Terry Francona and Theo Epstein recently shared a good chuckle while reliving a defining moment in their respective careers.
Francona (now manager of the Cleveland Indians) revealed to Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam that him and Epstein (now president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs) exchanged text messages last week while watching ESPN’s replay of Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.
That game, of course, marked the beginning of the Boston Red Sox’s epic ALCS comeback against the New York Yankees after falling behind in the series 3-0. Francona was Boston’s manager at the time, while Epstein helped build the team as the Red Sox’s general manager.
?I really don?t look back all that much,? Francona told McAdam. ?But, and I?m probably not the only one here, I?m desperate for (something to watch on) television. So, I?m clicking through with the remote and Game 4 came on and I was almost scared to watch it because I kept thinking we were going to lose. The more I watched it, I was like, ?Oh (expletive), we?re going to lose!? Theo (Epstein) texted me and said the same thing. We were laughing like hell.”
Game 4 at Fenway Park is best remembered for Dave Roberts’ famous stolen base, Bill Mueller’s game-tying single off Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning and David Ortiz’s walk-off home run in the 12th inning. The hard-fought victory — which came on the heels of a 19-8 loss in Game 3 — breathed new life into the Red Sox’s season, which had been pushed to the brink.
The rest, as they say, is history. Boston rattled off three more wins against New York — including two at Yankee Stadium — before sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. It marked the Red Sox’s first title since 1918, erasing 86 years of anguish.
Those obviously were fun times in Boston. But they also were incredibly stressful. And perhaps no one knows that more than Francona and Epstein, who probably still exhaled last week when Ortiz’s Game 4 walk-off sailed over the right field fence.