Press Row: Celebrating the Sox10/28/2004 12:50 PM ET
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
Pigs are flying and hell hath frozen over, because the Red Sox are World Series champions.
Rumors of their demise just 11 days ago appear to have been greatly exaggerated, for these boys from Boston completed the most incredible turnaround in baseball's postseason history, then went on to sweep the Cardinals in a one-sided Series.
Today, 1918 is nothing more than a number, and the Babe can rest in peace.
As Jackie MacMullen of the Boston Globe points out, this group of "idiot" Boston players shrugged off all talk of the curse and put together a magical postseason:
"In a matter of 11 days, they turned the baseball world upside down. The Boston Red Sox, a franchise that had cornered the market on hardball heartache, that had shed too many tears and endured too many disappointments, vowed this time to alter history.
"The 2004 version of New England's most valued treasure, a happy bunch of idiots with flowing manes and sturdy bats, refused to buy into the myths that had burdened their predecessors.
"Instead, they found a way to write a new chapter in Red Sox lore, transforming themselves from frustrated losers on the brink of elimination to the finest of champions, laying claim to the most coveted prize in all of sports.
"A World Series ring.
"Go ahead. Say it. The Boston Red Sox have won the World Series. Let it roll off your tongue, washing away the bitter taste of 1948 and 1978 and 1986 and 2003. Let Bill Buckner and Mike Torrez and Grady Little go gracefully into the night. Let go of all the angst and anger and agony that has been simmering for 86 years."
And to think, the Sox were three outs away from seeing that angst, anger and agony simmer for yet another year. Then, something magical began to happen, explains the
Globe's Bob Ryan:
"Eleven days ago, baseball life as we know it changed. Why? Who knows? It just did. Emerging from a 3-0 abyss in the American League Championship Series, the Red Sox rolled off eight straight wins. Three outs -- make that three Mariano Rivera outs -- away from a humiliating sweep by the Evil Empire, the Boston Red Sox have put together the most devastating run in the history of postseason baseball, winning the last four games against the Yankees, then dispatching the St. Louis Cardinals in an official World Series sweep.
"Red Sox win! Red Sox win! Theeeeeeee Red Sox win!
"God, I hope you're satisfied.
"For 86 years, and especially during the 37 seasons since the 1967 team restored baseball interest in New England, the question has been, 'What will Boston do if the Red Sox win the World Series?'
"We are now about to find out."
This is a party 86 years in the making. No doubt, productivity has slowed to a snail's pace at Boston's businesses on this Day After the Curse Died. But Gerry Callahan of the
Boston Herald encourages Red Sox Nation to take a minute and soak in what transpired on the field this postseason, because we're not likely to see it again:
"The Red Sox may win the World Series again next year and maybe the year after, but they probably won't sweep the best team in the National League to do it. They'll never again be the first team ever to win eight straight postseason games. They may beat the hated Yankees in the ALCS, but they won't be the first team in baseball history to come back from a 0-3 deficit.
"They won't give up 19 runs and 44 total bases in Game 3 next year and then pick themselves up, pull themselves together and stamp the words ``Biggest Choke in Baseball History'' across the Yankees pinstripes. That all happened this October. Remember it all. It is never going to happen again.
"'If we were going to do it after 86 years,' GM Theo Epstein said, 'we figured we might as well do it in style.'
"They'll never do it like this again. They'll never be led by a starting pitcher who gets his ankle stapled together like he's some kind of medical experiment.
"They won't get great performances out of two embattled starters who are free agents now, maybe stepping off the Red Sox roller-coaster at the highest of high points. They'll never trade their franchise player halfway through the season and get better in every way. They'll never have a team like this one, full of unique personalities but seemingly free of selfish agendas, a team of hardened veterans who bounced around like giddy rookies, a team that went through so much over eight months and 176 games and still couldn't find an answer to a simple question: Why not us?
And the Cardinals? Ah, yes, the Cardinals. Almost forgot about them. The team with more wins than any other this season became nothing more than a footnote Wednesday night.
This Series was all about the Red Sox, and the Cardinals and their fans accepted the inevitable gracefully, writes Bernie Miklasz of the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch."I'm happy for the Red Sox. Actually, I think most Cardinals fans feel this way: If the Cardinals couldn't win it, then let Boston be the one. The Red Sox earned this by showing incredible character in the ALCS, falling behind 3-0 and fighting back to vanquish the dreaded Yankees. The Red Sox deserve their spot on the mountain top. They've invested lots of heart and soul in this endeavor. Generations of Red Sox fans and players have suffered for the last 86 years, tormented by the failure to win another World Series.
"Outside of St. Louis, the Red Sox captivated and charmed the baseball nation. Some Cardinals fans sold tickets to Red Sox fans for Game 4, and it was unfortunate to see a minority of St. Louis fans bail out. Or maybe they just weren't prepared to deal with an inevitable, unhappy ending.
"If you can separate loyalty to the Cardinals team from a greater love of baseball, it was a sweet scene to behold, seeing all of those Red Sox fans smiling and hugging and chanting by the visiting-team dugout at Busch Stadium long after the clincher. Cardinals fans certainly can appreciate such devotion."
Now the Cardinals, instead of the Sox, can be the ones proclaiming, "Wait till next year." It's a phrase Red Sox Nation can retire for the first time in 86 years.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.