Where were you when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series?
The Boston Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead in the 2004 World Series versus the St. Cardinals. Monday, October 25, was an offday - a travel day - for both the Sox to St. Louis, and for me to New Hampshire. I was helping my son move up there as he was about to start a new job as a chef at Horsefeathers in the village of North Conway.
The move went fairly smooth, and we were expecting to watch game 3 of the World Series from his apartment in Intervale, NH. But the work order for DirectTV got messed up, and the best we could do was wait until the next offday on Friday to have cable TV installed.
We watched games 3 & 4 from my motel room instead. There were 5 of us squeezed into our motel room as we saw Pedro & Derek baffle the Cardinals on Tuesday & Wednesday nights. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th of game #4, I telephoned my daughter back home. Over the past few years, as my son embarked upon his career as a chef, living away from home, she had become the son I used to have - a Diehard Sox fan. My son pleaded with me not to call his sister until the final out was recorded, not wanting the phone call to jinx the Sox. But I placed the call anyway. The 1st thing I told my daughter was that if the batter got a hit, I was hanging up. I barely uttered the words when the ground ball back to Foulke on the mound resulted in the final out and a 2004 World Championship.
For the 1967 World Series, I'll always remember that "Hulian Havier is a Herk". In 1975, after getting out of work at 11 PM, it was SRO in a local bar as Carlton Fisk willed a game 6 home run fair. In 1986, I had a portable TV at my softball banquet as the Sox bucknered a ground ball. The 2004 season was a special time for my daughter & I. Games 3 & 4 of the 2004 World Series were a special time to once again share the national pasttime with my oldest son. But I'll always remember where I was when the Curse of the Bambino was finally lifted - room #10, Clarendon Motel, North Conway, NH.
I will be returning to North Conway many times in the future to visit my son. I plan on staying at the Clarendon Motel for each visit. And every time I do, I will be reminded of the 2004 season and the Red Sox' World Championship.
Webmaster and Minor League Correspondent
A Red Sox Journal
I hope you get this. I'll try and send it to your BHS address as well. I had to write this out. You're one of the best Red Sox fans I've ever known.
I am a child of the impossible dream. A 9 year old watching black and white telecasts and listening to Ken, Mel and Ned. I remember seeing the picture of Tony C after he took the Jack Hamilton fastball in the face. It was the first time I had ever seen an injury like that. Yaz was a true hero, a mythic figure who always came through. I was fortunate enough to attend the next to last game of the season, where Jose Santiago beat the Twins after Jim Kaat left the game hurt. My cousin got to go to the last game, and ran on the field when they won. I've always been jealous of that. I still remember the series against the Cards, and how Gibson and Javier and Brock were the bad guys. Not much long after that the "Impossible Dream" recording came out, and I listened to it about a million times. I was hooked.
I went to a few games every year, mostly in the bleachers under the care of the local summer recreation program, and had my first true bleacher experience when a 20 something year old guy turned around and saw me laughing because he got hit in the back with a paper cup. He came up to me and punched me in the chest. I actually found myself rooting for the 69 Mets, because their story was so much like the Sox of two years before, and felt some sense of satisfaction when Koosman shut down the Os in game 5. This was how the story was supposed to end. 25 guys piling up in the middle of the field. Baseball cards later reenacting snippets from each game.
Like a lot of people my age that grew up around here, I got sidetracked by the Bruins a bit after they beat St. Louis exactly one week after my twelfth birthday in 1970. But I still poured over the box scores every day, trying to figure out which players were hot. The As looked unbeatable in 72, 73 & 74, but then a couple of Red Sox rookies started getting lots of ink. The Gold Dust Twins, Rice & Lynn, started competing for MVP honors in 1975, the Sox made it to the Series again, and at last I was old enough to understand enough about the game to say things like "Why is he taking Willoughby out!?", and "Jim Burton??". The elation of game 6 was only trumped by the deflation of game 7.
While in college, I went to the 78 playoff game with some friends, scoring the tickets the day before with my roommate when we went down to Fenway and waited in line on Landsdowne while game 162 was still in progress. I remember turning to look at the electronic display board during his at-bat to see that Bucky Dent had hit only 4 homers all year, "No threat" I thought to myself. Yaz popped up to end it.
