Thursday, October 31, 2013

Game 6: Boston. Strong.

David Ortiz drew four walks (three)
intentional) and scored twice in
Wednesday's World Series clincher.
A baseball season lasts a long time -- a month or more of spring training (more this year with the World Baseball Classic), six months of regular season play, and October's postseason. 

A lot happens in that time. Some we forget almost immediately, some we think we'll remember only to see it fade away, and some sticks.

A lot from this World Series should stick. The bizarre ending of Game 3, when St. Louis got its winning run without the runner reaching home plate; the big bat of David Ortiz; the sturdy pitching of Jon Lester.

And as I think of Ortiz and the 2013 season, I can't help but remember an emotional moment back in April, when the Sox weren't well-regarded as a contender -- remember, they had finished last in the AL East in 2012 -- and Boston was reeling from the Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt. A stressful time indeed.

The Red Sox, of course, traditionally play a morning game on Patriots Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts. The game is scheduled with the intent that it will end in time for the Fenway fans to watch the marathon stream past the ballpark. In practice, with the Sox games typically dragging along, it hasn't worked that way in recent years. Still, there is a connection of long-standing between the Red Sox and the Marathon.

So the bombing happens, and the manhunt begins, and the shootout happens, and one bombing suspect is dead and another wounded and arrested. The Sox come back to Fenway after a road trip and hold a pre-game ceremony, and David Ortiz -- native of the Dominican Republic, naturalized American -- says something blunt and earthy and defiant that captures the moment, and the popular sentiment, perfectly:

This is our fucking city, and nobody gonna dictate our freedom. 

The Red Sox didn't win the pennant and the World Series because of the bombing. They won because they were the best team in the American League and because they played better than their rivals in three short series this month.

But this feels somehow righteous: Ortiz, who gave voice to the larger feeling in April, was the man the Cardinals simply could not deal with in October.

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