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Wake Me Up When September Ends
September 28, 2011 10:08 PM   Subscribe

After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
posted by Rhaomi (196 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Craziest final day of regular season baseball ever.
posted by Plug1 at 10:11 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]




Did you really expect otherwise from the Red Sox? Come on, now...
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:17 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


EVAN LONGORIA!

Here's something fun. Minutes after former Ray Carl Crawford flubbed the game-winning hit, Longoria hit his walk-off into the little cutout that used to be called the Crawford Hole.

I don't know if I will sleep tonight.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:17 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


If god wanted Red Sox to win he wouldn't have created the Yankees.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:20 PM on September 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Unreal. Such a horrible night to be a Sox fan.

Tonight was only the third time in Yankee history they have blown a 7-run lead in the 8th inning or later, first time since 1953.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:22 PM on September 28, 2011


Today was an incredible day of baseball — both wild-card races hanging on the last day's play, with extra-inning games factoring into each league's decision. If this kind of nail-biting suspense happened in a baseball movie we'd all be incredulous.
posted by RogerB at 10:23 PM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


And let's not forget the NL side, while ultimately not as exciting, featured possibly the second-worst collapse as the Braves fell to the Phillies in 13 after leading in the 9th.

This was probably the greatest single night of regular season baseball in MLB history.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:24 PM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know, I don't seriously think a professional baseball team would deliberately blow a seven run lead just to screw another team. But I do think Boston fans are telling themselves that's what happened right now.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:26 PM on September 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


This was the greatest night of baseball I've ever watched.
posted by saul wright at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boston fans just need to remember that their team only had to win to be in the playoffs, regardless of what other teams did. They played the lowly O's 7 times over the last week or so and only won twice.
posted by acetonic at 10:29 PM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


No Red Sox, no Braves! Mikey likey!

Go Cardinals!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:31 PM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hey, remember around September 1st, when people were complaining that there were no good pennant / wildcard races this year?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:31 PM on September 28, 2011


GO CRADS!
posted by saul wright at 10:36 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahhh, things are finally getting back to normal here in the hub, after all that "World Series" bullshit we've been through.
posted by not_on_display at 10:36 PM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Did you really expect otherwise from the Red Sox? Come on, now...

But these aren't the hard-luck loser Sox anymore, they're the rich kid that moved into the house next door to those other rich kids in pinstripes.

Yankees' team salary this year was $203M, the Sox were third at $162M. The Rays were next to last at $41M. And as much as people (like me) despise the Yanks, I don't think too many of them are shedding tears for the Sox.

I love the idea of Crawford expecting an easy ring by signing with Boston, only to have his season end like this. Too crazy. It would be great for baseball if the Rays made it to the World Series, but unfortunately the sport's not market-proof like the NFL.

Speaking of which, I'm kind of surprised the NFL didn't find a way to somehow steal the spotlight once again from a big day of MLB. "Vick practices! 100% for Sunday! OMG!"
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:37 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, I don't seriously think a professional baseball team would deliberately blow a seven run lead just to screw another team.

I think everyone that made the playoffs, including the Yankees, would rather face Boston than the Rays.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:38 PM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


The day baseball runs out of hyperbole will be the worst day in the history of sports.
posted by The World Famous at 10:39 PM on September 28, 2011 [38 favorites]


This was the greatest night of baseball I've ever watched.

Bucker's error was a quick death. This slow lingering slide to oblivion this year has indeed been a delicious treat.
posted by three blind mice at 10:39 PM on September 28, 2011


Bucker's

Buckner's, see I've even forgotten how to spell his name...
posted by three blind mice at 10:40 PM on September 28, 2011


Quick death? Buckner's error was in game six. Mets won in seven.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:43 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man they sure pounded the Jays this year. 16-4 and 14-1 on consecutive days, another 14-0 and then a 18-6 a couple of weeks ago. Geez it has to hurt to lose 14-0.
posted by Mitheral at 10:48 PM on September 28, 2011


Anyone else here happy to see this Sox team collapse? Read this article from 9 months ago and revel in the Schadenfreude. Bonus points if you email it without commentary to every Red Sox fan you know.
posted by auto-correct at 10:50 PM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


The day baseball runs out of hyperbole will be the worst day in the history of sports.

And in any case, the Comic Book Guy rhetoric here obscures the gigantic "in the wild-card era" asterisk half-visibly hanging on every playoff-race collapse and achievement of recent years. Nothing that happens in a sport where four (and maybe soon to be even horribly more) teams from each league go into the playoffs will ever rival the significance of the LCS playoff races, much less the true, that is to say World Series or go home, pennant races of years past.
posted by RogerB at 10:52 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man they sure pounded the Jays this year. 16-4 and 14-1 on consecutive days, another 14-0 and then a 18-6 a couple of weeks ago. Geez it has to hurt to lose 14-0.

Except that the Jays went 4-2 against the Sox in September despite getting outscored by about ten thousand runs. Takes a bit of the pain away :)
posted by auto-correct at 10:54 PM on September 28, 2011


Sorry, I was busy following the exciting Cardinals' clinch of the wild card. Did something happen on the East Coast?
posted by cgk at 10:55 PM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well Boston, go grab a few pints and watch a rerun of the 2004 ALCS. It'll make the day feel a little better.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Read this article from 9 months ago and revel in the Schadenfreude.

Or for a more fresh dose of Boston overconfidence, there's Dan Shaughnessy's optimistic assessment of the Rays' comeback chances during the rain delay in Baltimore.

Hopefully in a week from now, John Sterling will be able to join him out on the greens.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 10:57 PM on September 28, 2011


You know, I don't seriously think a professional baseball team would deliberately blow a seven run lead just to screw another team.

I'm not a baseball fan. I have no vested interest in the Yankees or Red Sox, and in other sports I actively cheer for all Boston and New York teams to lose every game. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe that the Yankees could have a secret pact to purposefully lose a game in glorious fashion to prevent the Red Sox from making the playoffs.

On a traditionally superstitious note, if the Yankees blew the game on purpose to keep the Red Sox out, and word of it spreads, I hope that the Yankees cursed themselves from now until my death.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:58 PM on September 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


Instinctively I still over-enunciate my O during the star-spangled banner. The fact that the O's proved spoiler to the Sox is going to make my Thanksgiving this year quite interesting. Awesome.

The whole year's been crazy, at least if you are a Giants fan.
posted by chemoboy at 10:59 PM on September 28, 2011 [4 favorites]



Ouch
posted by Increase at 11:00 PM on September 28, 2011


*ghost of Babe Ruth chuckles, belches, farts, curses, and re-curses simultaneously*
posted by pracowity at 11:00 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


You people don't know.

I was given this sickness, this unrelenting illness, this horror, this Cubs fan thing, this was given to me young, before I had choice in the matter. My earliest baseball memory is sitting in Wrigley with my father and some mope Cub popping up to Johnny Roseboro, the Dodgers catcher, a foul pop-up caught easily, and all the cheering stopped and everyone kindof got into what I know now to be the defining characteristic of being a Cubs fan -- a long-sufferng sadness, a resignation, a way of finding peace somehow though you don't have peace, and can't have peace. I asked my father "Wait, it was in foul territory, how is it over?" or, essentially, a five year old childs version of "WTF?" And my father, who have given me this sickness, well, I don't know what he felt.

I hope he felt bad.

I damn sure did.

I got totally completely, 100 percent burned by the 1969 Cubs. Completely. A horror show. Only Red Sox fans can even begin to get near what I'm saying, but not Red Sox fans of the past six or eight years, that's for sure. God has smiled upon them. For Cubs fans, there is one of those old testament sort of gods, lightning bolts and shit, and we never even did anything wrong.

It was even worse in 1984.

1984 was like getting beaten with hammers. They were this close. This close. It was their year. They earned it, they deserved it, everything was aligned, the sun was shining. And then it wasn't. I am glad Steve Garvey had all the trouble he had, publicly, being shown up for the jerk he is, his wife leaving him or whatever; that prick ruined my life. I wish him ill.

After that -- no more. Except then I let it in some, because I'm a goddamned fool. But nothing since Bartman, and hopefully never again.

So don't anyone be thinking you know what it is. I mean, yeah, I'm sorry your guys lost and all, and I'd have absolutely been rooting for them, were I still following baseball at all. I lived and died with them in that one game 1977 all or nothing game against the scum-being Yankees, I couldn't watch it on TV but I would not get away from a radio, and I hurt right along with you, though certainly not as badly.

Still. You finally did make it.

Pray for us.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:02 PM on September 28, 2011 [30 favorites]


MeFi baseball threads are the best.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:02 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh good, Metafilter has turned into ESPN. Let's all talk about the Yankees and the Red Sox. You mean, there are teams in fly-over country?
posted by IvoShandor at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2011


Ouch x2

INCREDIBLE night of baseball. Sucks that the Yanks blew that lead but man.. I couldn't have wished for anything sweeter than watching Papelpoop give the season away. As my father texted me:

There is no joy in Beantown tonight!

GO YANKS
posted by ReeMonster at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Go Giants!

Relatedly:
http://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/sf-giants-street-art-spreads-across-bernal-heights/
posted by chavenet at 11:05 PM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


That said, great night of baseball. Go Cards! And Boston choked? What the hell? That never happens. Never I say.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:08 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lets go Mets go?

They were my favorite team growing up, I guess they are still playing in New York. Gotta see what they been up to.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:10 PM on September 28, 2011


What a night of baseball for this Yankee fan! What was so great was watching with my three teenaged kids just screaming in amazement. It will be remembered as a great baseball night for all fans, but an amazing night for my family and me as a father. Watching baseball with my kids was something i looked forward to and wow!

