Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
2013 will definitely go down as the Year of Redemption for the Boston Red Sox and their players. After being a punch line from the collapse at the end of the 2011 season all the way through the debacle of the Bobby Valentine led 2012 season, this group of bearded fools can now call themselves World Series Champions. Nobody saw it coming, and that is what possibly makes this one the most special of all of their latest 3 Championships.
David Ortiz alluded to this in his postgame comments, saying that this might just be his favorite of the 3 World Series he has won with Boston. “We probably don’t have the talent that we had in ’04 or ’07,” Ortiz said, “but we have guys that are capable to stay focused and do the little things. And when you win with a ballclub like that, that’s special.”
The final win of the season was typical of the way this team played from day 1. The St. Louis Cardinals decided that they would not let Big Papi beat them in Game 6, so it was up to the other players to back the big man up. After sitting out the last 2 games with back stiffness, Shane Victorino did exactly that when he came to the plate with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning. The Cardinals intentionally walked Ortiz with 1 out and Jacoby Ellsbury on second, and then rookie sensation Michael Wacha hit Jonny Gomes to load the bases. Victorino hit a 2-1 pitch high off the Green Monster, and when Gomes slid around Yadier Molina’s tag the Red Sox took a 3-0 lead that they would not relinquish.
The next inning was exactly like the rest of the playoffs for the Red Sox, where someone that has struggled at the plate would break through with a big hit (I forgot to mention that Victorino was 0 for 10 in the World Series before his double in the 3rd). The bottom of the 4th inning started when Stephen (4 for 51) Drew drilled Wacha’s first pitch into the Red Sox bullpen. Red Sox Nation knew they could really start planning their celebrations and “cue the duck boats” was heard all over New England for the next 4 innings on the Red Sox’ way to a 6-1 victory and a 4-2 Series win.
Possibly the most unforeseen event of Game 6 was the Fenway crowd chanting Lackey – Lackey – Lackey in support of starting pitcher John Lackey. After what can only be described as vitriol and outright hatred from the fans in his 1st two years in Boston, the ultimate sound of redemption was music enough to his ears that he tipped his cap on the way off the field in the seventh. This may not sound like much, but this was very much a topic of conversation in these parts lately, and his acknowledgment to the crowd showed that we are all willing to move on and forgive.
Winning a World Series can magically erase the past. John Lackey and every other Red Sox player can rest easy knowing that this very special Championship is all Red Sox Nation will remember. Ok, maybe some folks will remember the beards, too!