Rays & Cardinals Play Their Way Into the Playoffs – Red Sox & Braves Out
People. I've seen some crazy sports nights in my life. But my sweet Lord. Nothing was quite as crazy as what happened Wednesday night in the MLB. After a 161 games of rather un-eventful baseball, Major League Baseball seemed to save up all the mind-boggling drama for one night. The result? The Red Sox and the Braves blow historic leads while the Rays and Cardinals sneak into the playoffs.
Seriously. WHAT IN THE NAME OF EVERYTHING HOLY JUST HAPPENED?! The Rays were down nine games just a few weeks ago and found themselves down seven-nothing early to the Yankees. But with the help of two big home runs from Evan Longoria and one from Dan Johnson - who hadn't homered since April...APRIL! - the Rays clawed back and walked off with a win and a playoff spot.
The Red Sox had that nine game lead that the Rays came back from and needed only to win three games against the awful...awful...God awful, yet surprisingly plucky, Baltimore Orioles in the last series of the year. With the season on the line the crimson-hosers of New England took a lead to the ninth inning. But optimism turned to the cruelest kind of misery as Jonathan Papelbon blew the save and allowed the Orioles to walk off with a win when a line drive was dropped by the much maligned Carl Crawford.
The Cardinals needed a win to, at the very least, force a one game playoff with the Braves. They, the only team of the four who looked like a playoff team all night, went out and crushed the little sisters of the poor, or Houston Astros. The Braves took their game with the Phillies deep into extras before finally being vanquished, ending what was then a record-breaking collapse - that record would be broken by the Sox a few hours later.
Four games. Two decided in extra innings, two decided in walk off fashion. This was undoubtedly the most drama-filled, just plain crazy night of baseball I've ever seen, and I've lived through some pretty intense World Series games (see games 3 and 4 of 2001). Look, I don't really know what else to say. Who has two thumbs and is normally an eloquent writer (not to toot my own horn) who's been struck to writer's-block and probably poor syntax as a result of the crazy MLB drama that unfolded before him tonight? This guy. Bottom line, this was sports at its best. Four games, all happening at once, three of which ending in the most dramatic ways you can possibly imagine within a few minutes of each other. Despite what was a largely underwhelming baseball season, this is a night you can't ever forget. Unbelievable. Congratulations to the Rays and the Cardinals. Red Sox? Braves? I give you this:
I'm going to try and re-group. Perhaps tomorrow I'll write a more comprehensive article on tonight. Unbelievable. If you want some more general thoughts on the night, some stream of consciousness, if you will, hit me up on Twitter @JoeBianchino