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2004 championship Red Sox team reunites at Fenway Park

May 29, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

BOSTON — The most celebrated team in Red Sox history gathered at Fenway Wednesday to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2004 championship team.

In some ways, the players said, the title feels like it was won a long time ago. In other ways, it seems much more recent.

“People don’t understand,” said Derek Lowe, “but when the season ends, you just kind of go your separate ways, so I haven’t seen a lot of these guys for 10 years.

“There’s been a lot of great stories and it’s great to see some of the young guys all grown up.”

“It’s crazy to think 10 years have already gone by,” said Kevin Youkilis. “You sit back and think how quickly it goes.”

“This is great,” beamed Jason Varitek. “There’s faces I haven’t seen since 2004, since the parade. Fortunately, there’s been a few things (occasions to re-unite) and being around, you get to see some people at different times. But you’ve got people scattered all over.”

For a period of 48 hours or so, however, this was a chance to get together and toast the first championship for the franchise in 86 years.

“When you start watching clips,” said Varitek, “it seems like just yesterday. But everybody moves on and you sometimes need to watch things on TV (to jog your memory) and remember some of the moments and the faces. Then the stories start — stuff that went on in the clubhouse, stuff with the guys and a lot of the fun.”

It was, to put it mildly, a unique bunch, full of characters as diverse as Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar and Manny Ramirez. Each brought something to the mix.

Related content: Manny Ramirez says “I behaved bad and I regret it.”

“We had chemistry,” declared Lowe. “We had a lot of great personalities, strong personalities. But the way we were able to jell, that was (special).”

Those personalities helped withstand what Varitek termed “the burden of 86 years” without a championship.

The team had come paralyzingly close a season earlier, when the American League pennant slipped from their hands in extra innings of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

That spurred on the players, and in turn, management.

“What made ’04 so special is the way ’03 ended,” said Lowe. “Getting Keith Foulke and Curt Schilling (was key). The team was built for success, built to get back (into the post-season).”

Which they did, only to fall behind 0-3 to the Yankees in the ALCS, before beginning their historic comeback.

Now, the players from 2004 have changed and so, too, has the perception of the Red Sox. Back then, the Sox were seen as a team which historically had big stars, but could never win it all.

A decade later, they’ve won three championships, and become a model organization.

“They’ve created a winning atmosphere,” said Lowe, “and people know what the Red Sox have achieved and guys want to be part of it. You look at the chemistry they had in 2013 (and it’s similar).”

“I think what’s important is to recognize what went on before we won the championships,” said Varitek, “with the Mo Vaughns and Jim Rices and (Carl) Yastrzesmkis. You keep going back and see the guys who fought and battled to help teach the next generation and say, ‘OK, we got close. This is what we need to do better.’ And you build and build.

“We crashed and burned in ’03 at the last possible moment, but it still a building block. Then we finally broke through.”

After that, there was a palpable sense of release that the Sox had shun the negative baggage that had weighed down the franchise. It was liberating.

“Maybe in your first year here, you don’t really understand (the magnitude of it),” said Varitek. “But the longer you’re here, the heavier it is.”

Now, those same players are part of the most beloved Red Sox history, who seemingly can’t be thanked enough.

“I didn’t know that much about the 86 years,” said Orlando Cabrera. “It didn’t really hit until after we won and we were in the parade, and I saw these really old people, like 90 years old, saying, ‘Thank you – I can die happy.’ Or, ‘Thank you — you’ve made my father’s day.’ I was like, wow.”

  1. jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    I was able to go to Game 3 of the ALCS courtesy of Fox and some executives my father was working with at the time. I was about 16-17 and they just gave it to me when the Yankees thumped the Sox.

    Fun part was, I was able to go to Game 1 of the World Series with the same folks. I ribbed em back as hard as I could without being a meanie.

    The rest of the games of the ALCS I watched on a ten inch tv in the kitchen because that was better luck than watching in the living room.

    That playoff run will never be replicated just because of the significance of getting the monkey off the back of Boston.

    “Don’t let us win one”.

  2. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

  3. pftfan - May 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    I hope they also bring out that beloved mascot from the 2004 Red Sox: “Syringie the Needle”

    • jcmeyer10 - May 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Hey, I thought he was the MLB’s mascot. Red Sox can’t alone claim him.

    • 18thstreet - May 29, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      You’re a football fan (I assume PFT is for ‘pro football talk’), and you’re criticizing drugs in baseball? Really?

  4. Caught Looking - May 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Didn’t they just to something similar about 18 months ago?

    • 18thstreet - May 29, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Maybe it was the 100-month anniversary? I, too, couldn’t figure out what that was about.

  5. pete2112 - May 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    As a Yankees fan, the 2004 post season is one I try to block from my memory, but as time has passed even I have to admit that was a pretty incredible feat the Sox pulled off. It’s amazing what that championship did for that team and what they’ve done since. The only player that still irks me from that team is Schilling. Between the bloody sock and what he did to the Yankees in the 2001 World Series with Arizona, I still have a hard time with him. However, I do hope he beats his cancer battle.

  6. largebill - May 29, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    They can do whatever they want, but in my opinion, tenth anniversary is too early to celebrate a championship with a reunion. Usually, at the ten year point some of the players are still active. Cardinals recently getting the 1964 team back together was pretty cool.

    • pete2112 - May 29, 2014 at 1:35 PM

      I sort of agree, but this was a Sox team that hadn’t won since the Titanic sunk. As well as selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, Boone hitting the game winning home run in the 2003 ALCS and falling short so many times in the past. I just think that championship was so monumental for so many reasons. Not to mention again the way they came back from down three games in the ALCS against their arch-rival – The Yankees. Hollywood couldn’t have written a more far-fetched script.

      • Caught Looking - May 29, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        They did. It was called Fever Pitch.

  7. pete2112 - May 29, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Oh yeah, but didn’t that come out after they actually won.

  8. disgracedfury - May 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    2004 the year the Red Sox officially sold out and became the Yankees.Since that 2004 the Red Sox have spent lots of money, Traded young players, got many expensive foreign players,had many PED user and went into 2011 winters free agent market by out spending everybody and giving out big long contracts.

    Things the Red Sox complained the Yankees were.The Red Sox broke the curse by becoming a Yankees team and selling out.It use to be cool with the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry as the Red Sox were a smallish scrappy team and than they acted like the Yankees.

    • pete2112 - May 29, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Hey at least they’ve won while spending the money. That’s a lot more than other high payroll teams can say that haven’t been able to win while spending. While I agree the rivalry is not the same between the Yankees and Sox, lets not forget the 2004 team wasn’t exactly a cheap team to put together. I’m pretty sure they had some large contracts on that team with Martinez, Schilling, Damon, etc.

  9. 4cornersfan - May 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    I think that the last WS win was the last for the Sox in this century. They play better in the loveable loser role.

    • drewzducks - May 29, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      You actually play the lovable loser role much better.

  10. spacenettle - May 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    I was watching game 4 of that WS on my big screen TV in a downtown apartment in Bellevue, Washington. The TV just happened to be facing the windows, and there was an office building across the street. During one commercial break I got up to stretch and look out the window and I saw about 6 guys in suits across the way watching the game on my TV. :)

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