On Sept. 1, everything seemed great. The Boston Red Sox were up nine games for the American League Wild Card with a solid pitching staff, great offense and a veteran team with plenty of postseason experience.
Then in a month it all came crashing down. One bad thing happened after another. That culminated in the absolutely bizarre turn of events Wednesday night, where the Red Sox just needed a win to force a one-game playoff.
Their rival Tampa Bay Rays were one strike away from losing, and the Red Sox were one strike away from winning. Neither happened, and now the Sox and their fans are left to wonder what could have been.
For many of us these kind of losses are nothing new, although Red Sox fans have become accustomed to winning. Some senior fans will remember losing Game 7 of the 1946 World Series when Enos Slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals scored from first base to go ahead.
Others will recall the domination of Bob Gibson in the 1967 World Series. More remember Joe Morgan's late-inning hit in Game 7 of the 1975 World Series to give the Cincinnati Reds a lead the Sox could not overcome. Then came 1978. Bucky Dent. No more need be said.
Bill Buckner, Bob Stanley, Calvin Schiradi and John McNamara were the scapegoats for the loss of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, where the Red Sox were one strike away from the title.
Younger fans will recall the 2003 ALCS where Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in too long in Game 7 and eventually Aaron Boone sent the Red Sox home. And let us not forget the 2008 ALCS, where the Red Sox had a chance to go to the World Series yet could not produce against Matt Garza of the Rays in a Game 7.
Where does this year's collapse rank? Is it worse than the rest? How are you feeling this morning? Who is to blame for what has happened? Does management need to change or do the Red Sox need to turn over the roster? Are you already thinking about the Patriots and Bruins?
We want to hear from you. Please keep your comments appropriate and on topic. We know how hard that might be.