It was a feel-good story for Boston, a victory for the bearded band of Red Sox brothers, who tipped the standings upside down in going from last to first by beating the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. It could have also been titled “Fall Classic Follies,” considering the errors, misjudgments, bizarre plays and delays that would easily fill a TV bloopers special.
There were 13 errors in all, five by the Cardinals and eight by the Major League Baseball champions Red Sox.
The keystone combination of shortstop Pete Kozma and second baseman Matt Carpenter made two errors apiece for St. Louis.
Seven Red Sox players got into the error column, with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury topping the chart with a pair of miscues.
A pop fly that fell comically untouched between St. Louis pitching ace Adam Wainwright and All-Star catcher Yadier Molina for a single in the Series opener and a botched rundown by the Cardinals in the final game would make perfect bookends to a “How Not To” instructional series for aspiring little leaguers.
With the high pressure of a championship series, the human element displayed by MLB’s two best teams was actually endearing, reminding us that athletes are not perfect, and brought a potential shock factor into play.
The shock factor was in full force in two game-ending plays.
Game 3, the last game won by the Cards, was decided on an obstruction call, when the third base umpire ruled that the third baseman, lying on the dirt after diving in vain for an errant throw, got in the way of a base runner, who looked to have been thrown out at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
Allen Craig was credited with scoring the winning run in a 5-4 victory in the first World Series game ever to end on an obstruction call.
Game 4 came to an abrupt ending when Hawaiian rookie Kolten Wong was picked off first base with the tying run at the plate in a 4-2 St. Louis loss.
That was the first World Series game to end on a pickoff.
Then there was the takeoff that seemed like it would never end for the Cardinals, whose charter plane was held on a St. Louis runway for nearly seven hours Tuesday due to problems with its navigation system.
The Cardinals finally arrived in Boston, ensuring that the 109th edition of the World Series would continue as scheduled Wednesday.
Series MVP David “Big Papi” Ortiz batted a mind-boggling .688, going 11-for-16 at the plate and reaching base eight more times on walks for an on-base percentage of .760.
Starter Jon Lester won a pair of brilliantly pitched games, Japanese closer Koji Uehara saved two, Jonny Gomes hit a three-run home to fuel the Game 4 win, and Shane Victorino drove in four runs in the 6-1 Series clincher.
Other than Ortiz, the hitting was generally anemic. Subtracting Big Papi’s contribution, the Red Sox batted .169.
St. Louis hit for a .224 average, registering 45 hits to 41 for Boston, but failing to deliver the clutch blows that allowed the Red Sox to outscore them 27-14 in the Series.
“We all know that we could come out and play a better game than what we did here, but we did a whole lot more than anybody gave us credit for or expected us to do,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after the Game 6 loss.
“There’s a lot of things that they can look on in a negative way, but this isn’t the time for it.”
Next season might be a better time for the Cardinals and their young core of hard-throwing pitchers, who could make them a force to be reckoned with for many seasons to come.
This season, however, the celebration belongs to the Bostonians.
And Saturday the Red Sox began their victory parade through Boston, a chance for a city scarred by the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon in April to share their triumph.