But the more they thought about it and the more they huddled amongst each other, the Sox came to the conclusion that they should celebrate no matter what the circumstances.
So after losing, 8-7, to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, the team went in a few different directions. After all, there was some time to kill, with the Rangers-Angels game still in the early innings. With a Texas loss, Boston would officially be in the postseason.
Daniel Bard went to his apartment across the street to have a late dinner. David Ortiz said he was going to go out for a bit, but vowed to remain in the area -- just in case. Dustin Pedroia put his infant son to bed, but kept tabs on the happenings in Anaheim.
But by the time Rangers lost, 5-2, just before 1 a.m. ET, nearly 90 percent of the Red Sox's players had reconvened back in the Fenway Park clubhouse, where they sprayed each other with champagne and whatever else they could find.
Third basemen Mike Lowell was the first player to emerge from the party and speak to the throng of media stationed outside the clubhouse. Lowell had an American League Wild Card cap on backwards and a gray shirt that had a distinct stench of what comes with such a celebration.
"It's wet," Lowell said. "I just think guys feel the ultimate satisfaction of starting out in Spring Training. You have this goal. The season always brings ups and downs, but you fight through it collectively, and you enjoy the good times."
This was one of those times.
"I went home, put my son to sleep and came back," said Pedroia. "We all watched the game. At the [last out], we were all yelling at each other. That was pretty much it."
While the Red Sox are now in the midst of a terrific run of six postseason berths in the past seven years, several of the players on the team used to play for non-contenders.
Jason Bay never tasted a pennant race until coming to Boston in July of last season.
"I was on a team where this would have been a luxury, going to the playoffs," said Bay. "You construct a team, you put it together a certain way, a lot of things still have to go right. Four teams from each league get to go to the playoffs. That's the big thing -- everyone's pulling in the same direction."
Then there was Tim Wakefield, the senior member of the team at age 43, who has endured months of back woes to contribute to the cause. Including his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was the 10th postseason berth of the knuckleballer's career. And he still cherished it.
"There's so much work that goes on from the offseason into Spring Training with one goal in mind and that's to get to the postseason and win the World Series," said Wakefield. "It doesn't matter how you get in as long as you get in."
And what does it say about the Red Sox that the team still had a unified celebration despite the unique circumstances?
"That says a lot about our team that we really care about where we're going," Wakefield said. "Most of the team is still here, 99 percent. It says a lot about the character of this team."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less