Last night was probably one of the most bizarre, surreal nights I can ever remember in baseball. The only item on the agenda that stayed loyal to the script were the Astros getting their bats and balls handed to them by the Cardinals. Everything else was an unsuspecting jailbreak that very well may have made Tim Kurkjian the happiest man alive. I’m pretty sure he cannot believe it and will continue to not be able to believe it for quite some time.
It would be impossible to pinpoint the most ridiculous sequence of events but a good place to start would be Tampa Bay, where the Rays were down 7-0 going into the eighth inning until being introduced to Boone Logan, Luis Ayala, Cory Wade, and a predictably horrendous reliever who needs no introduction, Scott Proctor. It was Wade who served up a game-tying solo shot to Dan Johnson — yes, Dan Johnson — with two outs in the ninth inning and Proctor who delivered the money ball to Evan Longoria in the bottom of the 12th. The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is… did Joe Girardi order the hit? We may never know.
In Baltimore, the Red Sox led 3-2 going into a seventh inning rain delay and it stood that way until the ninth. After striking out both Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds, Jonathan Papelbon served up back to back doubles followed by the inevitable game-winning hit off the bat of improbable Red Sox killer, Robert Andino. In short, he blew it. This happened roughly three minutes before Longoria took Proctor deep. Prior to last evening’s festivities, Boston was a flawless 77-0 when leading after eight innings. Why didn’t I link that stat? Because my elevator gifted me with that information this morning. Even elevators are rubbing it in today. Not cool. So who’s to blame for this latest debacle? Dan Shaughnessy, without question. Seriously though, watching the following footage for Red Sox fans must be similar to eating dick-flavored glass. Probably best Shaughnessy go on vacation. Like, now:
Not to be forgotten in this scintillating September shitshow are the Atlanta Braves. What they managed to do is not much different from what happened to Boston. As you have heard countless times already, the Red Sox led Tampa by nine games on September 3 and on that same fateful Labor Day weekend, the Braves held a wildcard lead of 8.5 games. Sadly, last night rookie closer Craig Kimbrel blew an opportunity for the Braves to survive another day, allowing a leadoff single and walking three. Ouch. The Phillies eventually took care of business in the 13th inning. The bright side? Does this unfortunate turn of events really bother anyone in Atlanta? The answer is most likely no, which is exactly why you aren’t cackling at them nearly as much.
So do these two “historic” meltdowns rank as the worst collapses of all time? I’ll let you create your own top ten list, but it’s fair to say the dizzying manner in which the final nail went into Boston’s coffin will prove to be the most memorable.
A reader sent in this screengrab. “Pap can close out O’s”? Now that’s just cruel, ESPN.
[Photo via Getty]