Boston Massachusetts, October 17th, 2004.
The Red Sox were about to take on the New York Yankees in game 4 of the American League Championship Series. To say the Yankees had all the momentum in the world is a gross understatement.
But the surge New York had going for them was far from just being up 3-0 games to nothing in the series. They had 86 years worth of rings, wins, and intimidation. Boston was beyond cooked. The only hope for Sox fans was maybe they could hold their heads up and avoid getting swept.
At least 1 guy did not feel this way. Boston first baseman and known clubhouse character Kevin Millar had something to say. In almost warning to New York, Millar told Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe the blueprint for a series win if the Sox could avoid a sweep.
"Well let me tell yah, don't let us win today," Millar said while cocking his head ad raising his eye-brows. "And then we got Pedey tomorrow and then we got Schill game 6. And game 7 anything can happen."
It was this type of lose atmosphere that made the 2004 Red Sox so unique. Terry Francona mentioned to the media during the series that the clubhouse was naturally loose. With the characters on that team known by a single name; Manny, Pedro, Ortiz, Schilling, it is no wonder why the tenor did not change, even when they were down 3-0.
While of course, we can romanticize this aspect of the team after the best comeback in sports history. I am sure we would remember them differently had Dave Roberts been thrown out, Curt Schilling did not deal in game 6, or David Ortiz had not turned into Babe Ruth.
But you cannot deny the team's personality is not a huge factor in telling the 2004 Red Sox's story. This was not just another great team that won a championship in dramatic fashion. They were compelling and not even in all positive ways. That team was more than just a bunch of athletes, they were a cultural phenomenon.
No phrase personified that team more than Schilling's slogan: "Why Not Us?"
That is why they struck such a nerve. They represented the longtime sports mantra in believing in yourself and not giving up on your goals under any circumstances. This was so much more than a baseball team winning 4 games in a row. Their story will be told for as long as Boston is inhabited.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones