Speaking of remembering the World Series, this short video of what happened before and after Game 6 is definitely worth a watch.
Going back over these makes me so happy. I think my favorite might be Victorino’s grand slam in the ALCS. So much energy and emotion.
The best baseball writer of our generation recaps the 2013 Red Sox. Quoting only a part of it does not do the piece justice. Take a few minutes and go read the whole thing.
> You can be cynical about Boston’s $159 million Opening Day payroll, and about the historic dump trade with the Dodgers, the one that gave the Red Sox enough room to make a bunch of moves over the winter. Just don’t get too swept away with revisionist history. The Sox might’ve spent a bunch of money, and might’ve caught a break when an overaggressive Dodgers team relieved them of some enormous financial commitments. But it’s not like the baseball world lined up in unison to declare the Red Sox preseason favorites this year. No one other than maybe their moms picked Boston to go all the way in 2013. Not with the memory of that nightmarish 2012 season still rattling around in everyone’s heads.
I thought the Red Sox were going to be good. I had no idea they would be *World Series Champion* good.
> [A]s well as outfielder Jonny Gomes, who sprinted out of the tunnel and was met with raucous cheers.
Gomes is loving this. I am so glad the Red Sox signed him.
Napoli loves Boston. Bring him back for another year.
I used this as an excuse to finally trim my bread as well.
Before the rolling rally kicked off at Fenway Park, [Steve] Horgan, a Boston police officer, was taking pictures and signing autographs. The image of him standing in the Red Sox’s bullpen with his arms raised in celebration after David Ortiz’s grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS will be remembered as the iconic image of Boston’s run to the championship.
I hope Horgan gets to be the bullpen cop forever.
Video of that same touching moment.
Speaking of touching celebration pictures.
“It was a great day,“ Sox manager John Farrell said. "The city turned over to just a day of celebration. And to share it, and see just the amount of people that came out, and the intensity and their noise, it was awesome today.”
Looking at these photos makes me smile.
Jeff Sullivan of *Fangraphs* does an excellent job of figuring out what Koji’s worst pitch was during the playoffs. Of course, my favorite paragraph might be:
> The next step is to eliminate any remaining pitches thrown to Jose Iglesias, because Iglesias is far from a threatening sort. The worst he’s likely to do is slap a single somewhere, and that’s just not that bad. You always have to account for batter identity. By removing pitches thrown to Iglesias, we reduce the sample to six.
Via *Joy of Sox*:
> In six World Series games, David Ortiz made five outs.
Rob Neyer quotes the ratings numbers:
> For the entire month of Postseason baseball beginning with the Wild Card games, viewership increased +20% across FOX, TBS and MLB Network (6.3 million average viewers), the largest year-over-year increase since 2009. In addition, 2013 marks the first year since 2001 that viewership increased for every round of the Postseason as well as the All-Star Game.
I am sure people who do not like baseball will simply ignore this number and point to how great some random NFL game did in the ratings.[^f5159]
[^f5159]: Of course, those people better enjoy football while they can. The more we learn about concussions in football, the higher the likelihood that the game is going to change significantly from what we watch today.
Here is what he wrote in February of this year:
> But here’s the reality, people: The 2013 Red Sox might be really bad. Worse, they might be really boring. Anybody talking about baseball in your neighborhood these days?
> The first base situation is alarming. Mike Napoli is an old 31, hit .227 last year, has played only 133 games at the position, and has a degenerative hip disease. Don’t be surprised to see Lyle Overbay as an alternative.
> The outfield looks like Gomes in left, Ellsbury in center, and Shane Victorino in right. Not exactly Rice, Lynn, and Evans, is it? Gomes is a winner but is best deployed as a platoon player. Ellsbury’s power numbers were way off last year. Victorino looks like a guy whose best days are behind him. Better hope he’s not Kevin Stevens or Joseph Addai.
> Sorry. The juice glass is half-empty today. These guys could be really bad. And really boring. “Scrappy” doesn’t sell in Boston in 2013. Not after everything that’s happened. For $170 million, a little more prime-time talent would have been nice.
It is quite impressive how much he got wrong in a single piece. In fact, even his attempts to point out what he thought was a strength[^f1] turned out to be misguided.
Essentially, if we were measuring predictions like we measure batting average, Shaughnessy would be Pete Kozma.
[^f1]: The bullpen anchored by Joel Hanrahan. Yeah, that Joel Hanrahan.
David Arias? Really?
Matt Klaassen of Fangraphs explains [when the Cardinals should think about walking Papi](http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/when-to-walk-david-ortiz/):
> In the bottom of the first, the Cardinals need to have fallen behind by a pretty wide margin in order to justify walking Ortiz. For example, they need to be down by five runs with two outs and a runner on second for the walk to Ortiz (who would be coming up bat for the second time in the inning!) to make sense. In the bottom of the second, much the same is true — the Cardinals would need to be down three or four runs (it is close) with one out and runners on second and third or two outs and a runner on second to walk Ortiz. As the game progresses, the number of situations in which intentionally walking Ortiz with a right-handed pitcher slated to face him and the following batters increases, but just slightly, and it is close. They mostly occur with one or two outs and runners on second and third, or two outs with runners on second or third.
