AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
The Boston Red Sox are planning a rally on Saturday to celebrate their World Series victory. While this is their third title in a decade, it's the first time the Sox have clinched at home since 1918. And in Boston, that's a big deal. The mayor called the team's dramatic comeback from worst place last year proof that Boston never quits.
As NPR's Tovia Smith reports, the Sox have become symbols of the resilience the city has shown since the Boston Marathon bombings.
TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: It's hard for Sox fans to stay away. John Murry drove an hour to Fenway Park this morning to pick up a souvenir baseball cap, never imagining fate would lead him straight into Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara outside the baseball park.
JOHN MURRY: I came for a hat.
SMITH: And you're going home with...
MURRY: The ball signed from the Reliever of the Year. Unbelievable.
SMITH: Now, if that's not emblematic of the whole exceeding expectations...
MURRY: Exceeding expectations.
SMITH: ...(unintelligible) Red Sox.
MURRY: Absolutely. This is Boston.
SMITH: Indeed, the celebration stretched from Fenway through the city and the day.
BRIAN BLACK: I've been out drinking all night. I'm going home now to go to bed.
SMITH: Brian Black who manages a bar near Fenway detoured this morning to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. You're dancing on the finish line.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I celebrate on the finish line. Because Marathon Monday was a tough day and the Red Sox, they lifted the city up. I mean, it's cliche, but it's a phoenix that rose from the ashes. We started from the bottom, now we're here and Boston deserved that.
SMITH: Never mind the usual post-game analysis of pitching talent or manager's moves. Boston fans seemed more focused on karma and those who've been wondering why the city had to wait so long for a Fenway championship, like Laura Ingalls, now understand the baseball gods were just waiting till the city really needed it.
LAURA INGALLS: 100 percent. I mean, we needed that explosion of energy. We needed that release of happiness, of craziness. I mean, it came pouring out at Fenway last night. It flooded out onto the streets.
(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)
MADELEINE KEAVENEY: This is bucket list stuff, you know. It's worth every penny.
SMITH: Sixty-eight-year-old Madeleine Keaveney flew in from California to watch the team she's rooted for since she was a kid in Boston. This year, she says, the city, the Sox and fans like her are all seeing themselves reflected in each other.
KEAVENEY: I did have a little cancer scare this spring and it's like team, it's like the marathon, it's all these things that happen that aren't good things, but it's how you handle it.
SMITH: Call it a lesson, in inspiration or as one fan put it, the kind of feel good, happy ending no one could've scripted. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.