Video: The greatest night in baseball history?

posted at 4:45 pm on September 29, 2011 by Allahpundit

I spent half an hour searching for a single video clip that would do justice to it — with the dramatic moments from each game intercut in chronological order, the way we watched it happen live on ESPN — but I can’t find one. You’ll have to settle for these two recaps from MLB. If you missed it, to your everlasting sorrow, here’s how close it was: The Sox were one strike away from winning and the Rays were one strike away from losing, and somehow, against all odds, it’s Tampa that’s the wild card this morning. And when I say “against all odds,” I mean against all odds:

The following is not mathematically rigorous, since the events of yesterday evening were contingent upon one another in various ways. But just for fun, let’s put all of them together in sequence:

The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3.

The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play.

The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike.

The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike.

Multiply those four probabilities together, and you get a combined probability of about one chance in 278 million of all these events coming together in quite this way.

Watching it in real time, with Longoria’s homer coming just three minutes after Papelbon’s meltdown in Baltimore, the odds felt considerably longer than that. It seemed so scripted, in fact, right down to how the arc of each game mirrored the Rays’ and Sox’ seasons, that I half-expected a wild-card Truther movement to be up and running today.

The sweetest moment here, needless to say, is watching the Orioles celebrate their 69th win of the year like they’d just won the Series. Pure baseball magic. Exit question one: Is it true that this is proof that baseball shouldn’t add anymore wild-card teams, as they’re now planning to do? An extra wild-card slot is an extra opportunity for season-ending drama like this. Exit question two: Is the Curse of the Bambino back or is this some entirely new curse? The Curse of Martha Coakley, maybe? Click the images to watch.

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That was one sweet, sweet evening of baseball!

Not only do my Rays pull a walk off nailbiter win over the Yankees to capture a wild card slot, but the Red Sox…don’t.

Time for more cowbell! :P

However, my vote for worst collapse would have to be the ’69 Cubbies vs the “Miracle” Mets. Still have the childhood scars from that one. *heavy sigh*

Kirin on September 29, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Morrissey vs. Allahpundit: George has it covered!

ExpressoBold on September 29, 2011 at 7:37 PM

It’s Bush’s fault -thogh I suspect since the Sox meltd down completely, that we have to blame Obama since that’s his specialty.

Don L on September 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

If baseball is a real sport, where are their cars?

borntoraisehogs on September 29, 2011 at 5:00 PM

In the large driveways of the players’ massively expensive mansions on top of piles of money with their hot wives.

Go Phillies.

Good Lt on September 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Yep, Good Lt., see CJ Wilson as exhibit A of this phenomena.

Vera on September 29, 2011 at 7:55 PM

The 21st Century began on January 1, 2001.

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Thank you…Red Sox 2 – Yankees 1…

RedSoxNation on September 29, 2011 at 7:15 PM

The Red Sox Radio Network uses Joe Castiglione’s call of the final out in 2007, where he notes that prominently. They run it just before every game.

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2011 at 7:58 PM

The 21st Century began on January 1, 2001.

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2011 at 6:55 PM

You are correct. I meant this past decade.

RedRobin145 on September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

As a Yankee Fan, I was cheering wildly for my team to lose so I could hope to enjoy the glorious feeling that Red Sox Nation would be humiliated beyond words.

I found Girardi skipping Mariano Rivera with that one run lead to be the icing on the cake. Can’t buy a finger in the eye like that. Priceless.

AYNBLAND on September 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

As a Yankee Fan, I was cheering wildly for my team to lose so I could hope to enjoy the glorious feeling that Red Sox Nation would be humiliated beyond words.

I found Girardi skipping Mariano Rivera with that one run lead to be the icing on the cake. Can’t buy a finger in the eye like that. Priceless.

AYNBLAND on September 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

..ditto!

