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Remembering the 2004 Boston Red Sox


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#1 John Marzano Olympic Hero


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:15 AM

Do you remember the 2004 Boston Red Sox?

Do you have any interesting stories to tell about your experiences during that year?

 

Chances are you probably do remember the 04 Sox (and if you don't, what are you doing here?) and judging by the post count of some of you guys, you do have ia lot of stories. So why don't you combine the two things and help a local writer out with a book he's writing?

 

Saul Wisnia, who has already penned the book: Fenway Park: The Centennial: 100 Years of Red Sox Baseball is beginning a new book on the 2004 Boston Red Sox entitled: Miracle at Fenway: An Oral History of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.


Like his first book, this one will be published by St. Martin's Press and will be released in 2014. Wisnia is a longtime member of Boston SABR leadership and avid baseball fan--the guy knows his stuff.

 

If you're interested in helping with the project, use this forum to publish a paragraph or two of your recollections of the 04 season. Saul will peruse this site from time to time and if your tale is intriguing he will contact folks to set up interviews, etc.

 

Aside from helping a burgeoning author and potentially seeing your name and story in print, it will also give us an opportunity to do what SoSHers do best: wallow in nostalgia. So let's crank up the way-back machine to a time when George W. Bush was battling John Kerry for the presidency, "Anchorman" quotes were still fresh and obnoxious and unaware Yankee fans were in the last days of their "1918" chant.



#2 Drocca


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  • 15,283 posts

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:34 AM



 

In 2004 I took Jeff to Fenway for the first time. He was a
lifelong Red Sox fan that, at 32 years old, had been confined to a wheelchair
for over half his life at that point due to a paralyzing neck injury in high
school. I kept a scorecard for him while he drank a lot of beers and emptied
his piss bag right on the hallowed walkways. After the game Pedro opined that
he should just tip his hat and call the Yankees his daddy. My most lasting
memory of the 2004 Boston Red Sox will always be emptying Jeff’s piss bag, may
his glorious, cantankerous and dark-stenched soul rest in dutiful peace.


Of course the story of the 2004 season, the story that makes
for all these collective re-tellings years later, began in the ALCS. I watched
the first three games at State Street Bar in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I would
begin watching each game at Jeff’s and then join my wife and her co-workers at
State Street. The first night we did not get that drunk. The second night we
got a little drunk. The third night we drank shots and toasted the team. We
were sloppy enough to crash at Jeff’s instead of driving home and we were drunk
enough to not care that the Red Sox would, once again, fall short. When we woke
up we were re-made into cynical, bitter fans with terrible headaches. And so my
wife and I decided that enough was enough and did not return to State Street. I
have not been back since.


The next game we watched in our Apartment. And the next and
the next. The games all run together as one long, epic game with lunch breaks.
Like cricket. We could not break tradition for the seventh game, even if we
knew that shit like this does not happen just to not happen.


We watched the World Series at Jeff’s. I emptied his piss
bag in his usual jug, rinsed it out, heard the sounds of something unreal and
from another place as I gripped the arm of the chair and chain-smoked through
history. We all emptied our piss bags and the entirety of our world was never
the same.



 



#3 Soxfan in Fla


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

Let me just say that the author really needs to include a story that references emptying piss bags.

#4 In my lifetime

  • 396 posts

Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:03 PM

I live in CT about 3 hours from Fenway and have 5 kids who at that time were ages 10 to 16.  We attended every game in the Yankee series except one and were able to get into all the games without having purchased tickets ahead of time. This meant a 3 hour drive to Fenway or hour drive to NY and then a scramble to get tickets.  Since we live so far away, this also meant after the post-game festivities (after wins we would always hang around for about an hour as my kids would could get a baseball, batting gloves or some other souvenir), we would often not get home to about 3 or 4 AM.  Obviously this lead to many tardies and kids who couldn't keep stay awake in class.  However, my kids were there for 7th game in 2003 and were determined to be there for what they hoped were happier times.

 

Well, the 7th game was in NY and there were reports of tickets going for astronomical figures.  We were not deterred.  One of my daughters was on crutches with a patellar dislocation, so when we got to the park we tried to get in at a close parking lot due to her injury.  Naturally, we received no mercy from any parking attendants and were forced to park about a mile away.  By the time we got to the area near the stadium, it was 5 minutes until game time and we had 0 tickets in hand.  I made an effort to try to get some tickets, but could find only a single ticket for $2500 and really couldn't find anyone even selling tickets at that point.  I was not going to spend that $2500 per ticket, nor would 1 ticket do much good for the 6 of us.  I continued to hustle back and forth in the hopes of a miracle.  Sure enough, my daughter leaned against the gate near the picnic area and the gate slowly opened.  We quickly walked through the gate, closing it behind us and we were in!

 

Now the only issue was that we had no seats (we did not consider that a problem, we were just delighted to be in the park).  So we went to the Red Sox guest and family area behind home plate to be among the Red Sox friendly.  Sure enough, we found some seats. My daughter was taken in by Shanda Schilling, who had a free seat between her and Damon's fiance.  The rest of us found available seats in the same section.  The usher tried to clear us out a few times, but the Red Sox family members were gracious enough to convince him to let us stay. 

 

Fast forwarding to the 9th inning, I wanted my kids to get a close view of the celebration, so I proceeded to gather everyone up.  When I went to get my daughter Shanda held her hand and said you can't leave, she is our good luck charm. Only after I explained that we were going to the Red Sox dugout would she relent.  We made our way toward the dugout while the Yankee fans were amazingly gracious, basically encouraging us to take their box seats as they were heading out.

 

We were able to grab seats in the first box immediately behind the center of the Red Sox dugout.  In the top of the 9th, my 10 year-old was tossed a ball by one of the security guards. Then in the bottom of the inning, I noticed John Henry was seating about a dozen seats away to our right.  I got his attention and mouthed out the words "would he sign my son's baseball."  He nodded and I was about to toss him the ball.  Henry motioned not to, because he couldn't really catch.  So I got the ball handed by fan to fan to him.  He graciously signed and dated the ball and then it was tossed back to me by one of the fans.  Of course, some 40 year old guy next to me, asked me if I could his ball signed too.  I had to tell him that I didn't know John Henry and was pushing my luck already.

 

At the end of the game, the kids were all immediately behind the RS dugout celebrating. Mike Meyers sprayed us with champagne and the kids were having a great time celebrating surrounded by Red Sox fans and an occasional player.  We stayed for well over an hour before kicked out by the ushers as they were closing the park.

 

As usual we got home very late and we let the kids sleep in and miss school (I know we are terrible parents).  In the morning, I get the NY Times and sure enough on the cover of sports section there is a photo of two of my kids celebrating the victory behind the dugout.

 

Neither I nor my kids will ever forget that series, that magically night or the feeling that washed over us after years of heartbreak. 


Edited by In my lifetime, 29 January 2013 - 04:10 PM.


#5 jacklamabe65


  • A New Frontier butt boy


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:18 PM

Stiffy - a lonely nation turns its eyes to you.


Edited by jacklamabe65, 30 January 2013 - 03:38 PM.


#6 ToeKneeArmAss


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:25 PM

I wrote this years ago for a different purpose.  Definitely in the tl;dr category.  Posting it here in case Saul has the patience to plow through it and picks up something that's of use to him.

 

Edit: PS - in re-reading this, I acknowledge and apologize for the distinct aroma of humblebrag.  I've grown up a little since then.  A little.

 

==============================

 

Having been a Red Sox fan since the age of 7 - lured in by the siren's call that was the Impossible Dream team, what I associated most with my connection the the team was heartbreak.  Like first love dumps you heartbreak.  Except it doesn't get easier as 1975 gives way to 1978, then 86, then ... well, you know.

 

At first, 2004 felt like more of the same. Although I loved the off-season acquisitions of Schilling and Foulke, I had long since heeded Ben Franklin’s advice to choose pessimism over optimism, as the pessimist is always either right or pleasantly surprised.  Fast out of the gate – yeah, whatever.  I’ve seen this movie before, and I don’t like how it ends.  Then the summer doldrums – here we go again.  But then comes July 24th, and Varitek feeds the glove to A-Rod, and Mueller hits the walk-off … and it’s interesting again.  Then the Nomar deal and the defense starts to come through for the pitching.  And we rattle a bunch off in a row.  And I’m thinking, “Those sons of bitches are going to do it to me again.  ‘Just went I thought I was out, they pull me back in!’” 
The stretch drive falls short, but we’re in the playoffs again.  And I’m loving it and hating it at the same time. 

 

The Angels do their part and it’s Good versus Evil for the second year in a row.  Then our horse breaks down in game 1.  Then we waste Pedro’s heroic “Who’s Your Daddy?” outing in enemy territory.  At this point, down 2-0, sitting at home in Dallas, I turned to my wife and said, “Honey, I’m sorry, but I have to go to Boston.  I just have to be close to it.  I’ll come home when it’s over.”  I call a friend who agrees to let me crash at his place, snag a plane ticket, and I’m off.

I had a plan – something crazy that I had always wanted to do but on which I had never followed through.  I loved the idea of sitting on the parking deck behind the Green Monster – where the batting practice HR’s land – and watching post-season baseball on a portable TV.  I didn’t even try to get tickets (too expensive for decent seats, and I wasn’t sure my heart could take being in the park anyway).  So I rented an SUV, bought a folding chair, an antenna, and a TV receiver device that hooks into my laptop, and there I was.

Of course, Game 3 gets rained out and I’m out $25 for parking.  Then Game 3 gets played and I feel like a jackass for wasting so much money on a team that’s going to go out in four straight.  Bastards.  The only even marginally happy moment of Game 3 came when A-Rod hits that bomb out of Fenway. The parking lot attendants watching the game with me (my new best friends – Victor, Zack, Elias, and Nestor) and I thought the ball had gone into the garage.  (It hadn’t – it hit the roof and caromed out toward the Mass Pike and was retrieved later by another member of our group.)  So we go rushing into the garage to find it, but can’t.  However, I had a ball in my pocket from batting practice, so I come out of the garage and hold it up for those seated on the Green Monster to see.  Then I heave it over the wall into left field in front of Manny.  I still enjoy watching the video of Game 3 to see the moment when they stopped the game to get the ball off the field.  (The next night it was Nestor who played catch with Johnny Damon after A-Rod’s second
moonshot.)


