Yesterday was one of the most exciting days in MLB regular season history. Four games with playoff implications and three of them went down to the last pitch. Baseball is the ultimate endurance test as a team sport. 162 games over six months and every game matters. I had no rooting interest last night but I was still captivated by the intensity. The Playoffs in baseball is a different accomplishment than any other sport. It means more, it’s harder to earn. NFL sends 12, NBA and NHL 16, MLB has 8, enough said.
The fact that these games included the conclusion of two of the biggest collapses in MLB history just adds to the drama. I’m a Die hard NY Met fan so I know what a collapse like this feels like. Sox had a 9.5 game lead and the Braves had a 8.5 game lead both are now gone. As a fan of those teams you want nothing to do with baseball, it will make you not even want to pay attention to the playoffs.
At about 10:30pm last nightAtlantawas winning 3-2 the Rays were down 7-0 and the Red Sox were winning 3-2 and starting a rain delay. In the next hour and a half every thing changed. The despair the fans of Tampa felt at 9:30pm left and jumped on a plane to Boston, In St Louis there was elation for not having to play a play in game. In Atlanta there was only silence.
Lets start in Atlanta, the Bravos took a 1 run lead into the 9th and rookie of the year closer Craig Kimbrell on the mound, the phenom with a ERA of 2.10 and 46 saves walked three and gave up the tying run on a Chase Utley sac fly. Then a broken bat Hunter Pence single in the 13th got the lead run home. The Rays started to rally after a couple walks, a hit and a sac fly for three runs; Evan Longoria stepped to the plate and hammered the first pitch he saw into the left field seats for a 3 run HR, to bring the Rays with in one. In the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs 2 strikes Dan Johnson, a .108 hitter who hasn’t homered since April hooked a screamer inside the right field foul pole to tie it up. In Baltimore Marco Scutaro was thrown out at the plate canceling out an insurance run, then Paplebon entered the game in the 9th and with 2 outs and 2 strikes the Orioles hit back to back doubles and a bloop single to get the W. Three Minutes later Longoria won it with another HR in the 12th to send the Rays to the postseason. In an hour and a half two teams out two teams in, jubilation and heartbreak.
So much drama, that’s the way baseball is and what makes it exciting. Inches separate HR’s from pop ups, ball four from strike 3 and singles from double plays. The Playoffs start Friday and will be entertaining for most and painful for some, I for one cant wait for the ride.
On another note, bashing Jose Reyes for the way he won the batting title makes no sense. This has happened numerous times through out history. George Brett did it, Ty Cobb did it along with scores of others, I don’t know why any one is surprised. If Reyes went 0-4 then Braun probably wouldn’t have even played that night and no one would complain. I guarantee you that there were others who were sitting at .300 and took the day off to preserve that, it happens. What people should be bashing Reyes for not playing for the fans. All season fans have been showing up to support their favorite team, hell I live inBostonand I went to 6 games. All season they have cheered for him, they gave him 7 years of support and love. Reyes is going to be a free agent and for this to be his last game at home he should have given his all for all 9 innings for the support we have given him. If he knows he will be back that’s another story, but we won’t know for about six weeks.