Many of them are still recognizable by just one name: Pedro, Trot, Johnny, Derek, Wake, Pokey, Tek, David, Youk, Schill, and, of course, Manny.
They were back at Fenway Park Wednesday, a chance for the Idiots of 2004 to reminisce about their World Series championship.
“It is hard to believe it’s been 10 years,” said Johnny Damon, the center fielder on the Red Sox team that brought a Series title to Boston for the first time in 86 years. “I’m just glad everyone’s looking great still. These guys took pride in what we accomplished and that’s really a cool thing to see.”
“It’s good and it’s bad,” said David Ortiz, the last player from the ’04 team still in a Red Sox uniform. “That [makes] me feel like I’m the last dinosaur. That means that you’re going to be just like them pretty soon. It’s not a good feeling.
“But it’s good. That means you had a good career. On the other side, it’s good to have been around and to get to go back to those memories, back to those days, and get to see some guys you don’t get to see.”
There were lots of smiles and back slapping. And at least one act of contrition.
“To be honest, sometimes now that I’ve been in church almost for four years now, me and my wife, now I realized that I behaved bad in Boston,” said Manny Ramirez. “The fans, they were great. I also played great when I was here.
“But I really realize that I behaved bad and I apologize for that. But I’m a new man. That’s what Jesus said, and that’s what I believe.”
Ramirez was greeted by a warm ovation when the ’04 team was introduced during a pregame ceremony. He ran from the door in the left field wall — reenacting one of his many infamous moments in Boston when, during a timeout in 2005, he took a break inside the Green Monster.
Then there was another reenactment when Ramirez threw the ceremonial first pitch, only to have a diving Damon cut if off — reversing their roles in a 2004 episode that will live in YouTube infamy.
“We finally got Manny to dive for a ball, and unfortunately it had to be on my soft throw,” Damon said.
All the players besides Ramirez and Ortiz (who emerged from the dugout) walked out from behind the giant 2004 championship banner that filled the length of the left field wall. Each was introduced with a montage playing on the center field videoboard of personal highlights from that magical season. Closer Keith Foulke walked out with the championship trophy held high over his head.
“It’s definitely had time to set in now,” Foulke said. “Back then when you’re playing things were happening so fast that there were a couple of years that I couldn’t really appreciate it. But now that I’m older and things have slowed down I definitely appreciate it now.”
Are they still idiots?
“I think we were one of the smarter teams that has ever been assembled,” Damon said. “I think everyone has called themselves an idiot over time, and it was just something that stuck.
“I feel like that phrase or that term that I said was just because we were able to forget about the 86 years that Boston hadn’t won. What do we care when we weren’t even around for a lot of it and we grew up rooting for other teams?
“A lot of the Boston history I didn’t know about until I joined them.”
Then he helped to make history in Boston.