Anyone that was able to watch how the four most important games of the season played out last night will definitely remember it until the day they die. The Cardinals, Braves, Rays & Red Sox were all playing for wild card spots last night and the "WOW" factor was in full effect. Both the Red Sox & Braves 9 and 8.5 games leads respectfully, not to mention they both had 3-2 leads over the teams they were playing against going into the 9th inning last night and blew those as well. Unbelieveable! How does that happen? For it to happen to 1 team in 1 season, ok we get it, but for the fate of two teams in two leagues to play out in identical fashion is quite stunning to say the least.
Now the Rays & Cardinals should get a lot of credit for fighting tooth and nail to just have a chance to have a shot at the playoffs, but the teams we have to admire the most is the Phillies and Orioles. Philadelphia had nothing to gain in the standings by beating the Braves last night, but they played their starters for the entire series to tune-up for the playoffs. That decision by skipper Charlie Manuel who is now the winningest manager in Phillies history, resulted in a 3-game sweep over their divison foes. It also meant that this years Phillies won 102 games, most in team history. Baltimore's skipper Buck Showalter motivated his team enough to compete with a far more talent group in the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox were playing for their playoff lives, but this was Baltimore's "Super Bowl". When overpaid, former star outfielder Carl Crawford slid feet first instead of diving to make the catch on the game-winning RBI in the 9th, you can see the joy and excitement in all the O's eyes as they celebrated as a team that has just won the pennant. The O's took the game to heart and kept the integrity of the game. They didn't lay down and just let the season pass. They made Boston work and ultimately destroyed their chances at a post season bid. What's crazy is 3 minutes after the Red Sox blew a golden opportunity, they get to the locker room only to find out that the Evan Longoria had hit his second homer of the night in walk-off fashion. The Yankees who were up 7-0, put in their bench and allowed the Rays to come all the way back to win.
Now did the Yankees keep the integrity of the game in mind? Most would say no, but I say, "GIVE ME A HELL-YEAH!" (Thank you Stone Cold). The Yanks were up 7-0 for up to 8 innings. They had every right to rest their players. They have to play again on Friday. What did they have to gain by playing their regulars in what seemed to be a blowout. It is not their fault that the Red Sox won only 7 games all of September. It is not their fault that the Red Sox did not win back to back games all of September. And most importantly it is not their fault that the Red Sox were scoreboard watching and was a little too comfortable with a 3-2 lead with the last place Orioles after the 5th inning. Don't blame The Yankees Red Sox Nation, blame your beloved Red Sox. And Atlanta fans don't you dare blame anybody but yourselves either. Did you guys really think that the worst team in baseball would hold up their end of the bargain? Lets go Houston.
Seriously, that was the best night of baseball and maybe one the most exciting nights in sports in general. So much drama, so much at stake. I loved every second of it and I know most of you guys did too, well except for those Braves and Red Sox fans. September 28, 2011 will go down as the best regular season night in MLB history. Now how will the playoffs top that? I guess we are going to have to just find out, because now we know anything can happen, I mean anything.
Blog by Haz Bey