Thursday, September 29, 2011

All I Can Say Is Wow!

Last night's baseball was simply incredible. Many people are saying it was the most amazing regular season night in the history of baseball, and who am I to argue. It was certainly the most amazing last regular season game. Outside of the two best teams in the leagues, the Yankees and the Phillies, all of the other playoff contenders had crucial games last night, and of course four of those teams were playing for their playoff lives. And three of those games were incredible. Two had blown saves in the 9th inning and two went to extra innings. Incredible!

We've had incredible games at the end of the season, the 78 Yanks/Sox and Bucky Dent's home run, or the 51 Giants/Dodgers and Bobby Thomson's home run, immediately come to mind, but those were just one game. Yesterday had three incredible games!

Now I love baseball and I watch it every night, but normally I only watch one game. Last night I was flipping around to three different games literally after each pitch to make sure I didn't miss anything because it was changing that quickly. When the Orioles hit the gaming winning hit I was screaming at the top of my lungs "run, run, run" which promptly brought chastising from my wife who said I would wake our daughters up (I didn't), and then I was celebrating too much and so hadn't changed back to the Yanks to see the Rays get the walk-off there. (This shouldn't be surprising as Proctor has been terrible for us. Props go out to him that he kept them as scoreless for as long as he did. Perhaps he does still have something left in his arm after Torre abused it.)

To have not one but two teams down the stretch blow significant leads is stunning, and the Braves are getting off easy in the press because of what happened to the Sox. This was the best team in baseball (yes they were even better than the Yankees) for most of the summer and then they simply imploded. They looked like the Red Sox teams that were "cursed" more than the ones who have won two World Series titles in the past ten years. Although I do have to say that old habits die hard for New Englanders as they have all been saying this is what they always do to us, they win today so that losing tomorrow will be even more painful.

This masochistic attitude is part of who they are, and to be honest a losing team fits their culture better than a winning team does, because they always expect the worst from the Sox. They are always ready for them to rip their hearts out, although not ready all at the same time. My Red Sox friends are always telling me, "they always do this to us", as if the titles in 2004 and 2007 had never happened, as if they still hadn't won since 1918. They don't always do this, you just expect them to, so at least this year they fulfilled expectations. Even though I am glad that the Red Sox lost, although I would have preferred a play-in game today, Red Sox fans do have my sympathies.

It's really too hard to put into words how great yesterday was, and here's the kicker: If the commissioner has his way and adds a second wildcard team next year none of it would have mattered. None of the excitement of the past two weeks as it came down to the wire with so many teams in the hunt would be there, because there would be two spaces.

With two wildcard spots available, going into yesterday the Sox, Rays, Braves and Cardinals would all know that they would be playing today so it wouldn't matter how they did. I certainly don't think the Orioles would have been playing as hard to knock the Sox out. The Rays would not have been playing as hard to come back to win. The Phillies would not have had most of their starters still in the game because it wouldn't have made any difference, all those teams would have already had a space.

I can only hope that the post-season can live up to what the last two weeks and yesterday have given to us, and Go Yanks!

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