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Chat With Red Sox Outfielder Jason Bay

10.28.09 at 9:36 am ET
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Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay will drop by the Virtual Press Box on Thursday, Oct. 29, at noon to take questions in the third installment of WEEI.com’€™s Thursday baseball chat series.

In 2009 — his first full season as a member of the Red Sox after coming to Boston at the 2008 trade deadline — Bay hit .267 with a .384 on-base percentage and .567 slugging mark, finishing third in the American League with 36 homers, second with 119 RBIs, and led all A.L. outfielders with a .921 OPS. His performance earned Bay his third career All-Star nod.

Bay was acquired by the Red Sox from the Pirates in 2008 in the three-way trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers. He is one of eight players to hit at least 30 homers, drive in at least 100 runs and score at least 100 runs in a season in which he was traded. The 2004 National League Rookie of the Year has been one of the most consistent power hitters in the game since breaking into the majors. He ranks 15th in baseball with 181 homers since the 2004 season, and is one of 12 players in the majors with at least 20 homers in each of the last six years.

PREVIOUS CHATS

Oct. 22 — Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan

Oct. 15 — Red Sox director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod

Chat with Red Sox Outfielder Jason Bay

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Former Sox Kapler Re-Signs With Rays

10.27.09 at 2:28 pm ET
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Former Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler confirmed via text message that he has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2010 season. The news was first reported by Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, who reported the amount of the deal at $1.05 million. Kapler hit .239 with a .329 OBP and .439 slugging mark for the Rays in 2009. He spent parts of four seasons in Boston between 2003-06, then spent the 2007 season managing for the Sox’ Single A Greenville minor-league affiliate before resuming his playing career.

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Report: Astros Hire Mills

10.27.09 at 2:18 pm ET
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According to MLB.com, the Houston Astros have hired Brad Mills to be their new manager. Mills has been the Red Sox bench coach since the arrival of manager Terry Francona in 2004.

This is the first big-league managing job for the 52-year-old, who has a dozen years of experience managing in the minors in the Cubs, Dodgers and Rockies organizations. Mills worked previously with Houston G.M. Ed Wade when the two were in Philadelphia from 1997-2000, Mills as the first-base coach under then-Phillies manager Francona, and Wade as the Philadelphia general manager.

Mills and Francona, meanwhile, have spent nearly 20 years together, first as players, and more recently on coaching staffs. The two were teammates at the University of Arizona (where they were roommates) and again on the Montreal Expos before working together for a total of 10 seasons in Philadelphia and Boston.

Mills had been one of 10 candidates for the Astros job, which became available when Houston skipper Cecil Cooper was fired in September. Mills inherits a team that finished 74-88, in fifth place in the N.L. Central in 2009.

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2004: Where Are They Now?

10.27.09 at 1:50 pm ET
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Five years ago today, the Red Sox did the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the borderline criminally insane. After coming back from a 3-0 hole to beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, they completed a sweep the Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918.

It was the most memorable fall in the history of New England sports. It created terms that need no explanation — The Steal, Bloody Sock, A-Rod Slap, Big Papi Walkoff …

There were 25 players on the roster for the clinching game in St. Louis. Some of them never played baseball again after that fateful day, some are still kicking around the majors. Four are still with the Sox and now own two World Series rings. So, let’s take a look at where the heroes of 2004 are now and remember what they did for New England five years ago.

To jump to individual players, use the following links:

STARTERS:

Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe, Bronson Arroyo

LINEUP:

David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Orlando Cabrera, Mark Bellhorn

BULLPEN:

Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, Alan Embree, Curtis Leskanic, Ramiro Mendoza

BENCH:

Dave Roberts, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, Pokey Reese

THE ROTATION

Curt Schilling

Current Occupation: Contributor to WEEI.com with his 38Pitches blog; founder, 38 Studios

2004 Stats: 32 games, 21 wins, 6 losses, 226.2 innings, 3.26 ERA, 203 strikeouts, 35 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: No. 1 starter

LDS -

1 game, 1 win, 6.2 innings, 2.70 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€“ 

2 games, 1 win, 1 loss, 10 innings, 6.30 ERA, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€“

1 games, 1 win, 6 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-07

Performance After 2004: 87 games, 32 wins, 23 losses, 448.1 innings, 4.30 ERA, 371 strikeouts, 73 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Bloody Sock Game in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees goes down as one of the most memorable performances in the history of the Red Sox.

The Line ‘€“

Where do we start with Schilling? He joined the team at WEEI.com in 2008 with the 38Pitches blog and has been a constant source of information, opinion and amusement since. He is an avid online gamer and started 38Studios, a video game design company (that is currently hiring, by the way). Active with his wife Shonda in fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) with the organization Curt’s Pitch for ALS.

Pedro Martinez

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Phillies

2004 Stats: 33 games, 16 wins, 9 losses, 217 innings, 3.90 ERA, 227 strikeouts, 61 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: No. 1a starter

LDS ‘€“

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 3.86 innings, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€“

3 games, 1 loss, 13 innings, 6.23 ERA, 14 strikeouts, 9 walks

WS ‘€“

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 0.00 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

Subsequent Teams: Mets 2005-08, Phillies 2009-present

Performance After 2004: 88 Games, 37 wins, 24 losses, 531.1 innings, 3.86 ERA, 501 strikeouts, 145 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Seven scoreless innings in Game 3 of the World Series, though really, the ones you really remember are from 2003. That’s when Martinez plunked Yankees outfielder Karim Garcia, setting off a brawl that ended with Martinez “pushing” the elderly Don Zimmer to the ground. That would probably be your second memory, with the first being the fact that 2003 manager Grady Little may, or may not have, left Martinez in ALCS Game 7 a little too long against the Yankees.

The Line ‘€“

“They beat me. They’re that good right now. They’re that hot. I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy.” The Phillies hope that is not true right now. “I’m starting to hate talking about the Yankees. The questions are so stupid. They’re wasting my time. It’s getting kind of old. … I don’t believe in damn curses. Wake up the damn Bambino and have me face him. Maybe I’ll drill him in the ass, pardon me the word.”

Tim Wakefield

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Red Sox (option pending)

2004 Stats: 32 games, 12 wins, 10 losses, 188.1 innings, 4.87 ERA, 116 strikeouts, 63 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Spot starter, long reliever

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 win, 7.1 innings, 8.59 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 3 walks

WS ‘€”

1 game, 3.2 innings, 12.27 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 138 games, 61 wins, 51 losses, 865 innings, 4.42 ERA, 540 strikeouts, 293 walks

The Memories ‘€“

The man who ate the innings and took it on the chin when the Sox needed him. Saved the bullpen in Game 3 of the ALCS with 3.1 innings of relief (5 earned runs) and was the starter in Game 1 of the World Series, going 3.2 innings and giving up five earned runs on a windy night (note, tailwind is not good for a knuckleball) at Fenway. The Sox won that game, 11-9.

The Line ‘€“

One of the biggest bargains in baseball with a perpetual $4 million dollar team option. Climbing the list of all-time Red Sox pitching stats in just about every category, good and bad. Just underwent successful surgery and hopes to remain with the Sox until his durable right arm falls off or the rest of his body fails him.

