College Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘Boston Red Sox’
Red Sox seem to be copying Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ approach to media relations 03.31.17 at 3:18 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Red Sox seem to be copying Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ approach to media relations
John Farrell denied this week the Red Sox's shoulder program was a factor in Tyler Thornburg's DL stint, even though he once said otherwise. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

John Farrell denied this week the Red Sox’s shoulder program was a factor in Tyler Thornburg’s DL stint, even though he once said otherwise. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

When Donald Trump wants to discredit the media, he’ll often reprimand outlets for reporting his words verbatim, claiming he never said what he did. The latest example of this phenomenon came last week, when he told Time Magazine his tweets about President Barack Obama wiretapping him weren’t meant to be taken literally.

As the 2017 season nears, it seems as if the Red Sox are developing a similar approach to media relations.

Earlier this month, reliever Tyler Thornburg told WEEI.com and the Boston Herald the team’s strenuous shoulder program played a role in his shoulder injury. After two Spring Training outings, he was shut down so he could acclimate himself to the regimen.

“Once we started working those muscles in the back that in depth and that much they really started to tire,” he said March 11. “I was doing a shoulder program on a certain day and all of a sudden I would pitch in the game and they would already be fatigued. It was one of those things where we decided to shut it down and let them relax as well as strengthen it at the same time. It was really hard to do it all at the same time. It’s a lot more than I was used to, for sure.”

When Thornburg was placed on the disabled list this week, he brought up the shoulder program again.

“If anything, it might have fatigued my arm a little bit before the first outing,” he said, via the Herald. “Or it possibly could’ve pointed out some weaknesses in my shoulder or something that wasn’t working properly. That’s all stuff we were figuring out in the last couple days.”

That sounds pretty cut-and-dried, apparently except to the Red Sox. They deny Thornburg ever mentioned the shoulder program. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday it was never part of the conversation.

“I’m not getting into that particular. It’s not the throwing program, OK? I wish you would just lay off of that, OK? We talked about that part of it,” he said, via the Herald.

Dombrowski lashed out when he was told Thornburg was the person who had originally mentioned it.

“No, it’s you pushing it,” he said.

Manager John Farrell, who also referenced the shoulder program March 10 when asked about Thornburg’s status, essentially called the reports fake news.

“There’s a lot been written targeting our shoulder program here,” he said. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which the inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms now are the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

As Trump has shown, if you repeat a lie often enough, your followers are likely going to believe it. A recent poll shows 74 percent of Republicans believe he was wiretapped, even though FBI Director James Comey says that wasn’t the case. A February poll from Politico found that 25 percent of voters believe Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud as well.

Despite lying 69 percent of the time, Trump was able to ascend to the presidency. His success in the political arena shows truthfulness may not be all that important when it comes to public perception. It wouldn’t be surprising to see sports teams, which are private businesses and have no obligation to be transparent with the press, copy some of those tactics.

Instead of acknowledging reality, the Trump administration habitually presents “alternative facts.” The Red Sox followed a similar blueprint with Thornburg this week, denying the words that came out of his mouth.

Presidents affect culture in addition to policy. This week, the phrase “fake news” carried down from the White House all the way to Fort Myers. Maybe it will make its way to Fenway Park this season as well.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, Donald Trump, john farrell
Budweiser releases ‘Red Sox Nation’ beer can 03.22.17 at 11:17 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Budweiser releases ‘Red Sox Nation’ beer can

Prior to the start of every MLB season, Budweiser releases team-branded beer cans. This spring is no different, and the Red Sox design is … OK.

In a tweet Wednesday, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell posted a photo of the limited edition MLB cans.

The “Red Sox Nation” monicker jumped the shark last decade, when the team monetized it and started to offer “official members” the chance to become president of the make believe organization. Jerry Remy was elected the first president of “Red Sox Nation” in 2007.

While the Red Sox design is a tad passé, the Cubs’ can is awesome. Nothing beats being called the “World Series champions.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox,
Don’t mock Tim Tebow for playing baseball 03.08.17 at 1:07 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Don’t mock Tim Tebow for playing baseball

Don’t mock Tim Tebow for pursuing a career in baseball.

Tebow will make his Spring Training debut against the Red Sox Wednesday, starting at DH for the Mets in a split-squad game in Port St. Lucia, Fla. It’s the most relevant game of the Grapefruit League calendar, but yet, some of the beat writers seem less than enthused about all of the hoopla at the ballpark.

