By Yagev Levi
The final pitch was thrown. Champagne was sprayed. The Commissioner’s Trophy was raised. And the duck boats paraded. Our 2018 Red Sox, at times, defied great odds and overcame serious challenges to become the new World Champions.
Let’s take a look at why this year’s team may truly be: the greatest Red Sox team ever.
Dominance. Simply put this Red Sox team was dominant. With a 108 regular season wins and 119 wins through the playoffs, the Red Sox just knew how to win. And they didn’t just win the easy games. They beat the best. The 2018 Red Sox were the first team, according to Stats LLC, to beat the previous year’s World Series finalists in the same postseason (Astros and Dodgers). Those same two teams, by the way, led each league in ERA throughout the regular season and the Red Sox still beat them. The 2018 Red Sox were also the first team ever to beat two 100-win teams en route to their fourth World Series since 2004, and ultimately, their fourth World Series Championship since 2004. Talk about Titletown, huh?
Culture. A good example in the change of culture between this year and last year is David Price and Hanley Ramirez (yeah, remember him?) Last year, Price wasn’t much of a clubhouse or media or honestly, Boston, guy. That was due to John Farrell. And, Hanley Ramirez, well, he wasn’t willing to take the place of leader after David Ortiz retired. This year, there was no Joh Farrell and there was no Hanley Ramirez (mostly). We had Alex Cora. A young, former-Red Sox manager was exactly what the Red Sox needed to turn things around. Coming from the small Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, Cora was able to really bond with the many Latino players on the Red Sox roster. Cora created an atmosphere of love and support amongst our young team that really helped push them forward. The most remarkable thing he did, in my opinion, was the wall of pictures from every single win this year. It was absolutely beautiful. As a Red Sox player walking through that clubhouse, seeing a new win pop up on that wall everyday throughout the season, and walking into that locker room next year and seeing what you’re capable of, how can anyone not be motivated by that?
Heart. When I say this Red Sox team had heart, I don’t mean it like “Oh yeah, they really wanted to win!” No, I f*cking mean they had HEART. A big thing that characterized this 2018 Red Sox team throughout the regular season was their lack of talent in the bullpen. Now, after watching this team play in the postseason, it’s hard to fathom how they managed to turn it around. It’s because they had heart. I’ll name the key guys. Let’s start with David Price. You mean, the guy that won all three series-clinching games for us AFTER critics and fans absolutely sh*t on him for his poor postseason record? Yes that’s exactly who I’m talking about. Next. Nathan Eovaldi. He went out there and pitched his heart out for 8 straight extra innings during Game 3 of the World Series, a game he ultimately ended up losing on a walk-off home run. Next up, World Series MVP Steve Pearce. This dude had bounced around the league ever since he entered it and he landed on this Red Sox team at the trade deadline. Where his superpowers came from in the World Series? Who knows, but what I do know is that he just went out there and gave it his all and played his heart out. Kids, learn from this. Lastly, Jackie Bradley Jr. All year, he was critiqued about how he was strictly a defensive player and couldn’t hit for his life. I’ll admit, I was one of those people. But what he did this postseason was exceptional and took serious will power and cunning perseverance. I could go on and on and talk about how every player on the Red Sox was awesome and helped the team win, each in a unique way, but these guys were the big guys, the real game-changers for us when it mattered most.