Arms shot into the air in jubilation inside the Forum restaurant the moment the Red Sox clinched the World Series, and the site where one of the Boston Marathon bombs exploded in April was transformed.
“This is the greatest feeling,” said Michael Silby, 48, who joined others last night at the Boylston Street restaurant closed for four months after the attacks. “Just the fact that Boston has been through a lot, nobody deserves it more.”
The Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 of the best-of-seven showdown to win the series four games to two and David Ortiz was selected as the series Most Valuable Player. Players, coaches and owners all acknowledged the three people killed and more than 260 injured in the April 15 terror attacks, as well as the first responders who rushed to help, were key motivators.
“We wanted to do something special and make everybody happy and proud in the toughest of times,” right fielder Shane Victorino told the sellout crowd of 38,477 over the ballpark’s public address system.
“This is for you, Boston,” Ortiz told the cheering throng a short while later as he hoisted his MVP trophy. “You’ve been through a lot this year.”
Outside Fenway Park, revelers took to the streets in a mostly orderly manner as hundreds of Boston police formed a perimeter around the ballpark to keep the crowds from growing. Drivers honked horns in celebration of the first time the Red Sox had clinched a World Series title at home in 95 years.
Groups walking along sidewalks broke into choruses of “Sweet Caroline,” the Neil Diamond tune sung at every home game.
“Everybody is really happy,” Jamie Severino, 21, said. “We are united, Boston Strong.”
The team adopted the city’s rallying cry of Boston Strong early on. At the first home game after the lethal attacks, Ortiz declared to thunderous applause, “This is our (expletive) city!” In his MVP speech last night, he repeated the line, replacing the expletive that brought so much attention with a high-pitched “beep!” and a wide grin.
In the weeks and months that followed the bombings, players quietly made hospital visits to victims and left tickets for families and first responders, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.
A “Boston Strong” jersey emblazoned with the number 617 for the city’s area code has hung in the Red Sox dugout throughout the regular season and playoffs. “B Strong” was also sewn on the players’ uniforms, carved into the outfield grass and posted on the center-field wall.
“We spoke a number of times about that event being somewhat of a galvanizing force for this group,” Farrell said at a news conference before the first game of the World Series.