Why it’s so good: Dan Shaughnessy and the ’04 Red Sox

This article “Red Sox on brink of elimination as Yanks pound them 19-8” by Dan Shaughnessy dates back to arguably the most trying and difficult times ever for Red Sox fans. This was published this in the sports section of the October 17, 2004 issue of The Boston Globe: the day after the Red Sox were beaten 19-8 in game three of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park in Boston. To make things worse, it was at the hands of the New York Yankees, their most hated rival. It came just days after Shaughnessy called the ’04 Red Sox a “pack of frauds” for losing the first two games of the series in New York. Needing to win four consecutive games, there was no faith or hope among fans that the Red Sox could advance to the World Series. What makes this good is Shaughnessy’s word choice, conveying sincere disappointment and how truly devastating the loss was.

“This time, the Red Sox really had them worried. The Sox and their fans were certain of it. They finally had the Yankees on the run. The Sox were better. Even the wise guys in Las Vegas made Boston a favorite in the American League Championship Series.”

This was the year. This was the year they would finally beat the Yankees and win the World Series: something they failed to do the previous 86 years. This was the mindset of fans to start the ’04 season, and this is how he starts off. Everyone is saying it’s their year, and then comes the typical let-down. In this case it was the 19-8 loss.

As the piece goes on, Shaughnessy repeatedly says the ALCS and the season are over. In the way it’s written you can feel even his disappointment. He’s not supposed to show bias toward the Red Sox, but sometimes you just can’t help it apparently. He goes off about how pathetic their performance was taking continuous shots at certain players and the team as a whole:

“Sox legends Dominic DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky made ceremonial first pitches. The teammates delivered letter-high strikes. DiMaggio, Doerr, and Pesky should have stayed on the mound for the Red Sox. The 80-something men certainly would have been as effective as the six pitchers who went to the hill. Sam Malone would have been another alternative.”

He doesn’t give readers a great sense of the atmosphere at Fenway Park that night. Other than players being booed, he leaves out the minor details, and perhaps meant for it to be that way. He’s trying to give the sense that it was better to not be at the game that night.

This piece is well written, to the point, and at some points just mean. Perhaps harsh media coverage is one of the many things in ‘04 that willed the Red Sox to four straight comeback wins.

David Ortiz had two game-winning hits sparking an epic ALCS comeback Photo by: flickr

David Ortiz had two game-winning hits sparking an epic ALCS comeback
Photo by: flickr

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