Random thoughts on The Collapse

Rays clinch wildcard on walk-off homer
On Tanking
(Photo via the Yankees)

My three days in Tampa are over. I spent the majority of time here stuck in Tropicana Field, the second worst park I’ve ever been too (sorry, Oakland). Give the current ownership group credit though, they improved the place by livening up the color scheme (remember when the place was one shade of green? yuck), the in-game entertainment (Rays’ dancing grounds crew >>> YMCA), and the concessions, but it’s still a third-rate facility. A team with that much talent and success (three playoff appearances in the last four years!) deserves better.

Anyway, this trip was an absolute blast and I was lucky to be here in person to witness one of the biggest and most memorable regular season games in baseball history. I’m flying home today, so I leave you with some random thoughts and observations from St. Pete …

  • It’s a total afterthought, but the Yankees actually finished the season on a four-game losing streak. There were some tough losses in there too; the 14-inning game with the Red Sox, Matt Joyce’s go-ahead homer off Rafael Soriano (don’t forget the triple play!), and of course last night’s blown seven-run lead. At any other point in the season, those are killer, heart-breaking losses. Not after you’ve clinched though. Like I said, the four-game losing streak is an afterthought.
  • Remember when Red Sox owner John Henry joked about “The MT Curse” after Yankees lost their eighth straight game to Boston to start the 2009 season? He was referring to Mark Teixeira as you know by now, and since then, the Sox have missed the playoffs twice and been swept out of the ALDS in the other year. They haven’t won a postseason game since Game Six of the 2008 ALCS. Look at this box score. Cliff Floyd and Chad Bradford played in that game, that’s how long ago it was.
  • How about this stat: prior to last night, the Red Sox were 76-0 when leading after eight innings this season. Here’s another one: Jon Lester’s two-run, six-inning effort lowered Boston’s starting rotation’s ERA to 7.08 for September. How in the world does that happen? How does a team with a $160M-something payroll have to consider trading for Bruce Chen (!!!) on the last day of the season in case they need him to start a potential Game 163? It’s unthinkable, it really is. I’m curious to see where they go from here and who takes the fall, because you know someone will.
  • How about the Orioles? The Fightin’ Showalters finished the season by winning ten of their final 15 games, and all 15 were played against teams either in the playoffs or fighting for a playoff spot (Rays, Angels, Red Sox, Tigers). That’s some job of playing spoiler right there.
  • I was pretty surprised at how loose the Rays were yesterday afternoon. Three players set up a makeshift flag (out of a towel and a rope stanchion) in right field before batting practice and were hitting golf balls at it from home plate. A couple others were running routes and playing catch with a football. I guess that’s what happens when a team has nothing to lose, they were playing with house money. No one expected them to be in that situation yesterday.
  • Check out Steve Slowinski’s photo recap of last night over at DRays Bay. A picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s about 15,000 words of baseball goodness in there. Also want to say thanks to world famous* Rays bloggers Jason Collette, Tommy Rancel, and Erik Hahmann for being awesome fans and even better people. Always great to see them.

And finally, give it up to the beat writers. I left the Trop at 2:15am this morning, and those guys were just settling in with stories to write and 6:30am flights to catch. There’s eleven of them covering the team full-time (plus several fill-ins throughout the year), and they’re fantastic. We’re lucky to have them. Special thanks goes out to Bryan Hoch, who was stuck sitting next to me in the press box for three days and not only didn’t complain about being next to the dopey blogger, but also treated me like I was one of the guys chasing the team all summer. These fellas deserve their own appreciate thread one of these days, they really do. We’ve got it good in Yankeeland.

* May or may not be exaggerating. You decide.

Rays clinch wildcard on walk-off homer
On Tanking
  • http://www.twitter.com/vscafuto Vinny Scafuto

    I’m a big fan of eating concussions, myself.


      Hah, I thought he actually meant the concussions were a draw for the Trop. Now I realize that makes no sense.

  • FachoinaNYY

    Just thought of this:

    The RS will be desparate, have a lot of money to spend this offseason, and will likely be looking for a close this offseason with Pap likely gone…. How awesome would it be if Soriano opts out of his deal to sign a huge contract with them?

