With the 2012 season long ago cast aside as a lost cause, the Boston Red Sox are pulling out all the stops to keep fans interested for the final two home games, and Tuesday night that meant celebrating the eighth anniversary of the 2004 Curse-busting champions.
Over 20 members of that team were on hand at Fenway Park before the Sox dropped a 5-2 decision to the Tampa Bay Rays, and as they cruised around the field in Duck Boats to raucous applause, it crystallized just how joyless the 2012 club has been.
Fixing this team's wayward chemistry will be one of the main priorities of the offseason. Former Sox standouts like Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar discussed the importance of chemistry.
"You hear that a lot, 'What's chemistry? If you don't have players, you don't have chemistry,'" Millar said. "Bull, bull, bull, bull, OK? You've got to pull for each other. You're not fooling us. We can fool you guys. You can say the right thing, and we know a few of the teams out there that say the right thing in front of the cameras. But you can't fool your teammates.
"If someone is pulling against Keith Foulke because he wants to be the closer and doesn't know his role, you feel that. If someone is pulling against Pedro Martinez because he wants to be the guy, you feel that. We pulled for each other. That was what was cool."
The Red Sox have had chemistry problems all season, though many of them will be corrected when manager Bobby Valentine is presumably replaced. The Sox could do worse than study what worked in 2004.
"You either have it or you don't," Millar said. "We had the right mix. We never argued over music, whether it was hip hop or country or Latin. We respected it. We loved each other. It's hard to explain. It sounds quirky, but we cared because they were good guys."