GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 31, 2013

CELEBRATE THE SOX: Gritty Boston did it as a team

BOSTON — Shane Victorino and John Lackey exemplify the entire 2013 Boston Red Sox team and its relationship with Boston baseball fans.

Most Sox fans hated when GM Ben Cherington signed Victorino this past offseason because he was coming off the worst year of his career and some thought his bat speed was diminishing.

Likewise, no Boston fan, it seemed, wanted to see John Lackey ever pitch another game in a Red Sox uniform. Everyone was sick of the righty’s antics.

Before spending last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lackey had a historically bad 6.41 ERA in 2011, frequently showed up his fielders when they made errors and he never took accountability for his poor performance on the mound or his questionable clubhouse behavior that contributed to Boston’s monumental 2011 September collapse.

Yes, fans were more than leery to accept these two players — just like they were more than leery to accept this new-look 2013 Red Sox team after what happened in 2011 and then the 69-win, last-place finish in 2012.

But as this season progressed, fans grew quite fond of Victorino, Lackey and this entire bunch of hairy Red Sox players. That fondness turned into everlasting love last night.

With Victorino and Lackey front-and-center, your Boston Red Sox won 6-1 over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 to claim the 2013 World Series title here at rocking Fenway Park.

Before last night, the Red Sox had not clinched a World Series title inside Fenway Park since 1918. How appropriate for this team to break that 95-year drought? How appropriate for it to happen this year — a year that has been so trying for the people in this city following the Boston Marathon bombings in April.

This team began to win over Boston fan’s hearts when they rallied around the city following that tragedy.

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