I am sitting here in complete disbelief. I have been for about 15-20 minutes now. To invoke the memory of Jack Buck means that something just incredible must have happened and it did overnight. I have seen many things in the world of sport. Not a lot can phase me but seriously the way the baseball gods ended the American League regular season was just completely off the charts. I started writing this blog post over two hours ago and I still genuinely cannot believe what I just (well a couple of hours ago) saw.
The scenario was simple. The Rays and the Red Sox were tied in the wildcard standings. If they both won or both lost they would play a one-game playoff for the right to travel to Texas to play the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. If one of them won and the other team lost then skip the one-game playoff and go straight to Texas. Simple enough.
The Red Sox were in Baltimore to face the Orioles who had nothing to play for except to act as spoilers. The Rays were at home to face the Yankees who had already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and knew they were flying home to face the Tigers on Friday night.
Both teams were expected to win.
Then the Yankees pounded David Price and took a 7-0 lead with scrubs pitching. It was just a shock to everyone in baseball. The Red Sox had scratched out a 3-2 lead going into the late innings but then the baseball gods awoke and decided it was time to have some fun. The storm system that had been circling around Baltimore’s Camden Yards finally encroached and dropped its liquid over the playing field. The game went into a rain delay. As that was going on the Rays were mounting a furious rally and were back within one but down to their final strike. As the grounds crew removed the tarp in Baltimore Cory Wade’s 2-2 pitch was launched to right field and smashed off the foul pole. Down to their final strike and they tied it.
With the Yankees not risking any of their premier relievers to ensure they got in sufficient rest everyone knew the Rays were winning this game so it was all down to Boston. They inched their way to holding on to that lead and the Orioles were down to their final out when they got a double so the trying run was on base. They were down to their final strike when Nolan Reimold swatted a Papelbon fastball into the alley to tie the game. Three pitches later a soft liner that Carl Crawford should have caught dropped and the Orioles went berserk. The game meant nothing to them but they treated it like their World Series win.
Down in Tampa the crowd went nuts as first they saw and heard the Orioles had tied it and then that they had indeed beaten the Sox. All they had to do was win and within three minutes Evan Longoria had hit a Home Run that creped over the lowered wall that had first been lowered for Carl Crawford who ironically was the guy who failed to mae the play for Boston just minutes earlier.
No-one could ever have written this script. I still cannot believe it happened. The September collapse of the so-called ‘best team ever put together’ is the worst in the history of the sport. I maybe a Yankees fan but I was rooting for an extra game as I always root for the extra game if it doesn’t directly effect my Yankees so I am disappointed.
I won’t rub salt into the wounds as I know how I’d feel if it had happened to my team. The only thing I will say is if they had to lose last night then I’m glad Papelbon was the one to blow the game for them. This is a guy who once thought he deserved to be the closer on an American League All-Star team in Yankee Stadium when Mariano Rivera was also in the bullpen. Yeah let me think about that Papelbon…
So no baseball today and the playoffs start on Friday.
But still I do not believe what I just saw…
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