A season can only end once, but for every fan, that ending is different.
For some, Boston's season has been over for better than a month now. May, the offensive drought it brought, and the 10-19 record that produced were enough to make it clear that this 2015 Red Sox team was not destined for great things.
For others, it came a couple of weeks later when the Sox hit 27-38 on the back of a seven-game losing streak.
But now, finally, we have to have found it. The final end. Not necessarily the best end, or the correct end, and certainly not the mathematical end, but the point where even the most optimistic have to bite the bullet and acknowledge that, at least for the Red Sox, the 2015 season is over.
There's no "well if they go on a run," no way to put "only" in front of 8.5 games back late in July, and no way to pretend that a 42-51 record might be hiding a good team somewhere in its shame.
The date of death is July 20 after losing both ends of their doubleheader to the Angels by a combined score of 18-4. A full four-game sweep at the hands of Anaheim 22-4. And a 1-6 record over the most important seven-game stretch of their season. Steven Wright's knuckleball didn't knuckle, but let's be honest, by that point it was less a matter of seeing if the Red Sox would lose than how.
Tomorrow the Red Sox will play a game against the Houston Astros, but it will be a game that only really matters for one of the teams. The Red Sox have become so much filler on the schedules of the successful teams. A way to pad their record in between contests against the rivals who might actually threaten their spot in the playoffs. They'll win some games. Maybe even put together a few in a row like they did to start the month. But that's just...variance. Even in the midst of the worst seasons you can find two or three games in a row. A week, perhaps, where one of baseball's worst bunches looks competent.
The season is over, was over, has been over. The Red Sox just found a way to really make a statement about it by getting so resoundingly thrashed to start the second half of the season.
Tomorrow is the first day of 2016. There's two months of bonus spring training to go before the offseason begins.