SBD/October 31, 2013/Franchises

Red Sox Reap Harvest Of Offseason Overhaul With World Series Win Over Cardinals

Four Red Sox regulars are eligible to become free agents this offseason
The "Next Great Red Sox team isn't an organizational catch phrase or a distant vision" following last night's World Series clincher, according to Christopher Gasper of the BOSTON GLOBE. The "retooled Red Sox were really, really good, with gamers and grinders, chemistry and camaraderie." They also had "destiny in their dugout." The team joined the '91 Twins "as the only teams to go from worst in their division to World Series winners." They also "put 1918 to rest for good, becoming the first Red Sox team in 95 years to celebrate a World Series championship inside the baseball basilica in the Fens" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes, "Nobody saw this coming." Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "I go back to our players understanding their place in this city. They kind of, for lack of a better way to describe it, they get it. They get that there's, I think, a civic responsibility that we have wearing this uniform, particularly here in Boston. And it became a connection." Shaughnessy: "The High Renaissance of New England sports continues" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/31). Also in Boston, John Tomase writes, "The beauty of this title is how it took us completely by surprise." Owner John Henry said of winning the World Series one season after finishing last in the AL East, "This is a little early.” COO Sam Kennedy said, "It's absolutely a rebirth for our fans, for our players, and especially for our baseball operations group. What [GM] Ben Cherington and [Assistant GM] Mike Hazen and [bench coach] Torey Lovullo and John did, I don't know if it will ever be matched, to turn something around that was so negative and so bad and so broken and they fixed it. It's so hard to withstand the negativity and the losing. This is so gratifying for them and I'm really happy for our fans. They wanted to fall in love with this team" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/31).

TRIUMPH OVER ADVERSITY: MLB.com's Ian Browne writes Henry "savored this one, because he knew everything that went into it." The ownership group led by Henry, President & CEO Larry Lucchino and Chair Tom Werner "had known mostly good times through their first nine seasons at the helm." Henry said, "We got back to the philosophy we had when we started. We had sort of drifted away, I think somewhat because we have the resources to be a little less disciplined than other teams." Henry "gives large amounts of credit" to Cherington, who "took over for Theo Epstein a month after" the team's late-season collapse in '11. Browne writes after off-season trades, "Not only did the Red Sox have a team that could win again, they had a group their fans could identify with." Lucchino said, "We reconnected with our fans. ... We had to reboot and reconnect with our fanbase. I think we were successful in doing that, acknowledging the problems we had, making sure they knew how much we wanted to win and how hard we'd work to win." Cherington said, "There's a lot of people in the organization -- certainly players, but others from ownership to people in the front office -- that went through some tough times" (MLB.com, 10/31). ESPN.com's Gordon Edes writes Henry, Werner and Lucchino "took accountability for last season's disaster, shouldering the blame for the misbegotten hiring of manager Bobby Valentine, then rectifying a misshapen roster in one spectacular swoop, working hand in hand" with Cherington to pull off the megadeal with the Dodgers that freed up $262M in salary and roster space. Henry: "So much goes into it. So many people working so hard. They're the unsung heroes of world championships -- your scouting staff, your medical team" (ESPN.com, 10/31).

FUTURE IS BRIGHT: In Providence, Tim Britton writes the Red Sox' win "did not come at any great expense to Cherington's ultimate vision of the next great Red Sox team." The team will "remain well-situated for 2014 and beyond." Farrell said of Cherington before Game 6, "We're in a good place. Ben has put this organization in such a healthy place." Britton writes there will be "holes to fill," but there are "few organizations that currently sit in a better spot than Boston" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 10/31). USA TODAY's Paul White notes four Red Sox regulars "are free agents and it's hardly a sure thing that any or all will return." 2B Dustin Pedroia said, "That's the business side. We'll worry about that stuff when it gets here, but it's been a blast" (USA TODAY, 10/31).

CHEMISTRY EXPERIMENT
: In L.A., Bill Shaikin writes what makes the Red Sox' success "so fascinating is the extreme makeover." The team "did not fit the definition of dominant." The same fans that wanted to run P John Lackey "out of town, branding him as an out-of-shape malcontent, could not stop cheering for him" yesterday. It is "difficult to call these Red Sox a Cinderella story, or a model for small-market teams," as they opened the season with a $159M payroll, about the same as the Phillies and exceeded only by the Dodgers and Yankees. Shaikin: "If there is a lesson to be learned from the success of these Red Sox, it might be this: Pay no attention to all those breathless analyses of the winter winners and losers" (L.A. TIMES, 10/31). ESPN.com's Jayson Stark wrote, "You could argue that every year, there is a unique connection between Boston and its baseball team. And you wouldn't be wrong. But never more so than this year. Never more so than with this team" (ESPN.com, 10/30). In DC, Thomas Boswell writes the Red Sox' "transformation, from a team that symbolized entitled arrogance and beer-and-chicken munching in the clubhouse during defeats, to world champs is a testimony to the strengths of individual key players, like [DH David] Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, but also to the centrality of personality and teamwork in baseball" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/31). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes the Red Sox "can be called a dynasty." It is "just this is a dynasty like no other we've seen in baseball." They have "three World Series teams with almost entirely different casts of characters and personalities" (USA TODAY, 10/31).
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