As difficult as it now may be to believe, I know of a Red Sox fan who thought that the team would be fortunate to finish third in their division. He spent pretty much the entire season waiting for them to come back to earth, and indeed, would have been happy with a .500 record. He was concerned that “Big Papi” couldn’t stay healthy for the entire six months, and that the slugger had become more concerned with his own stats and his contract than he was for the welfare of the team. In addition, he worried that Ortiz had lost his flair for late game heroics. He thought from the beginning that they were a likeable, balanced but unspectacular team, that would help the franchise make the transition from the embarrassing 2011-2012 seasons to a bright, exciting future. He could be convinced they had a shot at making the playoffs, but never believed they would get more than a round into it, and would certainly never need the duck boats. And you know, I wasn’t alone…….
But somewhere along the way, the members of the 2013 Red Sox started to truly believe in the “Boston Strong” concept, embraced it, wore it and, much like the 2005 Saints in a post-Katrina New Orleans, helped a city heal over the course of the last six months. Maybe it was the growing of the beards that helped to symbolize the attachment between the city and the ball team, but whatever is was, the Sox seemed to assume it was their destiny to win a championship from very early on. As Red Sox Nation looks back, many feel it was the now famous, “This is our f…..ing city.” speech by David Ortiz that really started it. (A moment really made by the late game homerun off the bat of Daniel Nava.) I, on the other hand, was very late in getting to the parade, so to speak. It wasn’t until Big Papi’s ALCS Game 2 tying grand slam that I started acknowledging that the hand of Karma was truly guiding the Sox fortunes. Then when Mike Napoli provided the sole run of Game 3, the one that helped the Sox, and John Lackey, win despite facing Justin Verlander, then I knew we were really onto something.
Looking back at the Series itself, I almost feel it was too easy, as the Cards barely showed up for Game 6. Granted, I wasn’t thinking that way after the “Obstruction Game”, but even that ended up being a positive for the Sox. It provided Ortiz with another opportunity to exercise his leadership skills and get his team to refocus their energies back into the game, and not be distracted by the call itself. By the way, I don’t think the umpires were right. The way I understand the rule, the defensive player has the right to make the play, which is what Middlebrooks was attempting to do, the runner should have been out at the plate. Besides, in just about every other sport, the officials usually “lose the whistle” at such crucial moments and do their best to not be part of the final outcome. A non-call at that point keeps the game tied and allows the players themselves to determine its ending.
In all the excitement and strangeness that was the 2013 World Series, (A game ending pick off? Really?) it’s easy to lose the significance of the pitching performance of Lester, Lackey, and Uehara. Jon Lester in his two wins looked like the horse he was expected to be! John Lackey earned back most of the respect he had squandered away after the “year of chicken and beer” and Koji Uehara looked like the Japanese version of “Mo” Rivera. Something I believe he can repeat for another few seasons because like Rivera, it’s more the cut of his fastball, as opposed to its velocity, that makes him so effective.
As for repeating; well, I’m enjoying the moment a little too much to want to go down that path just yet. I will concede, however, that when a team depends as much on “magic” as this one did, repeating is difficult. But whether or not you are a fan of the Boston Red Sox, you should do yourself a favor, and do whatever it takes to watch the ceremony that took place at the Marathon finish line during the Rolling Rally World Series celebration on Saturday. I believe you will be deeply touched by it, as it demonstrated to the world how we keep our promise to never forget while we continue to move forward. It’s a very American thing…
- The “Roger That” Edition - February 28, 2017
- The “Nice Ring To It” Edition - February 3, 2017
- The “Shaken, Not Stirred” Edition - January 17, 2017
- The “Malcolms in the Middle” Edition - January 11, 2017
- A “Catching Up, Following Up, and Weighing In” Edition - December 31, 2016
- The “Cannon and Flowers” Edition - December 21, 2016
- The “Farm, for Sale” Edition - December 10, 2016
- The “Tebucky Jones Tribute” Edition - November 13, 2016
- The “World, Serious” Edition - November 1, 2016
- The “Easy Come, Easy Go” Edition - October 18, 2016