The 2004 Red Sox were baseball's version of "America's Team." They took the city of Boston on a magical run as a group of scrappy players pulled together and ended an 86 year championship drought for the Sox.
Their World Series win* was one that not only inspired a city, but also a nation, as many teams thought to themselves "If the Red Sox can do it, anybody can."
That team was great for baseball, and even brought us great pieces of cinema, such as "Fever Pitch."
The heart of the lineup consisted of Manny Ramirez and David "Big Papi' Ortiz. Manny was Manny, and Big Papi was the lovable big guy who brought enormous amounts of power.
They were the most pivotal parts to the Red Sox becoming World Series Champions*. Ortiz hit a walk-off in Game Four of the ALDS to give the Red Sox a sweep and send them to face the evil empire, the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox fell behind 0-3 after the first three games of the ALCS, and it seemed the Yankees were either destined to sweet their long-time rival, or at least coast to an easy win.
Big Papi, however, had different ideas. He hit a walk-off home run to win Game Four in dramatic fashion, his second walk-off two-run home run in extra innings in a fourth game of a series that postseason (I can make crazy long stats like that too).
The Red Sox rallied around that dramatic victory and came out the next night energized, and ready for another round with the Yanks. This game went extras too, and David Ortiz got another walk-off hit, this one a single that brought in Johnny Damon and give the Red Sox another walk-off win.
The Red Sox coasted through the rest of the series, never needing to go to extras again, and becoming the first team to win four games while facing elimination in the same series.
David Ortiz won the ALCS MVP* thanks to his heroics in Games Four and Five. The Red Sox were ready to finally make their way back to a World Series, and it seemed they could do no wrong.
The World Series didn't produce the single-game excitement that the ALCS provided, but it had drama like no other World Series match-up could produce, as the Red Sox were on a mission to end The Curse of the Babe.
However, Big Pappy and Manny also had a MLB first that nobody knew about until today.
They were the first duo to win an ALCS and World Series MVP while batting in the heart of an order and taking steroids.
That's right, the LA Times are reporting today that both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz tested positive in 2003 when every player was tested confidentially to see if testing was needed.
Although we all love to think that Manny and Papi ended The Babe's curse the same way that the Babe played—eating hot dogs and drinking beer—but there was a higher power (BALCO?) at work here.
I am by no means a Red Sox fan, nor do I have anything against the team (I won't blame them for "Fever Pitch"). However, I am a baseball purist, and when I see big names that have used steroids, I am ready to get out the pitch forks and torches.
However, I am shocked that Big Papi of all people is able to take steroids, as he has been very vocal against steroids, and even came out as saying that he was shocked that Manny had been taking steroids.
When asked about his steroids use, he had this to say, "I'm not talking about that anymore. I have no comment." As if he had comented about him using steroids in the past.
However, Ortiz's friend Tori Hunter did speak out about the news.
"This hurts, this really hurts. I don't know what to think about this. I guess you just never know what people do in the dark.
"I still love him but at the same time it's tough to hear that. I know it's going to be tough on him and tough on his family once this gets out. It's Big Papi, man, it's the Big Dog of Boston and he helped win two World Series with those guys, with the clutch hits. And now all those things are going to be tainted."
I think that the 2004 Red Sox should have an asterisk next to their 2004 World Series title, saying that yes, they did win the World Series, but their ALCS and World Series MVP's were both on steroids.
These two players were by no means role players on this team, they were the leaders, they took this team from lovable losers into two-time champions in the span of a few years.
One can assume that Manny has been taking steroids for a number of years now, as he was also recently suspended for steroid use, however, few even toyed with the idea that it went back this far and tainted the 2004 World Series Champs.
However, with new developments, the Curse of the Babe has yet to be ended clean. As for the team that everybody once loved, now one can only wonder if they would have been able to make that historic run without PED's.
Now, let the jokes about "Fever Pitch" having deleted scenes where Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore shooting up Manny and Big Papi before Game Four of the ALCS begin (by the way, that's three Fever Pitch references in one article).
I'm Joe W.