Ten years after Tebowmania first entered our lives, ridiculing the former Heisman trophy winner is passé and stale. While Tebow’s pious public persona may first come across as self-indulgent, it’s apparent his charitable efforts are genuine. This year, his foundation is planning 375 proms across the country for special needs kids. He also says he wants to adopt at least one child from every continent, in order to embrace diversity.

“I think when you look at God’s family, it’s not about color,” he said, via PEOPLE. “Love knows no color. I want my kids to grow up with an appreciation for every single person, no matter what they look like. That’s what unity looks like to me: knowing that you can love people who aren’t the same as you are. I want to teach that message to my kids; I want them to live it.”

Does that sound like a phony to you?

Tebow never asked for all of this attention. When he held a workout last year, not a single MLB team was obligated to show up. But almost all of them did, sending nearly 40 scouts in total. The Mets eventually signed Tebow to a minor league contract and dispatched him to the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .194 in 71 plate appearances with 20 strikeouts. But apparently, they thought highly enough of his performance to invite him to Major League camp.

Make no mistake: there’s probably a marketing component here as well. But that’s not Tebow’s problem. After flaming out in the NFL, he wants to try his hand at baseball. He’s not responsible for the circus he attracts.

Assuming Tebow makes it out of Spring Training, he’ll probably start the season in the lower levels of the minor leagues. That means there’s a chance he’ll be sent to either Kingsport, Tenn. (Rookie League Mets) or Columbia, South Carolina (Low-A Columbia Fireflies). If Tebow is just looking for publicity, there are easier ways to attain it than riding buses throughout the Southeast during the hot summer months.

During the sleepy months of Spring Training, there are few stories more intriguing than a former Heisman trophy winner and first-round NFL pick trying his hand at baseball. Anybody who doesn’t recognize that is being obtuse.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Tim Tebow,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Red Sox upgrade sleep room at Fenway for players to nap; ESPN’s ‘O.J.: Made in America’ wins Best Feature Documentary Oscar 02.27.17 at 9:30 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Monday’s Morning Mashup: Red Sox upgrade sleep room at Fenway for players to nap; ESPN’s ‘O.J.: Made in America’ wins Best Feature Documentary Oscar

Good morning, here is your Monday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

MONDAY’S MORNING MASHUP:
MLB:
Exhibition: St. Louis at Boston, 1 p.m. (WEEI-AM 850)
MLB: Exhibition: NY Yankees vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA:
Milwaukee at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Atlanta at Boston, 7:30 p.m. (CSN)
NBA: Indiana at Houston, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL: Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: North Carolina at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: West Virginia at Baylor, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Miami at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Norfolk State at Hampton, 9 p.m. ESPNU
College basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Women’s college basketball: Connecticut at South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Women’s college basketball: Baylor at Oklahoma, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Women’s college basketball: TCU at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. (FSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When the Red Sox players return to Fenway Park this spring, they will find some major improvements to their team nap room.

The 145-square-foot sleep area is undergoing renovations after the Red Sox reached a deal with custom-made bedding company Bedgear this season. The room will now be equipped with performance bedding, including cool-vented pillows. It will also have oak floors, exposed brick and more beds.

“Every little edge you can get on your competition, if it’s one game or even an extra out, it matters,” Red Sox head athletic trainer Brad Pearson told the Boston Globe. “We’re always looking for ways to get better. This is one way.”

“How many hours can I sleep without waking up, that is the big thing for me,” Hanley Ramirez said. “It changes the way you play. It’s unbelievable. When you’re young you don’t think about stuff like that.”

Players tested mattresses and were fitted for pillows during spring training last week. They were also able to select their own luxury sheets and blankets.

The upgraded sleep room will be ready by Opening Day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, O.J. Simpson, Sonny Gray,
John Farrell on Kirk & Callahan: Last season left a ‘crappy taste in all of our mouths’ 02.21.17 at 8:43 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on John Farrell on Kirk & Callahan: Last season left a ‘crappy taste in all of our mouths’

The Red Sox are entering Spring Training with high expectations. Manager John Farrell says he’s OK with that.

In an interview with Kirk & Callahan Tuesday, Farrell said the team is anxious to get back to work after a bitter ending to last season. Though the Red Sox won 93 games and retook the division, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Indians. You can listen to the full interview here.

