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Red Sox's defining moments10/03/2004 9:58 PM ET
Offseason moment: While most people had Thanksgiving on their mind, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein was determined to land another premier starter to slot next to Pedro Martinez. Mission accomplished, as Epstein spent Thanksgiving in Arizona at Curt Schilling's house, convincing the right-hander to waive his no-trade clause and agree to a deal that had already been agreed to in principle between the Red Sox and Diamondbacks. The day after Thanksgiving, Schilling was on board. Twenty-one wins later, the deal is still being lauded all across Red Sox Nation.
In-season moment: The Red Sox were sputtering in mediocrity. They were a .500 team between May 1 and July 31. Epstein could have sat back and hoped his veteran team would turn it around. Instead, he traded one of the most prolific players in Red Sox history, sending Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in a four-team exchange that brought former Gold Glove winners Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston. All that trade did was turn around the entire season. Cabrera's splendid defense at shortstop and timely hitting seemed to spark the entire team. Even in his reserve role, first baseman Mientkiewicz was spectacular on defense, so much so that he even helped the Sox win a game by starting at second base.
Game: With the Yankees in town and the American League East race slipping away, team officials suggested to the Red Sox on the morning of July 24 that hours of heavy rain had made Fenway Park unplayable. The Red Sox balked, telling anyone who would listen that they wanted to play. They got their wish, as the grounds crew worked overtime. Then, a Bronson Arroyo sinker rode in on Alex Rodriguez, hitting the star third baseman. Rodriguez and Jason Varitek tangled, and a bench-clearing fracas ensued. Perhaps revitalized by the emotion of the moment, the Sox etched out their most dramatic win of the season, as Bill Mueller clocked a Mariano Rivera cutter over the wall in right field for a walk-off, two-run homer. Boston 11, New York 10.
MVP: Manny Ramirez was all but traded to the Rangers for Rodriguez back in December. But the Players Association rejected Boston's attempted restructuring of A-Rod's contract, and Manny stayed in Boston. It was the latest bit of proof that the best trades are sometimes the ones you don't make. Ramirez was a devastating presence in the middle of the lineup all year long. And for the first time in his career, he let the public get to know him by embracing his stardom.
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