The War Planner on September 29, 2011 at 8:18 PM

However, my vote for worst collapse would have to be the ’69 Cubbies vs the “Miracle” Mets. Still have the childhood scars from that one. *heavy sigh*

Kirin on September 29, 2011 at 7:35 PM

..clearly you were born after September 1951.

The War Planner on September 29, 2011 at 8:26 PM

The Cards rally in the NL is pretty remarkable as well. They were at 1.3% in late August, and 1.9% as recently at Sept 8, I believe.

stldave on September 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM

I quit following major league baseball after the 1994 strike. I thought the strike was bad, but the game has sunk even lower since.

zoyclem on September 29, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Exit question one: Is it true that this is proof that baseball shouldn’t add anymore wild-card teams, as they’re now planning to do? An extra wild-card slot is an extra opportunity for season-ending drama like this. – Allahpundit

This is an awesome proposition, but I believe we could make it even better! How about we go back to 154-game schedule instead, maybe even consider a 146-game one, and make baseball become more like hockey – think of the added excitement having at least 16 teams making the playoffs could bring to baseball, especially if the minimum length of each series was 3 games!

NHL – 16 of 30 teams make the playoffs=53.33% of the league (in 1980-81, 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs=79.16% of the league!!!)

AHL – 8 of 14 teams make the playoffs=57.14% of the league (in 2010-11 16 of 18 teams made the playoffs=88.89% of the league!!!)

“People will say, ‘Why play 66 games to eliminate two teams?’” – CHL Fort Wayne Komets president Michael Franke, to The Journal Gazette. LOL

Bizarro No. 1 on September 29, 2011 at 9:16 PM

oops I meant to put CHL there, not AHL.

Bizarro No. 1 on September 29, 2011 at 9:18 PM

You can’t beat Bill Simmons’ running diary of the night if you’re into the whole schadenfreude thing.

RightOFLeft on September 29, 2011 at 4:53 PM

When Simmons is on, he is such a great writer. I don’t think I like Grantland very much, though. :(

Bizarro No. 1 on September 29, 2011 at 9:23 PM

..clearly you were born after September 1951.

The War Planner on September 29, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Yuppers. Born in late 1958. Missed that whole mess. Yikes!

But I didn’t move to Fl until 1972 so I still bleed Cubbies blue. Luckily the Rays are in the ‘other’ league so my loyalties are not divided aside from the occasional interleague game or unless the two of them ever face each other in the World Series. And that is bloody unlikely. lol

Kirin on September 29, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2011 at 6:55 PM

You are correct. I meant this past decade.

RedRobin145 on September 29, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Doesn’t sound quite as good when you refer to it that way does it? lol

BTW one of the primary citations of that is the case of “Kramer VS Newman 21st Century Party”, decided by Judge Jerry Seinfeld.

Kramer and Newman learn that they are each planning rival millennium parties, both on December 31, 1999 (Newman’s party is called the “Newmannium”). Eventually, they agree to combine them into one party on the insistence of Newman that they not invite Jerry. However, Newman allows Jerry to come in exchange for Elaine’s presence, after she had committed to Kramer’s party. In the end, Jerry tells Newman that he made his reservation one year late, as he booked it for “the Millennium new year”, 2001, since there was no year 0. Newman squawks with frustration and leaves.

Del Dolemonte on September 29, 2011 at 10:03 PM

It’s Bush’s fault -thogh I suspect since the Sox meltd down completely, that we have to blame Obama since that’s his specialty.

Don L on September 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Bush? No – it was “Global Warming”.

cktheman on September 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM

The greatest night in baseball history?

Perhaps to a person born after 1980.

whatcat on September 29, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Video: The greatest night in baseball history?

With what the Cardinals and Rays did, it is perhaps the greatest night in baseball regular season history.

rukiddingme on September 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Real baseball fans would never diminish the Cards/Braves games on such a night. Just remember Mr AP, the baseball gods don’t have an east coast bias.

A.C. McCloud on September 29, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Thanks for backing me up. Go, Cards!

