After reconnecting with former teammates from that
championship squad Tuesday night, the Red Sox designated hitter recounted the chemistry
within that clubhouse. While the players weren't the most talented bunch, Ortiz
remembered the team for rising to the occasion.
It's an element that Ortiz says the Red Sox lacked
this year — despite oozing with All-Stars early on. Now, the 36-year-old hopes
the organization takes a cue from 2004 and assembles a roster in that mold.
"You have a closer like Keith Foulke not throwing
100 [mph], but hitting the spots with his pitches," Ortiz said. "And
he helped us to win the World Series. You have guys like Pedro [Martinez] with
the ability and the mentality to play the game and help us to win ballgames.
"All those guys. [Tim] Wakefield, [Jason Varitek],
it was something special coming out of them every day. That's how you win
ballgames. That's how you come to be a world champion."
Destined to finish with their first losing record since
1997, the Red Sox are far from championship form. But amid the woes, Ortiz has
noticed players that could be integral to the rebuilding movement.
"I saw a lot from Pedro Ciriaco in spring training
and now once he's been here, he's been amazing," Ortiz said. "[Junichi] Tazawa [is] unbelievable. He’s tough. [Will Middlebrooks] is
Ortiz would love nothing more than to see them blossom into 2004 form.