Out of Bounds While Thinking About How Great This Game Is : Out of Bounds - The DFW Sports Newsletter
Out of Bounds
The DFW Sports Newsletter

Out of Bounds While Thinking About How Great This Game Is

by Joshua Best on 09/29/11

Wednesday September 28, 2011 - a date that baseball fans will never forget. After watching the Rangers and Mike Napoli crush the Angels to secure home field in the ALDS, end with a 10 game lead, achieve their best record ever (96-66), and finish with just one win less than the Yankees for the third best record in baseball, my attentions turned to the other epic battles what were going on. DirecTV was there to help, airing the Phillies-Braves, Yankees-Rays, and Orioles-Red Sox all on their various ESPN stations.

 

Joel and I switched back and forth from game to game, frantically trying to take in every pitch and knowing the games could turn at any moment. Anyone reading this knows what happened, but as it unfolded, we were continually awe-struck, dumbfounded as the unlikely events mounted and the impossible became reality.

 

Extra innings in Atlanta and Tampa Bay. The games wore on as the night aged. Just 26 days before, the Red Sox owned a 9 game lead over the Rays. By Sept. 6, their chances of making the playoffs stood at 99.87%. There are so few guarantees and .13% is statistically non-existent. Except in baseball.

 

We watched of course as Rangers fans, knowing that tanking, reeling Boston team was probably the better team to wish we could meet in the first round. With a one run lead and the almost perfect Jonathan Papelbon on the hill with 2 outs, it seemed all but certain the Red Sox would win. Rick Sutcliff certainly thought so. And with two outs, I saw Chris Davis making his way to the plate.

 

"Well this is a strikeout waiting to happen," I said, certain it was over. Oh, me of little faith. There is no player I want to succeed more than Davis, but he just hasn't been able to put it together - more of a Kevin Reimer or Kevin Mench than a Josh Hamilton. But it was Papelbon. Come on.

 

And then Chrissy doubled down the right field line and represented the tying run for the Orioles. Immediately I knew something wasn’t right. Or was very, very right.

 

When the sinking liner went toward left two batters later, I was amused to see Carl Crawford out there just missing the play. The baseball gods were laughing at the Red Sox, who finally have to be wondering why the curse has suddenly reared its head again.  And a few minutes later when Evan Longoria's liner to left cleared the wall in Tampa, well, I can’t imagine the havoc that must have been wreaked on the visitor’s clubhouse inBaltimore.

 

The figures are unfathomable. No team had ever overcome an 8 game deficit in September to make the playoffs. Two teams did it this year (Rays - AL 9 games, Cards - NL 8.5 games). No one had hit a walk-off homer to earn a playoff spot in 60 years since a certain "Shot heard "round the world." The Yankees hadn’t blown a seven run lead after the eighth inning since 1953. Going the other way, the Rangers, just two games up a couple of weeks ago finished a full 10 games above the Angels and completed their finest regular season ever at 96-66, 30 games over .500. And the happiest sad fans anywhere have to be in Atlanta. After blowing their own 8.5 game September lead, at least it was at the hands of the best team in baseball (The Phillies), and the fact is, no one will remember it.

 

So we turn our attentions to the playoffs wondering what they hold in the way of drama. Much, to be sure, but 9/28/2011 will be hard to top.

 

Joel and I are looking forward to finding out.

  

PS- Old time Mavs fans will appreciate the latest DFW sports blog I discovered. You can read the UWE BLOG here:http://www.uweblogsports.blogspot.com/

 

I kid you not.

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"I want you to know that although I am here, I am fundamentally against this foolishness..."

OOB founder Joshua Best to parking lot attendant at the first interleague game in baseball history - 6/12/1997

Out of Bounds
The DFW Sports Newsletter
Joshua Best with HOF pitcher Bert Blyleven in 2002.
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