Christien on September 29, 2011 at 10:33 PM

After emailing back and forth today with my brother, both astonished at the impossible finishes and timing of events, I can’t believe how lame these two videos are. Whoever is making the call utterly fails to grasp the magnitude of the moment.

And may I just say to the worst fans in professional sports, the Red Snot Nation, go eff yourselves you pathetic jerkoffs.

Jaibones on September 29, 2011 at 11:04 PM

I’m a little older. The greatest night in baseball for me was October 4, 1955 when the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees. It was a day game but that’s besides the point.

The second greatest night (also a day game) was October 16, 1969 when the Mets beat the Orioles.

Last night was awfully good though.

ncjetsfan on September 29, 2011 at 11:12 PM

Exit question two: Is the Curse of the Bambino back or is this some entirely new curse?

No, it’s The Ewing Theory, as described by Bill Simmons. Carl Crawford leaves the Rays for the Red Sox and $134 million, has a terrible season, misses the catch that could have saved the game, Sox miss the playoffs, Rays make it. Same story has happened to many teams that seem to improve after losing their best player.

As the wife of a major Red Sox fan, I can tell you that last night was nothing like the 2003 ALCS or the 1986 World Series. It was really almost comical in the end. I had zero confidence that the Sox were going to win, and after they lost I knew as soon as I saw Evan Longoria at the plate that he was going to hit the home run.

It really was amazing if you are just a fan of the game. That’s why we love baseball, you never know what amazing things you are going to see. That Red Sox game was the first time I ever saw a run scored on a balk. And the Red Sox would not have even been playing for a playoff spot last night if a last-minute callup rookie catcher had not improbably hit two home runs on Tuesday.

rockmom on September 29, 2011 at 11:15 PM

go phils!

amend2 on September 29, 2011 at 11:18 PM

The Red Sox managed some new curse, so thankful we got rid of the the Curse of Hillary here in NYC.

Rbastid on September 29, 2011 at 11:28 PM

As the wife of a major Red Sox fan, I can tell you that last night was nothing like the 2003 ALCS or the 1986 World Series. It was really almost comical in the end. I had zero confidence that the Sox were going to win, and after they lost I knew as soon as I saw Evan Longoria at the plate that he was going to hit the home run.

It really was amazing if you are just a fan of the game. That’s why we love baseball, you never know what amazing things you are going to see. That Red Sox game was the first time I ever saw a run scored on a balk. And the Red Sox would not have even been playing for a playoff spot last night if a last-minute callup rookie catcher had not improbably hit two home runs on Tuesday.

rockmom on September 29, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Absolutely Spot On.

The Red Sox didn’t blow a 9 game lead as the best team in their division, and they weren’t a strike away from winning the World Series.

As for 1986? The Sox “blew it” in Game 6 when they were a strike away, but they did have a whole additional game to play. They lost that game too.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 12:22 AM

But I didn’t move to Fl until 1972 so I still bleed Cubbies blue. Luckily the Rays are in the ‘other’ league so my loyalties are not divided aside from the occasional interleague game or unless the two of them ever face each other in the World Series. And that is bloody unlikely. lol

Kirin on September 29, 2011 at 9:32 PM

..I am a Giants fan — ever since I was a kid in S.F. But before they moved from New York, I was a Yankee fan (had an MM3 Mickey Mantle model glove) and my favorite AL teams are the NYY and anyone who is playing the Boston Red Sox.

The animosity arises, perhaps, because of Boston’s situation in liberal Mass-hole land and the fact that the players look so-o-o-o-o unkempt.

Sure like the Yankees clean-shaven appearance. That they kicked asss this year doesn’t hurt.

The War Planner on September 30, 2011 at 1:17 AM

**Yawn**

Allah, I hate to break it to you, but baseball is a regional sport. Most the country couldn’t care less.

I’m pretty sure the re-run of Mythbusters I was watching got higher ratings.

