by Ken Kay
I went to bed early last night but I'm glad I stayed awake to witness the best three minutes of baseball I've ever seen. I hopped in bed just after 10:30 and my wife handed me the remote. I love when this happens, this means it's time to turn off "Friends" and watch sports before I pass out. On comes ESPN.
So I'm lying in bed while watching the Red Sox try to close out their game against Baltimore. There was no doubt in my mind after seeing the look on Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon's face that Boston would live to see tomorrow. The Red Sox were up one run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. No one was on base for the O's and there was two strikes on the hitter. And then $#^T gets crazy.
Chris Davis lines a double into right-center and all of a sudden the winning run for Baltimore is at the plate. Kyle Hudson came in to pinch run for Davis and then Nolan Reimold smacks a double of his own, scoring Hudson to tie the game at three.
The next batter, Robert Andino, wasted no time at the plate and hits a liner to left field that Carol Crawford couldn't come up with. The throw home isn't in time and now I've just witnessed the worst choke in baseball history. The Red Sox were up nine games in the Wild Card when September started and then lost 20 of their last 27 games to destroy their chances of playing in October.
So now ESPN turns to the Rays and Yankees game, live from "The Trop". As soon as they tune into the game, Tampa Bay Rays slugger Evan Longoria is at the plate in the bottom of the 12th inning. I hear one of the announcers confirm if the Rays win it here, they are the AL Wild Card winners. Well, ESPN and the baseball world couldn't time this more perfectly because after one fouled off pitch, Longoria crushes a line-drive home run that sneaks it's way over the wall in left. Game over. Rays win.
I couldn't believe it. I seriously just witnessed one of the coolest three minutes in baseball I've ever seen. This has movie script written all over it. Ya know, if in fact the Rays win the pennant and then win their first World Series Championship.
And on top of all of that, the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL Wild Card and the Atlanta Braves lost. The Cardinals were back eight games behind the Braves a few weeks ago and the Braves let them in the playoffs. I don't know which team's choke is worse, Boston or Atlanta?
Simply put, the Rays deserved it and the Red Sox didn't. Same goes for the Cards and the Braves.
I have to end this by agreeing with Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt when they opened Sports Center last night.
Stuart Scott - "This last day in the regular season for baseball had potential drama to be here [waving his hand over his head]....and it quadrupled it!"
Scott Van Pelt - "I say it all the time and this is why I say it, sports is the best,[stuttering, at a loss for words] greatest thing ever at anytime, over everything"