I’m taking some inspiration from Paul for this post. We both share a love of baseball, and we also share a love of me yelling about sports. (Paul, if I’m wrong, you’re wrong.)
I became a Red Sox fan in 2007, just before they won their second World Series in three seasons. I knew about the 2004 Series, the Curse, and all that fun stuff; I’ve seen Fever Pitch a million times. I was a baseball fan prior to ’07 but soon fell in love with the Sox and my life has been hell ever since.
I remember the 2007 Series, and I especially remember the 2013 Series and crying after the final out and my roommate in college coming into our living room to me crying and asking why the boys next door just started yelling. I absolutely loved that team, and I still do to this day. There was just something so special about the Band of Bearded Brothers.
And my boys did it again the fall, bringing home their fourth World Series title in 14 years. I also cried after that final out:
So the boys got their rings earlier today and thought I’d highlight some players from the past 15 years that I love or have lots to say about. FYI: It’s a really long list so read at your own risk.
Jason Varitek: ‘TEK! The captain.
Kevin Millar & Pedro Martinez: These two are interesting together.
Manny Ramirez: Hey, remember that time he went into the Green Monster? Or remember when he took steroids when he was on the Los Angeles Dodgers and then took a women’s fertility drug to mask it?
Johnny Damon He was my grandfather’s favorite player, and unfortunately:, he passed away in 2003 and didn’t get to see the Sox win in ’04.
Gabe Kapler: Literally my favorite current manager at the moment.
David Ortiz: There’s too much to say about Big Papi. I’ve always loved him, and he’ll always be known for the Boston Strong speech: “This is our f—ing city.”
Kevin Youkilis: The Greek God of Walks. I still don’t understand how he was able to hit with his batting stance.
Doug Mirabelli: The only dude able to catch Tim Wakefield’s knuckleballs.
Normar Garciaparra: NOMAH.
Doug Mientkiewicz: His last name is just fun to say.
Dave Roberts: “The Steal”
Bronson Arroyo: Fun fact: He sings.
Curt Schilling: Now problematic.
Derek Lowe: The first shirsey I ever had was a Derek Lowe one. Not 100% sure why.
Tim Wakefield: He looks like my dad. Or my dad looks like him. Either way, my favorite pitcher in the entire world.
Lenny DiNardo: I always thought he was a middle infielder. He was in fact a pitcher.
Keith Foulke: Joe Castiglione once said, “A ground ball, stabbed by Foulke…..He underhands to first and the Red Sox are the World Champions. For the first time in 86 years the Red Sox have won baseball’s world championship. Can you believe it?”
Mike Timlin: My favorite reliever ever.
Alex Cora: #MyManager. I’m so happy he’s the Sox manager now.
Kelly Shoppach: He had two stints with the Sox, the second one is the one I remember. He was a back up to Salty.
Hanley Ramirez: He had two stints with the Sox, and during his last one, he was DFA’d on my birthday. He also needs to get new friends because last summer he was reported to have a connection with a federal and state investigation into a drug ring. A person arrested in the case used Ramirez’s name to try to get the cops off his back.
Matt Clement: He was hit in the head with a pitch in 2005 and his career was never really the same.
Manny Delcarmen: SO FUNNY STORY. Well, you might not find it funny, but I still do. I remember in eighth grade a kid was checking the score of the Sox game on his phone—which in 2008 I’m surprised you could do. He said Manny Delcarmen’s name and the teacher asked him who he was talking about, and he goes, “Oh, Manny Delcarmen, the fancy sub.” And that’s all I think about when I hear Manny Delcarmen.
Chad Bradford: CHAD BRADFORD OF MONEYBALL FAME.
Jonathan Papelbon: This guy. All I picture is him with a Bud Light box on his head and trying to Irish jig on the mound.
Mike Lowell: Literally the nicest guy. I’ve never met him but he just seems so nice.
Coco Crisp: COCO! I proudly owned a Coco shirsey and always liked him.
Wily Mo Pena: “Wily Mo” became the nickname of one of my friends during elementary and middle school. For the life of me, I can’t remember how it started but my mom still refers to her as “Mo” to this day.
Dustin Pedroia: He’s like the real OG. But I think after his struggles with his knee, it might be time to re-evaluate what he wants to do.
Eric Hinske: Dear God. He was interesting. He only had a one season stint with the Sox.
Carlos Pena: Yes, Carlos Pena of Tampa Bay Rays fame.
Josh Beckett: He was one of the core pitchers I remember for most of my Sox fandom. I was sort of indifferent about him. He was part of the salary dump to the Dodgers in 2012.
