This is playoff baseball, at least on the East Coast.
You may have awoken Thursday morning groggy and in need of just “five more minutes” with no clue that you missed two fantastic endings to two fantastic Major League Baseball playoff games.
First, in New York, you missed one big decision by Yankees manager Joe Girardi that paid off big time. With Alex Rodriguez — struggling mightily in this ALDS against Baltimore — due to hit in the ninth inning down by a run, Girardi turned to his bench. He called upon Raul Ibanez.
The veteran journeyman stepped to the plate, and promptly did what he does best — hit the low ball — golfing a Jim Johnson offering into the right field bleachers.
A few innings later, Ibanez continued his night as Gotham’s hero with another home run, a walk-off blast in the 12th inning that sent Yankees home happy with their team ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
Things were even nuttier out on the West Coast a little while later. With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, the Oakland Athletics looked destined to be headed home for the winter. The A’s trailed 3-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, just three outs from seeing their season end.
However, the ever-resilient bunch scratched and clawed and fought its way back, eventually setting the stage for postseason hero Coco Crisp. The outfielder continued his impressive play with a walk-off single that helps the pesky A’s live to see another day.
Unfortunately, there probably weren’t many fans who saw the ending of these terrific games. The Yankees-Orioles game started at a decent enough hour (7:37 p.m. ET), but the extra innings made things tough for those who work the 9-to-5 in the morning.
Even fewer hardball fans not on the West Coast or Detroit saw the dramatic ending to the A’s-Tigers matchup. That’s because that game ended after 1 a.m. on the East Coast.
That’s the way it goes with playoff baseball. It’s unfortunate to say the very least that such terrific baseball is going unwatched, but until MLB comes off of the insistence on late starts (they get even later as the playoffs go on), then fans across the country will suffer.
Oh, and the same may happen on Thursday, even with a full four-game slate of games. These two series are the later games again, and they’ll also be going up against the NFL game of Steelers-Titans, as well as the vice presidential debate.
“It kind of caught me off-guard, hitting for a guy who’s half-a-billionaire.”
–Adam Jones on the Yankees’ decision to pinch-hit for Alex Rodriguez
Don’s call of the ending of the A’s-Tigers game was terrific.
— #kitty (@KinielCat) October 11, 2012
This may be rock bottom.