Then comesGame 4.  I was offered a ticket at face value and turned them down, thinking that somehow it wouldn’t hurt as much to watch them go four-and-out on TV on the parking deck as it would to see it in person.  And they even snag the lead in the fifth, only to hand it right back in the sixth.  Just to twist the knife.  Bottom of the ninth, down by one, with the invincible Rivera on the mound.  The only solace came from remembering that he had blown the save on July 24th.


(At this moment I get a text message from a friend and fellow Red Sox fan that says “Help – I’m in a meeting in India and can’t get online.  What’s the score?”  I text messaged him play-by-play accounts for the rest of the series, and still have the thread on my cellphone.)


The Millar walk – Roberts steal – Mueller single are still a blur in my mind, even after having replayed the video countless times.  What I remember more about that inning is having Mueller at third with one out and failing to put them away.  I still wasn’t sure if I just got saved, or merely had the agony prolonged.  Yankees threaten in the 11th but somehow Leskanic gets Bernie to fly out with the bases loaded.  Then a miracle occurs, and Ortiz sends me dancing with the parking lot attendants.

Still, it was just one game.  And there’s another the next day (actually, later that afternoon).  But it’s better than going home.  After a brief and restless sleep, I returned to see my friends on the parking deck We jump on Mussina, but Pedro tires in the 6th, and only a great inning-ending catch by Nixon off Godzilla keeps us in the game.  Then in the 8th more heroics from Ortiz and Varitek and we’re tied.  Again.  With no bullpen, having burned them to cinders in games 3 and 4.  But somehow Timlin gives us 1-2/3 innings, and Foulke finds two innings somewhere.  And Clark’s ball climbs the wall.  And Arroyo is just sick against Jeter, A-Rod, and Sheff in the 10th.  And Myers finally gets Matsui (third time’s the charm).  And Embree K’s Posada and Sierra to end the 11th.  And Kapler snares

Jeter’s liner in the 12th with Cairo on second.  And Wake keeps fooling them with the knuckler – then starts fooling Varitek and I have a vision of us all going home on a wild pitch.  But for some reason, this time, it doesn’t happen.

 

By the time Ortiz fists Loaiza’s offering into center to score Damon, I’m totally spent.  I can just barely type my last text message of the night – “Papi singles – we win.”  Jump around with the guys, run into the BeerWorks for a quick one.  Good night all.

At this point, even if they lose I’m ok.  Because no one can ever take those two games away from us.  Just like I’ll always have Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, I’ll always have Games 5 and 6 of the 2004 ALCS.  Always.  Still, better if they keep winning, right?

The parking deck is closed the day of Game 6.  I set up shop in the Cask ‘n’ Flagon.  As though I’m not hoarse enough already, I end up screaming at the umpires “GET IT RIGHT!  GET IT RIGHT!” – not just once, but twice.  And somehow they do.  And somehow, a medical miracle occurs and the ghost of Curt Schilling that we saw for Game 1 becomes the horse we rode in on again.  And Keith Foulke (who by this time ought to be taking the mound in a mask, spandex bodysuit, and cape) K’s Tony Clark with two on to end it.  And
the series is now tied.


At this point, I start thinking about last year again.  The hurt comes back, and I realize that if they don’t win Game 7, it’s going to hurt like hell.  Again.  The deck is closed again, so I park right on Yawkey Way in front of the ballpark.  There’s a line to get into “Who’s on First?” as I’m setting up my antenna.  A few folks walk over to see what I’m doing.  The policewoman on foot patrol smiles and says “Thank you – I really wanted to watch this game.”  A Dutch rower, in town for the Head of the Charles, asks us what we’re doing.  A group of thirty or so people form a semi-circle behind me in my folding chair, gazing into the back of my SUV.  And the game begins.


Dale Sveum sends Damon to his doom in the first. Ortiz follows with a two-run HR, and all I can think about is losing by one.  Damon hits a grand slam to put them up by six runs in the second.  And all I can think about is how bad it’s gonna hurt when they blow this one.  Damon drills another in the 4th and it’s 8-1.  Lowe is tremendous through six, then Francona has a brain cramp and lets Pedro go in.  I go insane.  The Dutch guy goes to look for the cop, in case I start killing people or something I guess.

 

Then it’s 10-3, two out in the ninth, two on.  And even then, even then, I’m chanting in my head this crazed mantra – “ I hope they don’t blow it I hope they don’t blow it I hope they don’t blow it I hope …”  Pokey slings the ball to Mientkiewicz.  I start crying like a baby and hugging total strangers.   It’s bedlam.  The cops barricade Yawkey Way at both ends.  I stumble around the park for hours, tears in my eyes, high-fiving and hugging just about everyone.  I go over to Boylston – some idiot has stopped his SUV in the middle of the intersection and he and his buddies are jumping up and down on it.  People are climbing up the Green Monster and INTO the park.  I see a guy fall off the steel girder from about 20 feet up into the crowd.  I hear the concussion grenades go off, so I head back toward the car.  But I can’t get back to it.  The cop says they’re not opening the street until 6 am.  I’ve got nowhere to go so I stand there for about an hour and things settle down (it’s almost 3 am) when they let me get back to the car and go back to my friend’s house.

 

I can’t sleep of course, so I get on Sons of Sam Horn for hours.  I allow myself the luxury of feeling incredibly happy until about 10 am.  Then it hits me that this all means nothing if they don’t win the World Series.  And the knot returns to my stomach and the mantra in my head starts up again.

 

Games 1 and 2 from the parking deck again, game 3 from Yawkey Way.  Then the president of my company calls.  “I hear you’re quitting.  I hear there’s nothing I can say to talk you out of it.  But I’d like to try anyway.  How about meeting me on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium?”  Ok, I say.  I think I can make that work.


Fly to St. Louis the next morning.  Get in around 3 pm, drop my stuff off at a Motel 6 near the airport, head downtown and pick up a ticket at a hotel (the president is coming in later in the afternoon).  Walk the streets in my heavy woolen Red Sox jacket and long-sleeved sweater, even though it’s over 60 degrees out.  Hey, I’ve worn the same clothes for seven games now – no way I’m changing anything.  Go to batting practice.  Go to my seats (third row, upper deck, right near third base – not bad).  Dan Duquette is sitting three seats down from me.  The game begins – Damon homers.  Kevin (president) and a colleague of ours (Mike) arrive in the third inning – having taken a limo down from Chicago.  We kid around – they both know I’m leaving.  This is Kevin’s way of saying thank you. 

Trot puts us ahead 3-0.


Two out, one on, bottom of the ninth.  Renteria up, Walker on deck.  I’m thinking if Renteria gets on, a Walker HR ties it. “Ground ball stabbed by Foulke.  He has it.  He underhands to first.  And the Boston Red Sox are world champions.  Can you believe it?”  For several minutes, I really couldn’t fathom what I had just seen.

 

I tell the guys I’ll meet them at the Marriott, and run down to field level – chanting,jumping around, high-fiving.  “THANK –YOU – RED – SOX!”  Clap, clap,clap-clap-clap!  “THANK – YOU – THEE – O!”  Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!

Back to the Marriott, Kevin says goodbye and leaves in the limo (I haven’t seen him since).  Mike and I go over to the Adam’s Mark and high-five Francona, Ortiz, and Cabrera as they come in through the front door. It doesn’t get any better than this.  Yet part of me is wishing I was back on the parking deck behind Fenway.

 

Mike and I head out to the riverboat casino and both win a few hundred dollars.  It’s just one of those nights I guess.  Around 5 am we head back to the airport (with a quick stop at the Motel 6 to pick up my things).  My flight back to Manchester NH leaves at 6:30 am, arrives around 10:30.  I head straight for the souvenir store and stand in line for a few hours to get t-shirts, hats, etc.

 

Then I swing by the parking garage.  I figure I might as well dump my antenna and folding chair there – maybe the guys could use them.  And they’re there.  They ask where I was the night before, and I flash the World Series ticket stub still around my neck.  They can’t believe it.  Victor says “Hey, the Red Sox home opener is against the Yankees next year.  We’ll save you a parking spot.”  I tell them I just might do that.

 

When people ask how a guy who grew up in Toronto became such a Red Sox fan, I tell them about 1967.  I used to always add, “I wish it had been 1968.  Then I would have been a Tigers fan, I’d have two World Series championships under my belt, and I wouldn’t have this damned affliction.”  But after October 27th, 2004, I see all the years of staying true to them even as they were breaking my heart as the build-up that made 2004 sweeter than I could have possibly imagined.  Thank you Red Sox!  Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!


Edited by ToeKneeArmAss, 29 January 2013 - 06:42 PM.


#7 TheoShmeo


  • made johnny damon think long and hard


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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:21 PM

Edited and cleaned up typos:

It's something of a cliche, but 2004 really began when Grady lost his mind in the 8th inning of game 7 in 2003. I was in the same Red Sox friends and family section of Yankee Stadium as "In My Lifetime." Like him, I was with my wife and kids, and unlike him, I wasn't given the opportunity to dance on Yankee Stadium after the Sox had knocked those miscreants out of the playoffs.

Walking out of that stadium after the Boone homer was beyond difficult. My then 12-year old daughter hadn't spoken a word since Posada tied the game up. My wife and I were concerned that she might be in shock or just simply overwhelmed. It was worrisome and, of course, the game was too. The taunts that we had given to Clemens had turned into nervousness, and the Yankees fans around the Sox section were letting us know it. As I said, the way out at the end was very tough on her and the rest of us.

With that background, my brother, that same daughter and I found ourselves at Fenway for Game 4 against the Yankees in 2004. Down 3-0, and after the 19-8 drubbing, the main reason we went to the game was that we were already up in the area (from our home in NJ) for the Pats game against Seattle that day, the Pats had won so there was a house money feeling to the day at some level and, well, we had tickets and well, you never know. So there we were, in Section 36 of the bleachers, for that cold, tense game.

A little discussed fact is that a lot of fans left as the game went along. A client and relative of mine had begun the night with us and they were long gone by the bottom of the 9th; the bleachers were about 3/4 full at that time. It was a Sunday night and people were probably thinking about work the next day.

Having experienced what we experienced in 2003, I was unwilling to watch the Yankees celebrate on the glorious field at Fenway. And I was unwilling to hear the Yankees fans in the bleachers laughing at us and whooping it up. At the same time, I was also not going to leave until it was over because, well, you never know.

So we made our way downstairs to the very edge of Fenway after the top of the 9th inning and watched the game from there on one of the many TVs. Our idea was hardly unique and the crowd doing the same thing was at least 50 people deep.

