BOSTON (AP) — 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, and 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 was taking 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 purchased 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 game.
After the deciding game, 10 arrests were made in the city, mostly for disorderly conduct, prosecutors said. There were no reports of serious damage but at least one car was overturned. Celebrations turned destructive at several college campuses in New Hampshire and officials at the University of Massachusetts said 15 people — all but one of them students — were arrested after thousands gathered on the Amherst campus following the Red Sox win.
A duck boat parade was set for Saturday morning 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."
Melia reported from Hartford, Conn. Associated Press writers Jay Lindsay, Denise Lavoie and David Klepper in Boston contributed to this report.