“[Last season] left a pretty crappy taste in all of our mouths, as abruptly as it finished,” Farrell said. “Winning the division is certainly something that we’re all proud of. And with this particular team, I think a building block. Because of the taste it left in our mouths, we come back here and we’re hungry. The pace and the energy has been shown here in Spring Training. We are looking forward to the work ahead.”

For the first time in 15 years, the Red Sox will start a season without David Ortiz. While his production in the lineup will be missed, Farrell said the void his absence leaves in the locker room will be have to be replaced as well.

“Let’s say we go through a stretch where things aren’t clicking and there’s a little bit of a rallying point in our clubhouse –– David was always a guy who stood up and spoke,” he said. “I think a number of players would look to him because of his experience and the number of ups and downs he’s gone through or we’ve gone through in this city. And he was a voice of reason and a sounding board for a lot of guys. And more than anything, I think he exuded a lot of confidence for others to feed off of.”

One of the keys to the Red Sox’s success in a post-Ortiz world will be the performance of Pablo Sandoval. After only playing in three games last season, he showed up to camp in better shape this year. While that’s encouraging, Farrell said Sandoval will have to earn back his everyday spot in the lineup.

“It’s his job to reclaim,” he said. “The one thing about our team is, we like the versatility and depth that’s in this roster. If that’s Brock Holt at third base platooning with Josh Rutledge, then that’s an alternative. But the most important thing is, Panda is well understanding of what’s ahead of him. He’s done a great job of getting himself back in the conditioning he needs. That’s the first step. So the next step is going between the lines and reclaiming [it].”

David Price’s first season in Boston wasn’t a failure –– he led the league in innings pitched and struck out 228 batters –– but he fell short of delivering on his Cy Young expectations. His disastrous start against the Indians in the playoffs, in which he allowed five runs in 3.1 innings, rekindled questions about his ability to pitch in October as well (his career postseason record as a starter is 0-8). Farrell said Price understands his shortcomings, and is in a position to improve.

“Last year, I thought he had a good year for us,” he said. “I wouldn’t say a great year, obviously. But when you look at 230 innings pitched, 17 wins, a career high in strikeouts, there’s a lot of things that have gone well for him. And yet, since the expectations are very lofty at times, it might have fallen short on some people’s part. But I would expect with David, knowing him now after a year, knowing the environment we’re all working in and pitching in, he’s going to be a little more comfortable than a year ago.”

Chris Sale will join Price and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello at the top of the rotation this season, giving the Red Sox perhaps the best 1-2-3 punch in the league. Though Sale just arrived in camp, Farrell said he can already see why the lefty is such a dominating force on the mound.

“You look at the stuff, the age that he is, the stuff that he has, the consistent performer he is,” he said. “Watching him here for the first time –– standing behind the cage and watching –– it’s a very uncomfortable at-bat, and you’ve got a fierce competitor inside the person. So you combine it with the physical abilities, he’s going to be an extremely successful pitcher here.”

With Sale, Price and Porcello at the top of the rotation, Farrell may not have to go to his bullpen too often. But when he does,  his moves will be heavily scrutinized. At several points last season, the Red Sox skipper came under fire for his befuddling in-game moves. In response to that criticism, Farrell said he’s always looking to improve.

“I think if there’s anybody that’s committed to their craft, regardless of their walk of life, if they don’t self-reflect, self-review, maybe they’re just looking to pass time and move on through. So yeah, I look at that,” he said. “I’ll say this: in response to your criticism, I don’t know that you have all of the information available for those decisions that are made during the game. I understand there’s going to be two sides, and the great thing about our game is that it’s debatable.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, john farrell,
Why Tom Werner can help save baseball 02.20.17 at 1:12 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Why Tom Werner can help save baseball
John Henry and Tom Werner met with the Red Sox media last week. (WEEI.com photo)

John Henry and Tom Werner met with the Red Sox media last week. (WEEI.com photo)

Earlier this month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred revealed how the league is trying to shorten games. The proposals, which include limiting mound visits, are unimaginative. If Manfred truly wants to quicken up the pace, he should pay a visit to Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Fla. this spring. Team chairman Tom Werner is the perfect person for him to speak with.

It’s fair to have apprehension about Werner presumably taking on a larger role in the day-to-day operations of the Red Sox. In Terry Francona’s 2012 tell-all book, Francona: The Red Sox Years, he says he nearly walked out of a meeting in 2010 when the former television executive told him to “win in more exciting fashion.” His tenure as majority owner of the Padres ended in disaster, with fans filing a class action lawsuit against him amidst one of the most infamous fire sales in professional sports history.