Nessuno on September 29, 2011 at 4:53 PM

Not even close

My favorite sport is NFL football but nothing and I mean nothing compares to baseball. No matter the score, or how late in the game, there’s no taking a knee, no running out the clock, no prevent defense … you wanna win, you gotta throw the ball over the plate and give the other guys their chance.

Baseball in the clutch produces some of the most intense moments in sports viewing.

The Notorious G.O.P on September 30, 2011 at 3:37 AM

Yeah! The 64 Phillies collapse is fading from memory!

Bevan on September 30, 2011 at 7:31 AM

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona fired after team’s epic collapse in wildcard race: sources

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2011/09/30/2011-09-30_boston_red_sox_manager_terry_francona_fired_after_teams_epic_collapse_in_wildcar.html#ixzz1ZRO6TJWb

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:06 AM

As a Braves fan all I can say is pitchers and catchers report in February.

And could somebody send us a reliever who can get people out. This is something that hasn’t happened in almost 20 years. The Braves are not going to be in the playoffs.

Just A Grunt on September 30, 2011 at 9:09 AM

go phils!

amend2 on September 29, 2011 at 11:18 PM

Yesssssir.

Good Lt on September 30, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona fired after team’s epic collapse in wildcard race: sources

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/2011/09/30/2011-09-30_boston_red_sox_manager_terry_francona_fired_after_teams_epic_collapse_in_wildcar.html#ixzz1ZRO6TJWb

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Your link says absolutely nothing about Francona being “fired”. But hey, it’s the NY Daily News.

Latest (2 minutes ago) word out of Boston is that Francona will ask out of his remaining contract.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Holy Shiite! That second clip was awesome!

ProudPalinFan on September 30, 2011 at 9:23 AM

Your link says absolutely nothing about Francona being “fired”. But hey, it’s the NY Daily News.

Latest (2 minutes ago) word out of Boston is that Francona will ask out of his remaining contract.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:18 AM

In the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately world of baseball, Terry Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to World Championships in 2004 and 2007, is being held accountable for their historic collapse in the wildcard race this season.

The Daily News has been told by sources that Francona is out as Red Sox manager in a meeting this morning with team owner John Henry. The sources said that the decision to end the Sox’ relationship with Francona was Henry’s call

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Let’s go Tigers…beat them Yanks…

RedSoxNation on September 30, 2011 at 9:27 AM

The Daily News has been told by sources that Francona is out as Red Sox manager in a meeting this morning with team owner John Henry. The sources said that the decision to end the Sox’ relationship with Francona was Henry’s call

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:26 AM

They haven’t even had the meeting yet, according to WBZ Radio in Boston. I’ll trust local Boston sources before I trust “enemy” sources lol.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:29 AM

A little known fact: after the Mets game in ’86 Buckner threw himself in front of a cab outside the stadium, but it went between his legs.

Akzed on September 30, 2011 at 9:30 AM

They haven’t even had the meeting yet, according to WBZ Radio in Boston. I’ll trust local Boston sources before I trust “enemy” sources lol.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Everybody knows this is coming, even Tito. Listen to WEEI

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:36 AM

9:30 AM, WBZ Radio Boston: all 3 currently circulating stories (NY Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, and Fox News) are unconfirmed.

A little known fact: after the Mets game in ’86 Buckner threw himself in front of a cab outside the stadium, but it went between his legs.

