BOSTON - The Boston Red Sox brought joy back to their city Wednesday night.
The Red Sox, for the first time since 1918, won the World Series in front of their fans, pounding the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 38,477 at Fenway Park.
It is the Red Sox's third World Series championship in the last 10 years, but perhaps no title has ever meant more to this city.
At last, they were able to witness the beloved 2013 World Series championship with their own eyes.
Strangers hugged and squeezed one another in the stands. They danced along the aisles. They cheered until their lungs burned.
And, yes, there were tears.
Tears of joy. Tears of elation. Tears of memories from that horrific April 15 afternoon when two bomb blasts brought the Boston Marathon and city to its knees.
Through a surprising worst-to-first campaign, the Red Sox helped provide the people of Boston some measure of joy and happiness and on this gorgeous autumn evening, gave them a championship to forever remember.
"If there was a moment in time that galvanized us,'' Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "it was the Marathon bombing. We took it upon ourselves to have a positive impact on a city, and the individuals who were suffering.
"They get it. They get there's a place in our city, that we represent something significant, and guys embraced that and relished that. We knew this was a moment that this group has a chance to not only to be special, but to do something special.''
This isn't the most talented team the Red Sox had in the last 10 years. There are no Cy Young or MVP candidates. No one won more than 15 games. Not a single player hit more than 30 homers.
Yet, no one played more like a team, knowing they now had a purpose, believing it was destiny they would win the World Series.
"The story was already written,'' Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes maintained all season. "We're just playing it out.''
It was only fitting that the final chapter was laid out Wednesday for all of their fans to see, celebrating one of the most memorable seasons in the annals of Red Sox history.
It was fitting that John Lackey, the man reviled in this city for his past struggles, was the one getting a standing ovation and tipping his cap to the fans after brilliantly handing over a 6-1 lead to this bullpen in the seventh inning.
And it was only fitting that David Ortiz, the man who delivered the most famous words in this city back in April, and gave a pep talk in the middle of Game 4, carried the team on his back with his .688 batting average, making him an overwhelming choice for his first World Series MVP award.
"Nobody expected this,'' Ortiz said, "but we never stopped believing.''
Yes, in the legendary words of Ortiz, "This is our [bleeping] city.''
Oh and how this was their night, one that will be cherished forever.
"We wanted to get back to what Boston is known for,'' Farrell said. "In our minds, you associate winning with the city of Boston.
"Our fans have appreciated the way we've gone about playing the game. They've witnessed guys that care for one another. And, in return, the way they've demonstrated their appreciation, the energy that they create in here, we fed off that.
"We've been in this together all of the way, and it's exceeded anything I've ever experienced.''