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Muller: Boston’s Collapse Makes ’69 Cubs Failure Look Pedestrian

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Red Sox players leave the dugout after losing Wednesday night. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox players leave the dugout after losing Wednesday night. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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By Shawn Muller-

(CBS) “Pathetic” is the only word to describe the collapse of the Boston Red Sox. And they won’t get any sympathy from Chicago Cubs fans.

How in the world does a team blow a nine game lead in the wild card race with just one month remaining on the schedule to a Tampa Bay Rays team that lost players such as Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox), Carlos Pena (Chicago Cubs), and Matt Garza (Chicago Cubs)?  Three players that were vital to the Rays run to the World Series just two seasons ago were gone this season and—BOOM—they are back in the playoffs after one of the most dramatic turn of events in baseball history.

“Unbelievable” is the only word to describe what just transpired in the American League on the final day of the regular season.

When the 2011 Major League Baseball season began, the mighty Boston Red Sox were the sexy pick by many “experts” to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. How could they not?  They had Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury.  They had Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Clay Bucholz.  That team was loaded all across the board, but paper talent doesn’t win games.  Performing when it matters does.  Boston didn’t perform, and will they will miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

As a Cubs fan, I will say one thing to the Red Sox Nation: Thank You!

Because of your teams’ choke job to end all choke jobs last night in Baltimore, the 1969 Chicago Cubs must no longer be remembered as the biggest flop down the stretch in a baseball history.  The “most celebrated second-place team in the history of baseball” gets to hand that wonderful title over to the boys from Beantown, who must replace the plaque to say, the “Most Celebrated Third-Place Team in the History of Baseball.”

The collapse by the Cubs is nowhere near as bad as what happened to the Red Sox.

During that gloomy season on the North Side in 1969, the Cubs were in first place for 155 days until mid-September when the Cubs managed to lose 17 of their final 25 games.  Meanwhile, the “Miracle” Mets closed out the season by going 23-7 to overtake the Cubs.  That 17-game turnaround was one of the biggest late season collapses in baseball history–but for once–the Cubs can no longer be the butt of jokes regarding epic failure.  At least in this instance, anyway.

Boston’s failure is way worse.

After beating the Texas Rangers on September 3rd, the Red Sox were 84-54, good for a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card race, and just a half a game behind the New York Yankees in the American League East standings. The chances of Boston making the playoffs was 99.6 percent, meaning it was a virtual lock.  But the bottom dropped out quicker than the Titanic’s did after it struck the iceberg.  The Red Sox went on to finish the month of September with a record of 7-19 to become the first team in the history of baseball to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games in the playoff race entering September.

The FIRST TEAM EVER!!

I have to say that—as a Cubs fan—it feels pretty good to see another team pull something embarrassing like this on the baseball diamond for once.  Granted the Red Sox have won a couple of World Series titles over the past one hundred or so years, but in this one instance—even if it is something so small in the grand scheme of things– actually feels like a little bit of a victory for us.

Well, it does to me anyways.

I mean, at least the Cubs weren’t expected to do anything this season, right?  That has to mean something.  We kind of knew that this season was going to be a disaster when the first pitch was tossed back in April.  Boston fans—on the other hand—were busy booking their trip to the World Series and concentrating on celebrating another championship.

I’ll take being eliminated from the playoffs in late May or early June any day of the week over blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead on the last day of the final month of the regular season any day of the week.

Cubs fans have a PhD in futility, and no, we don’t feel bad for Boston one bit.

And one more thing: you are just as guilty, Atlanta Braves.

What Boston did was bad, but what you just did is flat-out inexcusable.

Enjoy the playoffs St. Louis.

shawn muller 2 9 Muller: Boston’s Collapse Makes 69 Cubs Failure Look Pedestrian

Shawn Muller

Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24. Read more of his blogs here.

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