> The Cardinals would need to be behind (and again, I’m simplifying to avoid just listing every case): by at least three in the third, two in the fourth, or one in the fifth. By the bottom of the sixth, walking Ortiz with a righty on the mound is recommended even in a tie game with runners on second and third and one out or a runner on second and two outs. In the seventh, with second and third occupied and one out, the Cardinals might even want to walk Ortiz if they are up by one.
As you can see, the answer is not as clear as “just walk him every time he comes to the plate”.[^fn1]
[^fn1]: Which, unsuprisingly, is what some people are suggesting
Big Papi’s unbelievable World Series has led to a number of articles trying to quantify and otherwise explain how unstoppable he has been.
For those of you who want a pure recap of that stats Papi has been putting together there [are a couple](http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/33094/putting-ortizs-world-series-in-perspective) of [pieces from ESPN](http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/33172/a-few-more-eye-popping-papi-numbers) that talk just about his numbers.
Bill Chuck, over at *Gammons Daily* [started the stories of Papi’s dominance before Game 5](http://www.gammonsdaily.com/the-amazing-world-series-of-david-ortiz/):
> But in this constellation that GM Ben Cherington brilliantly assembled and Professor John Farrell manages, on this “team,” a description in the truest sense of the word, there has been no brighter star this World Series than David Ortiz.
> I often refer to the consummate designated hitter and sometime first baseman as “Diva” Ortiz. He preens, has baseball’s slowest tater trot, and demands special attention. “Diva” is only inaccurate because I should use the masculine “divo.” However, it is most accurate in that this person is also considered an outstanding talent in the world in which she or he is participating.
> I honestly believe this brilliant World Series performance by Big Papi has nothing to do with the St. Louis Cardinals. I don’t care who he might be facing, David Ortiz is a man on a mission: the ring.
and then pointed out [how close Papi is to historical milestones as Game 6 approaches](http://www.gammonsdaily.com/david-ortiz-this-guy-is-on-fire/):
> Ortiz will have either one or two games to enter into the elite territory of batters who have had 12 or 13 hits in a single Series
Names like Stargell, Brock, and Clemente populate that list.
Tom Verducci also [attempted to put Papi’s World Series performance in historical context](http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20131029/david-ortiz-red-sox-cardinals-world-series-game-5/index.html), both in Boston and nationally:
> On the brink of such team history, one man has elevated his stature in baseball and in the deep-rooted culture of the Sox more than anyone else. It might not quite be Ruthian what is going on here, but it’s the next best thing to see a garrulous big man becoming a legend of the fall.
> It was eight years ago that the Red Sox presented David Ortiz with a plaque that called him “the greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox.” Ortiz’s performance in this series has moved him far beyond plaques. It is pushing him toward having his number hang from the right-field roof at Fenway, having a statue outside the old ballpark and an official spot in the namesake town of his clubhouse nickname: Cooperstown.
> With three more hits in a 3-1 Game 5 victory, Ortiz is batting .733 (11-for-15) in this World Series and .476 (20-for-42) in his World Series career — the best average in history among all men who have at least 50 plate appearances in the Fall Classic.
Brian MacPhereson from the *Providence Journal* [talks about both the statistical impact Papi has had, as well as his leadership](http://blogs.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/2013/10/david-ortiz-having-an-astonishing-world-series.html):
> The statistics are astounding, eye-popping, laughable — take your pick of incredulous adjective. He’s hitting .733 with a .750 on-base percentage and 1.267 slugging percentage. He singled twice and doubled in Game Five, and his slugging percentage went down.
> And that’s after Ortiz pulled the entire Boston team aside in the middle of Game Four to deliver a passionate pep talk immediately before Jonny Gomes hit a three-run home run. There’s nothing that has happened in the World Series that the Red Sox can’t credit to Ortiz.
If you prefer to look at things on a micro-level, then this [in-depth look at one at-bat](http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/wainwright-ortiz-and-facing-the-monster/) from Jeff Sullivan at *Fangraphs* is probably right up your alley:
> If you were watching, you understand, because the extended at-bat felt a little like theater. There was nobody on and there was one out, but it felt like a moment with substance and meaning. It felt like it meant more than it did, and Wainwright got an ovation after Ortiz was retired. The thing is, any pitcher should probably get an ovation at this point if he’s able to get Ortiz out. In the first inning on Monday, Ortiz doubled on the first pitch. In the fourth inning, he singled on the second pitch. I don’t need to tell you about his numbers in the World Series; I’ll just remind you that those numbers don’t include what could’ve been a Game 1 grand slam. Ortiz has been the story, so pitching to Ortiz must be a story as well.
Lastly, in a Evan Drellich [piece detailing all of Papi’s accomplishments](http://www.masslive.com/redsox/index.ssf/2013/10/red_sox_world_series_game_5_da_2.html), it is this quote that stands out:
> “I was born for this,” Ortiz said.
After how he has played so far this World Series, it is tough to argue with that.
Jayson Stark explains the historical impact of a World Series win at Fenway:
> Here, though, is what hasn’t happened before — at least not in the lifetimes of these men in uniform. Or the lifetimes of their parents. Or, very possibly, the lifetimes of their grandparents:
> This time, these Red Sox are one win away from winning the World Series at Fenway Park. And that, friends, is a feat for the history professors in our midst, much more so than for the tailgaters and talk-show callers and sports nuts in our midst.
I am so excited, and so nervous, for Wednesday night. I have no idea what to think. I want the game to start now.