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Baltimore Sports Blitz

Sports Baltimore Sports Blitz

It happened all at once

For pure drama and entertainment value, it’s going to be hard to beat what happened on Sept. 28 — and a minute or two of Sept. 29 — when the planets lined up perfectly on the final night of the baseball regular season to decide who would earn the wild card playoff berth from each league. I was in the press box at Camden Yards, of course, when intermittent rain stretched out the Orioles’ season finale against the Boston Red Sox. It was as if the baseball gods had decided that everything should decided at the same time, because the Atlanta Braves were locked in a 13-inning game against the Phillies with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance and the Tampa Bay Rays were staging a miraculous seven-run comeback to force the Yankees into extra innings. Everybody knows what happened. The hard part is explaining it. The Orioles came from behind with two runs in the bottom of the ninth against Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to score a walk-off victory on a game-winning single by Robert Andino. The Red Sox still would have made the playoffs if the Yankees hadn’t blown a huge lead and Evan Longoria had not delivered a walk-off homer in the 12th inning to vault the Rays into the postseason just three minutes after the end of the game at Oriole Park. The Braves, meanwhile, would lose to the Phillies and — like the Red Sox — complete an ignominious late-season collapse. It was simply amazing — one of the most unlikely and enchanting regular-season curtain closers in the history of baseball. -- Peter Schmuck Greg Fiume, Getty Images
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