As you know by now, its been 15 years since the Red Sox finished a season below .500. And from time to time this year, to commemorate the return to despair, Ive checked back in with that 97 team to see how things were going the last time things were this bad.
Today seems like a good day to revisit.
So with that, lets set the Box Score Bank for 15 years ago today . . . August 31, 1997
Men in Black narrowly edged out The Lost World: Jurassic Park for No. 1 at the box office. (Sly Stallones Cop Land dominated the No. 32 spot.) "Mo Money, Mo Problems" was in its first of two weeks atop the Billboard charts. Earlier that month, Steve Jobs returned to Apple after a 12-year absence. Earlier that morning, Princess Diana was killed in a Paris car accident.
And over at Fenway Park, two former teammates were duking it out with absolutely nothing on the line.
Final score: Braves 7, Red Sox 3
This was the first season of interleague play, as evident by the fact that the schedule was a mess: Interleague games in late-August and early-September? That's ridiculous. Not that it mattered for the Sox, who stood at 67-69, 20 games back in the AL East.
Anyway, the former teammates dueling on this night (it was Sunday Night Baseball) were local boy Tom Glavine and his former rotation-mate Steve Avery, who was in the first of his two forgettable seasons with the Sox. And I'll give you one guess as to who got the better of the match-up . . .
You got it . . .
No, it was Glavine, who shut down the Sox to the tune of six hits and only three runs over eight innings. As for Avery, he walked six and gave up five runs (including homers to Andruw Jones and Keith Lockhart yes, that Keith Lockhart) over 3.1 innings.
The only real bright spot for the Sox was Mo Vaughn, who hit two home runs (his 29th and 30th) of the season, and really, there weren't many other bright spots for the rest of the season. The Sox went 11-14 in September and finished 78-84. (Although, Nomar won Rookie of the Year, so there was that).
As for the Braves, go figure, they finished with the best record in baseball and choked against the Marlins in the NLCS.