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In your Rayhawks and your vaca bells (You look the picture of contented new wealth)

It's funny how quickly you can forget just how horrible it feels to lose.


Seriously, and the friggin' balance is all whacked. I mean think about it — losing feels worse than winning feels good. Why the frig is that?


Winning is ephemeral … always somehow outside of you … know what I mean?


I do. Absolutely. It's like even after the World Series victories, as happy as I was, I didn't really own it, never felt quite like I had all that it could give, always that feeling that there is even more joy in victory out there if I can just work hahdah to find it.


Losing on the other hand just crawls right up inside of you and makes itself at home. It has weight. It has presence.


Winning is like taking your joy and writing it on water, while losing is like having your remorse tattooed all across your ass.



Nice post.
Hats off to the Rays, they were simply the better team. But I'm hoping the Phillies sweep so I don't have to listen to anymore bandwagon-riding Rays' fans.

You got it right, H.B. Losing is like a tapeworm. It gets inside of you and eats away.

Winning is more like having a great dessert after a fabulous meal.

Which is why the tapeworm is all the more insidious.

Come now fellas, it wasn't that bad. We could've lost in Game 5 7-0 and really felt the sting but instead the Sox put up a fight and lost with dignity. It just wasn't our year with all the injuries and bullshit. I bet if we were perfectly healthy, things might've been a little different.

Also look on the bright side. We have a new rival, the Yankees NEVER made it to the post-season, and Joba got arrested for a DUI. Honestly I'd feel worse to be MFY fans now than Boston fans.

It was a good run. Personally I hope Tampa sweeps the phillies fans. Watching philly suffer sports humiliation will fuel me for the long winter.

Go B's.


Wait, what? "Losing feels worse than winning feels good"?!

Going to have to agree to disagree on that one.

It was a great season. I'm pulling for Philly, though. Bandwagon jumpahs should have to wait at least a few years to taste the deliciousness-by-proxy of victory.

It just doesn't hurt as bad as pre-2004

I don't want to see the bandwagoneers in Tampa rewarded for discovering baseball just last week. That team deserved to be supported all year. Philly fans may be vile despicable people, but at least they've been there.

That said, this does seem like Tampa's year, so I'm going to call it for the Rays in 6.

I'm really surprised at the viciousness of some fans over this. Losing happens, especially when you play a better team. The Sox ended up defending the title with honor and conviction, and they were right there at the end.

I hope the Rays beat Philly in the most pain-inducing way. Philly fans are the lowest of the low. Troglodites, all of them.

Here's hoping Tek finds his bat in the off season,wherever he ends up.(Maybe Heidi has it)

Ya know I might begin to think that Sox WS victories could come in 3-year intervals now. I mean after 2004 we lost in 2005, then 2006, then made it in 2007. If we follow that then we could be seeing another ring in 2010. Of course I'd like to see one in 2009 regardless of mathematical patterns.


I say Timlin (thanks Mikey), Kotsay, Byrd and Coco are gone. Wake stays. tek? heart says 2-yr deal; head says thanks for the memories.

What does it take to get Peavy?

Nice The Jam reference, h.b.; Losing is the Bitterest Pill, indeed.

Thanks for a great season.

Boston had a nice year.

But you didn't think a Vanderbilt guy was going to fade in the clutch, did you?

Philly fans aren't bad people, they're just bitter at their teams stabbing them and always finding some particularly painful way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Know anyone like that?

I'm pulling for Philly in this one. They need it more. Won't be watching the games though.

H.B. thanks for putting to words what I am dealing with this morning. I can't get a damn thing done at work. Melancholy sucks. It was a valiant effort of defense to a young, good playing team. I really could care less who wins...does it really make anything better? I would hate to think the title would go to a place that could care less about it: TB. Freakin Johnny come latelies.

PS - those cowbells have got to go. I never thought anything could be as annoying as those stupid thunderstix, but those are coming close.

Speaking of Vandy, damn Bulldogs put a hurt on them Saturday. What's that spell for Vandy's SEC winning chances?

