Chances are that some of you read this title and thought about the last time you went to watch a Jays’ game. It could have been the most boring four hours of your summer. The constant meetings between pitchers and catchers on the mound and the slow pace of the game can be excruciating! I will agree that while baseball can be a very boring sport to watch at times as soon a something important is on the line, baseball becomes the most exciting, nail biting, and best sport to watch.
Usually all the excitement begins in the post season, however, this year, the last day of the season was one for the record books. Let’s bring it back one month. The Boston Red Sox had a nine game lead in the American League Wild Card race coming into September. The Tampa Bay Rays were certainly creeping up on the Sox. The Rays set a Major League record for making up games to reach the post season. The Sox set the reciprocal record of blowing their nine game lead. On the last night of the regular season, both teams needed to win, which meant one team needed to lose.. The Red Sox this year has been 77-0 when leading after the 8th inning. Up by one run, the manager of the Red Sox, Terry Francona, brought one of the most dominant pitchers in the game to close things out, Jonathan Papelbon. This year Papelbon was 30-31 in save opportunities. In the bottom of the 9th, with the score tied, Robert Andino of the Orioles hit a walk-off single to give Papelbon his 2nd blown save of the year. Ironically, Andino was also the culprit of Papelbon’s 1st blown save. An outstanding performance by Tampa Bay against the Yankees resulted in them coming back from a seven run deficit to win the game in extra innings. Evan Longoria made history in the bottom of the 12th on September 28, 2011 hitting a solo walk off homerun. This was the first time a walk off home run has won a pennant since Bobby Thompson hit a shot for the New York Giants in 1951. The Yankees had not lost with a seven run lead after the 8th inning since 1953. Both the Red Sox and the Yankees came within one strike of winning their games. This would have forced a tiebreaker game between the Sox and Rays to determine who would punch their ticket to the post season.
That night was one to remember for both baseball enthusiasts and general sports fans. One night of intense clutch moments and perseverance made September 28th, 2011 a night of baseball to remember. It was the most exciting baseball spectacle and non-playoff sport moment in history.