Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Can You Believe It?"

Five years ago today the Red Sox shocked the world.

Well, sort of. Most of the shock factor had indeed been part of the miraculous comeback in the ALCS, completed a week earlier. In fact, after all of the drama of the ALCS, the World Series seemed almost a forgone conclusion. However, Red Sox Nation (in its pre-corporate-cash-cow phase) had been trained to expect meltdowns in big situations, and even contemporary fans can recite the incidents by heart:
  • Seven games losses in the World Series in 1946 (Cardinals), 1967 (Cardinals), 1975 (Reds), and 1986 (Mets)
  • Seasons that came down to one-game playoffs for the pennant, both of which the Sox lost, in 1948 (Cleveland), and 1978 (Yankees)
Names like Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, and Bill Buckner will forever be part of the New England vernacular (at least for the remainder of my lifetime), no matter how many titles the Sox win... And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In honor of the five-year anniversary, I decked myself out in Red Sox gear: Wakefield shirt (no one blames you for 2003, Wake!), Sox hat, sweatshirt, necklaces, and sneakers. All day, people asked what I was doing: "The Red Sox are out," they scoffed. I explained myself, but no one understood. No one ever WILL understand, save for other Red Sox fans and perhaps Cubs fans, when/if they finally win it all. Going without a title for so long, all while hearing the aforementioned years recited at gatherings and parties like a dutiful remembrance of not-so-fondly recalled relatives, makes 2004 infinitely more special than other titles.

Obviously, due to my age, I did not experience most of the heartbreak listed above. Hell, I wasn't even old enough to remember the cancellation of the World Series in 1994. I do, however, remember 2003, and the look on Tim Wakefield's face as he walked off the mound said everything.

In 2004, fans all over New England barely dared dream for what we thought was impossible. Even after the ALCS, we were warned to be cautious with our hopes, as they could be dashed in an instant. "It's not over til it's over," we said, ignoring the fact that Yankees great Yogi Berra initially coined that particular phrase.

And then? It was over. Four games, just like that. Red Sox radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione said it best:

Eat your heart out, New York. None of your 26 past World Series victories can EVER measure up to 2004.


  1. I agree, especially with that last line. I am rather convinced that no sporting event could ever in a million years compare to the 2004 ALCS and World Series. Between the monumental collapse by the Yankees, and the 86-year streak being snapped, I can't imagine what it would take to measure up to that.

  2. It still brings a tear to me eye, just thinking about it. I was at ALCS Games 4 & 5, so I earned it!

  3. I remember watching the Sox beat up on the Yanks in ALCS game #7 & the back and forth win in WS game #1...both were so sweet! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Keep on posting!

  4. I still tear up when I watch the footage of that game. I wore my Red Sox stuff full force today and I heard a lot of stuff, but it was all worth it. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Oh man! True that! As my roommate exclaimed "Can this day be a national holiday?!" But in the eyes of a Red Sox fan, it already is! :) Happy Red Sox Liberation Day :)

  6. I remember being in the student union of my college, watching the final outs of the World Series, and just feeling a sense of... relief. It was such a contrast from the previous year, where it took me four hours to get to sleep after Aaron effing Boone.

  7. "Red Sox Nation in it's pre-corporate-cash-cow days" LOL Love that phrasing! Great blog--very well-written and insightful! Thanks for sharing your memories of that amazing day.


  8. that was the season that i became a fan... and i remember that my bro told me a couple of weeks earlier (in the ALCS days), when the sox was down 3-0 against the yankees, "why are you watching the fourth game... didn't you suffer enough?" and i told him... "the last thing a man can lose is faith, just wait and see"... the rest is history, and after that ALCS... my bro became a red sox fan... the magic delivered y that postseason is something to remember... and there never will be a more magical postseason (maybe if the cubs win a world series, the cubbies fans will feel something like it)

  9. It's truly the Greatest Day in Baseball history. Just think about it. The last Red Sox World Championship in 1918 wasn't recorded on radio, TV or film. Now we have this to live forever and Yankees fans will have to deal with The Greatest Choke ever. They'll never live it down even if they win another five World Series (and we all know that they will never happen).