Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boston Three Party

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Boston Three Party

Article excerpt

BOSTON - There was no doubt which way the night was heading, not when the streets around Fenway were packed a full four hours before the first pitch. The cops practically threw a dragnet over Boylston Street, announcing over loudspeakers to forget about parking anywhere near the ballpark. The whole city sensed a championship in the air, as if Game 6 was just a formality for the TV advertisers. And they were right, the Cardinals never had a chance.

They were the National League's best team, but ultimately dwarfed by October's most volatile mix of pitching, clutch hitting and the sheer force of Red Sox Nation, every last one of them, it seemed, crammed into the ballpark. The fans weren't just loud, they chanted as one, like a mob at an English soccer match.

The Cardinals never managed a response to any of it, blown out, 6- 1 in Game 6 Wednesday night. Rookie Michael Wacha was supposed to be the Redbirds' last line of defense, but he barely resembled the pitcher who beat the Sox in Game 2. This time, Wacha looked like any 22-year-old rookie standing before the horde that'd been stoked by the Dropkick Murphys' pre-game rendition of "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" -- scared out of his mind.

There was too much noise, too much destiny, too much focus from the Sox' hitters, especially Shane Victorino, who smashed a three- run double in the third inning, dooming the Cards. But mostly, there was too much John Lackey, who so completely out-pitched Wacha it was easy to forget he led the beer-and-chicken rebellion that cost Terry Francona his job in 2012.

Lackey's redemption came in the form of a standing ovation as he walked off the mound in the seventh inning. The fans weren't cheering the right-hander, they were loving him for a masterpiece in the Sox' defining moment. They've won three world championships since 2004, and stand alone as the most dominant team so far in this century.

Yankees officials said all along the Red Sox were the team to beat in 2013 and stuck by an internal prediction that no one would come close in the postseason; That meant the Tigers or Rays or Cardinals, or the Dodgers, if they'd gotten as far as the Fall Classic. As much as it pains the Yankees to say so, they're now using Boston GM Ben Cherington's blueprint in 2014 and beyond. The Sox' last to first turnaround was a combination of genius and luck - whatever ratio you want to assign to it, the net effect was nevertheless breathtaking. The gap between Yawkey Way and River Avenue hasn't been this wide in decades.

Thing is, the World Series was hardly beautiful or historic, full of errors and botched plays, obstruction calls and game-ending pickoffs. But Jon Lester and Lackey proved in back-to-back performances in Games 5 and 6 why this Series was never really in doubt.

The Red Sox stirred early against Wacha, who had runners on base in each of the first two innings. …

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