On This Day: October 27, 2004

Foulke-Mientkiewicz

And nothing was the same ever again.

Here is a beautiful essay by my brother Brendan about the family tradition of the Red Sox, as embodied by my crazy godfather, Uncle Jimmy.

My stomach still clenches in anxiety when I watch Foulke toss that ball to first. He tosses it to Mientkiewicz in an overly gentle – almost gingerly – fashion, not wanting to over-throw, every muscle of his body screaming in taut tension, “Do not screw this up, do not screw this up….” It was a little gentle bloop of a throw. And then all hell broke loose. Almost a century of multi-generational disappointment vanished. People lost their ever-loving minds. I called my mother at one point during the final inning because I could not bear to be apart from my family and she hung up on me. My mother has probably never hung up on anyone in her whole life, let alone one of her children. But that’s how anxious and obsessed she was: Splitting focus was too nervewracking. And I thought, not, “Jeez my feelings are hurt” but “Wow, that was stupid of me to call right now.”

I was watching in a Red Sox bar in Hoboken, deep in enemy territory. I had been going there for a straight week-and-a-half, to watch those long … long … LONG games … and thought: “I can’t keep this up much longer. I’ve been drunk for 6 days and getting 4 hours of sleep a night because these games are ending at 1 in the morning.” This was my first post the next day. It says it all. Let’s not forget too that there was a lunar eclipse on October 27. The bar where I watched the game had a skylight in the center of the roof. So as the game progressed, we would glance up through the skylight and watch the eclipse. If you put this in a screenplay, it would be rejected as too obvious.

Joe Castiglione’s call of that play on WWI in Boston:

Swing and a ground ball stabbed by Foulke! He has it, he underhands to first – and the Boston Red Sox are the World Champions! For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball’s world championship! Can you believe it?

No. In some ways, I still can’t. I wish my Uncle Jimmy had lived to see that day.

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7 Responses to On This Day: October 27, 2004

  1. sheila says:

    I went back to see what I had written the first thing the next morning.

    Here’s the post. hahahaha

  2. Dan says:

    A great end to a great ten days.

  3. sheila says:

    Yes. Grueling, too. Those games were LONG. But worth it.

    And everyone held their breath as Foulke made that gentle – almost delicate – lob to first. Like – oh my God, man, do not fuck this up.

  4. Elliott says:

    Yes, it was a grueling ten days, but it was also a grueling year and ten days. In my forty-odd years of being aware of sports, I have never seen a story defy the off-season like the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry did in 2003/4. I don’t want to get to far into the weeds of sports nostalgia in this comment, but the 2004 Championship Series was an engrossing, exhausting exercise in fandom, and if everything changed after, which it did, it could be because there was literally nothing left of what came before.

    I mean, the details are all ballplaying, physics demonstrations, essentially, but what rose out of it as narrative, some settled, some contested, much of it spanning generations, braiding together into a couple of phenomenal collisions of ballplaying separated by a year, the first of which seemed destined to sink into the stream of stories until the second, miraculously, served as an ending, is a demonstration that the sum of people’s determinations can manifest itself physically.

    • sheila says:

      // I don’t want to get to far into the weeds of sports nostalgia in this comment, but the 2004 Championship Series was an engrossing, exhausting exercise in fandom //

      It took over my site for the entirety of that year, practically.

      My first memory ever – on this planet – as a sentient human being – was being held by my dad at a Red Sox game at Fenway. So I am a part of that narrative. It’s part of my identity, my background, the air we all breathed.

      and yes, 2004 was a hell of a narrative. If you scripted it, it would sound fake. I mean, bloody sock? Come on, get outta here.

      • Elliott says:

        Totes, as they say.

        My dad took us to a Red Sox/Yankees game when I was maybe nine. I want it to be nine, because that was ’78. My brother napped through the Yankees rally and woke up for the Sox rally, so he could have been four. Mostly I remember the happy people cheering and the big bleacher scoreboard overhead. It was the biggest thing I had ever seen.

        I also remember playing near the TV while the ’75 World Series was on.

        They woke me up for the moon landing too, but, pish, people walked on the moon all the time when I was a kid.

        • sheila says:

          Ha!

          // I also remember playing near the TV while the ’75 World Series was on. //

          I remember a similar thing when I was a kid – that series was when I first started really following the Sox as my own independent being. A helluva series. First time I got my heart broke. It wouldn’t be the last!!

          I’m just so sorry that my godfather, Uncle Jimmy, the biggest Sox fan I ever knew in my life, was not alive in 2004. Me and my cousins all kept saying stuff like, “Oh God, Uncle Jimmy, wherever you are, I hope you’re watching!”

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