    Would (somehow) make this collapse even better.

    • Shuffle Cards for fun

      K-rod and Darvish both wearing red and white doesnt seem far off now

  • JohnC

    To see the transformation on the faces of all the Red Sox fans in Baltimor last night from jubilation and clapping and fist pumping to stunned and somber faces in a manner of minutes was priceless.

    • David, Jr.

      Their faces looked like John Lackey always does.


    Watching the replay of O’s/Sox, the MASN announcers were going freakin’ nuts for every single play, like it was game 7 of the World Series, and not a regular season game for a team 24 games under .500. I think I’ve gotten PTSD from the announcers being excited, because the only time I hear it is if the O’s do something good against the Yanks. If it were for any situation but the Sox collapse, it would’ve been really annoying.

  • bonestock94

    Is it just me or were the Orioles celebrating a bit too hard for a complete failure of a season? Idk, obviously I was ecstatic at the result of the game but that team just pisses me off.

    • icebird753

      They just ruined the chances of a division rival, and had an amazing comeback win in the 9th against a closer who had been lights out this year. I’d be excited as well.

      • bonestock94

        I think I’ll be alone on that one, I’m just super biased against that team.

      • Sarah

        Completely agree. That was their Game 7 of the World Series, and they deserve to be excited.

        • bonestock94

          Their game 7 equivalent is relishing in the defeat of a team and winning absolutely nothing? God thats pathetic, I hate the orioles even more now.

          • Sarah

            Maybe it was exciting for them to end the season on a high note? That team hasn’t had much to be happy about this year.

            Save your hate for a more deserving opponent.

            • bonestock94

              Fair enough

              • Cris Pengiucci

                But feel free to pity them.

          • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

            They’ve been awful since 97. Let them celebrate the minor victories in peace.

          • BK2ATL

            I think I love the Orioles even more now. I’ve gotten over that makeup rain date fiasco. All sins are forgiven since they drove a huge stake in the heart of Red Sox Nation last night.

            They have every right to celebrate. They finished their season on a very good note. They played very tough for Buck against the best competition in MLB, when so many other teams would’ve just laid down. They should be commended, not hated.

    • jsbrendog

      no way dude, i thought it was awesome. especially the sardonic smile on buck’s face. amazing

    • The Big City of Dreams

      It’s the only bright spot they have had in a while. This yr many ppl thought they would improve because of Showalter

    • gc

      When you have so many Boston fans who fill your park every time you play them (and this goes for when they play the Yankees as well), you better believe they should be happy they eliminated the Red Sox and silenced their fans who were looking to celebrate on their field.

    • JT

      That was their playoffs. I’m sure that’s how Buck presented it to them.

    • Rainbow Connection

      They ruined the season for one of the two rich kids. They should be happy.

  • Bob Kohm

    I edited Jason for years at RotoJunkie and count him as a friend. No exaggeration on your part, Mike.

  • J

    What made last night all the more sweet was that the Longoria HR gave me my fantasy championship.

  • J

    What made last night all the more sweet was that the Longoria HR gave me my fantasy championship. On the last play of the season, no less.

    • J

      Sorry for the double post, it didn’t post the first time, but I guess it did.

  • Tiny Tim

    What was even more hilarious last night is that after Papelbum got 2 outs one of the announcers said, “I can see the look in his eye, he’s not going to lose this one.” 10 minutes later, he lost it. LOL!

  • J

    It couldn’t have been scripted better
    A) Red Sox lose
    B) On a Papelbon blown save
    C) Crawford makes a poor defensive play
    D) Longoria walk off = move into a HR tie in my fantasy league

    The only way it could have been better is if Chad Gaudin/Sergio Mitre gave up the walk-off. I kind of like Proctor so that sucks for him.

    • Guest

      I think Proctor actually gave a valiant effort. Everyone knew he was out there until it was over, and really, it was a more a matter of when “when” and “how” rather than “if.”

      Just as in his first go around with the Yanks, Proctor was set up to fail last night, so I certainly won’t blame him because he did.

      • jsbrendog

        i wonder if that was his last shebang in the majors…

  • SMK

    Good for Johnny D.

