What a season, if opposites could be book ends then last year would be on one side of the longest book shelf in the world. This year is sitting prominently on the other side, proudly showing off to the world. What a contrast, from the bottom of the American East in 2012 to the World Champions in 2013, this really is hard to comprehend. One things for sure, the film directors will be circling Fenway Park in the aftermath of the celebrations documenting all the events that led to a truly memorable night, one that was last seen over 80 years ago!
Being a British Baseball fan is pretty awesome, it’s a sport that I’ve been playing for a couple of seasons and one that is growing in the UK. Seeing the NFL being played in London is something that one day I dream of happening with the MLB. Baseball is a fantastic sport, god I’m so envious of the Americans having it on their door step. I’ve been a Red Sox supporter for three seasons and I have to be honest that for some unknown reason I’ve always loved Boston as a city, this is strange because I’ve never been. I started listening to baseball games on the radio in the early hours before I started watching them live on MLB TV.
The season itself was a fantastic journey, Boston were winning series against The New York Yankees, The Orioles and The Rays with some devastating displays. On the road we were winning at tricky grounds like Seattle, The Angels and Cleveland. A team that flirted with a .500 record last year were suddenly winning, winning in commanding style. The streak at one point hit 8 games and as we marched over .600 the dream was fast becoming a reality. Boston clinched the American East Division with a handful of games to go and they beat Oakland to the best overall record in the East. Something that I believe was fundamental in our success.
Beating The Rays 3-1 in the American East Division Final with little trouble showed the gulf in quality between Boston and their closest rivals. It also demonstrated the believe that this was a team that was ready to claim the title. When we were drawn against Detroit, a team that we had little success against in the regular season, I was curious as to how we would compete. We didn’t just compete, we went to Detroit and battled our way to a couple of massive wins. Heading back to Boston 3-2 ahead was a dream and one we completed at the first time of asking.
I made a deal to myself that I would grow a beard (just like the team) in an effort to show my support. I also made it a priority to watch as much of the World Series live as I had this superstition that if I didn’t watch it, that we would lose. Ironically the two games I didn’t watch we did lose, so it was a test of my stamina to stay awake till 4 in the morning.
The World Series was a spectacle and my somewhat biased prediction of a 4-2 win was true. Each game had it’s drama, from the overturned out at 2nd base in Game 1 through to the Middlebrook “trip” in Game 3 that saw the Cards go 2-1 up with a hotly contested walk off win.
If there was one person who almost single handedly won the World Series for Boston, it was David Ortiz. Big Papi was on fire, going into Game 4 he had made it to first base on all 11 of his plate appearances. It got to the point in Game 6 that the only way The Cards could stop him, was by intentionally walking him. David Ortiz rallied the team through some testing times and was awarded the MVP trophy.
Boston Red Sox, thank you! It has been an absolute delight this season. I have been truly blessed with some high quality individual and team performances. These guys have shown how you can succeed, even when things are against you. This has been rewarded with the highest accolade possible, The World Series.
My five stand out players this year have been:-
1. David Ortiz
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. John Lester
4. John Lackey
And what about the coach, wow! Not bad for a debut season. The last time a coach won the World Series in his debut year was 2006. I’m pretty certain this won’t be repeated anytime soon.