Jayson Stark's latest piece deals with the cosmetic changes in the Red Sox from October 2004 to the Present. He spends a good deal of time on Johnny Damon and Millar, and the difference that their presence had on the clubhouse. It's a nice look at the necessary balancing act of "loyalty" and overturning rosters. Check it out.
In fact, his story led off with this:
Miles away from the spring headquarters of Red Sox Nation, the former King of the Idiots was conducting his 73rd interview of the day on Sunday when his cell phone began to shake.
Stark: Things are a lot quieter this spring, and that's not such a bad thing.
"Look at this," said Johnny Damon, breaking into a long, how-perfect-is-this kind of laugh. "It's Kevin Millar."
Well, it was a text message from Millar, anyway. And, according to Damon, here's the best translation of that message we can pass along:
"There's nothing quite like our clubhouse in Boston."
Wow. It's not hard to see that Millar, along with Damon, is pining for the way things used to be. Can't say that I blame them.
The difference here is, that the 2004 Red Sox didn't win because they had a loud insanity-filled clubhouse. They didn't win because they had wild hair and called themselves "Idiots" (a term that the Front Office HATED, internally vowing to construct a team that carried themselves more professionally i.e. Varitek and Nixon). The Sox won in 2004 because they had a lineup of thumpers, a rotation of studs, and a killer bullpen down the stretch. It took some luck, and some clutch hitting. Let's not get carried away. Chemistry means something, but even a group of 25 individuals will come together when they WIN.
In fact, Johnny Damon says it's "a shame" that the idiots are gone. He continues to sound like a man who's still in love with how good he had it in Boston. To me, he's still "King of the Idiots".