Millar gets on base and we have some hope. No one goes back upstairs. We're in this together now. Then Roberts steals the base. Yes, we saw it from the bowels of Fenway. Embarrassing but it is what it is. But now we really can't move because if we do, we might screw things up. Right? In any event, when Mueller knocked Rivera on his ass and tied the game, the three of us said the hell with it and sprinted up those steps and back to our seats (only to a much lower row in our section) as if we were flying. Pure adrenaline! Blown save! Life!

As extra innings dragged on, and all of the amazing moments happened, I really had no idea how it would end. After the events of Game 7 2003, I still wasn't a believer in any of the Curse of the Bambino nonsense, but I also was firmly living with the idea that it was just REALLY hard to put down the Yankees. So it was moment by moment, with almost no expectations. And a lot of intensity and nervousness.

Fast forward to Ortiz's game winner. I really didn't expect it. Or not expect it. All I knew is that Ortiz hit this mammoth blast that Sheffield seemed to get a bad jump on. As I looked to my left from the CF bleachers, I saw the ball sail over his head and into the bullpen.

All the pent up frustration and tension, all of the pain from the year before, all of the concern about my little girl, all of the frustration at being so worried and invested...all of it and much more, including a lifetime or Red Sox near misses that began for me with Luis Aparicio slipping on the base paths in 1972, all of it released into a level of euphoria that I had never before and never since experienced watching a sporting event. My brother, daughter and I fell into each others' arms and did one of those awesome, sustained group hugs that you just never forget.

Some people say that they always knew the Sox would come back and win the series. My wife is one of those people and I believe her. For me, that was the night everything changed. The Sox had broken through, they had beaten the unbeatable Rivera, they had done the truly impossible and they had breathed new life into a Red Sox corpse.  We walked to our car and discussed what would happen next and while I wasn't making any bold proclamations, I really thought they could do it. At this point, why not?

I was lucky enough to go to both Schilling bloody sock games (game 6 in NY and game 2 against the Cards, of course). I did not go to game 7 in NY and will always regret that decision. Wrong choice. I was later at game 7 against the Indians and Game 4 against the Rockies in 2007, and have been to two Patriots SB wins and Game 6 when the Cs beat the Lakers in 2008. Amazing, ridiculous experiences, all of them.

But nothing comes close to how I felt when Ortiz hit that walk off. If the feeling was a drug I could buy, I'd probably be an addict. The beginning of the Yankees' end. The beginning of the Comeback. Relief. Ecstasy. All in one.


Edited by TheoShmeo, 02 February 2013 - 07:41 PM.


#8 pk1627

  • 1,333 posts

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:41 AM

My story of the 2004 season is placed at Coors Field. Next
to me on a cold afternoon is my father who has resided near Denver since he
moved the family out there in 1972. I'm there for game three of the series and
the lowly Rockies had won the first 2. The Sox had been playing uninspiring
ball since May, and were falling further and further back in the division.

 

Dad told me he just "couldn't take the heartache
anymore" and was a Rockies fan now. At that moment, someone got a hit off
Lowe and Dad stood and clapped.  I was
aghast. This was the guy who took me to my first game at Fenway. We shared a
love for Yaz. We screamed at each other on the phone after Carbo's hr.

 

"You're leaving a few months before they win it,"
I admonished. "This is a championship team."  He looked at me sadly and went inside to
escape the cold. We didn’t talk baseball the rest of the season, although I got
an emailed congrats after Papi hit that walk off against the Angels.

 

About 10 days later, I’m sitting in the upper deck at YS watching
the team celebrate on the field. I’m almost alone as the Yankee fans pretty
much evaporated after the 7th and I just couldn’t leave this seat. My
cell phone rings. “You were right,” my father says. “ “We got to win 4 more,” I
say and then proceed to cry into the phone.



 



#9 Skiponzo

  • 903 posts

Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:16 PM

For me, like so many others, this story begins in the offseason prior to 2004. In the wake of the devastating, yet not wholly unexpected, loss to the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS Theo and the Trio went out and picked up the parts I felt we needed to become champs. I am of course talking about Keith Foulke and, most importantly, Curt Schilling. The 2004 season began with high hopes and expectations but dragged along in what one could call a funk for 2/3 of the season before the team ignited and rolled the rest of the way to 98 wins and what felt like an inevitable run in with the Yankees. Once we relieved the Angels of their thoughts of a title the team, and its fans, once again turned its eyes toward Gotham and the evil empire.


Game one, Curt Schilling vs. Mike Mussina, OKhere we go! Only it wasnt really Curt Schilling on the mound. Whats wrong with him? He of course got hammered and we fell behind 8-0butthe resilience the team had shown in the final 1/3 of the season allowed us to climb back into it 8-5 then 8-7are we going to really make this comeback? No, Yanks would put up 2 insurance runs and wed run out of time. Disappointing but Pedro is going in game 2 and then we are back to Fenway for 3 games. Were fine. Game 2 comes and we fall behind again 1-0 but Pedros pitching pretty well and well get to Lieber.or not. 2 more come across in the 6th Jon Lieber is throwing strikes and it feels like we going to be behind 2 games to none. In fact the offense never does rebound in this game and we go to Fenway down 2-0 but at least were going home. Were fine. Then game 3 happened. Id like to say I knew even then that they would come back but the reality is that for 24 hours I mumbled the same phrase over and over to myself, to my wife, to my 1 1/2 year old son who would inherit this crazy fandom of mine. Its wasnt supposed to happen like thisNot THIS year.


I tuned into game 4 more out of habit and a wish to avoid an embarrassing sweep in this season of hope than to witness the beginning of history. At some point the game brought me to the edge of my seat and I stayed there for 11 days through Papis walk off, Damons running to NY Schillings bloody sock, the ecstasy of game 7 and the World Series.


Once we had vanquished the evil empire my mumbled mantra got louder and changed to Its not about beating the Yankees, its about winning the World Series. And of coursewe did. Why not us indeed.


I have had what one could call a blessed life. Great education, great friends, pretty and wonderful wife, 2 excellent children, a job that I actually likebut nothing, NOTHING has ever (nor do I expect anything ever will) eclipse the wondrous feeling I had when they finally won it.

Edited by Skiponzo, 30 January 2013 - 12:27 PM.


#10 The Allented Mr Ripley


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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:53 PM

I posted this here before and trot it out from time to time as appropriate. Probably because I'm too lazy to write anything new/different, but I also think I said everything I wanted to say about being a Red Sox fan and what 2004 meant to me in it.

 

Complicity.


What was my father thinking to himself as I sat hunched over in my bed, my face buried in the crook of my arm, failing miserably at not crying?


I could almost hear him: I did this to him. Like if he had been a reformed alcoholic who watched me take one drink too many and
careen into an endtable, lamp flying, me muttering to myself, “Who put that there?” That flawed gene, that came from me. This is all my fault. Years had slipped by where it had seemed there would be no repercussions, no piper to pay. Maybe the bullet had been dodged. But no, no… not on this night.


October 27, 1986. The Red Sox had lost Game 7 to Mets, my first dance with the fickle mistress of postseason baseball (I was fifteen). I had made it through the aftermath of Game 6 OK, angry as hell, of course, but with jaw set and focusing on the fact that there was still one more game to play. So what the hell was happening now?


I had stepped across that Sox fan threshold and finally understood what it meant to live and die for this team. And there I was, fucking crying, and I couldn’t control it and it wasn’t fair and I didn’t know why I had to feel this way at all. I had thought I held it together in the immediate wake of the final out, just morosely slinking off to bed, but once the darkness settled in and the reality of days without any more baseball and the tortured joke of how it all went down caught up to me, and it happened. I cried. Like each breath was being torn out of my lungs. I was fifteen, for Christ’s sake, but I still couldn’t help it.


And my father came in, and I wouldn’t look at him, I kept my face smashed into my arm as if this would somehow deny the reality of what was happening, and I think part of him had to be wishing he never nurtured my love for the Sox in the first place, never took me to games when I was very young, never sat and talked baseball with me, as if all of this could have been avoided if I just never cared about it to begin with. Complicity.


His words to me weren’t historic, not bathed in the glow that inspires orators, but they were pragmatic and heartfelt. There would be next year, he assured. He was careful to point out that my grandfather, his father, had followed the Sox for his entire life without seeing them win a World Series, and we had to appreciate what was given us (Poppy had passed away in 1983).


But it didn’t help, not at the time. And despite my grief over this love for a team that my father had passed down to me, despite his own role and accountability in what I was feeling at the time, I think he was proud. Because I cared that much. Cared too much, in fact, although that was really an impossibility, when you think about it.


* * *


Scott Rolen had just flied out to right field, making the first out in the bottom of the ninth. I told my wife to go get our five-month old son out of his crib and bring him down for this.


“Can’t you wait until there’s at least two outs?” she asked.


“Edmonds might hit into a double play.” Pujols was on first.


She went to go get him.


There were maybe sixteen people in a room that was designed to seat 6. Kitchen chairs had been brought in, people were sitting on the arms of couches. I had driven two hours from my home in Maine to watch Game 4 at my sister’s house in Massachusetts, weeknight be damned. My wife didn’t quite understand why, just as she didn’t understand what was to be gained from waking an infant to witness a moment he wouldn’t possibly ever remember. But I had to watch the game with my dad. I had to be with
my dad. And my son had to be there, too.


I sat on the floor at my father’s feet. He had the corner of one of the couches. We were faking being at ease, but not overly so: even false hubris would smack of the preconceived notion of celebration, therefore taunting the baseball gods.


Back in the top of the third, when Nixon got to a 3-0 count with the bases loaded, we both simultaneously muttered, “I bet he’s got the green light on this pitch.” And indeed he swung, missing a homer by a few feet and scoring Ortiz and Varitek in the process. And the game progressed to its preordained conclusion, but you still had to wait for it to get there. And in waiting, you start thinking of all the ways that things could go wrong. But then it gradually became clear that none of these bad things were going to happen, and the Sox were indeed going to win the World Series, but you had to wait that interminable moment or two until victory actually arrived. Because baseball does not run on a clock. You had to get the outs.


Such anticipation regarding the Sox was audacious, considering their calamitous postseason history, but then again, the Cardinals were fucking cooked. Absolutely dead, and it seeped out of their pores the entire game. We could smell the stink of it in Hopedale, halfway across the country.

