Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Beauty of a 162 Game Season
And baseball is not relevant, you say? Doesn't attract a younger demographic?
With one night left in what is the longest season in professional sports, there were eight, yes, eight Major League teams that could determine the composition of the playoffs. There is not one sport, not one, that could bring such drama to so many sports cities, at one time.
Baseball created an epic drama that was worthy of an episode of 24. The 120 minutes between 10:12pm on September 28, and 12:12am on September 29th, had everything but the tic-toc countdown. I swear I saw Jack Bauer on the set of the MLB Network.
The Cardinals and Braves settled their affairs first. The Cardinals rolled over the Astros, while the Braves limped home with an extra innings loss. Cards in, Braves out. Done.
Then it got better. The Rays were trailing 7-0 to the Yankees in the eighth inning. Over 900 miles away in Baltimore, the Red Sox were leading the Orioles by a score of 3-2.
Then it got EVEN better. The Rays rallied to tie the score and send it to extra innings. The Red Sox bring in their closer who gets two outs in the ninth. We are done, right? At this point, we are all thinking we are going to see game #163 in the American League, a one-game playoff, for sure.
Not so fast. At 12:04am on September 29th, the Orioles rallied to tie, and then win the game.
Just minutes after the news had reached the out-of-town scoreboard at Tropicana Stadium, Ryan Longoria goes deep to win 8-7 and the Rays are your American League Wild Card, just like that. Rays win, Rays win.
By 12:12 am it had been settled. What looked improbable just an hour before, had become reality. 30 teams had played 162 games apiece and it went to the very last inning, of the very last game, before the playoffs were settled.
Baseball is the nations pastime.