Sean McAdam, Providence Journal:
There's really nothing to be afraid of anymore.Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald:
It used to be that you would watch them with one hand covering your eyes, fully expecting the worst.
This was not some irrational fear or paranoia being displayed. This was real.
Watch them long enough and eventually, you would see it all: a baserunner would trip rounding third base; a routine grounder would elude the first baseman; a manager would be frozen by inaction. ... Then, without warning, something changed in October, 2004. ...
Since then, it has not been the same for the Red Sox. It doesn't mean that they can't lose; it just means that they're no longer destined to do so. ...
Nothing is as it used to be. Before, no lead was safe. Now, no deficit is insurmountable.
A franchise has stood its history on its head.
Gone forever are the Red Sox of yesterday. In Boston, during the baseball season, there is now only an endless succession of tomorrows.Jeff Jacobs, Hartford Courant:
Once seen as a tortured and most tragic franchise ... the 2004 Red Sox permanently altered the fate and direction of the franchise[. L]et the record show that these Sox were buoyed by a youth that seems entirely unencumbered by the weight of Red Sox pasts. ...
They were also spectacular failures, the team that always missed by thismuch. The Sox of old made critical blunders and paid for them dearly, and were reminded, year after year after year, that they had made unforgettable, unforgivable mistakes. ...
Why should Pedroia care at all about 2003? Why should Matsuzaka care about 1948? Why should Ellsbury care about '75 or Okajima about '86, when, to them, the Sox are a team of here and now? ...
Children, after all, are products of the environment they are raised in. Teach them to win, they will win. Teach them fear, self-doubt and trepidation, and they will learn those things, too.
Bad things don't happen to the Red Sox and their fans at the worst possible time anymore.In that light, there is this SoSH thread: When Do The Sox Permanently Drop The Choker Tag?
Bad things happen to the other team. ...
There will never be another 2004 for New England, just as there can never be another first kiss, another first love.
Nothing tops 2004. How could it? ...
Old sports writers panic. Old Red Sox fans panic.
The Red Sox don't panic. Not anymore.
They win ...
philly sox fan (started the thread):
Unfortunately I think we'll have to wait until the idiot sportswriters who worked the 70s actually keel over and dieKevin Mortons Ghost:
Even if the Sox win the Series this year, if next season they blow a playoff spot in September or a lead in a post-season series, the headlines will read "Red Sox back to their old ways." Maybe after some really prolonged period of excellence its goes away, but otherwise, it's just too easy for lazy sportswriters to trot this stuff out.Mourning Woodward Jr:
For any remaining trace of a Choker label that remains stuck to the Sox, a lot of it comes from us. There was a lot of panic around these parts in September, with a lot of SOSHers dreading a repeat of 1978. Ending the championship drought three years ago did tons for our collective mental health, but there were enough disasters to make a lot of us very nervous at reminders of past collapses. We'll shed the choker tag for once and for all when we stop expecting the worst when we're actually the frontrunners.LahoudOrBillyC:
The more interesting question has always been about how Red Sox fans view themselves. The "choker" label was worn by Red Sox fans mostly because they chose to wear it. The day the Red Sox fans approach an upcoming Yankee series based solely on the quality of the teams is the day it is over. I sense we are not there yet.You still hear the "it'll be 86 years until the next one" -- the day after the Sox won in 2004, the New York Daily News back page said "See You In 2090". (Note: there have not been 86-year gaps between Red Sox championships. MLB has not been around for 516+ years.)
Beating the Rockies would show the media and ignorant fans that 2004 was not a fluke. ... But really, who gives a shit? I don't care what ESPN or Joe Buck or Michael Kay thinks about me or my team. I'm more interested in how Red Sox fans see themselves.
I look forward to the day when the young Sox fans who fell in love with the team in 2004 -- who know their team only as never-say-die comeback kings -- gain a sizable voice in the fan base, and old farts who believed the franchise was cursed and trembled at the mere mention of the Yankees are deemed even more irrelevant.