Jon Lester: In my freshman year of college, I took a public speaking class and had to write about someone I admire.I chose Lester because of how he overcame cancer and pitched in game four of the ’07 Series. I cried when he went to the A’s. He also can’t pick off runners at first.
Craig Breslow: He has a degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale. Dude’s smart.
Julian Tavarez: He was suspended for the first ten games of his Sox career for starting a fight in a spring training game in 2006.
Javier Lopez: My favorite side arm pitcher.
Kason Gabbard: KASON GABBARD. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who remembers him.
Julio Lugo: He was just so weird. And when the Sox honored the 2013 team a few seasons ago, THEY FOUND JULIO LUGO AND BROUGHT HIM BACK OUT ONTO THE FIELD. He also played in the alumni game last season.
Jacoby Ellsbury: I was convinced I was going to marry him. I was OBSESSED with him. I owned at least six shirts either with him on it or his number—both 46 and 2—and when he signed with the New York Yankees, I called my mom and cried. She told me to rub some dirt in it and find a new player. Now I’m laughing that the Yankees owe him a ridiculous amount of money and he’s on the DL.
Bobby Kielty: He hit a pinch-hit homer in game four of the ’07 World Series.
Brandon Moss: Upon quick research, I didn’t realize that the Sox drafted him. He spent more time in the minors than at the big league level but I always remember the random players.
Kevin Cash: My second favorite current manager. Granted, he’s the manager of the Rays.
Jeff Bailey: He hit a home run during the first Sox game I went to in 2008.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: I’m not proud of the fact I had a Dice-K shirsey. He was a complete bust after he pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and hurt his back.
Eric Gagne: Dear God. Yeah he was really good with the Dodgers and won a Cy Young but he was HORRIBLE with the Sox.
Clay Buchholz: I always called him Buck Nasty because Mike Cameron called him that once. I couldn’t wait for the Sox to get rid of him a few seasons ago.
Hideki Okajima: He was a reliable 8th inning guy before Papelbon would close out the game.
J.D. Drew: My mom always liked him and yelled at me when I made fun of him or said he was bad.
Jed Lowrie: My mom and I called him “Wonder Boy” because he was always running all over the infield or shallow outfield to catch the ball when it wasn’t necessary.
Sean Casey: THE MAYOR! He was awesome. I miss him.
Jason Bay: I also owned a Bay shirsey. I had a weird love for him.
Mark Kotsay: He only played with the Sox in 2008 and was DFA’d to make room for Adam LaRoche WHO PLAYED FOR US FOR A WEEK.
David Ross: GRANDPA ROSS! Love that man.
George Kottaras: He’s another guy I’m probably the only one who remembers him.
Justin Masterson: I always liked him. I was sad when he went to the Cleveland Indians. His wife was known for her cookies.
Bartolo Colon: Yeah #BigSexy played for the Sox for a little while. He wasn’t all that good.
David Aardsma: He was another reliable reliever. I liked him.
Nick Green: Was minorly obsessed with him.
Victor Martinez: Another very nice individual. I was sad when he signed with the Detroit Tigers.
Rocco Baldelli: My third favorite current manager. I also had a Baldelli shirsey.
Casey Kotchman: He was traded to the Sox for Adam LaRoche after LaRoche’s one week stint. He only played the second half of the 2009 season with the Sox.
Josh Reddick: I call him “Nose Bleed” because during a game out in Kansas City he got a nose bleed in the middle of a game.
Adam LaRoche: Before he started bringing his son in the clubhouse.
John Smoltz: He only played one season before ending his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and becoming a color analyst.
Daniel Bard: Loved him, too. He was DFA’d in the end of 2013.
Marco Scutaro & Scott Schoeneweis: Two guys who also played for the Blue Jays.
Adrian Beltre: I still haven’t forgiven him for kicking Jacoby in the ribs. But also applaud him moving the on-deck circle. ALSO never touch his head.
Darnell McDonald, Bill Hall, and Mike Cameron: Three old souls.
Ryan Kalish & Lars Anderson: Two more players I was obsessed with. They didn’t have long stints with the Sox, and Kalish broke Carlos Santana’s leg in 2010—not the singer, the player for the Indians.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia: SALTY! I was obsessed with him before he came to the Sox, and once he did, I made my own shirsey to look like his because the letters go from one side to the other. (On the regular shirseys, they shrink the font so that his last name fits in the normal spot.) He’s sometimes in the broadcast booth for Sox games on NESN, which makes me happy.
