The End

The end has come, the season is done.

On what was one of the greatest days in baseball history in terms of shear drama, the Red Sox were ripped from the grasps of hope and flung into the eternal darkness of their historic fall from grace. Their fall will live on in antiquity among the stories Red Sox and baseball fans alike will tell their generations to come.

This haunting ending crept up and snatched away all hope in a way that was so very cruel, yet so poetic.

In my last article for Fire Brand, I mentioned the work of the “baseball gods”. After what happened Wednesday night, not only in Baltimore, but throughout baseball, I can’t help but feel that supernatural forces are indeed at play.

The Red Sox and Braves had only to win their games in order to secure a 163rd regular season game. At worst, if they won, there would be a one-game playoff against the teams that had tracked them down like hunting dogs over the season’s final month. Both teams, still bleeding from their September wounds, held leads late into the night. However, their blood  had worn thin, too thin to stride any further.

As the dark and dreary weather crept over Oriole Park, one couldn’t help but wonder if it were a sign. The Red Sox were leading 3-2 in the seventh. It was an official game, but everyone knew that Major League Baseball would not be calling the action dead any time soon. So, the Sox waited…and waited. As they waited, they watched the Braves squander a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning, their closer and probable rookie of the year, Craig Kimbrel, unable to get his customary three outs. They watched as the Yankees squandered a 7-0 lead, a lead that had evaporated before their eyes — both the eyes of the Yankees and Red Sox. The apex of that squandered lead came at the hands (or, left-handed bat) of Dan Johnson, who had been toiling away in the minors after a horrific start to the season. Johnson’s final MLB line for 2011: .119/.187/.202 with two home runs, the second having been etched into history. As the Red Sox witnessed this comeback, the weather weakened in Baltimore and the game was scheduled to resume.

Resume right on schedule, according to the baseball gods.

What eventually happened you have probably seen both live on screen, in replays and then again in your nightmares.

Jonathan Papelbon, having been overworked in his last few outings out of necessity – echoing the overuse of Craig Kimbrel, but on a different scale — was called upon in the same fashion that he has been for the past six years. He continued to ride his fastball until it bucked him. Well, it did just that. As the ball leapt, screaming off of Nolan Reimold’s bat, everyone knew it was destined to land on that soggy outfield grass, well out of reach of any Red Sox fielder. At about the same time, Scott Proctor, who hasn’t been a reliable pitcher since sometime B.C., remained in the game to chew up the bottom of the twelfth for the Yankees. Back in Baltimore, a curse walked up to the plate. The curse of the Bambino? No, surely not, but, then again, the Babe was born in Baltimore. Could he have been channeling the demons of Red Sox past into the bat of the ever so feared Robert Andino?

Robert Andino. His name has come up a lot lately and not for good reasons as far as Sox fans are concerned. Curse or no curse, ghost of Babe Ruth or not, Andino, who had been slashing at the Sox’ Achilles heel all September, finally sliced the tendon right in half.

Base hit. Game over. Evan Longoria steps to the plate in St. Petersburg.

There was still hope. The Yankees had still held ground with the Rays through 11 and a half innings. Echoes can linger as large as the space is cavernous.  Such was the space between the Red Sox dreams and reality. Only a few days prior, Scott Proctor had given up an invigorating home run to Jacoby Ellsbury. That home run kept the Sox’ postseason hopes alive. Now, Proctor would bring those hopes to an end. From the possible AL MVP in Ellsbury to someone who has played like an MVP in September, Longoria, the torch had been passed, one hero to the next, except in separate universes.

As the ball snuck by the left-field foul poll, the Red Sox season snuck away without a sound. It hadn’t been more than a couple minutes from the time Nolan Reimold crossed the plate in Baltimore until the time Evan Longoria crossed the plate in St. Petersburg.

If the rain delay had not happened, these two events would not likely have occurred in such timely fashion; in such dramatic fashion.

Say what you want. Feel what you want. No one is right. No one is wrong. No one can blame the Yankees for throwing junk at the Rays in the final series. The Yankees have more important things to worry about, like getting rested for the playoffs. They’ve won that right. No one can blame the Red Sox players for not giving their all. You think Kevin Youkilis wouldn’t have given anything to be out there competing with his teammates, or that Clay Buchholz wishes he could have toed the rubber in September?

They tried. They failed. They failed on an epic scale.  The last pitch has been thrown, the last drop of sweat has fallen. There is no tomorrow for the 2011 Boston Red Sox.

