The honoring of the 2004 Boston Red Sox team, the guys who brought the first World Series crown to Boston in 86 years, drew some looks from reporters. Various longtime Red Sox media folks, including the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy and Boston.com’s Tony Massarotti, questioned the celebration.
That 2004 club was the Red Sox team that came back when down 0-3 games in the ALCS against the New York Yankees, winning four straight in legendary fashion and then going on to easily beat the St. Louis Cardinals four games to none to take the World Series.
The team included everyday players David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek and Johnny Damon and pitchers Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield and Pedro Martinez. Of course pinch runner Dave Roberts would provide one of the biggest highlights in the Yankee series when he stole second in the bottom of the ninth to set up the Boston comeback in game four and the opportunity for the Sox to win three more against New York and go to the World Series.
The Red Sox decided to honor the team the other night during the final home stand of the 2012 season. But many are wondering why? Bringing the guys back a decade later would have made more sense but having a celebration after eight years made many people wonder what was up.
Was it an attempt to ensure yet another sellout at the ballpark? Maybe that was the case. Or perhaps the Red Sox brass wanted to give the fans a chance to celebrate something in a season where there was very little to cheer about. The Red Sox are about to finish their worst season in about half a century so focusing on the team that brought glory and pride back to Red Sox Nation makes sense.
Also, Fenway is 100 years old this season and recognizing one of Boston’s most beloved group of guys appears to be appropriate. They were dubbed the “idiots” by Millar and they proved to be an amazing mix of players who simply weren’t bright enough to know when they were beaten.
Today, Ortiz, who hammered some pretty important playoff homers and doubles in the 2004 postseason, was quoted in a local blog. He said that seeing those players again made him think about what it took to be a winner.
Ortiz noted, “I kind of realized what type of personality you have to put together to try to win a World Series when I was looking around at all of my ex-teammates and guys that I played with. I got some short and quick highlights from the things they used to do to get ready to play the game and what they used to do when we were on the field.”
Good news is that Big Papi is thinking constructively about how to put together another championship team. If the 2004 Boston Red Sox championship team celebration does the same thing for the front office, then I’m glad that they did it. It may have been the best thing the organization has done all season. Ortiz is inspired. That can be huge next season.