Boof Bonser: I just liked his name.
Adrian Gonzalez: A-GON! I had his shirsey. He was also part of the salary dump to the Dodgers, which made me sad because I liked him.
Mike Aviles: My mom and I called him “Cup Boy” because he was always fixing his cup.
Ryan Lavarnway: Oh, another player I was obsessed with.
Jose Iglesias: I called him “Baby Jacoby” because he looked like a younger Jacoby Ellbury.
Andrew Miller: He used to be really good and now I’m debating whether to drop him from my fantasy team.
John Lackey: aka Slackey Lackey. I was never a fan of him.
Rich Hill: Or as Brock Holt calls him, “Dick Mountain.”
Bobby Jenks: He got arrested for a DUI in 2012 during spring training.
Scott Atchison: THIS GUY. My dad and I went to a Pawtucket Red Sox game in 2010 or 2011 and he gave up a grand slam. He literally wouldn’t go away, and now he’s the bullpen coach for the Indians.
Will Middlebrooks: He was my love after Jacoby left.
Daniel Nava: I saw his first MLB at-bat when he hit a first pitch grand slam into the bullpen. I always liked him.
Cody Ross: Not to be confused with David Ross.
Ryan Sweeney: He punched a wall in 2012 and was out for a little while.
Scott Podsednik: Another player I’m probably the only on who remembers.
Nick Punto: Not to be confused with Nick Green but someone else I liked.
Carl Crawford: My mom called him “Captain Carl” and I hated him from the start. The Sox overpaid for him and he under-performed. I was glad to see him go in that salary dump to the Dodgers.
Alfredo Aceves: He was unpredictable and bounced a lot between the Sox and the PawSox.
Mike Napoli: The dude walked around Boston shirtless and drunk after winning the 2013 World Series. He’s the man.
Stephen Drew: Brother of J.D. Drew and was overpaid for him to be average.
Jonny Gomes: Another awesome dude. He sometimes does NESN broadcasts, and I love when he’s in the booth.
Shane Victorino: I had a shirsey of his when he was with the Phillies, and I was happy when he came to the Sox.
Mike Carp: I always liked him although he was only in Boston for a short time.
Brock Holt: The Brock Star. Love him and he needs to play forever.
Jake Peavy: He bought a duck boat after winning the 2013 World Series.
Steven Wright: He fell under my “morality clause” when I drafted my fantasy team for the DV suspension. I don’t like him anymore.
Koji Uehara: I miss him being the closer. He was very good at closing games.
Brandon Workman: I keep forgetting he’s been on the team since 2013.
Ryan Dempster: At quick glance his last name looks like “dumpster.”
A.J. Pierzynski: He played for the Sox for like half of the 2014 season. I never liked him.
Yoenis Cespedes: Yes Yoenis played for the Sox! For a brief period of time! It was weird! And he wasn’t good!
Mookie Betts: Give the man the money he deserves.
Grady Sizemore: Hey, remember Grady Sizemore? I remember him more for playing with the Indians than the Sox.
Bryce Brentz: He shot himself in the leg in 2012 cleaning his gun.
Joe Kelly: Joe Kelly Fight Club! I already miss him this season.
Burke Badenhop: Again another guy whose name I like.
Blake Swihart: He doesn’t use batting gloves and it makes me feel uncomfortable.
Pablo Sandoval: DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON HIM. IT TOOK THE SOX WAY TOO LONG TO RELEASE HIM.
Travis Shaw: I miss this beautiful soul dearly.
Rick Porcello: #PitchersWhoRake
Andrew Benintendi: My current love, with or without the flow.
Yoan Moncada: He was such a big prospect and then he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale.
David Price: Fingers crossed that it’s not raining or his fingers aren’t tingling.
Mitch Moreland: Mike Napoli 2.0.
Rafael Devers: He is an actual child.
Eduardo Nunez: Dude spent most of game five of the 2018 World Series on the ground.
Chris Sale: aka “Snippy”. I still haven’t forgiven him for cutting up the throwback jerseys when he was on the White Sox. He just should be glad he didn’t have to wear the shorts that went with the original uniforms back in the 1970s.
J.D. Martinez: I was leery of him at first but now I really like him, and he’s definitely helping out my fantasy team.
Ian Kinsler: I was always obsessed with him, so I was happy when he was on the Sox.
Tyler Thornburg: He was traded for Travis Shaw and was out his first entire season with the Sox because of an injury. He’s playing now but I’m still bitter about the Shaw trade.
Whoever made it this far is the real MVP.