What a finish!

And this is what it all boils down to.  Yeah, 161 games were played but none of that mattered.  In the greatest finish since The Play (UC-Stanford ’82), The Catch (49ers-Cowboys ’82), The Collapse (Yankees-Red Sox ’04)… Actually, scratch that last one. Nobody needs to be talking about that.  So, 161 games played and there are still 4 teams playing for 2 spots.  In all honesty, I was hoping the Ray and Sox would both win.  A 1-game playoff is always exciting (1978 anyone?) and it would have allowed the Red Sox at redemption.  Yeah, redemption since almost every 2011 MLB Prediction at the beginning of the season had the Red Sox winning the Division. So, not only do they not win the Division, they can’t even muster enough to force a 1-game playoff and at least nab the Wild Card.

I watched the games.  I was on the edge of my seat for the last few innings of both games.  Yes, I was cheering for the Rays and the Sox.  My wife thought I had lost my mind.  When my family reads this, they will probably think I’ve lost my mind.  Maybe I have, but the excitement was overwhelming.  And since we were in public, I couldn’t yell and cheer out loud. Talk about frustrating.  I’m glad I had my Twitter account to vent with.

Watching the game, I wonder. Did the Yankees throw the game in the end?  Did they give the Rays the opportunity to mount the comeback?  Yeah, it sounds crazy but walk with me for a minute on this.

1)      Attitude – Fact, the Yankees clinched.  Since there were no types of season records in play, this was a “meaningless” game.  When in a situation like, most people automatically change their attitude and take things down a few notches. 

2)      Starters – The game started with only 5 regular starters in the initial lineup.  By the end of the 7th, 4 of those had been replaced.

3)      Relief – Girardi had already stated that he wouldn’t be using any relievers in the finale.  So, everyone knows that, no matter what, Mo won’t be in the game.  That’s sure to give opposing batter a boost in confidence.

4)      Exhaustion – Let’s face it, 162 games is a lot of games.  When you don’t clinch until 10 days before the end of the season, you are going to be tired.  Then you still gotta play at 100% to clinch the Division.  Yeah, very tiring.

5)      Opposition – Finally, you have to decide who would you want rather face in the ALDS.  Red Sox or Rays?  Yeah, I’d rather face the Rays because the Red Sox were really dialed in on the Yankees this season.

There you go.  Evidence, flimsy but evidence all the same, that the Yankees could have thrown the game.  But no matter, in the end it was one of the most exciting finishes to the season that I’ve seen in a long time.  I enjoyed watching each and every deciding game.

Congratulations Rays.  See you next season Sox.

(Associated Press)

Big Papi - "See you in the playoffs."

Manny - "No you won't."