Good God

There isn’t a lot left to say about one of — scratch that — the craziest night in regular season baseball history. Four huge games, threetwo went into extra innings and another came to within a strike of ending in the bottom of 9; producing drama unlike any we have seen before.

The Rays made hay against an increasingly depleted Yankees lineup while the Orioles continued battling the Red Sox with all they had. In the National League, the Cardinals graciously accepted their bye and awaited the outcome of the Phillies – Braves game for many/most/all the marbles.

So, so much happened in such a short period of time, it is difficult to process. Evan Longoria cemented his case as the American League’s best player. Two of the very best closers in baseball blew one run leads, proving once and for all that just about anything can happen. A fringe major leaguer recorded his first big league hit in months in a humongous spot.

It was, in this time of ever-present hyperbole, true madness.

The fallout from last night will be felt quite some time. The questions swirling around the Red Sox start with manager Terry Francona and echo through the roster. David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon are both free agents, the latter the most likely to depart.

The Braves face similar questions – can they move forward with Fredi Gonzalez as their manager? He’s generally awful and his litany of questionable decisions demand accountability. What will the Braves do with Derek Lowe? How much does Chipper have to give? Is there a way to measure the karmic backlash of handing out tens of thousands of tomahawks in 2011? It appears so.

The Cardinals and Rays sneak into the playoffs at the eleventh hour – can they make noise now that they’re in? The Cardinals got exactly what they needed from Chris Carpenter: a complete game performance which bought their beleaguered bullpen an extra day of rest. But is this a team that can legitimately challenge the Phillies? How much of their success is due to Atlanta’s complete collapse?

The Rays, by virture of their significant pitching depth, look to be in much better shape. They can start James Shields on short rest of just start rookie Matt Moore in game one of the ALDS. Why not? It isn’t as though the Rays are too concerned with traditional narratives or experience. If they think he can beat the Rangers, he’ll be out there.

Momentum in baseball is a funny thing in that it doesn’t really exist. The second season starts and erases any and all memories of last night’s madness. There aren’t any Scott Proctor’s lurking in the bullpens of Texas or Detroit. The high-stress workload of the last week doesn’t just disappear from teams scratching and clawing their way into October baseball.

But that is tomorrow’s debate. The winners and losers, favorites and underdogs will be debated and foolish picks and predictions will so south as soon as they’re made tomorrow. Today is a day to reflect on everything that makes this game great, the pitch-by-pitch drama that and legendary swings in fortune that no other sport can match. Baseball, man. It’s the [Getting Blanked]ing best.

Comments (18)

  1. I actually jumped clean out of my chair at both of Longoria’s homeruns, as well as Johnson’s PH HR. What an epic comeback. Looks good on the Red Sox.

  2. Your tears are so yummy and sweet, Red Sox Nation.

  3. actually, only 2 of the games went to Extra innings

  4. 91 wins for WC winner -lowest since 2000. Doubt that will happen again for a while.

  5. I cried a little – so much happiness and mostly because I sooo badly wanted the Sox to collapse out of the playoffs.

  6. Best. Sport. Ever.

    I leapt out of my chair when Longoria won it. I expect he’ll be getting votes for MVP this year after the surge he’s had in the second half.

    • other than the one-game 16 (or so) inning playoff a few years back between the padres and rockies, this is the closest to the feelings evoked by the contending jays i can remember experiencing.
      just so incredible that each event – from the rain delay that could have led to a bs win, to the playoff-sending walkoff hr – seemed scripted, and like everyone watching (outside boston and atlanta fans, of course) was hoping for the same thing.

  7. Last night was such a blast to watch. Have to give some (very minor) kudos to Sportsnet for getting all four games on. They even prempted hockey!

  8. I didn’t go to sleep for like 3 hours after those games…I was too wired. I’ve never in my life witnessed anything like that in the arena of sports.

    • i hear that. i’m yawning today through my perma smile. YAH BASEBALL

    • It almost feels too good to be true. I don’t mean the outcome, either. I mean those situations. Bases loaded triple play in game two. Pinch hit homerun with a strike left in the game. Rookies pitching like heroes…

      It would be absurd if it was a movie script.

  9. I guess the Braves and Red Sox will be looking at getting a ‘proven closer’ in the off season.

    • Papelbon’s about the most “proven” closer in the game…and Kimbrel was the best reliever in baseball this season by far. But by all means, they should go and get Jose Valverde or Kevin Gregg in the offseason

  10. Greatest baseball night ever. We’ll never see such an epic collapse again. Still can’t believe Dan Johnson hit that ball out with 2 strikes on him.

  11. Would like to hear more from you on Fredi Gonzalez than a line saying he is ‘generally awful’. Sure looked a good manager until 2 of their best starting pitchers got hurt + Moylan and I think the blame falls on Frank Wren not Fredi that he couldnt trust anyone else in the bullpen. He gave him useless arms like Linebrink. Far too harsh.

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