I think I’m finally ready to write about the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series. I still have a hard time being coherent, though, because when I think about it, I eventually get this really dopey grin on my face and start daydreaming. So, expect some ramblings.
I’m having a hard time putting into words what the Red Sox winning the World Series means. Without a doubt, I’m ecstatic about it. It’s not just that the Red Sox won, though. It’s what this victory means for the people I care about.
I started watching baseball around 1987. I started my path to diehard-om with the 1988 Morgan’s Magic team. Since that time, there have been some disappointments. The 1988, 1990, 1995, and 1998 seasons coming to screeching halts with first round playoff sweeps. Roger Clemens loosing it in the 1990 ALCS and getting tossed in the second inning of Game 4. The phantom tags in the 1999 ALCS. Until last year’s ALCS, though, I’d never seen the Red Sox lose a close series. In ‘88 and ‘90, the Sox were swept 4-0 by the Oakland A’s. In ‘95 and ‘98, the Cleveland Indians swept the Sox 3-0. In ‘99, the Yankees ended the Red Sox season with a 4-1 series victory.
The ‘03 ALCS was different experience for me. For a while, it looked like the Red Sox were ready to vanquish the Yankees and go the World Series, only to have the victory snatched away by the bat of Aaron Boone. That was the type of loss my parents and my grandparents grew up with — 1947, 1967, 1975, 1978, and 1986.
This World Series victory wasn’t just the first on I witnessed. It was the first one my dad witnessed. It was the one my grandfathers didn’t witness. The day after the Sox won, I saw both my dad and my uncle and both of them said they didn’t expect to see this day. The day after the Series ended, I spoke with an old college roommate, who happened to be a Yankees fan. As we talked about those who waited their entire life to see the Red Sox win and those who waited and never saw the Red Sox win, he noted that the room seemed to be getting a little dusty.
I loved the Patriots Super Bowl victories, but the Red Sox victory just means so much more because of all the history.
OK, time for random thoughts…
The “See Red Sox win World Series” item on my mental checklist has been marked complete. The “Buy Theo Epstein a beer” item has been added to the mental checklist.
Derek Lowe: The man has been everything during his time in Boston. Failed Starter. Setup man. Stud Closer. Failed Closer. Stud Starter. Maddeningly Inconsistent Starter. Mental Gidget. Male Bimbo. Over the past two regular seasons, DLowe has been the most inconsistent starter in baseball. When he’s good, he’s nearly unhittable. When he’s bad, he posts perhaps the worst ERA among full-time starters. However, when the playoffs roll around, Derek Lowe is The Man. Last year, he shut down Oakland in the clinching game 5 of the ALDS. This year, he won the clinching games of all three playoff series — coming out of the bullpen in game 5 of the ALDS and shutting down the Angels so David Ortiz could hit the walk-off home-run and starting the clinchers of the ALCS and World Series, shutting down both the Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals. Not included in those victories was Lowe’s game 4 appearance in the ALCS where he held the Yankees in check and allowed David Ortiz to win another game with a walk-off homer.
DLowe likely pitched his last game for the Red Sox on Wednesday night. There have been times when he was the guy I wanted on the mound. There have been times where I’d hoped his teammates would duct tape him to the clubhouse mound. Right now, none of that matters. When I think of DLowe, I’ll think of the guy who won the clincher of the 2004 World Series. If you gotta go, I can’t think of many better ways to do it.
Pedro Martinez: Another guy who could be gone, pending contract negotiations. The Pedro of old is certainly gone. It used to be you expected a victory when he was on the mound and you hoped for something spectacular. Today, there’s some question when he takes the mound — will Pedro be mortal or will there be a spark of the old brilliance? Game 3 of the World Series could be his defining moment. 7 shutout innings where he and Jason Varitek out-thought the Cardinals hitters.
Curt Schilling: What’s left to say? If you have any question about his toughness, read Will Carrol’s Triumph of the Schill. If that’s too long, just consider this quote from Will Carrol’s weblog: “Everything [the sutures] attach to is tearing away from the bone.”
Keith Foulke: When the A’s has a 2-0 lead in the 2003 ALDS, I mentioned to a coworker that he would be a free agent after the season and wouldn’t he look good in a Red Sox uniform?
Granted, I think pretty much any stud free agent would look good in a Red Sox uniform, but I’d like to think I was particularly prescient about this one He doesn’t throw 100 miles an hour; he just gets guys out.
I don’t really have a problem with Manny Ramirez winning the Series MVP. Unlike the ALCS, there was no one guy who stood head and shoulders above everybody else. I do wish Foulke had gotten more consideration. Like Adam Vinatieri on the Pats, he’s not the guy who gets the headlines but he is the guy standing in the middle of it when the game’s on the line.
I could probably write something about every member of this team (though I don’t know much about Sandy Martinez or Adam Hyzdu), but then this could end up being longer than the last thesis paper I wrote, so I’m going to cut this short.
Thank you Theo Epstein, John Henry, Terry Francona, and all of the members of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox.