2004 Red Sox Vs. 2013 Red Sox: Who Ya Got?

The 2015 Red Sox are……welluhhhhhhhhh…..

will puke

trainwreck gif

drake shot

sad frog

screams internally

I need to get my mind off of these stupid fucks for a fat minute. When it isn’t the hitting, it’s the pitching. When it isn’t the pitching, it’s the fielding. When you think they get a lil’ rally going and things might be turning the corner, they give up 264,388 runs in an inning. When they surrender one run through a whole game, they get shut out.

And it’s not even just the players. Farrell, to save his balls, cannot keep the standard of discipline and unity in the locker room. He can’t even get them to remember how many outs are in an inning. The “I don’t care” level is too damn high! They had a little momentum going for them before losing the Yankees series right before the All-Star break. Those three games (especially that rubber match) was what could’ve saved your season. So now here we are at the end of the break as we’re about to start a four game series against one of the two contenders for the AL pennant with the best player in baseball in their corner. Sick. Maybe it’s not all Farrell’s fault since he’s been given some of these fuckboys; thanks a lot to Mr. I-Can’t-Make-A-Quality-Trade Cherington and our shitty ownership led by that asshole Lucchino and Werner who’s always out to lunch.

#NeverForget

So basically, every single part of this organization blows dick. Most of the players, the coaches, and the front office people have their heads so far up their asses that I can’t take much more of it, especially after giving up 31 runs in 3 games a few weeks ago and that shit show against the Yankees. I’ll let Mike Singletary have the floor.

*end rant*

To spare myself and all of you of the unfortunate times upon us, I’ve decided to put another one of my Johnny Cash I fell into a ring of fire flames ideas into action via Stitched Up. This shit season has gotten me reminiscent of the glory days of seasons past.

For full effect:

In turn, I thought specifically of the bookend championships. Not to take anything away from 2007 because they were SOOOOOO good and had a tremendous comeback against Cleveland in the ALCS, but ’04 and ’13 are far more memorable and I think pretty much everyone with a working brain can back me up on that. And to add some competitive flare to my personal experience of this baseball season, because Based God knows I’m not seeing said competitive action where I’m supposed to, I wanted to break down which season/team was better/more memorable: the 2004 Red Sox or the 2013 Red Sox? The Idiots or the Bearded Brothers?

Now I know it’s hard to think of it as an overall choice right off the bat, no pun intended but totally intended once I realized it, so I’m breaking it all down in multiple facets of the season: the players at each position, the excitement of the season’s progression, the team’s swagger and likeability, etc.

Catcher: Jason Varitek vs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia

I always kinda liked Salty, but the first matchup is a relatively easy one. The Captain is The Captain, and Varitek was one of the most beloved players on the Sox throughout his career. In fact, he was adored so much that he indirectly and almost single-handedly started one of the worst trends in Red Sox history: the wave of pink hats at Fenway.

pink shirt

Pink shirts…pink shirts everywhere.

Varitek wins. 1-0 2004.

First Base: Kevin Millar vs. Mike Napoli

Don’t get me wrong: Napoli is was a savage.

Yet although Nap added a bunch of positive morale to that 2013 clubhouse, Millar was the 2004 positive morale personified. His happy-go-lucky attitude from start to finish spread throughout those 24 other guys like a plague, and that’s one of the reason why Sox fans everywhere adore that 2004 squad to this day. That and, you know, the whole curse being broken thing, too.

Millar wins. 2-0 2004.

Second Base: Mark Bellhorn vs. Dustin Pedroia

The only advantage Bellhorn has over Pedey is that I met the dude once at South Shore Hospital. Weird, right? But other than that, Pedroia is, and very well might be forever, my favorite Red Sox player that I’ve seen play in person. Tremendous talent with a huge work ethic and heart. Impossible to dislike him, and impossible to beat him here.

Pedroia wins. 2-1 2004.