 

So in the bottom of the ninth my wife stood in the living room cradling my stirring son, and once Edmonds struck out, I shifted from my sitting position to a kneeling crouch. I threw a glancing look back at my dad, wondering what was passing through his mind, and saw that while his face was one of guarded calmness, he was grinding his palms together with such force that the veins on the backs of his hands stood out. And my eyes flitted back to the TV, intently watching Foulke face Renteria, and as soon as the hopper back to the mound was stabbed, the room erupted. Me leaping out of my crouch and instinctively grabbing my father, burying my face in his shoulder as I once buried it in my own arm on another October night long ago, crying just as I did then but for entirely different reasons, a long journey that we had taken together finally having come to fruition. I held him for a lot longer than I care to admit. The embrace had its origins in baseball, but it became an opportunity to silently thank him for everything he’d ever done for me, to simply show him how glad I was that he was my father. He who had handed down to me this wonderful gift, wrapped in horsehide and red stitches.

 

When I finally let go of him, my wife put my bleary-eyed son in my arms. He was not crying. No, his face bore the serene look of the starsailor gone through the other side of a black hole, beholding a new universe, one where it just so happened that the words Dent, Buckner and Boone held no weight, nor would they ever. And I gently brought his forehead to my dampened cheeks, baptizing him into this strange and euphoric unknown.


Edited by The Allented Mr Ripley, 30 January 2013 - 03:13 PM.


#11 jacklamabe65


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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:34 PM

It all started because of a word that had often been used in countless threads on the popular Boston Red Sox message board, “The Sons of Sam Horn,” over the years.


Mojo.


Mojo, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is a noun with an intriguing denotation: “A magical power or supernatural spell.”

After the last out of Game 3 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, nearly every member of SoSH – some nineteen hundred strong at the time – had called upon whatever mojo they could muster to

help their Sox stave off the shackles of elimination against the detested New York Yankees who, at the time, had a seemingly insurmountable three games to nothing lead and had just humiliated the Red Sox at Boston’s Fenway Park, 19-8. 


From the inclusion of the complete text of Act IV, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Henry V (“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers….”) to the publication of a series of montages depicting heroic players from Boston’s sports past, nearly every poster had beseeched the sporting gods on behalf of their beloved baseball team. 


As a Red Sox fan who had followed the team on a pitch-by-pitch basis since 1964, I had experienced enough pathos to turn me into the ultimate oxymoron – a raging existentialist.  Still, as the 2004 playoffs unfolded, I, like countless other Sox fans, didn't allow myself to wallow in abject misery this time. 

The next morning, I appeared on a local New York radio station and proclaimed: “Listen, folks, there has never been a curse. The only reason we haven’t won it previously is that we’ve always lacked the pitching needed to win.  This year, we have the pitching.  If we can somehow win Game 4 of this series, the Yankees will be in trouble.  We CAN win these next four games. You watch.”
 

William Jennings Bryan once wrote, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.  It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.”  I wore a Red Sox baseball cap to work each day that week. 

 

 I believed.

Miraculously, the Red Sox won the next three games, two of them in extra innings, to tie up the series. Accordingly, at 11:25 am on the morning of October 20, 2004, I sat down at my teacher’s desk in Room 7 of the Upper School at The Greenwich (CT) Country Day School and began pounding away on my Dell laptop keyboard, crafting my own particular mojo that– I hoped – would ultimately defeat the despised Yankees. I called the thread, “Win it For.”

 

“Win it for Johnny Pesky, who deserves to wear a Red Sox uniform in the dugout during the 2004 World Series, I began.  “Win it for the old Red Sox captain Bobby Doerr, who, through the sadness of losing his beloved wife, Monica, would love nothing more than to see his Sox finally defeat New York in Yankee Stadium.  Win it for Dom DiMaggio, the most loyal and devoted of men.  If he hadn’t gotten hurt in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series, Enos Slaughter never would have scored – and the Red Sox would have been champions.”
 

I then urged my SoSH compatriots to win it for other Red Sox icons and personal favorites – Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Tony Conigliaro, Jack Lamabe, Luis Tiant, Dewey Evans.  For Red Sox announcers who had helped hone our love for the team before they had passed on – Ned Martin, Ken Coleman, Jim Woods, Sherm Feller.
 

I encouraged them to win it for cherished Red Sox friends, and for other SoSH members who had devotedly followed the fortunes of the franchise, each of them marking their own time

with each passing season. 

 

And finally, most of all, I urged them to win it for my father, James Lawrence Kelly, 1913-1986, who “always told me that loyalty and perseverance go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing the best part of you with me.”

As I looked over my copy on the SoSH website, I realized that there may be a few others who’d want to dedicate a possible championship to those individuals in their own lives who had loved the Red Sox through thick and thin.

I was right.

In the end, the original thread would contain hundreds of tributes from the populace of Red Sox Nation.  Indeed, fifty-one-thousand entries were eventually submitted by posters and lurkers from forty-three different states, twenty-nine foreign countries, and six continents.  By the time the “Win it For” thread was purposely shut down eight days after it began, each poster had added something unique to what became an utterly compelling Red Sox mosaic.  Later that winter, it would be converted into a bestselling book with the proceeds going to both the Jimmy Fund and Curt Schilling’s “Pitch for ALS.” 

 

In a column paying tribute to the thread, ESPN’s Bill Simmons deftly crystallized the uniqueness of it: “Plow through the ‘Win it For’ posts and its like plowing through the history of the franchise – just about every memorable player is mentioned at some point – as well as the basic themes that encompass the human experience.  Life and death.  Love and family.  Friendship and loss.”

 

“Win it for my grandfather (1917-2004), who never got to see the Red Sox win it all – but always believed.  And for my Dad who watches each and every game wishing his dad were there to watch it with
him.”


“Win it for my mother who died of ALS in 1999.  The only personal item I have left of hers is her Red Sox visor.”

 

“Win it for my ten-year-old son, Charlie, who fell asleep listening to Game 7 of 2003 ALCS assuming the Sox would win. When he woke up the next morning, he asked me eagerly, ‘Did we win, Dad?’  When I told him, gently no, we did not win, his anguished moan startled me. I knew I had raised him as a Red Sox fan, and I began to question whether that was a good thing.”

 

“Win it for my grandfather, who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease in 2002.  In one of my last conversations with him, he asked me how Ted Williams was doing.  During Game 7 on October 20th, against the Yankees, his birthday, he was smiling down on the Red Sox.”

 

“Win it for the elderly Sox fan that I hugged at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday night after Game 7 of the ALCS. Seeing the look of relief and jubilation on his face was one of the most emotional

experiences I have ever been through. Yes, baseball has the power to unite generations of strangers.”


“Win it for my Little League coach, Ralph Retera, a tough man who landed on Omaha Beach, and yet a tender man as well who always gave on extra pat on the back of those of us who frankly weren't very good. 

‘Baseball is a game of failure, boys,’ he’d say, ‘look at the Red Sox. But that doesn't mean we can’t give it our best.’  Coach Ralph used to wear a grungy Red Sox cap that he bought in the 1950’s and would take us to games at Fenway when we played for him.  When he died in 1988, Coach Ralph’s tattered Bosox hat adorned the top of his flag-draped casket.”


“Win it for my boss, a dear friend, who lost his dad unexpectedly in March of this year.  More than once this season, I’ve seen him glance at the phone after a game, half expecting his father to commiserate, rejoice, or just shoot the breeze about the game that just ended.  I’ve seen the sadness in his eyes as he realizes that the call isn’t coming. Win it for his dad, a lifelong fan who never had the opportunity to witness his beloved team taking it all.”


“Win it for my buddy, Brian Kelly, who worshipped at the feet of Tony Conigliaro growing up.  He even used to copy Tony C’s swing and was devastated when Jack Hamilton almost killed him.  Brian’s favorite time as a Red Sox fan was that magical summer and early fall of 1967, two years before he went off to Vietnam.  If we win this whole thing, I plan to go on down to the Vietnam Memorial Wall where you can find Brian’s name.  God, he would have loved this team.”


“Win it for my aunt, God rest her soul, who, at her funeral, the priest said, ‘She was a woman of great faith. She believed that she’d see a Red Sox championship in her lifetime.”
 

Within forty-eight hours of the inception of “Win it For,” national columnist, Andrew Sullivan linked it on his highly popular political blog.  Newspaper reporters from Kansas City to Tampa, San Francisco to Baltimore began to write comprehensive pieces on the thread.  Before Game 1 of the World Series, the gang on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight began to refer to the magic of “Win it For” as “the Red Sox’ secret weapon.”  Radio commentaries on the thread surfaced in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Albany, Seattle, and Atlanta.  The thread itself garnered more than fourteenmillion Internet hits. 


On the evening of October 28, 2004, the day after the Red Sox had swept the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, to win their first World Series in 86 years, Peter Jennings ended his nationally televised
ABC News Tonight broadcast with a piece that paid tribute “to the power of an emotive Internet thread and its eloquent posters, followers of a championship team that came to define the word - hope.” 


Six weeks after the season ended, author Leigh Montville dedicated thirty-three pages to “Win it For” in his narrative on the 2004 Red Sox, Why Not Us?   He entitled Chapter 7 of his book, “The Story of the Amazing Thread.” 

In an interview after the publication of his remembrance of a remarkable season, Montville maintained that, “at the very least, one-hundred years from now, ‘Win it For’ will be THE historical record

of what happened here.  The other works – mine included – will have faded away, but the ‘Win it For’ thread on the Sons of Sam Horn website will remain as the voice of all voices concerning the 2004 Boston Red Sox.”


What made the thread so unique were the individual anecdotes that connected generations of fans together.  In page after page, the singular stories of Red Sox fans formed bookends to the notions of both loyalty and passion:
 

 

TrapperAB:  “Just like last year, there will be an empty spot on the couch as I watch Game 7 of the ALCS tonight.  Dad cheered for the Sox from the age of eight in 1930.  He went to games at Fenway with

his father and told me about it when he took me to the most glorious stadium on God’s green earth.  My father passed away in 2001, which means, of course, that he never saw the Sox win one in his  lifetime. One of his final moments of clarity was seeing Rivera blowing a save and the D-Back’s winning the World Series that year.  That was also his last smile.  I believe that my father has been busy lately, along with a lot of other fathers and grandfathers and brothers and sons – helping umpires see the truth and helping David Ortiz lead the way.  That hand that Curt Schilling talked about last evening after Game 6?  It was the legion of dearly departed Red Sox fans – of which my father was one.  Once again this year, there will be that empty spot on the couch…reserved for my Dad.  I can only hope that he’s sitting there with me.”


