Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three minutes of amazing

Indeed, we were all Yankees fans last night. (Davis/Globe)
At 12:02 AM eastern on Thursday morning, the Orioles put the final touch on an amazing come from behind win, down to their last strike, down by one, against Jonathan Papelbon, one of the most dominating closers in the league.

Three minutes later, Evan Longoria squeaked a home run over the left field wall, sealing an even more amazing come from behind win over the Yankees.

And there you go. The Red Sox are out of the playoffs. Up by 9 games in the wild card race less than a month ago, they complete an epic collapse in extraordinarily entertaining fashion, live on tv as if it were a slow motion car wreck. One that feels oh so familiar.

I was out and about yesterday, so here's the progression of how I experienced what some people are calling the best night in regular season baseball history, and @SamDrewTakesOn summed it up with "When I'm 70 and talking about baseball with my grandkids, tonight is the first I will mention."
  • Watching the games on my phone, the Red Sox were up 3-2, but it was what seemed like a super long rain delay. Note, this is the Fairy Deion Sanders telling me "you weren't watching the game, you were watching numbers." True--but the killer MLB At Bat App does let me watch the game...I just wasn't in a place I could do that.
  • Saw the Rays were down 7-0. Thought about what MLB would do if the Rays lost and the Sox game couldn't restart on Wednesday. (You HAVE to make them play out that game Thursday, right??)
  • All of a sudden it was 7-6. And I was on the train home listening by this point (again, thanks MLB At Bat.) And heard the 2 strike, 2 out home run by .108 hittting Dan Johnson to tie it up at 7. Amazing.
  • Finally got home and next thing I knew, it was the top of the 11th in Tampa, and I believe the Yankees had men at 1st and 3rd with no outs. And the Red Sox were bringing in Papelbon to close out the resumed game in the bottom of the 9th in Baltimore. Again, figured it was over and Boston would survive.
  • Then, somehow (since MLB Network and ESPN were both showing Sox-Orioles at this point), the Rays got out of it, so there was a light. Papelbon had K'd the first two batters, so I was just hoping for a Rays walk-off and a one-game playoff. 
And then midnight struck. And this was the reaction that Dan Plesac and Harold Reynolds had in the MLB Network studio, watching the games off-camera. This is epic. Dan Plesac looking for someone to high-five and then asking "Are you f__ing kidding me?!?" is the exact same response everyone outside of Sox Nation had. Including me.

Longoria came up huge. And hammered the nail in
for the Red Sox (Getty Images)
Amazing night of baseball. Crushing loss/month for the Red Sox. 

A feeling that Cleveland fans know all too well. Ironically, many Red Sox fans are blaming the Yankees for not bringing in Mo Rivera to close the game out. First, they can do whatever they want--they need to rest their geriatric closer for important games to them. Second, if the Sox had won more than seven games in September, this wouldn't be a problem. Third--does this seem familiar to Browns fans? Remember Indianapolis not playing Peyton Manning in their last game, losing to the Titans (I think), and therefore knocking the Browns out of the playoffs a couple years ago?

Such is life, Red Sox fans. Deal with it.

PS what a great chart. These are the Red Sox playoff odds by date. From