Derek Lowe

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Braves

2004 Stats: 33 games, 14 wins, 12 losses, 182.2 innings, 5.42 ERA, 105 strikeouts, 71 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Middle-of-the-rotation starter, spot reliever

LDS ‘€”

1 game, 1 win, 1 inning, 0.00 ERA, 1 walk

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 1 win, 11.1 innings, 3.16 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk

WS ‘€”

1 game, 1 win, 7 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Dodgers 2005-08, Braves 2009-present

Performance After 2004: 169 games, 69 wins, 58 losses, 1045 innings, 3.79 ERA, 674 strikeouts, 277 walks

The Memories ‘€“

Lowe was the finisher. In all three series-clinching games he was the winning pitcher. He pitched one inning against the Angels in the ALDS (Ortiz walk-off home run), he started Game 7 against the Yankees in the ALCS in the Bronx, and he started Game 4 of the World Series in St. Louis. No other pitcher has earned the victory for every deciding game of a World Series winner in the wild card era.

The Line ‘€“

The sinkerball specialists and his hard-charging ways have been tempered since he left Boston. He remains reliable as an innings-eater who will win about 55 percent of the time. Signed a 4-year, $60 million contract with the Braves last offseason.

Bronson Arroyo

Current Occupation: Starting pitcher, Reds

2004 Stats: 32 games, 10 wins, 9 losses, 178.2 innings, 4.03 ERA, 142 strikeouts, 47 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Long reliever, spot starter

LDS ‘€”

1 game, 6 innings, 3.00 ERA, 7 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 4.0 innings, 15.75 ERA, 3 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

2 games, 2.2 innings, 6.75 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Reds 2006-present

Performance After 2004: 171 games, 67 wins, 60 losses, 1,077 innings, 730 strikeouts, 314 walks

The Memories ‘€“ Led the league in 2004 in hit batters, though there is really only one that Red Sox fans care about. Started Game 3 of the ALDS, a game Lowe ended up finishing. Induced Alex Rodriguez into one of the most embarrassing scenes of his career in Game 6 of the ALCS when Rodriguez slapped the ball out of Arroyo’€™s glove when he tagged him out late in the game.

The Line ‘€“

Still a contributor to the Hot Stove, Cool Music jam sessions at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Released an album in 2005 called Covering the Bases. Led the National League in games started in 2006 and 2008.

The Lineup

David Ortiz

Current Occupation: Designated hitter, Red Sox

2004 Stats: 150 games, 582 plate appearances, .301 average, .380 on-base percentage, .603 slugging, 41 home runs, 139 RBI, 133 strikeouts, 75 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Cleanup hitter, designated hitter aka “Mr. Clutch”

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .545 average, .688 OBP, 1.000 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 35 plate appearances, .387 average, .457 OBP, .742 slugging, 3 home runs, 11 RBI, 7 strikeouts, 4 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 17 plate appearances, .308 average, .471 OBP, .615 slugging, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 1 strikeout, 4 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 718 games, 3184 plate appearances, .286 average, .393 OBP, .570 slugging, 187 home runs, 590 RBI, 552 strikeouts, 476 walks

The Memories ‘€”

“I am a bad man!” The Legend of Big Papi began in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 3 of the ALDS when Ortiz hit a two-run walk-off bomb of Jarrod Washburn to complete the sweep of the Angels. The legend grew in the bottom of the 12th in Game 4 of the ALCS when Ortiz kept the Sox alive when he took Paul Quantrill deep for a another two-run, walk-off home run. Less than 24 hours later he brought the Sox back within one run of the Yankees by taking Tom Gordon deep in the top of the eighth inning before ending Game 5 in the 14th with a bloop single to score Johnny Damon. It was one of the most chaotic and memorable performances in Red Sox history.

The Line ‘€”

New England high school graduating classes of 2023 will probably have an inordinate of people named David. Ortiz led the league in RBI in 2005 and 2006. He also set the single-season Sox home run record with 54 in 2006. His skills have been diminishing of late (with allegations of steroid use this past year), but Big Papi will forever remain a New England hero.

Manny Ramirez

Current Occupation: Left fielder, Dodgers

2004 Stats: 152 games, 663 plate appearances, .308 average, .397 OBP, .613 slugging, 43 home runs, 130 RBI, 124 strikeouts, 82 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Three-hole hitter, left fielder

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .385 average, .375 OBP, .769 slugging, home run, 7 RBI, 4 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 35 plate appearances, .300 average, .400 OBP, .333 slugging, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 20 plate appearances, .412 average, .500 OBP, .588 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-08, Dodgers 2008-present

Performance After 2004: 672 games, 2862 plate appearances, .307 average, .412 OBP, .571 slugging, 156 home runs, 518 RBI, 518 strikeouts, 409 walks

The Memories ‘€”

One of the oddest statistical postseasons for a player named Most Valuable Player of the World Series. Had a phenomenal series against the Angels, though he managed the strange feat of having his on-base percentage actually be lower than his batting average (sacrifice flies being the culprit). Then he went 0-for-the-entire-ALCS in terms of driving in runners, odd for a man who led the American League with 43 home runs in 2004 (Ramirez had one double and eight singles against the Yankees). He regained his form in the World Series to take the MVP award while hitting a home run of Jeff Suppan in the first inning of Game 3.

The Line ‘€”

Oh Manny, Our Manny, our fearful trip is done. The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won. A belated thank you to Walt Whitman, though Boston fans won the prize they sought, twice actually, with Ramirez sporting red socks. Then Manny went searching for his own prize and found it to the tune of $45 million from the Dodgers after he ran himself out of Boston at the trading deadline last year.

Johnny Damon

Current Occupation: Left fielder, Yankees

2004 Stats: 150 games, 702 plate appearances, .304 average, .380 OBP, .477 slugging, 20 home runs, 94 RBI, 71 strikeouts, 76 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Leadoff hitter, left fielder, co-captain of the Idiots

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .467 average, .500 OBP, .533 slugging, 2 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 37 plate appearances, .171 average, .216 OBP, .343, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 8 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 21 plate appearances, .286 average, .286 OBP, .619 slugging, home run, 2 RBI, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2006-present

Performance After 2004: 724 games, 3212 plate appearances, .292 average, .363 OBP, .454 slugging, 87 home runs, 371 RBI, 413 strikeouts, 321 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Good ALDS, bad ALCS … until the final game. Everybody knew that going into Game 7 against the Yankees that anything could happen. Anything turned out to be Damon. The center fielder broke the Bronx Bombers’ backs (and their hearts) with a grand slam in the second inning to make the score 6-0 Sox, then added another two-run shot in the fourth to really ice the champagne.

The Line ‘€”

Speaking of champagne, or, whiskey more appropriately, it is rumored that Damon and a couple other players would take whiskey shots before games to stay loose. Has a penchant for being naked in the clubhouse, once prompting Terry Francona to say, “I have never seen a man go from naked to uniform that fast.” Wrote “Idiot: Breaking The Curse and Enjoying The Game of Life” with Peter Golenbock about the 2004 championship season before jumping ship and signing with the Yankees for four years and $52 million in 2006.

