Rounding Third: A celebration 95 years in the making for Fenway
By Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - What a difference a year makes, huh?
That 93-loss season last year now seems like a lifetime ago, as the Boston Red Sox completed a worst-to-first transition and won their third World Series title since 2004 on Wednesday, finishing off the St. Louis Cardinals with a 6-1 win in Game 6.
Unlike their last two titles that were won with sweeps on the road, this clincher came in front of their fans at Fenway Park, a sight generations of Red Sox fans had never seen.
In fact, it had been 95 years since the Red Sox last clinched a title in Boston. To put that further into perspective a pitcher/outfielder named Babe Ruth won 13 games in that 1918 season and was used as a defensive replacement in the clincher.
And boy did they celebrate on Wednesday.
Fenway Park has seen some amazing nights. None, though, may have evoked more emotion than this one. It started with the Dropkick Murphys' rendition of the National Anthem and a performance of their "I'm Shipping up to Boston" whipped the already crazed crowd into a frenzy.
When Shane Victorino cleared the bases with a double in the third inning, the celebration reached a fevered pitch and busloads of police officers started to arrive at Lansdowne Street.
The celebration was on.
Some in the crowd reportedly paid over $10,000 for a ticket. Twenty years from now, though, you won't be able to find a person in Boston who'll say they weren't there.
Of course, at the center of this championship run was the one constant in these three most recent titles -- the Red Sox's modern-day Ruth, David Ortiz, who put forth one of the all-time great World Series performances.
It only took St. Louis six games to stop pitching to Ortiz, but he certainly made his presence felt in this Fall Classic, hitting .688 with a pair of home runs, six RBI, seven runs scored and was on base 75 percent of the time.
Of course, it was Ortiz who helped a fractured city begin to heal in the wake of the marathon bombings with an impassioned speech before the Red Sox's first home game after the tragedy, saying, "This is our (expletive) city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom."
Big Papi may have been the driving force in this series, but no victory this postseason was more important for the Red Sox than John Lackey's Game 3 win over the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. Lackey tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings to beat Justin Verlander that night and gave the Red Sox a 2-1 series edge.
Lackey was again on his game Wednesday, as he allowed just one run over 6 2/3 innings to get the win.
You want to talk about redemption for the Red Sox? Look no further than Lackey. Up until this season his biggest contribution since joining them in 2010 had been his part in the beer and chicken fiasco in 2011. He missed all of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, and was almost run out of town.
On Wednesday, though, he had the Fenway crowd chanting his name and he'll likely never have to pay for another meal in Boston for the rest of his life.
How's that for a turnaround?.
As for St. Louis? Well, I wouldn't feel too sorry for the Cardinals. Michael Wacha may have looked like a 22-year-old right-hander on Wednesday, but he went from being a nice prospect in September to emerging as the best young pitcher in baseball.
He's going to be a star.
Oh, and Carlos Martinez, another 22-year-old who made a name for himself this postseason as a reliever, will probably be in the Cardinals' rotation next year as well.
St. Louis isn't going anywhere. Don't be surprised if the Cardinals are right back in this position next year.
Wednesday, though, was about the Red Sox.
Did you ever think there'd be a day when a generation of Red Sox fans would know nothing other than winning World Series titles? With three in the last 10 years, that's the world we now live in.
So hang in there Cubs fans.
10/31 00:57:03 ET