For some, baseball is not just a sport, but also a way of life. A great man once said, "The other sports are just sports. Baseball is a love.” And it’s true.
As Boston has proved in this most recent Fall Classic, loyal fans come from all walks of life and from different cities to support a team that has the heart and integrity to win.
Want proof? Game Four of the 2007 World Series Victory. The white towels were thrown in and the crowd suddenly became red. Chants of “re-sign Lowell, don’t sign A-Rod” filled Coors Field as Boston claimed it’s second title in four years.
Champagne poured down as if it was rain and congratulatory hugs were given to anyone and everyone who wanted them. The Red Sox made it look easy and from a fan’s point of view, we know it was anything but. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sat on the edge of my seat not just throughout this series, but also throughout the season biting my nails the entire time.
That day back in April when we took the lead in the AL East and kept it was a proud moment, and I wasn’t about to take it for granted. Mother’s Day and also my birthday delivered the first string of doubt when ace Josh Beckett left early in the game with an avulsion on his pitching hand.
To my surprise, the Sox regained momentum with a six run ninth to come back and win. Beckett returned to the roster before the month was over. Inter-league play came in June and Sox fans seemed to coast through it with ease, except when the Rockies came into town and took the series which left a lot of fans, myself included asking, “Who loses to the Rockies?”
Along with that loss, Red Sox fans were delivered another blow in June, when Curt Schilling left an Atlanta Braves game early on with shoulder pain and then ultimately placed on the DL. I held my breath as talk of Boston’s beloved Schilling sat down we waited for his replacement to fill his enormous shoes. Kason Gabbard was brought up from Triple A and gave Boston a little taste of magic as he won his first four starts in place of Schilling.
July started with the Red Sox sending six key players to the All Star Game, Beckett, Papelbon, Ortiz, Ramirez, Lowell and final vote winner Okajima. Boston’s own Beckett got the win in the All-Star Game, becoming only the second Red Sox pitcher to achieve the feat. Beckett gave Boston more hope as he went into July with one of the top spots in Major League Baseball, leading the majors in wins with 13.
Another ray of light for fans in July was the return of Jon Lester. Lester made his 2007 debut as a reformed man and a cancer survivor. The game came on July 23 and the result was astounding. Lester struck out six batters and walked three over six innings against the Indians to walk away with the win.
With the trade deadline on July 31, Gabbard was out and Eric Gagne was in and we fans were not too please. Gagne struggled to win over the fans as much as he struggled to save a game.
September should be deemed “The Rookie Streak.” On September 1, in his second MLB start, Clay Buchholz took the mound and pitched an amazing no-hitter. With just two starts, he is just the third pitcher since 1900 to accomplish the feat.
Buchholz quickly made his way into Red Sox Nation on a first class ticket. September brought up Ellsbury and with rookie Dustin Pedroia already dominating the scene, it looked like September was made for the rookies. Fans such as myself could not be happier. More good news, the end of September brought a division title, something the club had not achieved since 1995. This title started the magic that became the post season.
Players dream to become anchors in the post season. Fans dream for players to become anchors in the post season. The Red Sox showed their Fenway Faithful just how many players they had that held potential to be those anchors. Dustin Pedrioa and Jacoby Ellsbury, two rookies, dominated the post season with Pedroia even hitting a homerun on his first at bat in his first World Series.
Josh Beckett’s October was 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA proving he is Mr. October. Ortiz and Ramirez picked the perfect time to become a dominating duo. Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell stepped into the spotlight as well and never stepped back out.
With a sweep of the Angels, members of Red Sox Nation began to get excited. The Indians came into town and Beckett took to the mound to show the Tribe what he was made of. We fans got a reality check as Boston went on the brink of elimination in the LCS, until, that is, Mr. October then stepped back into the limelight to bring the boys back home for a rally to remember. Boston came back from the series with three straight wins and an AL pennant to boot.
Who loses to the Rockies? Apparently the Phillies and the Diamondbacks as the World Series presented its unlikely underdog in the Rockies. We fans tried to keep up our confidence and not let the Rockies recent hot streak deter us from achieving the end result. We were confident that their eight-day lay off was enough to make them see red. And we were right.
On October 28, 2007 the Red Sox completed their sweep of the Rockies for the World Series title, and claiming that title was just one of many honors and records we received. Dustin Pedroia was awarded Rookie of the Year, and Kevin Youkilis won his first gold glove. Third baseman Mike Lowell received the World Series MVP and Boston’s love as we all chanted “Re-sign Lowell.” Lowell was officially a free agent at the end of the World Series.
What are the other accomplishments that the Red Sox have achieved this year? Well for one thing, we are the only team to win two World Series during this decade. Forget the 86-year drought.
Terry Francona became the first manager in Major League history to win his first eight World Series games. In winning eight straight World Series games, the Red Sox surpassed the 1949-1950 New York Yankees and tied the 1921-1923 New York Giants for the fifth longest winning streak in World Series history. The Red sox scored 10 runs or more on six occasions in the post season. No prior team had scored more than 10 runs on more than three occasions in one post season.
We’re a passionate bunch us fans, and we’ve proved it by sitting by our team with our backs against the wally and our hair soaked with Korbel. Our boys have proved to us that we have reason to stick around and watch it all unfold.
Our rookies show promise and our veterans are dominant. We loyal fans have prooved the saying that fans are more than just the spectators to this great sport. We view it as a way of life, and will continue to hail our Boston club as one of the most inspirational in baseball and in life.