It’s hard to believe it’s been a full decade since the Red Sox broke the dreaded Curse of the Bambino. Maybe two more titles in the decade made it seem as time went by quicker. I’m sure if you ask any White Sox fan, they’ll tell you it’s felt like 15 years since they last won, but for them it’s been just 9 years. The Boston Red Sox have won more World Series titles than anybody else since the turn of the Millennium, but if it wasn’t for the 2004 team, they may be going on year 97 of the curse.
It was October 2003, I was certain the Red Sox were heading to the World Series for the first time in my life as they had just 5 more outs to get. Then Grady Little came out of the dugout. Pedro Stayed in. Aaron Bleepin’ Boone in the 11th inning ripped every heart out of every member of Red Sox Nation. That was it. The Red Sox might never get that close again, but when spring came, hope was renewed, and the thought of “Why Not Us?” came to be.
The team had a new skipper in Francona, a 2nd ace to pitcher after Pedro with Curt Schilling, and a top of the line closer with Keith Foulke. They started the season hot, then fell down to earth, and played mediocre baseball for the first half the season. The Yankees were once again running away with the division, and the Red Sox would have to fight with everything they had to get the Wild Card spot. Then Theo Epstein made the most important trade in franchise history since Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees. He shipped star Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra off for some role players. Nobody, not even Epstein himself would realize how big of a move this was until October.
The team played great baseball over the final two months, clinching the Wild Card, and even giving the Yankees a run for their money for the division. They were in the playoffs and that’s all that mattered. First came the Angels. It was an easy 3 game sweep, with David Ortiz hitting a walk off homerun to clinch the series. The only downside to the series was Schilling injuring his ankle during a game in Anaheim, but everybody figured he’d be just fine.
The Yankees were next. This was the time for the Red Sox to get revenge for what happened the year before. And as quickly as it started, it looked to be over. Schilling was hurt, and tried to pitch. He gave up what seemed to be a 1,000 runs in 2 innings of Game 1. In Game 2 Pedro only gave up 2 runs, but the offense was M.I.A. As a Red Sox fan, I thought “It’s okay. We’ll win the next two at home to tie the series up.” But Game 3 came, and it was the most embarrassing thing I had ever seen from a pro sports team. 19-8. At Home. In the Playoffs.
Game 4 was on a Sunday. It happened to be the year I was making my confirmation, and I was required to attend classes at church every Sunday Afternoon. In class the teacher had written on the white board, “Acts Of God.” He asked the class whether anybody actually thought the Red Sox had a shot of winning the series. I remember looking around, and no one single hand went up. Nobody even flinched. He then said “If the Red Sox win the series, THAT will be an Act of God. If that happens, I know the Big Man is on my side!” The entire class laughed it all off, before he went into a real lesson. Read more