Red Sox outfielder Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes has kept a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In this World Series edition, Gomes discusses one of the most special plays of the postseason, the Red Sox celebrations, and the one thing that would upset him in the World Series. -- As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
I don’t think anyone even knows how we beat the Tigers' good pitching. We didn’t have a lot of hits and there were a lot of strikeouts. But at the end of the day it’s not about hitting, it’s about touching the plate more than the opposing team. We found a way to do it more than them. It took us a while. It took us the second time of facing Anibal Sanchez and the second time of facing Max Scherzer. But with the success they had the first two starts, it shows a lot about how this team can make adjustments on the fly and we can make adjustments quickly. What I mean by quickly is we didn’t have months to figure it out, we had just a few days. This is a pretty special team.
Someone asked me why are the Red Sox 6-0 in playoff games that I start. I don’t know if there is a right or wrong answer to that question. I guess I have just been fortunate to be on this team and in the lineup in games we scored more runs than them. There really is no method to the madness right now. It’s not about going 4-4 or 0-4. It’s just about touching the plate or having someone touch the plate. John Farrell said something about me bringing baseball intangibles. I don’t know what those are he’s referring to, but I just try to bring my baseball knowledge and play the game right. I do what I can to help the team win and try to manufacture a run on my own or have someone drive me in.
You could argue that a big turning point in the Tigers series was Big Papi’s grand slam in Game 2. Throughout that whole game, that was really the only pitch that was a mistake. They did a good job of pitching. They had a veteran pitcher on the mound in Joaquin Benoit and we had a veteran at the plate in David Ortiz. He was able to hit that one out, but then the next game in Detroit, Benoit got us to pop out to end the game. So I guess you could say they exchanged wins there. Fortunately for us, there were three guys on base when Papi hit that ball.
I think a grand slam in the playoffs is pretty special. When it’s a grand slam like Shane Victorino's in Game 6 was to take the lead after being behind, it obviously has that much more magic to it. I don’t think there is a single moment from this ALCS I will forget. After Game 6 we got to celebrate going to the World Series. I put on the army helmet again and this time I put a small video camera onto it. I wanted to record some footage for myself. I also had on a red robe with my number and my nickname “Ironsides” written on the back that I wore. I’ve had robes pretty much everywhere I’ve been. That one was a gift and I felt it was appropriate to wear for the occasion. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to celebrate. I’ve obviously had some antics up my sleeve and you saw it again.
Also during the celebration, I thought it was cool that Papi brought out a giant cardboard cutout of my head wearing the army helmet to celebrate with us. Just more props for us to party with. In case you’re wondering, Ortiz did have another cookout at his house after this round too with the entire team like he has done after we clinched something.
So we have a 2004 World Series rematch with the Cardinals. They had the best record in the National League, so they have lots of strengths. They’re fundamentally correct. They do all the right things. They obviously have some young, talented arms. I think we have our work cut out for us.
They have strong pitching with Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, and I don’t think it stops there as they have a pretty good bullpen too. Then they have Matt Holliday with his bat always seeming to come through in the clutch, which kind of sums him up. His accolades he’s been able to rack up and his resume that he’s been able to build fits right into the middle of that lineup. He definitely drives the bus in helping their team get to the World Series.
The best approach our team can take in facing the Cardinals? I don’t think we have to change anything. We’d be 100 percent happy winning this thing with the 2013 approach that we’ve had. I think we’d be very upset if we changed things in the World Series. We just have to continue doing what we’re doing. I see the Red Sox are 8-0 in the last two World Series. That would be nice to keep that streak going, but any way to get a win is what we’re working toward.
Being in the World Series with this group of guys is pretty special because of what we stand for, how we play the game, and for the relationships we have inside our team. I think it’s something that not only we want to work by winning a World Series, but we want to start a trend with other organizations and general managers. We want them to see that building a team with players who are hungry to win and work hard and who have each others' backs is what they should pay attention to because it’s worked for us.