Akzed on September 30, 2011 at 9:30 AM

Billy Buck has been rehabbed here in New England-he got a Standing O a couple of years ago when he threw out the First Pitch at Fenway on Opening Day. The past year he was manager of the Brockton Roxx Can-Am team, which actually made the playoffs.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Listen to WEEI

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Have major problems with their “signal” here in central NH.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Official-the Red Sox will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Sports reporter Mike Lynch, Channel 5 in Boston: this is a “parting of the ways” and not a “firing”.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Trouble is that the story-book ending in at least one of the games — namely NY/TB — is tainted by the undeniable fact that the Yankees, who lost, weren’t doing their best to win. They led 7-0 going into the bottom of the eighth, where their bullpen allowed no fewer than six runs. They still led 7-6 going into the bottom of the ninth, but yielded two more runs to lose the game. In any case, their All-Star closer Mariano Rivera was not called upon to throw a single pitch during those two disastrous innings. Given his record in such situations, it has to be granted that a Yankee win would have been overwhelmingly likely if he had been used. Hence, they didn’t do their level best and the outcome of the game — and thus of the whole AL season — is tainted. And that’s too bad.

jeroboam on September 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

I am a Bills and a Yankees Fan – last weekend the Bills won a game against a team from New England that they would lose 10 times out of 10 usually… only this time things turned out different and i was thrilled !!

And now the Red Sux choke in a way only they are capable of – schadenfreude !

Could not have happened to a “nicer bunch of people”, a nicer bunch of absolutely horrible fans ( WE ARE CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURSED !!)

Tampa Bay can go all the way – they remind me of the Anaheim Angels of 2002.

nagee76 on September 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Go crazy, Cardinals!

Christien on September 30, 2011 at 12:05 PM

As a Yankee fan, I’m torn. I would have preferred eliminating the Red Sox in the playoffs rather than by blowing a 7-run lead. On the other hand, it’s always fun to watch Boston find new and inventive ways to choke and there’s a certain perverse satisfaction that their demise comes by way of a Yankee choke. In any event, I wouldn’t want to crow too much because starting tonight, we have our hands full. Full of Verlander.

SukieTawdry on September 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

I am a Bills and a Yankees Fan – last weekend the Bills won a game against a team from New England that they would lose 10 times out of 10 usually… only this time things turned out different and i was thrilled !!

And now the Red Sux choke in a way only they are capable of – schadenfreude !

Could not have happened to a “nicer bunch of people”, a nicer bunch of absolutely horrible fans ( WE ARE CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURSED !!)

Tampa Bay can go all the way – they remind me of the Anaheim Angels of 2002.

nagee76 on September 30, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Ya, too bad they weren’t all more gracious like you.

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 12:24 PM

As a Yankee fan, I’m torn. I would have preferred eliminating the Red Sox in the playoffs rather than by blowing a 7-run lead. On the other hand, it’s always fun to watch Boston find new and inventive ways to choke and there’s a certain perverse satisfaction that their demise comes by way of a Yankee choke. In any event, I wouldn’t want to crow too much because starting tonight, we have our hands full. Full of Verlander.

SukieTawdry on September 30, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Don’t worry. They didn’t blow a 7 run lead. They played hard until it came time to give it up with meatballs. Unlike their fans, the Yankees realized they had very little success playing the Sox this year, so why take a chance?

As for choking, just remember what the greatest choke in professional sports history was and the name of the team who committed it…

What happened to the Sox was not a choke, it was a collapse. That’s more appropriate description of pissing away an 11 game lead in the wildcard. That’s what happens when you start “mangaing for the playoffs” in August. That’s what happens when you keep trotting a 40 something knuckle baller out to the mound to lose 8 games so he could finally get his 200th win. That’s what you get for not rushing back Buckholtz because you’re saving him for the playoffs… Not hard to figure it out, it’s arrogance and lack of effort.

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

What can I say, ESPN said it best. A photo being worth a thousand words.

