If you spent the past seven months hiding in a cave somewhere, you missed quite the ride.
The Red Sox are World Series champions again, and their return to glory involved one of the most memorable seasons in franchise history. This year truly tested Boston’s resilience, and the Red Sox — like the city — stood tall.
It became clear in spring training that this season was going to be different. John Farrell was at the helm, a number of high-character players joined the mix and the holdovers from last season’s 69-93 debacle arrived in Fort Myers with a chip on their shoulder.
“As soon as we went to Fort Myers, the movie’s already been written,” outfielder Jonny Gomes told the Fenway Park crowd immediately following the World Series-clinching victory. “All we had to do was press play, and this is what happened.”
Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps the Red Sox were a team of destiny. Whatever the case, 2013 was a wild ride from beginning to end. Even in the wake of an inexplicable tragedy, Boston stayed strong and supported what eventually became a championship team.
Now, with the Red Sox having secured their third title in 10 years, we can look back and appreciate one of the most intriguing seasons in sports history with 10 amazing moments.
10. Sox start off on right foot (April 1)
Opening Day is in many ways overrated. Sure, it’s cool, as it represents a fresh start, blah, blah, blah. But it counts the same as any other regular-season game, and a lot of teams that cherish the “fresh start” soon find out that they stink and aren’t going anywhere.
That being said, it’s easy to see that Boston’s championship script started on Opening Day.
The Red Sox flexed their muscle in the Bronx. They defeated the Yankees 8-2 behind a relentless offensive performance. Knowing what we know now, it showed exactly the type of team that the Red Sox would be throughout the year.
9. "The Fenway Punt" (June 18)
The Red Sox produced 11 walk-off wins in 2013. Each was special in its own right, but only one gave us “The Fenway Punt.”
Jonny Gomes, a vocal leader with a certain flair for the dramatic, hammered a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give the Sox a doubleheader sweep of the Rays. Gomes took off his helmet and booted it into the air after rounding third base — a move he later dubbed “The Fenway Punt.”
Mike Napoli showed in the playoffs that he loves the big moment, as he crushed two big home runs during the ALCS. But Napoli’s heroics started well before October, and one instance involved taking down Boston’s biggest rival.
Napoli, who had some midseason struggles, provided some good and some bad during the July 21 game against the Yankees. Fortunately for the Sox, he ended things on a good note, as the power-hitting first baseman jacked a walk-off homer over the center field fence in the bottom of the 11th.
7. Sox take down Francona’s Indians with four-run ninth (May 26)
The Red Sox showed a never-say-die attitude all year, but their determination was on full display against the Indians on May 26.
The Red Sox rallied from three down in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Terry Francona’s Indians at Fenway Park. Jacoby Ellsbury capped the victory with a two-run double into the left-center gap.
It was a true trademark win for Boston.
6. Sox overcome five-run deficit for walk-off win over Mariners (Aug. 1)
The trade deadline just passed, and we had a better sense of what the Red Sox roster would look like for the remainder of the season. The Sox marked the occasion with perhaps their most improbable victory of the season.
The Red Sox entered the ninth trailing 7-2. Boston proceeded to score six runs on six hits and two walks. Daniel Nava capped the rally with a line drive to deep center field.
It was the first time that the Red Sox scored five runs in the ninth to win in walk-off fashion since the 2007 Mother’s Day Miracle.
5. The Obstruction Call (Oct. 26)
Game 3 of the World Series ended in the most unlikely fashion. It also marked Boston’s final loss of 2013.
You could argue that the obstruction call that ended Game 3 shouldn’t be considered a “top moment.” In fact, it backed Boston into a corner. However, the Game 3 loss paved the way for the Sox’s most impressive display of resilience yet.
The Red Sox, who were visibly stunned after the controversial end to Game 3, vowed to put the obstruction call behind them. They did just that, as Boston rattled off three straight wins to capture its third World Series title in 10 years.
4. Ortiz’s grand slam in eighth inning of Game 2 of ALCS (Oct. 13)
The Red Sox were on the verge of falling into a 2-0 hole in the ALCS. Boston had dropped Game 1 and trailed 5-1 with two outs in the eighth inning of Game 2.
3. Victorino’s grand slam in seventh inning of Game 6 of ALCS (Oct. 19)
Shane Victorino did in Game 6 what David Ortiz had done just six days prior: He hit a big, game-altering grand slam.
Victorino’s slam came with the Red Sox trailing 2-1 in the seventh. Tigers ace Max Scherzer had just exited the game, and Victorino lifted a 0-2 curveball from Jose Veras into the Monster seats.
The Red Sox had a three-game road trip in Cleveland immediately following the Boston Marathon tragedy. Then, the Red Sox’s first game back home after the tragedy on April 19 was postponed due to the ensuing manhunt.
Baseball finally returned to Fenway Park on April 20. The scene was surreal.
The Red Sox held an emotional pregame ceremony, and David Ortiz fired up the crowd by declaring, “This is our [expletive] city.”
A few hours later, Daniel Nava, a player who embodies Boston’s hard-working nature, drilled a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to help guide the Red Sox to a 4-3, come-from behind win.
NESN’s Don Orsillo summed up Nava’s dramatic home run best: “Boston, this is for you.”
1. Red Sox win third World Series title in past 10 years
What else would be No. 1?
Shane Victorino gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead in Game 6 with a bases-clearing double off the Green Monster. It was pretty much over from there.
Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter to finish off the improbable championship run. Uehara jumped into the arms of catcher David Ross, and the party was on in Boston.
The Red Sox clinched the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.