At the beginning of the season, I broke down a "State of the Nation" for the Red Sox and projected them as earning one of the Wild Card spots in the American League. Key factors in Spring Training for this team was reestablishing the pitching staff and impact players staying healthy. Jon Lester needed to get back to ace form and offensive leaders David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia needed to carry this team. All three of them succeeded.
This World Series featured the two best records in baseball for the first time since 1999. It featured two storied franchises that are full of memorable history and 32 combined pennants. It was a World Series that lived up to the hype and was filled with wild moment after wild moment. The never give up Red Sox versus the always in the hunt Cardinals.
In Game 1, the very first inning featured an overturned call and a Boston early lead. That early lead was rode to an 8-1 Red Sox win that afterwards was highlighted by "glue gate," relating to Jon Lester's glove.
Game 2, was decided on a defensive miscue by the Red Sox and the legend of Michael Wacha continued with a 4-2 St. Louis win to even the series. However, that miscue was nothing like the one in Game 3. Boston rallied twice from two runs down only to see the game end in one of the wackiest finishes ever. The walk off obstruction call heard around the world decided the game 5-4 and gave the Cardinals the series lead.
Down in the series, David Ortiz pushed his teammates for a spark. That spark was answered by a Jonny Gomes three run home run to give the Red Sox the lead. Game 4 then ended on the not so common walk off pick off play giving Boston a 4-2 win and evening the series.
Fittingly, the two best records were now tied and facing a best of three to decide who will become World Champions. Game 5 was the final game in St. Louis and a rematch of aces. Again, Jon Lester led his club on the mound and finally timely hits came through for a 3-1 win and a 3-2 series lead going back to Fenway.
The stage was set in Game 6 for a celebration on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox had a chance to win a championship on home ground which was last accomplished in 1918. Tickets were sought after and a must have, but Michael Wacha again looked to spoil the party. However, this time the atmosphere and moment finally caught up to the rookie. Big hits by Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew paced the home team to a 6-1 win and completed a true worse to first championship.
David Ortiz was easily named Most Valuable Player. Ortiz set records, put the team on his back, and carried the club to wins. It was the definition of a player being in the zone throughout the entire series. The party in Bean Town was in full swing.
With no disrespect to the Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots, the Red Sox are Boston. The city lives and breathes with the crew from Fenway. This season in Boston was also very much impacted by the events at the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox rallied around that moment and took it upon themselves to lead a city with "Boston Strong" as the motto.
But for the Red Sox, it was not just a cool slogan to sell T-Shirts. It became a way of life. Red Sox Nation is something that can be rivaled with Alabama or Notre Dame football. It is superstitions, and being sure to wear the same shirt on game days because the team won the day before with it. Red Sox Nation has suddenly became something that was once a curse to now a dynasty. It is a bloody sock to extreme playoff beards, "Cowboy Up" to "Boston Strong", and now to three championships in 10 years. Red Sox Nation is now each day being another day closer to the parade.
This World Series had several storylines tying to Chicago as well. With the Cardinals, obviously they are the long standing division rival of the Cubs. Most years, the Cardinals are that team that is the big bully that takes the Cubs lunch money, then proceeds to eat their food right in front of us.
On the other side, the Red Sox feature a potential candidate for the Cubs next manager in bench coach Torey Lovullo. Also, over the last few years the Ricketts family as put a premium on modeling Wrigleyville after Boston. And then there is that Theo Epstein connection. The former Boston General Manager now trying to build a winner on the North Side.
Also for Chicago fans, Congratulations go out to former Chicago players Ryan Dempster, Jake Peavy, and Matt Thornton for winning a championship.
As the season now turns to the offseason, it is of the realization for baseball fans that winter has officially set in. The Winter Meetings will heat up the hot stove and in a few short months it will all begin again. But for now, we are left with lasting images of Sweet Caroline and perhaps the victory parade concluding at a barbershop?
Congratulations to the 2013 World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox.