Are the Red Sox going to win the World Series in 2020? No, probably not. Especially if the Red Sox end up cutting a big name from their roster, like a Mookie Betts, by way of trade. Hopefully that won’t happen and he signs a ten-year contract soon, but if he doesn’t and he leaves for the Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, or whoever else offers the most money, we’ll always have 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018. It’s been a good run, and Mookie has been part of that.
So what were people’s fondest memories?
Bosoxsince89 wrote about the 2004 championship, and it’s hard to blame him. For all of us (except for you 101 year olds - who were still in diapers!) it was the first World Series championship we’d been able to celebrate. The 86-year drought spanned several generations, and it helped to develop the chip on the shoulder of many a Sox fan who still insist that the Red Sox are an underdog.
The 2004 season in general was magical, and as a relatively new baseball fan, it’s what locked me in as a fan for life, even though bits and pieces of my memories have gone over the years.
One thing I do remember about 2004 was the chemistry between the players, and the narrative of a bunch of “idiots” tangoing with their dastardly rivals was one that media outlets around the country latched onto, especially as the season reached its nadir.
One such article by ESPN in 2004 highlights just what the Red Sox were in the moment. A bunch of baseball playing idiots. And we loved them for it. Johnny Damon said, as you can see in the article, “We are not the cowboys anymore -- we are just the idiots this year. So we are going to go out and try to swing the bats, find the holes, and, hopefully, good things happen.”
Sometimes baseball really is that easy. You go out, swing the bats, and try to find holes. And that might be a stupid way to think of baseball, a game that can be so incredibly cerebral, especially at the highest levels, but I also think there’s something romantic about just hitting the ball because “why not?”
One lesson the Red Sox could learn from the 2004 team is one of the simplest ones that could be taught by any little leaguer. Just get out there and play ball.
And have some fun doing it.
Fromalabama goes a different route, claiming that the 2004 World Series title felt like an eventuality (in comparison) once they got done with the Yankees in the ALCS. The only plays I really remember all that well from the 2004 World Series are the first pitch, and Keith Foulke flipping the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out. The only Cardinals I even remember playing for that team were Albert Pujols (the face), Edgar Renteria (because he came to play for us soon after), and Larry Walker (reminder to get the vote out and put him in the Hall of Fame).
Were it not for Larry Walker, I wholeheartedly believe that series would have had no drama at all.
In 2013, however, there was more fight, and the creeping sense that this team could lose, despite the fact they were playing with the heart of an entire city behind them. There are some plays I clearly remember from 2013. Stephen Drew’s pop up between gold-glovers Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, that resulted in no out. Allen Craig intentionally tripping over Will Middlebrooks to score, winning Game 3 for the Cardinals (this is where I thought we might lose the series). Koji Uehara picking off Kolten Wong (who looked very sad afterwards). Take your pick. All the high fives, all the raucousness.
The team was one of a kind, and could never be replicated, is my feeling, even if you tried to use the exact same players.
I think part of that “does” have to do with the tragedy that befell the city of Boston earlier that year, as both Fromalabama and Phantom allude to.
Phantom talks about it more in depth, but the resilience shown by the city showed, and the players also carried the will of the entire city on their shoulders. I don’t want to steal his thunder, and I felt the article wasn’t given enough love, so click the link here and read it for yourself. I’ll still be here, waiting.
I am hardly alone in this, but the Boston Marathon bombings still hit way closer to home than it probably should over six years out. As an avid runner, and supporter of my friends who were running the marathon, I was a coin flip away from getting on a bus and trying to crowd my way near the finish line to support my buddies (who were still on the track when the bombs went off). While it’s impossible to tell what would have happened, and I don’t want to play those types of games, it has given me a much finer appreciation for the life I presently get to live. The reason I didn’t go at all? I was sick. I still considered going anyway. Needless to say, I had trouble sleeping for a while.
The 2013 team to me, represented a lot. The resilience as spoken of, of course, but primarily the team was a distraction. As I grappled with a lot of complex feelings and emotions, baseball at times was on the backburner. I still celebrated wins and was sad when we lost, but I don’t have the same remembrance of that season as a result of my priorities being shifted.
For me, the team that I remember most fondly... is actually the 2018 team. And not just because it was the most recent.
The 2018 Red Sox were the single most dominant team I’ve been able to root for in my lifetime. We had an entire team full of players I liked from the beginning of the season as well as one I didn’t (we won’t name names here). It was a wicked fun time to be a fan, because win or lose, with that much star power, you knew you were in for a show regardless.
From start to finish, the outcome never felt like it was in doubt (relatively speaking of course, we’re all baseball fans, not Nostradamus), so it was no real surprise when we won. There wasn’t a big dramatic showcase. Just an insane ball team playing the very best baseball at the very best time.
Plus, it has my favorite post-season memory period (pictured below).