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Ex-Marlins remember 2003 title win in NY


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About the only consolation from the Red Sox? heartbreaking loss to the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS was that just nine days after an Aaron Boone home run deflated all of New England, an elated group of Florida Marlins were spraying the field and visitors? clubhouse at Yankee Stadium with champagne.

Three of those 2003 World Series champions, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Alex Gonzalez, make their first return to the Bronx since Oct. 25, 2003, tonight for the Sox? first visit to New York of the season.



Experiencing a Red Sox-Yankees game in hostile territory can be intimidating for some first-timers, but it is safe to say that these are three first-year Red Sox players who won?t be overwhelmed by the heavy-handed history lesson that greets everyone who walks into Yankee Stadium.

Beginning tonight, when Beckett takes the mound, and Lowell plays third and Gonzalez shortstop, as expected, there will be no hesitation or nervousness.

If anything, they will probably be unable to restrain a hop and a skip as they take the field, site of their fondest baseball memory.

?Yeah, the last out, that was the most exciting moment, the most exciting time of them all,? said Beckett, who applied the tag on Jorge Posada for the third out in the ninth inning of Game 6, cementing his own MVP award for the series. ?It was almost like a surreal feeling. It took a good, solid three weeks or so for that to go away. Just because of where we had come from, nobody expected us to get there.?

Beckett and his teammates were the NL wild cards in ?03 and were as surprised as anyone to find themselves playing for a world title. But with lovable yet irascible Jack McKeon managing, the Marlins were a loose bunch.

Not ?idiots,? mind you, but loose.

?We were in this Hacky Sack phase, me and four or five other pitchers,? Beckett said. ?We were in our bullpen, playing Hacky Sack all the time, right above their monument park and all. We?d go out sometimes and check out all the plaques. Pretty cool place.? [continue]

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Lowell remembers the team watching ?Slapshot? before the final game. Still, the veteran third baseman was cautious about making too many comparisons between then and now.

?It?s a totally different environment now, just so different,? Lowell said. ?We want to win this series but it?s not do or die. We?re two totally different teams.?

The 2003 World Series provokes quick and easy smiles from Lowell and Gonzalez.

?I remember Josh was pounding them, all the time and our offense was clicking,? Lowell said.

Gonzalez said he can remember vividly each and every play of that series, especially Games 1, 2 and 6 at Yankee Stadium.

?I remember all three games we played there. The World Series, it tugs at your heart, the whole series,? said Gonzalez, who scored the first run in the Marlins? 2-0 Game 6, championship-sealing victory.

?I?m very proud of what we did, very proud we beat one of the best teams in all of baseball.?

The Yankees have remained one of the best teams, but since 2000, they have not sprayed any champagne. The Marlins and Red Sox have.

And now some of those Marlins are on the Red Sox. That has to count for something.


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