So. Last night was probably the single greatest night of baseball in the history of the world.
To sum up.
Braves had an 8.5 game lead in the wild card the morning of September 6th. As of last night they were tied with the Cardinals, who ended up absolutely manhandling the Astros on the back of Chris Carpenter. The Braves held a 3-2 lead going into the 9th after a masterful performance by Tim Hudson and their stellar bullpen. However, Rookie closer, Craig Kimbrel, was unable to close out the game - with two outs in the 9th. The Braves ended up losing in 13 innings to their division rivals, the Phillies (who much more resembled a AAA team than MLBs best team). At the time this was the biggest choke in the history of the stretch-drive - no team had held a lead that large and not made the playoffs...
Until about a half hour later.
The Red Sox had a 9 game lead in the wild card on Sepember 3rd. As of last night they were tied with the Rays. After a lengthy rain delay, the Red Sox took a 3-2 lead into the 9th inning against the Orioles (who have owned them of late) - I believe that I saw a stat on twitter that said the Red Sox were something like 77-0 when leading in the 9th. In comes Papelbon, two outs later Chris Davis hits a double with Nolan Reimold following suit - tie ball game. The next batter comes up and hits a flare liner to Carl Crawford (who left the low-payroll Rays for the big bucks of Boston), who can't handle it and the run scores - Red Sox lose.
Now, this wasn't necessarily doomsday for the Red Sox - they still had a chance to play in a 1-game play-in if the Rays lost to the Yankees.
In the Rays game, the Tampa club went down 7-0 to the Yanks and everyone had a fork in them, except no one told the Rays. They stormed back against Yankees reliever Luis Ayala. Yes, that's right. Luis "Gas Can" Ayala. But they were still down 7-6 in the 9th - two outs later, Dan Johnson (he of the .112 average) was in a two strike count and he hit a game tying home run. Incredible.
It took the Rays 13 innings. But the minute they heard the news that Papelbon had blown the save in Baltimore, Evan Longoria took the team on his back and hit a walk-off home run to give the Rays the Wild Card.
In the span of 30 minutes we saw the two greatest collapses and two greatest comebacks in MLB history. And the Red Sox, Braves, and Yankees, at separate points, were all one out away from winning their games.
There will be plenty of time for us to discuss the Nats statistical leaders, their fantastic 80-81 season, and debut our BIGGEST SERIES EVER. But for a second I just want you to appreciate what happened last night in baseball.
It was truly something spectacular.