just what to do, and now got to stand on the victory podium at Fenway Park holding the Commissioner's Trophy aloft. Farrell should be manager of the year, hands down. The job he did was simply the best one-season managerial job in team history. He was absolutely the right man for the job.
Ben Cherington, who should be in line for executive of the year, masterminded that huge trade with the Dodgers last year, and used part of that money to sign former Philadelphia Phillie Shane Victorino to a free agent deal. He had two of the biggest hits in the postseason for the Sox, a grand slam against Detroit in Game 6 of the ALCS, and a three-run double Wednesday night in Game 6 of the World Series. He has also made Bob Marley as popular at Fenway as Neil Diamond. Nobody in Red Sox Nation is worrying right now. Everything is going to be all right.
What can you say about John Lackey? The symbol of the deterioration of the 2011 Red Sox, he of the fried chicken and C&W music videos, and vilified by most everyone except his teammates, Lackey became the first pitcher in MLB history to pitch two World Series clinching games for two different teams (he won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels as a rookie). Lackey finally tipped his hat to the crowd after coming out of Wednesday night's game. To say that he has achieved complete and total absolution from Red Sox Nation for earlier shortcomings is an understatement. It is one of the most remarkable turnarounds in team history.
How in the world did the Red Sox win this World Series after the unbelievable Game 3 loss on the obstruction call on Will Middlebrooks? First of all, it was the absolute correct call. Middlebrooks was trying to trip Allen Craig. But then the next night, the Red Sox pull off the equalizer when Uehara picked off Kolton Wong to end the next game, the obstruction call was cancelled out. This Red Sox team has guts, character and a ton of inner strength. To overcome Game 3 like they did and win the next three games was nothing short of amazing.
Ortiz won a most deserving World Series MVP, although Jon Lester and Uehara (the ALCS MVP) could have made a case. Big Papi finished with an insane 11 for 16 batting, and it wasn't until Game 6 when the Redbirds finally started to treat him like Barry Bonds. His dugout pep talk in Game 4 turned out to be the pivotal, and seminal, moment in the entire World Series. The series became all Red Sox from that point on. Ortiz continues to cement his status as one of the most important players in team history, and while he may never reach the pantheon that Yastrzemski and Ted Williams reached, he certainly is the most important player since Yaz retired in 1983.
Add all these sidebars up, and you have a miracle world championship for the Red Sox. If anyone had suggested that this was in store for the Red Sox back in the winter, they would have been shipped off to some state hospital. Instead, the Red Sox take their place in this long run of area titles and pull even with the Patriots in championships in the 2000s with three each. The Red Sox deliver a title for the home fans to see. This truly is as good as it gets.
The area will now party like crazy, hopefully with no tragic incidents. Dave Goucher, the great radio announcer for the Bruins, can now once again yell "Get the duck boats ready! Get the duck boats ready!" Another victory parade is at hand. Time for millions of fans to line Boylston and Tremont Streets and for the city to let it all hang out.
But the parade will not be the most indelible memory of 2013. It begins with the Boston Strong tribute in April. It ends with the greatest night Fenway Park has ever known. The Red Sox won the World Series in front of their home fans. Fenway Park never looked more beautiful in all of her 101 years.
So there. Red Sox are World Champions again. Fenway Park will beam with pride for a long time to come.
And all who love Fenway will beam with pride along with the Grande Dame.
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