  • Yes That One

    Excuse me, I have’t watched much baseball this season but I have a question. Did the Red Sox win the World Series yet? Cuz I read that they have the best team since the ’27 Yankees. Anyone?

  • Monteroisdinero

    Great job Mike covering one of the strangest games/series in years. We are lucky to have you as well and will take you for as long as we can before the Yanks or pre$$ take you to greener pa$ture$.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Carl Crawford really has hands of stone. Terrible D. He appears to be the Nunez of LF.

  • Bronx Byte
  • Bronx Byte

    Dustmite Pedroia is in Manhattan filming a commercial before he heads to Boston and clean his locker out.


  • mt

    The other thing that makes it sweet that the Red Sox were so happy after winning that 14 inning game on Sunday after Girardi threw up the white flag with Proctor – lots of talk about “turning it around” nad “gritty Red Sox” (I think if the Yanks were in the same situation – struggling team has star like Granderson hitting a 14th inning home run off, say, Michael Bowden with the AAA Red Sox in the field and at the plate – Yankee fans would have still been focused on how bad their own team was playing and not overreacted to the victory.)

    So, fast forward three days, who gives up the home run to Longoria – Proctor!! I have read some rumblings about Girardi “not respecting the integrity of the game” by not using our top tier relievers last night – total garbage. We have no obligation to Red Sox – in fact we played more regulars last night than I thought we would.

    On a separate and related note about “integrity of the game”, I hate the Mets just about as any Yankee fan but I think it is ridiculous the flack that Reyes is getting for getting a hit and coming out of the game. He earned that right (and other teams have done it like Yanks and Bernie Williams – i.e., not playing the full game) – right now if I were Mets I would do anything Jose Reyes asked me to do. And Mets and Reyes owe nothing to Ryan Braun.

    Yesterday Kay was about to go off on ripping Mets (‘it’s a window into the soul of an organization”) until LaGreca reminded him how other teams have done things on last day for ERA and batting championships. So then Kay switched his tune to attacking Reyes as a competitor and that batting title might be “tainted.” Surprisingly LaGreca agreed with teh Reyes as villain story.

    I wish Kay would just admit he is a Yankee fan – no “impartial observer” takes as much gleeful pleasure from Met mishaps as Kay does. He truly is a fraud – he says he only wants Yanks to win because Yanks employ him and that he only used to be a Yankee fan as a kid but only a Yank fan can truly take such pleasure from Met LOL mishaps and controversies.

    • CP

      I have read some rumblings about Girardi “not respecting the integrity of the game” by not using our top tier relievers last night – total garbage.

      Betances, Kontos, Laffey, Valdes, and Brackman gave up 1 hit in a combined 5.1 IP last night. That’s basically a AAA pitching staff.

      Logan, Ayala and Wade gave up 7 runs in 2 IP last night. They’re all probably going to be on the post season roster.

      It’s not like the Rays just beat up on roster filler…

      • http://RAB Nuke LaDoosh


    • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

      I don’t think you hate the Mets at all. LOL, whatevs.

  • Kevin

    I just hope we remember the Rays pitching staff has one of the lowest ERAS for a pitching staff in the AL.

    • gc

      Why are you worried about the Rays right now? They’ve got Texas to deal with and the Yankees and their fans should have all their thoughts and concerns focused on the Detroit Tigers…..the team we would have played regardless of who won the stupid wild card.

    • BK2ATL

      And just remember that we put up 7 runs on their ace (Price) last night and their big game guy (Shields) last week.

  • JimAbbottFan
    • McLovin

      I want one.

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        Me too.

  • Stuckey

    Given what’s happened with Lackey and Crawford, I have a hard time seeing Red Sox management after this letting the team throw MORE money at big free agents, even with Ortiz, Drew, coming off the books.

    Paplebon isn’t even coming off, because despite last night he had a good year and the Sox have to resign him.

    What’s the answer to their rotation? Getting into a bidding war over CJ Wilson?

    I think the Red Sox might go after a big name pitcher in a different way, so yeah, I’m going to make a BOLD prediction right now – don’t be surprised to see Ellsbury and Gonzalez to be placed on hooks to at least see what the response back is.

    I could see one of them in a Giants uniform next year.

