By Alex Altman
The Boston Red Sox finished their 2012 season with a dismal 69-93 record. They finished last in the American League East where they usually finish towards the top and make a push for the playoffs. The following season, 2013, was a fresh start for the Sox as they acquired a new head coach and a few new players. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the organization, but team chemistry overrode all and they ended up rallying and defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
Craig Calcaterra is a writer for the Hardball Talk portion of nbcsports.com. He wrote an impressive article that I felt was intriguing and informative about the Red Sox going from worst to first. Calcaterra writes:
No one expected the Sox to win the World Series as the season began, but most thought they’d be respectable.
…in some ways their accomplishment was even more improbable than that of your typical worst-to-first team.
The key acquisition in the offseason that helped them win the World Series was outfielder Shane Victorino. The Red Sox gambled away quite a bit of money to a player who is reaching the end of his career and is injury prone. Calcaterra believes that the Red Sox general manager deserves the praise for this risky pickup:
You have to give Boston general manager Ben Cherington credit for Victorino. Not many people thought a three-year, $39 million gamble on Victorino was a good one. Indeed, it was widely mocked. Part of the mocking was because, in most people’s minds, Victorino was a center fielder who had lost his center fielder’s skills. Signing him to play right field — which he played spectacularly — ended up being a master stroke.
Calcaterra captures the feeling of how a World Series victory was unexpected to the fans, other teams and even the Red Sox own organization. He does a great job of capturing the essence of Boston winning it all and ‘What a difference a year makes‘.