Joy in Mudville

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports

ST. LOUIS – On Sept. 11, 1918, Carl Mays pitched a three-hitter to clinch the Boston Red Sox's fifth World Series title, which was aided by two victories from Babe Ruth.

On Dec. 26, 1919, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made a deal to sell Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000.

On Oct. 27, 2004, Jason Varitek jumped into Keith Foulke's arms here at Busch Stadium.

Four score and six years after their last title, there is joy in Mudville. The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions once again.

"We did it man," said Manny Ramirez, the World Series MVP. "We're the champs."

Say goodbye to the chants of "1918," to the Curse of the Bambino, to Bucky and Buckner and Boone.

With a 3-0 victory over the listless St. Louis Cardinals, Boston finished off a series sweep that was surprising only in its ease. The Sox finished the playoffs on an eight-game win streak that left no doubt that they were baseball's best.

All that remained were the hugs and high-fives, the champagne and celebration. A 2,500-strong throng of Red Sox Nation swarmed the stands behind the Boston dugout here to sing and chant and dance in a party that certainly would run deep into the St. Louis night.

"I'm sure there are a lot of people in New England that are dancing in the streets right now," said first-year manager Terry Francona, whose loose style maximized his flaky team's ability. "I can't wait to go back and join them."

From the Back Bay to New Bedford, from Caribou to Connecticut, in New England this certainly will go down among the all-time great nights, the time the Olde Towne Team finally delivered.

They couldn't get this done with Williams and Pesky, with Foxx and Doerr, with Yaz and Fisk, with Jim Ed and The Rocket. They couldn't do it when 20 other clubs could, often repeatedly.

They couldn't when they won 104 games in '46, had the Impossible Dream in '67, when Fisk hit the foul pole in '75, when they were up 14 games on the Yankees in the summer of 1978. They couldn't when they were one strike away in 1986 or in extra innings an October ago.

They could, however, with a team that nearly traded away its MVP candidate last winter, needed to deal the most popular player in a generation in midseason and was given up for dead when they went down 0-3 to the Yankees in the ALCS.

They did it with an ace pitching with stitches, with a rejuvenated Petey, with shaggy hair and goatees and with a "Why Not Us" attitude that spit in the face of all the failed falls of the past.

They did it with a 30-year-old homegrown general manager bold enough to make deal after deal, take chance after chance and then, most importantly, let the players be players.

The seemingly cursed team that plays in a park that opened the same week the Titanic sunk finally put all of the ghosts behind it by clinching a championship under a full lunar eclipse.

"Well," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, "give them credit. I mean, they outplayed us in every category."

Did they ever. For La Russa, this is another postseason disappointment, a sorry sweep of a 105-win club that ranks with his powerful Oakland teams' upset losses in the 1988 (Dodgers) and 1990 (Reds) World Series.

The Cardinals never once held the lead in the series, really never threatened to win and watched Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, the heart of their order, go a combined 1-for-31. By the end, even the mild-mannered, ever-loyal Cardinal fans couldn't suppress some boos.

Meanwhile, Boston kept hitting, kept grinding and got exceptional starting pitching. In games 2 through 4, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe combined for 20 innings and allowed no earned runs.

Long-edgy Red Sox fans, who are used to collapses and comebacks in the cardiac Commonwealth, barely needed to hold their breath.

This cast of characters with character – and self-described as "idiots" – will go down in the annals of New England legends – Johnny Jesus and Big Papi, Schill and D-Lowe, Manny and Pedro, Millar and Mueller and on and on and on.

"You win when people do special things," Francona said. "We had a lot of people do special things. I think we had a bunch of MVPs."

Said Ramirez, who hit .412 in the Series, "We are a bunch of idiots that go out to have fun and we don't think. We eliminate thinking."

Only with this team could that make sense.

So start the "2000" chants at the hated Yankees next year, stop fretting over dead Hall of Famers and forgive Billy Bucks.

Four score and six years after winning it all, Boston did it again, delivering a simple victory that means so much to so many.

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