Boston Red Sox: World Champions
Given how they pumped up a city shaken by unprecedented terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon on the first day of the baseball season, they would have been on a pedestal even if they hadn't won the World Series. Now their pedestal might be a hazard to the International Space Station.
April 15, 2013
The Boston Marathon. The first home game of the Red Sox 2013 season. The Boston Marathon Bombing…all on the same day. The city is shaken to its foundation.
Last September, this team was mired in last place in the American League East, bedeviled by an egomaniacal manager and a few well paid malcontents. They stunk. Boston fans Waited 86 years to win their second World Series in 2004. They can tolerate losing. They cannot tolerate losers and the 2012 team had its share of them. This year, with a new manager and a general manager who traded shrewdly for talent, they were a quixotic bunch, a team of talented Don Quixotes seeking redemption. As of today, they were living in a city that needed a shoulder to lean on.
April 19, 2013
Boston is still raw from the bombings that killed three and wounded 264 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, less than one mile away from the ball park. The Red Sox, on a road trip after the Opening Day game, return Friday. The city and surrounding towns have been in “lockdown” since Tuesday. Their Friday home opener is canceled. On Friday night, one bomber is killed, another captured.
April 20, 2013
Play ball. A 617 emblem (Boston's area code) hangs in the dugout. The second home game is preceded by an emotional ceremony honoring the killed and injured in the bombing, the police departments, first responders and runners and volunteers who participated in the marathon. David Ortiz, the most beloved man on the team, is asked to speak.
Fenway Park becomes a chapel, Deacon David Ortiz presiding and a national audience listening.
“This jersey that we wear today, it doesn't say Red Sox. It says Boston,” Ortiz says. “We want to thank you, Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, the whole police department for the great job they did this past week. This is our fucking city. And nobody's gonna dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
This goes down with “Give me liberty or give me death.” Feisty since a bunch of them dumped tea from a British ship into the harbor, Bostonians don’t usually need reminders to tell them nobody’s gonna dictate their freedom. For this moment, David Ortiz achieved the status of Patrick Henry.
During the next six months, players reached out to families of the killed and wounded. Fans cheered lustily, showering the bunch of beard growing men with unconditional love, gifts and talismans.
These guys were fun to watch, a bunch of talented athletes who kept grinding away. A bunch of players who were just as likely to beat you when they were down to their last out as when they came on strong with RBIs falling like rain. A bunch of guys you can lean on.
October 30, 2013
Boston can get some sleep now. After weeks of way late night and looong
playoff games followed by a historic World Series, we’ve expended enough
adrenalin to launch a rocket ship. You didn’t dare turn off the TV
until the last out was recorded. You gladly gave up thoughts of
productivity. So what if you needed a derrick to help you struggle out
of bed when the alarm rang. The morning paper, every TV station and
sports radio station (and we have lots of them) in town told you you
weren’t dreaming. Your team, the team of bearded men you’d cross the
street to avoid if they were dressed in civilian clothes,has just won
all the marbles.
Highlight reel defensive plays. Heroic home runs. Clutch base hits. Timely pitching. A few managerial bumps along the way to prove John Farrell was indeed human. The fourth and fifth World Series games ending on plays you’d scoff at if they were in a made-for-TV movie. The win of game six last night was DESTINY rolling in like thunder.
A team whose combined batting average in playoffs (with the insane exception of David Ortiz’s .733) was around the weight of a skinny adult male, made a handful of hits when they mattered most. Heroes were born. Sagas with the narrative heft of Beowulf will now be told and retold in kitchens and bars throughout Red Sox Nation for decades to come.
It’s all over now but the shouting.
This Saturday, there will be shouting. Thousands of men, women, and children will line the streets as the team triumphantly boards Boston's signature duckboats and begins its victory tour at the finish line of the Boston Marathon a few hundred yards from the site of the bombings – a journey completed and begun at the same place.
Stay strong. Was there ever any doubt?