Red Sox 2011 'Choke-Pocalypse' Impacts 2016 Playoffs
As CBSSports.com's Mike Axisa rightly points out, the fallout from the epic 2011 Red Sox collapse directly led to a bevy of moves that impacted the MLB playoff picture five years later. OK, take a deep breath and try to remember the Robert Andino walk-off hit that (along the the Rays walk-off over the Empire) eliminated The Carmine Hose from the playoffs in Game 162. Amazingly, with just 29 games left to play, Boston had enjoyed a nine game bulge in the Wild Card race. Pure and simple, they blew it. The meltdown resulted in the departure of Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, and Adrian Gonzalez (who, among others, fled Boston the following August). All three have been important reasons why their clubs—Theo's Cubbies, Tito's Tribe and A-Gons's Trolley Dodgers—are still in the championship hunt this year. Epstein patiently crafted a five-year plan—that actually came to partial fruition in year four. It may propel the Cubs to their first World Series Championship in 108 years. Francona has taken a listing Indian ship and turned it into a confident, winning ballclub. They could eliminate a 68-year championship drought. And, Gonzalez has been the steady, consistent team leader on a weird Dodger ballclub that last won it all in 1988—a 28-year hiatus. (As an aside, it seems astounding that the Dodgers have only won 6 World Series titles—two fewer than the Red Sox). In any event, despite the Red Sox early departure from the 'tournament', there's plenty of Boston-connected baseball left to watch.