In addition to game-winning hits and on-field heroics, one of David Ortiz’s most memorable moments in a Red Sox uniform came when he declared Boston to be “our f***** city” in the days following the 2013 Marathon Bombings. So in a way, it’s appropriate that a string of Big Papi F-bombs made their way into living rooms across Boston Wednesday night.
For the second time in four seasons, the Red Sox have orchestrated a worst-to-first turnaround and won the American League East. They lead the league in runs scored and steamrolled their opponents in the month of September. A World Series run seems all but inevitable.
That appeared to be the feeling in the clubhouse Wednesday, with players dousing each other in champaign and celebrating deep into the night. A walk-off grand slam from the opposing team never seemed so irrelevant.
In a vacuum, the Red Sox’s loss to the New York Yankees may have been one of the worst of the season. Closer Craig Kimbrel failed to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning, loading the bases without recording a single out. Joe Kelly came on in relief of the struggling flamethrower, and promptly allowed a grand slam to Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. If the folks who NESN kept showing in a seemingly half-empty Yard House were actually watching, they would’ve been dismayed. It’s difficult to think of a more anticlimactic way to clinch a division title.
But thanks to the Baltimore Orioles, who came back and beat the Blue Jays Wednesday, that’s exactly what the Red Sox did. A disheartening defeat never felt so sweet.
Whether it was due to a technical oversight or a courtesy to the viewers at home, NESN aired an unfiltered version of the Red Sox’s postgame party. The festivities kicked off with manager John Farrell, who’s faced a lot of criticism this season due to his sometimes stupefying in-game moves, telling his players to … well, you can listen for yourselves:
But as expected, the true master of ceremonies was Ortiz. In case you haven’t heard, he’s enjoying perhaps the best farewell season of all-time. His 37 home runs have led the Red Sox on the field, and his parade of F-bombs were the most memorable moment from the postgame shenanigans.
Red Sox!!!! AL east champs!!!!! Hell yeah f’n right!!!! Papi work!
— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) September 29, 2016
Much like when NESN didn’t edit Ortiz’s post-Marathon speech, the network isn’t expected to face FCC discipline. In the past, the agency has only enforced profanity prohibitions against conventional broadcasting services—not cable programming.
But even if NESN were to be slapped with a fine, it would be a small price to pay. In an era of social media transparency, fans are granted more access to their favorite celebrities and athletes than ever before. But still, it’s rare to see a truly genuine moment. That’s exactly what happened Wednesday, with viewers at home being given an unvarnished look into the raucous celebration.
For much of the season, the Red Sox were in the midst of a three-way dogfight for AL East supremacy with the Blue Jays and Orioles. But then they started to pull away when the schedule became toughest. On July 28, the Red Sox started a stretch of 31 road games in 46 days—including two west coast trips. They went 25-18 during that time and turned a 2.5-game deficit into a two-game lead. Now, after running off an 11-game winning streak and going 18-7 in September, the lead is up to five.
Last time the Red Sox were in this position, they popped bottles deep into October. With the way this team is playing, Wednesday should be only the beginning.
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