Dodgers Say Goodbye to 2011 on Greatest Night in Baseball History


I was going to put up a post after this game that served as a quick season recap before we get into offseason business, but after everything that’s happened tonight, that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow. Who, myself included, could honestly focus on the relatively meaningless Dodger game tonight, even though it was the final one of the year?

Sure, I had it up on MLB.tv on my computer, and I cheered when Matt Kemp hit his 39th homer of the year. But I also had the Red Sox / Orioles game sharing half the screen, with Phillies / Braves & Yankees / Rays (once the Yankee bullpen started to fall apart) sharing time on my television. As if having four must-win games with vital playoff implications wasn’t enough, three of them were nailbiters, with two going into extra innings. I absolutely cannot remember a night of baseball more entertaining than this, to the point where the “OH MY GOD” I posted on Twitter when Dan Johnson completed the Tampa comeback with a 2-2, two out dinger in the 9th was matched by a similar verbal exclamation in my living room, even though it was a game I had absolutely no vested interest in.

Honestly, part of this has to be the times we live in. Simply watching 3-4 amazing games on multiple devices simultaneously (plus the Dodger game) wasn’t enough, because the magic of Twitter meant that I was watching them with about 150 of my closest friends. As I joked at the time that Johnson’s ball hit the foul pole, I wish I could have printed out the last 200 or so tweets and framed them.

And then it got even better. The Braves choked away their game in the 13th inning in Philly. About 15 minutes later, Jonathan Papelbon gave up the tying and winning runs in Baltimore. Less than five minutes after that, Evan Longoria was walking off in Tampa. Is that even all accurate? Who can tell – it all happened so fast, and so hilariously, because in the span of about 20 minutes we witnessed the two worst collapses in baseball history.

I loved every minute of it. Seriously. I can’t remember the last time watching baseball was so absolutely joyful, and I’m not sure we’ll ever see anything like it again.

And the Dodgers? Yeah, that happened. Ted Lilly threw seven solid shutout innings, and five Dodgers had two hits, including James Loney‘s 12th homer of the year. Really, the game was in no way as close as the 7-5 final would indicate, because it was 7-0 until Ramon Troncoso decided it was time to allow a grand slam and then a solo homer in the ninth. Oh, and we saw another kind of history: when Eugenio Velez grounded out weakly to second, it was his 46th consecutive hitless at-bat, a new major league record. So, uh, congrats there, Eugenio.

But let’s not pretend any of that is more important than this, Rod Barajas holding Gordon in some sort of bizarre baby cradle before the game. For a guy who writes hundreds (or more) words about the Dodgers every day, I am, for once, speechless:

Back tomorrow with the farewell to 2011 post. For now, I’m breathless from an absolutely outstanding night of baseball.

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