Every game counts. The Sox started the season 0-and-6, 2-and-10, or however you want to see it. They battled back to become, for a stretch that lasted the majority of the summer, the best team in baseball. Injuries to the rotation struck and struck hard. In the end, they were left with Josh Beckett, coming off of an ankle injury, and Jon Lester, who had clearly worn down, but continued to try and grind it out. Obviously, that wasn’t enough.

We must, as painful as it may be, give credit where credit is due. The Rays, with a patchwork offense and sketchy bullpen, continued to win while the Red Sox didn’t. In their biggest game, their ace, David Price, failed to give them what they needed. Still, they found a way to win.

Let me repeat: They found a way to win.

As for the Red Sox, I refuse to believe for one second that there was a single player on this year’s team that didn’t want to win and win for the fans of Red Sox Nation. Believe what you want, this is what I believe.

There is sure to be much analysis in the many empty winter days ahead and we’ll be honored if you join us in the discussion here at Fire Brand. But for today, or even just this morning, we can only say, “We’ll get ‘em next year.”

Categories: Boston Red Sox

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

72 Responses to “The End” Subscribe

  1. ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 7:10 AM #

    Wow. Just wow, Charlie. I still can't believe what I saw.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM #

      That whole night of baseball is still ringing in my head, so to speak.

    • RAW September 29, 2011 at 3:16 PM #

      This should be no surprise to anyone. This sure didn't surprise me because karma has again come tenfold to Boston. This year will prove if it hasn't already that selling out doesn't win championships. With all the victories you have all enjoyed recently being the only town within less than ten years to win at least one major championship how could you not see this coming? Walking around with a big chip on your shoulder trying to display the illusion of the most feared team ever has transpired to reality of the Baltimore Orioles embarrassing you. Meanwhile a fueled and hungry Tampa Bay team proved last night that they deserve to be in the playoffs.

      As I stated before selling out doesn't win championships and this goes for all major sports. The Red Sox will join their sellout friends the Miami Heat this year and will always be stenciled into the history books for this epic collapse. Carl Crawford alone cost the team millions of dollars and nothing to show for it but a dropped catch. As for Papelbon where do I start. The man is a disgrace to the game, arrogant, conceded, and just plain low. Boston fans know by now this guy has no regard for anyone but himself and his post game interview last night easily proves this. But he has to know this is all his fault and I hope he loses sleep over this and it haunts hum for the rest of his career. Watching him walk off the field with his head down is a moment I've been waiting to see for a VERY long time. So Boston fans how does it feel? In my opinion you've won enough and just like everyone else it's time to suffer. The Detroit Tigers are my team and we look ready to turn some heads this year. But look at everything that had to be taken away from the Tigers to get to where they are. Perfectg game taken away last year, two years ago they lose a tiebreaker game to Minnesota in the 12th inning. Disappointment is something we are familiar with but not Boston and New York. This year is a new year! The Rangers are hungry, the Rays are hungry, and the Tigers are hungry. One of those three teams will win it all there's no doubt in my mind. Proof of this is look how far the Rangers got last year, look at how far the Rays got in recent years, also look at how far the Tigers got without winning it all. New York has won within the last two years. Facing three hungry and more deserving teams spells trouble for New York. What would be more embarrassing Boston fans : to win last night and get killed instantly in the playoffs or to just roll over pull your pants down and take it? Enjoy your offseason

      • darryljohnston September 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM #

        Rah-rah Texas, Tampa and Detroit still won nothing despite their recent hunger.

        2006, 2008 and 2010. Cute and close but no cigar. In fact, all three losing to a NL team is embarassing.

        • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM #

          Ya that's bad news they always get to the dance floor but never hear the band. Im just saying that it's because all of those three teams have dealt with failing over and over again, while all the Yankees Phillies and Red Sox have done is win. It's a matter of time before one of those three teams becomes a legitimate threat. Something's gotta give!

      • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 4:33 PM #

        Hey! Dan Shaughnessy decided to visit the blog to comment! I've never been so excited in my whole life!

        Seriously though, your argument is filled with cliches and psychobabble bullshit that's rooted so far from reality it's almost comical. The Red Sox didn't sell out. They put together the best team they could put on the field. This idea that they went out and bought their team is ridiculous considering two teams with HIGHER payrolls (the Yankees and Phillies) are in the playoffs despite having comparable talent.