Thank you MLB.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:10 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean, there are teams in fly-over country?

Detroit and Milwaukee made the playoffs. There was nothing that interesting in their last games as they were securely in days ago. There really wasn't much to talk about other than the batting title and Verlander not winning his 26th a few days ago. Feel free to talk about it, but it doesn't hold water to one of the worst collapses of a team going into the playoffs in not only baseball but sports history in general.

Imagine if Manchester United got relegated. Or if Canada didn't get to the medal rounds in the Olympics in ice hockey. Imagine Usain Bolt getting knocked out of the 100m dash in the second heat. That's what the Red Sox completed tonight.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:13 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's all talk about the Yankees and the Red Sox. You mean, there are teams in fly-over country?

Hey, I'd love nothing more than a Rays-Brewers World Series. Two exciting teams, a triumph for small markets, and they even have some big-name players. But casual sports fans would not tune in, which would be a shame. They'll all be going over their fantasy football rosters instead. (Not to mention, it'd be a catalog of future free agents that the Yanks and Sox can snatch up).

And hey, maybe the Cards would've gotten more attention if they didn't win in a blowout and end their game so early. Silly Redbirds.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:20 PM on September 28, 2011


Tampa. Bay. Rays.

Unbelievable.

My husband is a diehard Rays fan. He's going to be insufferable now.
posted by misha at 11:22 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


And hey, maybe the Cards would've gotten more attention if they didn't win in a blowout and end their game so early.

I really doubt it. The Cardinals' game was good baseball: a shutout from Carpenter, who struck out 11. That by itself would have been worth noting. But anyway, it was an authoritative win! The Cards left no doubt about having done their job.

The AL just holds more fascination for the media. The Red Sox and Yankees especially so.

What's most unfortunate is that Pujols finished the season batting .299 with "only" 99 RBI. The end of an era.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 11:39 PM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Instinctively I still over-enunciate my O during the star-spangled banner.

OH GOD I DO THIS TOO.

This was my home team growing up, in the Ripken era. Pretty sad to see them now, but I'm tickled at the role they had to play here.

(My current local team is officially the absolute worst in the game this season, so...yay O's? At least you're not at the bottom?)
posted by Salieri at 11:47 PM on September 28, 2011


I have deeply complexificated feelings about the US. Immigrant-who-never-learned-the-language complex... But maybe the one thing I really felt I understood and believed in and could feel the psychic soul of the country pulse through (ok, outside of Whitman/Melville/Morrison) was baseball, introduced to me by WPIX, channel 11 in NYC, and the shitty late 's 80- early 90's Yankees.

I miss baseball. I miss following it almost subconsciously as the dribs and drabs of news about trades and competing leagues filters out through the back page of the Post. I miss listening to games on the radio, the tempo of the game playing out through language in some shadow-play like duet.

It is one of the ridiculously true, great things to come out of the US.

SUCK ON THAT BOSTON! YOU FUCKING LOOOOOOOSERRRRRRSSSSSS! PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSRRRRRRRRRRBBBBB!
posted by From Bklyn at 11:48 PM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


The AL just holds more fascination for the media. The Red Sox and Yankees especially so.

Well, it's more Sox-Yanks than NL-AL. Phils-Cards would probably get more attention than Rangers-Tigers.

I also think it's a chicken-or-egg thing. Is the media just reflecting a national interest in Sox-Yanks, or is there national interest because of media hype? Even on the road, both of those teams are big draws. Everyone can name a lot of their players. I don't even know if it's a market-related thing, because the Mets probably wouldn't as much pull even if they were good. And the Cubs would draw in a lot more national interest than the White Sox.

Heck, in my opinion, this was the most dramatic night of baseball since the Red Sox came back from 0-3 to beat, yes, the Yankees in '04. Of course, the Sox were more lovable back then...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:03 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


We were at the Red Sox/Os game. What a night. During the hour-plus rain delay a lot of people left, but the ones that stayed were crowded around tvs showing the other games going on.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:25 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only hope that out of this the recent post 2004 immigrants to Red Sox nation will now move of to be fair weather and foul tempered fans of some other team. Those that remain can now learn the values of humility, comradery in the face of certain death/collapse and how to savor little moments.
posted by humanfont at 12:57 AM on September 29, 2011 [9 favorites]


Only Red Sox fans can even begin to get near what I'm saying...

I dunno 'bout that. This Cleveland Indians fan grew up hearing about '54 and Willie Mays' catch stealing the title from the team that was even better than the one in '48 (the last time we won the series). We learned to love losing but always had hope that some day... some day. And that day came. The 90s were amazing. It was our time. We were back. And we were going to win. Not just the Indians, but Cleveland. The city hadn't seen a championship since the Browns won in '64. And here we were with, clearly, the best team in baseball. We made it to the series in '95 and it was amazing... until it wasn't. And then again in '97 when it we threw away our 9th inning lead in game 7 to lose it in overtime. Yeah. I think any Cleveland sports fan can get near what you're saying, but especially a Cleveland Indians fan.

My heart's with you Red Sox fans. But your dashed hopes tonight made for some of the best baseball in years and, for that, I thank you.
posted by imbri at 1:07 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is, perhaps, telling that the Red Sox have deleted their official "It Gets Better" video.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:25 AM on September 29, 2011


Also, Nate Silver has some numbers that underscore how strikingly improbable this all was:
The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.

The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.

The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.

The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.

When confronted with numbers like these, you have to start to ask a few questions, statistical and existential.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:44 AM on September 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


At least Wakefield got his 200th win before the implosion. That's the one good thing to come out of the tail end of the season.

Now I've been a Red Sox fan all my life. I've also taken notice to how much the rest of the country has an uncanny dislike for Boston sports teams (compare the Pats in '85 and the Pats in '08). I don't know if its that people just dislike Massachusetts, but they are the sports villains of the nation. But man, they deserved it this year. They played the role of heel so well. They've transformed from the motley crew underdogs of 2004 into entitled bastards. The insufferable press, the speculations about putting up the best record ever, expecting to win the series before the season begins, the April meltdown press tantrum, the hating on Dice-K. If you can't lose with dignity then you don't deserve to win.
posted by cotterpin at 3:39 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't say that I'm happy that the Sox season is ended, but they sure earned it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 AM on September 29, 2011


Ever since I was a little girl, my grandfather and my father warned me that, "this team will break your heart."

I was sad that my grandfather didn't live to see the '04 world series, but I'm thankful he wasn't alive to see this.
posted by giraffe at 3:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


The September meltdowns of both Boston and Atlanta makes me giggle with great glee.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:30 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ahh, it's good to have the old Sox back again.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:43 AM on September 29, 2011


Worst ever? I've been a Sox fan since I was a baby, and that's a long time. I had a poster of Yaztremski on my wall when I was in kindergarten. Don't tell me about worst ever.
posted by spitbull at 4:55 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Last night I listened to my beloved Twins NOT lose 100 games this season, and I bid farewell to John Gordon, who has been the Twins radio play-by-play announcer for pretty much my whole life.

As a lifelong Minnesotan who has watched the most promising of teams crash and burn in the most spectacular of ways (...Vikings...), I sympathize with you, Red Sox Nation. Sorry, but it doesn't get easier with time.
posted by Elly Vortex at 4:59 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


And for the thirtieth year in a row, my Expos will not be in the playoffs.
posted by hangashore at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


I sympathize with you, Red Sox Nation. Sorry, but it doesn't get easier with time.

Ohhhh, poor Boston. The Sox aren't making the playoffs this year.

Fuck that shit. Don't waste any emotion on Boston Fans, they have won championships in all 3 major sports last decade. I just watched a whole city (me too!) celebrate like a pack of crazy assholes because the Bills beat the Pats for the first time in 8 (fuck my life) years. I can't even tell you how unjustifiably tickled I am that the Sox just blew their season. Easier with time, hah.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 5:13 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


My husband is a diehard Rays fan.

He's the one?
posted by inigo2 at 5:17 AM on September 29, 2011 [11 favorites]


SUCK ON THAT BOSTON! YOU FUCKING LOOOOOOOSERRRRRRSSSSSS! PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSRRRRRRRRRRBBBBB!

*shrugs* Eh, the self-esteem of the Red Sox is good enough that we didn't need another Series win to feel good about ourselves. 26 just feels like....overkill, y'know?

*smirks, waits for the inevitable harassment*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:19 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


See what I mean Elly Vortex?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 5:21 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated: Don't waste any emotion on Boston Fans, they have won championships in all 3 major sports last decade.

Try all four! Or perhaps you don't consider the NHL a major sport? You may have a point.
posted by dust of the stars at 5:22 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


And now, a serious observation...

I didn't see this game, and don't really follow baseball all that much; my Red Sox allegience is entirely due to growing up in New England and then being confronted with the nigh-Shakesperian level of drama I faced from Yankees-fan friends when I got here to New York.

But I did go to one Yankees/Sox game in about '96, with my Yankee-fan then-boyfriend. I was open about my Red Sox fanhood and so he -- and me, a couple of the guys around me -- got caught up in good-natured trash-talk. But as for the game itself...we all agreed, at the end of the game, that both teams were pretty damn good, and it had been a good close game.

The Sox may have a weakness for stumbling rather spectacularly now and then. The Yankees have their own weakness. But both of them are still, at the end of the day, pretty damn good teams.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:24 AM on September 29, 2011


The odds of this collapse were 278 million to one.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:42 AM on September 29, 2011


Way back in '86 the comic strip Tank MacNamara had a great week long series set in a class room in the distant future where the teature is lecturing on the derivation of the term 'bostoned' (as in “I bostoned the job interview”, “I bostoned the test”) and how it came into common ussage.

