RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
The city of Boston is still rejoicing this morning. With a decisive 6-1 victory at Fenway Park last night, the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. The Red Sox jumped on the St. Louis Cardinals early and this one was never much in doubt. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the game and brings us this report on Boston's third World Series win since 2004.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: Coming into game six, David Ortiz was having such a great series, having reached base 15 times out of the 19 times he stepped up to bat. There was only one thing that could stop him, the rules of the game itself. Baseball, unlike all other sports, simply allows the defense to neutralize the damage that an offensive player could do by walking him.
The Cardinals pitched to Ortiz for most of the series and they suffered the consequences. But this game, Ortiz drew walk after walk. As he noted afterwards...
DAVID ORTIZ: I don't even have to do anything today, I guess. The rest of the team take over.
PESCA: Indeed, in the third inning, Ortiz was intentionally walked. Two batters later, Shane Victorino stepped up to bat. The fans at Fenway were conditioned to assert...
UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Unintelligible)...
PESCA: It proved to be a redemption song for Victorino, who had missed the last two games with back stiffness. He sent a rocket to the outfield that cleared the bases, three to nothing, Sox. An inning later, with Boston having extended the lead to five to nothing, the sweet-swinging Hawaiian once again stepped up with the bases loaded. Fox's Joe Buck describes what happened next.
(SOUNDBITE OF BROADCAST)
JOE BUCK: That's a base hit to left. One run scores...
PESCA: The intentionally walked Ortiz scored and the score was six to nothing. Boston starter John Lackey, who pitched well, was bailed out of a jam in the seventh by his relievers, and in the ninth, closer Koji Uehara took over. How good has Uehara been? Lackey put it this way afterwards.
JOHN LACKEY: I don't think I've ever had a teammate pitcher that you feel more comfortable with him on the mound than him, and I think that says about all you need to say about him.
PESCA: And indeed, when Uehara stood on the mound for the final out, the Red Sox fans, having not witnessed a World Series win at home in 95 years, were ready to cheer their heads off and listen to that old Standells song one more time.
(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)
PESCA: The feeling for fans wasn't an unburdening or cathartic as in 2004, or an assertion of dominance like in 2007. This was just joy, bliss. As one fan, who happens to be the U.S. secretary of State, John Kerry, put it while surrounded by screaming fans after the game...
SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: So there's something about this game that captures the spirit, you know. It isn't breaking the curse, but it's a big deal, a big deal. Really, look at this. It's huge.
PESCA: Huge as in not Big Papi, but Huge Papi. That's what they might have to name David Ortiz after he took home World Series MVP. And who knows what names they'll affix to the Red Sox. They're not hapless, they have hap. They've won three World Series in the last decade. They've been the exemplar of excellence in baseball for that time.
They helped a city through a tough year that included the Boston Marathon bombing. And somewhere in Waltham or Peabody, there's a 10-year-old kid who always expects the Sox to win. That is all he's ever known. Mike Pesca, NPR News, Boston.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
A reporter who also clearly has hap. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.