Red Sox help writer look silly

The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy is one of America’s most respected sports columnists, but he should leave predictions to others.

To be fair, though, the odds in 2004 and again this week were heavily on Shaughnessy’s side.

On Wednesday with the Boston Red Sox clinging to a 3-2 lead during a rain delay at Baltimore and Tampa Bay trailing the Yankees 7-0 in the late innings, Shaughnessy assumed the Rays wouldn’t rally. Boston entered the final day tied with the Rays for the American League wild-card spot.

“I think that the one thing that we have eliminated tonight is that the Red Sox season is not going to end tonight,” Shaughnessy said on television during the rain delay. “They live to play another day.”

We all know that didn’t happen. The Red Sox gave up two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lose to the Orioles, and minutes later the Rays completed a stunning comeback with a 12-inning, 8-7 victory over the Yankees.

During the 2004 AL Championship Series, the Red Sox lost 19-8 in Game 3 to fall into a 3-0 hole to the Yankees, prompting Shaughnessy to write: “For the 86th consecutive autumn, the Red Sox are not going to win the World Series.”

The next day, they earned a dramatic 6-4 victory in 12 innings over the Yankees, triggering an eight-game winning streak that carried Boston to a World Series title.

No team in baseball history had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the Series. And Wednesday’s events were almost equally improbable.

So I guess we can cut Shaughnessy some slack, but he might be just the solution UNLV football needs. In light of the Rebels’ ghastly 41-16 loss to Southern Utah on Sept. 24, maybe UNLV could get him to write a column saying the program has no hope.

■ NOTHING TO SEE HERE – UNLV’s Bobby Hauck is among the last of a dying breed of coaches who opens practices to media and fans. Oregon’s Chip Kelly not only restricts access, he’s turning his program into the Western version of East Berlin.

Even church youth groups can’t get in to watch practice anymore, and that’s not all.

Kelly’s radio show in now taped two days ahead of time, and coaches no longer appear at a postgame gathering with boosters. He uses video conferencing to take part in a boosters luncheon in Portland, though he does attend one closer to the Eugene campus.

“One Eugene booster grouses, though he learned nothing there he hadn’t already heard on television or read in news accounts,” The Oregonian reported. “Kelly, this booster says, breezes into lunch late, is gone at the end, and never stops to socialize.”

■ THE 12TH MAN – Fans may not be happy when the opposing team scores an important touchdown, makes a big shot, or hits the back of the net with a crucial goal, but most don’t storm the field or court to chase the opponents.

Fans of the Bosnian Cup soccer team Zrinjski ran the Velez players off the field right after one of them had just scored in extra time. At least those fans stopped there, quickly returning to their seats.

There’s much more at stake when these teams, one Croat and one Muslim, play each other. They play in Mostar, site of a 1990s civil war.


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