Wish I could find those strips, they are as appropriate as eveah.
posted by evilelf at 5:43 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is completely on Boston. And anyone that compares this to other Boston failures is nuts. They didn't have the pitching to go anywhere in the post season. Might as well end it now and start preparing for next year.

It will be interesting to see how the Rays deal with teams that are not a collapsing Red Sox team or a disinterested Yankee team.

Did you really expect otherwise from the Red Sox? Come on, now...
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:17 AM


I can never tell on metafilter if comments like this are from someone snarking or someone that really doesn't follow sports until it's a thread on metafilter. Perhaps a little of both.

MeFi baseball threads are the best.
posted by KokuRyu


I would say you couldn't be more wrong, except I did see a brilliant Yankees fan call Papelbon Papelpoop. So I concede your point.
posted by justgary at 5:43 AM on September 29, 2011


As a Met fan, I am grateful that Boston's Epic Collapse now supersedes the Mets 2007 Epic Collapse as The Worst in the History of Baseball EVER (until Such Time as Media Hyperbole Deems Otherwise).. But then again, it proves my long held suspicion that even at failure, the Mets somehow wind up finding a way to being an also ran.

What's even worse is that thanks to the Sox choking their way through September, the Braves similarly epic coming up short is going to be largely overlooked. I can't even get a good schadenfreude gloat on as a Mets fan . . .
posted by KingEdRa at 5:46 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I live less than a mile from Tufts.

I wonder if my house got egged last night.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:54 AM on September 29, 2011


Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field

Down the stretch, the Orioles took 2 out of 3 from the Rays, 2 out of 3 from the Angels, split a series with Detroit, and of course beat Boston 5 games out of 7. They had a pretty bad bulk of a season, thanks to terrible starting pitching, but their lineup is solid, and over the last few weeks they were playing as well as anybody in baseball. In a very real sense the AL wildcard was decided by who had to play against them the least.
posted by escabeche at 5:56 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


the Braves similarly epic coming up short is going to be largely overlooked

Yeah, as an Atlanta fan right now I have to say your my favorite team sucks. But at least no one here is rubbing it in.
posted by TedW at 6:02 AM on September 29, 2011


I was given this sickness, this unrelenting illness, this horror, this Cubs fan thing, this was given to me young, before I had choice in the matter.

But nothing since Bartman, and hopefully never again.

This is a lie.

The Cubs are bad right now, so you're not paying attention. When they're good, you'll start paying attention again. It ain't a Greek tragedy.

If you really were done with the team, you'd be hungover on Tampa Bay champagne right now, you'd be headed to work trying to figure out who is to blame for Boston's collapse, you'd be sorting out your real feelings on Ozzie Guillen's departure, you'd be cautiously optimistic about Ozzie Guillen's arrival, you'd be taking a bite of cold pizza telling me that Cleveland is really the most beleaguered sports town in America, you'd be biting your nails over the suspicion that the Brewers have already played their best baseball of the season but knowing that they haven't yet played to their potential...

Instead, you're telling a bunch of people reveling in a chaotic 2011 season ending that you've been done with the Cubs since 2003.

It's not impossible to be a turncoat. It's not even hard. Some of the most passionate baseball fans I know abandoned Cub fandom out of frustration in 1969 (one, even earlier). They don't harbor any hidden love for the franchise. They were honestly done with the team, and now mourn and celebrate elsewhere.

But you're a Cub fan. Someday, you think, they'll make this all worthwhile. So you stick around even as you tell the world you don't. And you dwell in a cloud of dissonance when they've got no shot. Or maybe you just don't have the "unrelenting illness" of being born with Cubbie blue blood and hanging on every basket home run and botched fly ball. That's fine.

Either way, stop the posturing and just be a fan.
posted by pokermonk at 6:03 AM on September 29, 2011


AWH COLLAPSE IS GREATAH THAN YOU-AH COLLAPSE!
posted by drezdn at 6:13 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Either way, stop the posturing and just be a fan.

Also, only a Cubs fan would jump into a thread about Boston/TampaBay/St.Louis/Atlanta and turn into "My Team is Horrible: A Fan's Lament." I should know, I used to be a Cubs fan. That's just how we do. But I actually am done being a Cubs fan and I could give a rip about being let down by a sports team. In fact, I'm done being a fan of professional baseball. Football shares revenue and provides fantastic parity and competition. Basketball is somewhere in between. But baseball is this weird capitalist nightmare where particular fan bases are resigned to rooting for teams owned by filthy rich men who admittedly do not invest in the success of their team, either out of business acumen or, what, laziness? I don't know. Again, you get this is the NFL and the NBA, too, but it seems to be epidemic in MLB. I enjoy a nice day at the ball park, but being a "fan" of a team? Why? We're watching billionaires play poker with each other. Allow cities and fan bases to invest, share in the revenue, and vote in/out a board of directors (basically, turn every team into the Packers) and then I'll be a fan of your sport again.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Boston fans, look on the bright side: at least Tom Brady got a haircut.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't even imagine how happy Buck Showalter is this morning after these comments from earlier this season:

"I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll," Showalter told Men's Journal, according to the Record. "You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?' "
posted by lilkeith07 at 6:17 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing this proves to me is that my supply of happiness from 2004 has not been exhausted (and is likely inexhaustible). After the failures 1978 and 1986 and 2003, the victories in 2004, and especially the way in which they were accomplished, were unbelievably sweet and fulfilling. I'm disappointed that the Sox missed the playoffs, but not shattered. The one thing that really rankles are the comments and articles like "Did you really expect otherwise from the Red Sox?" But I'll just avoid reading baseball articles for a day or two.

And that was an amazing comeback by the Rays. I hope they go all the way.
posted by dfan at 6:19 AM on September 29, 2011


It is, perhaps, telling that the Red Sox have deleted their official "It Gets Better" video.

eh? It's right here.
posted by anastasiav at 6:21 AM on September 29, 2011


I've seen a few Rays games, or bits of them anyway, this season, and by god if their own fans don't care enough to show up and watch them play, I sure can't bring myself to care about them. I guess now I have to figure out who to shout for in the next few weeks....Detroit, maybe, since I really like saying "Motor City kitties!" I guess I should holler for the Dbacks, too, out of NL West loyalty.

I'm still riding the GO GIANTS! happiness wave from last season, so I'm good on that front - we could see what was coming when Posey went down earlier this year. Rest well, Giants, and work your asses off in the off-season (keep that weight down, Panda!) - see you in the spring!
posted by rtha at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2011


Feel free to talk about it, but it doesn't hold water to one of the worst collapses of a team going into the playoffs in not only baseball but sports history in general.

FWIW the Atlanta Braves held an 8 1/2 game lead in the NL Wild Card on September 5, which is just about as bad as Boston's collapse. But, as usual with sports, all anyone really cares about in the media is Boston/New York.
posted by IvoShandor at 6:25 AM on September 29, 2011


(Not to mention, it'd be a catalog of future free agents that the Yanks and Sox can snatch up)

This is changing. Many small market teams are locking up star players early on, so they get more time out of them. In Milwaukee, the team has control of arguably their best player (Ryan Braun) through 2020.

The biggest free agent this year, Albert Pujols, probably won't sign with either Boston or New York as neither team really has a spot for him. In fact, with Pujols, I wouldn't be shocked if he ended up staying with the Cardinals.
posted by drezdn at 6:26 AM on September 29, 2011


Also, only a Cubs fan would jump into a thread about Boston/TampaBay/St.Louis/Atlanta and turn into "My Team is Horrible: A Fan's Lament."

As is proven by a trip to the North Side of Chicago, Cubs fans ruin everything.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:29 AM on September 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


The plus side: You can actually find a parking space near Eastern Standard on the weekends now.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:30 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the...

Oh.

Never mind.
posted by Trurl at 6:37 AM on September 29, 2011


And a little bonbon for those of us Orioles fans who have to endure the hollering from the many, many Red Sox and Yankee fans in Camden Yards as those guys beat us at home again and again: Scutaro stopped between second and third because he was fooled by cheering Red Sox fans into thinking that Nolan Reimold had caught the ball.
posted by escabeche at 6:43 AM on September 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Does anyone remember that The Pirates were considered playoff contenders for about a week in mid-summer? No? Didn't think so.

I have no sympathy for any other team's fan. When your team loses nineteen straight seasons, we can talk.
posted by octothorpe at 6:49 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing this proves to me is that my supply of happiness from 2004 has not been exhausted (and is likely inexhaustible). After the failures 1978 and 1986 and 2003, the victories in 2004, and especially the way in which they were accomplished, were unbelievably sweet and fulfilling. I'm disappointed that the Sox missed the playoffs, but not shattered.

2004 really did change things for me. I can't imagine how I'd be feeling right now if Dave Roberts had been caught stealing in 2004 or if Cleveland's wheels didn't completely fall off after jumping to that 3-1 lead in the 2007 ALCS. As it stands -- with 2 World Series in my pocket -- it's frustrating and annoying (thank Yastrzemski the Yankee fan in my office is on vacation), but not nearly as world-shattering as it would have been pre-2004. The passion and the fandom are still there, it's just that the highs and lows have been mellowed a bit.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:54 AM on September 29, 2011


Two teams have never been to the World Series: The Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) and the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners have played in the ALCS three times, culminating in 2001 when they won 116 games but were run out of the playoffs by the Yankees riding 9/11 sentiment. The M's haven't been back to the playoffs since.