        Furthermore, I'm not sure what "hunger," "belly fire," "grit," and "scrappiness" have anything to do with…well, anything. Your assertion that they didn't care and weren't "hungry enough" is entirely subjective. Personally, I thought they looked like they were pressing and trying too hard. If anything, they wanted it too much, and that got in the way.

        I find it amusing that you've chosen Crawford and Papelbon as your targets. While Crawford had a rough year and Papelbon is an arrogant baffoon, they were two guys that stood in front of their lockers, answered every question, and took accountability for their performances. Say what you will, but I like that kind of integrity. Maybe you think that's disgraceful, but it only shows your complete lack of perspective on not only humanity, but also sports. By the way, your disgust for an entire fan base (most of whom you don't know) is not only prejudicial, but also disgusting. While we're at it, could you tell me who you're a fan of? When your team goes down in a blaze of glory, I'd really like to return the favor.

        One thing on the Miami Heat. The reason they lost is because they had three stars and absolutely no depth on their team. They were in a much different situation than the Red Sox in that they had to deal with the constraints of a salary cap. If they were in a salary cap free world, their fate would have likely been much different.

        • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:15 PM #

          Sore loser! I have worked for and stood behind more than thirty years of watching every sport. Even the ones my teams lose. Fact is it's a part of life and yes you did sell out! Arguing that the Yankees and phillies have bigger payrolls than you really doesn't put a strong argument into your favor. Oh so your payroll makes you third on the sellout list and that should make u better? Your better because they made it and u didn't. Your not calling the sox sellouts? What planet are u on? I'm not saying they didn't care. I mean come on the single biggest threat in the American league loses a lead like that of coarse they attempted to play their best. I actually agree with u that they wanted it too much but you have to agree with me that if Carl Crawford would have put up at least average numbers things might have been different. Do the math on how much each strikeout, error, or average cost the Red Sox just from Carl Crawford alone. In regards to Papelbon I admit I don't like him but it not his play on the field I don't like, It's him as a person! You even adhered to my comments about him as a person! I also think it's funny u think I have some prejudice against your team when I sat in a house full of all Red Sox fans and watched that unfold last night. Point is u can kick and stomp and take out your anger on other people all u want, but it isn't gonna stop the winds of change.

          Btw the so called "hunger, grit, belly fire, and scrappiness" you speak of is probably the biggest reason the Red Socks won their first championship is it not? Oh but I guess your right… What would hunger, grit, belly fire, and scrappiness have to do with anything.

          • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM #

            Actually, the Red Sox won their first World Series because they were talented, not scrappy. They outscored their opponents by nearly 180 runs.

            As for being a sore loser, I hardly agree with your assessment. I'm actually a pretty reasonable, rational person capable of admitting obvious flaws in the team. You're the one that brought your irrational behavior to this site to troll. Think about that for a second. You took the time to write two fairly lengthy slams on a team and a fanbase that have done absolutely nothing to you. I'm not sure where your misplaced anger comes from, but it's pretty sad. Next time you decide to put on your internet bully hat, think about what that says about you.

          • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM #

            Misplaced anger? I'm far from angry! If u think this is bullying your sorely mistaken. So if the Red Sox won that championship based on just talent alone then what does that say about the other teams in the playoffs? I happen to believe there is a very fine line between talent, luck, and destiny when things like this happen in sports. That grand slam that Ortiz hit against the Yankees that year seemed to me like the hand of god. Don't be modest it was more than talent!

            Also f.y.I I'm a writer that's what I do. I'm not trying to start shit I'm just stating what I know!

          • HitDog September 29, 2011 at 5:49 PM #

            If you're a writer, you must work with very good editors.

          • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:53 PM #

            I have. But not anymore. It's Hollywood bro the writers are on strike!!! Lol

          • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

            Care to share the site? I promise (seriously) not to heckle you at your site. That's honestly not my style. I'm just curious. We're not going to agree on this subject, so let's agree to disagree.

          • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:56 PM #

            Fine with me man. For what its worth it was chill at least talking to you for a hot minute and sorry about the luck man and I really mean that. Your team is in a good spot still, and hockey season starts soon so that will help you out.

          • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 6:17 PM #

            Shoot me an email with the name of your site. (Go to the authors page) Who knows? If I like what I see, I may link to an article of yours in my daily links here. Certainly wouldn't be the first time I've done that.

