It was three years ago today that the Red Sox celebrated their first championship in 86 years by handing out their World Series rings and raising the championship flag before a packed house that included the New York Yankees in the other dugout watching it happen. (The Red Sox won big that day as well.)
But that day for me will always be another anniversary: it was the day many of my friends and I officially abandoned the Riviera Sports Bar and Cafe as the place to watch the Red Sox games in New York.
Our friend and bartender Jim McGuire was not present that day, and we all thought that there was something very wrong with that. We found out the next day that Jim was fired by the general manager, and it incensed us to no end.
We drew up a petition to get Jim reinstated, and it was signed by a few dozen of us. We said that we would no longer give them our business unless Jim was back. It was presented to the Riviera's owner, but he told the New York Times a month later (yes, it made the papers that May, read about it here) that our protests made very little difference to him, and so we officially abandoned the place. Jim landed a gig in a nice bar called Phebe's on East 4th Street for nearly six months before Professor Thom's opened in December 2005.
The Riviera has a ton of wonderful memories for me from the historic 2004 Red Sox postseason run. But the Riviera is old news, living off their reputation and not the "happening" bar to watch the Red Sox in New York City. (Thom's owns that distinction.)
Haven't been there in three years. And I'm proud of that.