Trot Nixon

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 48 games, 167 plate appearances, .315 average, .377 OBP, .510 slugging, 6 home runs, 23 RBI, 24 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Right fielder, six hole hitter.

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 10 plate appearances, .250 average, .400 OBP, .250 slugging, 2 RBI, strikeout, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 29 plate appearances, .207 average, .207 OBP, .345 slugging, home run, 3 RBI, 5 strikeouts

WS ‘€”

4 games, 15 plate appearances, .357 average, .400 OBP, .571 slugging, 3 RBI, strikeout, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-06, Indians 2007, Diamondbacks 2008 (AAA), Mets 2008; released by Brewers on March 25, 2009, after signing a minor league contract

Performance After 2004: 348 games, 1318 plate appearances, .263 batting average, .357 OBP, .393 slugging, 25 home runs, 151 RBI, 183 strikeouts, 163 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Hit a two-out, two-run double in Game 4 of the World Series that put the Sox up for good. Also hit a home run in Game 3 of the ALCS off Kevin Brown to at least give the Sox a semblance of dignity in the 19-8 whipping the Yankees handed the Sox that day.

The Line ‘€”

Sox fans will always remember Nixon with a dirty jersey, a timely bat and a guy who had a penchant for hitting grand slams. A stalwart in right field, his time was just about up when the Sox released him after the 2006 season. Bounced around with the Indians and Mets before being cut by Milwaukee in spring training this year. He has been out of baseball since then and recently went to Iraq to visit troops.

Jason Varitek

Current Occupation: Catcher and captain, Red Sox

2004 Stats: 137 games, 463 plate appearances, .296 average, .390 OBP, .482 slugging, 18 home runs, 73 RBI, 126 strikeouts, 63 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Catcher, club leader, seven-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 15 plate appearances, .167 average, .333 OBP, .417 slugging, home run, 2 RBI, 5 strikeouts, 2 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 31 plate appearances, .321 average, .355 OBP, .571 slugging, 2 home runs, 7 RBI, 6 strikeouts, 2 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 15 plate appearances, .154 average, .267 OBP, .308 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 strikeouts, walk.

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-present

Performance After 2004: 607 games, 2381 plate appearances, .243 average, .339 OBP, .415 slugging, 778 home runs, 287 RBI, 538 strikeouts, 285 walks

The Memories ‘€” July 24, 2004 ‘€”

The Day That Changed Red Sox History. It was a career year for Varitek and he was the heart of the team that socked the Yankees in the face in the middle of July and then again in October. The captain did his work against the Yankees with two home runs in a good offensive series.

The Line ‘€”

In 2004 Varitek became the only player to ever play in the Little League World Series, the College World Series and MLB World Series. Parlayed his good 2004 into a four year, $40 million deal.

Bill Mueller

Current Occupation: Special assistant to Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.

2004 Stats: 110 games, 460 plate appearances, .283 average, .365 OBP, .446 slugging, 12 home runs, 57 RBI, 56 strikeouts, 51 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Third baseman, nine-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 13 plate appearances, .333 average, .385 OBP, .333 slugging, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 33 plate appearances, .267 average, .333 OBP, .300 slugging, RBI, strikeout, walk

WS ‘€”

4 games, 18 plate appearances, .429 average, .556 OBP, .571 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Dodgers 2006

Performance After 2004: 182 games, 716 plate appearances, .288 average, .367 OBP, .425 slugging, 13 home runs, 77 RBI, 83 strikeouts, 76 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Game 4 tying single off Mariano Rivera will go down as the singular moment when the Sox turned the series around. Mueller, one of the most professional hitters in baseball at the time, was one of the few people with the composure and grit needed to get a clutch hit off the “Hammer of God.” Also had great numbers against the Cardinals in the World Series. When Mueller was hot at the bottom of the lineup, the Sox were tough to beat.

The Line ‘€”

Mueller’s knees gave out after the 2005 season and he went to the Dodgers to play a few games before taking over hitting coach duties. He has jumped upstairs and serves with Colletti in the front office now. No word on Joe Torre’s feeling about having one of the biggest 2004 postseason heroes haunting him in the hallways.

Kevin Millar

Current Occupation: First baseman/DH, Blue Jays

2004 Stats: 150 games, 588 plate appearances, .297 average, .383 OBP, .474 slugging, 18 home runs, 74 RBI, 91 strikeouts, 57 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Offensive first basemen, five-hole hitter, co-captain of the Idiots

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 11 plate appearances, .300 average, .364 OBP, .600 slugging, home run, 4 RBI, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 29 plate appearances, .250 average, .379 OBP, .375 slugging, 2 RBI, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 11 plate appearances, .125 average, .364 OBP, .250 slugging, 2 strikeouts, 2 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Orioles 2006-08, Blue Jays 2009

Performance After 2004: 629 games, 2477 plate appearances, .253 average, .348 OBP, .406 slugging, 68 home runs, 278 RBI, 384 strikeouts, 291 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Drew the walk from Rivera that eventually became the game-tying score in Game 4 of the ALCS. From “Cowboy Up” in 2003 to the “Idiots” of 2004, Millar was the man who kept the Sox loose. Credited for his ability to placate Manny Ramirez and helping turn the Sox from “25 players, 25 cabs” to the tight unit that claimed the 2004 World Series.

The Line ‘€”

Millar was headed to Japan before the Sox scooped him up in 2003 in a little bit of a fishy transaction (the Marlins sold him but Millar blocked the waiver). Is one of the few players not in the Major League Baseball Players Association because he was a replacement player during the strike of 1994-95. Though his power would probably play better in say, the National League West, Millar has refused to leave the American League East after his time with the Sox by signing with the Orioles and Blue Jays. Famous quote before Game 4 against the Yankees: “Don’t let us win this game. … This is a big game. They’ve got to win, because if we win we’ve got Pedro coming back tomorrow and then Schilling will pitch Game 6 and then you can take that fraud stuff and put it to bed. Don’t let the Sox win this game.” The Sox won the game, of course, and the rest is history.

Orlando Cabrera

Current Occupation: Shortstop, Twins

2004 Stats: (With Red Sox) 58 games, 248 plate appearances, .294 average, .320 OBP, .465 slugging, 6 home runs, 31 RBI, 23 strikeouts, 11 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Short stop, eight-hole hitter

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 15 plate appearances, .154 average, .367 OBP, .231 slugging, 3 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 33 plate appearances, .379 average, .424 OBP, .448 slugging, 5 RBI, 5 strikeouts, 3 walks

WS: 4 games, 21 plate appearances, .235 average, .381 OBP, .294 slugging, 3 RBI, strikeout, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: Angels 2005-07, White Sox 2008, Athletics 2009, Twins 2009

Performance After 2004: 770 games, 3401 plate appearances, .282 average, .329 OBP, .385 slugging, 42 home runs, 349 RBI, 314 strikeouts, 225 walks

The Memories ‘€”

So long, Nomar! Cabrera was one of the key cogs in the trade deadline deals that sent long-time fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra out New England. Cabrera became a steadying influence and productive hitter from the shortstop spot and performed well in the ALCS.

