It’s hard to witness the complete meltdown failure of my hometown Boston Red Sox without comment in this blog about failure. The post game commentary goes well beyond the ‘lessons learned’ as highlighted in MSNBC’s piece “Red Sox add another epic collapse to their history”…

“Move over, Bucky Dent. Step aside, Bill Buckner. Make room, incredibly, for Jonathan Papelbon. The star closer is the stunned symbol of the latest Boston Red Sox collapse. This one lasted a month and finally ended when there were no more games left to lose. ‘This is just maybe the worst situation that I ever have been involved in my whole career,’ designated hitter David Ortiz said after the Red Sox lost at Baltimore, allowing the Tampa Bay Rays to surge to the American League wild card. ‘It’s going to stay in a lot of people’s minds for a while.’ No team has blown a bigger lead in September — a nine-game margin through Sept. 3 — and missed the playoffs. Boston went 6-18 after that and did not win consecutive games at any point in the month. Stunning. ’This is one for the ages, isn’t it?’ general manager Theo Epstein said, a blank stare on his face.”

“Add that to the long list of collapses witnessed by generations of devastated Boston fans…”

  • 1974: “led the AL East by 7 games on Aug. 23, but went 7-19 after that and finished third.”
  • 1978: “squandered all of a 9-game lead they had on Aug. 13, then rebounded to win their last eight games and force a one-game playoff against the Yankees. Boston led that game, 2-0, but the light-hitting Dent hit a three-run homer in a four-run seventh and New York won 5-4.”
  • 1986: “one strike away from a World Series championship after taking a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning of Game 6 against the Mets. But New York won 6-5 when Mookie Wilson’s grounder went through first baseman Buckner’s legs, allowing the winning run to score.”
  • 2003: “Game 7 of the AL championship series when another Yankee infielder not known for his power, Aaron Boone, hit Tim Wakefield’s first pitch in the 11th inning for a series-winning homer.”
  • 2009: “Papelbon coughed up another lead in the third and final game of the 2009 AL division series, giving up three runs that handed the Los Angeles Angels a 7-6 win.”

“Who knows,” [Papelbon] said after that game, “I may be replaying this on the TV in my weight room in the offseason and give me a little bit motivation for next season.”

Before the whole meltdown, my Dad came upon the portentous quote…

“Baseball teaches us, or has taught most of us, how to deal with failure. We learn at a very young age that failure is the norm in baseball and, precisely because we have failed, we hold in high regard those who fail less often – those who hit safely in one out of three chances and become star players. I also find it fascinating that baseball, alone in sport, considers errors to be part of the game, part of its rigorous truth.” – Fay Vincent, Commissioner of Baseball

And so with apologies for the extra salt in the wounds of my fellow Bostonians, here (above) is perhaps one of the greatest ‘rigorous truths’ in the history of baseball. Maybe what Riverdale needs is more baseball. Or made to support the Red Sox.

For a lighter look at years of “Boston sports disappointment” check The Onion’s latest GOOMF piece