The Expos only made the playoffs once -- the strike year of 1981. They had the best record in baseball in 1994... only to have that year's strike cancel the World Series. That team, one of the most talented of that decade, was disassembled and the team eventually boxed up and sold to some DC investors.

So as a Mariners fan... seriously, Red Sox fans, you don't know what misery is. Misery is your team losing 17 games in a row. Misery is your team squandering the career of one of the greatest defensive RFs and greatest slap hitters ever. Misery is a boatload of torn labrums and blown out elbows from every pitching prospect of the early 2000s. Misery is not winning the World Series with a team containing Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez, and Randy Johnson.

Misery is sitting there with 30,000 people in Safeco, 28,000 of them drunk Red Sox fans all cheering for THEIR TEAM in YOUR STADIUM and knowing that there's just nothing to be done about it, not unless Chone Figgins remembers how to hit, not unless just one of this current crop of prospects figures out how to hit for power, all while knowing the Red Sox have more money than God and will eventually drop a quarter billion dollars in the lap of your best pitcher while the Mariners ownership does nothing except cut payroll again.

Seriously. This is the world's smallest violin. Red Sox and Cubs fans' misery is nothing compared to what Mariners fans have been through.

And yet every Mariners fan would tell you the Expos fans had it worse.
posted by dw at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2011 [22 favorites]


And let's not forget the NL side, while ultimately not as exciting, featured possibly the second-worst collapse as the Braves fell to the Phillies in 13 after leading in the 9th.


More importantly, Uncle Charlie just set the franchise record and became the winningest manager in franchise history!
posted by Loto at 7:07 AM on September 29, 2011


Two teams have never been to the World Series: The Washington Nationals (formerly the Montreal Expos) and the Seattle Mariners.

There's actually something really nice about rooting for the Nationals; you can't really have that much invested in the team since they've been around for so little time, and expectations are so low that they can't really have ever disappointed you. This year, they finished just under .500, and people are pretty elated about the result.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:09 AM on September 29, 2011


The Sox snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? TRADITION, BABY.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, misery is living in Boston with two roommates from Maine and one from Vermont while not giving a single solitary fuck about the Sox, Pat's, C's, or B's.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2011


It is nights like last night that make me glad to be a fair-weather Sox fan.

Go Rays!
posted by The Confessor at 7:17 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't feel bad, KingEdRa. I still consider the Mets 2007 collapse the worst.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:18 AM on September 29, 2011


AWH COLLAPSE IS GREATAH THAN YOU-AH COLLAPSE!

What? You have something stuck in your dentures - is that what you're trying to tell us? Here - use these pliers!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:24 AM on September 29, 2011


All I can think is DEEEE-TROIIIIIT BASEY-BALLLLLLL!

(Okay, it doesn't work for everything, but that doesn't mean I'll stop trying.)
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:24 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Long time hater, first time troller...

Listen, no other Red Sox team in the history of wistful-idiot-entitled-baseball-jerks teams deserved this kind of ending more than this year's at this time for this city.

I live in Boston; I love the fandom atmosphere, the Bruins are even kind of gritty. But given the shit that is going on in the rest of the country both in sports and in real life, Bostonians are living a Christmas-land, rainbows way up the ass fantasy of sound economy, amenity-filled urban living and a long queue of championships. This is way past due.

They say Fenway has a record X straight sold out games, but if you go you'll notice that corporate prepaid handouts aren't really filling the seats. The passionate tragedy that was the Boston Redsox is over.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 7:26 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Showalter can wear 80 different uniforms but he was born a Yankee and will forever bleed pinstripe blue. That smile at his team celebrating at the end of the game was priceless. That being said, as a Yankee fan I mourn the Sox getting knocked out. There is no rival in sport that can compare than the Yankees/Sox playing meaningful games against one another - and for the last 16 years they've ALL been meaningful games. Now that Jeter/Posada/Varitek/Wakefield are pretty much at the end of their careers (Posada, Tek and Wakefield possibly this season - yeah I left out Rivera because he's probably just approaching the midpoint of his career;) I was hoping for one last go-round between these bitter rivals to cap off what has been the best era in their long storied history.
posted by any major dude at 7:28 AM on September 29, 2011




Just wait 'till next year!
posted by bondcliff at 7:39 AM on September 29, 2011


>And for the thirtieth year in a row, my Expos will not be in the playoffs.

>And yet every Mariners fan would tell you the Expos fans had it worse.


After six years of wandering in the desert, following the theft of nos amours, after six years of following 'the game', which is a pretty shitty way to go through life, after six years of mourning my lost love, I finally allowed myself to become a fan of another team.

And that team? The Pirates.

*sigh*

It was all looking so good there for a while. The first hundred games? Great! The thrill of having a vested interest in following results, the pleasure of getting to know individual players again -- wonderful. Then we got that the worst call in the history of baseball, and the wheels fell off the truck. 19th consecutive losing season, and not even the perverse solace of losing as grandly as the year before.

Still -- it's better than no team at all. I wouldn't wish my Expos love on anyone.

The Pirates' shitty year has been the most I've enjoyed baseball since December 3rd, 2004, when I sat in my car, too dumbfounded by the hostile and inevitable to even cry.

Go Bucs.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:46 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Go Rays; I wish I hadn't given up and stopped watching the game when they were down by seven in the 7th. I remember the Metafilter thread back when they went (improbably) to the World Series in 2008. That was fun too. We have pretty good baseball discussions here. A bit languid, but that's how I like it.
posted by penduluum at 7:56 AM on September 29, 2011


As a Met fan, I am grateful that Boston's Epic Collapse now supersedes the Mets 2007 Epic Collapse as The Worst in the History of Baseball EVER (until Such Time as Media Hyperbole Deems Otherwise)..

One Mets fan to another: agreed. I do have to say, though, I'm happily jumping on the Rays bandwagon. I - like most Mets fans - gleefully jumped aboard the Red Sox bandwagon in 2004, but now they're basically just like Yankess 2.0. I'll still take them over the Yankees, don't get me wrong, but...the shine is off.

I think the cool thing here is that it just gives me something to root for now. The last few years have just been so damn discouraging for Met fans, to the point where I root for the team when they're in front of me, but scarcely think about them otherwise. I'm just so fed up and disgusted with the Wilpons and their Madoff imbroglios and their stupid management that I just can't really feel like this is my team anymore.

Deep down, I still love the Mets. But I feel like they're an old friend in an abusive relationship: I still like them when I see them, I'm pulling for them to find their way, but I feel like there's this horrible cloud hanging over everything and until that cloud is gone it just won't be the way it should be.

Anyway, it's refreshing to have a team to root for, at least for a little while, that does not seem totally dysfunctional. Go Rays!
posted by breakin' the law at 7:57 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad I don't have Jonathan Papelbon's migraine today.
posted by Anitanola at 7:58 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brewers fan here so I have no complaints about this season, we are however one of the 8 teams to never win the series. *fingers crossed*

I'd like to point out something I've mentioned to my friends who are Cub fans. The oldest living person on Earth at any given time is usually around 114 years old, give or take. That means in about 10 years and certainly within 15 years we will have a situation where there won't be a single person on the planet who was alive the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

That makes me happy in ways I can't describe.

Go Packers.
posted by Bonzai at 8:00 AM on September 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Then we got that the worst call in the history of baseball, and the wheels fell off the truck.

See Steve Bartman, or heck, the Cards with Juaquin Anduhar.

You get bad calls. You get bad breaks. Good teams lose the game and get over it. Bad teams lose several games and get knocked out.
posted by eriko at 8:04 AM on September 29, 2011


The only team worth talking about on MeFi: The Detroit Tigers. Underrated, and totally ignored by everyone (except those of us in Detroit) but totally able to take the World Series this year.
posted by Kokopuff at 8:07 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


You get bad calls. You get bad breaks. Good teams lose the game and get over it. Bad teams lose several games and get knocked out.

Oh, absolutely. As as bad a team as they were -- this is the most fun I've had in years. I've no complaints whatsoever.

That's how badly I was suffering as an Expos fan.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:11 AM on September 29, 2011


I think Tito's done. He had too much talent not to be able to put together a playoff team.

A lot of it comes down to the coaching staff, but that's his responsibility as manager, to figure out why ace pitchers are falling on their face and correct, to find out why his lineup can't manufacture runs, and correct. If his pitching coaches and hitting coaches aren't getting the most out of the players, it's on Tito to get coaches who can. He has some quirky guys on his roster, true, but he needs to give them some direction, he has to insist on improvement when it's needed. Too often he's just waiting for the players to figure it out on their own.

If Theo brings in another big-budget bust like Lackey or Crawford, he's done, too. I think the fans and owners would prefer more home-grown talent or players who fit in with a team dynamic and fewer stat-monster mercenaries, since clearly the mercenaries aren't guaranteeing wins.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:14 AM on September 29, 2011


Since this is the baseball misery thread, I'm going to go ahead and pour out a post for my poor Astros. I think only two other teams have lost more games in a season in the last 50 years, and yes, while we did make it to the '05 World Series, none of you remember it because it was a four-game blowout sweep. (It also left the city clinging to the memories of the 1994 & 1995 Rockets championships - also known as The Years That Jordan Played Baseball).

At least the Rangers got better.
posted by thewittyname at 8:21 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wooo, go Jays go! Man, we are NEVER going to win another title - not with the Yankees and Red Sox (and Tampa too, for that matter) to contend with.
posted by antifuse at 8:24 AM on September 29, 2011


And that's just fine.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:26 AM on September 29, 2011


I have *great* memories of going to Jays games as a kid. It's only a matter of time before Rogers decides that hey, we don't REALLY need that team here anymore, and sells the Skydome to condo developers. I hope I get to take my son to some games before that happens.
posted by antifuse at 8:29 AM on September 29, 2011


See ya Friday, Yanks.