The last six to seven months will be remembered as one of the most bizarre sagas in recent memory. The Red Sox entered the 2008 season as the clear team to beat and defending champions, the kings in town and the favorite that would make us forget the Pats. They exit after being dethroned by a team that, a mere four months ago, made the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball Amateur Player Draft. But a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays only scratches the surface of all that went down this year. Suffice it to say that the 2008 season's experience can be paralleled only by the historic presidential election that provided a backdrop for it.

All year long, commentators and sportsfolk (from the professionals to the amateurs like yours truly) said that while the young upstarts from Tampa Bay were fun to watch - they have names like Rocco, B.J., Carl, Dioner, and even Akinori - that they couldn't go anywhere. They were, we all said, just the beneficiaries of an easy schedule (that was of course very similar to our own), and they'd eventually fade away as the world righted itself, Tom Brady became the best there is again, and people with names like Barack Hussein Obama faded and realized they didn't belong in an old white man's game.

How things change. Tom Brady's future is a giant question mark and his greatness a distant memory, Kerry Collins (KERRY COLLINS!) is the only undefeated NFL quarterback, and apparently the financial system we've been enjoying over the last three decades was the biggest joke no one ever told us. Barack Obama, far from fading, is now likely to become the 44th President of the United States, slowing only when his momentum was interrupted by Palinmania. And through it all, the Rays stayed in first.

In July, as Barney Frank was talking about the fundamental soundness of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Sox stunned the baseball world and jettisoned the best hitter they've had in decades. In doing so, they officially shut the door on the era of Ortiz, Ramirez, Schilling, and Varitek to create a young nexus of players with names like Dustin, Jed, Jacoby, Jon, and YOUK (which, for all intents and purposes, is his name). Just around the time Hillary Clinton returned to the U.S. Senate. And the Rays stayed in first.

The Sox got swept by the Angels and Rays just as Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination for President, and then was immediately forgotten we were swept by an obsession with the newest celebrity this side of the International Date Line, Alaska's own Sarah Palin. (I think the best way to summarize this year's political season is the fact that America's love affairs with Obama and Palin ended not through a scathing investigative report published in the New York Times, a somber announcement from Tom Brokaw, or prying interrogations from the late Tim Russert. It came from the estimable Lorne Michaels and other political sages at Saturday Night Live. 'Nuff 'ced.)

In September, as our financial world began to crumble, Obama roared back into first by keeping his cool, and the Rays held off a late surge by the defending champions, and finally finished them off, after a long hard battle in October. If the Rays are Obama in this play, then the Phillies, they of 10,000 losses and a town that hasn't seen a major sports championship in a quarter-century must be the tortured, beaten, and scarred Senator John McCain, complete with the fans that stabbed Terry Francona's tires, booed Santa Claus, and apparently think their opponent is the love-child of Karl Marx and Osama bin Laden. (The early ESPN poll has 64% giving the title to the Rays, with the Phillies winning only their home state of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Take heart, McCainiacs - you might just pull out the Keystone State, and even Joe Biden's turf.)

The Red Sox are the easiest to cast in this tragicomedy. We were the frontrunners, the inevitable favorites who were so convinced we could do no wrong that we let the upstart Rays get in front of us as we sat complacently. We have a smug feeling of entitlement to our fortunes that, when mixed with how we cry and bemoan our defeats, inspire our supporters to hold on 'till the end but cause everyone else to bitterly loathe us. We made a surge by redefining ourselves as a young, scrappy team (i.e., co-opting the enemy) and despite a tremendous surge as the clock wound down, we were stuck in a hole that had grown far too big. We were old, and we had too many holes and scars we thought were still advantages. The Sox, of course, play the part of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. (I'll give bonus points to anyone who can cast Palin, or match the other teams and political actors in this wild and crazy cycle.)

