To be perfectly honest with you, I didn't really care about this game when it started, and even through the middle innings, I only gave the box score the occasional passing glance. I was still just feeling all baseballed out, and I don't have any particular interest in either of these teams. But when I got into my car to drive home, turned to ESPN Radio, and heard that crowd...crowds suck me in. I don't think that makes me unique, but atmosphere is such a critical part of my enjoyment that in a situation like this it can make it or break it. Today it made it. As soon as I noticed that Dave Campbell had to shout I drove home fast enough to spend the first five minutes back researching the efficacy of red light cameras.
That heart-stopper was just jam-packed with moments that you knew in your heart of hearts meant the game. So many, in fact, that it feels almost ridiculous to suggest that thewere dead as soon as they couldn't score in the 12th, because that was like the eighth or ninth time I thought "oh man that's gonna do it." By that point, who knew? Detroit certainly hadn't done itself any favors, but looking at the batters Minnesota had coming up, odds still pointed to there being a 13th inning. And were it not for Casilla locating his grounder perfectly, there very probably would've been. These things have to end eventually, though, and any team that loses will have its missed opportunities. Detroit now gets to face an offseason of reflecting on theirs, while Minnesota gets a night to forget about their own. They didn't cap off an improbable come back, but they capped off an impressive one. A wonderful day for a team and a fan base that didn't want to see this ride come up one game short.
On the Tigers side, cheers to Rick Porcello for an outing most people by now have forgotten. Cheers to Brandon Inge for coming up with a big hit and a game-saving stop in the field. Cheers to Miguel Cabrera for making people shut up, if only for a few hours. Cheers to Jim Leyland for not keeling over and dying during any one of 11 total pitching changes. And jeers to Ryan Raburn for a godawful dive that he'll be seeing in his sleep. And for the , cheers to making the patented model work for a team not named the Angels. They'll be facing some lousy odds, but five games isn't very long, and even if the get knocked out in three, they'll always have this memory.
I love the one-game playoff.