By Mike Harrington
BOSTON -- The Red Sox were 69-93 last year and no one in baseball thought they were that bad. It was common knowledge what a horrible job Bobby Valentine did in his one year as manager and the plain fact was they were dealing with injuries, big ones to the likes of David Ortiz, Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia among others.
Everyone also knew they had a poisonous clubhouse filled with questionable characters (sorry to all you fans of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez). They cleaned those guys out late last season and sent their contracts packing with them.
They brought in role players, guys who are winners on the field and characters in the clubhouse. And they became the ultimate winners with Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game Six at Fenway Park. This was Mike Napoli's second World Series appearance. Ditto for Jonny Gomes. It was Shane Victorino's third and his second title. That has to mean something.
No one knew how this team would mesh, although I found them loose and happy when I visited with new manager John Farrell and new bench coach Torey Lovullo during a spring game in Dunedin, Fla. in March. And they played that way all season.
Three titles in 10 years. Almost unthinkable to the denizens of Red Sox Nation, who lived through decades of stunning failure. Now they've won more than any MLB team this century. Weird how life can change.
Click the file below to hear my final thoughts.
Mike Harrington on Game Six