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Dave D'Onofrio's Sox Beat: Oh, how things have changed
The year that began with Valentine's dismissal was about rebuilding, and redemption, and restoring the faith of a shattered fan base. But the year that begins with Jon Lester's first pitch this afternoon is about winning a World Series. It's about making the most of the position they've put themselves in, about seizing opportunity, and about showing that Cherington has already succeeded in his mission to build the "next great Red Sox team" — no longer about worrying where the last one fell apart.
"We've got a good group of guys, good group of baseball guys, that understand day‑in and day‑out what they need to do to succeed," Lester said Thursday. "And from there I think we kind of took it and ran with it. (Manager John Farrell) and the coaching staff has done a great job of guiding us through a couple of slumps through the season, but everybody is prepared, everybody was ready to go from day 1, and I think that showed."
"This was part of the mindset at the end of last year, a strong desire to rewrite what took place," said Farrell, whose team took 12 of 19 games from the Rays this season. "There was embarrassment that was shared by those who remained or that had been here. And I think when you think of Johnny Gomes or Shane Victorino, David Ross, all the guys that have signed here or traded for, they felt this was a rare and unique opportunity to come in here and put Boston back on the baseball map that might have not been there the last three or four years.
And they have. It's October 4 again, and the Red Sox' priorities are the same today as they were on this date six times in the seven seasons from 2003-09 — and far different than they were on this morning in 2012.
"It's been a joy to be around," Lester said. "I never thought just being around this market for a couple of years, I never thought you could actually do that here. It's a pleasant surprise, and hopefully we can continue to carry it over for the remaining time that I'm here, the other guys are here, and really just have fun playing the game."
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