Last week, the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce held a Zoom conference call with members of the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
In the conference call, the members of the team recounted stories ranging from the preseason to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, in which they took home the victory in six games, handing the city its third title of the century.
The call included players Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, as well as executives Larry Lucchino and Charles Steinberg. The call was moderated by broadcaster Joe Castiglione.
Heading into the 2013 season, the Sox were coming off of a last-place 2012 in which they underperformed on the field and experienced chemistry issues in the clubhouse. In 2013, a new batch of team-first veterans, including Victorino and Gomes, were welcomed to the club and ended up being key members of the squad.
“We were in the middle of something that was very dreadful, but what it begat was this incredible team-town bond. We were the beneficiaries of an enormous amount of spirit and it’s been my belief that in baseball, if you have something like that going for you, if there is something intangible, you don’t bet against that. The likelihood that that intangible spirit or feeling will do something positive for a team. That’s especially true in baseball, and it was true in spades in 2013,” said Lucchino.
The team also spoke about its experience with the Boston Marathon bombing which took place in April of that season. The tragedy provided the team with a spark of motivation that was carried throughout the rest of the campaign.
“We just started thinking, what can we do as a team to pick the spirits up or rally around the city and help out. Collectively we decided to come up with something that would maybe lessen the hurt on a lot of the people. Jonny Gomes and myself came up with the jersey, Boston Strong 617, hung it up in the dugout every game to let them know that they were on our minds,” said Saltalamacchia.
Gomes added: “We thought that we would just bring everyone together, whether you were a sports fan, a Sox fan or not. Once we started to figure some of this stuff out, we realized how many people were affected in the Boston area and world wide. Boston Strong became like a lifestyle, more than just a slogan.”
From there, the former Sox went on to remember their historic postseason run. After winning the American League East, the Sox had to pull off come from behind victories in both the American League Championship as well as the World Series.
They did just that, and became one of the unlikeliest champions in baseball history.
“That was the approach to our whole team that year, stay in our lanes, everybody to their job, and the rest will take care of itself. Going into that bat I just told myself, ‘Do your job, get a guy in, let’s figure that out and the rest of the game can take care of itself,” said Victorino of his famous ALCS grand slam against Detroit.
“This team in ‘13 was that team that was, we were comfortable knowing that, ‘Hey, we’re behind, but we’re still going to win because if I don’t get the job done, the guy behind me will.’ We weren’t a team full of individuals wanting to be the heroes, we knew we had to work together to be that team of heroes,” added Saltalamacchia.