Friends of Red Sox Nation, lend me your ears. I come to bury the Red Sox, not to praise them.
The worst regular season collapse in baseball history is complete, and even noted Red Sox fan Stephen King could not have written its ending in a more horrifying fashion.
Last night, the Red Sox led the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, going into the 7th inning. Then the rains came – buckets of rain. As it turned out, buckets of tears. Because while the Sox waited for more than an hour for the rain to cease, the Tampa Bay Rays were busy chipping away at a seemingly insurmountable 7-0 deficit to the New York Yankees.
7-0 became 7-3, then 7-6. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, down to their last at-bat, the Rays got a tying solo home run from the immortal Dan Johnson, and that’s when the ghosts of Enos Slaughter, and the memories of everyone from Bucky Dent to Mookie Wilson to Grady Little began to creep into the ether at Camden Yards.
Jump to the bottom of the 9th. Still ahead 3-2, closer Jonathan Papelbon strikes out the first two batters. But then, he yields back-to-back doubles and the score is tied.
The final exclamation point of failure came when multi-million dollar signee Carl Crawford failed to snag a sinking line drive that looked quite catch-able, and the Orioles won 4-3.
The Sox still could have had a shot at a one-game playoff with the Rays if the Yankees could have won in extra innings, but did any Sox fan really think that was going to happen?
No. Evan Longoria smacked the game-winning walk off home run for Tampa, and the Sox instantly became the first team in baseball history to take a nine-game lead into September and miss the playoffs.
So, Red Sox fans: where does this rank in your pantheon of pain? Does the implosion of 2011 Red Sox deserve a top spot in the Sox’ menagerie of misery, up there with ’46, ’78, ’86, ’03? Comment: How does this collapse measure up?
And if you really want to feel better today – hug a Braves fan.
They, too, completed a terrible collapse, losing to the Phillies, 4-3, in extra innings last night, while St. Louis won to clinch the wild card. The Braves were up 8½ games going into this month, a half game away from matching the Red Sox sorry September. So misery indeed does have company.