Red Sox: Was this the biggest choke in MLB history?

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Red Sox: Was this the biggest choke in MLB history?

From Comcast SportsNet
BOSTON (AP) -- Move over, Bucky Dent. Step aside, Bill Buckner. Make room, incredibly, for Jonathan Papelbon. The star closer is the stunned symbol of the latest Red Sox collapse. This one lasted a month and finally ended when there were no more games left to lose. "This is just maybe the worst situation that I ever have been involved in my whole career," designated hitter David Ortiz said. "It's going to stay in a lot of people's minds for a while." No team has blown a bigger lead in September -- a nine-game margin through Sept. 3 -- and missed the playoffs. Boston went 6-18 after that and did not win consecutive games at any point in the month. Stunning. "This is one for the ages, isn't it?" general manager Theo Epstein said, a blank stare on his face. Boston began play Wednesday tied with Tampa Bay in the AL wild card race. But the Red Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles 4-3 when Papelbon, who had blown just one save before this month, blew his second in September, allowing two runs in the ninth. A few minutes later in St. Petersburg, Fla., Evan Longoria's solo homer in the 12th inning gave the Rays a hard-to-believe 8-7 win over the New York Yankees after they trailed 7-0 through seven. Add that to the long list of collapses witnessed by generations of devastated Boston fans. In 1974, the Red Sox led the AL East by seven games on Aug. 23, but went 7-19 after that and finished third, seven games behind. In 1978, they squandered all of a nine-game lead they had on Aug. 13, then rebounded to win their last eight games and force a one-game playoff against the Yankees. Boston led that game, 2-0, but the light-hitting Dent hit a three-run homer in a four-run seventh and New York won 5-4. In 1986, the Red Sox were one strike away from a World Series championship after taking a 5-3 lead in the 10th inning of Game 6 against the Mets. But New York won 6-5 when Mookie Wilson's grounder went through first baseman Buckner's legs, allowing the winning run to score. Then, the Mets won Game 7. Another crushing blow came in 2003 in Game 7 of the AL championship series when another Yankee infielder not known for his power, Aaron Boone, hit Tim Wakefield's first pitch in the 11th inning for a series-winning homer. "I was terrified," Wakefield said later, "that I would be remembered like Buckner." Papelbon coughed up another lead in the third and final game of the 2009 AL division series, giving up three runs that handed the Los Angeles Angels a 7-6 win. "Who knows," he said after that game, "I may be replaying this on the TV in my weight room in the offseason and give me a little bit motivation for next season." Now, he's in a similar spot -- the brilliant closer who allowed the runs that ended his team's season. "I don't think this is going to define me as a player, I don't think this is going to define this ballclub," said Papelbon, who can become a free agent this offseason. "I've always been one to bounce back. I'm not worried about myself, I'm not worried about anybody else in this clubhouse about bouncing back next year and going after it again." There have been plenty of other teams remembered for their late-season swoons -- the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 and 1962, the Chicago Cubs in 1969, the Angels in 1995 and the Mets in 2007. Four years ago, New York had a seven-game lead on the Philadelphia Phillies with 18 days left but was tied with one game remaining -- just as the Red Sox and Rays were tied Wednesday. The pregame mood in the clubhouse was "quiet, not too much energy. When you lose that big a lead, it's tough," Mets shortstop Jose Reyes recalled on Wednesday. In that finale, Tom Glavine had one of the worst games of his 21-year career and the Mets lost 8-1 to Florida. A few minutes later, their season was over when the Phillies beat Washington 6-1. "Things started snowballing. We got cold in every aspect of the game -- pitching, hitting and defense," Mets third baseman David Wright said Wednesday. "We had such good players, everybody wanted to be the guy that stepped up and got us out of that. Sometimes when you try too hard, that could have that negative result." The Red Sox, desperate to make up for missing the playoffs in 2010, had a roster filled with very good players when this season began -- Papelbon, Ortiz, Josh Beckett, Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Carl Crawford, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. But they opened 2-10, and immediately questions started to surface. Manager Terry Francona was able to calm the troops, though, and the Red Sox rebounded with an 82-44 mark over the next 4 months. And September started like a stroll to the postseason. On the first day of the month, they led the Yankees by 1 games in the AL East, and the Rays by nine. They started Sept. 4 still nine games ahead of the Rays and one-half game behind the Yankees. Now the season is over. Francona's eight-year run as manager may be finished as well after their 7-20 record in September. To be fair, Francona and some of his current players are responsible for bringing the franchise two World Series titles. It's not like this is an organization without championships, an outfit known to be cursed. That label was shredded years ago. But that doesn't take the sting out of the September Slide. "What we did this month, it was horrible," Ortiz said. "I have been in bad situations before, and believe me, when these things happen and you drop down like we did, it stays in your head for a long time." Just like Boston's other collapses.