Third Base: Bill Mueller vs. Will Middlebrooks

Loved Middlebrooks, but Mueller gets it for two reasons: that walk-off HR against Mariano Rivera in the Tek-ARod fight game, and the game tying RBI in Game 4 against Mo. Dude’s cold as ice. Also, he low key won a batting title in 2003 so that helps. Whatevz, I’m sure Will isn’t that upset!

Go! Go U! Go U-Mass! GO UMASS!

Mueller wins. 3-1 2004

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrerra vs. Stephen Drew

Did Drew get a hit? No. Does he win here? No. Orlando’s probably my favorite player on that ’04 team, him or Millar. This is kinda getting out of hand.

Cabrerra wins. 4-1 2004

Left Field: Manny Ramirez vs. Jonny Gomes

It’s obvious who the better player is here. Manny very well could’ve won AL MVP in 2004, and he won the World Series MVP in addition to being Manny. But he’s an asshole; we can all agree on that, right? Stupid player, was kind of always a pain in the clubhouse, reminds me a bit of Yasiel Puig. On the other hand, Gomes isn’t a great player, but he’s exactly like Millar. Why? Because the 2013 Red Sox are not even close to the same without him. He started the Bearded Brotherhood identity much like Millar started the Idiots identity. He was THE guy everybody loved; if it wasn’t for Pedroia, then he would easily be my favorite guy on that team. I still empty the quiver to this day in celebration of certain things. Hell, I got in trouble for doing it on stage for awards at speech a few times (weird brag Fitz!). So for the same reason I picked Millar, and add in his HUUUUGE homer in Game 4 of the World Series, I gotta go with Ironsides. Pull that beard brotha!

empty the quiver

Gomes wins. 4-2 2004

Center Field: Johnny Damon vs. Jacoby Ellsbury

Both were traitors and went to the Yankees, both are kinda pansies, but at least Johnny Damon has that grand slam to his credit in Game 7 of the ALCS. This was kind of a meh matchup, so I’ll take the dude who’s less of a bitch. Also, Johnny Damon in MVP 05: underrated AF.

Damon wins. 5-2 2004

Right Field: Gabe Kapler vs. Shane Victorino

Lemme ask you something: do you have any vivid memories of Kap on the field? Like huge plays, big moments, anything? Neither do I. He was a guy I, like many others, loved because of his hustle, but he was never a guy you’d look to and say, “Wow, Gabe Kapler is so vital for the team.” As for Victorino, 2013 (briefly) revived his career. He hit one of the biggest homers in Red Sox postseason history in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Tigers. The ladies might disagree with this one, but Victorino wins big time here.

Victorino wins. 5-3 2004.

DH: 2004 David Ortiz vs. 2013 David Ortiz

I’m gonna call this a draw. At first I thought, “Oh, 2004, easy. He had two of the clutchest hits ever.” But 2013 Ortiz had some INCREDIBLY clutch hits. Also, he hit. 688 in the World Series. He hit about .300 in the ’04 Series, which is good and all, but come ON; .688?! Also, Ortiz had the handicap of being older in 2013. When you think about it, it’s not too far out of the question to call this one a tie. Plus, it’s the same person soooooooooo…

Draw. 5-3 2004

Backups

Trot: Dirt Dog, but nothing special. Pokey: Assisted the last out in the ALCS, nothing special. Doug Mirrabelli: DOUGIE’S GOING DEEP TONIGHT but nothing special. Youk: Not the Youk we knew and loved quite then; nothing special. Mientkiewicz: Made the last out in the ALCS and WS, but nothing special.

Nava: Had some nice moments, but not too special. Carp: Looked rapey; not too special. JBJ: Had a hot start but nothing special.

But how about David Ross and Xander Bogaerts? Ross was such a help behind the plate when we needed him; he was a true team player. X man had his coming out party during the 2013 playoffs, as he played out of his mind. ANY other time, I give it to 2013 since they had a higher quantity of guys contribute in key moments…

…but the steal tho. Quality>Quantity.

2004 bench wins. 6-3 2004.

Rotation

JUST WHEN I WAS STARTING TO GET OVER LOSING LESTER!