While Werner’s baseball acumen is questionable, there’s little doubt about his credentials in the entertainment industry. He served as executive producer of “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “That 70s Show,” all of which were ratings successes. In a meeting with reporters last week, Werner said his primary goal is to push the average game time to under three hours. One of the ways to get there would be shortening commercial breaks.

“And one of the things that I saw that the NFL did this year, they had an experiment at the end of the year where they moved their commercial breaks,” Werner said, via the Boston Herald. “One network tried it one way, another tried it another way. I’d be for less commercial breaks, because I think that increases the ratings. So in the end, I think is a good idea.”

Cutting back on commercials would possibly force television partners to take short-term monetary hits. But if more people wind up watching the games, then those networks can charge more money for spots. Thanks to an influx of multi billion-dollar TV deals, MLB has been able to avoid addressing the long-term issues that plague the league. Radical change, such as starting extra innings with a runner on second base, are needed to make the game more attractive to young people.

Werner seems to recognize this.

“There are experiments going on. I’m for experiments,” he said last week. “There’s a lot of debate about how to deal with extra innings. … The group that is talking about it is going to be expanded to players and general managers. Hopefully we’ll make some improvements to make the game as crisp as can be.”

The monstrous ratings for last year’s Cubs-Indians World Series shouldn’t deter Manfred from trying to dramatically alter how MLB presents its product. A seven-game Fall Classic that featured the Cubs trying to end their 108-year championship drought is what’s known as an anomaly. According to Nielsen ratings, the average age of a baseball viewer is 53, and half of the audience is older than 55. The average age of an NFL viewer is 47, and the average person who tunes into the NBA is 37.

Those numbers are troubling, but baseball’s lack of popularity among young people is what should make Manfred shudder. In a 2015 ESPN poll, adults aged 18-34 were 14 percent less likely to say they were interested in baseball than the overall population. Making subtle changes –– forcing players to stay in the batter’s box and putting a time limit on mound visits –– aren’t enough to bring the masses back. MLB needs to think big.

Despite years of minor tinkering, the average MLB game rose to above three hours in 2016 for the second time in three years. This is because pace-of-play rule changes can only go so far. Due to the prevalence of analytics, the majority number of teams now favor a deliberative approach to the game: work the count on offense, create favorable match-ups on defense. As a result, strikeout rates have risen for 11 straight years, setting a new record each time. In 2016, there were more pitching changes than ever before, too.

MLB can’t dictate how teams play. But it can change the rules they play around. Maybe it’s time to mandate that relief pitchers face at least two batters, or put a cap on the number of timeouts each club is allotted. Sports Illustrated scribe Tom Verducci argues for doing something crazy, like introducing a bonus batter (under this rule, each manager would be able to select any player and have him take a random at-bat once per game).

One of the knocks on Werner as a Red Sox executive is that he thinks like a TV guy. But that’s exactly the kind of perspective MLB needs right now. Werner may not know how to build a winning baseball team, but he knows how to make good television.

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, Rob Manfred, Tom Werner
David Price probably did hear racist taunts at Fenway Park 01.16.17 at 2:37 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on David Price probably did hear racist taunts at Fenway Park
David Price told The Boston Globe he heard racist comments at Fenway Park. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price told The Boston Globe he heard racist comments at Fenway Park. (Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports)

David Price probably did hear racist taunts at Fenway Park last season. But that doesn’t mean Red Sox fans are bigoted. All it proves is that jerks reside everywhere, including Boston.

In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Price said some fans sitting in the bleachers would jeer at him while he was warming up in the bullpen before games. Once in a while, he said the barbs would also become racial.

“I got it all,” Price said. “It’s all right. I don’t care about that. My mom is white and my dad is black. I’ve heard that since I’ve been in school. There’s nothing you can say to me that I haven’t heard before. Your ignorance is not going to affect what I’m trying to do. But I feel sad it’s still out there.”

Despite those comments, it doesn’t seem as if Price is making an overarching statement about race relations in Boston. Later in the piece, he says he loves the city and can’t wait for his first son to be born here. If Price thought Boston were racist, or was constantly bombarded with bigoted insults, it’s unlikely he would be appear so enthusiastic about living in the area.

In ballparks across the country, black players say they’ve heard racial slurs. In October, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said fans in Toronto hurled racial epithets at him and Hyon Soo Kim during the ALCS. A few months earlier, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward acknowledged he’s been taunted with bigoted comments during his career as well.

