Tag Archives: Nomar Garciaparra

10 Years Later: A Look Back at the 2004 Red Sox

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.

2004 Red Sox

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

Red Sox Report: Spring Training Week One Headlines

As the full squad workouts are underway at Fenway South, week one of spring training has not produced any huge headlines. As I stated last week Ryan Dempster would likely be moved to the bullpen, but Ryan Dempster decided he could not play in 2014. He announced such a decision last Sunday and it is believed the team knew two weeks ago. Dempster will be placed on the restricted list and will not be paid his $13 million salary for this season. Neck issues and wanting to spend time with his family are the reasons for him not playing this season.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

Ryan Dempster announcing he would not pitch in 2014.

When I think of Dempster, I think of him plunking Alex Rodriguez. His plunking of Alex Rodriguez means so much more now that he is leaving money on the table. Easily Dempster could have taken a stint on the disabled list until he deemed himself good enough to go and collected his salary. He said he has too much respect for the game and his teammates. That is refreshing to here in today’s world where athletes seem to chase the money. Alex Rodriguez will of course not play in 2014 because of suspension.

With Dempster salary off the books, will the Red Sox make any moves? Well one was made yesterday in bringing in left handed pitcher Chris Capuano on a one year deal. Capuano, who pitched for the Dodgers last year, will make $2.25 million (with incentives capable of brining that to $5 million) and fill the role we thought Dempster was going to fill this year. Spot starter in the bullpen, as well as a long reliever capable of going multiple innings. You can never have enough pitching, even with the young pitchers the Red Sox have, Capuano is a good pickup as he is a veteran. A career National League pitcher, Capuano will have to make adjustments against American League lineups, but John Farrell will use him where he can be most successful.

Capuano’s salary is nothing big, could the Red Sox afford to bring back Stephen Drew? According to Ben Cherington, that is not on the radar right now. He is comfortable with the infielders they have which I love hearing as Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks deserve their chance and not the thought of Stephen Drew coming in, possibly hampering their performance. Don’t get me wrong, Drew is a nice player who helped the Red Sox win a World Series last season, but it is time for the kids to play and hope they collect a draft pick if Drew signs with another team before the June draft. Of course super agent Scott Boras is still holding out for a good deal for Drew but the longer he waits the less likely Drew will get what they expect his proper value.

David Ortiz came to camp on Tuesday will some less than thrilling words about hit haters. All Ortiz wants is another year tacked onto his deal. Ortiz showed up with his agent which may dictate that the team may work something out in the near future. John Henry has said he wants Ortiz to retire in a Red Sox uniform and that will likely happen. Ortiz is in the second year of a two year deal signed last offseason, which many argued why they gave him a two year deal after a 2012 season where he tore his Achilles and was not all that happy with the team. 2013 silenced his critics  but apparently not enough and now he is seeking another contract. All these haters Ortiz describes I don’t know exactly who they are because every media member seems to defend him, but maybe they will help his performance if he is angry. Nomar Garciaparra towards the end of his Red Sox tenure had haters and that lead to him leaving town, let’s hope that is not the case for Ortiz.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

David Ortiz here with his son, made a grand arrival at Spring Training on Tuesday.

Spring Training games begin next Thursday already with the annual college matchups between Northeastern and Boston College. Friday the Sox take on Ft. Myers neighbors the Minnesota Twins. The Sox are likely to start some of the prospects in those games and get the expected rotation in on the second turn through the rotation, a way of giving them extra rest after a short offseason. Hard to believe spring games are already upon us and with plenty of coverage, Red Sox fans will get to know the players who might have an unexpected impact on this upcoming season.

Almost 9 Years Later, Red Sox Couldn’t be Happier A-Rod Deal Fell Through

It was December 2003, and the Red Sox had just lost the ALCS to the hated Yankees a couple months prior, but everything seemed to be going the Red Sox way. They had just traded for the best Shortstop in all of baseball, and once he worked out a restructured deal, he would come to Boston and a number 3 jersey with the name Rodriguez would be handed to him at a press conference.


All of that happened except the press conference. In 2004, #3 had the name Reese on it and not Rodriguez. This was a nightmare for the Red Sox and their fans. The trade in which the Red Sox sent Manny Ramirez to the Rangers for Alex Rodriguez was dead. The Red Sox needed A-Rod to take a pay cut, he agreed, but then the Major League Baseball Player Association stepped in and put the kibosh on the deal saying A-Rod couldn’t take a pay cut.

As it turned out A-Rod went to the Yankees, and the MLBPA’s decision to not let A-Rod take a pay cut to go to Boston was one of the greatest things to ever happen in Boston Red Sox history.  With the circus that is going on in the Bronx right now with Rodriguez, and the speculation that he might be banned from baseball for life, Red Sox Nation should send a thank you card to the MLBPA, even if it is nine years late.

In 2004, A-Rod thought it was a good idea to try and take on Jason Varitek, who at the time was in full catchers’ gear, which fueled the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, which was already at an all-time high. Then with his team up 3 games to none against Boston in the ALCS, he did nothing to help his team get win #4 of the series. In his defense he DID try, when he bitch slapped a ground ball out of Pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove. It was one of the most bush league plays ever seen in MLB history, and after a few minutes, the umpires made the right call and A-Rod was out. Read more

Kevin Youkilis: Put A Red Sock In It

Right back at you, Kevin!

