The 2013 Red Sox have done it. For the first time in a decade, the Boston Red Sox have won the world series, first team to win at least 3 world series this decade. Yet, it was not easy. It started i. 2004, where the Curse of the Bambino was dismembered for good and the Red Sox finally won their first world series in 86 years. Then, 3 years later, the Red Sox won against the Colorado Rockies. And now, in the year 2013, the Red Sox finally bring another banner back to Boston.
For the Boston Red Sox, this bas been an eventful past few years. In 2011, the Red Sox were destined to be heading to the playoffs with having a 9 game lead over the Rays at the start of September. Yet, at the end of September, all of Boston witnessed the worst collapse in baseball history, losing on a walkoff against the horrible Orioles and within seconds later, the Rays winning on a walkoff to send them to the World Series. This one event would change the course of time for the Red Sox. They fired both their manager who won 2 world series with them, named Terry Francona and they fired their General Manager Theo Epstein. This decision was questioned by many, but what raveled most minds was when the Red Sox hired skipper Bobby Valentine, a guy who did not manage a baseball game in a decade. And, with the way he managed that year, it showed. His team won only 69 games that year out of 162. That was the worst Red Sox record in 47 years. What made it worse was the players hated to be around each other. They would be selfish and would not talk to one another. So, after his first year with the Sox, Bobby V was fired. Then, the Red Sox traded to get Blue Jays manager John Farrell. Farrell was the pitching coach for the Red Sox a few years prior before he was handed the managing job in Toronto. Then, with Ben Cherington at GM, the Red Sox signed a few middle aged, underrated players such as Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli among others. And with these new signed players, this would change the way the Sox played.
Within the first few weeks, the Sox were first in their division. The players, after coming off a horrendous, toxic season, promised the fans to not give up and to believe in them because they may give them something special. Then, after a walkoff Mike Napoli double, the whole country was hit with tragedy. On Patriots Day on April 15th, during the Boston Marathon, two bombers made from pressure cookers went off near the finish line injuring over 200 and killing 3. This stunned the nation. What was supposed to be a day of fun and laughter quickly went to a day of sorrow and tragedy within seconds. The Red Sox were on the road the next day to face the Indians but that did not stop them from honoring those who saved many lives during the bombings. They had a moment of silence and made a new slogan that was “B Strong” which was also known to become “Boston Strong”.
The Red Sox first home game since the tragedy was delayed due to the shutdown in Boston where all the police in Boston searched and captured the remaining marathon suspect. That day, they had a half hour ceremony honoring the victims and first responders. And the ceremony ended with the now famous speech where David Ortiz said, “This is our [expletive] city.” The Red Sox ended up winning that game on a go ahead home run by Daniel Nava.
Then from there on, it was pretty obvious that the chemistry in the clubhouse was totally different than the last few years. Everyone would be laughing and enjoying themselves and they would always play until the last out. The only real difficulty for the Red Sox was their closing pitcher. It started out as Joel Hanrahan but he was struggling to close out game and then he got injured, so then Andrew Baileh took the role. But, Andrew Bailey then got hurt and was also out for the season. Then, the Sox decided to use Junichi Tazawa bur that did not go well, so they went to the other Japanese pitcher. Be was a very explosive, energetic pitcher by the name of Koji Uehara. And from there on, every night became Koji time. He began having historic numbers. He threw a three week perfect game, which means he did not give up a base runner threw 9 innings of work. The interesting thing too was that he consistently threw strikes, but he never threw the ball hard. His fastball ranged from 88-90 MPH. Which, for a major league pitcher, is not that fast. Yet, he would get that job done.
And then, in the middle of the season, almost the entire team had beards and, with the way the Sox were finding ways to win, people began saying that the beards had magic! So, whenever a player with a beard hit a home run, every play would tug on their beard. Then phrases like, “get beard” and “fear the beard” began to surface and it did not stop there. There was a night at Fenway where fans who have beards, real or fake, could buy tickets to the game for only $1. That was an insane deal!
The Red Sox had finally made the postseason for the first time since 2008. They beat the Rays in 4, the tough and Mighty Tigers in 6 and then they had to face the resilient Cardinals in the World Series. This was a tough task because the Cardinals had top notch pitching and the Red Sox struggled all hear against great pitchers. And what a wacky world series this was. The Red Sox dominated in game to only fall in game two by bad pitching by Breslow in the 7th, who was quite dominant in the regular season. Then, the Red Sox lost game three on an obstruction call where a hobbled Allen Craig tripped over Will Middlebrooks while trying to go home in the bottom of the ninth. Then, in game 4, the Red Sox got redemption by winning the game on a pickoff play where rookie Kolten Wong of the Cardinals last his footing while trying to go back to the back when closer Koji Uehara was trying to pick him off. Game 5 was won by the Sox thanks to a three run home run by the struggling Jonny Gomes. Then, to clinch the World Series in game six, the Sox won when Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to end the game. After Carpenter swung and missed, Koji Uehara raced into David Ross’s arms and pumped his fist in the air as the crowd erupted and as the other Sox players tried to run to Ross and Koji to tackle them with joy. This was the first time since 1918 where the Red Sox were able to win the World Series at home. And, nobody could write it better than this. A team, after coming off one of the worst seasons in team history, comes back, and tries to heal its city after tragedy by winning the World Series. It was such an emotional, surreal moment. You hear the slogan Boston Strong every day, and Boston really did stay strong. The Red Sox helped us heal by distracting us from the bad and reminding us about the good. They did not just win this world series for themselves, but they won it for the city of Boston.
Image source: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10/20/boston-red-sox-tame-detroit-tigers-to-advance-to-world-series/