On This Day: October 27, 2004


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?

I wish my Uncle Jimmy had lived to see that day.

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19 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:


          // 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!”

  5. Elliott says:

    I had no idea they were as tough as they were. Every time I thought they were in the soup, they swam to the edge of the bowl and climbed out.

  6. I remember watching the final outs that night, and then the teevee people (FOX Sports, I think?) did the thing where they cut to the city that’s just won the championship, and there are hundreds of people around Faneuil Hall (I think), but they’re not cheering or dancing or going wild; they’re just…wandering around in a kind of a daze. Since they’ve won twice more since then, it’s hard to remember just what a folkloric thing it was, the Red Sox’s never-winning, every few years coming oh-so-close but never getting that last out. It’s interesting to think of how three of baseball’s mythological “always the bridesmaid” teams–Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs–would win it all in the next dozen years starting in 2004.

    Oh, and my boss at the time is a huge Yankees fan. He was just a TON of fun to be around the day after the Yankees completed their ALCS collapse!

    (I’m a Pirates fan, which means that I get to live vicariously through other baseball teams.)

  7. Jen W says:

    I just legitimately laughed out loud reading that your mom hung up on you.

  8. Elliott says:

    Fun team this year. Frustrating sometimes, but they stuck with it in a lot of games. Everyone who went to sleep on them got thumped, and, as a fan, I can’t ask for more than that.

    • sheila says:

      // Everyone who went to sleep on them got thumped //


      So true.

      This was the first year my nephew was old enough to follow along on a season – and he was completely distressed that it didn’t work out the right way.

      Welcome to baseball, kid.

  9. Bill Wolfe says:

    As satisfying as the Red Sox winning was the Yankees being the first team ever to lose a series after being up three games-to-zip. Near the end of the seventh game, there was a shot of a Yankees fan draped dejectedly atop the dugout roof. That will always be one of the greatest moments in sports history.

    • sheila says:

      // As satisfying as the Red Sox winning was the Yankees being the first team ever to lose a series after being up three games-to-zip. //

      yeah, that was wild.

  10. Marc Murdock says:

    Ahh, this time of year, suffused, for many, with nostalgia. My dad was a Phillies fan. No, a Phillies FAN!!! He moved from Philly to Florida (following the 11th commandment) and then to Las Vegas. Where he is buried in a small cemetery from which you can see some of the Vegas strip (someone there has a large black stone with an engraved portrait of the deceased man; the man is SMOKING A CIGARETTE!).
    I’m going to tell my brother to place a transistor radio on my dad’s headstone. He would be majorly bummed if a little thing like being dead interfered with the series.

  11. Nicole says:

    I also hail from a Red Socks family . I’m way more interested in film and music. I can’t even follow a game yet I feel an inexplicable loyalty . It runs deep . And unrelated to this post I just want to thank you for writing about The Night Digger 1971. I’m obsessed. What a gift during spooky season . Thank you Sheila.

    • sheila says:

      Night Digger!! So good! It’s been a while but I was so happy to write about that one – so you are welcome, it was a fun one!!

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