BOSTON – After the Red Sox clinched the 2013 World Series championship, after their on-field celebration, after the champagne-soaked clubhouse party, there was still baseball to be played at Fenway Park.
At about 2:30 a.m., Ryan Dempster joined some friends on the field, throwing batting practice to the group. The game wrapped up an hour or so later, when Fenway’s lights went out and the park went dark.
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Dustin Pedroia on being part of the group that was able to turn the team around after two dismal season’s, from the horrific collapse of 2011 to the chaos and dysfunction of 2012: “Yeah, [those two seasons] were tough. They were tough on everybody that was here. So you always look forward and see a light at the end of the tunnel and this was it.”
It was more than just chemistry and a better clubhouse environment, though, that brought them a World Series, he said.
“Yeah, that’s the thing,” Pedroia said. “I think at the beginning of the year, everyone just thought that we brought good guys here. But the reality is those guys can flat out play baseball. That’s the reason why we’re here. We just didn’t get nice guys that are fun to be around. The guys we got stepped up huge and everybody did something that brought something special to the team. It’s an unbelievable team effort by everybody.”
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First baseman Mike Napoli turns 32 on Oct. 31. Asked if winning a World Series wasn’t a bad birthday present, he replied: “It’s an awesome birthday present. The best.”
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A few other notes left over after the celebration:
-- Manager John Farrell on John Lackey, the formerly much-maligned pitcher who earned the win in the clinching game: “His turnaround mirrors the organization. He did an incredible job of preparing himself for the start of the season, last offseason by doing the work that he did. And then he carried it through. Whether it was the baseball gods or whatever, the fact that he’s on the mound in this final game, it is fitting.”
-- The Sox are just the second team ever to win a World Series one season after finishing in last place, joining the 1991 Twins. The Sox had a winning percentage of .426 (won-loss record of 69-93) in 2012, and no team has ever won a World Series one season after posting a winning percentage that low. Prior to this season, the lowest winning percentage turnaround had been the 1986 Twins, who were at .438 in 1986 before winning the '87 Series.
-- The Sox' 6-0 lead after four innings in Game 6 was the largest lead in a deciding game of a World Series since Game 4 of the 1989 Series, when the A’s led the Giants 7-0 after five innings in an eventual 8-6 win.
-- The six runs the Sox scored in Game 6 were the most they have scored in a decisive World Series game. Their previous high was in 1915, when they beat the Phillies, 5-4, in the clinching Game 5.
-- The Sox struck out 165 times in the 2013 to set a new postseason record, exceeding the previous record of 142 by the 2010 Giants. Their 59 strikeouts in the World Series tied the 1968 Tigers for fourth-most all-time, behind the 2001 Diamondbacks (70), Yankees (63), and 1973 A’s (62).
-- Farrell is just the sixth manager to lead the Sox to a World Series title, joining Jimmy Collins (1903), Jake Stahl (1912), Bill Carrigan (1915, 1916), Ed Barrow (1918), Terry Francona (2004, 2007). Farrell joins Stahl (1912), Barrow (1918), and Francona (2004) as the only managers to win the World Series in their first season managing the Sox.
-- A Las Vegas sports betting organization has already set the odds for teams to win the 2014 World Series. The top five are Dodgers 7/1, Tigers 9/1, Red Sox 10/1, Cardinals 10/1, and Nationals 10/1.
-- The Red Sox have six potential free agents-to-be: first baseman Mike Napoli, shortstop Stephen Drew, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, right-hander Joel Hanrahan, and infielder John McDonald. Teams have five days from the conclusion of the World Series to extend qualifying offers to their free agent players. On the sixth day, the exclusivity period expires and players are free to sign with any team.
-- The Sox arbitration-eligible players include right-hander Andrew Bailey, left-handers Andrew Miller and Franklin Morales, and first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp.
-- Award announcement dates are: AL and NL Rookie of the Year, Nov. 11; AL and NL Manager of the Year, Nov. 12; AL and NL Cy Young Award, Nov. 13; AL and NL MVP, Nov. 14. All announcements will be at approximately 6 p.m. each day, shown on MLB Network. All voting took place before the start of the postseason.