Video by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff
A few champagne-smudged notes from tonight:
• As the players were soaking each other with champagne in the clubhouse, Dustin Pedroia ducked away and went to the family room to get his son, 4-year-old Dylan.
Pedroia grabbed a bottle of water, knelt down and let Dylan dump the water on his head and join the celebration. The little boy was laughing joyously as he shared a moment with his dad.
On the other side of the room, Jon Lester was holding his son in his arms. Hudson Lester had goggles protecting his eyes and was taking in the scene with a bit of an apprehensive look on his face.
“He’s a little scared but I wanted him to see this,” Lester said. “To share this with your son, it’s a great feeling.”
• As the players were jumping around, manager John Farrell watched from the doorway of this office with a smile.
Team owner John Henry, after pausing to snap a few photos of the scene with his smart phone, found Farrell and shook his hand.
“Thank you,” he said. “Thank you.”
Henry later went out to the field to celebrate with the players. “It’s hard to win the American League East. This is an accomplishment,” he said. “I haven’t felt like this since we won the 2007 World Series.
“I wouldn’t want to have to play us. Our pitching is really strong. In a short series, anything can happen. But this a tough team and I’m so proud of them.”
• Jonny Gomes is an old pro at this. He was on division title teams in Cincinnati (2010), Oakland (2012) and now Boston. Gomes had on a combat helmet and was punting beer cans into the crowd at one point. He also had his wife and kids with him.
Gomes set big goals for this team in spring training, insisting they could exceed modest expectations.
“If you don’t put your mind to it it’s not going to happen,” he said. “Under no circumstances was I going to print up T-shirts that said, ‘Lets Go Be .500.’ You have to shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon. That can be a championship too.”
I’m not sure what that means. But it sounds good.
• Farrell is a bottom-line manager who uses reams of data to make decisions. But he made an impression on his veteran players in the ninth inning by sending Shane Victorino out to play center field. Victorino was out of the lineup for two days because of a sore thumb but Farrell made sure he was part of the clincher.
He did the same for Gomes, sending him in to run for Mike Carp in the eighth inning. Decisions like that engender a lot of loyalty.
• The players were all wearing Oakley ski goggles and the plastic wrap around the lockers had Budweiser logos. Yes, even celebrations have corporate sponsors.
• David Ortiz grabbed a microphone and addressed the crowd after the game. A bunch of the players did a lap around the stands and celebrated with the fans.
• Koji Uehara enjoyed every second of the celebration. He gathered the team’s Japanese contingent — Junichi Tazawa, interpreter C.J. Matsumoto, trainer Masai Takahashi, massage therapist Shinichiro Uchikubo and media liaison Mikio Yoshimura — for a photo. Koji then jumped on top of the dugout and high-fived fans before leaping down.
• Chief operating officer Sam Kennedy, usually a mild-mannered guy, grabbed a bottle of champagne and sprayed Larry Lucchino.
• Most of the veteran players were pretty chill during the clubhouse celebration. But John Lackey got his money’s worth. This was one time it was acceptable to have a few beers in the clubhouse.
• Third base coach Brian Butterfield, whose influence on the team’s chemistry is far reaching, had a group of players around him pouring champagne on his head at one point. This is his first time back in the playoffs since he was coaching with Arizona in 1999.
“Special, just special,” he said. “This is a great group of guys.”
• GM Ben Cherington sat in the dugout and watched the celebration quietly. In his second year in charge, Cherington directed an incredible turnaround.
“At the end of last year, as tough a year as it was, we still felt very optimistic and confident about the future,” he said. “There was a lot of things in place, starting with ownership. Very good ownership, stable ownership group. Players, young talent in the system and people in scouting. All the things you need to be successful. As painful as it was last year, it was hard for people to see that. But we felt it. We had to put the team back together and keep pushing and get the thing back going in the right direction.”
Cherington he sought players “for whom baseball is important” as he rebuilt the roster.
“When you come together and win as a team, it’s a feeling like nothing else. It’s more than any personal or individual accomplishment. They’ve been like that all year,” he said.
• Jake Peavy was on the field in a sleeveless T-shirt tugging on a can of Bud Light and lighting up a cigarette. You can take the pitcher out of Alabama but you can’t take the Alabama out the pitcher.
“I love this group of guys. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said. “It’s like everybody is your brother.”
• Andrew Miller, his fractured foot in a boot, was in the mob scene. The lefty is miserable about not being able to play after pitching so well this season. But he’s determined to enjoy the team’s success.
“Can you believe this team after what happened last season?” he said. “I’ve never been this happy about a team before. What a feeling.”
• Another cool scene: Farrell wrapping Will Middlebrooks in a hug. The manager demoted Middlebrooks in June and it didn’t sit well with him. But he returned in August and has been a huge part of the team’s late-season success.
• It was nice of the Sox to let the fans stay in the ballpark and watch the celebration until it broke up around 11:30. Several hundred folks were behind the dugout having a good time.
And it’s awfully nice of you to be reading this. Hope you are enjoying this team.