This was for the believers. For Ted Williams and for Yaz and all the others who spent a career beneath a boulder that kept rolling down a hill. This was an exorcism of 86 years of anguish.
On Wednesday night, Babe Ruth gave up. From Bangor to Brattleboro, Nashua to Nantucket, Waterbury to Woonsocket, the fans of New England can finally say it: The Boston Red Sox are the World Series champions. Nothing will ever be quite the same.
The Red Sox won the World Series on Wednesday for the first time since 1918, overcoming, at last, the sale of Ruth to the Yankees. The Red Sox, the franchise that perfected heartbreak, won the title with one of the most dominating performances in World Series history, silencing the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, in Game 4 to sweep a series in which they never trailed. They won their last eight games of the season.
"This is for anyone who ever played for the Red Sox, anyone who ever rooted for the Red Sox, anyone who ever saw a game at Fenway Park," said Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein, hoisting a bottle of Champagne in the Boston locker room. "This is bigger than the 25 guys in this clubhouse. This is for all of Red Sox Nation, past and present."
Epstein, the general manager, grew up in Boston with the lessons of generations before him. He and his twin brother, Paul, stood together on a couch in 1986, when they were 12 years old, ready to jump for joy when the Red Sox beat the Mets.
That victory never came, and this year when the Yankees led the Red Sox in the championship series, three games to none, Epstein knew the facts. No team that had ever been in such a hole had recovered to win the series.
The Red Sox' players knew it, too, but they did not care. They have not lost since. They are the last team standing. They made history.
"They believed," Epstein said. "That's all that matters."
excerpts from NYTimes article 10/28/04, written by Tyler Kepner