This is a no brainer. Pedro, Lowe’s heroics all postseason long, Arroyo starting a fight, Wakefield stepping up in the Series, and a sock. The 2013 staff was nice, and I wish I saw more of first-half-of-2013 Buchholz, but child please.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez lifts his friend Nelson, from the Dominican Republic, during their locker room celebration after the Red Sox beat the Anaheim Angels 8-6 in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, in Boston October 8, 2004. The Red Sox swept the series three games to none. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

RIP Pedro’s Little Friend

2004 rotation wins. 7-3 2004.

Manager: Terry Francona vs. John Farrell

If it’s today, then Tito by a MILE. But this is a nice matchup since both guys had similar stories. Francona’s first season with the Sox was 2004, while Farrell’s was 2K13. The reason why I put Farrell ahead here is decided by what both guys had to work with following the season prior. After losing a heartbreaker in the 2003 ALCS to the Yankees, the Sox were ready to splurge. They were already considered legit players for the crown, but when they got Schilling and revamped for another run they were given some of the best odds to win it all, which they did. Francona inherited that. What did Farrell inherit? Shit. Actual shit. The 2012 Red Sox and that FUCKING TWAT of a manager Booby V (see what I did there? I made a funny) was so ugly that I actually almost stopped caring about the team. The chicken and beer, the ugly losses, yuck. Farrell turned a team that was expected to be mediocre into the best team in baseball. THAT’S some great management; he should try and get back to his old ways, eh?

Farrell wins. 7-4 2004.

Bullpen

Foulke was great, Koji was better. Timlin was great, Miller was better. Embree was great, Breslow was better. Simple as that. Both bullpens were fantastic, but 2013’s did what 2004’s could and more. However, Curtis Leskanic is the man. I’ll give you that, 2004.

Stallion.

2013 bullpen wins. 7-5 2004.

Season Progression (start to finish, how exciting the season was)

As I mentioned earlier, we as fans pretty much could’ve expected the 2004 Red Sox to at least be in the ALCS. So as great as the postseason was, and it was legendary to say the least, and as fun as the regular season was, the season was almost always going to progress into October. If you told me on April 1st, 2013 that the Red Sox would be prime contenders for a world championship, I would’ve laughed right in your face. The pure element of surprise is what does it for me. That, and also add in the fact that the 2013 World Series was muuuuuch better than the 2004 World Series in terms of how good and entertaining the games were. C’mon, a clean sweep? Game 1 was really the only tight game that went down to the wire. While the 2004 ALCS features the greatest comeback in sports history, I think the overall and unexpected excitement from 2013’s start to finish is enough to succeed that.

2013 season progression wins. 7-6 2004.

Team Personality/Likeability

Everywhere you turned in 2013, there were references to the Bearded Brothers. Shirts, tweets, hell they were naming beard styles based on each player’s respective beard. It was like a hockey beard, except for some reason more personal and engaged with the fans. The ski goggles, crazy helmets, and quiver emptying only added. And while the 2004 Red Sox team was full of personality-Cabrerra, Millar, Manny, Papi, etc.-personality is what really took control of the 2013 squad. On paper, again, the 2004 Red Sox are the team that is much better. But that’s exactly my point; chemistry among teammates is so vital in baseball. Positive vibes in the clubhouse can turn a .500 team into champions like it did in 2013. I give this one to ’13.

2013 team personality/likeability wins. 7-7 tie.

What a furious comeback by the ’13 Sox! What seemed like a surefire win for the ’04 Sox has now turned into a competitive series. Reminds you of something, Yankees fans? Also, disclaimer before we head into the 15th and final round: I thought of these categories prior to writing this. It’s not rigged or anything. When I got to like 4-1 2004, I was like, “Shit. This blog is gonna blow since it’s gonna be a blowout.” Nope, did Fitz do it again or did Fitz do it again?! Now, lastly…

Historical Relevance

You can define this a couple of different ways. The 2004 Red Sox were sent on a mission from Gahd…

…while the 2013 Red Sox were sent on a mission for Boston.

