BOSTON — Red Sox players back then were constantly joking around on and off the field and frequently meeting up for lunch at restaurants around town.
"We rode motorcycles to the ballpark," ex-Boston center fielder Johnny Damon said, discussing the unity of the 2004 World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
The '04 Red Sox were easy for fans to cheer for — not like this year's team.
Those players were fun. They loved being with one another and even outsiders knew it. They didn't put individual stats ahead of the team. They respected manager Terry Francona and the front office. They did the jobs they were assigned. They policed one another and themselves. Almost anybody would stand up to anybody. Yes, they were that comfortable with one another.
They were a pack of self-proclaimed "idiots" who knew the exact formula of winning: That the team — and not the individual — had to come first.
"That team changed the culture of how teams should be," said Damon who is in town with Cleveland this weekend and chatted one-on-one with The Eagle-Tribune on Friday. "And you see the teams that are winning now are teams that have very good chemistry. And I think when all of us left, they (the Red Sox) kind of lost something."
The Boston Red Sox — who sit in last place in the AL East here on May 13 — have lost their way from ownership down to the players, who think they can get away with whatever they want — and they actually do because ownership seems scared of upsetting them.
"It's always easier working together," Damon explained.
Hey Johnny, why don't you share that concept with these current Red Sox players.
Not all but some of the 2012 Red Sox players seem like they would rather sit in the clubhouse checking their own statistics on their iPads and focusing on what they need to do to earn their next big-money contract rather than riding motorcycles together to Fenway Park or even partying together like the 2003 Sox did by jogging in full uniforms and cleats from Fenway to the nearby Baseball Tavern and pouring (and buying) beer for fans after clinching the AL Wild Card.