Conversations about Boston’s ugly history with race have been reignited in recent weeks after Celtics fans cheered Jazz forward Gordon Hayward during pre-game introductions earlier this month. Jae Crowder expressed frustration about that, which prompted some talking heads at ESPN to insinuate Celtics fans like Hayward because he’s white. Keep in mind, Crowder never mentioned race during his postgame rant. The talking point was fabricated.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, David Price,
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 3: Red Sox go from worst to first, win World Series 12.30.13 at 9:24 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 3: Red Sox go from worst to first, win World Series

Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 3: Red Sox go from worst to first, win World Series. To see the previous entries, click here.

As John Farrell sat in front of the Boston media on Nov. 22, 2012, for his introductory press conference as manager of the Red Sox, it became apparent that expectations were not necessarily at an all-time high for the 2013 campaign.

Boston had just come off of a nightmare of a season, as the Bobby Valentine-led Sox finished in last place in the American League East with a 69-93 record. It was the first time that Boston had finished a season with less than 70 wins since 1965.

Despite the pessimistic atmosphere surrounding the once-proud Boston franchise, Farrell maintained a positive outlook on the upcoming year, even hinting at a possible playoff berth.

“There’s a lot of quality players that are currently here, and yet the won-loss record doesn’t reflect that. It’s my job and my intent — and I’m eager to get started — to identify what took place and how do we best address it and correct it,” Farrell said. “I think this has got an opportunity to be a fairly quick turnaround and get to the point of contending next year.”

While Farrell was optimistic about his team’s chances going forward, not even he could he have predicted what was about to transpire in 2013. Less than a year after that press conference, Farrell celebrated a World Series win, Boston’s third title in 10 years, in front of over 37,000 rabid fans at Fenway Park on a chilly October night.

“You know, still trying to take all this in,” Farrell said after the series-clinching victory. “When the fireworks went off at the presentation of the trophy out there, when the ballpark was filled with smoke, it was completely surreal. To be in this position, given where we’ve come from, reflecting back a year ago at this time, there’s been a lot that’s happened in 13 months.”

The groundwork for Boston’s incredible season was established during the 2012 offseason, as Sox general manager Ben Cherington stuck to a conservative, albeit very crafty game plan during the hot stove season. Rather than pursuing big-name free agents such as Josh Hamilton and Zack Grienke, Cherington instead focused on bringing in low-risk, high-reward players such as Mike NapoliKoji Uehara and Shane Victorino. Cherington, looking to reverse a toxic atmosphere that permeated through the Sox clubhouse over the last few seasons, also made it a point to sign players known for their positive influence in the locker room, inking contributors like Jonny GomesRyan Dempster and David Ross to short-term deals.

While the new-look Sox started off hot out of the gate, posting an 11-4 record over their first 15 games, many still doubted the legitimacy of the team. The team showed its resolve on April 20, as the Sox played their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt and capture of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

After two straight years of rolling out a collection of players who seemed like they could care less about each other, let alone the city they play for, the 2013 Red Sox adopted the “Boston Strong” movement, as David Ortiz‘s rallying address to the Fenway faithful prior to the game against Kansas City still reverberates throughout the entire city to this day.

The Sox also showed off their flair for dramatic in the game, a reoccurring theme for the entire season and subsequent playoffs, as Daniel Nava slugged a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning to give Boston a thrilling 4-3 win. After such a stirring victory over the Royals, it became apparent that this season would be very, different from 2012.

The Sox steamrolled through the regular season thanks to a resurgent pitching staff and a balanced lineup, finishing the year with a 97-65 record, improving their 2012 win total by 28 games.

Offensively, the Sox were once again carried by Ortiz, as the 37-year-old designated hitter led the team in batting average (.309), home runs (30), RBIs (103) and on-base percentage (.395). Ortiz continued to add to his already impressive resume during the year, as the slugger passed Harold Baines for most hits by a DH (1,689) on July 11 against the Mariners.

On the mound, the Sox pitching staff was anchored by Jon Lester, whose post All-Star break stats (7-2, 2.57 ERA) were a far cry from his disappointing 2012 splits (9-14, 4.82 ERA). Out of the ‘pen, the Sox received a huge boost from Uehara. Signed as a free agent in 2012 with the purpose of pitching in the seventh inning and supporting Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan, Uehara was thrust into the role as closer after both Bailey and Hanrahan went down with season-ending injuries.

