I've been thinking all day about what I was going to write. I was going to analyze some of the numbers of the past month and show how it wasn't curses or the Yankees screwing us over, it was poor play, plain and simple. Then, I was going to recap everything that happened last night, but that just sounds too painful. In the end, I decided to just write what I felt, because last night was just one of those nights that you have to take a step back and realize what you just saw.
As soon as all the games ended and the Red Sox had officially missed the postseason, I texted my brother asking if this is real life. Did Dan Johnson really just play a major role in ending the Red Sox. The guy who hadn't had a hit since April 27th hit a game-tying home run with two outs in the bottom of the 9th in the 162nd game. My brother responded by saying that he wishes he could have enjoyed the night. That's when I realized it. I did enjoy last night.
The Red Sox being knocked out was incredibly painful, I'll admit that. Scutaro hesitating around the bases, Aviles missing out on that double play ball, leading to a run, and Papelbon's 9th inning were all moments I could have lived without. However, as a baseball fan, isn't last night the reason we gravitate to this sport. All day yesterday was filled with anticipation. No other sport can sustain that much tension because no other sport is played everyday. Minutes seemed like hours leading up to 7:00 ET as all of Red Sox nation awaited their team's postseason fate. In the other league, Atlanta was in the midst of a similar collapse as the Red Sox and were tied with the Cardinals atop the National League Wild Card.
As a neutral observer, last night had everything. It had a marquee pitcher (David Price), prestigious teams (Boston, New York and St. Louis), and upsets (the Orioles winning). Dan Johnson is one of the most unlikely heroes in baseball history, approaching Aaron Boone and Bucky Dent territory in Boston. It even had a rain delay, which it felt like there were more of this year than in years past.
Typically, the numbers are my favorite thing to talk about here, me being a math major and all. However, last night was one of those nights where emotions take you over. Looking at a box score will tell you that Evan Longoria hit the walk off home run for the Rays to make the playoffs. However, it will not tell you that it was a low line drive that just made it down the line in left, in the only part of the park that would allow a ball that low to clear the fence. It also wouldn't tell you how the homer came three minutes after Papelbon blew the save. (How every moment in these games coincided, with help from mother nature, was my favorite part of last night. It was just madness).
So, it sucks that the Red Sox are out, I know. This whole season making the postseason had been a foregone conclusion, and now it got torn away from us in the blink of an eye. However, I urge you to take a step back and look at what happened last night. It was the best night of regular season baseball I've ever seen. It was every reason why I'm a baseball fan and then some.
PS. Thanks to all who have been reading my stuff over my first season with the blog. It was a good time, no matter the ending. Over the offseason, I'll look back at everyone's seasons individually, as well as some other ideas that have been spinning around my head. The blog won't stop and I will try to update it every other day or so, although school may get in the way of this from time to time.