    • Buck Foston

      Papelbon staying in Boston is not a fait accompli. In fact, I don’t think they have the upper hand at all.

      He’ll sign w/whomever offers him the most $$$.

      • J

        Which will be the Red Sox. They need him. They have to be real leery of giving Bard the closers spot after his poor second half. They need a closer and Paplebon is the best on the market

    • Sarah

      Wow. I’d be stunned to see either of those guys in a Giants uniform.

      That being said, I think Crawford would’ve been a good fit out in SF, but I doubt the Sox would be willing to give up on him so soon. Another bad year though, and who knows?

      Also, who are the Giants going to give up from their rotation? Surkamp hasn’t turned out to be an upgrade over Sanchez, and Zito…who knows what they’ll do with Zito.

      • Kosmo

        Crawford and his contract are not going anywhere anytime soon.
        Surkamp has barely gotten his feet wet. SSS .

        • mt

          Maybe Angels will come to Red Sox rescue like they did with Blue Jays and Vernon Wells contract. They will trade for Crawford and give Sox Santana and Haren.

          By the way, Angels being cheap with Beltre (even though he really wanted to play there since he lives close by) while going after Wells (and giving away Napoli to boot while Blue Jays should have beenthe one paying Angels major bucks or bodies) – one of biggest blunders of off season.

        • Sarah

          Obviously Surkamp is a SSS, but my point was that there’s almost no chance the Giants trade a member of the rotation, even for Ellsbury (a massive CF upgrade for them).

    • BK2ATL

      Gonzalez, Ellsbury, Pedroia, Crawford, Beckett, Bucholtz, Bard, Lackey and Lester are going nowhere. That would be due to contracts, team control, and talent.

      I could definitely see if they float Lowrie, Scutaro, Youklis (Mike Lowell the 2nd coming) and Paplebon out there to see what is caught.

      They have problems, no doubt. But I seriously doubt them making a run at CJ Wilson or Jose Reyes. They are in this predicament due to the Lackey contract, Beckett extension, Dice-K deal, Crawford and Gonzalez contracts, and letting Martinez and Beltre go. They are certainly not going to throw money at it, since they just did that and look where it got them.

      • Kosmo

        Papelbon is a FA .

  • BJ

    I am totally emotionally drained after last night. I was sitting on the edge of my chair, PRAYING for Reimold to get that hit in the bottom of the 9th. And when Andino (who will now forever be known to Red Sox Nation as “Robert Effing Andino”) knocked the winning run in, it was pure poetry. I am so gleefully happy.

  • Slugger27

    im just excited to have a 2day window on my favorite yankee blog without the sox trolls. i mean theyll be back friday night, but it will be nice to start reading through the comment sections again, at least for today and tomorrow afternoon.

  • Buck Foston

    Adrian Gonazalez believes that losing Dice-K cost the Sox the division:

    “Daisuke [Matsuzaka], you have him in the rotation all year long, that’s 10 more victories. We probably win the division.”

    What a fucking dope.


    • BJ

      If anything, it was losing Buchholz.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yeah because Wakefield and Weiland are sooooooo much better than Dice-K.

    • David, Jr.

      Ten more victories? That would be either Dice-K or Walter Johnson.

    • CP

      Wakefield basically replaced Matsuzaka in the rotation. In Wakefield’s starts, the Red Sox went 12-11. He’s suggesting that the Red Sox would have gone 22-1 in those games if Matsuzaka had pitched (despits going 4-3 when he was a starter this year)?

      This is why there are not many GMs left that were former players…

    • pat

      I think he was referring to the loss of Buch and Dice-K.

  • Bill

    I can’t believe the number of people going off on the Yankees this morning for not using Rivera in the 9th because it was a one-run game. I mean, I know it shouldn’t surprise me, yet it does. Skip Bayless (yeah, big surprise) was on First Take this morning practically worshiping the Phillies (!) for “respecting the game,” even though he ignored everyone who tried to point out that the only reason they played all their starters and used Lidge was because they were riding an 8 game losing streak not too long ago.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      They took Howard out really early. The Phils weren’t trying much harder than the Yanks, really. The Braves just have an awful offense and their pen choked.

  • Graig not Craig

    9/25/11 — Proctor provides life for Boston in the 14th.

