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Associated Press
Jake Miskin, of Boston, right, laughs with Lori Leduc, of Calgary, Alberta, as Leduc buys a World Series championship shirt near Fenway Park.

Red Sox victory lifts up city

Jubilant fans celebrate near bombing site

– For fans, players and political leaders who celebrated the Red Sox's World Series title with cries of "Boston Strong," the championship provided a jubilant finish to a season that was shadowed nearly from the start by the April bombings at the Boston Marathon.

The morning after he cheered the victory inside Fenway Park, Ed Carlson returned Thursday to the marathon finish line he had crossed months earlier, 20 minutes before the bombs went off, then had scrambled to find his children in the ensuing chaos.

"It was quite a year," said Carlson, 51, of Princeton, Mass. "To be at the marathon and then to be there for the World Series – I still tear up thinking about it."

The success of the Red Sox, who finished last in their division only a year ago, became a welcome surprise and eventually a symbol of resilience for a city recovering from the twin bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 260.

Jarrod Clowery, a carpenter from Stoneham, Mass., who suffered severe burn and shrapnel injuries in the April 15 bombings, said he was inspired by the Red Sox, who began bonding in spring training over their beards.

"No one gave them a chance after that season last year, ... but they started growing those beards, they became a unit, and they turned around and won a World Series," said Clowery, who has three friends who lost limbs in the blast. "I'm proud of those guys and happy for those guys."

On Wednesday night, after the Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6, thousands of fans clogged the streets around the finish line. It was a quieter scene Thursday morning as traffic sped over the blue and yellow line painted permanently on Boylston Street and people periodically stopped on the sidewalk to offer a solemn tribute.

Carlson, who took in the scene with his 17-year-old daughter, wore a new Red Sox World Series Champions baseball hat along with the same blue and yellow marathon jacket he wore to every Sox game he attended over the season. At Wednesday night's game, he had his marathon medal in his pocket.

"It put some finality to the whole thing," he said.

His daughter, Maggie, still remembers the fear she felt the day of the bombing.

"It was just scary. Very scary. My dad was running," she said. "We were torn apart by this. And we were able to come back and win the World Series. It just shows how resilient we are."

Buddy Shoemaker, 35, of Gilford, N.H., was two blocks away when the second bomb exploded. Police told him and his 13-year-old son to run. He returned to the scene for the first time Thursday morning, wearing a new World Series cap and sweatshirt bought at the game the night before.

"It hit too close to home," he said of the bombing, tears in his eyes. "The World Series definitely brought everything full circle."

The Red Sox embraced the idea of "Boston Strong" from the beginning, with players wearing a logo of it on their left sleeves and a giant "B Strong" logo mowed into Fenway's outfield. The team honored some of the victims on the field during its postseason run, and players said they wanted to honor those affected by the attacks.

"First and foremost, to all the Marathon victims, this one's for you!" tweeted Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, who won two World Series games.

After the deciding game, 10 arrests were made in the city, mostly on disorderly conduct charges, prosecutors said. There were no reports of serious damage but at least one car was overturned. Officials at the University of Massachusetts said 15 people – all but one of them students – were arrested after thousands gathered on the Amherst campus after the Red Sox win.

A duck boat parade is set for Saturday in Boston to celebrate the championship. The route will take the players from Fenway Park and down Boylston Street before going on to the Charles River.

"We needed this," said Mark Porcaro of Boston. "They were an easy team to get behind because they stood up for us when we needed them most."

Series ratings up

The World Series television rating on Fox was up 17 percent over last year but was the lowest for a matchup that went at least six games.

Boston's 4-2 Series win over St. Louis averaged an 8.9 rating, 15 share and 14.9 million viewers, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday.

San Francisco's four-game sweep of Detroit last year averaged a record-low 7.6/12 and was seen by 12.7 million viewers. That was among only three Series that had lower ratings than this year's, joined by 8.4 ratings for Philadelphia's five-game win over Tampa Bay in 2008 and San Francisco's five-game victory over Texas in 2010.

Boston's 6-1 victory in Wednesday night's clincher received an 11.3/18 and was seen by 19.2 million viewers, baseball's highest rating since Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.

The game, which marked the first title won by the Red Sox at Fenway Park since 1918, drew a 55.2/75 in Boston, the highest MLB rating there since Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. The Boston rating peaked at a 59.5/84 from 11-11:30 p.m., which included the final out and the start of the postgame celebration.

Early favorites

Winning another World Series didn't automatically make Boston the favorite to repeat next year.

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas' sports books like the Los Angeles Dodgers to win it all in 2014 with most making them an 8-1 pick for the title. At the Wynn hotel-casino, the Detroit Tigers are next at 9-1, followed by the Red Sox at 10-1.

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