ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- With stunning swiftness, the
Boston Red Sox
erased nearly nine decades of frustration.
The franchise that once pinned its hopes on the "Impossible Dream" polished off a most improbable postseason and ended an 86-year championship drought, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0, to complete a four-game sweep of the 100th World Series.
Baseball's poster child for frustration, the
captured their first World Series title since 1918 and ignited a wild night of celebration across New England.
Their place in baseball history secure due to a legion of fans that has come to expect heartbreak in the most excruciating fashion possible, the
won their major league-record eighth straight postseason game, banishing any thoughts of a collapse and perhaps starting a new era of baseball in Boston.
That era began under the helm of general manager Theo Epstein and principal owner John Henry, who have worked together to revamp a squad that had been unable to get over the postseason hump. It was under Epstein's guidance and with Henry's financial backing that the team - which had the third-longest title drought in the sport - was able to finally address "The Curse of the Bambino."
That quest had given birth to Red Sox Nation, a group of rabid fans, many of whom made the trek to Busch Stadium for the clincher.
"I didn't believe in any curses," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "I wasn't around then. We can't reverse what was a long time ago. I'm sure there a lot of people in New England that are dancing in the streets right now - for that, I am thrilled. I can't can wait to go back and join them."
Without any of the heartache, Boston embarrassed the team with baseball's best record in the regular season. After a tight win in Game One, the
outscored the Cardinals, 13-3, over the final three games.
"We beat some really, really good teams under adverse conditions," Francona said. "We ended up standing at the end. For that, I'm proud and pleased and that is what I care about."
"Give them credit," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. "They outplayed us in every category, so it ended up not being a terrific competition, but give them credit."
(1-0), who became the first pitcher to win three series clinchers in one postseason, was the latest starter to stifle St. Louis. After
throttled the vaunted offense of the Cardinals, Lowe was masterful, allowing two singles, a double and a walk in seven innings.
"Our guys love (Derek) so much, for him to be out there was really, really neat," Francona added.
combined to get through the eighth and by the time
toed the rubber in the ninth, the celebration was in full effect with the crowd at Busch Stadium drowned out by the vocal Boston supporters.
When Foulke gloved
's comebacker and flipped to first base, it touched off a wild, almost surreal celebration. As the thousands of
fans pushed their way toward the railing surrounding the field, the St. Louis fans almost seemed paralyzed by the magnitude of the moment.
was named Most Valuable Player, hitting .412 with a homer and four RBI in the series.
"When you are in the playoffs, for you to be a champion, everyone has to put a little piece out there and we did that," Ramirez said. "Everybody over here is the MVP, they are all the champs - we are a team."
, the hero of Boston's Game Seven triumph over the
New York Yankees
in the American League Championship Series, opened the game with a line drive over the right field wall and Boston never was headed. In fact, the
never trailed in the series.
added two runs in the third against St. Louis starter
(0-1) and the celebration in the stands started soon thereafter.
Marquis provided St. Louis with its best start of the series, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out four but walked five.
"I think he did a real good job and gave us a chance to win," La Russa said. "He doesn't spook with men on base. In fact, he gets tougher a lot of times."
The third straight wild card team to win the World Series, Boston looked like it was in for another offseason of lament when it fell behind the Yankees three games to none in the ALCS. But behind exceptional relief pitching by Foulke and timely hitting by
got back in the series and became the first team to erase such a deficit.
Even after vanquishing the hated Yankees, the
still had a formidable task ahead of them in the Cardinals, who had won 105 games in the regular season and all six of their postseason home games. But it mattered little to a team that dubbed itself a band of "idiots" with no sense of the doom and gloom that seemingly haunted the franchise.
"We are a bunch of idiots that we go out and have fun and we don't think - we eliminate thinking, and we have fun and pick each other up," Ramirez concluded.