    9/28/11 — Proctor deals death for Boston in the 11th.

    I heard no complaint from the Red Sox Nation when Proctor took the mound Sunday night. But they sure were mouthing off about his continuing presence last night.

    Truth be told, though, Proctor pitched way better than Papelbon last night.

  • Jamey

    I read so many sites with editors (not just commenters) condemning the Yankees lack of effort. I think HBT basically said something like “The Orioles put forth a hard working effort while Girardi & The Yankees did anything but”, seriously?! The Yankees who basically started everyone but a banged up A-Rod & Martin & were up 7-0 in the 8th? Yeah Betances started, but Girardi wasn’t burning any starters, never know if the 1st two games may change their game 3 starter…but even looking at the box score after the parade of pitchers Girardi threw out there the ones that coughed up the game were actually guys that are going to be a part of the postseason in Logan & Ayala. Yeah Proctor was basically pitching mop-up but there really wasn’t anyone worth throwing in there in a game that meant nothing to a team headed to the playoffs. I guarantee if the roles were reversed between Boston & The Yankees we’d be hearing nothing but “Francona did the smart thing, no need risking an injury in a game you don’t need. Just good gritty sportsmanship. The Red Sox should be studied from the moment of birth as to make sure every child understands what being a human being & true American is about”

    • Johnny O

      Yanks have no obligations to any team but themselves. That should end any and all conversations.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, but this was Jonathan Papelbon’s first true blown save. What I mean by that is that his other two blown saves this season came when he had to get the final out or two in the 8th inning while inheriting at least one base runner. This blown save was all on him.

    • BJ

      It’s true. He had a very good year, though I’m loath to admit it. Especially after his shaky performance in ’10, he’ll no doubt get the large multiyear deal he’s made no secret about desiring. I’m calling the Mets. You heard it here first, people.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        Ha, that’s a pretty bold prediction. I like it. I’ll play it safe and say he re-signs with the Red Sox. Let’s be honest, I don’t think the Red Sox want Bard to be their closer just yet. I think they’ll do whatever it takes to re-sign him.

      • mt

        Given how limited Mets resources are with Bay, Wright, Santana and (maybe) Reyes contracts and all the closers that will be free agents out there I think it would be foolish for Mets to go after Papelbon.

        They might be able to get someone like Heath Bell or Broxton (assuming better health) much cheaper. I would imagine there would have to be a huge overpay to get Papelbon to move from “greatest team since ’27 Yanks” to Mets.

      • nsalem

        After the way he has been treated (FO all but saying it’s Bard’s job next year) why in the world would he want to stay with the Red Sox? The Red Sox also might decide (based on recent experience) that it might not be such a great idea to make long term commitments to athletes on the wrong side of 30.

        • mt

          True – he may want to leave Red Sox but given his excellent performance this year, his contract should be too pricey for what Mets have and really need. I still think other holes have higher priority to be filled and other closers may be had cheaper.

          • nsalem

            I doubt he would want to sign with the Mets either.

  • chaz

    The Yankees used their “A” relievers on Tuesday and blew the lead- Soriano gave up a three run homerun. Who’s to say Robertson or Mo wouldn’t have given up a run in the 9th?

    Boston lost because Papelbon gave up two two out hits- and not to Markakis and Guerrero. It was to Reimhold and Andino. Have a nice winter guys.

    • mt

      You underestimate the FAIL – it was three two out hits. After striking out Jones and Reynolds, first hit was double by strikeout machine Chris Davis.

      76-1 (Red Sox record with lead in ninth inning) will go down in history like 18-1 Pats

      • BJ

        Ooh, that’s catchy. I like that.

    • The Big City of Dreams

      The Yankees used their “A” relievers on Tuesday


      So when a Red Sox fan on another site said Girardi has not used Mo in a while he was either lying or completely wrong.

      • CP

        24 hours could count as “a while”…

    • Rainbow Connection

      LOL @ Soriano being a top reliever.

  • BJ

    So, does anyone think Carl Crawford wishes he’d stayed in Tampa? Haha.

    • Graig not Craig

      His fat wallet doesn’t think so.

