By Joel Alderman
The tenth anniversary reunion of the Boston Red Sox team that broke the “Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 was a crowd pleasing event prior to Wednesday’s Boston-Atlanta interleague game at Fenway Park.
Laughs were created by Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, and Pedro Martinez. There was nostalgia in the presence of some who were hardly expected to be there. Silent prayers were undoubtedly said for one of the players who is seriously ill.
Ramirez, the last to be introduced, came on to the field through a door at the foot of the Green Monster, the same door he once ducked through and hid from sight during a pitching change.
Manny was later the object of a practical joke by Johnny Damon. He was selected to throw out the first ball, and in the process his soft toss was intercepted by a diving Damon. It apparently was to get even for a “Manny being Manny” incident when, playing left field, he cut off a throw from Damon in center, and by the time it was relayed to the plate the batter had an inside the park home run.
Incidentally, Boston fans gave Damon and Ramirez generous applause, even though there was little love lost on the part of many when those two went to other teams. When Damon played with the Yankees, his appearances in Fenway were not nearly as well received. Time does heal.
Pedro practically danced his way from the outfield to the infield when he was introduced, flashing his familiar happy face. Later he grabbed a microphone and said something about going to Disney World.
The event’s nostalgia was generated by all those who attended, and especially by a few who made an extra effort to get there. Ramirez is headed to Mesa, Ariz. for his new job as a hitting instructor and player in the Chicago Cubs farm system. But he was able to take a detour to get to Boston.
Kevin Youkilis, who was a rookie reserve that season, made a surpriseappearance, although at last word he was playing in Japan. Once again the familiar chorus of “Yook” was heard at Fenway.
It would have been fitting if manager Terry Francona could have been there. He was obligated to be with the Cleveland Indians, the team he is now managing.
The silent prayers were probably said by everyone on the field and in the stands, when Curt Schilling was introduced and appeared with his son by his side. It is generally known that Schilling is battling cancer.
Dressed for the occasion
All of the players wore Red Sox jerseys with their original numbers on the back. One, however, was in a full uniform. That’s because David (Papi) Ortiz is the only member of the 2004 Boston team still active in major league baseball. And he is still a member of the Red Sox.