Ancient baseball titan and NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick of the Washington Nationals did a very cool thing during Game 7 of the World Series Wednesday night and then followed it up with a very good, team-wide dugout dance party.
A lot of people have already said a lot of things regarding the meaning of this strange, scrappy, magical, bearded band of men we call the 2013 Boston Red Sox. After two years that included fried chicken, beers, and the worst season in recent memory, these guys took advantage of the period between the heartbreaking end of the Bruins Cup run and the beginning of Patriots season to bring Boston back to its roots: baseball.
It was awesome to have a baseball team that was not only winning, but also likeable, on the diamond at Fenway again. But if you say you picked the Sox to win the Series this season, you are (probably, most likely) lying. That’s what made October so fun: it was totally unexpected.
Every championship win is special (something that can be kind of hard to remember when your teams have won eight in twelve years), but at the risk of being cliché and repeating something you’ve heard over and over again: this one was more.
The Marathon Bombings shook everyone in the Greater Boston area to their cores. As someone who grew up a mere fifteen minutes from the race’s starting line, who has friends and family who volunteer along the route and at the finish line, never in my wildest nightmares could I have imagined a tragedy like this happening on Patriot’s Day. But—as tends to happen in these situations, far too many of which we’ve seen the past few years—the good in humanity outshone the bad. Not only did Bostonians and marathon runners band together to help one another, so did people from across the country and the world.
Where do the Sox play into all of this?
“And then? And then, when I walked down the street, people would’ve looked, and they would’ve said, ‘There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.'” – The Natural
Exceedingly rare in sports is the career in which a player maintains a world-class level of dominance through a retirement on his or her own terms. Only a handful of players can even lay any valid claim to that. Wayne Gretzky scored 90 points in his second-to-last NHL season only to fall down to 62, a perfectly formidable number for a 38-year-old center in professional hockey, in his final season, 1998-’99. In the same sport, legendary Soviet goaltender Vladislav Tretiak retired at the age of 32 in 1984 after accumulating dozens of accolades and medals with the Soviet national team and CSKA Moscow and also without ever playing a minute in the NHL. Michael Jordan managed to average 20 points per game in the 2002-’03 season during his second and final comeback, with the Washington Wizards. He even scored 43 points as a 40-year-old, a task suburban dads in driveways everywhere wish to check off the Saturday morning to-do list. Depending on how the next half-decade or so shakes out, Kobe Bryant could be there too. John Elway finished his career at the very peak of the mountain, with two straight Super Bowl victories in 1998 and ’99. A few European footballers, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Xavi Hernandez among them, also had or are having satisfyingly lengthy careers in which they maintain high competitive levels.