BOSTON — The Red Sox made good on their promise.
Even if the Red Sox fail to notch a single playoff win, we can all look back at the 2013 season and say that John Farrell and Co. lived up to their preseason pledges. The Red Sox didn’t promise to win the American League East, but they did promise to work hard and leave everything on the field. No one can dispute their effort.
The key word back in October when Farrell was hired as the 46th manager in Red Sox history was, “relentless.” Before long, the trait became ingrained in Boston’s everyday work flow. Players donned T-shirts around the clubhouse that featured the word printed on the front, and the Red Sox became a team that was difficult to play against night in and night out.
Now, the Red Sox are AL East champions for the first time since 2007. They own baseball’s best record, and there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to lock up home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Red Sox have come a long way since 2012’s debacle, yet Farrell’s group hasn’t wavered from its initial undertaking — even in the midst of a champagne-soaked celebration Friday.
“We’ve been relentless, whether it’s through injuries and guys have stepped up,” Farrell said during Boston’s postgame party. “In a number of ways, we’ve answered the call,”
The Red Sox have been better-than-advertised this season from a performance standpoint, and it’s in large part because they’ve been absolutely as advertised when it comes to putting in the work each day they arrive at the ballpark. Sure, the talent is there, too. But the 2013 Red Sox became so likeable because they told everyone how things were going to change, and then made sure that they executed those changes. The result speaks for itself.
“We knew we had a good team. We knew this was a division that was going to be up for grabs between the five teams who are in it,” Farrell said after Friday’s 6-3 win over the Blue Jays. “We were able to put some space between us and the rest of the teams in this division, and that’s a testament to the ability, the talents, but more than anything, the work ethic of this group.”
The Red Sox’ amazing chemistry this season is obvious, and it’s part of what makes the group so special. It came together because of the similar mindset that exists within everyone who has tossed on a Red Sox uniform this season.
“Since the [first] day of spring training, obviously it took more than 25 guys, but just 25 baseball junkies just playing ball the right way,” said Jonny Gomes, who has taken on a role of clubhouse leader.
Playing ball the right way. Boston, a city passionate about winning, certainly wants more than that. But after the hard times that the Red Sox had fallen on over the last two seasons, vowing to “play the right way” was a good place for the 2013 club to start its turnaround.
Only time will tell if we’ll call the 2013 Red Sox a championship team. For now, we can at least call it an honest bunch.