With no more marathon playoff games, and the parade complete, Red Sox fans still have one more celebration of the 2018 World Series champions to look forward to. Major League Baseball’s official documentary, “The 2018 World Series: Damage Done,” was released on Tuesday.
At 115 minutes long, the film – narrated by Emmy-winning Medfield native Uzo Aduba – focuses on the five-game Fall Classic in which the Red Sox topped the Dodgers to become champions.
A range of Red Sox players, coaches and management were interviewed for the documentary. And a few were present for its premiere at the Emerson Colonial Theatre on Monday night. Brock Holt represented the players, drawing laughter from the crowd when emcee Tom Caron introduced him for his historic cycle against the Yankees in the American League Division Series.
“First player to ever hit for a postseason cycle, and I was telling [Alex Cora], first player to ever get benched the game after,” Holt joked. The packed crowd was a vocal one, both before and during the showing of the documentary.
Here are a few takeaways from the screening. (Spoiler alert: The Red Sox win).
It begins and ends with Alex Cora.
The opening shot of Fenway Park is narrated by Alex Cora discussing the pictures he inherited on the wall of the manager’s office.
“I was here in November for my press conference,” Cora said, “and I went to the office and they had all these pictures [on the wall] of ex-managers just staring at you. I was like, ‘No, we’re not doing that.'”
This was Cora’s original epiphany for the now-famous concept of pinning one photo for each win. In the closing moments of the film, Cora is seen gazing up at the 119 photos, representing the body of work in the team’s historic season.
And at the screening, Cora brought the World Series trophy out on stage, receiving a standing ovation.
Nathan Eovaldi’s performance became a rallying point.
One narrative that the documentary cements is the place Nathan Eovaldi will always have in the history of the 2018 Red Sox. Though he lost Game 3, his tireless pitching – six innings in relief in an 18-inning game – earned unending respect from his teammates.
An emotional moment that the film captures is in the immediate aftermath of Max Muncy’s walk-off home run. Eovaldi, clearly exhausted, is blank faced as he walks slowly back to the dugout. But he was immediately greeted by David Price, Cora, and other Red Sox players, all clearly in awe of his effort.
“To lose the game the way that I did, I was definitely disappointed,” Eovaldi said. “But to have the reaction, all the guys at the top of the dugout and in the locker room after the game, it definitely lifted me.”
“That was probably the most incredible thing I have ever seen on a baseball field,” Chris Sale explained.
The crowd in the theatre erupted at virtually every appearance by Eovaldi, with several “Re-sign Eovaldi” shouts unequivocally reaching the ears of Red Sox president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski (seated near the front).
The method to Chris Sale’s madness.
An enjoyable part of the film for Red Sox fans were any of Chris Sale’s soundbites. The standout clip comes during Sale’s explanation for his spontaneous moment in the dugout during Game 4, when Sale started yelling to encourage his teammates.
“For a split second, I just kind of lost it there,” Sale said, “and I was just trying to get everyone kind of refocused. I just wanted to win, and I knew we had it in us.”
And when it came time to close out the ninth inning of Game 5, Sale didn’t need asking.
“He got up on his own, just telling me, ‘I’m in,'” Cora admitted.
Familiar Boston sports nemeses make cameos
The main player Red Sox fans love to boo on the Dodgers was Manny Machado. Of course, it was Machado’s strikeout that ended the Series (and Sale offers an expected but nonetheless satisfying description of the at-bat).
A few other classic Boston sports villains made appearances as well. Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez were shown talking on the field prior to Game 4, each apparently confident of a Dodger comeback.
The crowd present for the screening booed with glee.
Steve Pearce embraced his moment.
World Series MVP Steve Pearce described how he didn’t know if his Game 4 home run would be caught by Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger.
“Very dramatic. I didn’t know if it was going to get out or not,” said Pearce. But his half-hearted fist-pump turned into a full-blown celebration when he saw it was gone. In his next at-bat in the ninth inning, his bases-clearing double broke it open for Boston.
And Pearce delivered one of the lines of the film describing his approach.
“The next baseball I connect on,” Pearce recalled, “I’m sending 50,000 people home.”
As far as his continued heroics in Game 5, Pearce was succinct in his disbelief.
“I can’t explain it,” he admitted, noting that he picked the right time to catch fire at the plate.
“I gave him a hard time because we went to the same high school,” Chris Sale said. “I told him, ‘Now I’m No. 2 on the list at [Lakeland]. Thanks, man.'”
A few other observations
Best line: Red Sox first base coach Tom Goodwin – mic’d up for Game 3 – delivered a memorable quote when he said, “We didn’t fly 3,000 miles to get shut out.” Jackie Bradley Jr.’s home run shortly afterward proved him correct.
Backstory on the ending of (mini) slumps: An interesting behind-the-scenes moment that fans got to see was the work Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez put in before Game 5. The two players were very much aware that they had been conspicuously absent from the offensive production, and their extra batting cage session paid off.
Pearce knew it was over before it was: Once he saw how Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner struck out by missing badly against Sale in the 9th inning of Game 5, Pearce knew the Red Sox were going to win the World Series.
“Soon as you saw that swing, you were like, ‘Yup, he’s on,'” said Pearce of Sale. “This is it, this is about to happen.”
Mean tweets: During the credits at the end of the film, a side screen shows Red Sox players (and Cora) reading mean tweets from angry fans following an April loss. The early takes didn’t age well.