By: Bob George/BosSports.net
December 30, 2004

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To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Champions are as champions do!"

2004 saw the most incredible display of championship sports in the New England region in history. For the first time ever, two Boston area teams won world championships in the same calendar year. Duck boats paraded through the streets of Boston in February and October. Boston fans can't believe how good life is right now.

As 2005 approaches, it is fitting to take one last look at the two teams which ascended to the zenith of their respective leagues in 2004. For the Patriots, it was "act like you've been there before!" But the Red Sox? Most of Red Sox Nation perhaps still can't believe that this was finally their year. Both the Red Sox and Patriots brought great joy to the region, and the Patriots may be on the verge of getting 2005 off to the same great start 2004 got.

This has been done before, but perhaps not in this detail. We'd like to present you with a comparative look at both the Red Sox and Patriots. We'll take the 25 guys who were on the World Series roster and pair them up with the Patriot they most closely resemble. Some of the matches are moderate reaches, but many of them are frighteningly close. The close ones shine new light on why both teams became champions in 2004.

You won't see every Patriot because there are twice as many of them as there are Red Sox players. We are taking each member of the Red Sox and matching them with their opposite number on the Patriots. Enjoy, and be proud once again of your two marquee teams.

Mike Myers = Je'Rod Cherry, Curtis Leskanic = Randall Gay. Reserve guys who help in their own way to keep the other team's offense from scoring. They aren't frontline guys, but they play certain roles in the success of their teams.

Kevin Youkilis = Josh Miller. The Greek God of Walks and a punter? Sure, if you consider all the times Miller makes punt returners walk backwards and watch the punt land deep in their own territory.

Bronson Arroyo = Asante Samuel. Two young bucks who keep the other team from scoring. They both do it with style -- hair style, that is. Two of the more flamboyant "dos for either team.

Derek Lowe = Matt Light. Two free spirits who bring their best to their game when it matters. Light has a better handle on things during a game than the easy-to-rattle Lowe, but both men march to the beats of similar drummers.

Dave Roberts = Bethel Johnson. In the need for some speed to win a game? Just ask one of these two gents. A long kickoff return, a key stolen base, these guys are the ones you go to if you need to get fast.

Mike Timlin = Rosevelt Colvin, Alan Embree = Mike Vrabel. Stout defensive guys who hold down the opposition, stout pitchers who do the same. From the left side or the right side, these guys protect both sides of the plate and the field.

Mark Bellhorn = Daniel Graham. In a quiet way, these guys kill you. Graham is often used for blocking, Bellhorn is good at drawing ball four (when not striking out). But these guys know how to use the dagger when they have to.

Doug Mientkiewicz = Gene Mruczkowski. Reserve guys with impossible to spell surnames of Polish origin. Completely unfair to Doug, we know. Gene has no Gold Medal and doesn't play defense. But these guys could get you a quick win in Scrabble if proper nouns are okay to use.

Gabe Kapler = Eugene Wilson. Terrific guys who play the deep balls real well. Can play more than one position. Both known for good defense.

Trot Nixon = Dan Koppen. Tough lunchpail guys who love getting dirty. Solid players who you love on your team. Lacking spectacular qualities, they just play consistently well game in and game out.

Orlando Cabrera = Ty Law, Pokey Reese = Tyrone Poole. Slick cover defenders. They are terrific at any balls hit or thrown their way. Quick guys who cover lots of ground. Proven veterans who you can depend on to preserve a lead.

Bill Mueller = David Givens. Consistent on offense without being spectacular. Mueller gives you the timely hit, Givens gets you that first down.

Doug Mirabelli = Kevin Faulk. Great situational players. Both have specific and clearly defined roles. Catch that knuckleball. Catch that ball out of the backfield on third and long. They have roles and they do them well.

Jason Varitek = Rodney Harrison. Captains. Men other players can look to for peer leadership. Backbones of their respective defenses. When situation warrants it, will get physical to back up teammates.

Johnny Damon = Deion Branch. Catalyst of team's offense. When he's on, the offense is in high gear. Other players may step up and produce, but it all starts right here with him.

Keith Foulke = Corey Dillon. When you need to close out a win, you call on this guy. Retire tough batters in the ninth inning, gain tough yards in the fourth quarter, he's your man. He's the final answer to the game-long question.

Kevin Millar = Tedy Bruschi. The team's personality. The team's heart and soul. No All-Star teams, no Pro Bowls. But he is the favorite of the fans, the man who defines the character of the team.

Pedro Martinez = Willie McGinest. The veteran who always comes through when the other team needs to be stopped. The key sack, the key strikeout, both men directly affect team wins in their own unique way.

Tim Wakefield = Troy Brown. These men define professionalism. These men will do absolutely anything to help their team win. These men are gamers in the highest sense of the word. They are more beloved by their fans than they perhaps will ever know.

Manny Ramirez = Richard Seymour. The big man who comes through big for you. A big sack is just as great as a big home run. These guys also love to wear their hair thick and full. But when you think "big", you think these guys.

Curt Schilling = Tom Brady. These two men personify "winning". Both men are incredible students of the game. Both men prepare like no other. Brady won a Super Bowl with a bad shoulder, Schilling with a bad ankle. These men simply win.

David Ortiz = Adam Vinatieri. These men deliver the key blows which win you games. They are the "Mr. Clutch" twins. You pin your championship hopes on these two guys. There will be statues of these two guys somewhere around the area within twenty years.


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