Thank you Braves and Red Sox for showing us all once again that even professional athletes in the world are capable of folding like a tent, when the pressure is on. Their degree of choking matches some of the other epic failures in sport.
2011 Braves: 8-1/2 game lead (wild card) on August 26th. From there the team went on to lost 20 of their last 30 games, and especially critical 5 of their last 6 including yesterday's shutout loss to a rookie who never started a game before. The 2011 Braves join the Braves of the 90's as a team of tremendous underacheivers (playoffs year after year, but only 1 WS).
Red Sox: 9 games up (wild card) on 9/3. From there the team loses 20 of their last 27 games, including 5 and 4 game losing streaks. The curse ended in 2004, there's no more excuse except you guys choked.
The Braves and Red Sox now go down in history with epic folds like:
The 1969 Cubs: Up 9 games on 8/16, then proceed to finish 11-20. Even on 9/3 they were still up by 5, before they proceeded to lose 8 straight and 11 of the last 13. The 1969 Mirace Mets? Part of the miracle is how badly the Cubs had to play to hand it to the Mets.
The 1964 Phillies: This failure of historic proportion even earned a nickname, the Phold. The Phils lead by 6-1/2 with only 12 games left before losing 10 straight games. They finally won the last 2 games after they had been eliminated. Way to handle the pressure Phils, maybe that explains your fans (nah, there's no excuse for Phillie/Eagle fans).
And at the top, a tragic fold by one of the greatest ever, Arnold Palmer in the 1966 US Open. Arnie led the final round by 7 strokes. Beyond that he held a 5 stroke lead on Billy Caspar with only 6 and then 4 holes left to play. He proceeded to bogey 13, bogey 15, bogey 16 (where he was lucky to escape a double bogey) and bogey 17. From hole 14-17 he lost a 5 stroke lead because he refused to play conservatively. The reason why Arnie gets the top spot is mainly because winning the tourney was something he could have controlled. Had he played for pars, especially on #15, he'd have won the Open. Instead he limped home with a par on 18 to force a playoff, won by Caspar.
So Braves and Red Sox, and their fans, you're in good company.