Major League Baseball fans can commence debating on whether or not they truly deserve it, but the Boston Red Sox, once again, are World Champions. On Wednesday night, the Red Sox dispensed of the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 to take the World Series 4-2.
This was the team’s third World Series title in the last 10 years. What’s even more interesting is that this is the first time the Red Sox have won the deciding game of the World Series at historic Fenway Park since 1918, when Babe Ruth was still active.
It’s kind of ironic — the Red Sox have had uber-dominant teams in the past that have failed to duplicate this year’s success. Sure, Boston is locked in an eternal arms race with the New York Yankees to see who can blow more money and assemble the most star-studded roster, but this year’s Red Sox saw huge contributions from newcomers — not necessarily stars.
Take Shane Victorino, for example. Not only was the right fielder key for the Red Sox down the final stretch, but he was also resilient. Victorino stunk it up early in the playoffs. He was striking out left and right — especially against the Detroit Tigers, who made the entire Red Sox line-up look like amateurs.
Still, Victorino parked a huge home run to lift the Red Sox over the Tigers in the ALCS. Then, in Game 6 of the World Series, he nailed a three-run double to get things going. Those runs alone were enough to win the game.
Mike Napoli, who signed as a free agent this year, was almost solely responsible for getting the Red Sox to this year’s World Series. This first baseman (with an impressive playoff beard) was almost literally the only guy that could get a hit off the Tigers in the ALCS, including a home run off of ace Justin Verlander.
The list goes on of guys that were by no means considered stars — but might be now. Jonny Gomes was another great acquisition for the Red Sox, who proved to pay dividends when it was all said and done. He made a difference with his bat and in the field.
And, who can forget Koji Uehara? I’ve never seen a guy take to the role of closer so well. In fact, he was so lights out that fans might have seen the birth of one of the game’s best closers right before their eyes.
Throw in a new skipper in John Farrell, and there were a lot of strategic changes that made this year what it was. However, there were still classic Red Sox icons in the mix. This new wave of talent was mixed in perfectly with guys like David Ortiz — who had the home run of the year with a Grand Slam in the ALCS — and Dustin Pedroia. These guys can be considered the heart and soul of Red Sox baseball, and provide great leadership in the clubhouse.
The Yankees have always been considered the Evil Empire, but the Red Sox are quickly inching in to steal that role. After all, it doesn’t look like this year’s World Series Champions will be getting worse any time soon.