Final Thoughts on the 2013 World Series

The World Series has reached its conclusion and the Boston Red Sox are World Champions, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in six games. This Series was perhaps the most unbelievable of all time, it wrapped up with the team with the best record in baseball winning the championship in front of a fanbase that hadn’t seen them win it all at home in 95 years. Plenty of thoughts to be taken away from this Fall Classic:

  • The fact that the Red Sox finally won it in Boston was one of the greatest Boston sports moments of all time. Fox interviewed an 88-year old man during the game who has gone to every home game at Fenway for 70 years, in the same seat, waiting for the night he finally got to witness a championship in his beloved ballpark. The entire crowd of 38,447(though most were younger than he) wanted it bad as well, roaring from the first pitch to the final out. When Big Papi steps to the plate, the electricity in the park is like no other. While the 2004 World Series win may be the most memorable sports moment of the 21st century and 2007 was icing on the cake, those were in St. Louis and Colorado. There’s nothing like winning it all in your home park.
  • David Ortiz had one of the greatest World Series of all time. While most of the talk prior to Game 1 focused on Carlos Beltran and his incredible postseason numbers, by the end everyone was talking about Big Papi and his total domination of Cardinal pitching. The man hit .688. Last night, St. Louis had given up, resorting to walking Ortiz four times, with three intentional walks. He truly got the treatment Barry Bonds got in the 2002 Series, earning the ultimate respect a batter can receive. He was a deserving World Series MVP, not just for his slugging prowess against the Cardinals but for his season-saving, miraculous grand slam against Detroit in the ALCS as well. Without that deep ball into the bullpen, the Tigers are probably facing the Cards in a 2006 rematch. Instead, Ortiz was jumping around the field in a snowboard helmet and goggles, taking home a new Chevy Silverado in the process.
  • Koji Uehara was simply “clutch” this postseason with five saves and an ERA of zero in the ALCS and World Series. When Joel Hanrahan, Boston’s closer to start the season went down for the season and underwent Tommy John surgery, it looked like the Red Sox would have to go to a closer-by-committee. The committee didn’t last long as Uehara stepped up, earned the closer role and became one of the most formidable closers in baseball. Who would have thought that Farrell’s new closer would have had a playoff run like that?
  • John Lackey’s Game 6 performance had many Red Sox fans asking for forgiveness for how nasty they were to him over the years. It was a great story of redemption for a pitcher whose career was seemingly going downhill after 2011. The righty’s performance was all guts, shades of Curt Schilling with his unwillingness to leave the game when he knew he had something left in the tank. No one in Boston is going to doubt Lackey’s toughness and reliability again, that’s for sure.
  • The Red Sox did not hit well this postseason, but they managed to get the timely hits when the Tigers and Cardinals couldn’t. Stephen Drew hit 4-for-50 the entire playoffs, but one mighty swing of the bat in Game 6 changed everything. David Ross had a season full of injuries and concussions, but drove in the game-winning run in Game 5 when it looked like the Cardinals would take the commanding 3-2 series lead. Shane Victorino missed Games 4 and 5 with a back injury, but had four RBIs in Game 6 to power the Sox. Boston performed well when it mattered most.
  • As for St. Louis, this is far from the end of their success. Armed with  young pitchers, including future ace Michael Wacha and fireballer Carlos Martinez, add solid young hitting led by Allen Craig (who wasn’t able to really show his power this Series after being hampered by a foot injury), the Cards could very well win the NL pennant again next year. Beltran is likely gone, but St. Louis has shown that they’ll let the big guys walk and continue to stock their roster with younger, cheaper talent. I don’t expect a World Series hangover from the Redbirds.
  • Boston needs to keep their key players in free agency. Jacoby Ellsbury will be a priority, while Mike Napoli will likely be back as well. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is a wild-card. The Red Sox are one of the leading candidates to sign catcher Brian McCann, which would likely signal the end of Saltalamacchia’s tenure in Boston. His error at the end of Game 3 was the main reason for the obstruction controversy in the first place, but he was a solid fielder all year long prior to that mistake. McCann’s game, both offensively and defensively, makes him an upgrade and the Red Sox would be remissed to not pursue the All-Star.
  • Which World Series team has a better chance to make it back to the Series next year? Right now it’s probably the Cardinals. As the world saw this postseason, the Red Sox can never be counted out, especially if they win the Brian McCann sweepstakes over the winter.
  • What took place in the booth was very memorable as well. With Tim McCarver about to sign off as color commentator for the last time (this was his last World Series as an announcer), Joe Buck, who is often criticized for not showing enough emotion, gave McCarver a fitting send-off to conclude their 18 years together. Think what you want about either man as an announcer, but this was a great moment to signal the end of an era for Fox and Major League Baseball.

  • For now, Boston can celebrate. The Red Sox were a team of destiny this year and they finally achieved their goal to bring a championship to a city still reeling from the marathon tragedy. Boston Strong for sure.

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