The post-season ended swiftly for both the Rays and Yankees in 2011. (SawxBlog Illustration)
Last night the Detroit Tigers defeated the NY Yankees to advance to the ALCS. No matter the year, it's always nice for Sox fans to see the Yanks bounced from the playoffs, and this year was no exception. The Red Sox and their epic September collapse left me numb for a couple days, and as I stated the morning after, it's always sad when the baseball season's over - but honestly, the Red Sox were put out of their misery. Even if they went 8-19 in September to make the playoffs, there's no way they were going deep into October. And honestly, although the timing of that ESPN the Magazine issue was terrible, it's impossible not to recognize how lucky we've been as Boston sports fans this past decade. It's really hard to complain about anything without feeling spoiled.
As the Yankees season was coming to a close in the Bronx the Bruins were raising their Stanley Cup banner in Boston, helping further heal the wound of the disappointing Red Sox year. There is no off-season for the fan, and while the Red Sox have a lot to do this winter, seeing both the Rays and Yankees bounced early was nothing short of pleasant, and helped dampen the repercussions of September. A lot of fans outside of Boston took lustful pleasure in seeing the Red Sox collapse, but in the end it all meant nothing for any of the Teams in the AL East, no one remembers a Team that's ousted in the first round.
The one thing I have to "thank" the Red Sox for is that they're never boring. I heard from numerous people during September how they were kind of glad that the Red Sox were getting back to their "old ways" - and while I disagreed with the sentiment, I understood their vantage. The anxiety felt during September brought an urgency to each and every game, and the shared angst amongst the die-hards, while not welcome, was familiar. I'm hoping it serves as a brush fire for the Sox to start anew, they still have the talent, maybe now they'll have the urgency. Regardless, the playoffs will be a lot more fun to watch now, and we have the Rangers and Tigers to thank for that.