  • chaz

    People who are complaing about the Yankees “effort” last night and the integrity of the game– do you realize it is a 162 game season? The entire season was not about last night. You can look back on the entire seaason and pick out many games where relievers were rested after pitching 2 or 3 days or veterans get the day off.

    How about that Yanks-Rays game early in the year when Girardi left AJ in too long and he gave up like 6 runs in the 7th innning. Shouldn’t Girardi have been aware that that decision would ultimatly cost the red Sox their destiny of being a playoff team?

    And finally how about some credit to the Rays for a miracle game and great clutch moments. Dan Johnson is their Bernie Carbo.

    • Thomas


      Girardi had no right to rest his team’s best relievers, starting pitchers, and hitters. He should have forced A-rod to start and had Sabathia, Rivera, Robertson, Soriano, and Joba all perpetually warmed in the bullpen.

      Instead he murdered the game. Just like A-Rod.

      Jason Stark

  • BK2ATL

    People are blaming everyone except the Red Sox. They lost 20 games in 29 days. It’s a no-brainer why they’ll be sitting at home.

    Integrity of the game, my ass. These jokers are jumping up and down over the “wild card.” And just voted in another game. Integrity of the game, or pure greed?

    Proctor was the fall guy. The nerve of these idiots to think that we “needed” to use Mariano Rivera, David Robertson or Rafael Soriano in game 162 with absolutely nothing to gain.

    If Boston just handled their business, there’d be no choke.

    Another thing, why are people going off on Jose Reyes? Ryan Braun didn’t even get a hit last night. In the words of the immortal Ric Flair, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man. Woooooo!!!!” LOL!!!

    • Greg

      That’s not true. Many people are calling this the most disappointing team ever.

      As for Reyes, it seemed a bit cheap. They point back to Ted Williams i 1946.

      • BK2ATL

        That was 65 years ago!!!!!

        I agree that it wasn’t the best way to win it, but a win’s a win. Cheap or blowout. Reyes battled back to have a good year, after being injured so much in recent years. A batting title does look good on his resume, esp. going into free agency. The ridiculous scorn he’s getting is coming from people who’ve never come close to winning it.

        On the other hand, it was classy to see Jeter out there trying to finish the season at .300. Didn’t work, so I guess now come the “Jeter’s finished” folks, saying “told you so.”

  • JeFFrey


  • jon

    wow Jim Rice is stupid

    watching NESN he said that carl crawford isnt a good left fielder and needs to move to right

    • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

      You forget that it was Jim Rice’s Gold Glove left field play in Fenway that got him into the Hall, not his hitting.

  • mt

    Another angle on this post season is the number of former Yanks who have critical “roles” for their teams – Farnsworth as Rays closer, Damon as playoff tested veteran for hire, Berkman as rejuvenated slugger, Kennedy as the ace of Dbacks, Austin Jackson as leadoff hitter for Tigers who will be compared to Granderson, Coke as Detroit main lefty reliever.

    Then there also is Cliff Lee who turned us down.

  • Jorge

    I just went up to my Red Sox fan staff member and played “Sweet Caroline” on my phone. I’ve never seen someone turn as many colors. Oh wonderful day.

    • Bill

      Did anyone hear the parody of “Sweet Caroline” they played on Mike and Mike in the Morning? They played it yesterday morning, and I was worried it was just going to jinx us and lead the Sox to the playoffs.

  • Tubby

    My favorite part of the Sox collapse is that Manny Ramirez is now going to get a playoff share and possibly a ring.

    • BJ

      Hahaha, that would be absolutely ridiculous. Would he really get a ring if the Rays end up champs? Surely Selig or someone would try to block it somehow…

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Gammons was saying that Boston was thinking about moving Bard to the rotation.

  • Peter

    Am I the only one pissed with Girardi for not getting Gardner in the game to get the SB title? He had enough guys on base who Gardner could have pinch run for. Joe’s a bonehead.

    At least Crisp didnt get on base to get a SB so they share the title.

  • http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com deron

    The worst thing about this collapse was that the Rays didn’t play that great down the stretch, just good enough to pass the Sox.


  • Kiko Jones

    Sux fans talking about rumors of the team making a move for Fielder (DH), Reyes and K-Rod.