This season was all about anniversaries for the Red Sox. It was the 100th anniversary of the first game played at Fenway Park, the 10-year anniversary of John Henry and friends buying the team, the unforgettable eight-year anniversary of the 2004 World Series, and, of course, the six-year anniversary of Larry Lucchino having his heart replaced with a crab apple.
With that, heres another anniversary for Larry and Dr. Charles Steinberg to run up their marketing flagpole. Today is the four-year anniversary of the last time the Red Sox won a playoff game! (Cue the music, rolling rally and Wally the Green Monster dance routine.)
The victory came on October 18, 2008, at Tropicana Field, in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rays. And while we all know how much things have changed since that last playoff win, here's a frying-pan-in-the-face reminder: Of the 25 players on the 2008 playoff roster, only three Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jon Lester are still with the team. Although David Ortiz lingers as a potential fourth, and Clay Buchholz was on the team but not on the playoff roster.
Can you name the other 21 active Red Sox that day?
If so, you not only deserve a prize, but I'd say you're more qualified than Lucchino to run baseball ops. Here they are: David Ross, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie, Alex Cora, Kevin Youkilis, Sean Casey, JD Drew, Coco Crisp, Mark Kotsay, Jason Bay, Manny Delcarmen, Dice-K, Josh Beckett, Paul Byrd, Hideki Okajima, Javier Lopez, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Jonathan Papelbon and Justin Masterson.
Anyway, back to Game 6: Josh Beckett was on the mound and was so-so for the Sox giving up two runs over five innings but the bullpen (Okajima, Masterson and Papelbon) pitch four scoreless inning in relief as the Sox held on for a 4-2 victory. The Sox runs came on solo home runs by Varitek and Youkilis, an Ortiz single and a Youkilis RBI ground out. Jamie Shields up four runs (three earned) over five and two-thirds innings for Tampa, while Carl Crawford went 1-4 in the fifth spot.
All in all, it was a fantastic night for the Sox as they fought back from a 3-1 series deficit to force Game 7. But it was all downhill from there and it's been four years since we've tasted the sweet juices of a playoff victory.