Love,
Justin Verlander
posted by joe lisboa at 8:33 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm going to go ahead and pour out a post for my poor Astros.

You'll always have Craig Biggio.
posted by drezdn at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2011


And the Rangers won the AL West for the second year in a row. If there were ever a sign that we're near the end times, that's it.
posted by Gridlock Joe at 8:37 AM on September 29, 2011


He has some quirky guys on his roster, true, but he needs to give them some direction, he has to insist on improvement when it's needed. Too often he's just waiting for the players to figure it out on their own.

Yeah, for years I assumed the easy-going, it-is-what-it-is mentality was a show for the media and that he was much more focused and results-oriented behind the scenes -- that's why Epstein and Lucchino were hoping to replace Grady Little with him even if the disaster of 2003 hadn't happened. Now, I'm thinking maybe it is not an act and they need to bring in someone a little more rigorous.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 AM on September 29, 2011


Yesterday was one of the few days where I really missed cable TV.

Suck it, Red Sox.

Go Tigers! It's our year, and so different than '84. Bless you boys!
posted by mrgrimm at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm done reveling with professional sports, period.

So you've traded "reveling with professional sports" for ranting against them?

I'm sure the advertisers are glad to know that -- enjoy that beer and vile junk food they just sold you on ...

This is one of the worst parts of baseball for me, and one of the ways in which it's really gone downhill since the 1970s. Used to be you could bring in your own joint and pass it down the bleacher row. That shit will get you kicked out quick these days.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:43 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


... aaaaaaand back to baseball ....

Fate, Thy Name Is Dan Johnson

According to coolstandings.com, at that point -- and remember, this is merely four weeks ago -- the Rays had a 1.7-percent chance of reaching the playoffs, the Cardinals a 3.3-percent chance. At that point, the chance of the Rays and Cardinals reaching the playoffs was (roughly) 1 in 1,783.

Once every 1,783 times, a 1-in-1,783 shot will come through. And there are, if you go looking for them, a lot of 1-in-1,783 shots out there.

What made this one different is that we didn't have to go looking. This one just arrived in our laps, like a new puppy at Christmastime. And the sun might explode before we see this again.


I ♥ Rob Neyer.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - walk away and come back when you can be civil here please. thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 9:01 AM on September 29, 2011


Some good stuff from Posnanski as well:
Baseball, like life, revolves around anticlimax. That's what you get most of the time. You stand in driver's license lines, and watch Alfredo Aceves shake off signals, and sit through your children's swim meets, and see bases loaded rallies die, and fill up your car's tires with air and endure an inning with three pitching changes, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk.

But then, every now and again, something happens. Something memorable. Something magnificent. Something staggering. Your child wins the race. Your team wins in the ninth. You get pulled over for speeding. And in that moment -- awesome or lousy -- you are living something you will never forget, something that jumps out of the toneless roar of day-to-day life.

The Braves failed to score. Papelbon blew the lead. Longoria homered in the 12th. Elation. Sadness. Mayhem. Champagne. Sleepless fury. Never been a night like it. Funny, if I was trying to explain baseball to someone who had never heard of it, I wouldn't tell them about Wednesday night. No, it seems to me that it isn't Wednesday night that makes baseball great. It's all the years you spend waiting for Wednesday night that makes baseball great.
posted by RogerB at 9:01 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


I used to think Sox/Met fans were the most miserable fans in all of sports but after reading this thread and watching the horrific way they treated Bartman in this documentary, I'm not sure anyone tops Cub fans.
posted by any major dude at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2011


Yes, Cubs fans are the worst.

Nothing that happens in a sport where four (and maybe soon to be even horribly more) teams from each league go into the playoffs will ever rival the significance of the LCS playoff races, much less the true, that is to say World Series or go home, pennant races of years past.

And this is dead true, RogerB. Sure, last night was an amazing climax to the season, but we're still talking about wild cards. Since 1995, there really has been a significant decline in the number of close playoff races. The problem, as I see it, is that, unlike football--where a shitloads of team will end up at 8-8 or 9-7 or whatever and it keeps everyone interested--baseball has a 162-game season that provides the possibility of much more separation.

The wild card often removes a very good playoff race from possibility. This year, if the Red Sox hadn't collapsed, a Yankees-Red Sox race couldn't really happen because the loser would get the wild card.

2011 is not a good examples for making this argument at all, and I've had this argument ad infinitum with some managers in my fantasy league and I've modeled a lot of the playoff races from 1995-2011, so I won't rant further, but I do agree: If you enjoy playoff games, the wild card is great. If you enjoy pennant races, it stinks.

The saddest part of yesterday was Craig Kimbrel (and I likely only care because he was on my fantasy team). "This was Craig Kimbrel’s year – until it wasn’t."
posted by mrgrimm at 9:22 AM on September 29, 2011


The oldest living person on Earth at any given time is usually around 114 years old, give or take. That means in about 10 years and certainly within 15 years we will have a situation where there won't be a single person on the planet who was alive the last time the Cubs won the World Series.

Since I seem to be the only Cubs fan in this thread who hasn't given up on baseball, I'd like to point out that we're well aware of this and, lo and behold, are still supporting the damn team because through some twist of fate we were born into it.

And, yeah, it pisses me off that they now sometimes charge $27 for seats that I remember being $4. (They cheapest they go now is $8, for a mere 11 games a year. I'm shocked they go that low.) Those aren't good seats either. Wherever that money has gone, it hasn't made the team much better, either. We have in-stadium advertising as well, now. Going to Wrigley Field pisses me off now. I don't want to be fighting my way through a crowd of drunk people who don't even understand baseball. I don't want to be sitting in the damn Terrace Reserved where the view of people sitting in the skyboxes talking on their cell phones on the catwalk obscures fly balls.

But, yeah, don't piss on those of us who got sucked into this futile project of being a Cubs fan. I don't really expect the Cubs to get to the World Series in my lifetime, let alone win it. I don't expect England to win the World Cup either. But, you know what? The first couple of weeks at the start of the season every couple of years when the Cubs have it together are damn fun, even if it comes with an ominous sense of impending doom. I'm sorry my team isn't good enough for you lot, but it's what I've got.
posted by hoyland at 9:32 AM on September 29, 2011


Man, this really sucks. I'm sure hearing about it from Mariner fans on my FB feed, those wretches. There were so many runs, and so many games, given away by dumb errors, or poor baserunning choices, not to mention the injury bug that seems to hit Boston so hard these last few years.

Certainly 2004 and 2007 help immensely, but then there was 2008 when it looked like another improbable comeback... only to lose the 7th game of the ALCS to the Rays. Or the 2009 Papelbon two-out loss in the ninth to end the ALDS (to mirror this collapse last night). Since then, the mojo just isn't there, like the Pats 18-1* season... the 2000's were an amazing decade for Boston sports, but I feel like we're in for a long period of almosts and not quite.

I think the person I feel worst for this morning is actually Jacoby Ellsbury, who had a breakout year as homegrown Sox talent, and right to the end seemed to be the only Sox hitter actually, well... hitting. And as of about 10pm EDT last night, it looked like the MVP trophy was going to be his, with the Sox ahead but in a rain delay and the Rays losing badly. Then the Sox came back and couldn't score him from third with no outs among other blunders and the Joe Girardi literally threw the game against the Rays by swapping out pitchers until he found one who could give back the lead (or did things like suddenly pinch-hit for Robinson Cano in extra innings as the last person in the lineup who could actually hit a homerun).

The Sox need some tuning, but I think the two areas to focus on immediately are:

1) The base coaches. The job of people like Tim Bogar, possibly the dumbest third base coach ever, is simple: give the runners a clear stop or go single, and avoid them getting thrown out. Just in last night's game, like all season, Tim Bogar gave away outs and by extension critical runs by sending runners who shouldn't have been going.

2) The medical staff. For as much as the Sox spend on players and statistical analysis, they are blighted by injuries every year. They stumbled out of the gate, but until the September collapse they were going strong after that... however, they'd have been stronger is Youkilis wasn't injured again, and if the pitching staff didn't keep losing critical pitchers for extended periods, every damn year.
posted by hincandenza at 9:33 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Down the stretch, the Orioles took 2 out of 3 from the Rays, 2 out of 3 from the Angels, split a series with Detroit, and of course beat Boston 5 games out of 7. They had a pretty bad bulk of a season, thanks to terrible starting pitching, but their lineup is solid, and over the last few weeks they were playing as well as anybody in baseball. In a very real sense the AL wildcard was decided by who had to play against them the least."

Here, here!

Furthermore, how about we compare the 2 payrolls and see who the "laughingstock" is here?

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/baltimore-orioles_112321768568552760.html

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2004/12/boston-red-sox.html
posted by electricsandwich138 at 9:38 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the Braves blew it, since they were only in that position on the strength of the assy call.

And I'm glad the BoSox blew it, because I like the Rays and the BoSox are Yankees Jr., even though I'd have rather played the BoSox in Detroit than the Yankees in NY.

But Detroit's in, and, y'know, Detroit can talk about some long-suffering fans too, though Detroit's mostly just the most consistently underrated sports market in the country. (We remember 2003 for the Tigers, and pretty much every year before this one for the Lions.)

I am a little bummed that the Angels decided to cop out rather than play, since it would have shifted where the Tigers played, but after hearing the load of crap from Angels this year about the Tigers, and noting that their fans are Anaheim dickbags, I was glad to see them take one more loss, especially for not trying.
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


dw: "And yet every Mariners fan would tell you the Expos fans had it worse."