  2. wowzers September 29, 2011 at 8:15 AM #

    At least we won't have to continue to watch them struggle….the playoffs would have been an embarassment. I compare this to euthanizing a favorite pet. It's hard at the time, but it's the right thing to do. The Rays deserve to be in the playoffs, the Sox don't.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 10:54 AM #

      In a sad way, I have to agree with you. Just making the playoffs and avoiding the big collapse would have been a small, but at the same time big, victory. At least it would have kept the hounds at bay for just a little while longer.

      Tough season to swallow.

  3. darryljohnston September 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM #

    Disgustedly disappointed.

    • BaltimoreOrioles September 30, 2011 at 11:30 PM #

      Were sorry for your disappointment.

  4. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 8:49 AM #


    oh man that was sweet. i mean, i was looking forward to pounding the red sox if they ever made it to the ALCS in the bronx, but this was even sweeter….holy moly. papshmear…what a guy. crawford. he really plays a tight left field….oh boy. its christmas come early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 9:03 AM #

      I hope it felt really good making fun of people from behind a computer screen. You're a big man.

  5. Charles Simone September 29, 2011 at 9:34 AM #


    I'm a Yankees fan who, admittedly, came here to soak in the Red Sox misery, but to keep quiet about it, until I saw "Joe Girardi's" comments. What, seriously, is the point? To prove that you're pretty good at alternating between the H and A keys on your keyboard (no typos, impressive)?

    Actually, I don't know why I bothered to comment. Chip said it perfectly.

  6. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

    wow, charlie. thanks for your frank analysis of my comment. you know i never really looked at it that way. what is the point. seriously. we should just be having a candid discussion on how Terry, Dusty, Jed, Alex, Poppi, Drew et al just outright failed at the end of the year there. a truly embarrassing and disheartening collapse. how their pitching staff and bullpen (outside of ACE) is complete trash. i mean i do feel bad that the wonderboy wasted all that money on Carl and Lackey, but i guess he did contribute to a stimulus program in Mass…

    but seriously, thanks again charlie for really making me see the light. you can call me a converted "troll" thanks.

    also i did a great job alternating between h and a AND the capitalized H and A keys. it took alot of practice but alls i got is time under that bridge.

    • Nathan Hale September 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

      I can imagine the only thing more painful and embarassing than this collapse would be blowing a 3-0 series lead in the ALCS against your most hated rival.

      I can only thank god that never happened to my team, because I would probably crawl under a rock and never talk shit again.

      • Charles Simone September 29, 2011 at 10:12 AM #

        I was going to say "what goes around comes around," but I guess I didn't have to.

  7. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 10:26 AM #

    Nate, i thought i made it clear i am moving out from under the rock. im done being that troll i was 3 posts ago.

    In relation to that '04 series. i have come to terms with it. It has been 7 years. i've read all you can on it. I've watched the 30 4 30 on it. I've watch the sox yearbook video on it. i am certain i know more about it than any of the fans on this board. you have to embrace the pain and the hurt. i am over it. do i agree with all the moves made in that series, no. do i think you could have had those games alternate win/loss the entire time and no one would be surprised, yes. those were some good times and good games. a true rivalry.

    but getting back to embracing the hurt….it did take me a few years. so…enjoy the next 2 to 4 years wondering what could have been if the sox didn't hit the death spiral and go 7 – 20 in September. embrace the fact that you have carl crawford and his awesome defense and mediocre bat for the next 6 years. embrace the fact that the one manager who had the temerity to bring you to the promised land will be fired. embrace lackey for the lackey he is. embrace the fact that youkilis is most likely done. its ok, tiger. there is always next year.

  8. 123456789 September 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM #

    Yeah, good luck with the Rays in the playoffs faux-Girardi–be careful what you wish for!

  9. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 11:01 AM #

    1-2-3-4-5 (6-7-8-9)? That's the stupidest combination (screen name) I've ever heard of in my life! That's the kinda thing an idiot would have on his luggage ( messageboard)!!

    I dont know if i will be trotting out the triple A team to play the d-rays in the ALCS…

    • HitDog September 29, 2011 at 5:40 PM #

      It takes a sad, bitter, little man to dance on others' graves. I wish your team luck. I wish you a painful, firebrand of a disease. The one already enveloping your soul, and more.

  10. Isaiah September 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM #

    Thanks for all the great insight and Red Sox news on this site. Never posted here before, but just wanted to say keep up the good work. Hope next year is our year.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM #

      Thanks for reading Isaiah. We appreciate the kind words.