Monbo Jumbo:  “Shaun – add my old man to your list (1909 – 2000).  He saw Ruth pitch, and he saw Pedro pitch.  And now, he’s upstairs playing gin rummy with Joe Cronin between games.”

Sooner Steve: “Win it for my old man, who taught me how to love the game and this team; who taught me what it means to be a man; who, even in his darkest hours facing the end, still wanted to talk about his team; who never saw them win it in his lifetime, but who loved every minute of the Impossible Dream to Morgan’s Magic; who worshiped ‘The Splendid Splinter’ and extolled the virtues of Yaz.  Win it for me so I can pay a visit to Dad’s grave and toast that title we always dreamed about.  Here’s to you, Pops – in loving memory…DW Gibbs (1936-1993).”

Norm Siebern: “Win it for my Granpa Harvey (1974) who would rise up from his seat along the right field line in the grandstand and defend Scotty from the boo birds, even if Boomer was only hitting .170 in 1968.  Win it for that seven-year-old kid who fell in love with a game and a team that long ago magical summer of 1967.  And for that eighteen-year-old young man who sat in the left field grandstands and watched a little popup hit by Bucky “Bleeping” Dent nestle into the screen on October 2, 1978.” 

Ramon’sBrother: “Win it for a certain nineteen-year-old who cried himself to sleep in the early morning hours of October 17, 2003.”

An unknown lurker:  “Some morning next week,in the hours just before dawn, the cemeteries all over New England will be filled with middle-aged men, standing by ancestral graves marked - whatever the headstone - with the same bronze veterans’ plaques at the foot – First Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, PFC, served some range of years beginning with a high school graduation and ending with the year, 1945.  We will be reading aloud from tear-stained newspapers, sharing our first too-early libation of the day.  (A Gansett? A Ballentine Ale?)  We will be drinking to Cabrera’s defense; Foulke’s grit; Damon’s grace; Ortiz’s incredible sense of timing.  MAYBE we will even have a reason to toast Manny.  We will be waving the bloody sock – thanking God and Theo Epstein for sending us Curt Schilling, on whom all our hopes rested, and did not die in vain. 

Remembering all those who came so close but did not get there, like Yaz and Boomer and Rico and Hawk and El Tiante and Dewey and Jim Ed, even Nomar.  Remembering all those who did not live to see us get there, like Ted and Tony C and my Granpa Dan.  The clock will be unwinding; the pages will be flying off the calendar; the earth will tilt slightly on its axis.  I will be there.  My brothers will be there.  Get there early.  It’s going to be crowded.”

 

Tedsondeck: “Win it for my brother, Johnny, who left Boston in 1944 for the South Pacific, a Red Sox hat adorning his head.  He was a nineteen-year-old kid who loved three things – the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and Ted Williams.  He lost his life in a hellhole called Okinawa.  There hasn't been a single day that hasn't gone by when I don’t think of him.  This one’s for you, JB.”

 

SFGiantsFan: “Win it for the people of Red Sox Nation.  You people are the legacy of what this great game is all about - or should be about…the love and support of your team through good times andbad.  People like you, and teams like this one, have brought me back to baseball after the shame of 1994.  Thank you all. You truly deserve this.”

 

PUDGEcanCATCH:  “Win it for my brother, who worked on the 94thfloor of the North Tower, and who died on September 11, 2001.  He used to look out the window and stick his tongue out in the direction of the Bronx.  Above his desk, he had a framed picture of Fenway with two baseball cards scotch-taped to the bottom, Reggie Smith and Pudge Fisk, his two favorite Red Sox players growing up.  Many times when he worked, he would proudly wear his Sox hat.  After the plane hit his building, I have a strong hunch that he then put his Sox hat on for the last time.”

BasesDrunk:  “My mother-in-law was as diehard a Red Sox fan as they come.  She died of cancer in February, 2003.  My wife was born on October 7, 1967, literally in the middle of Game 3 of the World Series againstthe Cardinals.  Her mother kept asking the nurses for updates while in labor.  No doubt she now wants revenge for St. Louis ruining an otherwise perfect day.” 

 

Lurker - OregonSoxFan:  “Win it for my dad who passed away on 10/20/93.  When I was a seven-year-old boy, he introduced me to – and shared – the Impossible Dream, which was where my love for this awesome team began.  Last night, I watched the greatest Sox victory (so far this year) with his eight-year-old grandson, Jeremiah, who, in turn, is catching the fever.  We talked about Dad and all that he taught me about the game.  Mom called after the game, and we shared tears of joy - and a tear of grief.”

BoSox Lifer:  Win it for that little boy who was sitting with his dad and his uncle at Game 7 at Yankee Stadium last October.  With him crying as the game ended, I leaned over, and holding back my own tears, I told him with as much conviction as I could muster to cheer up because next year we were going to win it all.  Somewhere I know - that little boy is smiling today…”

Curtis Pride:  “I want the Red Sox to win it for my mother.  She became a fan in 1967 and has followed them faithfully via radio to this very day.” “I was born deaf, so growing up was difficult for me.  But then I discovered the Red Sox in 1977, and my parents took me to Fenway that summer, which made me a Sox fan for life.  And since then, I would sit with my mother by the radio while she listens to the Sox and relayed the events to me as they unfolded.” “We still discuss the Red Sox today, but I want them to win so that she can experience that sweet taste of victory that has been denied her for so long.  I know how it feels to finally overcome an enormous obstacle, and I want her to feel that as well.”

 

Cheekydave:  Win it for my father, who had a love for numbers and baseball and passed it on to me; it was the only way we could communicate.  But it was always a safe haven, and at least there was ONE way to communicate between us.  He died last year on his birthday, October 20th, one year to the day that the Red Sox beat the Yankees!  Also, win it for my mother, who died when I was nine on October 2, 1967, the day after the Red Sox won the pennant, and the day I became both a Red Sox fan and also a single parented child.”


A lurker from Australia:  “Win it for all of you New Englanders who deserve at least one warm winter.” “I became a Red Sox fan when I first read Roger Angell’s account of the Impossible Dream team; I became an official citizen of Red Sox Nation when I walked into Fenway on a dreary night in 1985.” “I ended up living in Boston until 1993 when I returned to Australia.  October is the spring down here, but not a baseball season has passed by without me thinking of you hardy New Englanders preparing for a winter that most of my countrymen couldn't even comprehend; dreaming of Spring Training, and thinking that maybe next year will be ‘the year’ for the Red Stockings.”  “Well, next year is here!  This week, all of your dreams will come true.  And when it’s time to rake the leaves and put up the storm windows, you’ll be thinking, “Next year – back to

back…”

 

Lurker Nomarfan31:  “Win it for my mom, Mary, who died of lung cancer on July 9, 2003, and who loved to declare, “They’re gonna lose,” while inside wildly rooting for them to win.  I cried when Nomar was traded, not because it wasn’t time for him to go (sadly, it was) but because it was the loss of another link to Mom, who always call me whenever he did something spectacular in a game.”

Red Sox Owner John Henry: “There was a point during this season that was very, very tough.  But I came here and read your Bandwagon thread, and was uplifted by the depth and breadth of your

faith.  It was at the time the best thing we were reading anywhere.  These guys – I’m so proud of them – they refused to lose for the faithful this week.  I’m proud of everyone who refused to get off the bandwagon.”

 

Sargeiswaiting:  The Mekong Delta is a long way from Boston.  During the summer of 1969, I found myself as a private in the army, fighting in a war that was becoming increasingly unpopular at home.  When I was homesick for Boston, a fellow private named Kevin, born and raised in the Boston area, kept my spirits up.  We used to listen to the radio after the hell of patrol.  There was one song by Neil Diamond that we used to love listening to in the outskirts of the jungle.  We would scream it out at the top of our lungs.  The girl in the song was the girl in our dreams!  Kevin was a big Sox fan.  He especially loved the Boomer.  He got Agent Orange and began to fade away in the early eighties.  The war killed him in the end.  I attended a Sox game against the White Sox this past August.  It was cold as hell for a summer afternoon, and the Sox lost in disappointing fashion.  Still, in the bottom of the eighth inning, I began to hear the strains of that song that Kevin and I sung so well back in Vietnam –‘Sweet Caroline.’  Jesus, Kevin’s favorite, playing at Fenway.  The tears are flowing now as I write this.  Win it for Kevin.  Win it for Sweet Caroline.” 


 

In early November 2004, ten days after the last out of the 2004 World Series, I received a note from a most perceptive lurker to the website.  He wrote:  “You know, Shaun, I really believe that the

ghosts that we all beckoned, our dearly departed fathers and grandfathers, sisters, brothers, neighbors, coaches, and friends, had a hand in the astonishing two weeks that we've just experienced.  In a way, it was their last loving act to us.  And we, in turn, responded as only we could…in the posts that we ultimately submitted.”

 I concluded the “Win it For” thread in the morning of October 28, 2004 with the following entry, written seven hours after Keith Foulke had stabbed Edgar Renteria’s one-hopper for the third and final out of the Series:

 

“In the end, people talk about the ghosts Red Sox fans live with, but they have it all wrong.  It isn't the ghost of Babe Ruth or Bill Buckner or all the names associated with a curse that never really existed.  Instead, it is the ghosts we can still see when we walk into Fenway Park.  It’s our fathers and mothers and grandparents. It’s our next door neighbors and our baseball coaches and our aunts and uncles.  Those are the ghosts that matter to us.  Those are the specters we see, huddled together, watching their team and the game so intently.”

“For those of us who have followed the fortunes over an extended period, a Red Sox World Series championship marks a beginning – and an end.  While we have made peace with all of our relatives and friends who have passed on over the years, there was always a little unfinished business between us – and them.  Now with this incomparable victory, that too is complete.”

 

“And so, after all of these years, we can finally have a clean goodbye to our dearly departed.  Perhaps that is why so many tears were shed in living rooms all over New England and beyond in the early morning hours of October 28, 2004.”


The “Win it For” thread, a small idea in the beginning, was formally inducted as a literary entity into the writer’s section of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in the summer of 2007.  “Win it For’ seamlessly connected six generations of Red Sox fans together as no other document ever has,” wrote a publicist for the Baseball Hall of Fame upon the thread’s induction.

Even today, more than eight years after it first was published, the original “Win it For” thread still has the capacity to bring tears and smiles together as close as they can ever be.


