Twenty-four hours after the Red Sox were unceremoniously eliminated from the playoffs , I still can’t believe it !
Not so long ago , the Sox were riding high , entrenched in first place .On September 4th they had a nine game lead over the Yankees and they looked like shoo-ins for the American League East title . The Yankees and their fans ( me included) were only hoping only for the wild card and a chance at the playoffs . Even when the Yankees went to Boston and took the series , I can’t say that my hopes were raised much . Then , as the Sox continued to lose and the Yankees began to win regularly , I began to hope. Still , I could never have expected the Sox to go 9-20 for the month of September including those key losses to the Orioles at the very end . This collapse is on a par ( almost ) with the Yankees unravelling in the American League C 2004 when they were leading 3-0.The Yankees dropped the next 4 to the Red Sox who then went on to win the World Series .
I see the fingerpointing has already begun in Boston and the fans seem to be singling out Carl Crawford ( the $142 million man ) , the manager Terry Francona and Jonathan Papelbon who failed to save the finale against the Orioles . Theo Epstein , the GM , is also under fire for his off-season deals which failed to pan out . However , this is palpably unfair . The Sox were winning as a team when they went a League best 81-42 after their horrendous 2-10 start to the season . During their 9-20 September run , nobody distinguished himself and there is plenty of blame to go around. The best thing the Sox can do is to lick their wounds and come back strong next year but this is easier said than done . When the Yankees collapsed in 2004 , it took them a couple of seasons to get over it and I think the same will happen for the Sox . Even though I’m a staunch Yankee fan , I can’t help feeling sorry for the Sox . It is going to be a long winter in New England , particularly for those who aren’t fans of football and the New England Patriots .
I am happy for the Rays though . They showed a lot of heart in coming back to win the last game after being down seven runs in the eighth inning . The nature of their improbable win also means there are not any going to be any snide remarks about the Yankees laying down for them , and that’s a relief. I’m happy for the Rays because I loved their loosey goosey approach to the final few games and because it’s good to see a small market team make it to the playoffs ahead of the big spenders . Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg have had it rough and this should give the sports fans something to cheer about . I’ll be rooting for the Rays against the Rangers !!