Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joy, sorrow and endurance

Joy for the Rays; despair
for the Braves.
The best day of the year is Opening Day. Summer lies ahead, and hundreds of baseball games, and anything is possible.

And the worst day is the final day of the season — with winter ahead, and all the games behind.

I spent much of this September wishing the Twins ordeal would end. And now that it has, I wish it weren't — that there would be more at-bats for Rene Tosoni and Chris Parmelee, more warm nights at the ball yard.

It's best that it does end, of course; it has been a miserable season for the Twins, and getting out of it without hitting triple-digits in the loss column is as close as they can come to leaving with a good taste in their mouths.

It's best that the season end, too, because without a finish line there can be no drama such as that of Wednesday night, when the Rays and Red Sox and Braves played excruciatingly tight games with their seasons at stake. Two of those games went extra innings, the third was decided in the bottom of the ninth.

Tampa Bay overcame a 7-0 deficit with six runs in the eighth and a two-out, two-strike homer in the bottom of the ninth — from a guy hitting .108 — to tie the score. They won in the 12th inning — concluding a stretch drive that saw them overtake the Red Sox, who had led the wild-card hunt by nine games earlier in the month.

Boston's payroll exceeded $160 million; Tampa Bay's was under $42 million. While I'd rather see the Yankees miss out on the playoffs than Boston, I'll pretty much always pull for the $40 million team over the $160 million team.

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