Right back at you, Kevin!

“I’ll always be a Red Sock. To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox, and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window, it’s not true. Those were great years in Boston. One bad half-year doesn’t take away from all the great years I had there.” – Kevin Youkilis

To be fair, Kevin Youkilis wasn’t completely lying when he made this statement last week to reporters before the start of spring training with the Yankees. Everything he did in Boston was great. He won two titles, he won a gold glove and he should have won an MVP award in 2008. As Red Sox fans, we cannot ignore these things because they are major moments in Red Sox history and the way things ended last year for Youk shouldn’t take away from what he accomplished here for eight seasons. However, there is one small statement made by Youk that is not OK and is not completely true. After the jump you will find a letter I wrote to Kevin Youkilis (and no I did not really send this because I hate him and I see Youk as a waste of time).

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Do the Red Sox Lack the Passion to Win?

Daivd Ortiz has been all smiles since 2003

Every fan has passion for their team, and expects their team to show its passion as well. In 2004, Kevin Millar infused the Boston Red Sox with excitement, and fun.  He kept the team loose during the midst of trying to break an 86-year curse. His “Cowboy Up” mantra became a rally cry for fans and teammates alike. The fans related even more so because the team became a self-proclaimed, “bunch of idiots”, and were underdogs to the mighty New York Yankees. Since breaking the curse, the Red Sox are no longer “idiots”.

They have become a perennial World Series contender, but since 2007, they’ve only made it to the American League Championship Series once, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays, and were swept the following year in the American League Division Series by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Throughout the past few years, there has been a running concern that the Boston Red Sox have lost this passion. Fans are beginning to believe the team isn’t loose enough anymore. They don’t have fun playing the game and they are failing to meet expectations because of it. This believe couldn’t be more wrong. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz give this team identity and passion. These two players provide the most important dynamics for a successful team.

Dustin Pedroia brings the fire needed to get the team going. The 5’9’’ second baseman is there to push the Red Sox through their slumps. His mouth never stops, talking with confidence whether the team is winning or losing. Perhaps the best part of Pedroia is his ability to back up his never ending talk. In the beginning of the season, with the Red Sox desperately looking for something to ignite both the pitching and the offense, Pedroia hit his first homer of the year and threw his elbow pad to show his passion. Boston went on to beat New York 9-6 and began to show signs of life.

David Ortiz provides something very different, but just as important. His ability to have the biggest smile in the room at all times has a positive effect on his teammates. He has the experience of being with the Red Sox since 2003 and playing a critical role in both championships. He knows what it takes to win on the field and in the clubhouse. He is one of the most loved players by the fans and keeps them connected to the team. Whether “Big Papi” is making the team laugh by hustling for a triple, or creating noise at Fenway Park by clubbing a three run homer in to the seats, his presence is always felt.

Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez were both traded to better the team on the field and in the clubhouse. Chemistry has always been important to the organization and continues to be. Over the past few years, injuries have put the Red Sox in positions where they just aren’t good enough to win it all. The Red Sox are still a fun and passionate team, the players have just changed.

Is Shortstop The New Red Sox Jinx?

Did the 2004 trade of Nomar Garciaparra unleash a new jinx on the Red Sox even after vanquishing the old one?

The trade deadline has passed. The Red Sox go into the final two months of the season with only one real sore spot at shortstop where Marco Scutaro is really more cut out to be a utility infielder and Jed Lowrie can’t stay healthy. It continues the pattern of instability the Sox have had at short since the 2004 World Series run.

Nomar Garciaparra, one of the modern icons in Boston sports, had manned the shortstop position from 1997 through July of 2004 when the most famous deadline deal in Red Sox history shipped him the Cubs and brought in Orlando Cabrera, Dave Roberts and Doug Mienkiewitcz. The latter provided valuable defensive help at first base. Roberts stole the most important base in club history in Game 4 of the League Championship Series. And Cabrera handled the shortstop job before being cut loose at the end of the season and going on to success with the Angels, where he had a good run of 2-3 years as one of the AL’s top shortstops. Boston meanwhile, grasped for stability at the infield’s most important defensive position.

They’ve come and gone through the Hub these last eight years. Edgar Renteria was brought in for 2005 with a good pedigree, but he had trouble handling the Boston atmosphere and really struggled defensively. He was traded to Atlanta after a year on the job. Alex Gonzalez came in and played the most exquisite defensive shortstop I’ve ever watched. But Theo Epstein was convinced that in the AL East shortstop was an offensive position as well. So he gave Julio Lugo a four-year contract. Lugo’s performance certainly made Red Sox shortstop play offensive, although not in the sense Epstein intended. The forgettable Nick Green got a crack at the job and improved on Lugo’s effort, if only because you didn’t have the words “$44 million for four years” going through your mind every time he came to the plate or couldn’t cut off a slowly hit grounder up the middle. Gonzalez came back for a stint in a trade deadline deal in 2009, although he was again let go after the year was over. Finally the front office signed Scutaro and continued to hope for Lowrie, who’d shown such promise in 2008 and again at the start of this year to get healthy. Nothing’s worked and in the tradition of Boston sports it’s led some to again believe larger forces are at work (nothing is ever simple with us, is it?).

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