Top Ten of the Decade: #4
Boston Red Sox winning the 2013 World Series
The 2013 baseball season in Boston was led by one mantra, “Boston Strong”. That April, two terrorists carried out a deadly attack during the Boston Marathon. They set off bombs, killing and wounding many innocent Americans.
Because the attacks happened at the beginning of the baseball season, the team took it upon themselves to take on the city’s sorrows and be a source of healing. In the first home game after the bombing, World Series MVP, David Ortiz, took the mic and spoke the now famous phrase “This is our f****** city”. His speech was the beginning point of healing for a city that was knocked down hard, but would come back stronger than ever that October.
When I think about the 2013 World Series and the 2013 playoffs in general, I think about a charismatic team that really gelled together and loved each other.
The pitching staff was led by Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy. All five are true veterans and simply knew how to get outs. None of these guys, Lester excluded, were really in the prime of their careers, but all of them battled just like the rest of Boston did. Lackey’s performance in game six in particular stands out to me. He went 6 2/3, and gave up one run while scattering nine hits.
I also think about guys like David Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, and Stephen Drew. All didn’t have long tenures in Boston, all were relatively low level free agent signings and mostly on the tail end of their careers. However, all of them found ways to come up clutch and make huge impacts during the 2013 season. Gomes in particular really had no business starting in left field for a MLB team in the World Series. He’s average at best in every metric except for the most important one, heart. Gomes and Napoli led the way with growing beards throughout the season. The beards became a rallying point for everyone associated with the Red Sox. Besides Big Papi, I’m not sure if there was anyone more clutch than Shane Victorino. In game six, Victorino hit the bases clearing three run triple to start the scoring, and he also had another hit to extend the lead. I think the most excited I’ve ever been watching a baseball game was his grand slam in the ALCS that year.
I’d be remiss to not mention the contributions of David Ortiz and Koji Uehara as well. Ortiz hit an absurd .688 in the World Series after having an abysmal ALCS in which he hit .091.
Koji led the way in the bullpen, carving people up with his patented arm side run 81 MPH splitter. He was untouchable. His last pitch in game six to Matt Carpenter will forever be etched in my mind.
In short, all World Series wins are special and mean a lot to the city and the fan base that wins it. But this one just meant more. Boston had been through so much in 2013. This Red Sox team took on all the sorrows of the city and did a damn good job erasing them with winning baseball. Stories like this one is what makes sports so special and I am thankful to have been alive for it.