Thursday, April 25, 2013

2004 Red Sox: "Where are they now?"

                                          With the recent events from the Marathon bombing manhunt still fresh in our minds, I figured I'd do a little piece about the city (and team ) I grew up in/with...Everyone knows that in 2004 the Red Sox broke an 86 year curse, and so on...but what ever happened to that team?  Only a handful of  the players on that team are even still playing in the Majors, and only one player-David Ortiz- is still playing for Boston.  So, at the risk of sounding like a vapid, VH-1 special, I present to you: "The 2004 Red Sox; where are they now?"

Catchers:  Jason Varitek stayed with the Sox until he retired in 2011.  He caught two no hitters before 2004, and two after, giving him the record for no nos caught by a backstop.  He also made the All star team a couple of more times after '04, including 2008, when he made the team despite his batting average looming in the Mike O'Berry zone. Mirabelli continued to be Wakefield's catcher until he went to the Padres; only to come back to the Sox when Wakefield requested his return (catching knuckleballs is an arduous task, apparently ).

First base: Kevin Millar played one more year for Boston, then played a couple for the Orioles and Blue Jays.  After retirement, he got the job he was made for; being a big mouth, talking about baseball and being silly on MLB network's "Intentional talk".  Doug Meintkevitz played a few more years after '04 with the Yankees and Mets, becoming only the 13th (I think) player to be on the Sox, Yanks and Mets.

Second base: Mark Bellhorn played one more half season, then parts of a season with the Padres and Yankees.  No word on him playing "Booger" in a Revenge of the nerds remake.  Pokey Reese retired after the series, leaving the legacy of having one of the coolest baseball names in Red Sox history.

Third base: Bill Mueller left the Sox after '05 to play one final seaon in L.A., where they undoubtedly mispronounced his last name as well ( pronounced "Miller", in case you care ).  Kevin Youklis didn't play in the post season that year, but would have his share of playoff moments with the Sox, until Bobby Valentine drove him out of town to he's on the Yankees, where their "no beard" policy isn't doing him any favors.

Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra was traded at the deadline, ensuring he would never play in the World series for the Sox.  He played for the Cubs, Dodgers, (comeback player of the year in 2006) and the A's, before retiring.  He now is an analyst for ESPN's "Baseball tonight".  He also changed his name to "Mr. Mia Hamm", just to avoid confusion.  Orlando parlayed his late season heroics in '04 into a multi year contract with the Angels.  Then he played a season each for every team that ever existed...

Left field:  Manny continued his hot hitting until  mid 2008, where he went from "Manny being Manny", to "Manny being a pain in the ass".  I believe he's playing for the Hamilton Meat Hammers of the extremely minor international league now. Gabe Kapler played a year or two for the Sox, then retired to become a scout, only to come back to the Majors, where, as a member of the Rays, he made history...He was the one who hit the almost home run that Dwayne Wise robbed in the 9th inning of Mark Buerle's eventual perfect game.

Center Field : Johnny Damon played '05 for the Sox, then signed a big four year deal with the Yankees, helping them win it all in '09.  He then played a year each with the Tigers, Rays and Indians.  However, he was hard to recognize without the beard at first; that is, until he attempted a throw from the outfield (ouch).  Dave Roberts could win a Nobel Prize in Physics, and all anyone will remember is that steal in game four of the 2004 ALCS.  He then played for the Giants and/ or Padres...but as I said...

Right Field: Trot Nixon left the Sox after the '06 season; then he played one season each for the Indians and Mets, going the way of Brian Daubach ( both ended their careers w/ the Mets ).  BTW, Trot was a lot bigger than he looked.  His crouched stance made him look a lot shorter than his 6 ft 4 inches.  I didn't look it up, but I believe "Trot" is not his real name.

D.H. : Big Papi is still with the Red Sox.  He added to his legacy by saying, "This is our fucking city", during the ceremony at Fenway before the first game they played there since the bombing.  Brian Daubach was released before the end of the season.  He will always have a spot in my heart for saying he liked my set at the Comedy Connection  back in 1999.  He ended his career with the Mets..

Starting pitchers: Pedro signed a four year contract w/ the Mets, but spent a lot of that time injured, which hurt their chances to overtake the Cardinals in the '06 NLCS ( although, they almost did anyway ).  He did make it back to the World Series in '09 with the Phillies, which must have been a bitter bill for Mets fans to swallow.  Curt Schilling retired after the '07 Series win over the Rockies.  He called it quits because of injuries...and probably because Jesus told him to. Derek Lowe pitched for the Dodgers, Braves, Indians, Yankees ( Jeez, how many players from this team played for New York later? ), and now the Rangers.  No word on whether he sold his house in Quincy Ma. yet.

                Tim Wakefield retired after the 2011 season, when, without warning, he became an unlikely movie star ("Knuckleball") and T.V. host ("The next knuckler").  Granted, his range is limited (ha)...Bronson Arroyo left after the '05 season to carve out a pretty good career with the Cincinatti Reds, where he is to this day.  I know he misses Boston, especially Newbury Comics ( or was that Todd Benzinger?  I get my former Sox-turned- Reds confused ).

Relief pitchers: 2004 was Keith Foulke's last good season.  He must have been a real challenge for parents at the game trying to keep their kids from swearing.  Mike Timlin eventually ended his 97 year baseball career with the Sox in the late '00s.  My sister still has the hots for him, I think.  Alan Embry was the one on the mound when the finally beat the Yankees in the '04 ALCS.  Then he ended up playing for the Yankees for the sole purpose of pissing me off.  Mike Myers left the Sox to portray Austin Powers in a Hockey mask for " Halloween 17: Yeah Baby!"  Curtis Leskanic probably didn't become a mechanic, but he should have, you know...

Manager: Terry Francona got out of Boston with his dignity before the collapse of 2012.  He spent one year in the booth, then decided he wasn't punished enough in life and took the Indians managing job ( I keed...)

GM: Theo Epstein actually has a more daunting task as the Cubs GM.  If he even gets them to the World Series, they may erect a statue  to him, right next to that drunk Harry Carey.  Hey, I love me some Harry Carey, but he made Keith Richards look like a teetotaler (not that I'm one to talk).

...and the rest:  There are dozens of players that played for the 2004 Red Sox, but I can't really go into them all...if you want to see the exploits of Cesar Crespo, Ricky Gutierrez and Pedro Astacio, may I suggest, Baseball Almanac or even Wikipedia.  I'm just here to be a wise ass and try to educate where I can.  And, as Homer Simpson once said : "People can use facts to prove something that's even remotely true..."

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