The Line ‘€”

Is it any wonder that the Twins picked up Cabrera in the second half of 2009 then went on a miraculous run to beat out the Tigers for the American League Central crown? Well, yeah, probably a little bit, but the Sox went 42-19 in the 60 games after they acquired Cabrera. In his first game back in Boston, with the Angels in 2005, Cabrera received a 30-second standing ovation. Ironically, earlier in 2009, Cabrera and Garciaparra manned the left side of the Athletics infield, with Garciaparra at third and Cabrera at short.

Mark Bellhorn

Current Occupation: Infielder, Colorado Sky Sox (Rockies AAA affiliate)

2004 Stats: 138 games, 620 plate appearances, .264 average, .373 OBP, .444 slugging, 17 home runs, 82 RBI, 177 strikeouts, 88 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Second baseman, two-hole hitter (Bellhorn and Mueller were switched in the batting order a couple of times in the playoffs)

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 16 plate appearances, .091 average, .375 OBP, .091 slugging, 4 strikeouts, 5 walks

LCS ‘€”

7 games, 31 plate appearances, .192 average, .323 OBP, .500 slugging, 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 11 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 16 plate appearances, .300 average, .563 OBP, .700 slugging, 1 home run, 4 RBI, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2005, Padres 2006, Reds 2007

Performance After 2004: 222 games, 661 plate appearances, .198 average, .306 OBP, .344 slugging, 16 home runs, 58 RBI, 207 strikeouts, 88 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Bellhorn hit the fourth-inning, three-run home run in Game 6 against the Yankees that gave the Sox a lead they would not relinquish. It was a funny ball on a cold night in the Bronx that cleared the fence but hit a woman in the stands and bounced back into the field. There was some confusion if it was actually a home run, but the umpires conferred and got the call right. Bellhorn also hit a home run (no doubt this time) in Game 7. Also, 15 walks in 14 games in the playoffs is remarkable by itself.

The Line – “Who died and made you Mark Bellhorn?” Though he never hit again in his career, Bellhorn will be remembered fondly by the denizens of New England for his postseason drama. Kind of reminds you of Nick Green a little bit, right?

THE BULLPEN

Keith Foulke

Current Occupation: Pitcher, Newark Bears of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

2004 Stats: 72 games, 5 wins, 3 losses, 32 saves, 83 innings, 2.17 ERA, 79 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/ Stats: The closer

LDS ‘€”

2 games, save, 3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

5 games, 6 innings, 0.00 ERA, 6 strikeouts, 6 walks

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 win, 1 save, 5 innings, 1.80 ERA, 8 strikeouts, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2006, Athletics 2008

Performance After 2004: 118 games, 8 wins, 9 losses, 16 saves, 126.1 innings, 4.84 ERA, 93 strikeouts, 38 walks

The Memories ‘€”

There are desktop wallpapers, screen savers and posters all through New England of Varitek jumping into Foulke’s arms after the final out of the 2004 World Series. Foulke threw the pitch that became the out that made so many people cry and allowed old-time Sox fans go to their graves happy.

The Line ‘€”

Do not let the “Jonny from Burger King” comment be the thing you remember about Foulke. He was straight dominant in the 2004 playoffs, often times going multiple innings and still not allowing any runs. Why is he playing for the Newark Bears?

Mike Timlin

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 76 games, 5 wins, 4 losses, save, 76.1 innings, 4.13 ERA, 56 strikeouts, 19 walks

2004  Postseason Role/Stats: Setup man

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 3 innings, 9.00 ERA, 5 strikeouts, walk

LCS ‘€”

5 games, 5.2 innings, 4.76 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 5 walks

WS ‘€”

3 games, 3 innings, 6.00 ERA, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-08

Performance After 2004: 246 games, 19 wins, 14 losses, 249 innings, 3.72 ERA, 152 strikeouts, 70 walks

The Memories ‘€”

A lot of good memories with Timlin, though his pitching in the 2004 postseason was a little erratic. Timlin was always just one of those guys who looked really mean on the mound, even if he gave you a heart attack with that consistent 93 mph straight fastball. Timlin could dominate at times. Sometimes he got dominated.

The Line ‘€”

Timlin is one of the only non-Yankees players in history to be a member of four World Series winners (1992-93 with the Blue Jays, 2004 and ’07 with the Red Sox). Timlin signed a minor league contract with the Rockies on July 29 this season and was released on Aug. 15.

Mike Myers

Current Occupation: Special assistant to outgoing MLBPA head Donald Fehr

2004 Stats: (With Red Sox) 25 games, 1 win, 15 innings, 4.2o ERA, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Lefty specialist

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 0.1 inning, 27.00 ERA, strikeout, walk

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 2.1 innings, 7.71 ERA, 4 strikeouts, walk

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2006-07, White Sox 2007

Performance After 2004: 199 games, 8 wins, 3 losses, 122.1 innings, 3.90 ERA, 70 strikeouts, 46 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Ah, the old submariner. Did not pitch particularly well in the 2004 postseason and did not pitch in the World Series.

The Line ‘€”

It was always interesting to watch Myers and Chad Bradford (right submariner) warm up next to each other in the outfield in 2005. Retired from baseball in 2007.

Alan Embree

Current Occupation: Reliever, Rockies

2004 stats: 71 games, 2 wins, 2 losses, 52.1 innings, 4.13 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 11 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Setup, lefty specialist

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 1 inning, 0.00 ERA, walk

LCS ‘€”

6 games, 4.2 innings, 3.86 ERA, 2 strikeouts, walk

WS ‘€”

3 games, 1.2 innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 strikeouts

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Yankees 2005, Padres 2006, Athletics 2007-08, Rockies 2009

Performance After 2004: 314 games, 11 wins, 17 losses, 18 saves, 258.2 innings, 4.98 ERA, 211 strikeouts, 90 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Embree played the left-handed complement to Timlin and pitched reasonably well as a specialist in the 2004 playoffs. Was a go-to guy for Francona against the Yankees in tough spots during the ALCS with six appearances and recorded the final out in Game 7.

The Line ‘€”

Embree is the classic journeyman left-handed reliever, having played for 10 teams in 16 seasons. Broke his tibia when he was hit by the bat of Atlanta’s Martin Prado on July 11 this year and missed the rest of the season.

Curtis Leskanic

Current Occupation: Red Sox scout

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 32 games, 3 wins, 2 losses, 27.2 innings, 3.58 ERA, 22 strikeouts, 16 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Emergency reliever

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 win,  2.2 innings, 10.12 ERA, 2 strikeouts, 3 walks

Subsequent Teams: None

Performance After 2004: None.

The Memories ‘€”

Curtis “The Panic” Leskanic actually was the winning pitcher in the historic Game 4 against the Yankees as he pitched 1.1 innings and allowed one hit to Jorge Posada to lead off the top of the 12th. Apparently, that was enough panicking because Leskanic never pitched in the big leagues again.

