|Resilient Red Sox lift Boston in wake of bombings|
|Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:07 PM|
BOSTON — For fans, players and political leaders who celebrated the Red Sox’s World Series title with cries of “Boston Strong,” the championship provided a jubilant finish to a season that was shadowed nearly from the start by the April bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The morning after he cheered the victory inside Fenway Park, Ed Carlson returned Thursday to the marathon finish line he had crossed months earlier, 20 minutes before the bombs went off, and then had scrambled to find his children in the ensuing chaos.
“It was quite a year,” added Carlson, 51, of Princeton, Mass. “To be at the marathon and then to be there for the World Series — I still tear up thinking about it.”
The success of the Red Sox, who finished last in their division only a year ago, became a welcome surprise and eventually a symbol of resilience for a city recovering from the twin bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.
Jarrod Clowery, a carpenter from Stoneham, Mass., who suffered severe burn and shrapnel injuries in the April 15 bombings, said he was inspired by the Red Sox, who began bonding in spring training over their beards.
“No one gave them a chance after that season last year … but they started growing those beards, they became a unit and they turned around and won a World Series,” added Clowery, who has three friends who lost limbs in the blast. “I’m proud of those guys and happy for those guys.”
On Wednesday night, after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6, thousands of fans clogged the streets around the finish line. It was a quieter scene Thursday morning as traffic sped over the blue and yellow line painted permanently on Boylston Street and people periodically stopped on the sidewalk to offer a solemn tribute.
Carlson, who took in the scene with his 17-year-old daughter, wore a new Red Sox World Series Champions baseball hat along with the same blue and yellow marathon jacket he wore to every Sox game he attended over the season. At Wednesday night’s game, he had his marathon medal in his pocket.
His daughter, Maggie, still remembers the fear she felt the day of the bombing.
“It was just scary. Very scary. My dad was running,” she rexalled. “We were torn apart by this. And we were able to come back and win the World Series. It just shows how resilient we are.”
Buddy Shoemaker, 35, of Gilford, N.H., was two blocks away when the second bomb exploded. Police told him and his 13-year-old son to run. He returned to the scene for the first time Thursday morning, wearing a new World Series cap and sweatshirt purchased at the game the night before.
“It hit too close to home,” he said of the bombing, tears in his eyes. “The World Series definitely brought everything full circle.”
The Red Sox embraced the idea of “Boston Strong” from the beginning, with players wearing a logo of it on their left sleeves and a giant “B Strong” logo mowed into Fenway’s outfield. The team honored some of the victims on the field during its postseason run, and players said they wanted to honor those affected by the attacks.
“First and foremost, to all the Marathon victims, this one’s for you!” tweeted Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, who won two World Series game.
After the deciding game, 10 arrests were made in the city, mostly for disorderly conduct, prosecutors announced. There were no reports of serious damage but at least one car was overturned. Celebrations turned destructive at several college campuses in New Hampshire and officials at the University of Massachusetts said 15 people — all but one of them students — were arrested after thousands gathered on the Amherst campus following the Red Sox win.
A duck boat parade was set for Saturday morning in Boston to celebrate the championship. The route will take the players from Fenway Park and down Boylston Street before going on to the Charles River.
“We needed this,” said Mark Porcaro of Boston. “They were an easy team to get behind because they stood up for us when we needed them most.”
Silent bats to blame for Series flameout
ST. LOUIS — Clutch hitting deserted the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason. The power arms that got them to the World Series finally gave out, too.
For the third straight year, there’s satisfaction in the achievement of making a deep October run. They were close to a second title in three years, largely thanks to rookie Michael Wacha, and there’s no reason they can’t keep contending.
The way it ended, it felt as if they’d missed by a mile.
“Unfortunately, the offense during the playoffs, we just didn’t get it going,” Carlos Beltran said after the Cardinals went quietly in a 6-1 Game 6 loss Wednesday night. “Our pitching did a good job.”
The flameout brought back bitter memories from last fall, when the Cardinals had a 3-1 lead over San Francisco in the NLCS and got outscored 20-1 the rest of the way.
