No, the Boston Red Sox haven’t completed the process of choking yet, but they’re certainly mid-spiral right now in a way that evokes the greatest end to the regular season in MLB history.
That would be 2011, when a Boston team that was deemed the “Greatest Red Sox Team Ever?” in spring training, watched its season dissolve in a matter of seconds at Camden Yards (and at the Trop, thanks to the Yankees).
Nearly assured of at least a Game 163, and looking like they’d skate into a Wild Card spot and avert disaster by defeating the 93-loss Orioles, those Sox watched Jonathan Papelbon blow the most important save of the season in a matter of three swings.
Seconds later, Evan Longoria found the shortest possible wall in left field in Tampa, completing a comeback from 7-0 down to beat the Yankees in extras and send the Sox packing. Poetic.
This year? Down a single game in the Wild Card standings after the Yankees’ sweep at Fenway, Boston was still sitting pretty (the prettiest!), heading to Baltimore and Washington to finish out the campaign.
This season’s Orioles make that 93-loss team look like the 1983 World Series champs, racking up 107 losses on the campaign thus far. Theoretically, the Sox should’ve swept with ease and already regained home-field advantage going into another presumptive sweep in DC.
Well…Baltimore took the first game. They took the third game. And in the wake of the masterful spoil job, the O’s changed their Twitter profile picture to the smiling man who walked off the 2011 Sox: Robert Andino.
The Yankees watched in joy as the Orioles trolled the Red Sox Thursday.
Almost makes you believe in curses again. Almost. Almost.
Robert Andino rhymes with Bambino!!! Almost.
There’s a long way to go before this year’s Boston team is forced to pull up a chair alongside Alfredo Aceves and Ryan Lavarnway, or make a tee time with Tito Francona, but the Orioles certainly gave it their best shot this week.
Thanks to the Boston series loss, the Sox enter the weekend in a dead heat with the Seattle Mariners, who now control their own destiny and can assure a Wild Card tiebreaker by winning out against the Angels — who won’t be throwing Shohei Ohtani.
That surely set off a celebration like this in the M’s clubhouse.
As for the Yankees? They better not count a single chicken before they hatch. They’re two games up on both Boston and Seattle, but you have to assume neither of those teams is ever losing again.
Beat the Rays. You haven’t earned anything yet.