How does it play out? Will the World Series this week - and the one-game playoff that is Election Day in 15 days - bring results that are parallel? Will the older, more experienced Phillies team that improbably won the National League championship beat back its final foe in the young, confident, and unflappable Rays? Will Obama be too cool for his own good, or will he coast to victory while McCain flails and the wheels come off? Will the outcomes mirror, or through some unholy bargain (Faust meets Damn Yankees meets Eight Men Out), affect one another? If 2008 has taught us anything thus far, it's that what we do not expect is to be expected.

Game on.

Seconding Professional Hitter and others saying, "Thanks, H.B., for a great year here."

And to the Sox as well, for what, when the sting of last night fades, I will surely admit was a very good year.

A title defense with honor and conviction indeed. Well put, Soulie.

I started off thinking it was honorable to push the series to 7 games. Then started thinking, "...but for game 2." Shows you the adage about pitching winning in the post season has never been more true.

I was really looking forward to seeing the Phils face Mike Timlin in the 9th again 15 years later. I grew up a Phillies fan and I'm still rooting for them as my Sr. League team, so this turn of events makes my life easier. Still, don't think they have a chance at the Rays if their pitching streak continues.

Who are the Sox looking at for free agent power for next year... competition for Texiera's going to be fierce; I bet they could pick up Manny if they offered him $25 x 4 years.

It's all Boras' fault.

Ah, they had a great year but just couldn't push it over at the end. Too many injuries. So now the off-season, and there's going to be changes. Hope something recognizable comes out the other side.

Thanks for picking up The Jam reference, ProHitter.

It's such a great song and one of my "go to" songs after defeat.

Others on the list include Morrissey's "Boxers" and pretty much anything by Joy Division.

I've got Pandora streaming a real mix of 80s gloom right now.

The only way I can shake a funk is to totally immerse myself in it.

another great season, hb and everyone- thanks. even on tape delay it was always fun to check in here.

Daubie, I'm with you on all counts except Coco. He wound up playing ~120 games and was a valuable part of the team. As I said in June, I'm most worried about Papi. I fear it's the beginning of the end for him, and the decline will be rapid.

After Saturday night, is there anyone out there who still thinks TBS is ready for prime time? That was disgraceful. At least now we won't have to watch Herb Tarlek on the sidelines for another 12 months

Lowell goes under the knife today, doesn't he? good luck Mike

//Tom Brady's future is a giant question mark and his greatness a distant memory//

Huh? A distant memory? If by distrant, you mean last season, uh, I guess so,

Echoing others here, H.B., on yet another superb year with your Soxaholix.

Hopefully yuou'll put up the occasional off-season strip for our viewing pleasure.

I'll be sure to check in regularly.

But as I have a half day today and then tomorrow off (Monday night football at Foxboro), here's hoping you all have a great fall and winter.

Hopefully we'll have something fun to yak about this Spring.

Haven't figured out the offseason strip schedule yet.

Every season so far, The Soxaholix has just continued right on through. And I think some of my fave strips have come out of the cold, baseball-less offseason.

With that said, though, I don't think I want to go straight through.

I dunno.

It's the hangover that hurts. That and 3 K's.

I really just don't feel that bad about this one. Sure, it stings. Sure, coming back from the brink of defeat only to, ultimately, be defeated kind of sucks. But this is what 2004 and 2007 have done for us. These are tough losses, not existential crises. After the 2003 ALCS I was miserable for weeks. And, in truth, I didn't think we'd get this far. I didn't think the Sox would get by the Angels. I was worried they'd get swept. Instead, they made some more history in the ALCS.

The game that hurts the most is game 2. That's the one that got away. The one the Sox lost. In game 7 they just got beat by terrific pitching.

I'll agree: h.b.
has gifted us all season.
Now it's Theo's turn.


It was nice to go to game 7 but the outcome was not surprizing. Beating the Angels was an upset, two upsets in a row is tough. Gabbly chat for the last couple of games was fun.
The offseason will be interesting given that the FO is not big on emotion. Tek got a four-year deal after 2004 and it was a push at the end. Maybe a two-year deal but not at inflated numbers. We need a shortstop - time to rotate someone else thru. Big Papi - hard to say. The end appears to have come quick. A fastball, pull hitter and every team puts the shift on. I thought he was DH for life - needs to lose some weight at a minimum.

