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“Baseball is a sport for red-blooded men, a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest”

Sep 29, 2011, 1:26 AM EDT

Ryan Theriot AP

“Baseball is a red-blooded sport for red-blooded men. It’s no pink tea, and mollycoddles had better stay out. It’s a struggle for supremacy, a survival of the fittest.”     — Ty Cobb

Cobb uttered those words over 80 years ago.

Tonight, during the final gasp of baseball’s 2011 regular season, we were given an astounding, engrossing, riveting, spellbinding and intoxicating verification of the quote’s utter and absolute truth.

Four teams entered the evening with a shot at postseason life. After two extra-innings contests, an hour-long rain delay in Baltimore, three separate blown save opportunities, and a whole host of failures and heroics in between, only the Rays and Cardinals popped champagne.

From Chris Carpenter‘s two-hit shutout in Houston, to Evan Longoria‘s two-homer night in Tampa Bay, the baseball gods were beaming. And at the same time tugging mercilessly on the heartstrings of Braves and Red Sox supporters, who witnessed their teams finish off historic tumbles to the wrong side of history.

What other sport can possibly demand that 2,430 games be completed before crowning all of its yearly postseason invitees? Baseball is cruel. Its schedule is an unrelenting beast. But we soak it up. We read, we write, we analyze, we yell, we scream. And we ask questions. So many damn questions.

Then the game gives back with a night like this, rendering our mouths and minds inconsequential. We’re all morons at baseball’s mercy. Throw out the numbers. Forget the payrolls. It’s on to October.

  1. tacklemeelmo - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    I feel like eating some red meat after reading that Ty Cobb quote.

    • Drew Silva - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:25 AM

      Thumbs down came from a vegetarian, dude. Carry on.

      • Old Gator - Sep 29, 2011 at 7:57 AM

        I kinda like that passage in T. C. Boyle’s story “The Descent of Man,” where this guy dining on monkey brains in Morocco sticks his spoon into his dinner and suddenly feels a little hand grab his leg under the table….

  2. kandh2004 - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Besides watching the Phillies win the world series in 08 this had to be the best night of baseball I watched in my 20 years of watching the sport

    • icanspeel - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:55 AM

      Was one of the best nights in baseball I have seen in awhile. Braves vs Phillies, Red Sox vs Orioles, Rays vs Yankees all had crazy games that mattered. I found myself on edge flipping between each game constantly.

      • texasdawg - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM

        The Tigers and Rangers as well. Late inning heroics by Peralta to temporarily take the division series home field… and then Napoli to steal it right back with a 2-out, 9th inning home run.

  3. yankeesgameday - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:42 AM

    I have to admit the way the Yanks went out of their way to try not to win any of their games against tampa takes the shine off of tonight for me. Tampa did not get NYs best shot while Baltimore played with guts and heart everyday for the last month.

    My hat goes off to that Oriole team for giving everyone they played down the stretch their best shot to the chin.

    • prionogenic - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:03 AM

      C’mon you aren’t giving the ray’s enough credit. Although Mariano didn’t pitch tonight, Teixeira, Granderson, Cano, ARod, and the rest of the lineup started for the Yanks during the 3-game series. Sure they didn’t play as well as it seems they could, but they weren’t sending minor leaguers up there to play either.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:38 AM

        Well the MLB starters staked the Yanks to a 7-0 lead. However, by the 9th inning I think almost every starter was out.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      Yeah, because the Yanks had a more important priority – staying healthy. And quite honestly, it’s not like Boston didn’t have their own cracks at the Yanks’ split-squad lineups.

    • bh0673 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      Gameday let’s be fair they had a 7 run lead last night why not rest your starters, last Sunday night they had a bench full of starters against Boston but they didn’t play them that night either. You had Golson in the 3 hole batting .111 and the eighth and ninth hitters Pena and Romaine batting under .200 as well so they kind of let Boston win that night as well. Why risk injury in a game that means nothing for your team?

  4. btwicey - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:23 AM

    Regardless of what lineup the yankees put out there, boston should never have pit themselves in that situation to begin with. What an amazing night, you couldn’t script it any better from a neutral fans perspective.

    • bh0673 - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      Tht is the point the Yankees had every right to rest their players and not risk injury. They also had a 7 run lead have they taken out starters before in regular season games with a big lead? ABSOLUTELY! Boston handed the AL East to the Yankees and have only themselves to blame just like they let BAltimore win last night to hand the wild card to Tampa. BTWICEY is right Boston should never have put themselves in that situation. If it were the other way around I am sure Francona would have played it the same way if things were reversed.

  5. mgflolox - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:32 AM

    It doesn’t matter what the Yankees did or didn’t do, the Red Sox controlled their own destiny. Win and they’re in. Anything else is sour grapes. Take care of your own business and don’t worry about what other teams do or don’t do.

  6. paperlions - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    We all made fun of the quote from Showalter earlier this year….but last night (and probably still today)…he really is enjoying having beaten Boston.

  7. Joe - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Just think, if this was next year and there was an extra Wild Card team, none of this would have mattered!

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      Yeah, the Sox and Rays, and the Cardinals and Braves would be having a one game playoff for the wildcard. Last night’s games would have determined the home teams for the playoff. How would this be better?

  8. jshamrock - Sep 29, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    I can’t imagine any single night of the regular season being so entertaining. I guess if you’re a fan of Boston or Atlanta it was tough to truly enjoy, but for everyone else………..wow.

  9. yournuts - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    The Yankees have to take care of the Yankees! There not responsible for the Red Sox season or collapse. The Red Sox have to take care of their own business. Supposed in last nights game David Robertson or Mariano Riveria came in to close out the 9th inning and they got injured and lost for the post season? Imagine what that would do to the Yankee team in a meaningless game!
    The Yankees earned the right to do whatever they wanted because they won the division and won home field advantage throughout the ALCS. They have to take care of their own and they don’t owe squat to the Boston Red Chokes!

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