Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Red Sox's Latest Title Was Extreme-Makeover Edition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Red Sox's Latest Title Was Extreme-Makeover Edition

Article excerpt

BOSTON -

No longer does Boston have to fret about all those poor kindergartners who had lived their whole lives without seeing the Red Sox win the World Series.

The big deal about how the Red Sox had not won a World Series at home since 1918? Made for TV, and made for Boston.

The truly big deal: The Red Sox won the World Series for the third time in a decade. In the last half-century, only four franchises can say they did that: the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oakland Athletics, the New York Yankees, and now the Red Sox.

What makes the Boston success so fascinating is the extreme makeover.

The Dodgers won with Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills. The A's won with Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers. The Yankees most recently won with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

The Red Sox won with David Ortiz, this year's World Series most valuable player, and a revolving cast of characters.

Ortiz is the only constant among the 2004 team that swept the St. Louis Cardinals, the 2007 team that swept the Colorado Rockies and this year's team, the one that clinched the World Series on Wednesday, with a 6-1 victory over the Cardinals.

These Red Sox did not fit the definition of dominant. They stumbled into October with two reliable starters, and look how they won the World Series: two victories from Jon Lester, one from John Lackey, and one on a walkoff pickoff.

The same Boston fans that wanted to run Lackey out of town, branding him as an out-of-shape malcontent, could not stop cheering for him Wednesday, so loud that manager John Farrell said he got chills.

"It's almost fitting he was the guy on the mound," Farrell said. "He mirrors the remake of this team."

The Red Sox cleaned out the clubhouse to come up winners - not just since 2004, and not just since 2007, but since last year. They went last to first, the first team to do so since the Minnesota Twins in 1991.

It is difficult to call these Red Sox a Cinderella story, or a model for small-market teams. They opened the season with a $159 million payroll, about the same as the Philadelphia Phillies, exceeded only by the Dodgers and Yankees. …

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