  11. LarryAtIIATMS September 29, 2011 at 11:14 AM #

    I am as dyed-blue a Yankee fan as you can find. My earliest memory as a human being was seeing the 1960 WS game 7 bad-hop grounder hit Tony Kubek in the throat. My five year old self thought it had killed him. I guess I learned all I needed to know about baseball at that moment.

    No question. As a dyed-blue Yankee fan, I was rooting as hard as anyone for the collapse of the Red Sox. But last night was just so far over the top, so cruel, so improbable, it's left me with a different point of view. I AM thinking about my own 1960. Or 1963, where for some bizarre reason we were living in L.A., and after the World Series we could not drive through town without people noticing our NY license plates and honking their horns to point and laugh. 2001 hurt like hell, and so did 2004.

    Red Sox fans: the price of greatness is great failure. It is no wonder that the Yankees were the first baseball team to drop four after winning the first three: we'd been in the post-season so often, we were the most likely team to first see the most unlikely result. Ditto for you guys and your September, 2011. Chalk it up to the fact that you're now in the pennant race pretty much every year, so you've made yourselves a big target if something crazy is going to happen.

    All that being said, the Red Sox were hit not only with the most improbable last month of a season, but also were one of the victims of the most improbable last day of a season. This double-whammy is a bitch of a one-two punch – it will take someone like a Nate Silver to compute the odds against. I'd normally be one to gloat like Joe Girardi (well, maybe not as obnoxiously)., and I reserve the right to talk a little smack later on. But this morning all I can feel is awe for what the game of baseball can deliver its devotees in terms of joy and pain. What you're going through today I will doubtless endure at some time yet to be determined. This morning you have my sympathy, because the baseball gods know that some day I'm going to wish for yours.

    Keep the faith. Yours is a great baseball team.

    • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 11:52 AM #

      As always Larry, very well put. The fact the Braves and Red Sox both fell apart in September in the same fashion is just…wow. I still can't describe it. It's going to be a long offseason.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 12:11 PM #

      Great perspective Larry. One of the things I respect most about IIATMS is the respect you guys show for fellow writers, rival opponents or otherwise. Class all the way. Best of luck in the playoffs.

    • Rebutter11 September 30, 2011 at 8:56 AM #

      Nice post. A truism. I think your 'time yet to be determined' will be sooner than you think. Just a few games into the future. At least your guys will most likely be out of town..

  12. Trace September 29, 2011 at 12:13 PM #

    What happened last night was truly cruel, but hey, you could have been an Astros fan the entire year instead.

    Let me tell you, watching and writing about them is just as painful.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 12:23 PM #

      So true Trace. As much as Red Sox Nation is hurting today, at least they had a ton to cheer about this season. Aside from early April and September, this team was extremely entertaining to watch. Sometimes Red Sox fans forget how good they have it.

    • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 4:34 PM #

      Amen Trace. Hopefully, you get a decent GM to replace the disgrace that is Ed Wade ASAP.

      • Trace September 29, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

        Worst GM in the league, far and away.

        • ChipBuck September 30, 2011 at 7:10 AM #

          I really hope Ned Colletti doesn't fall into your laps. If he's not number two on the Worst GMs list, he's certainly a top five guy.

  13. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM #

    The only problem with Larry's comment is that the red sox arent a great team. great teams dont collapse like that. they dont have to wait till the last day of the season to try and hope to get into a playoff. it just isnt how great teams play and act. they would have won ONE more game throughout September. that is for damn sure. sure you have a few great players. no one can take that away, but great team, that is a MASSIVE overstatement.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 12:31 PM #

      As much as I hate to say it, I have to agree with the Yankees' skipper on this one. This team's offense was prolific, but clearly John Lackey and Dice-K were train-wrecks waiting to happen. With the right replacement players in place, this team may have been able to overcome, but they didn't, so they didn't.

    • LarryAtIIATMS September 29, 2011 at 2:31 PM #

      "Great" is a matter of opinion. In my world, a team that wins 2/3 of its games over a 120-game stretch, and crushes my Yankees (a solid Yankees team) over a five month stretch, is at least a very good team.

      In any event, by "great" I was referring to the Red Sox I've known over the past 10 years.

      Joe, we can agree that the Red Sox have a great collection of players, and we'd probably agree that Ortiz, Pedey, A-Gon and particularly Ellsbury had great years. Pap was lights out until last night. Beckett was outstanding until very recently. Salty and Scutaro outperformed expectations, and Aceves deserves some kind of award. You and I would probably attribute different causes for a great collection of players failing to produce the results we'd associate with a great team, but I can agree that the 2011 Red Sox did not produce great results over the full 162-game stretch.