Edited by jacklamabe65, 30 January 2013 - 03:36 PM.


#12 Guapos Toenails

  • 1,844 posts

Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:23 AM

My story of 2004 also begins with five outs to go in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.  It was my birthday that day, and as I sat on the side of the bed with the glow from the TV dancing across the room, I allowed my mind to embrace the strong possibility of going to the World Series at Fenway Park when the Sox got five more outs.  2003 was my first season working as a vendor at Fenway, selling Sports Bars and cotton candy to the fans in the seats.  What an amazing birthday present the Red Sox were about to give me.

 

A few hours later the phone rang.  It was my father-in-law who is a huge Yankee fan.  I heard him through the answering machine down stairs chanting "let's go Yankees!  Happy birthday!  Let's go Yankees!  Happy birthday!"  I did not speak to him for four months after that, and I still haven't really forgiven him.

 

Fast forward to October, 2004.  My wife is nine months pregnant with our first child, a boy.  Throughout the playoffs at Fenway I had my phone with me in my apron while I was selling.  She could have gone at anytime.

 

The first time they tried to play Game 3 of the ALCS at Fenway Park it was raining all day.  I would always drive in to Boston a few hours before the games to get a parking spot at a meter, and I was in the park early that afternoon.  There were very few people outside standing in the mist and the drizzle when Curt Schilling emerged from the dugout and walked out to the bullpen with managers and trainers in tow.  The Japanese photographers all scrambled out to right field to get some pictures of Curt as he tried throwing on his injured ankle, but the Fenway security stopped them from going past Pesky's Pole.  I stood and watched from about 12 feet away as Curt tested a special boot that was made for him to try and stabilize the injured ankle so he could pitch.  It wasn't working.  He didn't throw that long before he disgustedly stopped and limped back to the dugout.  Anybody that thinks that he was faking and put ketchup on his sock is out of their minds.

 

The night that Game 6 of the ALCS was played, my wife went into labor.  Of course the game was on the TV in the delivery room.  My son was born at noon on October 20, 2004.  The most incredible day of my life would get even better as my newborn son, about 10 hours old, sat with me as the Red Sox went up by ten runs.  I decided before the game that that was the lead that the Sox needed for me to allow my mind to embrace the strong possibility that the Sox were going to finally beat the Yankees, and go to the World Series.



#13 There is no Rev


  • through the velvety hallway


  • 23,815 posts

Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

My favorite story concerns my idiot but strangely insightful brother: Hambone.

 

So it's the 9th inning of game 4 of the ALCS and... I wouldn't even say I'm a mess. Closer to numb. Just... I don't have words for it. Something like "meh" but if "meh was really, really intense. A feeling of intense "meh." I mean, what was the point. 2003 had been devastating. I remember my girlfriend who I had recently taught to walk in the light in 2003 asking me repeatedly after the disaster that shall not be named why I wasn't more upset? Wasn't I upset? She was upset!! Really, she was surprised I wasn't more upset. Really, she just didn't understand, but of course, she'd never actually seen me that way before.

 

But this. I mean, the 2004 team was loaded. They had the guys. They had the mix of personalities to stay loose. Boy genius Theo put together a dream team. Tito kept the media at bay. Schilling told us why not us and was posting on a frickin' Red Sox message board. They had Manny. They had Ortiz. They had Pedro. They were awesome. And then I had endured the ordeal of Game 3 at a wedding with fully open bar, checking in over and over again to see, my God, look at Wakefield still out there, Wakefield taking it for the team--so ugly and so heroic. It was dawning on me that they were really never going to win. If this team couldn't do it, nobody could.

 

So Millar gets on. Yay, someone actually got past Rivera. Like that matters. Roberts is coming on and my phone rings. I cannot believe my cell phone is ringing. I can't imagine there is anyone who both knows me well enough to have my phone number and would call me right now. But I look, and see on the caller ID that it is maybe the only person on the planet who's call I would take right now.

 

It's Hambone and he's out of his skull. I've never heard him like this before or since. And he's screaming, "I want one more day!!" And various variations on that theme. He didn't care if they had no shot at winning the series. One more game!! Fine, they're going to lose anyway. One more night!! They are NOT going out like this. I want one more day!!!!

 

I believe there may have been more profanity laced in than as I have currently expressed things.

 

I smiled a bit. And yeah, I could agree. To which he responded something like, "Good." He had let forth the torrent, the energy of which I still feel when I think of it; I'm gritting my teeth from it as I type this. And we got off the phone with a curt but forceful, "Go Sox."

 

Hambone is the only person I know that responded this way to the that series, that game, that moment. And damned if he wasn't right, and damned if that wasn't how it gets done.

 

I drove up to Boston from NJ after work at warp speed for game 4 of the World Series; only time I've seen the Pike backed past the 95 loop up going into the city on a weekday evening, but it all seemed like a foregone conclusion at that point- ever since Damon launched one into New York's upper deck to lead off in game 7--such a strange and welcome feeling to have, to know we were going to win. And it was fun to be in the city for the game, and important to plant championship pennants at the tombstones of my father and grandfather (I fondly recall my now deceased aunt surveying the rows at a cemetery in Watertown and then slowly starting to nod with a look of real gravitas on her face, "We're first." [She was the best kind of nut.]). But it is my brother's phone call full of fight and fire at a time I had concluded such was well nigh impossible that will always be to me the crux of it all.



#14 sfip


  • directly related to Marilyn Monroe


  • 7,450 posts

Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:25 PM

This one won't make you scroll a long way.



#15 Rough Carrigan


  • reasons within Reason


  • 16,781 posts

Posted 02 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

Some of these stories . . . wow!

 

I sort of picture each of you guys making a mashed potato Fenway Park at dinner, befuddling your wife Terry Garr, and going off a la Richard Dreyfus in Close Encounters.



#16 mr_smith02

  • 1,650 posts

Posted 02 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

In August of 2004 I attended a game at Fenway sitting in Section 36 in the dead centerfield bleachers.  After warming up each inning Johnny Damon would turn and throw the ball up into the bleachers.  In the top of the 7th inning I turned to my buddy and said, "I am getting the ball this inning." He responded,"I am going to get a beer before the beer stands close."

 

Making my way down to first row, I ended up standing next to a family of four.  Damon turned, smiled, and chucked the ball toward the family.  The wind took the ball a little and it landed right in my hands.  I spun around after catching it and saw the little girl from that family looking up at me.  Without really thinking about it, I gave her the ball, which resulted in a nice round of applause from the other drunken folks in Section 36.  A good moment, and I thought it was over.  The family gaped over the ball and took their seats in the first row, I made my way back up five rows to my seat.

 

After a bit of time, an usher appeared near the family.  The family started pointing at me and I thought for certain I was going to be removed for some reason.  The usher approached me and asked if I was the one who gave the ball to the girl.  I responded yes, while getting ready to leave my seat.  The usher explained to me that Johnny Damon and Mike Timlin (who was in the bullpen) had seen me give the ball to the girl and wanted me to have a ball too.  The usher handed me a bullpen ball.

 

Two months later the Sox won it all.  When Damon hit the grand slam in Game 7 of the ALCS in Yankee Stadium I could not help but think of him making sure I got a piece of 2004 to hold onto forever.



#17 drbretto


  • guidence counselor


  • 4,361 posts

Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

I was working in a kitchen in a nursing home during the 2004 playoffs. I was the only Red Sox fan, but bonded with the ornery cook and one of the residents, both life-long Yankee fans, due to our mutual love of the game of baseball. We'd spend most days waxing poetic about baseball history. I had everything I had learned on the internet and the beginnings of a basic understanding of this new statistical movement. They shared their experiences watching the game in person. The cook was somewhere around 48-50 and the resident was, wouldn't you know it, born in 1918. The cook would share stories of the Yankee glory days, but was always respectful of my allegiances. The resident shared tales of watching Babe Ruth and Ted Williams play in person. 

 

After game 3, I was receiving plenty of good-natured ribbing from the cook but I never said die. I know a lot of people want to rewrite history and say they never gave up on them, but I was as energetic and confident in our eventual victory as our good friend Kevin Millar. The cook would later give me the credit I deserved for never giving up. Showed nothing but respect.

 

The resident was tougher to crack. He had seen 86 years of futility first-hand. At lunch time before game 4, I spoke with him at length, detailing exactly how the Red Sox would absolutely, positively, come back and win it all. I explained how the pitching match-ups would favor the Sox and how the team had this aura about it that they would never give up. As long as they made no mistakes, the Red Sox would win.

 

He smiled at me, nodded his head and said "You know what, I believe you". And he meant it. I'll never forget it.

 

He passed away a couple of days after the Sox won it all. Just as it was when he was born, he died while the Red Sox were world champions. I'm not a religious man. I'm open minded, but usually pretty rational. Given the circumstances, the way the games played out, the experience convincing an 86-year-old Yankee fan to root for the Red Sox when there was every reason not to, a literal lifetime between victories, for a moment, I believed. 

 

So did you. We all did. If only for a moment, every Red Sox fan on the planet believed. We had just witnessed the greatest possible example of why baseball is, and always will be, the greatest game ever invented. We experienced something no fan of any other team in any other sport could ever hope to imagine. We watched 26 men refuse to be the guy that ruined our dreams. All of them fighting together to give us what we had been wishing for for generations. They gave it to us, and for one brief moment, we all believed. 


Edited by drbretto, 02 February 2013 - 08:49 PM.


#18 Tudor Fever

  • 3,407 posts

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:46 PM

Groundhog Day.  If I had to pick any day in my life to live all over again, October 18, 2004 would easily be in the top 5.

 

My girlfriend, now my wife, and I were in San Francisco for a long weekend visiting her son, a freshman at USF.  Monday, October 18, the day of Game 5, dawned fair and fresh and we spent the entire morning at Golden Gate Park.  It was a spectacular morning in a spectacular venue. At around 12:30, we took a bus over to the Russian Hill area to watch the game at the Buccaneer, which had been recommended a week earlier in SoSH chat.

 

I ended up seeing all 471 pitches sitting at one end of that bar, drinking Boddington's--which I never otherwise drink--and eventually rotating in the occasional Diet Coke.  At first, we were the only people there, and even well into the middle innings there were few others.  One garrulous older guy, maybe around 60, was pounding whiskey sours and regaling us with his remembrances of San Francisco Seals games from the 1950s.  As the afternoon wore on, the place started to fill up; by the 7th inning it was quite full and by the 10th it was three deep at the bar.  It was all Sox fans, obviously, and the game lasted long enough to create a real albeit itemporary community.  I remember in particular a software guy named Chris who grew up near Medford, and a blonde girl in her late 20s who identified herself as Sea Bass, opined that Derek Jeter is a cocksucker, and complained in passing that her boyfriend thought she was too sports-obsessed.

