Monday, October 17, 2011

A Man Needs a Flashback

Note:  Among controversy that the Red Sox' pitchers were drinking beer during games, I think it's necessary to remember that seven years ago tonight, the team filled a Gatorade cup of Jack Daniels while down 3 games to nothing to the Yankees.  I need a flashback, and while Pat and the Tank might not, many of you might.  "Don't Let Us Win Tonight."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011: In a game between the Red Sox and a hapless San Diego team, it was rainy and there were more than just a few rain delays.

Francona:   It looked kind of thick and the field got sloppy, so they stopped it, started it and stopped it. I don't know what else they can do. They kept trying to put that Turface [quick dry] on there, but finally it got to a point where it was getting out of control.

Ortiz:  There was a lot of water on the field. I'm not out there fielding, but walking to the on-deck circle, it felt like I was swimming.

Varitek:  "It definitely was wet, and it was obvious that [he lost] some feel."

Youkilis:  "Not a big interleague fan."

Saturday, July 24, 2004:  It rained all night on Friday, and the Red Sox were 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.

MSNBC:  "The game, which started after a 54-minute delay, almost was postponed. The grounds crew wanted to call it off but Boston players argued for it to go on despite wet grounds."

Millar:  "The Red Sox wanted to play today."

2011:  Red Sox 2-61 after training after 7.

July 24, 2004:  Down 3-0, 9-4, and 10-8 heading into the 9th, the Red Sox won against Rivera that game, with Bill Mueller hitting a walkoff against Rivera. 

2011:  Jason Varitek (wearing the C), probably a sourpuss about playing time, removes himself from all leadership responsibility, according to the Bob Hohler and subsequent Mike Giardi articles last week.

July 24, 2004:  Jason Varitek (not wearing any extra letters) stands up for his teammate Bronson Arroyo by punching Arod.  Granted, he had his mask on like a total coward, but not nearly as much of a coward and fake leader as he is now.

Winter 2010-2011:  Despite his season-long pouting about his contract, franchise legend David Ortiz (who sat out games with a sore neck suffered on a plane ride) remained on the team.  In fact, in the winter, Theo Epstein had such lack of balls to pick up his generous $12m option year.

July 31, 2004:  Due partially to his season-long pouting about his contract and unwillingness to play with dubious injuries, Theo Epstein trades franchise legend Nomar Garciaparra for two .246 hitters, showing that he had huge balls.

2011:  Tim Wakefield believes the fans deserve to see him get 192 wins as a Red Sox.

2004:  Tim Wakefield was okay with coming out of the bullpen.

2011:  In a pivotal moment for the entire season, a Red Sox fast centerfielder gets caught stealing to end the inning and a rally against Jeff Niemann in a situation that would put him from scoring position (second base) to still scoring position (third base), providing very little value to the team's chances of scoring that run.

2004:  In a pivotal moment for the entire season, a Red Sox fast centerfielder steals a base in a situation that puts him from not-scoring position (first base) to scoring position (second base), so he could be scored with a single, thereby providing immense value to the team's chances of scoring that run.

2011:  Fat starting pitcher injures ankle with season on the line putting on warmup jersey.  Pitcher sits out a week and a half, gets even fatter, while the team continues to tank.

2004:  Fat starting pitcher injures ankle with season on the line fielding bunt.  Pitcher sits out a few days, has experimental surgery done on his ankle so he could pitch in the next series.

2011:  Sweet Caroline in the eighth inning regardless of the score.

2003 (close enough):  Rally Karaoke Guy late in close games.

2011:  Beer and chicken in fractured groups instead of watching or giving a crap about teammates.

2004:  Jack Daniels and winning as a team.


John said...

I agree that those two teams are not close to comparable and that there was a huge lack of leadership this year. Sitting in the clubhouse doing nothing instead of watching teammates is not acceptable. However I think the overall point that Lester was trying to make was that having one beer is not ruining them as pitchers or ruining the team. The beer aspect was getting overblown like they were all shitfaced, when in reality they probably weren't but it was the lack of caring about the team as a whole that was killing them. Either way I'm glad he at least addressed the issue.

the gm at work said...

Honestly, John, I didn't mind the beer part that much either. Certainly the principle behind it is pretty bad, and the fact that he said pretty much that the inmates were running the asylum confirms what we had heard.

But the actual drinking of the beer, as far as I'm concerned, is probably more appropriate than the Jack Daniel's in the Gatorade cup in 2004. I had no problem with the actual Jack Daniels, and as you know, I'm about fairness.

Anonymous said...

Great post DV, but the biggest one may have been ommitted, and it id a product of all of the ones you mentioned.

2011: Biggest regular season collapse in baseball history.

2004: Biggest playoff comeback in baseball history.


the gm at work said...


I thought that part was self-evident. But worth pointing out for sure. The way I see it, the team came back from 3-0 against a superior Yankee team.

Anonymous said...

It was indeed self-evident, I point it out somewhat tongue in cheek. It is the obvious, but at the same time worth culminating your excellent comparison with. The contrasts between those two teams are startling.

the gm at work said...

What's especially telling about the whole thing, PF, is that some of these guys are still the same.

Francona, whose hands-off style was brilliant in 2004, lost control in 2011.

Varitek, who was a leader and a productive baseball player in 2004, was a POS in 2011.

Wakefield, who was a team player in 2004 and before, filling whatever role he needed to fill, is now saying that fans deserve to see him get 192 wins. No. Fans deserve a championship effort.

Ortiz might have to get a post of his own. He was incredible to root for in 2004. Now he bursts into press conferences to bitch about official scoring.

Epstein had balls, as I said, in 2004, and no longer has any balls. And ownership has lost its way.

Youkilis was a useful bat off the bench in 2004, and now he's the biggest entitled whiner there is.

It's a shame how each guy from that team who is still here has gone completely sour with entitlement.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Might as well contribute.

2011: NESN

2004: WEEI

Relevant to me as having to look at some of these guys made me want to claw my eyes out.


Anonymous said...


I think the biggest point you made was the one about the dueling rain delays. In 2011 the Sox bitched and moaned about those types of things. In 2004 they wanted to play and they wanted to prove something to themselves and to the Yankees. And in 2004 they did. In 2011 they also proved a lot to a lot of people. Unfortunately, none of it was good.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...


That's what I was going for. The way I see it, the near-rainout on July 24, 2004 was the defining moment of that season - more than the Nomar trade or the Roberts steal. You had a lot of stuff going on there. The Yankees were taking showers because they thought they were going to be rained out. Then they took the lead in the game. Then the benches cleared. Then they came back against Rivera, highlighted by the Mueller (a batting champion, but not exactly a star) walkoff.

Before the Bob Hohler stuff came out, I thought the game that epitomized the 2011 Red Sox was that Wednesday afternoon game against San Diego, when they complained about the field, Lackey got lit up, and everyone just lied down. After the Bob Hohler stuff came out, it was another rain-related incident: The Hurricane Irene preemptive doubleheader that prompted them to completely quit on the fan base.

ZWeiss said...

This is one of the best sports-related pieces I've ever read. And the comparison between 2011 and 2004 is perfect. 2004: Players cared, had heart, biggest comeback ever. 2011: Players don't give a shit, feel entitled, don't wanna get all wet and muddy, biggest collapse ever.

Awesome post dude.