The Line ‘€”

Leskanic hung up the cleats after 2004 and eventually joined the Sox scouting department. After the Sox won the World Series, Leskanic mimicked the snow angel celebration that Lonie Paxton did after the Patriots famous “Snow Bowl” victory over the Raiders en route to the 2002 Super Bowl. Hit Yankees right fielder Gary Sheffield with a pitch in 2004 but did not have to face Sheffield’s temper because Leskanic’s brother had installed a pool at Sheffield’s house.

Ramiro Mendoza

Current Occupation: Pitcher, Newark Bears of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

2004 Stats: 27 games, 2 wins, 1 loss, 30.2 innings, 3.52 ERA, 13 strikeouts, 7 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Emergency reliever

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 1 loss, 2 innings, 4.50 ERA, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Yankees 2005

Performance After 2004: 1 game, 1 innings, 18.00 ERA, strikeout

The Memories ‘€”

Face it, most of the memories of Mendoza actually came AGAINST the Red Sox, not for them. He spent his entire career except for 2003-04 with the Yankees and was an effective setup man for Rivera for awhile. Was the official losing pitcher (somebody had to be) in the disaster that was Game 3 in the ALCS.

The Line ‘€”

Mendoza joined Foulke in Newark with the Bears this year. Oddly enough, Scott Williamson also is on that team. Mendoza must not have liked the fact that he was on the Red Sox team when they finally won the World Series because he pitched exactly one inning for the Yankees in 2005 before leaving the big leagues for good. He did sign a minor league contract with the Yankees after 2005 and had a tryout with the Brewers this year but failed his physical. Pitched for Panama in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

The Bench

Dave Roberts

Current Occupation: NESN Red Sox analyst

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 45 games, 101 plate appearances, .256 average, .330 OBP, .442 slugging, 2 home runs, 14 RBI, 17 strikeouts, 10 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup outfielder, pinch-runner

LDS ‘€”

1 game, no plate appearances

LCS ‘€”

2 games, no plate appearances, 1 stolen base, 2 runs

Subsequent Teams: Padres 2005-06, Giants 2007-08

Performance After 2004: 410 games, 1618 plate appearances, .273 average, .349 OBP, .386 slugging, 12 home runs, 114 RBI, 204 strikeouts, 166 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Really, there is only one. “The Steal.” Millar walks, Roberts pinch-runs. Everybody on the planet knows that he has to steal second base. He goes, Posada fires. Safe. Mueller gets the hit that sends him home, and the Red Sox have never been the same since.

The Line ‘€”

“Maury Wills once told me that there will come a point in my career when everyone in the ballpark will know that I have to steal a base, and I will steal that base. When I got out there, I knew that was what Maury Wills was talking about.” Roberts will forever get a warm welcome at Fenway and now has a job with NESN, filling in for Jerry Remy on occasion.

Doug Mientkiewicz

Current Occupation: First baseman, Dodgers

2004 Stats: (With the Sox) 49 games, 119 plate appearances, .215 average, .286 OBP, .318 slugging, home run, 10 RBI, 18 strikeouts, 10 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Defensive first baseman

LDS ‘€”

3 games, 4 plate appearances, .500 average, .500 OBP, .500 slugging, RBI

LCS ‘€”

4 games, 5 plate appearances, .500 average, .500 OBP, .750 slugging, strikeout

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging.

Subsequent Teams: Mets 2005, Royals 2006, Yankees 2007, Pirates 2008, Dodgers 2009

Performance After 2004: 395 games, 1219 plate appearances, .270 average, .353 OBP, .405 slugging, 22 home runs, 129 RBI, 146 strikeouts, 128 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Dougie Baseball caught the underhand toss from Foulke for the final out in Game 4 against the Cardinals. He was the reliable late-inning defensive guru at first base to replace the sometimes adventurous meanderings of Millar. Part of the Garciaparra shuffle at the deadline as he came over from the Twins.

The Line ‘€”

I am keeping the ball … wait, what?! Mientkeiewicz caused a ruckus with the Sox after the World Series when he elected to keep the ball after the final out. A spokesperson for Major League Baseball said the ball belonged to Mientkeiewicz, as per normal baseball standards. Mientkiewicz let the ball tour with the World Series trophy during the winter of 2005 and eventually reached an agreement with the Red Sox to allow the ball to go to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Gabe Kapler

Current Occupation: Outfielder, Rays

2004 Stats: 136 games, 310 plate appearances, .272 average, .311 OBP, .390 slugging, 6 home runs, 33 RBI, 49 strikeouts, 15 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup outfielder

 

LDS ‘€”

2 games, 5 plate appearances, .200 average, .200 OBP, .200 slugging

LCS ‘€”

2 games, 3 plate appearances, .333 average, .333 OBP, .333 slugging

WS ‘€”

4 games, 2 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005-06, Brewers 2008, Rays 2009

Performance After 2004: 303 games, 734 plate appearances, .265 average, .328 OBP, .430 slugging, 19 home runs, 91 RBI, 108 strikeouts, 59 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Kapler was in right field for the final pitch of Game 4 against the Cardinals. Played in a career-high 136 games for the Sox in 2004.

The Line ‘€”

During the 2004 season Kapler was deciding whether or not to play on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. He consulted a Boston rabbi who reportedly told him: “Do it! We need all the help we can get!” Kapler played. Kapler went into semi-retirement in the 2007 season and managed the Sox’ Single-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive, for a year, coaching some of the rising prospects in the Sox organization, including Josh Reddick.

Doug Mirabelli

Current Occupation: Realtor, Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realty; manager, St. Francis High School baseball team in Traverse City, Mich.

2004 Performance: 59 games, 182 plate appearances, .281 average, .368 OBP, .525 slugging, 9 home runs, 32 RBI, 46 strikeouts, 19 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Backup catcher

LCS ‘€”

1 game, 1 plate appearance, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging

WS ‘€”

1 game, 3 plate appearances, .333 average, .333 OBP, .333 slugging, strikeout

Subsequent Teams: Red Sox 2005, Padres 2006 (for about two months), Red Sox 2006-07

Performance After 2004: 171 games, 481 plate appearances, .208 average, .283 OBP, .363 slugging, 17 home runs, 59 RBI, 148 strikeouts, 40 walks

The Memories ‘€”

Never the greatest hitter, “Duck Boat” Mirabelli occasionally got a hold of one with his long swing and push it over the Monster. Caught Wakefield in Game 1 of the World Series as his personal catcher and singled off Walt Williams in the third inning.

The Line ‘€”

Mirabelli may be the only backup catcher ever to get a police escort through Boston when he was reacquired by the Sox in 2006 from the Padres to catch Wakefield that night. Ended up with a little controversy when there was some “miscommunication” between him and Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne about the authenticity of Schilling’s bloody sock in Game 6 against the Yankees. Mirabelli would later insist that the sock indeed had blood on it.

