BOSTON – They don’t even worry about the Red Sox here anymore. Why would they? With another championship, their third in 10 years, the Red Sox have the finances, the farm system and the fan base to succeed for years to come.
At Fenway Park, the fans sing their outlook: Every little thing gonna be all right.
It is more than the at-bat anthem for Shane Victorino, the sprightly right fielder who drove in four runs Wednesday. After decades of well-founded fatalism, it is now a way of life.
With a 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the World Series, the Red Sox won their first title at home in 95 years. After championships on the road in 2004 and 2007, it was bound to happen, sooner or later.
“People call this the cathedral of baseball, and I absolutely, 100 percent agree; this place is a special place to play,” Victorino said.
Victorino spoke before the game in a redbrick interview room off the clubhouse, his headphones on the table in front of him. Written across the top was the ubiquitous slogan “Boston strong,” the city’s rallying cry after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April.
It was fitting that this, of all the championships, would be the one to end on Yawkey Way.
“This year is truly different and special, for a whole host of reasons, but mostly the connection between the team and the town and the way that all played out,” Larry Lucchino, the Red Sox’s president, said on the field after the victory.
Twelve of the 25 players on the World Series roster never had played for the Red Sox before this season. Yet they took to their new surroundings, some as a condition of employment.
The Red Sox, given a chance to reshape their team after a bailout trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last August, signed seven free agents over the offseason, mostly for their talent and affordability. But the Red Sox had seen the corrosive effect that miserable players could have on a clubhouse, and as they revamped their roster, they made sure the imports really wanted to be here.
“We knew we would be tested, and there would be skepticism, rightfully so, along the way,” general manager Ben Cherington said. “So we felt like if we had a core, kind of a critical mass of guys in the clubhouse who really wanted to be there for the right reasons, they would embrace everything that came along with being in Boston.”
Even as the team set a postseason record for strikeouts by an offense, almost all the Red Sox had big moments in October.
Mike Napoli homered for the only run in Game 3 against Detroit and homered again in a one-run victory in Game 5. Xander Bogaerts, 21, won the starting third baseman job in the middle of October, becoming the youngest Red Sox player in a postseason lineup since Babe Ruth. Bogaerts hit .296 in October.
Jonny Gomes had one hit through the first five World Series games, but it was a three-run, go-ahead homer in Game 4. Dustin Pedroia doubled and scored early in Game 5, and catcher David Ross doubled in the go-ahead run. Jacoby Ellsbury had two big hits Wednesday.
The Red Sox faced a gantlet of ace starters in the postseason and beat them all: Matt Moore and David Price of Tampa Bay; Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer of Detroit; Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, twice each, of St. Louis.
“It’s such a great group of guys,” said starter John Lackey, who rebuilt his arm and his physique and won the clincher. “You can tell on the field. We genuinely care about each other and really like competing together. It ended up being a lot of wins.”