Craig Breslow’s Playoff Blog: The realization of a lifelong dream
|10.20.13 at 3:07 pm ET|
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer is also the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
Anybody who says that they can put this feeling into words is lying. We’re just absolutely overwhelmed with emotion. The opportunity to play in the World Series is the reason you put on a uniform when you’re 12 years old to play Little League.
The fact that we will be playing in the World Series is, of course, incredibly special in its own right. But the fashion in which we’ve reached this point makes the accomplishment all the sweeter. Every single guy on this roster and beyond can feel good about getting to the World Series because everybody did something to contribute to the success of this team. Everybody can feel good about this win because everybody did have some part of it.
The way that we beat the Tigers on Saturday seemed such a fitting way for us to get to the World Series, Game 6 mirroring the way our season has kind of gone. Guys just have that never-say-die attitude. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win. It’s truly a case of every guy passing the baton to the next just to take a chance. We’d seen the way these games had played out, such that if we kept within striking distance, anybody had the chance to deliver the crushing blow. Last night, it was Shane Victorino. A few nights ago, it was David Ortiz. We’ve seen Mike Napoli do it. That’s what makes us so dangerous. Our lineup, one through nine, can wear out opposing pitching.
I was in the bullpen when Victorino hit his grand slam. I’d been warming up for a long time, going trough the pitching paces back even to the inning before. When it went out, the electricity in the park was amazing. Yet as I was already set to come in for the top of the eighth inning, even though it swung the game from us trailing, 2-1, to coming within six outs of heading to the World Series, it didn’t change what I needed to do. As I’ve been saying all along, you keep the objective the same, and that’s keeping the other team exactly where it is. If the game is tied, if we’re ahead, if we’re behind, it doesn’t really change what you’re trying to do when you’re out there.
Obviously, Victorino delivered the decisive hit, but there were so many other moments of the game that turned out to be pivotal. The job, for instance, that Brandon Workman did in keeping the game at 2-1 with runners on the corners and no outs in the sixth was tremendous. Dustin Pedroia made the head’s-up play behind Workman to get us out of the jam. Stephen Drew‘s diving play up the middle to end the seventh to keep the game at one run let us stay in striking distance. And I don’t know how you find a 21-year-old kid with the kind of poise and presence that Xander Bogaerts has. It seems like he’s just unflappable. No stage is too big. No lights are too bright. He’s a special talent but he’s also a special kid with special makeup.
These were the types of plays and performances that took place throughout the series. It seems like picking an MVP this series would have been pretty difficult. Koji Uehara was absolutely a worthy guy, but it could have easily gone to the entire organization given the depth of contributions.
We’ll find out if there’s any way for a series to surpass what we just went through. Any team that is playing in the World Series obviously had success all season long and carried that into the postseason. The Cardinals are no different, riding pretty high and playing with confidence.
It’s going to be a great series, I’m sure it’s going to be a dogfight, but we’re all looking forward to it. As much as we all got to enjoy what we accomplished on Saturday night, we know that there’s still a final goal to reach. We’ll do our homework, we’ll be prepared and be ready to get back at it on Wednesday.
After all, we’ve been waiting our whole lives for this.
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