Pokey Reese

Current Occupation: Free agent

2004 Stats: 96 games, 268 plate appearances, .221 average, 271 OBP, .303 slugging, 3 home runs, 29 RBI, 60 strikeouts, 17 walks

2004 Postseason Role/Stats: Defensive utility middle infielder

LDS ‘€”

3 games, no plate appearances, run

LCS ‘€”

3 games, 1 plate appearance, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging, strikeout

WS ‘€”

4 games, 1 plate appearances, .000 average, .000 OBP, .000 slugging

Subsequent Teams: Signed with the Mariners in 2005 but never played after suffering an injury; played in the Nationals’ system in 2008 but was limited by injuries.

Performance After 2004: None

The Memories ‘€”

Reese and Mientkiewicz were the defensive right side of the infield for the Red Sox as they would consistently come in late in games down the stretch and into the postseason to spell Millar and Bellhorn. Helped transform the Sox’ fielding from “somewhat atrocious” to “fairly respectable” late in the season.

The Line ‘€”

I bet you still see some “Pokey Woulda Had It!” bumper stickers around Boston. Reese was never much of a hitter, but he did hit two home runs in one game in May, an inside-the-park job and a normal Monster pop fly-turned-homer. He left the Red Sox in spring training of 2005 and hasn’t done much since.

Where Was I? On the final pitch of the final game I was sitting on a stool at a now-defunct bar called Atomic Burrito in Charlottesville, Va., watching the game and listening to a band called Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees. I was a kitchen manager in downtown Charlottesville at the time and did not have television in my apartment. So, I ended up listening to the late night games (since we got kicked out of the bar) on my radio, rocking back and forth on a dining room chair with my border collie, Kira. When Mientkiewicz caught the ball I was mobbed by all my fellow transplanted New Englanders, some of whom were crying, others trying to pull my pants down, walk-off style.

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New Padres GM Hoyer Saluted by Sox

10.27.09 at 2:32 am ET
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Here is the statement the Red Sox released after Jed Hoyer — a member of Boston’s baseball operations department from 2002-09 — was named the general manager of the San Diego Padres:

Jed Hoyer, the Red Sox Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager, was today named the Executive Vice President/General Manager of the San Diego Padres.

‘€œJed has been an immensely valuable member of our baseball ops team since joining the Red Sox in 2002,’€ said Red Sox Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein. ‘€œHis combination of analytical ability, feel for the game, interpersonal skills and creativity helped make us tick, and he played a role in virtually every major decision we have made. His loyalty and friendship will be missed, and we know he will continue to make us proud.’€

‘€œJohn Henry, Tom Werner and our entire ownership join Theo in expressing our gratitude and best wishes to Jed as he takes on this exciting new challenge in his already bright career as a baseball executive,’€ added President/CEO Larry Lucchino. ‘€œThroughout the eight seasons that he spent with us, his insight, hard work and great judgment were integral to the team’€™s success. In Jed, the Padres are catching a rising star and we will miss him both professionally and personally.’€

A native of Plymouth, N.H., Hoyer started with the Red Sox baseball operations department in 2002 and was named Assistant to General Manager Theo Epstein following the 2003 season. He served as Assistant General Manager for the 2006-08 campaigns, with a 44-day stint as co-General Manager in the offseason following the 2005 season. Hoyer, 35, was promoted to Senior Vice President/Assistant General Manager on January 12, 2009 with his primary duties focused on assisting Epstein in all player acquisitions, contract negotiations and player evaluations. During his tenure in Boston, he was actively involved in building the Red Sox roster, as well as Major League scouting, quantitative analysis and advance scouting. The club reached the playoffs six times (2003-05, 2007-09), earning two World Series titles (2004 and 2007) in his eight seasons with the Red Sox.

Hoyer is a 1996 graduate of Wesleyan University where he played shortstop and pitched for four seasons, helping the Cardinals to the championship game of the Division III World Series in 1994. Honored with the Ahrens Award as the school’€™s top male athlete his senior year, Hoyer later served as an assistant baseball coach at Wesleyan for two seasons.

Ben Cherington, now the club’€™s only Senior VP/Assistant GM, will transition from his role overseeing scouting and player development to a more traditional Assistant GM role focusing on Major League roster construction, professional player evaluation, and contract negotiations. With Cherington’€™s change in duties, Jason McLeod and Mike Hazen will have full autonomy in their roles as Scouting Director and Farm Director, respectively, and will report directly to the General Manager.

Read More: ben cherington, Jason McLeod, jed hoyer, mike hazen

Oct. 27, 2004: Remembering the Ecstasy, Five Years Later

10.27.09 at 2:26 am ET
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Five years ago, a total lunar eclipse — the first ever during a World Series game — occurred in the night sky shortly before midnight at Busch Stadium, shortly before Keith Foulke prepared to launch what would be the final pitch of the 2004 season to Edgar Renteria.

A swing and a soft ground ball later, the ball would find its way back into the glove of the Red Sox closer, and he lofted it over to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who eagerly awaited the underhand toss. Sealing it in his glove with one foot on the bag, Mientkiewicz threw his arms up, lifting his right index finger in the air, while Foulke turned in jubilation toward Jason Varitek, catching him in an elated leap of triumph. The Red Sox, on the strength of a 3-0 win in Game 4, were World Series champions for the first time since 1918 after sweeping the Cardinals.

When Mientkiewicz caught the ball — a ball he later would refuse to give to Red Sox management — every citizen of the diehard, passionate and avid fan base known as Red Sox Nation erupted into a frenzied state of mass hysteria. In Boston, delirious fans jumped into ponds, ran up and down Yawkey Way riding on broomsticks like they were Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus,” and flipped over cars.

They were unfazed by the armored Boston Police officers who looked ready to pounce on the first fanatic to get in their way. They did not care about midterms, deadlines or their Yankees-fan bosses’ threats that they would be fired if they did not arrive on time for work the next morning. This was the party they anticipated for decades. It was here at last.

Many laughed, many cried. Some screamed and others shouted. There were sighs of relief and howls of joy. “Dirty Water” blasted through stereos and “Sweet Caroline” echoed its “So good!” feeling in the exhilarated atmosphere. Bill Buckner received a full pardon.

College students climbed up lamp posts, hollering at the top of their lungs. People of all ages danced better than Patrick Swayze throughout Kenmore Square. And the celebration was not limited to those in America, but those in all corners of the globe. Those lying six feet under were given recognition for their loyalty as well, as many greeted their loved ones with World Series memorabilia.

This was the moment every member of the Nation had long awaited. Eighty-six years after the Red Sox had won their fifth World Series championship, the title was returning to Boston. They had accomplished the seemingly impossible. They were not just another championship team. They were the team. The best. The world’s greatest.

No team had ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in any playoff series to win four straight. This team did. The fans had suffered long enough. Those who died waiting, it was said over and over, were finally able to rest in peace.

Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Series champions: Could it get any better than this?

In the aftermath of Renteria’s final out, Red Sox players stormed the field in a celebration that would carry them all the way back to Boston. In the clubhouse, showering under the ice cold spray of bottled champagne, Johnny Pesky was at last able to receive the trophy he had whole-heartedly desired since his Red Sox team lost the 1946 World Series in St. Louis 58 years earlier. Curt Schilling gave a toast to the “greatest Red Sox team ever.” Shortstop Orlando Cabrera labeled the team a dynasty.

