Fantastic stuff tonight on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra as the Oakland Athletics finished a fantastic comeback to overhaul the Texas Rangers and win the American League West, and to be in first place in the Division for the first time at the very end of game number 162.
Texas was five games up with nine to go, and no MLB team has lost such a lead before.
I’ve always had a liking for the Athletics, even before Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” book, which made a popular hero of Billy Beane, who was later portrayed in the film version of Moneyball by Brad Pitt.
Tonight the Rangers took an early 5-1 lead, but the Athletics fought back to catch and pass Texas thanks to consistent hitting and errors on defence.
The Athletics won at a canter, tacking on insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, and sealing the win in front of an ecstatic Coliseum crowd by 12-5.
The Rangers still make the postseason in the Wild Card game, but they ought to have sown up the Division, and avoided the need for the one off – lose and go home – wild card game.
The Athletics also did so with a rotation made up of 5 rookies, and the lowest pay roll in baseball. Lessons there for work
Shortly the New York Yankees, my favourite baseball team, start their game with the shambolic Red Sox, although there is never a sure thing in that long and historical rivalry, whilst the Baltimore Orioles face the Tampa Bay Rays, to se if they can catch the Yankees to force a one game playoff for the Division, which will be followed the next day for the loser by the Wild Card game against Texas.
The fact that, after 161 games played by each team, the season depends on number 162 is one of the most engrossing regarding baseball. And after all this, the post season where, literally, everyone can beat everyone else.
So well done Oakland, and commiserations to the Rangers; best wishes too to the Yankees for the win.
Posted by the Designated Hitter, Paul McConville