Quoted for truth. I gave up on baseball in 1994, and after living in Toronto for over ten years, I still haven't made it to a Jays game. Only in the last year or so do I find myself following baseball again, so I guess it took me 15 years to get over the loss of the Expos.
posted by sfred at 9:40 AM on September 29, 2011


I work at a bar next to Camden Yards. Due to the rain delay we didn't get much aftergame business. What we did have was ten die hard Boston fans all sitting at the bar. At this point it was me and the owner there with them. All other employees had gone home. The owner told everyone there that if the Sox won he would give them all a round on the house.

Sox lose in epic fashion: Sox fans look dejected.

Rays win in epic fashion as soon as we switch over to watch: Sox fans look more dejected than anyone I've ever seen. Also, no free round.
posted by josher71 at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Tim Bogar, possibly the dumbest third base coach ever"

The Tigers will gladly trade you Gene LaMonte for Tim Bogar. LaMonte easily cost us three games this year.

As a side note, I'll also mention the KC Royals in the list of saddest fans, but their owner actively hates baseball and works to make the team worse so that he can keep more of the revenue share.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yankees fan here. The team had clinched, but it was still a wild night. It was a sloppy night. We all knew that the counter would be officially reset and the slate wiped clean, the real season beginning as of today, but at the same time, it was still a pretty hard loss.

But the AL will see some challenges this post, and none to be taken for granted. That's for sure.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2011


Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.

I don't think those probabilities are all independent...

And man, I like Chicago and I like the Cubs (and White Sox), but whining about Bartman is the worst. Bartman didn't cost the Cubs the Series. Moises Alou going livid and Alex Gonzalez forgetting how to field are what cost y'all that game.

(And it was all part of the fucking miraculous 2003 Marlins run. One of the great all time World Series runs, IMO, and another season where the way favored Yanks got to taste defeat in the World Series.)
posted by kmz at 10:05 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Your My favorite baseball team sucks.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:18 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was watching on MLB TV, and I went from seeing the Braves losing in extra innings after blowing the lead and feeling kind of bad for them (they seemed sad) to the absolute joy of watching the Orioles celebrate after blowing up Papelbon to the exquisite thrill of Longo's walk-off shot.

What an amazing night of baseball, indeed.
posted by Fister Roboto at 10:37 AM on September 29, 2011


Long suffering Cub fan here too. I have made my peace with the Cubs though. I expect nothing. My father and grandfather lived their entire lives without the Cubs winning a World Series. This fact has given me the clarity of mind that I should expect nothing from them. Nothing.

/Hoping for a Milwaukee Detroit Series.
posted by zerobyproxy at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2011


Does anyone remember that The Pirates were considered playoff contenders for about a week in mid-summer? No? Didn't think so.

"In the modern history of Major League Baseball that began in 1900, no team has fared worse than these Pirates after holding first place through 100 games. Actually, no team has even come close. The Pirates' 16-40 record down the stretch makes for a .286 winning percentage. Next-worst was the 1977 Chicago Cubs, who went 60-40 to lead their division through 100 games, then went 21-41 for a .339 winning percentage."

Well, if we're going to fail, we might as well break records doing it. Go Bucs.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2011


justgary: I would say you couldn't be more wrong, except I did see a brilliant Yankees fan call Papelbon Papelpoop. So I concede your point.
The worst part is that's not even just a bad joke, or laughably juvenile; it's inept.

His name obviously should be Poopelbon.
posted by hincandenza at 11:07 AM on September 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'll also mention the KC Royals in the list of saddest fans, but their owner actively hates baseball and works to make the team worse so that he can keep more of the revenue share.

Ditto the A's. It is a shame. Stop squeezing my shoes, Lew Wolff!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:21 AM on September 29, 2011


Because I still can't get over the Stanley Cup finals and how it was Vancouver's to win all season long and the hubris was all over the place* and then dumpy Boston bashed those dreams into the boards, I'll take this collapse as karmic.

I think the problem with Boston is that it contends in pretty much every sport of national consequence but still sees itself as the aggrieved middle child of national adoration.

*I on the other hand, being conditioned as a fan of the Cubs and Hotspur as well as the Canucks, was anticipating just such a finish.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:43 AM on September 29, 2011


I'll take this collapse as karmic.

Every loss for Boston is a win for humanity.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll just jump in here to say that I've just won my fantasy baseball league for the first time. I've been in this league for 22 years. There is hope for everyone.
posted by AJaffe at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


*High Fives AJaffe*
posted by drezdn at 12:56 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]



Video timeline of last night's events
, highly recommended viewing.

I've never watched as much baseball as I have this season, even watching the often-dreary free games on MLB.com (they sure do know how to pick the one game nobody wants to see).

I am just not a Boston hater except for the Celtics. I think I should be since I am a diehard Philly sports fan, but I'm not. Resent the Patriots for thwarting the Eagles? Of course. But hate the NYGiants more for causing 18-1 and then proceeding to do nothing again. I can't hate the Red Sox after the 2004 ALCS/World Series that were so great for baseball. Again, Yankees and Mets displease me so much more (ugh Reyes). Well I guess I am a New York hater then. The only thing I don't like about Boston is needing subtitles to understand The Town.
posted by Danila at 1:03 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's my personal rule for determining if your regional area is long-suffering when it comes to sports. This doesn't take into account you freaky sports fans who choose which team to root for for other reasons. Your lifestyle was a choice.

If any of your professional sports teams have won a championship since Reagan became president, you're out. So the Royals, As and even Milwaukee (thanks Packers!) are disqualified. This also means that while the Cubs fan might gripe, they probably got to enjoy the Blackhawks and Bulls wins. In fact, how do we know the Cubs aren't perpetual losers because the city made a deal with the devil to get Michael Jordan? We all know that the Yinzers traded 19 years of losing baseball for Lombardi trophies.

It's also hard to feel bad for a long suffering team, if part of their failure is due to racism.

To be considered long suffering, it helps if you team hasn't had the money to succeed, but just squandered it (looking at you Mets and Cubs). It also helps if you've had some great teams that just couldn't get it done.

Under these constraints, Cleveland is clearly the Longest Suffering city in American Professional Sports. Enjoy the victory!
posted by drezdn at 1:06 PM on September 29, 2011


Baltimore can't make the playoffs, but at least we can play spoiler to one of the most despicable franchises in sports. Have a fun off-season, Boston fans.
posted by codacorolla at 1:08 PM on September 29, 2011


I'll just jump in here to say that I've just won my fantasy baseball league for the first time. I've been in this league for 22 years. There is hope for everyone.

Is that you, Rick? Go screw yourself. :D
posted by mrgrimm at 1:17 PM on September 29, 2011




A few years ago, Scalzi made a good point about the Chicago Cubs. It's actually better for them to never win a the World Series again. As soon as they do win it, they become another version of the Boston Red Sox, ie. a team with one of the top payrolls in the league, rather than a team that has to over come their history.
posted by drezdn at 1:29 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


This may be out there a bit, but I don't see the Cards or Rays as doing anything all that special. To me, it's more a story of Boston and Atlanta collapsing in one month, because if either of those teams had just won a couple more games none of this would even be a question. Of course, it's nice and exhilarating for them and their fans to come from behind; I remember the feeling when the Phillies took advantage of the 2007 Mets collapse. Only to then get trounced in the first round. But at least those Phillies were an inexperienced and newly good team. Rays were just favorites in the World Series a few seasons ago, with many of these same players and the same manager, while these same Cardinals have consistently been near the top of their division, winning it in '09. I don't consider them making the playoffs to be any kind of consolation to the perennial losing teams of the league.
posted by Danila at 1:29 PM on September 29, 2011


Most despicable franchise in sports?

i don't get it either - as a long time detroit tigers fan, the most despicable franchise in sports is ohio state
posted by pyramid termite at 1:36 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


As soon as they do win it, they become another version of the Boston Red Sox, ie. a team with one of the top payrolls in the league, rather than a team that has to over come their history.

Why is that a bad thing?? Didn't the Red Sox win another Series after getting the monkey off their backs?

I'm very happy that the Phillies' World Series success has brought them more money and hence more opportunities. This is a changed city (sports-wise) since the Phillies won it all. There is hope. I agree with dfan above:

One thing this proves to me is that my supply of happiness from 2004 has not been exhausted (and is likely inexhaustible).

Oh boy is it different when a city and its sports fans go from 100 collective losing seasons (or whatever your city's tale of woe) to finally getting a winner. Especially when it's the Phillies, the losing-est franchise in American professional sports. And oh boy was I sick of watching teams trying to "overcome their history". I wish the Cubs (and Indians, and Buffalo Bills) success.
posted by Danila at 1:37 PM on September 29, 2011


Furthermore, how about we compare the 2 payrolls and see who the "laughingstock" is here?

The 2011 payroll of the combined three highest paid players in Boston (Beckett, Lackey, and Crawford earn a combined $45 million in 2011) was more than the entire 2011 payroll of Tampa Bay ($42,171,308).
posted by exogenous at 1:41 PM on September 29, 2011


I take back a little bit of what I said about the Rays not impressing me, because coming back from 7 down in the eighth inning with your playoff lives on the line is actually very impressive. I may be constitutionally incapable of being impressed with the Cardinals at this point in time.
posted by Danila at 1:44 PM on September 29, 2011


The Rays lost at least two of their core players at the end of last year with Carl Crawford getting signed by the Red Sox, and Matt Garza going to the Cubs.

