By Jamie Rieger
All good things must come to an end, as they say and the end of baseball season is over once again for a few months, so this will be last Red Sox column for this year, unless of course, something really crazy happens in the off-season.
At the onset of the year, when the players were in Florida for spring training and talking about their ultimate goal of winning the World Series. Even many of us fans were thinking that anything was possible, but after the season before and part of the one before that, the realistic parts of our brains were telling us to not get too optimistic.
The 2013 regular season had barely started when on April 15, the bombings at the Boston Marathon took place and gave the Red Sox all the more incentive to make it a winning year.
They played with grit, determination, and while they did not always win, they never quit grinding it out game after game. The camaraderie was strong and reminiscent of the Dirt Dawgs of years past. They grew their beards, not just for the playoffs, but throughout the regular season. Some of them, and Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes, in particular; looked pretty scruffy by the end. The Fear the Beards campaign gave fans something more to relish in and really see how much heart these guys really have.
As they slogged along, it became more and more apparent that winning the World Series was indeed their goal. They were going to do it for Boston and nothing was going to get in their way.
And, nothing did.
Last week, they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to earn that coveted championship, much to the glee of all of Red Sox Nation…and beyond that, actually.
I can’t say that any one moment from the series, or from the season for that matter, stands out as being more memorable than any other. The whole season was great and the grand finale was really just the icing on the cake. It gets no better than that for a baseball fan.
Now that the confetti has settled and as of Monday, the beards getting shaved, fans know that during the off-season, trades will be made, some players will move on, and this year will likely not be repeated next year, but one never knows.
I am extremely proud of those Red Sox and how they pulled through as the City of Boston healed from the Marathon bombing. Many people who do not follow the team do not know how much community work these players did in between playing games, visiting hospitals and embracing those who needed a little comforting. Those stories are plentiful and give fans all the more reason to cheer them on.
Congratulations to the Red Sox! (From one very happy fan!!)