The Point After

I cannot just pretend it didn’t happen. I wish I could, but I can’t. The month of September was by far the worst month for all of my sports teams.

Boston College’s only football victory was against UMass. The Patriots lost to the Buffalo Bills for the first time in 15 games between the two teams. The Celtics may not play a game this season, with the owners and players still so far apart on terms to a new collective bargaining contract.

The biggest blow of the entire month is what is being called the greatest regular season meltdown in baseball history. The Boston Red Sox, up by 9.5 games in the wild card to begin the month, had a record of 7-20 to end the season, losing the wild card by half a game.

Now, there are some of us who might argue that the Atlanta Braves meltdown, losing an 8.5 game lead in September to miss the playoffs, was even worse. Yet, what most of the sports pundits have not seemed to notice or given credit for is that the Red Sox and the Braves saved the final month of the regular season.

Initially, I had thought that due to the lockout, the NFL would suffer from some kind of backlash from fans being so disgusted with how everything seemed to drag on forever. Then a deal was struck, the Eagles gave us their best impression of the Miami Heat and fans began to get a small craving for football again.

That craving became an intense appetite as the preseason ended, and with the baseball season all but decided, fans began to forget about baseball. With the wild-card lead so large in both leagues, what reason did fans have to watch? Football, fantasy football and pigskin pick ’em could now occupy an entire week.

Then Boston and Atlanta saved baseball in September. It only took two of the most epic collapses in sports history.

As both teams lost more and more games, more games became that much more important. Not only were Braves and Red Sox games important, but so were those of the Rays, the Angels and the Cardinals.

Pretty soon, all of the Sox and Braves’ opponents felt like playoff teams, and the last day of the season was by far the greatest day of regular season baseball ever.

With one Dan Johnson home run, one double-play ball and one low fastball, inside at the knees, that Evan Longoria drove into the leftfield stands, and subsequently, through the heart of all Red Sox fans, baseball became the most relevant sport in the month of September.

And that is truly something special.


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