 

The last three hours of that game seemed to last a week.  Volvo for Life to begin the comeback.  The divine intervention ground rule double in the top of the 9th.  Innumerable squandered opportunities and baserunning blunders by the Sox.  (At one point, my wife left to meet up with her son but told me in no uncertain terms that I should stay put; one of many illustrations of her awesomeness.) Wakefield's unhittable--and uncatchable--knuckler. We survive the top of the13th unscathed in defiance of the CHB meme.  Finally, after a ridiculous number of foul balls, a Texas league blooper that for a change kicked someone else's fan base in the balls.  Pandemonium at the Buc, and we could all keep running all the way to New York.

 

After high fives, hugs, and another round, I walked from the Buc to our hotel at Union Square.  That walk involves a steep hill, but I was levitating and did not notice it.  A few of my work buddies and I had created a little playoff pool, and one of them had this predicted regarding the ALCS "Sox over Yanks in 7; Wakefield pitches a gem."  I called and left him a message that he was now more than half right.

 

We capped the night with some excellent sushi.  All in all, a pretty good day.  It began fair and fresh, and today we got the whale.


Edited by Tudor Fever, 03 February 2013 - 11:22 AM.


#19 SoxLegacy

  • 556 posts

Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

On a 28 degree and snowy day here in Maryland, and in the grip of a grad school research paper, this thread has made me laugh, tear up, and more than anything else, rejoice in both the memories (my own as well as yours) of that incredible and glorious conclusion to the 2004 season and the fact that here I am among some of the greatest Red Sox fans in the world. Thank you all for sharing these memories!  



#20 brs3


  • sings praises of pinstripes


  • 3,581 posts

Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:28 AM

I recently went to the book signing of "Francona: The Red Sox Years" in NYC. I was maybe the 100th, 125th person to sign. I stood in front of the table as Mr. Francona signed my book. I mumbled, "Thanks for making it easier to marry a Yankee fan", and Terry looked up a little bewildered, I don't think he actually heard me, but he said, "Hey, thanks for coming out for the event."

 

When I left I was kind of disappointed that I wasn't more clear in my delivery. This is Terry M'f'ing Francona! There are SoSHer's with season tickets who have talked to the manger regularly. There are folks who had no qualms telling this fellow why he was the greatest, why he was overrated, and how much he was a hack. Especially after he was fired. I couldn't even tell CHB that he should be nicer.

 

The truth is, Francona was an architect of 2004, and nothing will allow me to be more than a blubbering idiot. I didn't attend a single postseason game in 2003 or 2004, but you can bet your ass I know where I was for every game. I wouldn't drop hundreds of dollars on these games, because I simply may never live that lifestyle. Nothing wrong with it, I just can't.

 

Every Red Sox fan of age(I say 18, for 2003) knows where they were. 2003? The Aaron Boone homer? I never saw it land real time. Sure. I saw it during ESPN highlights, but I didn't see it land live. Wakefield was, and remains, "my boy", a guy I don't bash. A true Red Sox hero that will never garner the respect of Hall of Famers, but is certainly a champion.

 

We all know where we were in 2004 for every game. During the extra inning game of the game 5 of the ALCS, the bar I was in closed. They shut off the big screen and sent me home to see the extra innings, and I think it was only maybe 10pm when they booted us. I watched in my parents basement, a room adorned with Sox posters of heros past. It was the same room I watched scrambled NESN(before it was part of the cable package)during Petey's height.

 

When they won Game 5. I made it a point to not return to the bar that closed before the Sox game ended...because seriously, screw those guys. I went to friends, I went to other bars, and I've yet to return to that bar for Red Sox playoff games. It's not a matter of superstition. It's a matter of, F those guys.

 

2004 made me re-think superstition. Made me rethink the impossible. It made me think that fans of the '86 team and the '75 team knew what they were talking about every year when they would regularly say, "nah, not the year..." for whatever reason. Nobody said that during the 2004 season...because nobody knew what would happen.



#21 Joe D Reid

  • 2,623 posts

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:57 AM

I attended ALCS Game 7 in 2003, which culminated in what must have been the least-fun three borough subway ride of my life. I say "must have been" because I don't actually remember it--embarrassingly, a nurse friend later said I was exhibiting symptoms of clinical shock.

 

I was determined to avoid a repeat in 2004. Because, seriously, you shouldn't black out after one bunch of professional baseball players loses to another bunch of professional baseball players. So after the Sox failed to score in the top of the 8th in Game 4, I just packed up and went to bed. I laid there congratulating myself on my healthy new perspective for about 20 minutes, after which I swore a bunch, got back up, turned on the TV, and saw a replay of The Steal. I didn't go back to bed the rest of the evening.  

 

After the Sox won, I had to try to explain all of this sturm -und-drang to a woman I went on a first date with on October 22. We hit it off, and are now married. Big month for me.


Edited by Joe D Reid, 04 February 2013 - 11:03 AM.


#22 Jordu

  • 2,029 posts

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

My season ticket buddy Charlie, who lives in Belmont, brought his 14-year-old son John to Game 5 of the 2004 ALCS.

The two of them walked over the standing room behind first base during extra innings to keep moving and try to keep warm. The kid was freezing.

"Dad, I'm so cold. I can't take this anymore, Dad. Please can we go home?"

Charlie looked at his son and saw how miserable the boy was. "All right, John, all right," Charlie said, reaching into his pocket. "Here's forty dollars. Take a cab home. Tell you mother I'll be home after the game."

True story.

#23 LogansDad


  • SoSH Member


  • 5,788 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:37 AM

I grew up with four sisters.  Two older and two younger.  My mother was not a huge baseball fan, but she used it as an excuse to be able to spend time with me, her only son.  She drove me to practice and games, let me throw tennis balls at her house so that I could practice, and even dealt with the enormous ass-pain of getting into Boston with me to watch a silly game that she didn't even really like.  I remember one time, with the Red Sox in the field and the pitcher getting ready to pitch, she turned to me and said, "David, why is Mo Vaughn praying right now?"  I looked at the big guy and replied something along the lines of, "Mom, he isn't praying, that is just his defensive stance," and looked timidly around to make sure nobody else had heard this embarrassing exchange.

 

My mother passed away in 1998.  I was 18 and in the middle of my freshman year of college.  In retrospect, I never really let he get as close to me as I should have.  I wasn't a bad son by any means, but I took for granted just how awesome she really was.  I think I realized this soon after, as i finished my freshman year with a 3.95 GPA at UMass Dartmouth, and earned nearly a full ride for my sophomore year.  It was about that time, however, that I dropped into a pretty serious bout with depression, started drinking alcohol and stopped caring about much of anything else.  My sophomore year I majored in drinking, volleyball and rollerblading, failed pretty much all of my classes, and dropped out of school.  June 2nd of 1999 I left for Air Force Basic Training.  I spent the next few years traveling the world, losing my New England accent as well as losing touch with basically everything from home besides the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins (never have been a basketball fan).  As a young airman, I managed to skip out of work for Patriots Day in 2000 with the excuse of a medical appointment, and boy was I glad that I did.

 

Fast forward to 2004.  I am recently married, and my wife is about 6 months pregnant with our first child.  I have moved to Nellis AFB, and our squadron is busily preparing for an Operational Readiness Inspection.  I work for RED HORSE, a squadron that goes to remote locations to build up bases, and this is pretty much the most important inspection we can go through.  Unfortunately, it is an inspection that we are required to be in the field for, and of course we are scheduled to be out there from October 24th until the afternoon of October 28th.  I get to watch game 1 of the World Series, and when they win I tell myself that as long as they don't sweep, I will be back in time to see them win.  And of course there is no way that that will happen.

 

We get out into the field, and for three straight days it rains, thunders, lightning, the whole nine yards.  Finally, at about 2 PM PST on the 27th of October, the inspectors give up and decide it is time to pack up and head back to town, and heat.  We drive back to our squadron and the first thing I do is call my wife to let her know that we have what will hopefully be a quick debrief and then she can pick me up (we only had one car at the time).  She replies with, "You better tell your commander to hurry up, the Sox are up 3 games to none and are up 1-0 in game 4 right now."

 

My jaw drops.  Fuck, I can't believe I might miss this.  I walk over to the briefing room (bar) where everyone is assembling, notice the game is on TV, and the first pitch I see is Trot's double to make the game 3-0.  The debrief goes smoothly enough, and I manage to get home in time for the seventh inning, and watch the rest of the game in our apartment with my wife.  After waking all the neighbors when Foulke throws to Dougie, we head out to the Outback to celebrate.  The next day I find out the parade is on Saturday, and as much as I want to get home for it that is the day of our formal outbrief, and there is no way that our leadership is going to let me off the hook.

 

Well, with the military being a small world, the lead inspector is my former boss from my first duty assignment, a guy who is also a big sports fan, and who I won the base championship in softball with four years earlier.  I tell him he fucking sucks for making the outbrief on Saturday, and he looks at me and says, "Let me see what I can do."  Within an hour, our superintendent tells me that I can be excused to fly home if I want to, two hours later me and my wife are flying out of McCarron after paying nearly $2 grand for our plane tickets, and I got to spend a rainy Saturday in Boston watching the 25 go by in the duck boats.

 

Four days of rain in Las Vegas allowed me to make it home in time to see the final outs of the 2004 World Series.  We ended up back in Las Vegas for three years from 2009 until 2012, and I am pretty sure I saw four days of rain total in those three years.

 

Thanks, Mom.



#24 Rasputin


  • Will outlive SeanBerry


  • 26,165 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:21 AM

After waking all the neighbors when Foulke throws to Dougie, we head out to the Outback to celebrate.  

 

I'm sorry, I love my country and have more respect for the people who put on a uniform than I really know what to do with but you celebrated the greatest moment of your sporting life by going to the Outback fucking steakhouse?



#25 Andrew


  • broke his neck in costa rica


  • 9,679 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:21 AM

Gotta love any story that slips in your university GPA.



