Red Sox Beat Math in Impossible Collapse

Math says this should have never happened. Not to mention common decency. This really stinks. For the purposes of this blog, I will lay out exactly how much it stinks, and then I will talk about whiskers on kittens.

Forget for a moment the most horrible, no good, very bad five minute period last night where the Red Sox were one strike away from winning before blowing it — only to have to watch as the Tampa Bay Rays capped an unreal come back from seven runs down with a walk-off home run.

Forget that — or at least try.

Because at the beginning of September the Red Sox had a nine game lead in the race for the playoffs. For those of you not into sports, that’s a lot. At the beginning of the month, the stats website estimated there was a 99.6 percent chance the Red Sox would make the playoffs. For those not good at math, that’s a lot. But somehow they lost 20 games this month; they didn’t win two games in a row all month.


ABC News/ John Berman

They didn’t just beat themselves, they beat math. And that is almost impossible … an impossibly crazy collapse. How crazy? It’s like a death star getting blown up in “Star Wars” level of collapse. It’s a Brad and Jennifer level collapse. It’s like the ball going through Buckner’s legs collapse.

Okay — that made me feel even worse. Not to mention the Sox have the third highest payroll in baseball: 161 million dollars! So yes, it stings. It really, really stings. It makes me not like a lot of people. I am mad at everyone from Tampa for going to the playoffs instead of us. I am mad at everyone in Baltimore for deciding they just had to beat us these last few games when their season was already over. And I am mad at New York, because it is New York, and I have to live here, and New York fans have darkness in their souls. Trust me, they do. I have multiple sources on that.

So I am mad at all those people, probably more than 20 million of you. And then I am mad at 25 or so guys in Boston, mostly because the 3.5 hours I spend every night watching you was not in any way uplifting. If I wanted that kind of gut-wrenching torment I would have watched “Sophie’s Choice” 27 times. Or maybe that 24 times, and “Old Yeller” three times.

So as bad is it is, how do we get through this? This is the “news you can use” section of this blog: when things are truly, unimaginably depressing and unfair, I always look for inspiration to Julie Andrews. Because Ms. Andrews tells us that when the dog bites, or the bee stings, or when your team loses 20 games in a month, the way to survive is to “remember your favorite things.” And then, Julie Andrews says, we won’t feel so bad.

So what is my favorite thing? Well, there was that time in 2004 when the Red Sox were playing the Yankees and losing 3-0 in a seven game series. And you’ll remember that no baseball team had ever before — or since — come back from 3-0 to win. But the Red Sox did. And that makes me smile. And I own the DVD so I can watch it again and again and again. I also like cheese.

Which brings me to another point: everyone who somehow thinks Boston fans are going to slip into some catatonic state of depression requiring months of therapy … it is just not going to happen. It would have happened before 2004, but not now. I am not saying this isn’t awful. It’s terrible, and I will not read a sports section of a newspaper or watch highlights for six months. But that is healthy. And I’m not saying that I am not depressed, because I am, I am just not pathologically depressed.

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens.

Click Here to Read John Berman’s Advice to Red Sox Fans Reeling from the Loss