World Series 2013: why Red Sox run is a revolution (+video)
World Series bound, the Boston Red Sox of 2013 are, in some ways, a lot different from the championship teams of 2004 and 2007. Call it the Jonny Gomes effect.
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To say that they were built for this – all desire and heart and never-say-die toughness – would be an understatement. But the fact that they have done it is also nothing short of astonishing.
This is not merely one of those worst-to-first stories, in which fans warm their hearts around the fire of a familiar narrative. Yes, the Red Sox did finish last the American League East division last year. And yes, they did win the division this year, and – on Saturday – advanced to the World Series with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
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But that does not speak to who this franchise is, or why its ascent is so amazing.
The Red Sox are, in one sense, a revolution – a team that was built in a very different way from the Red Sox World Series champions of 2004 and 2007, yet might just join them in Boston lore.
In fact, of all the Red Sox teams of the past decade, this was perhaps the only one that began with almost no expectations of glory. The 2013 Boston Red Sox were seemingly a medicinal dose for a baseball town desperately in need of one.
After a late season collapse in 2011 that was accompanied by everything short of locusts and frogs, and then a last-place finish in 2012 that forever linked the words "Manager Bobby Valentine" and "clubhouse revolt," this 2013 team was seemingly meant to be a salve.
No fried-chicken-eating malcontents here. No Bobby Valentine, either. But also, aside from the legendary David Ortiz, not so many superstars, either.
"They might not win much, but golly gee, you all sure will root for 'em," could have painted on Fenway's Green Monster.
After spending more than a decade trying chase the success of the Evil Empire (a.k.a. Yankees), this seemed as close to capitulation as the Red Sox could get. Gone was the obsession with OPS and WHIP and WAR – stats known only to baseball geeks and venerated by the previous regime. Instead, the 2013 Red Sox did something that, by the measure of the advanced stats revolution ushered in by "Moneyball," was extraordinary.
They built a team based on character. They brought in Shane Victorino and David Ross and Ryan Dempster and Jonny Gomes – none of whom made the front page of The Boston Globe, but all of whom simply loved to play baseball the right way.