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Trouble is that the story-book ending in at least one of the games — namely NY/TB — is tainted by the undeniable fact that the Yankees, who lost, weren’t doing their best to win. They led 7-0 going into the bottom of the eighth, where their bullpen allowed no fewer than six runs. They still led 7-6 going into the bottom of the ninth, but yielded two more runs to lose the game. In any case, their All-Star closer Mariano Rivera was not called upon to throw a single pitch during those two disastrous innings. Given his record in such situations, it has to be granted that a Yankee win would have been overwhelmingly likely if he had been used. Hence, they didn’t do their level best and the outcome of the game — and thus of the whole AL season — is tainted. And that’s too bad.

jeroboam on September 30, 2011 at 11:19 AM

The Yankees’ “starting pitcher” for that final game? A dude who had a grand total of 2/3 of an inning of experience, with a 27.00 ERA.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Yaaawn! Wake me when something exciting happens.

Herb on September 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

BOSTON, MA – Boston Red Sox Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein released the following statement today:

“John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington and I met with Terry Francona this morning at Fenway Park to exchange thoughts and information on the 2011 season and discuss areas for improvement going forward. We all plan on taking some time to process the thoughts expressed in the meeting. There are no immediate plans for an announcement.”

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 2:25 PM

As an Astros fan who has had to endure the leanest of years this season, I have a hard time feeling sorry for Red Sox fans.

Mike Honcho on September 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Don’t worry. They didn’t blow a 7 run lead. They played hard until it came time to give it up with meatballs. Unlike their fans, the Yankees realized they had very little success playing the Sox this year, so why take a chance?

TheBigOldDog on September 30, 2011 at 12:31 PM

On the other hand, the Phillies showed real class by going all out to win three straight games over Atlanta and thus let St. Louis; which is a much more dangerous team, be the wild card winner that the Phils have to directly play this weekend. Real class (Cough Cough, maybe their fans could take a lesson Cough Cough).

Cards versu Phils should be a great match-up.

KW64 on September 30, 2011 at 3:24 PM

It’s Bush’s fault -thogh I suspect since the Sox meltd down completely, that we have to blame Obama since that’s his specialty.

Don L on September 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Bush? No – it was “Global Warming”.

cktheman on September 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM

Clearly, it was the rain delay in Baltimore, and that rain was caused by a climate that continues to change, despite Obama being POTUS.

kirkill on September 30, 2011 at 3:49 PM

As an Astros fan who has had to endure the leanest of years this season, I have a hard time feeling sorry for Red Sox fans.

Mike Honcho on September 30, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Remember, the Red Sox had plenty of lean years too. 86 to be exact. The Astros will get to the World Series when they get an owner or owners willing to spend tons of money, the way the new owners of the Red Sox did in the years leading up to 2004.

As long as you’re in the same division as the Busch Family’s zillions of dollars, you’ll need cash to compete. Just be patient and wait ’til next year when the Astros move to the American League.

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Statment from Terry Francona

“We met this morning to look back on the 2011 season and to consider the future of the Boston Red Sox, including my involvement with the club. I passed along my frustrations at my inability to effectively reach the players. After many conversations and much consideration, I ultimately felt that, out of respect to this team, it was time for me to move on. I’ve always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation, of ownership to have the right person doing this job. I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.

In my eight seasons as manager of the Boston Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation. This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball. They packed Fenway Park for every game and because of them, I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day. I want to thank John, Tom, Larry and Theo for giving me the opportunity to manage this team through some of the most successful years in this franchise’s history. I wish the entire organization and all of Red Sox Nation nothing but the very best.”

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Statment from Theo Epstein:

“Tito and I didn’t know each other when he was hired eight years ago, but over time we developed not only a great working relationship but also a personal friendship that will always be important to both of us. He proved to be an unflappable leader for our major league club, displaying consistency, calmness, hard work, thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, and faith in the players even at the most difficult of times. Without Tito’s commitment over eight years, we would not be the organization we are today. Nobody at the Red Sox blames Tito for what happened at the end of this season; we own that as an organization. This year was certainly a difficult and draining one for him and for us. Ultimately, he decided that there were certain things that needed to be done that he couldn’t do after eight years here, and that this team would benefit from hearing a new voice. While this may be true, his next team will benefit more than it knows from hearing Tito’s voice. I will miss seeing Tito every day in the manager’s office, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in their next chapter.”

