The Boston Red Sox are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The team clinched the American League East title—its first since 2007—with a 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.

It’s been a long road back to respectability for the Red Sox organization, as they had to overcome numerous trials and tribulations to return to the postseason, let alone capture the always-competitive AL East crown.

Boston’s 2010 campaign was marred by various injuries, while the 2011 season saw one of the biggest meltdowns in baseball history—18 losses over Boston’s final 24 games—losing out on a playoff spot on the final day of the season. The team’s top players were traded in the midst of a tumultuous 2012 season, and controversial manager Bobby Valentine was fired after overseeing a 69-93 record.

It turns out that the team brass made the right decision dumping Valentine and bringing in John Farrell from the Toronto Blue Jays, as is evidenced by their success this season.

The Red Sox have a great opportunity to advance deep into the postseason, much as they did six years ago—the last time they won the race for the AL East. Boston won its second World Series in four years back in 2007, a good omen for this year’s group.

This year’s team has plenty of talent at a multitude of positions, but does have a reason to worry. If star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury struggles to return from a fractured bone in his right foot, it could throw a wrench in the club’s plans of advancing deep.

However, this squad has been resilient if anything in 2013 and seems capable of making a magical run deep into the fall.

Baseball is back in Boston, and it’s something fans aren’t going to want to miss over the coming weeks. This team worked hard to rebuild and move on from the fried chicken and beer scandal that plagued the roster as recently as two years ago.

The 2013 AL East title signifies the dawn of a new era for the Red Sox, an era that could herald in the organization’s eighth World Series title next month.

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