The Red Sox, From A-to-Z

At the outset, it appears as if the Red Sox aren't affected by the tag of the world champions. They still remain a fun-loving, free-spirited, tight-knit unit. It seems nothing has changed for this bunch of disheveled dudes. They used to take shots of Jack Daniels during their stretch run that took them on an eight-game tear that culminated in debunking the 86-year-old myth. And now they have trooped into spring training and have begun to take shots again. Potshots, that is.

It seems A-Rod has become the official sparring partner for the Boston Red Sox Boxing Squad. Right from Trot Nixon to Kevin Millar, Bronson Arroyo to Jason Varitek, everybody has had his turn in framing A-Rod into A-Dub. And the barbs keep flying faster than United Airlines.

But we are not going to get into that. Instead, we are going to turn back the clock a year and focus on the journey that had its crescendos and diminuendos.

And 2004 was without doubt a surreal season for the nation with the halo being sighted at Fenway Park after 86 years, which makes the Haley's Comet a common occurrence.

We are going to encapsulate the 2004 season in an A-to-Z format. Sit back and enjoy.

A - Abracadabra (To break an urban legend, a little magic must have come in handy.)

B - Bronson "Brandon" Arroyo (We leave that to Arroyo and A-Rod to settle, but the kid was credited to have given the much-vaunted spark.)

C - Curse (At last, the Bambino can rest in peace.)

D - Dave Roberts (The man with the slippery boots.)

E - ERA (Earned Run Average or era? Take your pick.)

F - Fenway Park (Home of the 2004 world champions of baseball, how does that sound?)

G - Green Monster (Hey! Did you spot Tom Hanks there?)

H - Hirsute Hombres (From Johnny Damon's flowing locks to beaded Manny Ramirez to cornrow Arroyo, we had everything.)

I - Idiots (The numbskulls who played smart.)

J - Johnny Damon (The heart and soul of the club.)

K - Karate kid (A-Rod's tryst with infamy.)

L - Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien's Magnum Opus gets a special mention because of the Sox's dream run.)

M - Mitt Sandwich (Varitek's special for A-Rod.)

N - Nomad wigs (Also known as Damon's hair-do.)

O - Outrageous (Yes, that might've been the reaction from Gucci or Armani to the Sox's unkempt and untidy outfit.)

P - Pesky Pole (The pole became part of the folklore thanks to Mark Bellhorn's go-ahead HR in Game 1 of the World Series against the Cardinals.)

Q - Quincy Market (Can't get anything else, hence a little Bostonian landmark.)

R - Relief (Boston got loads from Alan Embree and Mike Timlin.)

S - Curt Schilling's shelling (Wasn't it quite a sight to see Schilling nail the opposition with his fastball?)

T - Tito (Need we say more?)

U - Underhand pass (Keith Foulke-connects-Doug Mientkiewicz that ends the agony for Boston.)

V - Varitek (Captain America.)

W - Who's your Papi? (The nation's response to Gotham's "Who's your daddy?" chants.)

X - Xmas (Isn't the World Series ring a nice Christmas present?)

Y - Yastrzemski (Yaz and other long-time sufferers can now heave a sigh of relief. The chip is off their shoulders — well, sort of.)

Z - Zombies (The entire nation looked like one. After those five-hour marathoners in the ALCS going into the wee hours there were some my-dog-ate-my-work moments the next day at the workplace.)

Also see: The Yankees, From A-to-Z.

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