Originally Published: November 30, 2004By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
It's often been said that when you wake up on July 4 and look at the baseball standings, you'll have a pretty good idea of how the season will end. Perhaps. But here's something that might surprise you: on the morning of July 4, 2004, the Boston Red Sox led the Tampa Bay Devil Rays by exactly 2½ games. The Red Sox were 43-36, the Devil Rays 40-38. With Lou Piniella in just his second season as Devil Rays manager, you can probably imagine how the media reacted.