      Charlie, you might like to see a piece I've written over at IIATMS, it should be up in about an hour. But I'll match your Lackey with my A.J., your Dice-K with my Phil Hughes, your injured Youk with my injured A-Rod. The Sox's final record in 2011 was roughly that of their record in 2010, and your 2010 injures were far more devastating than anything you experienced this year. I'm with Chip that Crawford's season was a lot better than it looked, and the rest of your hitters performed at or above expectations. I don't want to give away my IIATMS piece, but there's no explanation I can find for your 2011 other than bad luck.

  14. Bucky @#$! Dent September 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM #

    Take heart Sox fans! In the world of great Sox/Yanks failures – you're still up three (1978, 1986, 2011) to one (2004) over the Yanks. At least your still good at that!!!

    • HitDog September 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM #

      I didn't fail. And you, yourself, have never won a World Series. What exactly are you good at besides near-illiteracy?

  15. Justin September 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM #

    "the Red Sox were ripped from the grasps of hope and flung into the eternal darkness of their historic fall from grace…. However, their blood had worn thin, too thin to stride any further….The last pitch has been thrown, the last drop of sweat has fallen. There is no tomorrow."

    Red Sox fans: Pretentious even in their brooding. Thanks for subjecting us to this melodramatic dreck. Please get over yourself.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM #

      Based the examples you provide — supposedly used as evidence for making your "point " — I think you need to look up the definition of pretentious.

      • Justin September 29, 2011 at 12:56 PM #

        Yes, in fact it is pretentious to frame the end to a Red Sox season like it's the freaking Charge of the Light Brigade.

        • Ignorant September 29, 2011 at 1:01 PM #

          Me, I like my english to be totally free of hyperbole, simile, metaphor, figurative language in general. Hell, if I could help it i would never stray from a good ol' picture book. I'm glad I've met another man my color, Justin

          • H.W. Longfellow September 29, 2011 at 1:07 PM #

            I never knew I was a Red Sox fan!

        • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM #

          It's called imagery, used often in writing.

          Maybe you just have no clue what's going on in baseball or with Red Sox fans in general, but this historic collapse is kind of a big deal (that might even be an understatement).

  16. Joe Girardi September 29, 2011 at 1:31 PM #

    In all seriousness this type of thing cripples a team. just look at the 2007 mets. where have they been the last few years? a few injuries to key players and pitchers….stars get fat and lazy…its a slippery slope…

    AND for those who say the mets got screwed by madoff….JW Henry is just a few bad trading days away from meeting the same fate…especially in these volatile markets.

    dire dire waters ahead

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 1:55 PM #

      Mr. Girardi, I invite you back for discussion about this throughout the offseason. We're going to be covering all the angles, from the players to the coaches to the front office and beyond. Given the current money that has been put into this club, their financial situation is certainly a subject worth examining.

      While I don't agree that "dire dire waters [are] ahead", I certainly think some significant changes will be made this winter.

  17. darryljohnston September 29, 2011 at 2:27 PM #

    Oh God please spare us the pot-stirring and trolling Girardi. We have enough of it from our own media. Go enjoy the playoffs and try to win a championship. The Red Sox shot themselves in the foot but it's not like it's the end of Boston sports. 11 championships in 10 years makes not too hard to get over a bad ending. If this were 2003 it would be different but I've seen two Red Sox championships in the last 8 years so you can try and start all the trouble you want, but if Detroit punches you in the mouth, the only thing you can feel good about is someone else's misery.

    • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM #

      Love your post and don't worry Verlander will get them tomorrow.

  18. guest September 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM #

    Your English is shearing apart for its sheer lack of fluency.

  19. Kevin September 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM #

    The Curse of Crawford has begun! Here's to hoping Boston loses for another 100+ years.

  20. Eli September 29, 2011 at 4:06 PM #

    Let's go Yankees!!!

    • RAW September 29, 2011 at 5:26 PM #

      Let's go Tigers!!!! Good luck tomorrow!I love playoff baseball!!! U should get tickets for tomorrow it's gonna be a pitchers duel

  21. HitDog September 29, 2011 at 5:45 PM #

    Great piece. One wholly uncorrupted by trollage, weirdly powerful spite, and utter wastes of cyberspace. If it were the Yankees who fell like this, I would actually feel bad, and disappointed to not be able to beat them in the playoffs.