I was in the bleachers again against Oakland when Yaz hit his 400th, and again on his last day. I went with a friend of mine down to the box office at the start of the season and we purposely bought tickets for the last game of the 83 season because we knew that it would be his swan song. Then, to our horror, the Sox brass made the NEXT to last game of the year, "Yaz Day". Still, we got to see him play left field one more time, and all the "Yaz Day" people got was a poster.
I waited in line for 4 hours to get playoff tickets in 86, and when I got to the window and had to pick one game, I chose Game 1 of the ALCS, because I wanted to be sure that I saw at least one. Clemens, who had been hit in the elbow on his last start of the year against Baltimore, got shelled.
I purchased a season ticket package that fall, getting shown around the empty ballpark to the different locations that were available, which was pretty cool. I went to a lot of games the first few years and got see Morgan Magic and Brunanskys catch(?) to clinch the 90 division title against Chicago. I also got to see the As bury the Sox in the playoffs both years. I hated Dave Stewart. Mike Greenwell threw me one of Cal Ripkens home runs that came out of the net one night, I think it was no. 352. The first playoff game I saw the Sox win was Game 3 of the 99 ALDS against Cleveland, and I went to Yankee stadium shortly after to see the Sox hit the top of the wall twice and get rooked out of a call at second to lose 3-2. I took my dad to game 3, which at the time was one of the most hyped games ever, Pedro vs. Clemens, Sox-Yanks. Pedro pitched a gem and the Sox pounded Clemens. It was one of the best games my father and I had ever watched together. The 99 Yankees were a juggernaut though, and the Sox fell in five. The guy who snuffed out Bostons hopes in that last game earned another ring on Wednesday, Ramiro Mendoza.
Last year was a magical year, and I saw a preview of things to come when David Ortiz beat the A's with a late inning double. My Dad and I were at the game when Pedro dodged the Gerbil and the old man came up off the ground dazed and bloody. Without the benefit of TV replays, all we could think was "What was Zimmer doing way over there by the Sox dugout?" Since I went to games 3 and 5, I did not see the Sox win at home, but they pulled out game 6 and we were ready for a war. '78 was tough, '86 was brutal, but last year they finally got to me. After game 7, I went home from my friend's house and tore my Sox cap to shreds. I had had it.
As I suspect it has been with all of us though, once Spring arrived, there was, once again, hope. Some big new faces, and most of the old ones. Because ticket prices had gone up over 400% since I first bought my seats, I hadn't been going to as many games, but my Dad and I took in our Yankee game, and I got to sit on the Monster the night Cabrera hit his walk-off against the Orioles in Sept.
As improbable as it seemed after game 3 of the ALCS, I got to see the last game at Fenway this year the same way I saw my very first, with my dad, on the night Schilling pitched and Varitek and Bellhorn hit a couple of bombs to the triangle. I also met an old college friend there who had moved to New Jersey and had come up with his son, and I unexpectedly ran into my cousin, the same one who had leapt for joy on the Fenway grass in 1967, who had seats in the next section over. I had come full circle. "We're living the dream" I told both of them, allowing myself a tiny bit of hubris, knowing all the while that I was flirting with divine retribution. Leaving the game, I really felt that the Sox would not come back home. I had seen nothing to indicate that St. Louis had any pitching that could stop our guys. People would ask me, knowing I had tickets to games 6 & 7, if I wanted them to win it at home. As much as I would have loved to have my Dad see that pitcher's mound scrum surrounded by 35,000 delirious, leaping, singing maniacs, I knew that that would mean the Cards would have to win 2 of 3 at home. The thought of that lineup with any kind of momentum brought back all the ghosts. "No," I would tell them, "keep the foot on the throat and bury them."
It's actually kind of strange, that after all the drama, exhilaration and heartbreak that this saga has produced, that in the end, it felt like a 4 game series against Tampa Bay in July. It was as if they were on their way to something else, and the Cardinals were just a way to pass the time while waiting for it. They absolutely steamrolled them. Perhaps getting out from under the Yankee "mystique", had set them free. I guess the battle hardening of two years of unbelievably treacherous playoffs had seasoned them so much, that the relatively-new-to-the-post season Cards never had a chance. Either way, all of a sudden, there was no more baseball to play, and the Red Sox had won the last game of the year.
I called my Dad this morning, but he doesn't hear too well any more, so the conversation was brief. "What'd you think?", I asked. "Fantastic." he said, "Absolutely great." "We finally got to see it.", I said. "Yes, thanks for having me.", he replied.
No, Pops. You've got that backwards.
Where were you when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series?