Despite only accumulating 14 saves in his career prior to signing with Boston, Uehara put together one of the most dominant seasons for a reliever, as the 38-year-old closer recorded 21 saves while posting a microscopic 1.09 ERA and punching out 101 batters in 74 1/3 innings of work.

By the time the regular season had concluded on Sept. 30, the Sox had wrapped up the best record in the AL while winning the AL East for the first time since 2007.

Boston opened up its first entry into the postseason since 2009 by taking on its division rival, the Rays, in the American League Division Series. The Sox outscored Tampa by a 19-6 margin to get out to a commanding 2-0 series lead, but the Rays would not go quietly, as the Joe Maddon-led squad forced a Game 4 after Jose Lobaton crushed a walk-off home run in Game 3 off of Uehara.

Game 4 was a bizarre affair, as Maddon utilized nine pitchers during the contest after pulling starter Jeremy Hellickson in the second inning. While Tampa held a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, the Sox once again put together some late-inning magic, scoring two runs in the seventh and one more in the ninth to win, 3-1, and advance to the American League Championship Series, where they faced off against the Tigers.

After almost being no-hit in Game 1, the Sox seemed well on their way to being down 2-0 in the series, as Detroit built a 5-1 lead in Game 2 going into the eighth inning. However, in what was perhaps the turning point of the postseason, Ortiz stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and drove the first pitch he saw from Joaquin Benoit past a leaping Torii Hunter and into the Sox bullpen, tying the game in dramatic fashion.

Boston evened up the series at one game apiece just an inning later, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in Gomes with an RBI single in the ninth inning to complete the 6-5 comeback.

While Boston took a 2-1 series lead after John Lackey outpitched 2011 AL MVP Justin Verlander in a 1-0 Game 3 win, Detroit would answer back with a convincing 7-3 victory in Game 4. After the Sox put themselves on the brink of a series victory with a 4-3 victory in Game 5, Shane Victorino delivered his biggest hit of the postseason in Game 6, crushing an 0-2 curveball from Jose Veras over the Green Monster for a grand slam, giving Boston a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Uehara closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning, sending the Sox to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2007.

Boston’s final opponent in 2013 was the NL champion Cardinals, who, like the Sox, led their league in wins with 97 on the year. It was the first time since 1999 in which both teams in the World Series finished the regular season with the best record in their respective leagues.

“We’€™re going up against a very complete team,” Farrell said. “They have very good young pitching, they have good pitching in general. Just what I’ve looked at so far, they are well-balanced, they hit with runners in scoring position like no other and they look to put guys in motion with the hit and run quite a bit. They are a complete team.”

The Cardinals certainly did not make a good impression in Game 1, as St. Louis committed three errors while their ace Adam Wainwright was spotted for five runs over five innings of work. Meanwhile, Lester was superb, shutting out the Cards for 7 2/3 innings en route to a 8-1 victory.

Boston’s hot start would not transfer over to the next day, as St. Louis’ pitching corps of Michael WachaCarlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal held the Sox to just two runs and four hits while striking out 12 as the Cardinals evened the series with a 4-2 victory in Game 2.

Game 3 was a back-and-forth affair, as the Sox came back to erase a two-run deficit in the eighth inning to tie the game at 4 heading into the ninth inning. What followed next was classic postseason baseball, as a controversial obstruction call on Will Middlebrooks in the bottom of the ninth sent home Allen Craig, giving St. Louis the 5-4 win and a 2-1 series edge.

Game 4 followed the same format as the previous two games, as Boston and St. Louis spent most of the game deadlocked at a 1-1 tie, until the Sox broke the game open in the sixth inning with a clutch three-run home run from Gomes. The game once again ended on a bizarre note, as Uehara picked off Kolten Wong at first for the final out, sealing the 4-2 win for Boston. It was the first World Series game to end on a pickoff.

The Sox were lifted once again by Lester in Game 5, as the southpaw held the potent Cardinals offense to just one run over 7 2/3 innings as the Sox won, 3-1, setting the stage for Boston to clinch the World Series title at Fenway Park for the first time in 95 years.

Boston made sure that Game 6 would not be a tension-filled contest, as the Sox scored six runs in the third and fourth innings to give themselves a comfortable cushion. Uehara was brought into the ninth inning with a 6-1 lead and easily retired the first two batters, bringing Matt Carpenter up to the plate.