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

BOSTON – Between now and Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, the Boston Celtics are going to have conversations involving most if not all their assets. 

Here’s a look at what the Celtics have to offer as part of a potential trade, broken down between draft picks and the rights to players.

DRAFT PICKS

2017

-Own first round pick (have the right to swap for Brooklyn’s first-round pick)

-Own second round pick (top-45 protected; will be conveyed to Brooklyn if Celtics swap first-round picks with the Nets this year).

-Minnesota’s second round pick

-Cleveland’s second round pick

-Los Angeles Clippers’ second round pick

2018

-Own first round pick

-Brooklyn’s first round pick

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of that range, will be conveyed to Oklahoma City).

2019

-Own first-round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Los Angeles Clippers first round pick (top-14 protected; pick can only be conveyed to Boston two years after the Clippers convey a first-round pick to Toronto which is likely to happen this year).

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of the top-55, pick will be conveyed to Memphis).

-Detroit second round pick

2020

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Los Angeles Clippers first round pick (top-14 protected; conveyed this year if it wasn’t sent Boston’s way in 2019).

-Own second round pick

-Miami second round pick

2021

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Own second round pick

2022

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Own second round pick

-Los Angeles Clippers second round pick (If first round pick not conveyed to Boston by 2020, Clippers will send the Celtics their 2022 second round pick).

*This pick from Memphis will be conveyed to Boston two years after the Grizzlies send a first-round pick to Denver. The pick is top-6-protected in 2017 and 2018, and is unprotected in 2019. The pick Boston will receive from Memphis is top-9 protected in 2019, top-7 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021.

RIGHTS TO PLAYERS

Guershon Yabusele

Size, position: 6-foot-8 power forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, 16th overall.

Statistics this season: Yabusele is playing with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He is averaging 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Ante Zizic

Size, position: 6-foot-11 power forward/center

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, No. 23 overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul led by ex-NBA coach David Blatt, Zizic has averaged 10.3 points and 67.3 percent shooting from the field. 

Abdel Nader

Size, position: 6-foot-8 shooting guard/small forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2016 NBA draft, 58th overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Boston’s Gatorade-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Nader was named to the G-League’s all-star team in large part because of his 22 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game average this season.

Marcus Thornton

Size, position: 6-foot-4 shooting guard

Status: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, 45th overall.

This season: Playing for Consultinvest VL Pesaro in Italy-Serie A, Thornton is averaging 11.9 points, 1.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds.

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Tom Brady's daughter Vivian is a natural on skis.

The New England Patriots quarterback and apparently proud father posted a comical video of his 4-year-old daughter tearing it up on the ski hill. Vivian took on the bottom section of the run while adhering to the all-important instructions from the Super Cool Ski Instructor from the Comedy Central show, "South Park."

Brady added the audio from the "South Park" ski instructor to the video of his daughter skiing, and included a joke about "french frying" and "pizzaing" at the correct moments. 

"That’s my girl! Pizzaing when she's supposed to pizza, French frying when she's supposed to French fry... NOT having a bad time!!" Brady joked on Instagram.