It almost seems poetic. Last night two of the top closers in baseball blew saves that cost their teams a chance to play in the post season. Jonathan Papelbon and Craig Kimbrel both entered the ninth inning with a chance to end the game and guarantee at least a one game playoff for the wild card spot. Instead they let the magnitude of the moment get the best of them and the rest is history.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, there is nothing more irritating in sports than kickers and closers. They've personally cost me thousands of dollars and brought pain and anguish to millions of sports fans world wide. Some might say I'm being too hard on these guys, but those people are closers, kickers, or relatives of closers and kickers. Everyone else knows they are the scum of the earth. To further illustrate my point here is a list of the top 5 blown saves and missed kicks of the last 25 years.
5. Mariano Rivera 2001. In the 7th game of the World Series Mariano Rivera gave up more hits to left handed batters than he had allowed the entire season. The blown save cost the Yankees their 4th straight World Series and a shot at immortality.
4. Donnie Moore 1986. Donnie Moore inexplicably gave up a 2 run home run in the ALCS propelling the Boston Red Sox into the World Series. The scrutiny and animosity was so intense following that blown save it drove Donnie Moore to suicide (True story).
3. Dennis Eckersley 1988. The AL Cy Young award winner gave up a home run in the World Series to a batter that was so injured his home run trot reminded me of an 83 year old grandmother giving Brock Lesner a piggyback ride.
2. Jose Mesa 1997. Jose Mesa could've single handedly put an end to the misery Cleveland sports fans had endured, but instead he added another log to the fire with a blown save in the 7th game of the World Series (He also ruined my birthday that year).
1. Mitch Williams 1993. As if he had a contract with Disney studios for a story book ending Mitch Williams gave up a walk off home run to end the World Series. It was never done before or since.
5. Alexis Serna Oregon St. 2004. After missing two extra point attempts in regulation this guy missed an extra point in overtime to tie the game against the #1 team in the country (LSU). Brutal.
4. Florida St. (1990 -1993). Over the course of three seasons two different kickers missed game winning field goals (wide left and wide right) that cost the Seminoles a shot at a national championship.
3. Mike Vanderjagt Indianapolis Colts 2005. After calling out 4 time NFL MVP Peyton Manning for not doing enough to help the team win Vanderjagt went out and missed a game tying field goal against the Steelers in the playoffs.
2. Gary Anderson Minnesota Vikings 1999. After making every single kick for an entire season (and 46 in a row) Gary Anderson missed a 38 yard field goal that would have sent his team to the Super Bowl. Instead the Atlanta Falcons gained momentum and beat Minnesota in overtime. The Vikings were 15-1 that season with the second highest scoring offense in NFL history.
1. Scott Norwood Buffalo Bills 1991. On the biggest stage in the biggest game Scott Norwood crapped his pants and went wide right. New York Giants 20 Buffalo Bills 19, the closest Super Bowl ever.