The World Series gets underway at Fenway Park Tuesday evening, with the Red Sox taking on the National League Champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The series comes at the end of a remarkable Red Sox season — the team won 108 regular-season games, the most in its history.
At Monday's media availability, utility player Brock Holt said that from the beginning of this season, everyone on the team knew they had the chance to be something special, and that became more and more clear.
"We won 100 games, and then I think everyone here wanted to — we wanted to break the record," he said. "We wanted to win the 106th game, so we could say that we were the team that has won the most games in the regular season. But once the regular season is over, that doesn't matter anymore. ... Everyone's 0 and 0 in the postseason."
What matters now for the Red Sox is bringing home that World Series championship. And they need four more wins to do that.
The Sox season is all the more remarkable for being the first that Alex Cora has managed. It wasn't all that long ago — it was 2007 — when Cora was celebrating a World Series Championship as a Red Sox player. Now, players say his laid-back style works well as he manages the team.
"His demeanor and the way he carries himself I think rubs off on us," said relief pitcher Ryan Brasier. "He's always calm. You know, he's always positive. And I think that goes a long way around the guys."
Cora acknowledged Monday that it's been a difficult job.
"It's not that easy," he said. "To deal with those guys in the clubhouse is a challenge — a challenge that I love. I love doing it."
The Sox are facing a team in the World Series that's managed by and old teammate of Cora's. He and Dave Roberts played together on the Dodgers in 2004. In fact, this is the first time in World Series history that both teams' managers have played for both of the teams.
Sox fans still fondly remember Roberts' experience in Boston — particularly one key play. He was traded to the team from Los Angeles in 2004. And with the Sox facing elimination in the 2004 American League Championship Series, he stole a base that put the Red Sox on the path that ultimately led them to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years.
At Fenway on Monday, Roberts said Sox fans still approach him to share their own stories of seeing that play.
"I've heard stories of parents on their deathbed [who] got to see it, and then finally gave way once they saw us win a championship," he said. "And it doesn't get more impactful or heart-warming than that."
This is the Dodgers' second World Series in a row. They lost last year to the Astros, who the Sox dispatched in this year's American League Championship Series. Speaking to the press on Monday, the Dodgers players said this year, they came to win. A few players spoke about how excited they are to be in Boston.
Dodgers pitcher Ryan Madson said he was rooting for the Red Sox to win the American League pennant, because he wanted the chance to play in historic Fenway Park.
"The experiences that are here are so rich that I feel very fortunate to be here and play in a World Series," Madson said. "I thought Yankee Stadium was going to be the coolest thing I've ever done in my life, a World Series at Yankee Stadium. And I think this is going to top it."
So even when the Yankees aren't playing, the Red Sox are still competing with them.