Saturday, October 1, 2011

Epic #Fail

I could not have imagined a more excruciating end to the to the Red Sox season this year. As fate was dealt by destiny's hand last Wednesday night, the only solace that I felt was, "Finally, this historic collapse of epic proportions of a MLB team was over".

For the next two days, it felt like I was recovering from a hard hit between the legs -- a semi-queazy stomach ache that is dull and hurts every time you move.
As I painfully watched Papelbon lose his first game this season, giving up two doubles with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, I knew that the equally epic comeback by the Rays would be complete. Johnson for the Rays had just tied the Yanks in the bottom of the ninth with a line shot over the right field wall -- in a ballsy move by Ray's Manager Maddon, Johnson was brought in to pinch hit having only a season .108 average and had not been at the plate in over a month. It was a true "Kurt Gibson" moment for baseball.

Three minutes after the rain delayed Sox and O's finished their game, Longoria for the Rays hit a line shot, walk-off homer, over the left field fence in the bottom of the twelfth to beat the Yanks and put the final nail in the Red Sox coffin for 2011.

The first thought that came into mind that dark evening was Red Sox Nation had just experienced the "Billy Buckner ball between his legs" drawn out over the entire month of September.

In the aftermath of this epic collapse, Terry Franconia resigned as Red Sox manager saying he was frustrated that he could not get the team to play as a team and that a different voice is needed in the clubhouse. There are reports that some players not scheduled to play during regular season games would be drinking beers in the clubhouse before the game and the general conditioning of the players was poor in some cases. The injuries that plagued the Red Sox this season are a testament to this observation.
Francona, bringing the Red Sox their first World Series Title in 86 years (2004) with the epic 8 game win streak (last 4 against the Yanks and final 4 against the Cardinals) and then staying undefeated in World Series play with another title in 2007, will go down as the best manager in Red Sox history.  He will be missed by most of Red Sox Nation.

The best quote I heard from a player on Wednesday night was Papelbon stating that "This game will not define my career".

Having a couple of days to let this sink in, I must admit that I take being a "fan" of the Red Sox a bit too seriously at times. It is only a game and, other than riding the ups and downs of the team, we have no effect at all on the success or failures of a team. Like most fans, there is an emotional investment that pays off with the camaraderie of other fans through both the highs and lows of a season.

-- Westford over 30 Men's Softball 2011 Champs - Foral Arts --
On a positive note for ball play this September, my men's over 30 slow pitch softball team won the league championship this year for the first time in league history. I've played on the team for 7 years and the first 4 years we were the worst team in the league. We turned it around and went to the finals against the same team for the last 3 years. This year we finally beat them in a back and forth battle -- taking the final game of a best of 5 series in a 22 to 16 high scoring shootout.
Go Pats!