Even with the finish line in sight, Boston took a deep breath on Wednesday night as they stood just one out from clinching the MLB World Series. Even with a seemingly insurmountable 6-1 lead, a history of heartbreak had taught Bostonians that nothing can be taken for granted in baseball.
However, they need not have worried. The unmistakable thud of ball pounding into glove was all it took for 95 years of anguish to disappear and trigger a wild party.
“I knew this was going to be a special year,” said Boston’s David Ortiz, the MVP in the best-of-seven series won 4-2 by the Red Sox.
“When we started rolling, nobody ever stopped the train,” said Ortiz, who smashed two home runs and averaged .688 in the series.
St Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter was the last man standing between the Red Sox and the championship, but when he missed a fastball from Boston closing pitcher Koji Uehara that catcher Davis Ross caught, it was over.
The Red Sox had not won a World Series at home since a 23-year-old Babe Ruth was on their roster Ruth as an eighth-inning defensive replacement and they joined the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to win the World Series a year after finishing last in their division.
For the first time since 1918, the Red Sox sealed a World Series in their beloved Fenway Park — their 2004 and 2007 titles were both secured on the road.
The city erupted in emotional celebration, months after it was left in a state of shock following the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April that killed three people and injured more than 206.
After winning, the Red Sox players ran out of the dugout, hugging and tackling each other each other before collapsing in a mass heap.
When they returned to the locker room, they sprayed each other with champagne and slugged away at the half-empty bottles.
Inside the stadium, the crowd roared in jubilation. Grown men, whose fathers and grandfathers had died waiting for the Red Sox to win a World Series at home, high-fived and fist-pumped each other in the bleachers and threw beer in the air.
Outside the stadium, the party was in already full swing.
Fireworks lit up the night sky and bars and restaurants were overflowing with revelers.
“In a time of need, in response to a tragedy, you know, I go back to our players understanding their place in this city,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The jubilation went as far as Japan, where Uehara was hailed as a hero after being called in the ninth inning of Game 6 and saving Boston’s two last games in the series.