The Cardinals did not schedule the usual exit interviews while players cleaned out locker stalls.
“The flood gates opened,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I told them to hold their head high. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”
The lineup was off the charts in the regular season, with a .330 average with runners in scoring position that was the best in major league history. They batted .224 in the World Series and the RISP was a meager .167 and the bottom half of the order vanished with zero RBIs from sixth on down.
David Freese was the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2011, racking up 21 RBIs. He had one homer and four RBIs this postseason and batted .158 against the Red Sox. Shortstops Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso combined for one single.
Jon Jay (.167) and Matt Adams (.136) contributed little. In the four losses to Boston, the Cardinals totaled five runs.
The Series might have slipped out of St. Louis’ grasp in Game 4 at home. The Cardinals might have left Lance Lynn in too long and paid dearly on Jonny Gomes’ tie-breaking 3-run homer in the sixth inning off rookie Seth Maness.
“I think that game, it was kind of hard for us to lose that one,” Beltran said.
Without Wacha’s shutdown run, they would have never made it this far. Matheny made sure the kid knew that.
It might have been a matter of the Red Sox simply getting better looks the second time. Or the innings load taking its toll on the 22-year-old right-hander.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. That includes Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak for some puzzling roster decisions.
Shelby Miller led major league rookies with 15 wins but pitched just one inning in the postseason, apparently due to concern about his innings load. Edward Mujica, who had 35 saves before falling apart in mid-September, apparently got a bullpen spot as a reward because he logged just two innings.
Before the division series, Matheny was asked what role Mujica would have and he answered cryptically: “Right-handed pitcher.”
Going forward, it appears the NL champions have plenty of payroll flexibility. They haven’t announced whether they’ll seek a contract extension with Beltran, who would like to stay.
“They know, they know. I made it clear I want to come back,” Beltran said after Game 6. “But we have to see their plans.
“I won’t take anything personal if I don’t come back to St. Louis.”
Beltran became a free agent Thursday ,along with Chris Carpenter, Rafael Furcal and Mujica. The Cardinals declined a $9.5 million option for next year on Jake Westbrook.
Including Beltran, who wrapped up a 2-year, $26 million deal, that’s more than $42 million off the payroll for next year.
St. Louis also might decline arbitration on Freese, who made $3 million this year. If rookie Kolten Wong is ready to start at second base, Matt Carpenter would likely move to third.
Factoring into the Beltran decision is the need to find regular playing time for Matt Adams in the outfield except when filling in for Allen Craig at first base and getting top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras into the mix, too. Taveras had been on track to contribute last year before a season-ending ankle injury.
World Series rating up 17 percent over 2012
NEW YORK — The World Series television rating on Fox was up 17 percent over last year but was the lowest for a matchup that went at least six games.
Boston’s 4-2 Series win over St. Louis averaged an 8.9 rating, 15 share and 14.9 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research announced Thursday.
San Francisco’s 4-game sweep of Detroit last year averaged a record-low 7.6/12 and was seen by 12.7 million viewers. That was among only three Series that had lower ratings than this year’s, joined by 8.4 ratings for Philadelphia’s 5-game win over Tampa Bay in 2008 and San Francisco’s 5-game victory over Texas in 2010.
Boston’s clincher received an 11.3/18 and was seen by 19.2 million viewers, baseball’s highest rating since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.
The game, which marked the first title won by the Red Sox at Fenway Park since 1918, drew a 55.2/75 in Boston, the highest MLB rating there since Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. The Boston rating peaked at a 59.5/84 from 11-11:30 p.m., which included the final out and the start of the postgame celebration.
Hall of Fame collects artifacts from Red Sox title
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The Baseball Hall of Fame is putting the Red Sox World Series victory on display.
The Hall’s museum has collected items from Boston’s third championship in 10 years.
Included among the items are:
—The bat used by World Series MVP David Ortiz in Game 5.
—The spikes worn throughout the World Series by Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.
—The batting gloves worn by Boston rookie Xander Bogaerts.
The items are being revealed at the Hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Thursday.