I'm sure by now you've all seen the result - brave, valiant, plucky, gritty, Eckstein-ish Celtic were less than a minute away from picking up a very unlikely yet very well-deserved point at the Nou Camp yesterday before Barcelona woke up, realized they're Barcelona, and won the game. If I cared at all about Celtic, I'd have been heartbroken - sure, it was just a group stage match and overall Celtic actually still have a good chance of qualifying for the knockouts, so it's not like there was an actual trophy at stake, but still - losing like that is a punch to the gut. Bill Simmons even wrote a column about games like this a while back.
I can think of three games like this in my sport-watching history, two of which involve Arsenal - the 2001 FA Cup final and the 2006 Champions League final - and one of which was less a stomach punch than a slow-motion car crash that you're forced to watch, Clockwork Orange style, on about 100 TV's at a time.
August 5, 2001. The Seattle Mariners were in the midst of a record-breaking season; they would go on to win 116 games, tied for the most in modern baseball history with the 1906 Chicago Cubs. The morning of August 5, the Mariners were 80-30 and well on their way to that record, and they were in Cleveland to play the Indians. They had won the first two games of the series, and were in good shape to win the third - Aaron Sele was on the mound, in the midst of a very good year for him.
The M's cruised out to a 12-0 lead after three innings, and I figured all was good. The Indians scored a couple in the fourth, but at 12-2 I still thought the M's were going to cruise. They restored their 12 run lead in the top of the 5th, and that should have been that.
After a scoreless sixth, the Indians scored three in the seventh, four in the eighth, and five in the ninth to tie the game at 14, and won it in the bottom of the 11th when future former Mariner Jolbert Cabrera singled in Kenny Lofton to seal a 15-14 win for the Indians. And I watched the whole damn thing. It wasn't a sharp shooting pain, it was more like having your skin sanded off slowly over a couple hours, but it was still unpleasant.
Which makes this week's NSSR question kind of a no-brainer to me. Has your favorite team, in any sport, ever lost a gut-punch game?
What else is on your mind this week?