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So the Red Sox are down, injured, humiliated and possibly on the brink of a truly historic collapse that would keep them out of the postseason. And yet, late Sunday night, the team showed evidence that it still has — weak as it might be — a pulse, with a 7-4 win over the Yankees in New York.
It took 14 innings and more than five hours, but the win allowed the Sox to split a double-header and to hold on to a fragile one game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the quest for the playoffs — with just three games left to play in the regular season.
But here's the question: What are fans to make of this team? Are the Red Sox simply following in the footsteps of the 1978 squad, which similarly fell apart near the end of the season and went on to lose a crucial one-game playoff to New York thanks to a crushing home run by the unlikeliest of heroes, Bucky Dent.
Or is this year's team like the 2004 team, which overcame a 3-0 deficit against the Yankees in the American League championship en route to their first World Series title in nearly a century?
Here we are again. Think of it, the Sox are one of the richest and most talented teams in the game. They were in first place for most of the summer, cruising toward the post-season. But then came the September collapse.
Some around New England have seen this story before. Others are getting an education in the team's dark and painful history.
- Thomas Whalen, associate professor of social sciences at Boston University; author, "When the Red Sox Ruled: Baseball's First Dynasty."
- Tim McCarney, co-creator and writer, SurvivingGrady.com
This program aired on September 26, 2011.
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