If the Red Sox lose the ALCS = Biggest Choke Ever?

In this commentary on MSNBC’s website, a sportswriter says just that: given the changes that the Sox undertook and their strengths at pitching, batting and defense, to lose would be a choke of monumental proportions:

I doubt the writer knew about Schilling’s ankle when this article was submitted, but what do you think? I am a Yankee’s fan and so am not in a position to comment on this - but what do either Sox fans or baseball fans who aren’t engaged in the rivalry think? NOTE: I am not trying to stir the pot from a rivalry standpoint - I am sincerely interested in Sox/Baseball fans’ take on the statements made in the article…thanks.

I would hardly consider the Sox losing the ALCS as “the biggest choke in Red Sox history.” However, I would say a couple things:

  1. The Red Sox have put themselves in the position for this to be their best chance to win.
  2. I am not convinced they will be in such a great position next year. Remember last year, when the Cubs lost in the NLCS, and all the talk was “wait until next year”? :eek:

I wouldn’t consider losing to the Yankees in the ALCS as a “choke.” Calling it a choke would presume that the Yankees don’t deserve to be there, or that they’re not capable of stringing together 4 wins in 7 games or less. Make no mistake, New York is a team of tough customers, and it will be a hard-fought series no matter who comes out on top.

I think anything less than a Cardinals/Yankees series will be unacceptable to me, but that’s because I’m a St. Louis fan. And I theorize that if you want to be the Man, you have to beat the Man, and I make no mistake about who that Man is.

The Red Sox beat the Yankees in 11 of their 19 regular season meetings this year, and have their strongest team in recent memory. Nevertheless, they’re not so overwhelmingly better than the Yankees that losing four of seven to them would constitute a “choke”, much less one of “monumental” proportions. That’s just not how baseball works. After all, the Yankees were better during the regular season by three games, and if you take out their head-to-head matchups (so that you’re comparing them only on their record against the other league teams), the Yankees were six games better. I don’t care how hot the Sox got down the stretch, there’s no way a wild card losing in the LCS to the team that beat them for the division championship can be considered a choke, unless it’s a sweep or perhaps a 4-1 series. Maybe if the Sox play terrible but just manage to keep it close in a 4-2 or 4-3 series I’ll feel differently, but right now it looks like two very good baseball teams where the decision in the end will come down to execution and a dose of luck.

Reading the other material on the page you linked to, it also seems like the author’s purpose in general is more to stir the pot than to be fair and accurate.

A second place team not beating a first place team is not a choke. Sure, it’s the latest best chance the Sox have, but they finished second in their division, to these same Yankees. For as much as I want Boston to win, I think a bigger choke would be the Yankees losing. But how much press is that scenario getting?

It wouldn’t be a choke. A choke is when your team falls apart when it’s in a clear position to win, not when it just loses a series. If, for instance, the Sox won the first three games and lose the series, that’s a choke.

Similarly, 1986 was definitely a choke. In last year, the manager and Pedro choked, not the team.

The biggest example of a choke was the 1964 Phillies: Six game lead with ten games to go, and they lose the pennant.

A wild card team losing to the division champion is not a choke. If they could not top the Yankees in 162 games, why should they in 7?

Well, his column is called “Trash Talk” and I agree, all that talk is just trash. The Sox pick up one pitcher and all of a sudden they’re big favorites. Roll your eyes and move on, nothing worthwhile to read there.

Sorry, but Greg Norman still has a stranglehold (if you’ll pardon the expression) on the biggest choke ever.

How about the 2001 Mariners? Nine gazillion wins and they get plowed under in the playoffs like last month’s chaff. :mad:

It’s one thing to massively choke as an individual, but it’s an entirely different kind of animal when it’s collectively done as a team. Many more factors (of the human sort) makes the choke jobs by the Red Sox infinitely more impressive than Greg Norman by himself. Hell, the U.S. Ryder Cup team flamed spectacularly this year with it’s collection of choke jobs.

Well after last night, where Pedro had stuff until he passed his Magic Number of 100 pitches, and the Mighty Sawx batting order (seriously) couldn’t get past the amazing stuff of Jon Lieber (seriously?) - we are 50% towards a sweep.

If the Sawx lose without even having to return to the Schilling Question by Game 5, does that change your POV?

Again - this is NOT about Red Sox bashing - please let’s don’t go there…

That would be a pretty devastating loss for them, but I have to agree that it wouldn’t be a choke. If the Yankees just come out and kick the tar out of them, it’s not a choke, it’s just getting beaten.

“Choking” means losing a contest through incompetence demonstrated only after your team was in an overwhelmingly advantageous position. The 1986 Sox choke was by that definition probably the worst choke in the history of North American pro team sport; up two runs, two strikes on the last batter, and nobody on base. They were one strike away FOUR TIMES.

Granting that the Red Sox are a good team, there’s no overwhelming reason to think that they’re WAY better than the Yankees, and of course there’s the fact that they’re the Red Sox and so can’t beat New York in an important game anyway. But it’s not a choke to simply get your ass kicked. They were never in an advantageous position, e.g. up by a number of games and close to winning, or such a dominating team that they should easily beat any opponent. Statistically, the best team in baseball is St. Louis, not Boston.

It would be a choke if they went up 3-2 and then blew a big Game 6 lead.