Baseball at Its Best

Now THAT is what I’m talking about, baseball.

What a finish to the 2011 MLB regular season. Four teams vying for two spots and one game each to make it happen. The result was probably one of the more exciting sequences that I’ve seen in quite a while.

With the exception of the Cardinals dominating their game (and making the playoffs for that matter – this part did nothing to excite me or make me happy) each of the other three games was a thriller.

How about the Braves being an inning away from forcing a one-game playoff in the National League, only to blow the lead in the 9th, fail to convert scoring opportunities after that and ultimately lose in the 13th to the Phillies. The Braves recorded a 2-8 record in their last 10 games of the year. Heartbreaking (to the extent that sports can be heartbreaking) for Atlanta fans.

What about the Red Sox? Playing the hapless Baltimore Orioles for at least a share of the American League wild card and the chance to either force a playoff or win the spot outright, they managed to somehow lose it in the bottom of the 9th – with two outs and no one on base for Baltimore. Eek. It was a pretty rough September for the BoSox. Something tells me Terry Francona will be looking for work soon.

Then there were the Tampa Bay Rays. How did they pull this one off? Down 7-0 in the 8th inning, then down 7-6 with two outs and two strikes in the 9th…the Rays somehow managed to even the game up. That was only the beginning of the drama in this game.

During the Rays’ at bat in the bottom of the 12th, the scoreboard flashed the updates from the Red Sox game. First the tying run being scored by Baltimore, then the winning run. The place went crazy.

So what could top that? Another home run from Tampa Bay to win it? Sure. Evan Longoria did the honors with a shot that made it over the shortest wall you’ll probably ever see at a baseball stadium with less clearance than high jumpers leave over the bar. But it was gone. I jumped out of bed and yelled, I’ll tell you that much. I couldn’t believe it.

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7033411
(Tampa Bay Rays game highlights)

Most of this took place in the span of less than a half hour. The Boston game and the Tampa Bay game finished within approximately five minutes of each other. That’s awesome.

Way to go, baseball. You’ve taken some hits (pun intended) in recent years and the knock (sorry, did it again) against you is that you’re just not that interesting compared to other sports and activities, nor do you keep our attention as our collective attention spans continue to dwindle thanks to endless entertainment options, electronic gadgets, etc.

I’d say after tonight you’ve at least gotten some people to reconsider those thoughts, if not change their minds completely. What a show.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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2 thoughts on “Baseball at Its Best”

  1. Great article. What an unbelievable collapse from the Red Sox. I can say honestly that throughout this whole thing I never thought that the Red Sox would actually do it. I thought it would be great if it could happen but just couldn’t believe that it ever would. What a day for baseball. A year with no races turned into a year with unbelievable races on both sides. Jonthan Papelbon with a blown save and Evan Longoria with a walk-off homer. Two major players in each franchise playing huge roles in the end result. It don’t get much better than that. This is what Major League Baseball is all about! Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I’d love to hear what you have to say. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/how-can-you-not-laugh/

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