Thanks for the season HB. Reading the strip is ususally the highlight of my day.

I am passing on the WS. I am taking my wife to Paris for her 50th BD and will pay homage to Jim Morrison rather than BJ Upton.

tnks for everything, hb.


Pre 2004 we did all live too long in the shadows of sadness. But come spring when the bullpen starts strummin' we know we will Succumb to the beat surrender.

The Jam is the soundtrack to my life at times too. But you provide the transcript. Thanks for a great season hb.

Wow,,hats off to the redsox in game 5..you gave rays a lot of revenue, and a game that will be forgotten forever, but a series that will go down in history. good luck next year redsox, you will be in the playoffs again. You guys are good. For the redsox fans who counted your chickens before they hatch..look who is crying now!! the rays just beat your redsox. How about them apples bitches!!!!

Oh, how cute, our first Rays' troll.

The first time you carry the ball into the endzone, ....

Tampa Bay Rays Fandom: Since September, 2008

This is no soul-crushing defeat like it would be if it had been at the hands of the MFY. In fact, my first thought after the final out was, "well, at least now I don't have to worry about our band's show in New Hampshire next Sunday night happening at the same time as Game 4." :}

Then my second thought was, Go Phils. A good friend is a Philly native and lifelong fan, and she's actually a good person. I hope they sweep the Rays straight out of our faces this week.

Thanks for another great year, h.b. Enjoy your well-earned vacation.

What's with this apples crap? The tampa paper had that as their headline after the game last night. Bush league antics for a bush league town.

//Oh, how cute, our first Rays' troll.//

While his language isn't 100% trollish and he was actually just targeting those who counted the Rays out, we could expect more in the future. Also, there won't be a TB version of Mahts am I right?

in re: apples

It has something to do with Good Will Hunting in which one drunk Southie character says to another "how do you like them apples?" More to the point, and even more derivatively, Jim Rome perpetuates the hilarity by referring to Boston fans with his imitation of said character's statement from time to time.

From GWH
Will: Do you like apples?
Clark: Yeah.
Will: Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?

see e.g.

Clones! What is up? Jim Rome here pimping for Filmsnobs at Review Stop #1. Listen Clones, nobody does film better than the filmsnobs. Have you read this stuff...


Absolutely CLASSIC! These guys are JACKED on the movies! Dudes...love the movies.....They love the movies....

DUDES...............love the movies!

What else can I say, Clones? They've got Angelina jokes....Eddie Murphy tranvestite jokes....Ben Affleck—ER!— Rehab-fleck jokes. Clones, they've got it all at Filmsnobs. How do you like them apples, Ebert—ER!—The Fat One?


I guess that tseliot dude is a little deep for them

/you gave rays a lot of revenue/

Wow - six sellouts in a row! Let us know if your streak extends to the second regular season game of next season - my guess is that it won't.

Great season, h.b. I'll keep checking in as long as you keep posting.

I think we've seen the last of Timlin, Byrd, Wake, Casey and Tek (I'd keep Tek for two years at reasonable money, but when has Boras ever been reasonable?). Kotsay stays because he is more versatile than Casey. Assuming Bucholtz gets himself staightened out in winter ball, we still need at least one starting pitcher. I think AJ Burnett is more likely than either Peavy or Sabbathia.

Steve L.

Well my thoughts are:
You play 2 more games and the red sox can win both. You play 3 more and who knows. I agree that Garza had a great game but when tek an kotsay leave almost 30 men on base between them we have a problem at the bottom of the order. Anyhow, I feel blessed that we played as well as we did for as long as we did- how many teams could lose a future hall of famer(manny), a World series MVP (lowell) and have hurt pitcher who was a monster playoff performer (beckett) and still stay competitive? Ya gotta love Pedy/Jed/Youk/Drew/Bay/Crisp(Ellsbery) as a core. And the pitching staff still awesome.

I'd like to echo yazbread on the gabby chat. i got one there for the first time for game 6, and it was fun sharing the game with some of you in real time.