And Manny Ramirez, the World Series MVP, the disgruntled outfielder who was almost packaged in an offseason trade that would have sent Alex Rodriguez to the Sox and Manny to the Texas Rangers, offered one of his more profound statements, saying, “God sent me back here for a reason, and that’s why I am here.”

Theo Epstein, the engineer who built the band of lovable idiots, took part in the festivities as both a fan and a proud employee of the franchise. “A whole lot of people can die happy now, and a whole lot of people can live happy now — and we plan on doing it,” he said.

Terry Francona, in his first year as the team’s manager, got his wish to see his eccentric group of ballplayers jump onto each other like kids bouncing on a trampoline. Reliever Curtis Leskanic fell to the ground and attempted to make a snow angel in the grass in honor of how the Patriots celebrated a playoff victory.

Emotions were high throughout the Nation. Kevin Millar, who drew the leadoff walk off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS, reflected after the game that it was an “amazing feeling.”

Fans who had lived through a lifetime of letdown and disappointment were finally rewarded. There were converts from the dark Yankee Universe who finally were able to validate their reasoning for crossing over. And there was 18-year veteran Ellis Burks, who was at last able to end his career by bringing home a championship.

Already, people were talking about the parade. Already, fans were preparing to hate on the Yankees (as Manny Ramirez did when he held a poster reading “Jeter is playing golf today. This is better!”). And Derek Lowe already was anticipating returning to Yankee Stadium without having to hear the “1918” chants (though that would be the last night he would wear a Sox uniform).

Lowe’s jersey that he wore during his win in Game 4 would be immortalized in the Hall of Fame along with Cabrera’s glove, Schilling’s and Foulke’s spikes, Pedro Martinez‘ cap, and several other treasured artifacts.

Not since the Boston Tea Party, it seemed, had the city exploded in such a fervent and zealous outburst. Red and navy shirts and jerseys streamed across the Boston Common and alongside the Charles River. It was a declaration of independence from the so-called Curse of the Bambino. The Sox were finally champions.

These are the images and the sounds that will forever be etched in the memories of Red Sox fans around the country. It was a night that no Sox fan will ever forget. Whenever someone asks a citizen where he or she was on Oct, 27, 2009, at 11:40 p.m., the answer will be an easy one. Everyone can distinctly remember what they were doing. Whether they celebrated from the comfort of their home, from the streets lining Beantown, or at the park in St. Louis, Red Sox fans will surely remember the moment that their prayers were answered and their faith rewarded.

The championship drought was over. Red Sox fans could ask for nothing more than the opportunity to soak in that moment of glory.

Read More: 1918, 2004 Anniversary, 86 years, world series

Beltran Not an Option for Sox (or Anyone Else)

10.26.09 at 1:29 pm ET
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A recent story in the Boston Herald suggested that Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran could be an intriguing contingency plan for the Red Sox this offseason should Boston fail to re-sign left fielder Jason Bay. If Bay were to depart, the report suggested, the Sox could entertain the idea of trading for Beltran — one of the best defensive players in the game, and a middle-of-the-order hitter to boot — and moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left field.

However, it appears that there is virtually no chance that such a deal could happen. While Beltran — who has two years, each at $18.5 million (though with $5.5 million of each season’s salary due in deferred, interest-gathering payments), left on his seven-year, $119 million deal — would undoubtedly be both affordable and attractive to the Sox or just about any other team seeking an outfielder, there is virtually no chance that he will be dealt.

A major league source said that the Mets would not even entertain the idea of trading Beltran. The Mets are instead giving every indication that they will be active in adding pieces this offseason (New York is expected to get involved in the market for Bay and/or Matt Holliday). Given that likelihood, it would not make sense for the team to deal one of its best players.

Beltran is coming off a season in which he missed 2½ months with a bone bruise on his right knee. When healthy, he performed at an elite level, hitting .325 with a .360 OBP, .496 slugging mark, 10 homers and 11 steals (in 12 attempts) while playing in 81 games.

While it would not appear that there is a scenario in which Beltran would be dealt to Boston this winter, the Sox had pursued him aggressively in the past. Most notably, when he was on the trade block as a member of the Royals during the 2004 season, the Sox had a standing offer to deal Kevin Youkilis and Kelly Shoppach for the center fielder.

Instead, Kansas City elected to deal Beltran as part of a three-way deal with the Athletics and Astros. The Royals ended up receiving catcher John Buck and corner infielder/outfielder Mark Teahen in the deal.

Read More: carlos beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, john buck, kelly shoppach

Pitcher Kikuchi Decides to Stay in Japan

10.24.09 at 11:09 pm ET
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Yusei Kikuchi, the highly regarded Japanese phenom with whom the Red Sox met on Monday, has decided to remain in Japan and enter the NPB draft rather than pursue a career in the U.S. The Sox were one of eight teams Major League Baseball teams with whom the left-handed pitcher met.

Kikuchi features a fastball that sits at 89-92 mph and that touches the mid-90s. That, combined with a potentially plus-curveball, made him a talent who intrigued teams in the U.S. and Japan alike.

Kikuchi, 18, could have signed as an international amateur free agent with an MLB team. He is more highly regarded than countryman Junichi Tazawa, who signed a $3.3 million major-league deal with the Sox as an amateur last offseason.

He announced his decision in a press conference in Japan.

Wakefield: ‘Everything was awesome’

10.22.09 at 4:02 pm ET
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Speaking on a conference call, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield said “everything was awesome” regarding Wednesday’s surgery on his herniated disc in his back and that he plans on beginning his usual preparation for the 2010 season in 4-6 week

Wakefield reiterated that he is still setting the goal of winning 200 career games, while also setting the mark for most victories by a Red Sox’ pitcher, currently owned by Roger Clemens and Cy Young (192), which he is shy of 17 of tying. The 43-year-old said that he had no regrets on how he or the team handled the injury, which limited Wakefield to four starts after the All-Star break. Wakefield also said that his arm felt fresher, even before the injury, than the last few seasons.

It was assumed that if the surgery went well the Red Sox would pick up the 43-year-old’€™s $4 million option for the 2010 season. The Red Sox have five days after the conclusion of the World Series to exercise the option.

‘€œWake is someone that is in our plans and we hope makes starts for us next year and is a member of the rotation,’€ said Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein during a press conference the day after the conclusion of the Red Sox’€™ season. ‘€œWe haven’€™t sat down and finalized anything. Obviously we want to see how the surgery goes and then both sides will sit down and talk.’€ 

Wakefield has said that doctors told him that the procedure would not hinder his preparation for next season. The disc had pressed on a nerves in the pitcher’s back, causing weakness in his right leg.

Theo speaks on offseason, Drew, and philosophies

10.22.09 at 8:50 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein joined the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning and touched on his team’s approach to the offseason, the value of J.D. Drew, the future of Daniel Bard as a closer. and some of the organization’s philosophies. 

Here is what he said (click here to listen)

(On watching the postseason) It does kind of remind you that the offseason is almost upon us and there are some long phone calls. But I’ll tell you what, it’s hard watching games when you’re rooting for both teams to lose.

