Once in a lifetime collapse29 Sep 2011
Baseball Prospectus uses Monte Carlo simulation to predict which teams will make the postseason. According to this page, on Sept 1st, the probability of the Red Sox making the playoffs was 99.5%. They were ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays by 9 games. Before last night’s game, in September, the Red Sox had lost 19 of 26 games and were tied with the Rays for the wild card (the last spot for the playoffs). To make this event even more improbable, The Red Sox were up by one in the ninth with two outs and no one on for the last place Orioles. In this situation the team that’s winning, wins more than 95% of the time. The Rays were in exactly the same situation as the Orioles, losing to the first place Yankees (well, their subs). So guess what happened? The Red Sox lost, the Rays won. But perhaps the most amazing event is that these two games, both lasting much more than usual (one due to rain the other to extra innings) ended within seconds of each other.
Update: Nate Silver beat me to it. And has much more!