On the way into work today, I played my "Red Sox" playlist on my iPod. One of the songs is called "Sox Dreams". It’s Van Halen’s "Dreams" with highlights of the 2004 ALCS games 4-7 (including interview clips of the Red Sox). Someone online put it together after the Sox won the ALCS. Kind of a ‘get psyched’ song for the World Series. I still don’t know who did it because someone sent it to me.
It brought back a flood of memories from 2004. More than once since I’ve been on MLBlogs, Yankees fans have complained that "all Sox fans have is 2004". Taunted me with it, really, about ‘living in the past’. I suppose to fans of a team that continually go to the playoffs and have as many World Championship rings as the Yankees do, one specific World Series win isn’t that big a deal. But even if the Red Sox win 10 more in my lifetime, NOTHING will ever top 2004. And, as Red Sox fans, we’ve nothing to be ashamed of for remembering that season at any opportunity we can.
I remember exactly how I felt after games 1-3 of the ALCS. I was mad at Curt for pitching hurt. I was annoyed at the team for not backing up Petey’s great pitching with more runs and I was sad that Tim Wakefield gave up his spot in the rotation to take one for the team and eat up innings in a game that was lost practically before it was started. But then came game 4 and the historic comeback.
I’ve actually had folks take me to task for calling it that, as if I’m the first one to come up with it. No team in professional sports, let alone baseball, ever came back from a 3-0 deficit to win a championship series. None. (EDIT: Reader "Dave" emailed me to point out that, in fact, TWO teams in professional sports had done this exact thing. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders. And offers this link to back that up. My bad. Thanks, Dave!) But the 2004 Red Sox did. (Okay, so they are the only professional sports team outside of hockey to accomplish this – my belief is still the same that this alone is worth remembering, regardless of what the team does from here on.)
To this day, I still have the front page of the Boston Herald from the day of Game 1 of the World Series hanging on the fridge in the television room. It’s getting yellow (that’s okay, I have another copy of the entire newspaper in storage, as I do with all the papers from that post-season) and I refuse to let anyone take it down. In that same room is the team photo of the 2004 team. That never gets taken down either.
The World Series is a blur to me. I remember the pre-game stuff for Game 1…and I remember all the errors in that game. I remember Jeff Suppan’s brain cramp on the bases, I remember Mark Bellhorn’s homerun and I remember that final out. Everything else has to be tweaked from watching the dvds and reading the accounts of the games.
October 27, 2004 – I left work a little early so I could buy a bottle of champagne. I couldn’t believe myself. Normally, I would have considered that jinxing the team, but after ‘the comeback’ I didn’t believe in jinxes any more. So I bought a bottle of champagne and watched history be made. None of us at the house flipped out when they won. My father just sat there, watching the celebration, with a huge smile on his face. My mother was crying and smiling and I just kept saying "I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it" through my own tears.
Even typing that it seems unreal. But it happened and it can never be taken away from us.
Two years later, even with a terrible ending to this season and a disappointing ending to last season, the same exact feeling comes over me when I remember that night.
Living in the past? No. Appreciating and enjoying what the past has brought us.
As ever, thank you Red Sox.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox: