- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
- Clinton aide admits soliciting disgraced D.C. fundraiser; says actions were legal
- Joel Osteen church victimized in $600K theft
- Obama goes shopping at Gap as minimum-wage thanks
- N.J. woman charged after client dies from black-market butt injections
- CIA chief Brennan ‘determined’ to speak out more this year
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- 9/11 terror recruiter released in Syrian prisoner swap
- D.C. elections board gives green light to marijuana legalization initiative
- Elephants can tell difference between human languages: study
Baseball playoff pairings set on one stunning night
Jim Leyland still was dazed a day later. So were baseball fans everywhere, trying to explain one of the wackiest wrap-ups to the sport's regular season. In case you missed it:
• Down to his last strike, a benchwarmer delivered a lightning bolt.
• Desperate to make a catch, the $142 million man let the ball slip away.
• Trying to get it right, an umpire reversed a call.
Pitch by pitch, the playoff picture flipped. Startling collapses and stunning rallies left fans bleary-eyed and a little exhausted, what with a season's worth of hope, joy and failure wrapped into a single night.
Midnight came, along with more madness. When it was over, Tampa Bay and St. Louis were in, Boston and Atlanta were out.
"That was probably the most dramatic day in the history of the game, it really was," Texas Rangers star Michael Young said Thursday. "You have those two games with dramatic endings, three games with dramatic endings, just a crazy day."
Added teammate Ian Kinsler: "Oh, man, we were on the bus, checking in for the plane, getting luggage checked, going through security line and guys are screaming, 'They tied it up! Baltimore tied it up!"
Cellphones, split screens, three TVs at time, a rain delay in Baltimore - it was hardly enough to keep track of the four teams vying for the wild card berths in the National and American leagues on Wednesday, the final day of the regular season.
Leyland and his Detroit Tigers already were assured a trip to the postseason. But the 66-year-old manager was riveted in his office, watching Boston and Tampa Bay play their games.
Leyland turned to Tigers coach Lloyd McClendon for help.
"Trust me, I don't have one, but McClendon has one of those fancy things you can watch. I don't know what they call it. Playman," Leyland said Thursday.
An iPad, actually.
"I could see it. Then it went out because of the satellite or something. I don't know, it came back on. You could hear it, then you could see it again," he said. "It was great. We were talking back and forth."
"You can't explain this to people, the emotions in baseball. Even from our side. Just watching it. We became fans."
It's only September, and the playoffs start Friday.
"It was just a cool night," Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. "I was at home watching it with my son. We got a little setup, so we were able to watch all the games at one time. It was actually a pretty cool night, seeing what happened."
The Yankees seemed ready to wreck the Rays, taking a 7-0 lead into the eighth inning. But the Rays somehow rallied, with little-used Dan Johnson - batting only .108 this year - launching a tying, pinch-hit home run with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth.
Evan Longoria ended it in the 12th with a home run that hooked just inside the left-field foul pole for an 8-7 win. It was the first time since 1953 the Yankees had led by at least seven runs in the eighth and lost, STATS LLC said.
The Rays' win capped their rally from a nine-game deficit against Boston in the final 3 1/2 weeks.
Boston finished 7-20 and became the first team to miss the postseason after holding that large of an edge entering September.
For the Red Sox, it was an agonizing end. Ace reliever Jonathan Papelbon took a 3-2 lead into the ninth at Baltimore. He was one strike away from finishing when the Orioles struck, and Robert Andino hit a single that sliding left fielder Carl Crawford - signed to that $142 million deal - couldn't quite snag. The Orioles won 4-3.
The ball that escaped Crawford was much harder to field than the one that rolled under Bill Buckner's glove so many years ago, but no doubt Red Sox fans will cringe at the memory of both.
"End of season like this, to make Boston go home sad, crying, I'll take it all day," Andino said.
The Orioles won shortly after umpire Scott Barry called Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury out at first base, but changed the call to safe after consulting with the crew chief. The umps ruled - correctly - that Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds juggled the ball.
The Braves let their last chance get away, too. Ahead of St. Louis by 10 1/2 games in late August and still up by 8 1/2 on the morning of Sept. 6, Atlanta went into the final day of the regular season tied with the Cardinals for the NL wild card.
St. Louis won early, leaving it up to the Braves. But rookie closer Craig Kimbrel blew a ninth-inning lead against Philadelphia, and the Phillies wound up winning 4-3 in the 13th.
After it was over, Kimbrel had a hard time explaining what went wrong.
"My mind was rushing," he said. "Things started moving too fast. My head started moving too fast. My brain. I didn't put it together. It was just too late."
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- LOZANSKY: World War III over Ukraine, anyone?
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Minister sees breakthrough 'in months' for long-split Cyprus
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again