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Statement from John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino on behalf of the Boston Red Sox:

“We met with Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington Friday morning to discuss the 2011 season, ways to improve the club in the future, and Tito’s status. During the meeting, Tito, Theo and Ben agreed that the Red Sox would benefit from an improved clubhouse culture and higher standards in several areas. Tito said that after eight years here he was frustrated by his difficulty making an impact with the players, that a different voice was needed, and that it was time for him to move on. After taking time to reflect on Tito’s sentiments, we agreed that it was best for the Red Sox not to exercise the option years on his contract.

We have enormous respect, admiration and appreciation for Tito and the job that he did for eight years, including two World Series Championship seasons and five playoff appearances. His poise during the 2004 post-season was a key factor in the greatest comeback in baseball history, and his place in Red Sox history will never be forgotten. We wish him only the best going forward.”

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Don’t worry. They didn’t blow a 7 run lead. They played hard until it came time to give it up with meatballs. Unlike their fans, the Yankees realized they had very little success playing the Sox this year, so why take a chance?

If the Yankees were really clever they should have won that game- they were blown up by the Sox in the first half of the season (0-9) but ended up 7-2 against them in their last 9 games – I would MUCH RATHER prefer a team that limped into the play offs rather an a team of destiny like Tampa…

so all feelings of schadenfreude aside, winning against the Rays and letting the Red Sox in would have been the wiser decision

As for choking, just remember what the greatest choke in professional sports history was and the name of the team who committed it…
Even though i am a Yankees fan, i will have to agree with you on this – our 2004 defeat in the ALCS is the single worst choke in the history of play offs.

How ever i have to nit pick with you on the 2011 Red Sox “collapse” – how exactly does a team that has an 8 game lead in the wild card just swoon in September?? and what exactly is the difference between a collapse and a choke ?

Red Sox players could not get over the fact that they were losing the important games – and kept losing even more games thinking about their previous losses – the team was mentally worn out and just wanted to end this season

The Sports Guy calls this a mercy killing – i agree with him. The Sox were dead on the inside a long time before that final game.

nagee76 on October 1, 2011 at 10:12 AM

As a Yankee fan, it is some what sad to see Francona go- he had a terrible month this year but under his leadership, the club went on to break the mythical “Curse” in 2004 – although i hated it as a Yankee fan, i could relate to it as a baseball fan – nothing is bigger in Boston than baseball and nothing could be bigger/sweeter than beating its most hated enemy in the way it did.. that World Series win was repeated 3 seasons later, once again under Tito – no joke, no fluke

Francona can leave with his head held high – he can claim that he led the team to two world championships and restoration of pride and a sense of belief after generations of Boston fans got so used to being perpetually second to the Yankees – he changed their psyche – he was the main reason Curt Schilling signed on with the Sox.

Outside of Ellsbury and Pedroia, 2011 Red Sox players should be ashamed that they let a good man down.

P.S. I am back home in India now and this baseball season reminds me of how American this game is and how much it helped me understand and love America….i cannot imagine what it means to be a Tampa Bay fan now ! they are already 1-0 up against the Rangers !!

nagee76 on October 1, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Go Brewers!

Mr. D on October 1, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Terry Francona won’t be out of work long-our Laconia NH Muskrats have offered him a contract for next season. $6,000!

http://www.laconiamuskrats.com/2011/10/muskrats-offer-managerial-contract-to-terry-francona/

Del Dolemonte on October 1, 2011 at 3:57 PM

I’m not a baseball fan but even I know this is pretty earth shattering news.

Yakko77 on October 1, 2011 at 8:29 PM

“Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona.”
George Will

And as The Sux Nation begins to eat their young, let them ever remember that it was the ORIOLES that held the dart.
Brooks, Earl, Frank, and Cal are all tossing back a shot!

shorebird on October 2, 2011 at 12:04 AM

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