The Braves collapse may not have been that special, but it shouldn't discredit what the Cards did (as much as I despise the Cards). The Braves collapse was going to come eventually because their bullpen was thoroughly overworked. The Cards, however, entered the season without their second best pitcher and learned that their closer had forgot how to close pretty early in the season. They're flawed, but they managed to overcome those flaws just enough.
posted by drezdn at 1:51 PM on September 29, 2011


Why is that a bad thing?? Didn't the Red Sox win another Series after getting the monkey off their backs?

If you're a fan of the team, it's not a bad thing, but it does change how everyone else perceives the team. Boston has went from a once sympathetic team to one that many people outside of the AL East actively root against the team.

With the Cubs especially, I wouldn't be surprised if outside of Chicago, there's a large group of fans that root for them because they are "lovable losers."
posted by drezdn at 1:54 PM on September 29, 2011


The playoffs should be interesting, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Phillies end up regretting their last win over the Braves. IIRC, the Cards are the only NL team in the playoffs with a winning record against Philadelphia. Each of the NL teams has a big flaw that they'll have to overcome to win it all.
posted by drezdn at 1:56 PM on September 29, 2011


With the Cubs especially, I wouldn't be surprised if outside of Chicago, there's a large group of fans that root for them because they are "lovable losers."

For a large part of the country, when cable was taking hold and before MLB had strict policies on game broadcasts, WGN TV broadcasts of Cubs games created a generation of Cubs fans across the country.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:10 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, Scalzi made a good point about the Chicago Cubs. It's actually better for them to never win a the World Series again. As soon as they do win it, they become another version of the Boston Red Sox, ie. a team with one of the top payrolls in the league, rather than a team that has to over come their history.

Better, narratively, maybe. As a Sox fan I can tell you that winning in 2004 was a HUGE relief, and really freed me from a great deal of stress. I know it is silly to say that the success or failure of a sports team had an effect on the first 28 years of my life, but it is true. There's a sort of catchphrase on Boston sports talk radio -- "They're ruining my summah!" -- that I think captures the way that a lot of Sox fans lived their lives pre-2004. I get the impression that Cubs fandom is (overall) not quite as deeply committed as Red Sox Nation is -- that it's a more casual kind of support. Even so, I know there are millions of Cubs fans that care about their team as much as I cared (and still care, just in a different way) about the Red Sox, and I deeply wish for them to win the Series soon.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:18 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


For a large part of the country, when cable was taking hold and before MLB had strict policies on game broadcasts, WGN TV broadcasts of Cubs games created a generation of Cubs fans across the country.

I've heard that there used to be a large group of Yankees fans in Eastern North Carolina because you could hear them on the radio.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:59 PM on September 29, 2011


As soon as they do win it, they become another version of the Boston Red Sox, ie. a team with one of the top payrolls in the league, rather than a team that has to over come their history.

You could have said the same thing about the Detroit Red Wings in 1995. I'll take the 4 Stanley Cups over the past 15 years instead, even if it means the team has become the equivalent of the Yankees, Cowboys, and Lakers (i.e. America's team, or jackass merch vehicle.)
posted by mrgrimm at 3:13 PM on September 29, 2011


As for the Cubs, it is better for them not to win a World Series, because then no one would ever care about them again.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:13 PM on September 29, 2011


For a large part of the country, when cable was taking hold and before MLB had strict policies on game broadcasts, WGN TV broadcasts of Cubs games created a generation of Cubs fans across the country.

TBS and the Braves had much better coverage. They even dubbed themselves "America's Team" and it kinda worked.

When I was a teenager, WGN used to broadcast the White Sox almost as much as the Cubs. White Sox games were far more entertaining because the announcers were three sheets to the wind (and not idiots like Harry Caray).
posted by mrgrimm at 3:15 PM on September 29, 2011


White Sox games were far more entertaining because the announcers were three sheets to the wind (and not idiots like Harry Caray).

One surmises Harry assumed the mantle of idiocy only after moving out of Comiskey.
posted by hangashore at 3:22 PM on September 29, 2011


i don't get it either - as a long time detroit tigers fan, the most despicable franchise in sports is ohio state

Days since Michigan's last victory over Ohio State in football: 2868
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:26 PM on September 29, 2011


Days since Michigan's last victory over Ohio State in football: 2868

It's easier to win when you cheat. (Michigan should know ;)

i don't get it either - as a long time detroit tigers fan, the most despicable franchise in sports is ohio state

As a long-time Detroit Tigers fan, the most despicable franchise in sports is:

* Chicago Bulls
* Chicago Cubs
* Chicago Blackhawks
* Chicago Bears

depending on the time of year.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:42 PM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


IIRC, the Cards are the only NL team in the playoffs with a winning record against Philadelphia

There are only two teams who had a winning record against the Phillies -- the Cards and... the Seattle Mariners.

Baseball is a funny thing.
posted by dw at 3:55 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


What gets me is that people are blaming the Braves collapse on Craig Kimbrel. No, people. He blew a save in a game that should have been meaningless, if the offense hadn't collapsed. 87 runs in all of September. (They scored at least 105 in every prior month.)
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:36 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


the often-dreary free games on MLB.com (they sure do know how to pick the one game nobody wants to see)

What do you mean? They showed the Orioles all the time!




Oh.
posted by escabeche at 5:28 PM on September 29, 2011


One thing this proves to me is that my supply of happiness from 2004 has not been exhausted (and is likely inexhaustible). After the failures 1978 and 1986 and 2003, the victories in 2004, and especially the way in which they were accomplished, were unbelievably sweet and fulfilling. I'm disappointed that the Sox missed the playoffs, but not shattered. The one thing that really rankles are the comments and articles like "Did you really expect otherwise from the Red Sox?" But I'll just avoid reading baseball articles for a day or two.


I completely agree with this. This is what I was thinking as I walked out of Camden Yards last night.

Actually what happened was - the O's tied it up, we gave each other significant looks, then the grim inevitability of Red Sox losses from yesteryear, the O's scored the winning run. And we got up from our seats and headed for the exit, walking fast. We were in the upper deck just outside of first base. There's a staircase right there - so we got up, hit the stairs, sprinted down hoping to get ahead of the crowd, and under a minute later were walking along the open concourse just outside right center field (with a view of the Jumbotron) when they announced the Rays had won and showed the video on the big screen. The stadium just erupted.

And that's when I was thinking this. It sucks they lost, I would rather them make the playoffs. BUT they lost fair and square, there's no big blown call or stroke of incredibly weird luck, there's no single player who made a major game-losing error (thank the gods), they just lost. And as a bonus, it's a hell of a thing to be involved in this incredibly weird interesting crazy night of baseball. What a crazy night, and how good for baseball that there be exciting crazy nights like that.

I wish that there weren't so much trash talk about the Red Sox. We got some trash talk, poor sportsmanship, post-game from a few loudmouth O's fans last night, which sucks (also it's lame because it's not like the O's accomplished something positive for their team by winning - so they're just gloating about making the Red Sox not advance, which is somehow more ugly and petty than gloating if you're advancing yourself). (Should say most O's fans are usually - and were at this game - totally fine, even good sports about the whole "lots of Boston fans come to see the game in Baltimore" thing.) But yeah -- I wish there were less national media focus on the Red Sox; I know it's annoying, and I wish the Red Sox weren't such a bandwagonny team as they've been the last few years. And I'm sorry if people have had run-ins with loudmouth Boston fans. Just know that we aren't all like that.

But back to the point - I wish the Sox hadn't collapsed, I like a lot of their players and I like to see them do well. But it doesn't feel like it felt in 2003, which just felt like doom and darkness. 2004 really did something amazing. Also it made me glad to look up as we were walking out and see sonascope's Bromo Seltzer Tower, illuminated right up ahead; so mefites were with us.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:30 PM on September 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


Listening to Sterling last night was just wonderful. Tino was okay, but he's no Suze.
posted by vrakatar at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Days since Michigan's last victory over Ohio State in football: 2868

Days since an Ohio State player got a free Escalade and/or tattoos and/or drugs: something probably approaching 7 days. Or fewer.

Ya know, to be generous.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:20 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"As a long-time Detroit Tigers fan, the most despicable franchise in sports is:

* Chicago Bulls
* Chicago Cubs
* Chicago Blackhawks
* Chicago Bears

depending on the time of year.
"

I think you mean the Chicago White Sox, though usually I hate the Twins more.

And honestly, I like the Blackhawks OK since Bowman went there and they've had a fun, young squad. I'd take the Avalanche as the most despicable in hockey, though with Bettman up Crosby's ass in order to throw the Penguins the cup, or Hossa being on the Blackhawks now… Maybe it's hockey's combination of long tenures on teams for players and "physical" play, but I find it easier to hate rival teams in hockey than any other sport. If a team's any good, they've laid a wicked hit on your favorite player that probably looked dirty.
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 PM on September 29, 2011


Report: Terry Francona, Red Sox likely to part ways
Stunning news tonight this morning out of Boston.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, manager Terry Francona is expected to leave the Red Sox organization after a meeting Friday morning with upper management. Allow Rosenthal to explain:
While Francona’s departure is not certain, it is the likely outcome, in part because he is pressing for a resolution, sources say. He would not be fired; the Red Sox would simply decline their club options on him for 2012 and ’13.
Francona and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein gave no indication that such a major move was coming during their season-wrapping press conference Thursday afternoon at Boston’s Fenway Park.

But something obviously sparked a change within the past several hours.

Perhaps Francona has his eyes on the White Sox’s vacancy. He did coach in their minor league system for five years, at one point serving as skipper to Michael Jordan during the NBA superstar’s short stint with the Birmingham Barons. Or maybe he’ll be swayed by the Nationals, who seem ready to spend big money.

