A team with over $160 million in payroll, the Boston Red Sox, were practically handed the World Series trophy before the season even began, and for four months the regular season, all those prognosticators looked to be spot on. And then September happened.
The team that had been the best suddenly became the worst. They had a 9 game lead for a playoff spot and then when 7-19 in September to fall into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays who have a quarter the Red Sox payroll. 6 months of regular season play and a 162 game season come down to one last game for two teams battling for either a playoff berth or a playoff for the playoff berth. It's unreal. I had to teach my class while everything began to unfold, but I was checking on the scores all along the way. When my class started, the Rays were losing 5-0 and Boston was up 3-2. Finish class and all of a sudden Tampa is down 7-6 with one inning, and Boston and the Orioles are in rain delay. Race home to find Tampa has tied it. Flash to the Sox-O's and watch their collapse in the bottom of the 9th inning. 4-3 Orioles. Game change to Tampa Bay in the midst of Evan Longoria's at-bat when he hits a home run in the bottom of the 12th to win the game and get the wild card spot that the Sox had choked up. As close as that is to read in text was how it happened in reality. 3 minutes after the Sox blew their 9th inning lead Longoria hit a walk-off home run. Unbelievable.
I wish there was a better quality video, but this will suffice. The guys on Sportscenter are always kind of juvenile, but I loved Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt because you can see that their reactions are so genuine. And Scott Van Pelt's lines are priceless. My favorite that's not in this video was, "I wanna vomit and I don't even have a dog in the fight."
"Sports are better than anything else. Always." Truer words have never been spoken. I remember when Bo Jackson destroyed his hip in the playoff game against the Bengals when I was 8 or 9. I remember when Francisco Cabrera knocked in Sid Bream with David Justice running up his back in 1991 to win the NLCS in the bottom of the ninth. I remember a lot of sports night. And I'll remember this one for many years to come. Just amazing.