It seems that every successful team has some sort of rally cry that unites all the players together. With the Boston Red Sox in 2003 and 2004, it was the Cowboy Up and Idiots slogans. The Los Angeles Angels in 2002 had the Rally Monkey. If you want to go further back, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the Sister Sledge song “We Are Family” as their anthem back in 1979.
This year’s Red Sox are no exception, as the majority of the team have taken to growing beards as a sign of unity. The organization even went so far as to recently having Dollar Beard Night, recognizing and celebrating what the players have been doing.
This was a part of being a good team that was missing in 2011, and you could sense it as Boston was heading into September and let that huge Wild Card lead slip away. That was a team that had way too many superstars and not enough strong character guys like a Jonny Gomes, who could keep the team together and make sure that they are loose when it matters most.
Sure enough, once the 2011 team started choking, there was nothing that could be done to get Boston back on track. Little things like growing beards or adopting a song might seem insignificant and trivial, but it seems like organic events like those are just what a team needs to keep them calm, loose and focused on playing baseball.
That philosophy was perfect for the 2004 Red Sox, who were down 3-0 against the New York Yankees in the ALCS. No one bothered to tell them, as far as they were concerned. They seemed just as loose as if it was a random game in May. This year’s team seems a lot like that championship squad. It is having that sort of identity that could help them do very well for the rest of the season.