Holy *&^%$#@!)(*&^, If I told you in all seriousness, that on the very last day of the season, when Tampa Bay and Boston are tied for the Wild Card spot, that Tampa Bay would be losing 7-0 in the eighth, while Boston would be winning 3-2 at the same time, you would probably assume the Red Sox were going to snag the last postseason spot (rolling in with the Cardinals, who hung on to their 7-0 lead...oops spoiler alert!). in fact, in the space of about three minutes, Boston ended up losing, while Tampa Bay finished off the most unlikely of all comebacks, propelling themselves into October on the strength of the craziest hour of baseball I've ever seen.
The Yankees pinned an early 7-0 lead on the Rays (and in case Boston wants to whine about it, the Yankees didn't remove their starting lineup until the seventh inning, up 7-0). They were cruising in the spoiler role until the bottom of the eighth when a single, double, and HBP loaded the bases for Tampa Bay. Innocuous enough, right? The Rays, at this point, needed the equivalent of TWO grand slams to take the lead. They got a bases-loaded walk. And a bases-loaded HBP. And a sac fly. And a Longoria three-run homerun to close the gap to 7-6. Yet the Rays nearly lost; pinch-hitter DAN JOHNSON was down to the Rays final out and his final strike when he ghost-rode that baseball into the stands to tie the game and send us all into extra innings.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Papelbon, who was heavily used yesterday, was set to close the final out for Boston against the Orioles. He would get two quick outs, and Baltimore looked all but done.
Meanwhile, back at Tampa Bay, Longoria saved the tie game, making a nifty play to tag out a Yankees' runner at third, and preventing the pinstripes from knocking Tampa Bay out.
All looked lost in Baltimore; until the O's managed to squeak out a two-out double. And then...something amazing happened. Another two-out double would tie the game, and a single would give the O's the walk off.
Meanwhile, in the twelfth inning for Tampa Bay, Longoria came up again. I don't have to tell you what happened.
To quote MLB.com: "And just like that, the Red Sox suffered the worst September collapse in baseball history."
Meanwhile, up in Seattle, the A's were generous enough to let me watch a whole lot of other baseball games. Gio Gonzalez picked up career-high win #16 as he dominated the Mariners over 8 strong innings; Jai Miller's first homerun providing all of the run support that Gio would get, or need. This was truly the season that wasn't. So incredibly disappointing, so many dark days; yet we look on to 2012 with something like hope.
It's been a pleasure working for you.
And for old time's sake:
GHOST RIDE THAT VOLVO, DAN JOHNSON!