#26 John Marzano Olympic Hero


  • has fancy plans, and pants to match


  • 15,243 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:50 AM

From lurker Creakles:

 

I ruptured my appendix when Damon hit the grand slam. Within 5 minutes I was on the phone to 911. They asked if there was anyone to contact and I told them my Mother. When I called her I was in tears and said "Mom, I ruptured my appendix, I'm going to the Hospital, Sox are up 6-1"

Long story short I ended up in an ambulance where they were able to get the game on the radio for me and kept me updated on the ride to the hospital. When I got there I insisted on a room with a tv which they were able to accommodate. Nurses and Doctors kept dropping in to watch the game with me as they were waiting for tests and to perform emergency surgery.

I spent 5 nights in the hospital where I watched the first two games of the WS. I checked myself out against Doctors orders as I already had a flight up to Boston in case we won the series. I wasn't missing that. I watched the last two games in my home in Florida and flew up for the parade. Unfortunately I was in such bad shape I couldn't risk being in a massive crowd and getting re-injured as I was starting a new job the next week across the country in California. I flew home, drove across the country and was horribly sick for the next 6 months. But if I had a non-vital organ to give every year for the Sox to win it all, I would, without hesitation.

Earlier in the year I saw a game at Tropicana where I was two rows in front of Theo and shook his hand after the game and thanked him for putting together a great team.

In '07 I was lucky enough to get to go to the family locker room after we beat the Angels and got a bunch of pictures of the players and their families. I also have a picture of Covelli and I, how I was able to get in, as we have mutual friends.

The reason I bring up 07 and Epstein is that I am thoroughly convinced that I am the Red Sox good luck charm and when I have personal contact with the team we win it all! smile.png



#27 Savin Hillbilly


  • SoSH Member


  • 11,646 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

ALCS Game 7 was my introduction to gamethreading. I had my laptop open for some reason just before the game started (probably checking some stats or something), and a colleague from work happened to IM me, and we just kept IMing through the whole game. He's half-Thai, half-Chinese, and I remember every time Damon did something good, he'd IM "HALF THAI!!!!!" I became a gamethread addict that night, though I wouldn't get to do it on a regular basis until I discovered SoSH three years later.



#28 Hokie Sox

  • 83 posts

Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:35 PM

I was 16 years old in 2004, and was going through a really rough period of maturation and growth. When I was 14 years old, my father passed away from cancer. They found it late, and he got a blood clot after surgery on his brain stem. After hearing that the surgery went well, the next morning I woke up to the horrific sound of my mother and sister violently sobbing. I was paralyzed to my bed as I knew something went wrong, and we spent the day watching him his heart rate slowly go down as he was kept on a breathing machine. The x-ray revealed cancer all throughout his body (including his liver). I walked out of the room because I couldn't watch him die, and my family understood as I was closest to him, the very special and unique father-son bond combination of smart-ass satirical humor being passed down and each of us saying jokes only we found funny at times. 

 

I remember visiting him in the hospital with news of the Manny Ramirez signing, to which he replied "the Red Sox will never win a world series in my lifetime." My father was a Phillies fan, and his father was a Phillies fan, and his father was a Yankees fan. My grandfather hated his father, which made him pick the Phillies. Despite our different allegiances, my father and I both had a deep-seeded hatred for the Yankees, and since I listened to the Phillies games on the radio during that long stretch of awful baseball they had in the late 90's-early 2000's on our way to my midget baseball games, and because my other grandfather was a Red Sox fan, I like to think while he may have hoped that I would grow out of my Red Sox fandom- he understood that I was serious about it. Most of you know that Tito was the coach of a lot of those horrible Phillies teams. I stopped playing baseball after he passed as it was always something we did together, and I couldn't handle the idea of playing without him at such a young age.

 

2003 was miserable for me. The Yankees fans in our school didn't know their ass from their elbow and weren't hardcore baseball fanatics like myself. I remember the home run that Giambi hit that barely cleared the wall to send Game 7 into extras, and there is no doubt in my mind that that ball stays in the park if he's not on steroids. Still, I'm glad the curse was broken the way it was. 

 

I remember feeling dejected, walking upstairs after game 3's 19-8 shellacking, and my mother feeling saying "I'm so sorry" (or something along those lines). I looked up and said "It's okay-  we just have to win tomorrow." 2 Ortiz miracles, a bloody sock, and a Damon extravaganza later, we did it. We'd go on to win 8 games in 10 days, something that may never be accomplished again in baseball history. I remember not being intimidated by Mariano anymore. I remember the toss from Embree better than I remember the toss from Foulke. I remember Damon's homers in Game 7 better than I remember Bellhorn's dinger in the series. And who could forget the Dave Roberts stolen base in Game 5, followed by Bill Mueller back up the middle and the Roberts pop-up slide and spin. And I remember wanting to strangle Joe Buck and Tim McCarver the whole time. I cried like a child after Game 7- I hadn't cried in 2 years since my father's passing as it made me stunned and emotionally numb- this meant more to me than the next 4 games.

 

2004 was a lovable team. As a huge fan of absurdity, they were the epitome of it. Guys like Millar, Pedro, Manny, Curt, Damon, Bellhorn, Ortiz, they were the self-proclaimed Idiots. I feel like I could sit down and have a beer with those guys.

 

I think if I were to sit down and have a beer with the 2012 team, I'd probably want to punch most of them out. The 2004 guys were a bunch of free-spirited, naive idiots with just the right chemistry/carelessness to break the curse. I don't think I'll ever enjoy a team as much as that team- even more of a testament to how they were. And any true Red Sox fan will tell you, it wasn't the same when they won again in 2007. I always ask someone who tells me they're a fan how 2007 was for them- it's my "pink hat" filter. I understand that I'll probably never experience another 2004 Red Sox, and I'm completely okay with that- because all of us that took the ride knew that it was worth it. 

 

Don't get me wrong- I want more. But I've never been prouder to be a Red Sox fan.


Edited by Hokie Sox, 05 February 2013 - 01:47 PM.


#29 John Marzano Olympic Hero


  • has fancy plans, and pants to match


  • 15,243 posts

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

From lurker Bandman:

 

My wife and I adopted our son in September of 2004. He was nine months old by the middle of October, and still not sleeping very well. I spent most of the four-game comeback against NY pacing the living room floor with him on my shoulder. He would sleep there, but if I laid him in the crib, he would wake. He just turned nine years old, and last summer we visited Fenway for the first time (for me, as well.) 

I started following the sox in 1978, when I was nine, and remember crying when Bucky Dent happened. I lived through 1986 and 2003 (barely.) I was at the Metrodome on deadline day in '04 when Mientkeiwicz switched dugouts and received a long ovation from the Twins' faithful. I didn't know yet who wasn't there.

My son couldn't believe that the sox traded Beckett, Gonzalez, and Crawford last year, because to him, the flaws don't exist yet. He doesn't read message boards, or listen to talk radio (much.) AAV doesn't mean anything to a nine-year-old. To him, they're the good guys because they wear red. 

He won't remember the '04 run, but I'll know that he was a sox fan from the very beginning. Thanks for letting me write.



#30 Kremlin Watcher

  • 2,699 posts

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:49 PM

In 2004 we were living in Moscow, where I worked for many years. This was in the early years of the development of MLB.tv technology, but I was a faithful subscriber and would stay up long hours when I could to watch the games on my computer. Sometimes the video feed wouldn’t work so I could only listen, but at the time listening to Joe and Jerry was often better than Jerry and Don. I probably caught 30 or so games during the regular season, most at home, but some on the road in my hotel late at night. I saw pretty much every day game and a few night games if I thought they were important. In July we were back in Boston for a medical procedure at Children’s and I saw the big series against the Yankees on TV. So in comparison with, say, every year since I left the States (1992), it was a pretty good year for me watching the Sox.

 

The Division series was easy. Listened to all the games on my computer. Was working a lot of hours, so I wasn’t sleeping much. I’d go to bed the minute I got home at around 8:00 or 9:00, wake up at about 3:45 for the 4:00 am start, then get cleaned up and head to work after the games were over. But that was only three games, so I was doing OK.


But the ’04 ALCS was one of the physically hardest things I have ever done. I was in investment banking for almost 20 years, started right at the bottom, so I know what the 120-hour work week is like. This was both better and worse. Game One I was at home. Regular wake-up for the 4:00 am start. Got to watch most of it, but then had to leave for the airport, and ended up “watching” it on Game Cast on my Blackberry. That late rally had me whooping at the airport and getting strange looks from Swiss and Russian businessmen in the lounge, but I soon calmed down and had an unpleasant flight.


Same thing with game two - my hotel didn’t have the right internet connection or something so I had to watch it on Game Cast. That sucked and I was dead the next day.


Game three, I didn’t even want to watch. But I was back in Moscow, so I struggled through I think five innings by which time I was a complete zombie but was still working 100 hours a week. So I went to bed.


On the way back from work that evening (I worked pretty much every day back then), I somehow managed to convince myself that we were going to win it all. I believed it. I had to, or I wouldn’t have been able to watch it. So I got through game 4. I almost passed out when Ortiz hit it out - I was short of breath and so anxious at the time I thought I was having heart palpitations. Probably more from lack of sleep than anything else. Same with game 5, although I had by this time forced my wife and kids to get up no later than about 5:30 - 6:00 am so they could watch it with me. I think we woke the neighbors after Ortiz’ game-winner. Game 6 I was able to stream video, and the whole Schilling thing was so enthralling at the time. These three games were so incredibly exciting that it is hard to summon those emotions again, particularly when I was so tired and also so excited to have my young kids up with me at 6:00 am, huddled around the computer, teaching them to love the Red Sox. They had a great time.


For game 7, we had an agreement with some close friends who are Yankee fans - he’d put the game on his computer (better video) and no matter what, we would come by and watch the last four or five innings together. By the time we got to their house (walking distance), I was pretty confident of the outcome, and we got the extra bonus of enjoying the last half of the game not only confident in victory, but also able to savor it in the presence of Yankee fans (who were very good sports about it).


The World Series is kind of a blur. I watched games 1-3 at home, as usual. Running on empty by that point but unable not to watch. Ended up in Vienna for game 4, so had to watch it on my Game Cast, then called my wife and had her pipe the audio through to my phone for the last outs. I then spent the next half hour calling everyone who I thought might be awake to scream the good news.


The novelty and wonder of going through that month in those circumstances will live with me always. As much as I would have liked to be in Boston, or out here on the Cape, being cooped up in our house in Moscow, listening to the games or watching them on fuzzy video, made it a more intense experience for me. And it made my kids lifelong Red Sox fans as well. Wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.






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