|Barry Chin’s (boston.com) version of one of my favorite photos.
I’m not big on remembering dates so it took checking out Curt Schilling’s blog today to be reminded that today is a special anniversary in Red Sox Nation. Five years ago today was “The Fight” game. Curt’s recollection of the actual fight is amusing:
That was the minute we realized Sturtze was a 6-foot-8 inch puss. The sucker BS and all that, no place for it. We were all wishing some how, some way, Trot would have had a cleaner, clearer shot. That would have been worthy of some sort of cage fighting highlight. We also went nuts when we saw Jonesy (first-base coach Lynn Jones, who tried to pull David Ortiz out of the scrum with Sturtze) grabbing our players. You never grab your own guys in a brawl.
We all wanted Trot to knock out Sturtze too, Curt.
I was supposed to go to Pawtucket with friends that Saturday and backed out at the last minute. Between the weather and my annual summer cold I was determined to stay home and curl up with the Sox/Yanks game. The misery from the previous game was still strong. As fans we really wanted this Saturday game and the weather had us worried it wasn’t happening. Reportedly, the Yankees were dressed and heading for the buses when the word came down that the game was on. Bronson Arroyo v Tanyon Sturtze wasn’t exactly a marquee matchup but we were certainly excited at the prospect of the game just getting started.
Many folks point to the game as the turning point of the season, forgetting that the month of July was pretty meh for the Sox and culminated in trading Nomar. The fight (and ensuing win of that game and following it up on Sunday with a series win) didn’t trigger a winning streak nor a surge in the standings. but it reminded fans that the Yankees were beatable. The horror of game 7 in the 2003 ALCS wasn’t totally erased but the weekend of July 24th in 2004 certainly took the sting away if only for a while.
By October of 2004 when the Red Sox were behind in the ALCS 0-3 they knew they could come back because they weren’t ‘afraid’ of the Yankees (nor, and probably most importantly, were they afraid of Mariano Rivera). It was tough for the fans to watch but July 24th had set up history to be made and it was.
I have two photos in my cubical at work. One is of the ring ceremony in 2005. A panoramic view of Fenway showing all the Red Sox players lined up (with all the Yankees players standing at the top of the stairs of the dugout). The other is the iconic photo of Jason Varitek shoving his glove into Alex Rodriguez’ face. Even if tangentially I connected the two incidents – and I’m not the only one, obviously.
So maybe the ghosts of 2004 will bring us some good fortune tonight? The team needs a kick in the pants and if the only way to get it is spiritually, why not?
In more roster-move news, the Sox have placed Mark Kotsay on waivers today. The way this works is if no team claims Kotsay within 48 hours the Sox either outright release him or send him to Pawtucket. I’m not as pleased as some of you expect I’d be. I never like seeing a player released so that aspect of it is a bit of a bummer. But I will admit that I won’t miss his presence on the team and am looking to see if Adam LaRoche keeps up his second half success now that he’s here.
Brad Penny has suddenly become the stopper. Tonight should be interesting.