It’s been a lower than every week for the reason that Duck Boats carried our 2018 Pink Sox down Boylston Road’s Canyon of Heroes. We’ve basked in after-parties and watched the CoraMen go to Puerto Rico and flash bling at Celtics and Patriots video games. We’ve ordered 119-win swag from the Globe retailer and await a stash of commemorative Pink Sox stuff at vacation time.
The 2018 Pink Sox are beloved and bejeweled, a job mannequin for Staff Above Self. New England will endlessly bear in mind them fondly.
However you realize what they don’t seem to be?
They don’t seem to be the best Pink Sox group of all-time.
They don’t seem to be even one of the best Sox group of this century.
The 2004 Pink Sox have been higher.
Within the thrill of the second, on the postgame platform at Dodger Stadium final Sunday, Pink Sox/Globe proprietor John Henry anointed his 2018 champs the best Pink Sox group ever.
These worthy Sox definitely gained probably the most video games. They have been additionally final professionals, a group that ought to function a job mannequin for highschool and Little League coaches throughout New England. The ’18 Sox had no divas and put the group forward of themselves. To a person.
However they weren’t higher than the ’04 guys.
The 2004 Sox had David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez within the primes of their careers. Just like the 2018 Sox, the ’04 guys went 11-Three within the postseason, beating two groups that gained greater than 100 video games. The ’04 Sox gained their ultimate eight postseason video games, 4 straight in opposition to the 101-win Yankees and a Collection sweep in opposition to the 105-win Cardinals.
They’d 4 gamers with Corridor of Fame numbers (Ortiz, Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, and Curt Schilling), a Corridor of Fame normal supervisor (Theo Epstein for certain sometime), and probably a Corridor of Fame skipper in Terry Francona. They have been higher behind the plate (Jason Varitek or Sandy Leon?) and in heart subject (sorry, JBJ followers).
The 2018 Pink Sox, for all their achievement, had World Collection lineups with Steve Pearce batting third and Brock Holt batting sixth. This makes them one thing lower than the 1975 Reds.
It is a sports activities argument, so let’s not get emotional or private. Saying that the ’04 guys are higher than the ’18 guys doesn’t diminish what we simply witnessed.
For the sake of readability, I’m narrowing the framework of this argument. We’re not going to introduce Bob Ryan’s vaunted 1912 Pink Sox champs who truly had the highest profitable proportion in franchise historical past. We gained’t get into the Cardiac Children of 1967, who go down in historical past as a very powerful Pink Sox group. We gained’t even debate “most memorable.” For my part, that one’s not even shut; the 2004 group is most memorable as a result of it ended an 86-year drought and got here again from a 3-Zero ALCS deficit in opposition to the Yankees. This was the best sports activities story of all of them. Biblical. Case closed.
So let’s make it easy. Which group was higher? The 2004 Jack Daniels-swilling, Manny-willing, Curse-busting Idiots . . . or the 119-win, buttoned-down, relentless group that bought the job accomplished with out the standard Pink Sox brush fires, nonsense, and drama?
Give me the ’04 group. It’s only a higher group.
Rotations: Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Bronson Arroyo (combination 73-46) vs. Chris Sale, David Worth, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez (combination 61-26). We all know immediately’s starters don’t get as many choices, however historical past will present that the ’04 quintet was higher. Pedro is a Corridor of Famer and Schill has potential HOF numbers. Not one of the ’18 guys have Schilling’s (11-2) postseason pedigree. Wakefield was a 200-game winner and Arroyo went on to make 30 or extra begins in every of his subsequent 9 seasons. Edge: 2004
Bullpens: Begin with the closers. Keith Foulke gave up one run in 14 postseason innings in 2004. Craig Kimbrel was a sizzling mess within the 2018 postseason and mainly misplaced his job by the tip of the World Collection. Elsewhere it’s shut. Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier within the postseason have been each bit pretty much as good as Foulke, Mike Timlin, and Alan Embree. Edge: ’04, solely due to Foulke within the postseason.
Catcher: Everybody would take Varitek over Leon and Christian Vazquez. Not even shut. Varitek was an All-Star, franchise catcher. Edge: ’04.
Infield: Kevin Millar, Mark Bellhorn, Orlando Cabrera, Billy Mueller vs. Steve Pearce/Mitch Moreland, Ian Kinsler/Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers/Eduardo Nunez. There was plenty of change in each infields in each seasons. The ’04 guys began with Nomar Garciaparra at brief. Mueller was a veteran AL batting champ. Millar hit .297 in ’04. I just like the 2018 guys right here as a result of Bogaerts was higher than anybody in ’04 and Moreland and Nunez each hit pinch three-run homers within the World Collection. Edge: ’18.
Outfield: It is a smorgasbord. The ’04 guys had Manny in left, Johnny Damon in heart, and Trot Nixon in proper. Right now’s Sox characteristic Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and MVP designee Mookie Betts. Defensively, the 2018 guys win simply. However Manny went .308/43/130 and Damon .304/20/94 with 19 steals. There’s no JBJ .234 within the bunch. Edge: ’04.
DH: Anyone able to take J.D. Martinez over David Ortiz? Simply but? Each have been nice. J.D. in 2018 went .330/43/130. Ortiz in ’04: .301/41/139. Edge: Ortiz. For now. Postseason and longevity.
Within the dugout, we’ve got Terry Francona vs. Alex Cora. That is just like the DH dialogue. Each have been nice. However Francona handled way more nonsense and has a lengthier résumé. Cora had one nice yr. I’m nonetheless siding with Tito.
Upstairs we’ve got Dave Dombrowski vs. Theo Epstein. Each made key midseason acquisitions. Theo made the Nomar blockbuster, buying Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, and bought Dave Roberts from the Dodgers. Dombrowski picked up Eovaldi, Pearce, and Kinsler. Theo goes to the Corridor of Fame. Dombro would possibly make it to Cooperstown. Edge: Theo.
The 2004 Pink Sox gained 10 fewer video games than the 2018 group. They have been a wild-card entry. It took them longer to determine issues out. However they went 51-18 (.739) after Aug. 6, together with postseason.
Let’s strap the 2004 World Collection winners into the Delorean and ship them into 2018 for a seven-game sequence at Fenway Park, with David Worth matched up in opposition to Curt Schilling in Recreation 1.
I’m taking the ’04 guys in six video games, with Collection MVP Schill spraying champagne and asking, “When will we go to the White Home?’’
Associated slideshow: Scenes from Pink Sox parade (Supplied by USA TODAY Sports activities)