If we had to make long-term decisions the next day we probably wouldn’t make great decisions. 

A lot of time if you focus on why you lost a certain playoff series, and what went wrong in that series, you’re not going to make quality decisions. If you look at the season as a whole, what went wrong and what went right in the season and take a look at the big picture and where you are as an organization, where you are in your long-term plans you make better decisions. It’s not as much fun. Having that visceral reaction is sometimes more satisfying, but you have to take a step back.

If you would have told us that Bay would have a big season, Drew would have a big season, Ellsbury would have a big developmental season, a big step forward, Youkilis would have another big season, we would trade for Victor Martinez at the trading deadline and he would be huge for two months, we’d have food performance at the front of our rotation with Beckett and Lester, Buchholz would come in July and become a really good pitcher for two months. All these things went right and we won 95 games I would say, ‘Let’s go, let’s start the playoffs tomorrow.’ I just feel like we didn’t show up in those three games. It wasn’t like we weren’t a team without any issues whatsoever. We had our issues and they manifested and cost us a little bit. We went through mysterious and frustrating stretches where we didn’t hit at all on the road. That happens.

(The premise that it is harder to retain a player once they hit the free agent market) That could happen here. Clearly if a player reaches free agency usually the team that over bids is the one that lands him. That’s not necessarily the case here, but it sure could be. We have to prepare for that contingency if he leaves. I don’t think the negotiation is over by any means.

Certainly there’s a good feeling involved. He wants to be here, and we want to keep him and take a shot it. If it works out, great. If not we’ll move on.

(On the lack of performance on the road) This year for some reason we really underperformed on the road. There are players who don’t have the pop to go out regularly on the road but do at Fenway, and those guys perform a lot better at home than on the road. But there are other players who don’t particularly don’t have characteristics that would make them better players at Fenway that also underperformed on the road. Maybe there’s something to it where we can’t have to many guys who have swings built for Fenway Park, but I think mainly it was just a fluky year almost every player just happened to play better at home than on the road.

(On the personality of the team) We can’t build a team on sort of psycho-babble. We try and get 25 high-character guy. The bottom line is this team had a great personality. It was calm outwardly on the field, very  professional, but behind closed doors they had a ton of fun. There were a lot of leaders who showed up hard to play every single day. We won 95 games in a really tough division and if we had performed better in the playoffs nobody would be talking about our personality.

I couldn’t care less whether they’re emotional and display their personality on the field, or in order to play well they keep their emotions under check. I couldn’t care less as they play well and they’re good teammates to one another.

(On perception of J.D. Drew) There’s always been a descrepency between how valuable a player he is and how he’s viewed by a certain element of the fan base, and the media in particular. There’s been a lot of strides in the game in terms of how people properly value players based on more meaningful statistics. Drew is sort of a touchstone so to speak for that because you actually look at the underlying performance and things that really matter as far as winning games and not winning games, he’s been over the length of the contract one of the 10 most valuable outfielders in baseball. Over the last two years I think he’s been one of the top two or three in the league, and this past year, again, one of the top two or three most valuable outfielders in the American League. And yet if you simplify the game down to what somebody’s batting average was, how many home runs they hit or how many RBIs they had, which is what we all grew up doing but by today’s standards is a pretty primitive way to look at the game.

From a straight objective standpoint, what he contributes offensively and what he contributes defensively, and add in baserunning so it’s the total value of the player, on a rate basis he was outstanding and there aren’t too many outfielders who compare to what he did.

(Is Drew worth the contract?) What he’s done the first three years of that contract, just looking at straight free agent dollars — obviously you can’t compare him to an arbitration market, or a pre-arb player — what he’s done qualitatively and when you even factor in the amount he’s played over these three years, yeah, he’s come out to a tick more than $14 million per year.

(On Drew not driving in runs) This year it was sort of freakish how well he performed offensively and how few runs he drove in in the lineup. Start with the basic premise that that type of player is always going to be better at scoring runs than driving in runs in because while he does have a high slug, his on-base skills, those are his strengths because he’s on base a lot and he’s a terrific baserunner. He’s going to score more runs. When somebody who tends to walk a lot tends to drive in fewer runs than somebody who puts the ball in play a lot. In Drew’s case he’s an extreme because he walks at a tremendously high rate. Ted Williams has been criticized over and over again, hey runner on third and less than two outs you have to expand the zone and swing at something that’s a ball just to drive the runner in. Well, Williams wouldn’t do that. He would take his walk and he was criticized for it. Wade Boggs was criticized for it. J.D. doesn’t do it. Some hitters come out of their approach and put the ball in play in RBI situation and drive in runs and some hitters don’t do that. Drew is the type of hitter who doesn’t do it, and to be honest with you as an organization we don’t mind if guys don’t come out their approach. It might cost you not driving in runs here or there but in the long run, staying in one’s approach which is getting in a hitters count, getting a pitch you can drive and then driving that ball, and if not then taking your walk, in our mind that’s more fundamentally more important. 

There’s labels that tend to happen. People who don’t like Drew will call him uncaring or apathetic or aloof. People who like him will say he has ice in his veins. Then these narratives may or may not even be true, so people who don’t like a player like that will say, ‘He doesn’t care. He doesn’t come through in the clutch.’ They just start these broad labels that aren’t necessarily true. Can you think of a hitter who has had more big hits, more big home runs for us the past three season in the postseason in the last three seasons than Drew? He has more postseason RBIs the past three years than any player that we have. So this narrative sort of takes a life of it own and it’s not always true.

(On not valuing such stats as RBI as some others) If we both grew up in schools that taught us the Earth was flat and then all of a sudden when we went out to get a job as a surveyor and the first thing they taught us in school and the first thing they taught us in school was that the Earth was round it would be tough for you to accept that but over time you would start to operate in which the world is round and make better decisions based on that and that’s sort of the way the game is evolving. I actually don’t believe in extremes. I believe that you have to balance it and don’t look exclusively at any one set of numbers. You have to balance in the human element. You have to balance in scouting with objective analysis. But for something that fundamental like using numbers … if you’re using numbers to access offensive performance than don’t use numbers that don’t correlate to scoring runs which then correlates to winning. You might as well use the numbers which best correlate to scoring runs which correlates best to winning.

(On referencing Ortiz in the post-season press conference) I stated a reality is that to be the team we needs to be, David Ortiz is our DH, he needs to be a force. We’re a different team when he is a force, when he’s hitting all kinds of pitching and hitting the ball to all fields and being a really tough out and driving the ball. That’s just the reality. I’m not trying to send anybody a message. I don’t send messages to the players through the media. I talk to our players a lot about things, but I don’t send messages through the media.

(On whether Daniel Bard is ready to be a closer) I think he has the physical ability to do that and I think we saw as he developed over the course of the year he has the mental make-up to do that as well. At the same time I think he’s a work in progress. This is somebody who performed really well at the highest level but is still working on some fundamental parts of his game. He’s still tweaking his breaking ball. He’s got a good breaking ball but it probably isn’t where it will be eventually. This is somebody who is still really a work in progress and while he may have the ability to do something it might not be the best thing for the long-term and his career if we force him into something.

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