Worst to First (Sunday Surprise)


It was magical. Imagine having what certainly was the worst record in the AL East, if not all of baseball, and now embarking on an appearance on this coming Wednesday in the 2013 World Series. Not only magical, but actually, a miracle.

As a baseball fan, you have to appreciate how difficult it is for any team as bad as the Red Sox were last year just to have a winning record the following year. The fact that they won the Division was unexpected. Then, to win the ALDS was extraordinary. And now this? WOW!!

Keep in mind, the Bosox play in what is, year over year, the toughest division in baseball. Why? Well, for starters, their nemesis is the hated New York Yankees, a rivalry that goes back over 100 years. They have been the poor cousin to the Bronx Bombers since 1918, but lately, they have been in and won two World Series since 2004. And they are on the verge of doing it again. And remember, they had to pass the Orioles and the Blue Jays, two teams that have been flying high over the last few years.

John Farrell, the 46th manager in the Sox’ storied history, was hired last October, shortly after the 45th manager, the (despised) Bobby Valentine was fired. He, in turn, lasted only one year, following the contentious firing of Terry Francona at the end if the 2011 season. Farrell was hired away from their division rival Blue Jays, which required that the Sox give up a key player as compensation, which is a customary practice in baseball.

Farrell had been with the Red Sox from 2006 to 2010 as their pitching coach, and had the respect of pitchers and regular players alike. Despite the turmoil of the 2012 season, the players welcomed the change in direction afforded by Farrell’s return. And not coincidentally, so did the fans.

The players, led by Big Papi David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and newcomer, Shane Victorino, welcomed the return of Farrell by posting the best record in the American League and tied their World Series opponent, the St Louis Cardinals, with the best record in baseball. In addition, unlike the hated Yankees, who require the players to be clean-shaven as a mark of discipline, the most disciplined team in baseball this year were the “duck hunting” bearded Sox.

So, congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and their fans on a great season, and a miraculous win in the ALCS to win the pennant. No matter what happens against the Cardinals, you have proven your mettle to go from worst to first.

And make the fans ask “Bobby Who?”