I don’t totally have to explain to you how important the Sox were to this city after the events that transpired on April 15th, 2013. I was at that Patriots’ Day game at Fenway. Terrific game; it was 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th, Pedey was on second and Napoli hit a double to left to drive in the winning run. Fenway went nuts, and everyone was in high spirits. 40 minutes later, the bombs went off at the Marathon. Me and my dad were parked near Northeastern, so if we were parked the other way from Fenway we probably would’ve been right smack in the middle of the madness. I’ll never forget listening to Mike Felger announcing the breaking news and seeing the first pictures of the gruesome scene on Twitter.

That day was obviously traumatizing to everyone in the area, and the Red Sox played a tremendous role in helping the city heal. When they won it all at Fenway on October 30th, the city started a new chapter of moving on. No more sadness, only joy in the streets of Boston.

Not to take away from the tragedy of the bombings…but the Red Sox weren’t alone in healing the city. Don’t forget that the Bruins had a playoff run just a month or two after the Marathon, and they were 17 seconds away from setting up a game 7 tilt for the Stanley Cup.

That Bruins team brought the city together much like the Sox did. The Bruins organization and fans were responsible for creating the greatest singing of the national anthem in recent memory. The comeback against Toronto made a union between us all that will be hard to replicate.

The thing that hurts the 2013 Sox here is that a good amount of the pain had been wiped away by that Cup run. Granted, there were still some open wounds come fall, but the difference between April to June and April to October is drastic. The World Series capped off an incredible and emotional run that was heavily fueled by the Marathon, but we as fans already got some of that from the Bruins. Again, that’s not reducing the seriousness of the Marathon bombings. I’m just saying that the Sox didn’t completely wipe away the pain of the events months prior. Now if the Bruins didn’t do much in the playoffs, if they lose that game 7 against the Leafs, and the Sox still went on to win, then they pretty much would’ve gained a monopoly of the city and this final matchup between the two champions would be a bit different.

The 2004 Red Sox ventured into something completely different in terms of history. They had the daunting task of being not just rooted on, but expected to wipe away 86 years of pain, anger, and misery. These guys weren’t the Sox that were just bad like the 90s teams. No, they were heavyweights and anything short of breaking the Curse was a failure. That 2003 ALCS loss is the worst loss in team history. Buckner’s error in ’86 isn’t as bad since they still had one more game left to play and redeem themselves. Plus, The Boone game was the one that was supposed to change the dynamic of the Sox-Yanks rivalry. But with one pitch, one knuckleball from Tim Wakefield that didn’t knuckle, the franchise and their fans were crushed.

2004 was “next year.” The year that Red Sox Nation had been waiting for the longest time. We finally beat the Yankees (in their own house!) in the best way possible. We did the impossible. We won the World fucking Series. If that’s not historically relevant, I don’t know what is.

So yes, the 2013 Red Sox transcended sports, which in the eyes of history is huge. But they weren’t the first in the city to do that; whether that’s a fair point to make or not, it’s true. But the 2004 team did something that not many other group of players in any sport can claim. They took a franchise with a culture of being the loveable losers into some of the most feared individuals in the game. They changed history, and for that I have to reward them with this round and the win.

2004 historical relevance wins. 8-7 2004.

So there you have it: 2004 over 2013. I still love that ’13 team like they’re members of my family, but they’re more like the in-laws in my mind. The 2004 Sox, however, are my family by blood. 25 guys who I can name in my sleep. 25 guys that changed everything. It’s so hard to pick one over the other since I love them both so much, but this whole thing takes nothing away from what those guys were able to do two years ago. They won a ring and got a lot of money, so I don’t think they’ll complain to much. But you know who might be? The 2007 team. Again, they were SO good, but they have a mean case of Middle Child Syndrome.

Now if only the 2015 team can pick it up a bit…take it away Tommy!

Agree or disagree with my answers/final conclusion? Tweet at me @BfitzP17.