As thousands of elated Boston Red Sox fans poured out of Fenway Park early this morning to celebrate the first World Series win in Beantown since 1918, many made their way to the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Traffic came to a standstill on Boylston Street as throngs of fans kneeled down to touch, and in some cases kiss, the finish line to cap off a roller-coaster season. Fans chanted "Boston Strong," a mantra that the Red Sox coined in wake of the twin bombings that rocked the marathon more than six months ago.
Red Sox slugger David Ortiz addressed the jubilant crowd at Fenway Park, just as he did days after the bombings. "This is for you, Boston. You guys deserve it," Ortiz said after he was named World Series MVP. "We've been through a lot this year and this is for all of you and all those families who struggled."
The Red Sox wore "Boston Strong" logos on their left sleeves, erected a large emblem on the Green Monster and moved the logo into the center-field grass as a reminder of the bombings that rocked the city on Patriots Day. Three people were killed and more than 260 people were wounded.
The Red Sox became a source of inspiration much like the New York Yankees in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. It's a job the Red Sox organization gladly accepted.
"There's I think a civil responsibility that we have wearing this uniform, particularly here in Boston," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And it became a connection initially, the way our guys reached out to individuals or to hospital visits. And it continued to build throughout the course of the season. I think our fans, they got to a point where they appreciated the way we played the game, how they cared for one another. And in return they gave these guys an incredible amount of energy to thrive on in this ballpark."
As for the World Series win, it's Boston's third title in the last 10 years and perhaps the latest is the sweetest because they had the opportunity to celebrate with their fans.
The 2013 Red Sox weren't expected to make much noise this season after a last-place finish in 2012. But Boston joined the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to win titles after finishing in last place the prior season.
"We've dealt with a lot," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "But our team came together."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.