Then again, maybe this wasn’t Francona’s call. “Red Sox Nation” has been seeking out a scapegoat since the club’s historic collapse went final Wednesday night in Baltimore. And the Boston media has egged that blame game on since the middle of this month. It seems insane to give up on a manager who has played a role in securing two World Series titles in the past eight years. And it’s especially insane for a franchise like the Red Sox, who hadn’t won anything since 1918 before Francona stepped aboard. But these are insane times.

The Red Sox’ sad and frustrating September collapse just shifted gears into the realm of tragedy.
(That being said, rumor now has it it's Francona who wants out.)
posted by Rhaomi at 11:20 PM on September 29, 2011


A lot of teams would kill to have him managing.
posted by Danila at 7:38 AM on September 30, 2011


I think you mean the Chicago White Sox

No, actually, I do mean the Cubs. The White Sox are still too new of a division rival for me to take seriously, even though they have been pretty respectable this millennium.

When I think White Sox, I still think of the Greg Luzinski era.

Luzinski, known as The Kodiak Brute, was raised in a family of lumberjacks in Kodiak, Alaska. The 225-pound slugger spent his formative years wrestling brown bears and chewing on tree trunks. At age 10, Luzinski entered the seedy world of competitive beard growing. He flourished. After dropping out of school at age 11, Luzinski split time between grooming his award-winning whiskers and chopping down Alaskan forests. On a sunny night during the Alaskan winter, a major league scout who spent the offseason breeding sled dogs happened upon a shirtless Luzinski cutting down Douglas firs -- with his bare hands. The scout hiked 14 miles to the nearest pay phone and called the Chicago White Sox owner. Luzinski was signed for $84,000 and a case of brook trout. Two hundred and ninety-four home runs and six optometrists later, American League pitchers shivered at the sight of The Kodiak Brute, hitter of home runs and shatterer of laws of physics.

-Baseball Card Bust


I had a hard time taking them seriously when I was a kid. They seemed like lovable losers.

I don't know why I hate the Cubs so much. Probably b/c those fans are also Bulls fans. ;) I've been to a game at (new) Comiskey and enjoyed it (the organist was fantastic). Maybe it's a class thing--the few friends I did ever have who moved to Chicago lived on/near the south side. For some reason, I find Cubs fans insufferable or ignorant (Dodgers fans too :P)

I'd take the Avalanche as the most despicable in hockey

10 years ago, maybe. Wake me up when they're good again (or when they thaw out Patrick Roy). I can't muster up any hate.

And honestly, I like the Blackhawks OK since Bowman went there and they've had a fun, young squad.

I really wish I could like the Blackhawks because they are good, young, and fun, but I can't. Hate hate hate.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:04 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Days since Michigan's last victory over Ohio State in football: 2868

2010 big ten champions - michigan state spartans

those guys in ann arbor don't matter THAT much to me
posted by pyramid termite at 6:43 PM on September 30, 2011


2010 big ten (co)champions - michigan state spartans
posted by drezdn at 5:43 AM on October 1, 2011


I wish that there weren't so much trash talk about the Red Sox.

Part of the reason for the intense dislike some people have developed for the Red Sox is the high visibility and annoying-ness of writers/Red Sox fans like Bill Simmons and Peter King.
posted by drezdn at 5:45 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's also the "Red Sox Nation" thing, which is weird to me, and the nationwide fan base (which sort of makes sense if you think, a lot of people come to college in New England, and then move elsewhere in the country bringing their newfound New Englandy identities with them. But OTOH it may be partly or mostly just bandwagon fans who don't have any connection to New England or the mid-2000s)

The 2004 thing was obviously compelling, and the contrast of those teams - the goofball Red Sox vs the square cleancut Yankees etc - makes for easy identification with the Red Sox. It's like an 80s movie - are you with the funny mismatched beardy weirdoes or are you with the frat boys? Easy choice. So they were a charming group at a time when they got a ton of attention, so that makes sense as a reason for people to become fans (a reason that isn't about them being a dominant team on the field, but about having a certain "personality").

But actually, I blame.... the Yankees. During the early 00s, I was living in a place where we got our baseball through the Yankees channel. And there was a clear decision among the Yankees press to ramp up coverage of Boston, and the rivalry, and the curse, and blah blah blah, to drive their ratings or whatever. But it meant that people in New York were getting tons of coverage of the Red Sox for five years or more, and since most media outlets are in New York, their staffers started thinking about the Red Sox as much as they thought about any other team. Boy people sure are talking a lot about the Red Sox these days. Voila, wider media starts treating Red Sox news as being of general interest.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:05 AM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's also the "Red Sox Nation" thing, which is weird to me, and the nationwide fan base (which sort of makes sense if you think, a lot of people come to college in New England, and then move elsewhere in the country bringing their newfound New Englandy identities with them. But OTOH it may be partly or mostly just bandwagon fans who don't have any connection to New England or the mid-2000s)


There are three national teams - The Yankees, The Red Sox and the Cardinals.

The Cardinals got there by being the major market team that broadcast to most of the South and Great Plains before expansion. The Yankees by being the richest and most triumphalist, they could guarantee their fans a World Series a decade and playoffs every year by sheer force of money.

The Red Sox got to be beloved the world over by being everything the Yankees hated - persistent underdogs, losers who would never give up, people who love the game more than winning. The eternal rivals. We hate J.D. Drew and love Dustin Pedroya - that's Red Sox Nation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:59 PM on October 1, 2011


Add the Cubs and their WGN superstation and maybe the Braves for TBS to the national type teams.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:11 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


But actually, I blame.... the Yankees.

Wait, it's the Yankees fault that there's a ton of awful Red Sox fans? Were the Yankees printing the "Jeter has AIDS" tshirts? People dislike some (not all) Red Sox fans because of the some (not all) Red Sox fans.

The Red Sox got to be beloved the world over by being everything the Yankees hated

That's why they're consistently in the bottom of the league in payroll. Cough.
posted by inigo2 at 9:37 AM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, I shoulda said, I blame the Yankees press/advertising machine for upping the national press's focus on the rivalry and thus on the Red Sox and thus making the Red Sox attractive as a team to support for a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't have been interested.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:54 PM on October 3, 2011


I guess I hear what you're saying, but I think it was Red Sox / Boston press that did that just as much as anyone. I know real Sox fans hate Shaughnessy (sorry if I'm misspelling name), but he was as important as anyone in building up the Sox mythos, I think. Or maybe I'm just an outsider that fell for what the media wanted me too; honestly, I don't know.
posted by inigo2 at 1:01 PM on October 3, 2011


mrgrimm: "I've been to a game at (new) Comiskey and enjoyed it (the organist was fantastic)."

I'm a few days behind on this thread but ....

Nancy Faust!

Simply. The best.

That "Na Na Hey Hey Good Bye" thing? That was her.
posted by Bonzai at 1:22 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, but the Boston press (which definitely has its share of prize jackasses) would always be doing that anyway. My view is biased because during the buildup to this I was living in a place where Yankees media is inescapable, but my theory is that the national media is based in NYC and they were suddenly hearing a lot about the Red Sox from their own local media. Boston team becomes big focus for New York team, New York media take note and start lazily repeating the catfight storyline they're hearing from the Yankees press; repeated often enough it starts building national attention, giving Boston press a higher profile, local yahoos who want something to be rude about latch on to this, escalating coverage of most-jerky fans on both sides, merchandisers seize marketing opportunity for selling pink hats and t-shirts with jerky slogans, blah blah blah.
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:57 PM on October 3, 2011


I know real Sox fans hate Shaughnessy (sorry if I'm misspelling name), but he was as important as anyone in building up the Sox mythos, I think.

No, you are absolutely right. He is hated (fairly or unfairly) because the Curse of the Bambino narrative made it seem like Sox fans were superstitious yokels who genuinely believed in a curse upon the team, but there is no denying that the narrative is what elevated the Sox championship drought above the futility of teams like the White Sox and the Cubs.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:49 PM on October 3, 2011


The most important thing is that the Tigers beat the Yankees, despite the best efforts of the TBS announcers.
posted by klangklangston at 12:31 AM on October 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The most only important thing is that the Tigers beat the Yankees. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on October 7, 2011


Now that the Brewers have moved on, I feel comfortable saying this. LOL YANKEES.
posted by drezdn at 6:51 PM on October 7, 2011


That game five was insane.
posted by klangklangston at 11:34 PM on October 7, 2011


The only appeal of the Yankees making the playoffs is seeing them lose in the playoffs (esp at home). Despite his trumping up the success of small-market teams, I think Selig has been lucky the Yankees haven't won every year, and they probably would have if the playoffs weren't such a crapshoot, esp with the best-of-5 first round (see also: PHI).

And unfortunately for the sport, I don't think it's a good thing to not have the Yankees and Phillies in the LCS, esp now that games are also on Fox. NLCS vs Auburn/Arkansas on Saturday, and ALCS vs Jets/Patriots on Sunday? Not good. This past week the morning shows on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNews would often simultaneously have football previews/predictions/highlights/team rankings/player rankings/betting tips/haircuts/etc/etc. And even NFL pregame shows have been outdrawing the playoff games.

And whatever happened to rock 'n roll? And the funny pages? Bah.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:05 AM on October 8, 2011


It may not be a good thing for the immediate financial support of MLB, but it surely is a good thing for fans. It may help in some small way to slow the erosion of the fan base. I'm certainly more interested in the playoffs and Series, now that the Yankees are out of it.

I will no doubt be constantly reminded of the Yankees being out of it because of the Fox peoples' habit of filling every spare moment with some anecdote about the Yankees, or comparing players we're watching with Yankees players.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:33 AM on October 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


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