It's kinda weird. If this had happened in 2003 (besides the fact that Fundy and I would've each been at least 18 beers deep by the end of the game, instead of me being sober on the couch with Christine like last night) I would've been out on the Culligan roof until 4 am, throwing beer bottles at passers-by and setting an American flag on fire or something. If this had happened in 2008, this post probably would've been a bunch of pictures of Red Sox players, juxtaposed against the the lyrics to 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' or something. But in 2011, I'm just worn out and done with the whole season (just like Boston's bullpen!) I know you're worried about me, but don't be! I've got explanations for why I'm not as sad as I should be:
-- The Sox have two championships in the last eight years. Success changes you a little bit as a sports fan. I didn't think it would happen to me, but it did. I thought I would always be a psycho (and truthfully, I still kinda am with KU basketball, I doubt that will ever change) but once you celebrate the first title, it's not quite life or death anymore. I can't bitch and moan for days about missing the playoffs, when plenty of fans have no championships to fall back on-- and when I've got a few buddies in the same boat as me, as Braves fans. How was last night for you, Bergman, Dunph and Zach?
-- It was a month-long collapse, so I had plenty of time to go through the stages of grief. If the Sox and Rays had been neck-and-neck all year, and it came down to last night, that would've been one of the toughest five-minute stretches of sports fandom EVER. But honestly, the Sox didn't deserve to make the playoffs. I've never seen a pitching staff fall apart like that before (although the Cubs in 1993 must have been pretty bad, if they were willing to sign Henry Rowengartner off the street like they did.) I'm sure this stat didn't hold, but at one point around 10 days ago, the Sox were the highest-scoring team in baseball during September. And their record was still like 4-15, because the pitchers were giving up 43 runs a game. What were the Sox gonna do if they made the playoffs, besides getting swept in the first round? Also, fuck you John Lackey.
-- The Rays were just a team of destiny. I admit I felt good last night when the Yanks were up 7-0, but as soon as Tampa pulled within a run, I knew it was done. The whole night was so crazy it became predictable. I looked at Christine and said "Well, the Rays are winning that one. It's either one-game playoff tomorrow, or Papelbon is gonna get to within a strike of the win, then blow it." Scout's honor, I said that. So after Paps implodes, we switch over to Tampa, and Teens, bless her heart, offers up the possibility that the Yankees could still win. My response: "No, Longoria is gonna end it this at-bat." Next pitch, wham, bam, thank you ma'am. If only I could've paused time, logged on to my gambling account, and emptied it on Longoria going yard right there. I'd be typing this from my new yacht I just purchased in Italy. Actually, that's a lie. I would still be typing this on my lunch break, at work. I don't have enough money in my gambling account that one big win would allow me to quit my job, buy a boat (I don't even like water that much) and move to Italy (I don't even like Italians that much.) To insinuate otherwise is just misleading. Borderline dishonest.
And you know what? Whatever. I can't begrudge Tampa being this year's team of destiny. The Sox have been a team of destiny before; it was fun. After Boston came back from 0-3 down in the 2004 ALCS, St. Louis could've rolled out Mr. Burns' softball team of ringers for the World Series, and the Sox still would've swept them. It happens.
I mean the softball team at full strength, obviously. Before the hypnotism, nerve tonic overdose, radiation poisoning, alternate dimension portal, etc. etc.
So here we are. The greatest regular season collapse in baseball history happened to my team, and I'm dealing with it. I think Teddy KGB said it best when he said "It's a fahhking joke anyvay."