Posted: 28 Oct 2004
At this point I can now say, without fear of jinxing it, that I never thought I'd be writing this. I never thought I'd be writing my thoughts the day after the Red Sox win the World Series. I never thought I'd be writing about a spectacular, legendary 8-game postseason streak that, combined, saw them mount the greatest comeback in baseball history and then sweep the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals to become world champions.
However, here I am. I'm not dead. Boston still stands (from what I can see from my windows). Last I heard, hell was still toasty. What gives?
Two nights ago, on the eve of what was to be the final game of the 2004 MLB season, I dreamed that four or five planes crashed into buildings and the ground in Boston as I stood on a street corner. It didn't necessarily look like Boston, more like a combination of elements of Downtown Crossing and an area of Paris I wandered around, but it was Boston. One of those things. I took it as some sort of sign of the apocalypse. I figured that either the Sox would slip, even at 3-0 in the big dance (we saw something remarkably similar a week or two ago), or that Boston would be destroyed. Tony predicted a meteor hitting Busch Stadium last night right around the eighth or ninth inning, which also made sense. He's a bitter Yankees fan, though, so we'll let it slide.
None of these visions has come to fruition. According to reports on boston.com, 35 were arrested and there were some minor injuries. After last Wednesday's debacle, this is a walk in the park.
But enough about violent celebrations.
Things really couldn't have gone better. The trades alone were enough to make one's head spin. A-Rod? It was a sure thing until, well, it imploded. After he went to the Yankees, a little bit more hope was lost. Then we unloaded Nomar. For who? Who the hell is Orlando Cabrera? Well, as it turns out, you don't need a Gold Glove shortstop -- just one that can field. Hell, sometimes, even having two Gold Glove shortstops doesn't help. The Sox also acquired Schilling, along with a slew of endorsement deals that plastered his face all over the TV for everything from Ford trucks to Dunkin' Donuts. The Ford ad, in particular, was bold in that it featured him hitchhiking to Boston to "help break an eighty-six-year-old curse." To borrow from Homer Simpson, that's the kind of bold prediction they make in Albuquerque. Of course, the past several years have been "The Year," but as John Henry said: this is actually it. The season was full of ups and downs in general. Taking seven of the first eight from the Yankees turned out to be pretty damn key, especially given the small collapse in the last week or two of the season.
Not that I mean to harp on the Yankees. But, well, sometimes you have to. When you spend the 95% of the season in their shadow, it's hard not to.
Making the AL Wildcard slot was bittersweet, as we'd at one point narrowed the gap from 10.5 games to 2.5 in a matter of a week or so. I can say with some assurity that a large portion of those fans celebrating today, after the 19-8 drubbing called game 3 of the ALCS, said "well, at least we've got the Patriots." Anyone who did, though, is sure pretending they'd never said it.
Thus the 2004 MLB season comes to a close. I travelled to Spring Training in Fort Myers, where I bought my beloved Sox jersey and saw them beat the the Pirates and Blue Jays with some unheard-of Mark Bellhorn character. I also came home with a Boston Red Sox postseason souvenir cup. It has fancy hologram effects to detail the Sox' sixteen postseasons -- turn it one way and you see through 1975, and turn it the other way and you see through 2003. I don't know what they'll do next year, as seventeen is an odd number. Come to think of, I don't know why it has sixteen on it. All evidence I can find points to fifteen postseasons including 2003. Oh well, fuck it. Where was I? Ahh, yes. I went from Spring Training all the way through to one of the last regular-season games at Fenway (a win against the Yankees, no less). From there, it was to my couch and to local bars where we all watched as they just did it. Speaking of that phrase, that new Nike commercial that aired after the ALCS closed still gets me a little choked up inside.
It's been an exhausting season. See you in 2005.