Thursday, September 29, 2011

An Epic Collapse Will Haunt Red Sox Eternally


It is well established that the Boston Red Sox, in the year the ballclub was supposed to win the pennant, had the greatest collapse in baseball history. When you think about it, maybe it’s the return of the Curse of the Bambino that doomed the Red Sox.

A person who is superstition can’t help but to think a curse has effectively brought torture to the third-highest market in baseball, a ballclub that ended its season in a nightmare, gagging on a night of steep ramifications. It’s incredible -- a painfully feeling to leave Red Sox fans in the dark, and a sense of optimism diminished on a night that watching the Red Sox turned into a horror movie.

It ended all so miserably, and it felt like demons and ghost were back to haunt Boston, a town suddenly punished by the underachievers, wearing a Red Sox uniform clearly disappointing an organization that trusted in each player. Because since the Red Sox had a nine-game lead in the wild-card chase on Sept. 3, and now eliminated from contention, they are judged as the biggest disgrace in baseball.

This team also now qualifies as the most persistently overhyped franchise in sports, gushing over the massive amount of money spent on the $142 million Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. The owner of Boston is John Henry, which means he’s probably irate for overly spending on underperformers -- writing paychecks for his players, even after they all failed and disappointed him.

The thought is now that this will go down as one of the craziest, biggest collapses in baseball history, and it was downright ridiculous for a team that was apparently supposed to be good. It’s an agonizing case of epic failure, and because of it, the Red Sox will miss the postseason. This was a collapse, a heartbreaking collapse – something that can make a person shed tears. Not me, mind you.

The vast majority should be laughing at the Red Sox for allowing themselves to break down in the last game of the season, after blowing an 8.5-game lead in less than a month, finishing a mere 7-20 September. You're kidding, right?? This is how terrible the Red Sox were in the last month of a 162-game season, and back in spring training Boston was projected to be one for the ages, perhaps the greatest ballclub of this era.

The reality is that the Red Sox couldn't control the leverage in the AL East, after evidently spending an estimate $200 million last offseason to upgrade the lineup and contend with the archrival Yankees. The aftermath of the latest collapse -- in retrospect -- is a feeling of pain and sadness for a franchise that wastefully spent to assemble the deepest club in baseball until last night -- a horror night that had Red Sox Nation a nervous wreck and petrified.

There is, though, much chatter about last night's spectacle that was a series of debacles, especially fans raving about the greatest collapse in sports history and talking about the worst Red Sox team of the ages. There's been lots of captivating and spectacular baseball, especially by Tampa Bay and St. Louis, two teams who pulled off the comeback to clinch wild-card berths and advance into the postseason as the Red Sox and Braves collapsed.

The worst feeling is that the Red Sox are eliminated, staring at much familiarity from the past. The aftermath of two World Series championships has faded into the darkness of the ghastly meltdown in which the Red Sox will miss the postseason for the second straight season. The worst feeling of the breakdown is that the Red Sox has fallen in love with the blame game -- now pointing fingers. In short, Boston is terrible as a whole.

The collapse in Boston's performance could be the sign of the curse, and the worst feeling is hearing about the traces of evil spirits again, an apparent trend that brought the Red Sox misery for 86 years. This wasn't an illusion of failure, which prompted tabloids and local radio talk shows to make the Red Sox the priority on their lists early Thursday morning. This was Boston blowing it when it counted the most, when they could've kept postseason hopes alive.

When Boston lost, the mood shifted into reverse, and because of it Red Sox Nation is angry, sad, depressed and embarrassed. The spending, as a result, proved risky for the Red Sox, once the favorites to win the World Series back in the offseason when Boston damn near signed every big-name free agent of the Hot Stove sweepstakes.

What drove us to believe the Red Sox would win the World Series?? It was only fitting that the Red Sox, for having evidently the greatest team in franchise history that stumbled, would reach history but just in a negative fashion by becoming the first team to ever enter September with a nine-game hold on a postseason spot. In short, they failed to advance to the playoffs. They blew it. The dream is over for the Red Sox.

The general public was stupid to believe in Boston, and we shamed ourselves for foolishly predicting the Red Sox as the favorites to win the pennant this fall. Shame on you -- shame on me -- for honestly arguing that the Red Sox were going to win the AL East. Wrong. This is way it's usually a mistake to sign every big-name free agent on the market, and offer every player the richest deal.

The truth is, as we know it, sports teams with the most productive and top-notch players normally tends to fall short of a championship, simply because teams draw national spotlight while under heavy pressure to perform at an all-time high. As far as we can tell, the Red Sox are a team of shame, brutally floundering at the worst possible time. There are, though, plenty of people within the Red Sox organization to blame for the failures, burying themselves and staging a funeral, one strike away from keeping their season alive.

This until Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon couldn't even close it out and blew the save, his second in September both against the Orioles. The pitching staff, more importantly, is to blame for the disappearance with a staggering 5.84 earned run average, and the starters alone had a 7.08 ERA. It amazes me that we praised this team more than our troops fighting for our confused nation.

For once, it is fair to blame manager Terry Francona for developing a club that lacks chemistry, which might have been a factor in Boston's collapse. It also falls on the ineffectiveness of John Lackey, who pitched like a clown on the mound -- just missing the red nose, the goofy shoes and the colorful wig. And lastly, general manager Theo Epstein is highly responsible and shares the blame for obtaining inconsistent players for the $161 million roster.

The medical staff was unaware and took forever to diagnose the stress fracture that Clay Buchholz had suffered. From there, he was inactive for the rest of the season. For right now, everyone is blameworthy for the way the season ended. But in reality, the Red Sox need to address some flaws during the offseason, and in the meantime, mending woes are difficult. There is no promise or ambition, after all.

Nobody really knows how the Red Sox will react next season or whether there'll be upgrades for the current roster. It's too bad that Boston lacks depth in its farm system as the team is only getting older, tied down by long-term deals the front office unwisely bestowed.

It's too bad that Lackey is owed $45.75 million over the next three years, and it's even more unfortunate when Crawford is set to earn $19.5 million next year. Money isn't everything. And for the Red Sox, I personally believe it means zilch.

For whatever reason, the Red Sox flunked the wild-card test.