Do take a bow for Koji Uehara, Ben.
And Mike Carp. Who among us knew anything about Mike Carp? I sure didn’t. I can tell you now that he had a pretty decent rookie year in Seattle back in 2011, that he was good enough to be named the August rookie of the month, and that he had a 20-game hitting streak that year. I can tell you that he spent three stints on the disabled list last year with shoulder and groin issues. The reason I can tell you these things is because I looked them up the old-fashioned way, in the 2013 Red Sox media guide. The truth is until he got here, the name Mike Carp was just a vague box score notation to me. I’m not sure what exactly about Carp appealed to Cherington. Perhaps it was his career .309 batting average against lefties entering this season (Thanks, again, to the media guide).
Nice to have him here, isn’t it?
He came here for the proverbial “player to be named later.” Just as long as it isn’t Dustin Pedroia.
It’s almost ridiculous how well everything has worked out. Gomes and Stephen Drew each got off to slow starts. But we don’t mind seeing either of them up in any key situation now, do we? It has been a real tag-team deal offensively, with guys dove-tailing their contributions as the season unfolded. Then throw in Farrell’s crafty lineup manipulation, a circumstance abetted by the defensive versatility afforded him by Messrs. Gomes, Victorino, and especially Daniel Nava, whose quasifictional journey to his present indispensable role is so far over the top that I can think of no valid comparison, at least not in Red Sox history.
The beard thing is their schtick, and that’s fine. Gimmicks are nice. Just let me remind you that winning begets camaraderie, not the other way around. The important caveat is that even the best players must subjugate themselves to the team ideal. They have won all these games not because they have bonded over beards, or anything else, but because they have played winning baseball, which in this day-to-day grind of a sport in which people spend so much time together means not bitching when your 0 for 4 coincides with a victory.
Some people have stressed over the fallen attendance. Oh, please. Selling out a baseball park routinely is not normal. Only the Indians, Giants, and Red Sox have ever done it. It’s baseball, not football. There are 81 home games, not eight. Selling out every night speaks to a fad, not a legitimate passion. Hey, the Red Sox have played to 90-X percent capacity. That’s good enough for me. I was in this town when they drew 652,201 for a season. And some people romanticize how those were the Good Old Days. Stop it.
Times change. The Patriots have caught up to the Red Sox in local esteem, and more power to them. There remain plenty of us for whom the 2013 Boston Red Sox have provided an enormous unexpected pleasure.
Bob Ryan's column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.