With a packed house at Fenway standing as one, Uehara struck out Carpenter to end it. As the Fenway Faithful roared, an ecstatic Uehara jumped into the arms of Ross before being swarmed by their teammates.

“In the first two minutes I was in the clubhouse, the words, ‘€˜We’€™re going to win the World Series’€™ was spoken by both [Gomes and Saltalamacchia] — on August 1,” said Sox pitcher Jake Peavy after the game. “When those words came out of their mouth, instantly I believed. … It’€™s what I’€™ve played for since I’ve played [as a kid] — to be a champion. To do it here, in this city, with this group of guys, with this fan base. It’€™s unbelievable.”

Ortiz, who posted an incredible line of .688/.760/1.188 with six RBIs during the Fall Classic, was named World Series MVP. Ortiz is the first non-Yankee to win three World Series titles with one team since Jim Palmer did so with the Orioles in 1966, 1970 and 1983.

Three days later, the world-champion Sox loaded onto the ducks boats and paraded in front of thousands of fans from Fenway down to the Charles River. The highlight of the parade undoubtedly had to be the a touching moment near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, as Gomes and Saltalamacchia placed the Commissioner’s Trophy at the line and draped it with a Red Sox jersey that read “Boston Strong — 617.” The emotional tribute was capped off with a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” by tenor Ronan Tynan.

It was a fitting, if not symbolic ending for this determined and lovable Sox team. Despite having many doubters at the start of the season, the Sox remained focused throughout the long 2013 campaign, keeping their clubhouse loose while maintaining excellent play on the field.

After the devastating Marathon bombings, the team recognized its importance and connection to the city and took up the role as a savior, an escape for people of a shaken community who needed to get their minds off the dreary news surrounding their city.

It likely still seems like a dream to most, but yes, despite how improbable it was, the Sox are champions once again, proving to both their fans, their city and to themselves that they truly do embody everything it means to be”Boston Strong.”

 

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, cardinals, David Ortiz
Kevin Youkilis’ brother rips Boston, Bobby Valentine on Twitter 06.25.12 at 12:37 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Kevin Youkilis’ brother rips Boston, Bobby Valentine on Twitter

While Kevin Youkilis‘€™ turbulent season with the Red Sox came to an end Sunday with a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful, Youk’€™s brother celebrated his trade to the White Sox with a string of tweets lashing out at Boston and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine over the weekend.

Scott Youkilis, a chef in San Francisco, wrote on Saturday that he was “glad that #teamyouk may be changing sox real soon. #Chicago is better town anyways!”

Scott Youkilis would later tweet that “Bobby V is a joke” before listing several reasons why he felt Chicago is a better city than Boston.

Read More: bobby valentine, Boston Red Sox, kevin youkilis, Rumor Mill
Babe Ruth jersey sells for $4.4 million, most expensive sports memorabilia ever 05.21.12 at 1:18 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Babe Ruth jersey sells for $4.4 million, most expensive sports memorabilia ever

The Sultan of Swat apparently knows no recession.

On Sunday, Babe Ruth‘s 1920 Yankees jersey, the earliest known to still exist, was bought for a record-breaking $4,415,658.

The winning bid, made by memorabilia auction house Lelands.com, surpassed the $4,338,500 paid in 2010 for Dr. James Naismith‘s founding rules of basketball, making Ruth’s jersey the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia in history.

SCP Auctions, which ran the sale, had been speculating it would go for at least $1 million. Lelands, however, presumably expects the jersey to eventually sell for even more than its $4.4 million price tag, as the company intends to turn around and sell it to a private collector.

“Such a spectacular piece will find a home with one of our private clients who truly appreciates its historic significance.” said Lelands president Mike Heffner.

The jersey is the road model Ruth wore in 1920, his first season after leaving the Red Sox.

Coincidentally, Ruth’s old house in Sudbury also is for sale. The owners are evidently hoping to cash in on the Bambino’s name as well, listing the house for $1.65 million — more than half a million more than real estate website Zillow.com estimates the house to be worth.

Also during this past weekend’s auction, a 1934 Ruth hat — famously purchased and worn by David Wells for one inning during a game in 1997 — set a record for a cap when it was sold for $537,278. Wells, who paid $35,000 for it, sold it to raise money to renovate his old high school’s field in San Diego.

Lawrence Taylor‘s Super Bowl XXV ring, sold by Taylor’s son, T.J., brought $230,401.

Read More: Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Rumor Mill