Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Red Sox Return to the 2013 World Series

No one expected it to happen.

They lost more than 90 games last year with most of the same crew toiling away.  Bobby Valentine swore that he got everything he could out of the then beardless Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz.  Management claimed that it was not their fault, they brought in a GM who was ready to clean house and bring in new players.  They all said that 2013 was going to be different.  The memories of 2011 and 2012 would disappear.  No one expected it to happen.

2013 began with a whimper.  Instead of going after big free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke, the Red Sox went after the likes of Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara and Mike Napoli (remember when the Red Sox almost voided Napoli's contract because of his hip?).  They relied on comeback years from Jacoby Ellsbury and John Lackey.  They were hoping youngsters like Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and Allen Webster could play big roles in the Red Sox resurgence.  But no one expected it to happen.

Even as the Red Sox were winning games early in the season and staying with the Yankees, Orioles and the Rays in the AL East, we were looking at the likes of closers like Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey, asking if this was the shape of our bullpen. The Marathon bombing happened and the Red Sox became a galvanizing force in those weeks afterward, punctuated by David Ortiz's heartfelt speech and Daniel Nava's clutch 3 run home run at the first home game after the bombing.  The Red Sox became the thing that pulled us all together as we were grieving for those that we lost and those that go injured.  Still, no one expected it to happen.

When the Yankees and the Orioles started to fall behind and only the Rays were keeping up with the Red Sox over the course of the Summer, we were all convinced that the Rays would overtake us and we would be shut out of the Wild Card by either the Angels, Rangers or A's.  We have been trained by this particular crew that they look good on paper, but can't come together when it matters.  No one expected it to happen.

When the Red Sox started growing those ridiculous beards and made the playoffs, we were convinced that the Rays had better pitching and could take us in 5, especially if Price pitched two of those games.  We didn't believe in the power of the Beard at the time.  When we won that series to play the Tigers, many pundits thought that the Tigers big three would pitch right past us.  And to a big degree, they did.  When we won game 6, that was a huge moment for the Red Sox.  As Victorino won Game 6 with his huge home run, Napoli singlehandedly won Game 3 with his home run and Uehara won the ALCS MVP, I think all of started to believe it could happen.

Now the Cardinals stand in the way of the Red Sox's third world series in 10 years.  And I hear echoing in my head is Joe Castiglione's call "Stabbed by Foulke. He underhands it to first and the Red Sox are the World Champions.  For the first time in 86 years the Red Sox have won the World Championship.  Can you believe it?"

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