And, I'm also with those who don't feel THAT bad today. I think we did better than expected as far as the playoffs go.

And, lastly, I am totally rooting for the Rays vs. Philly. I respect what they have done so far this year. Great team. Who cares about their fucking fans. Phhhbbbt, Rays fans. I'm rooting for 'em for the team itself. They are playing ball the way it should be...

Thanks hb. Until whenever, people.

I'll say it since no one else gets it. That was totally idiotic of Francona to allow Varitek to bat in back to back big spots, especially when they had the tying runs on base. It should have been Ellsbury or Casey. I guess winning wasn't important. Not hurting Varitek's feelings was more important. I know, I know, he calls such a great game. He's the only catcher in baseball that wouldn't bother to call for a knockdown pitch to Pena, Longoria or Upton. Only Varitek can call pitches that wind up in the bleachers 13 times in seven games. It was so essential that he be calling the home run pitch in the 8th inning that we couldn't have Casey bat for him. Cash would have called two home run pitches, not one. We talked about it all year. If it got late in a big game, we wanted Varitek pinch hit for. Did it happen? No. Varitek was a .185 hitter since May. No way do you allow the ship to sink with him at the plate. They also loaded the roster with non-contributors. Ross, Wakefield, Byrd, Timlin. The Rays had only one player that didn't deserve to be on a roster - Gabe Gross (the worst outfielder I've ever seen). It's hard to win with four players that the manager is terrified of using. Theo and the other F.O. got what they deserved. Had they taken the proper course with Schilling, he'd have been ready. It cost them Game 2. If we won both games in Tampa, it's over. The Rays wouldn't have won four of five. No way. The series was decided by Francona's awful blunders in Game 2. That's the bottom line.

Nice to hear from you, paddy24!

Directionless so plaint to see
A loaded gun wont' set you free.

So you say...

[I'm okay really]

thanks for a good year boys of summer, and thanks hb too.

No *DOUBT* this is not as bad as losing the SuperBowl.

At least we won the Series LY & came within 2 runs of getting there again.

Yo IsaacL, Who asked for your life story? Garza did his best '07 Becket imitation...so let's get Textera and move on. No Lowell, Poppi shitting the bed and the Captain , who couldn't get a little Captain in him, only lifted his leg once...We lost to a better team at this time. Sartre's new version of Hell-- other people with cowbells.

It's easier to handle losing when the other team was clearly better.

Gotta agree with paddy24. Tek's homer in game 6--he must've started his swing before the windup--maybe blinded Francona just a bit (that, along with Francona's general m.o. of sometimes staying too loyal to his players), leading to the failure to pinch.

The final question here is whether some average backstop's bat will outweigh all the "intangibles" that the captain gives us. I tend to agree with paddy24, that Tek did not distinguish himself in calling the series, but he did distinguish himself with his complete lack of a bat (save the fluke HR). If Tek's postseason ABs had come after a year where he posted .280/.360/.800, I'd write off the playoffs as a small sample size, aberration, whatev. Like I am willing to do with Ortiz. But the guy posted a yearlong .220/.313/.672, and forever hearing about his incredible preparation habits just doesn't convince me that he should be retained. Long one of my favorite players, I am officially willing to see another full-time Red Sox catcher.

h.b. thank you for sharing your humour and wisdom with us in another memorable RedSox season.

I'm pissed at the result, but despite our hopes for Game 7, I think we all gotta admit we saw it coming.

C.C. Sabathia. I want him in such a non-gay way it hurts.

Brilliant strip, Mr. Brachen. One of your best. Congratulations on a good season. Your guys done good. More than I can say for mine.


Pre-2004 this would have hurt 10000000000 times worse. Not to say that there is something of a hollow feeling to this loss.

To be completely honest, I was surprised the Sox got as far as they did. I took every victory to be an unexpected present.

In my many years of being a Sox fan, I know very well that there is always next year.

Don't count out the Pats yet.

...and the B's are looking a lot better too :)

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