    As things are, I just feel strangely bad for this strange, not completely representative breed of Yankee fan who would take an Aaron Boone game every day, even if, as in 2003, they had to lose the World Series every time. You don't win when your rival loses. You win when you win. As much as I've heard the phrase "26 rings!" from so many of you, I really thought you would all know better.

  22. darryljohnston September 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM #

    In some weird way (maybe and probably because of '04 and '07) I am somewhat at peace with this ending. It's horrid but unlike '03 and the Boone HR, I don't feel any sting from the idiot trolls who tromp through hissing and laughing. I am just disappointed that although I never lost faith, (ignorance? stubborness? rose-colored lenses?) they still let me down. It was reminiscent of what he Bruins did to me in 2010 except that felt worse because their was no recent spoked-B championship banner hanging from the rafters at the time.

    I'm not sure what the hell happens next, but my gut says someone will be axed unfairly.

    Also, Larry from IIATMS is a good dude.

    • ChipBuck September 29, 2011 at 7:24 PM #

      Out of all of the people I've interacted with since I started writing about baseball a year ago, Larry's definitely one of my favorites. He was one of the few people that checked out my original blog BBIMH when I was writing on my own. I've never forgotten that. Plus, he's a tremendous writer.

  23. dave m September 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM #

    ya gotta play the whole game and ya gotta play the whole season. anyone who was predicting the red sox – yankees first or second in the division in july or august is an idiot. ya gotta play the whole game and ya gotta play the whole season. the red sox will forever be known as the authors of the greatest comeback of all time
    - down 0-3 to the dreaded yankees in '04. not enough credit given for that. i don't ever hear anyone talk about "a-roid" and his classless move of hitting the ball out of arroyo's glove.

    • Charlie Saponara September 29, 2011 at 8:18 PM #

      So what are you saying? We have to play the whole game and play the whole season?

  24. Josh G. September 29, 2011 at 8:35 PM #

    Yankee fan here, but for the first time in my life, last night I felt sorry for The Nation. Great post, well written. What a night. Man, what a night.

  25. williamjtasker September 29, 2011 at 9:06 PM #

    A brilliant and very fair piece. My sympathies to the Red Sox faithful. That was a crushing defeat.

  26. BrienJackson September 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM #

    I'd like to take a second to concur with Larry. As a Yankee fan I've spent the month rooting for this collapse, and I certainly had my fun with it last night, but you guys are great, and seem like awesome people, and I can't imagine what this must feel like. Rooting interests aside, as happy as I am for Mark and the crew over at The Ray Area, that's how bad I feel for you guys.

    • ChipBuck September 30, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

      Thanks Brien. I actually sent a tweet to Mark, Chris, and Brendan congratulating the other day on their team making it. It wasn't easy to watch considering Mark and I had been playfully trading barbs all month, but it was the right thing to do. Of course, you guys know that I extend my congrats to you guys as well.

  27. BrienJackson September 29, 2011 at 10:30 PM #

    And I'm very happy to see many familiar faces from our site offering this sentiment…but let me put it more frankly than they:

    "Joe Girardi:" You're an asshole.

    • ChipBuck September 30, 2011 at 7:17 AM #

      It's because he bunts a lot, isn't it? ;)

  28. ScottCandage September 30, 2011 at 12:35 AM #

    Ken Rosenthal reporting that Terry Francona may be gone (option not exercised by mutual consent) as soon as tomorrow:

  29. j Hart September 30, 2011 at 11:04 PM #

    Greetings from BALTIMORE, to all you sox fans. You Suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    To let a crappy team like our O's pull your heart right out of your chest the way did the last couple weeks is pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Pedroia is a little faggot and so is Elsbury and Crawford LOL LOL!!!! ( I dont care about the spelling)
    You can take your 161 mil salary and shove it so far up your ass it comes out of your ear. You deserve every last bit of pain for this one. God you suck – How could you possibly fall apart like that???? Huh?? Please tell me????

    Hey Francona why dont you come to Baltimore we have some lover for you – We wont treat you like THEY do!!


  1. Links to Last Night’s Epic Night of Baseball « MLB Dirt - September 29, 2011

    [...] Charlie Saponara of Fire Brand AL gives the Rays credit and admits a Red Sox collapse and looks forward the season ahead. [...]