As a lifelong Red Sox fan, their swan dive from the top of the American League East in 1978 is still the most devastating baseball event for me. They recovered beautifully in the final week, winning their last eight games to tie New York on the final day, so when they narrowly lost the one-game Bucky Dent tiebreaker 24 hours later, it felt like they would never win. This year's historic meltdown may have been more statistically horrendous on many levels, but with Boston having gone all the way in '04 and '07, the emotional letdown hasn't been nearly as severe.
I've been tweeting about them all season at @braggers41, and rather than try and make endless sense out of something that makes almost none, I thought I would just recount the final month of the disgrace with a chronological collection of some of my selected tweets. Some of these are downright prophetic, and you can look them up on my timeline if you don't believe they're real.
The last time Boston looked like a playoff team was the last week of August in Texas. I was family camping in Lake Tahoe, and unfortunately missed Adrian Gonzalez and the Sox going ballistic at Arlington Stadium. Little did I or anyone else know...
Red Sox pile up 30 runs in Texas while I'm on vacation, now can't get a clutch hit to save their lives. I'm going back to the Sierras.
Nice of Josh Beckett to give us a sneak preview of A.J. Burnett.
From what I've seen, the Yankee lineup is overflowing w/ great situational hitters. Boston has five great hitters and a bunch of stiffs.
Andrew Miller starts the game with two walks, a balk, and a single. I'll check back in two hours.
Really sorry I'm at this Angels game and missing John Lackey's latest crapfest. #yeahright
Don't you wish you could crash your office servers and pee in their water cooler every 5th day while making millions? John Lackey does this.
Be prepared for epic Boston meltdown and Rays charging to the wild card. All the signs are there.
I warned my friends a week ago that Boston may not make the playoffs, and was laughed at. Apologies can now be sent to my e-mail address.
Red Sox have been playing with their heads up their collective asses for nearly two weeks. Some injuries, yes, but no fire or urgency...
Boston's obsession with giving Wakefield multiple chances to earn a basically meaningless milestone could cost them a playoff spot.
This is why I wasn't excited about the 18 runs last night. This team can look like the '27 Yankees one day, and the 1899 Spiders the next.
Chalk up another worst Red Sox loss of the year!
Don't worry about Carl Crawford, people. He just has to settle in at the plate and he'll be fine. Maybe by December.
Right now I think I'd rather watch a Glee marathon than one Red Sox game.
I take that back: Right now I'd rather watch the director's cut of "All About Steve" than one Red Sox game.
If the Red Sox blow this thing I'm going to lock myself in a room with Ken Burns' Civil War, Jazz and National Parks for an entire week.
I do not favor this "playoff odds" argument that Boston is still a virtual lock. What I've seen for 3 weeks is a team that has lost its way.
Since Boston outscored Texas 30-7 in their last three games there in late August, they are 6-13, and behind tonight after three batters.
Okay, time for my Commute Home and Miss the Red Sox Scoring Six Runs Trick. Works every time. Except lately.
I don't care what these teams' records are, watching Tampa play Boston makes it awful clear to me the Rays are a better-managed team.
Stupid bunts? Check. Bad fundamentals? Check. Ineffective starter? Check. Stranding runners? Check. No surprises for Boston today.
Not that many of you are old enough to appreciate this, but Kyle Weiland is the new Bobby Sprowl. #acid1978flashbacks
If the Red Sox somehow back into their wild card spot, they will be gone from the first round in two games.
Final note: Papelbon pitched in the 8th because Bard was in the 7th because Atchison was in the 3rd because Bedard sucked. So yeah, blame Theo.
Red Sox can gain more wild card ground today without leaving their beds. They are literally rotting into the playoffs.
Rays lose! And Boston's magic swan dive into the playoffs number is down to 4!
I keep making jokes about Red Sox ineptitude and then they go out and play even more inept. Doesn't seem possible.
Cripples (Vlad Guerrero) are now stealing bases on the Red Sox. Will this nightmare ever end?
It's just not happening this year, pure and simple.
Looking forward to the 13 books on the great #RedSox collapse of 2011. Especially if one of them can explain how it happened.
The '78 Red Sox collapse pales. Before losing Bucky Dent game, they rallied like heroes in final week. This team flat out died.
Carl Crawford, the Human Buzzkill.
9/28 (morning of final game)
Whatever will be, will be.
9/28 (after Joe Girardi allows Yanks to blow a 7-0 lead in last game)
Didn't think it was possible to hate the Yankees more than I do. But now I do.
Evan Longoria with game on the line: two home runs. David Ortiz with chance to put their game away: one foot dribbler in front of the plate.
9/29 (morning after elimination)
For me it was like finally having a molar pulled that's been aching for over a month.
Jeff Polman has authored three fiction baseball replay blogs, The Bragging Rights League being his latest, and is preparing a fourth one for early next year.