|Home > Departments > Diary of a Diehard > 2004 > Page 14|
2004: Diary of a Season
The Red Sox finished up the season with a road trip to Tampa Bay and Baltimore. After a win the first night, they clinched at least a Wild Card berth, but I still had my eye on the division. But when they dropped he final game against the Devil Rays, they were eliminated from winning the East and assured of opening the playoffs on the road. They finished by taking three of four from the Orioles, and ended the year with 98 wins. It wasn't until the final day of the season that we found out who they would be playing in the Division Series. Oakland and Anaheim went into the final weekend tied for first in the West and facing each other for the final three games. Minnesota also had the same record as them, so it wasn't even certain that we'd be playing the Western Division champion. If Minnesota swept the Indians, we'd go there, otherwise we'd get whoever wound up winning the West. As it turned out, Anaheim and Minnesota both took two of three and the Angels had won their season series against the Twins, so we'd be opening the playoffs with two games in Anaheim.
On the Monday between the end of the season and the start of the playoffs, the Red Sox held a Rally Monday celebration at Fenway Park. At the request of Major League Baseball, rallies were being held in all eight postseason-bound cities. It might have been cooler if the players could have been there for us to give them a sendoff, but they were already in Anaheim preparing for Game 1 the following afternoon. I didn't know if it would be silly, but I went anyway, because I never turn down a chance to go to Fenway. The rally was scheduled to begin at 6 pm, to coincide with the Sox' workout on the west coast. A stage was constructed in foul territory in front of the Red Sox dugout, and more than 5000 fans sat in sections 11-16. Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo hosted the event. They conducted interviews with Larry Lucchino, Oil Can Boyd, and Rich Gedman on the stage, and interspersed clips of regular-season highlights and live interviews from Anaheim played on the scoreboard. We saw Curt Schilling's and Terry Francona's official media interviews, and watched as NESN man-in-the-stands Eric Frede interviewed Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Alan Embree, Jason Varitek, Kevin Millar, Theo Epstein, and Manny Ramirez.
In between, they counted down the top moments of the season. An acapella quartet sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", then returned later to sing "Tessie" with the original lyrics as it would have sounded when sung by the Royal Rooters back in 1903. They raffled off a couple of playoff tickets, then played "Sweet Caroline". Fans walked around with signs saying "Tessie will save us" and "Rem-Dawg is my co-pilot". The evening ended with a set by the Dropkick Murphys, who sang their version of "Tessie", a cover of "Dirty Water", and several other songs.
ALCS Game 3 - Yankees 19, Red Sox 8
The Division Series went well, to say the least. Read my recaps of the games here:
World Series Game 1 - Red Sox 11, Cardinals 9
What a difference a week makes! When I left Fenway last Saturday night, it seemed like that would be my last trip in this year. And now here I was a week later, taking a picture of the "2004 American League Champions" banner on Yawkey Way. The Red Sox had had a miracle comeback over the Yankees, stunning them with four straight dramatic wins to become the first team in baseball history to come back from being down 0-3 to win a seven game series:
I went in around 2:00 in the afternoon, and even though the game wasn't until 8:19 that night, the place was already buzzing. People were handing out buttons ("We believe"), posters ("Bye bye birdies" with a picture of an upside-down cardinal), complimentary copies of the Herald, and a team photo from a Globe insert. People were walking around with small children and bundled up babies in strollers. They weren't going to the game, but one day they'd be able to tell the kids they had brought them to Fenway on the day of the start of the World Series. American League Champions t-shirts were flying off the shelves of the souvenir stands, but I was holding out for a better one that was hopefully yet to come. Near the Gate D entrance on Yawkey Way, the freshly-made American League Champions banner was hung, and people were stopping to pose for photos under it.
Police were setting up barricades at the end of Yawkey Way and along Van Ness street, which meant the players would be arriving soon. There were already several hundred fans, lined four or five deep along the sidewalks, and deeper at the end of Yawkey Way. I staked out a spot behind some short people and had a good view of the players' parking lot. As each player drove in, we gave them a hero's welcome: Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, Bronson Arroyo, Ellis Burks, Mike Timlin, Big Papi, Orlando Cabrera, Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, Mark Bellhorn. Even Ramiro Mendoza got a nice ovation. No Curt Schilling sighting, but I knew he was already inside, getting sutured up for his start in Game 2 the next day. Someone said that Tim Wakefield, who was starting Game 1 tonight, had arrived earlier. And of course TV crews from every station were there to capture it all.
After an hour at the players' lot, I decided to head down the street. I walked down Van Ness to the Ted Williams statue. Across the street, the Boston Arts Academy Fenway High School had letters taped in the windows to spell out "The curse is dead" and "Papi is my Dadi". At the bus stop on Ipswich Street, someone had taped up a sign that I had seen in an email the day before. It read, "Today the American Medical Association issued an advisory that the Universal Choking Sign has been revised." It showed the old symbol as a person with his hands on his throat, and the new symbol as the Yankees' "NY". Hand-written at the bottom of the sign was, "Please do not take. Leave for others to enjoy." Around the corner on Lansdowne Street were tents, folding chairs, and a line of shivering fans who had camped out overnight in hopes of scoring tickets to the game. It had rained earlier and was cold enough that I could see my breath. In front of the parking garage across the street from the Green Monster, The Sausage Guy was giving away free Italian sausage sandwiches between 3:00 and 4:00, so I hopped in that line. Eating an Italian sausage under the Green Monster in a spot where I could look across and see the World Series symbol on the scoreboard inside was sure to bring them good luck! Around 4:00 I headed home to make sure I was back in my lucky spot before the game started that night.
<<< Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 | Next >>>
|Home Departments Features Archives More Info Interact Search|