November 03. 2013 7:33PM

Worst to first: Character, leadership matter

The only Red Sox player to post a 2013 World Series batting average higher than .250 was David Ortiz, who hit an inhuman .688. The team's World Series batting average was a dismal .211. This tells us that Boston pitching was outstanding (1.85 ERA in the World Series) and there is something to the famous "intangibles" that sportscasters babble about.
In an interview with NESN after Game Six, Leftfielder Johnny Gomes said "Character and chemistry is where it starts, but at the end, it's good ballplayers. We couldn't have won too many ballgames with just chemistry. I'm definitely a firm believer [in those], but you have to be a good ballplayer too."
Good, but not great. Boston Globe sportswriter Matt Finn wrote after Game Six that only one of 134 baseball writers picked the Sox to win the pennant. The Sox were not supposed to be this good.
From Manager John Farrell through role players like Gomes and David Ross, the attitude this year was enormously different from last. Ross, a career backup catcher, was the starter in both of Jon Lester's World Series wins. Lester pitched 15 innings with a stunning 0.59 ERA.
Farrell credited Ross. "The rapport that he and Jon have continued to refine as we've gone through this postseason is the reason why we've won the games in which he started," Farrell told the Boston Herald.
Leadership, character and teamwork matter a lot. They do not always win the day. But without them a supposedly great team can collapse, and with them a good team can sometimes become a great one.