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Red Sox revel in return to World Series

Players, coaches and staffers share moment with Fenway faithful

BOSTON -- The stage was set up at second base. Most of the sold-out crowd at Fenway Park stuck around to sneak as close to the field as they could get. And the players were getting antsy.

They just wanted to celebrate.

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The Red Sox had earned a trip to their first World Series since 2007 by beating the Tigers, 5-2, in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.

"No better feeling than going to the World Series," said David Ortiz.

ALCS MVP Koji Uehara was interviewed, along with manager John Farrell, principal owner John Henry and a few others. The rest of the team waited around the stage, surrounded by family members and friends. Some posed for pictures. Some just took it all in.

Dustin Pedroia never seemed to lose sight of the American League Championship trophy.

Jonny Gomes was wearing an Army helmet.

And Mike Napoli couldn't sit still.

"It's staying for a long time," Napoli described the feeling. "I'm excited. This is a great time. We're going to the World Series. We're going to enjoy it tonight and prepare later."

The celebration filtered into the Red Sox clubhouse.

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner ran over to Sam Kennedy, the team's executive vice president and chief operating officer, and gave him a hug.

"How great was that feeling when Shane Victorino homered?" Werner shouted.

Another hug followed.

Many members of the Red Sox front office were around in 2004 and '07 when the Sox won World Series championships. The celebrating never gets old.

"It's just as good, I gotta tell you," said Larry Lucchino, president and chief executive officer. "'04 will always be special because of the 86 years that preceded it. But John Henry and I were just talking about how good it feels this year as a result of the length that we've come and the skepticism we faced."

More champagne sprayed in the clubhouse.

"It's a great feeling," said reliever Craig Breslow. "This is the reason we put on a jersey when you're a 12-year-old kid playing Little League. You dream about going to the World Series."

"We're not going to stop," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "We know what our goal is. We want to win the World Series. We're going to bust our tail and make it happen."

The Red Sox will do no baseball activities on Sunday. They'll be celebrating through the morning.

"We're going to enjoy it for the next night or two," Saltalamacchia said. "This is unbelievable. This is a great feeling. This is what we work hard for. Spring Training seems so long ago. At the same time, it's coming up quick, too. But we're going to enjoy tonight and be ready for St. Louis."

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato.

Boston Red Sox