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Audio & Video of 'Buffalo's Grand Old Game' -- 30 years later

Grand Old Game 1984
Who's Who in the group photo (CLICK for bigger view!) -- Front Row: Unknown, Batboy Kevin Lester Jr., Kevin Lester, Bob Feller, Brooks Robinson, Art Ponto, Max Patkin, Glenn Beckert, Bobby Richardson, Tommy Davis, Milt Pappas, Unknown, Unknown.    Middle Row: Early Wynn, Gene Mauch, Contest Winner Joan Mammott, Billy Pierce, Ernie Banks, Warren Spahn, Umpire Shag Crawford, Umpire Al Barlick, Smoky Burgess, Enos Slaughter, Sibby Sisti, Randy Hundley, Alvin Dark, Unknown.     Back Row: Herman Franks, Sal Maglie, Monte Irvin, Whitey Ford, Hoyt Wilhelm, Jose Cardenal, Moose Skowron, Larry Doby, Luke Appling, Jimmy Piersall, Minnie Minoso; Tony Oliva, Umpire Tom Gorman, Orlando Cepeda, Don Newcombe, Don Kessinger, Phil Regan, Johnny Sain, Marv Throneberry, Phil Regan, Bobby Thomson, Phil Cavarretta, Mike Billoni, Unknown. Notes: Willie Mays was not in the picture/From Pete Weber archives

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read Sunday's Inside Baseball column about the 30th anniversary of "Buffalo's Grand Old Game," the oldtimers classic featuring 12 Hall of Famers that was played in War Memorial Stadium on June 23, 1984.

I found a very grainy YouTube film that gives you an idea of what the scene was like too (it whiffs on the year). Mostly the introductions but you can recognize guys like Bob Feller and Brooks Robinson among others:

And courtesy of the encyclopedic archives of broadcaster Pete Weber, we have numerous audio files from the game to enjoy. I'm particularly partial to hearing interviews from the late Stan Barron as well as the plays made by good friend and longtime Bisons scorer Kevin Lester, the athletics director at Williamsville South. I've been having tech trouble with a couple Barron clips but will post them later today.

Click the files below to hear the audio and get taken back in time.

Game highlights

Don Kessinger leadoff home run

Brooks Robinson home run

Larry Doby home run

Early Wynn interview

Lester catches Cepeda pop-up

Lester bats against Spahn

Lester bats against Sain

Did-you-see-that Video: Cespedes' throw

By Mike Harrington

My email and Twitter feeds got these contributions today and they're both worth a look.

The first comes from the eighth inning of Tuesday's A's-Angels game, where Yoenis Cespedes makes up for his own gaffe in left field with a not-of-this-world throw to nail Howie Kendrick at the plate. Angels manager Mike Scioscia called it "a guided missile." Good description. Check it out:

Late-night craziness: Girardi's huge tirade, lots of extra innings, lots of rain in DC

By Mike Harrington

If you wanted to catch all the doings in baseball Monday night, it meant you had to hang to nearly 2 a.m. Tuesday to see them. So here's a rundown of most of what went on while most of you were asleep:

---The Yankees lost in Anaheim, 4-1, as the Angels scored three runs in eighth on bases-loaded walks by Shawn Kelley. The Yankees had failed to score in the top of the eighth as they loaded the bases with no outs before Brett Gardner fanned and Derek Jeter -- who had two hits to snap an 0-for-14 slump -- The strike zone of plate umpire Laz Diaz was the big story, however, as manager Joe Girardi got tossed for arguing a pitch during the Gardner at-bat that was pretty much on the ground. Yikes.

You can click here to see the ejection of Girardi and his hat-throwing rage against Diaz. It's great stuff and well worth the chuckle (sorry, no embed code from

Here's Girardi's post-game presser, where he demonstrates how Diaz "gave me the Mutumbo", a finger-wag made popular by the former NBA star when blocking a shot.


---The Giants needed 5 hours, 29 minutes to pull out an 11-10 win in Pittsburgh in 13 innings. They've won six straight, nine out of 10 and have the third-best record in baseball at 21-11. And remember, the Giants are proving to be an even-year team. They won the World Series in 2010 and 2012 -- and did not make the playoffs in 2011 and 2013, finishing just 76-86 last year.

The Giants became the first MLB team since 1969 to sweep a series without a single hit with runners in scoring position when they posted wins over the weekend in Atlanta by scores of 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1. So what happens last night? The Giants went 8 for their first 12 in RISP at-bats.

---The Nationals and Dodgers sat through a 3-hour, 17-minute rain delay in the fourth inning (absurd in my view), restarted their game at 11:40 p.m. and the Nats finished off their 2-0 win. When it ended at 1:21 a.m, the Nats took over first place in the NL East from the skidding Braves.

--The White Sox needed 12 innings to take the opener of their four-game, two-ballpark set with the Cubs, 3-1. 

--It was just past 2 a.m. Eastern when the Padres wrapped up their 6-5, 12-inning win over the Royals. Jedd Gyorko tied it in the ninth with a home run off Royals closer Derek Holland, KC took the lead in the top of the 12th but Will Venable's two-run single in the bottom of the 12th won the 3-hour, 57-minute affair.

It's MLB Preview Day: All the links to our coverage

By Mike Harrington

Our annual MLB Preview is in today's newspaper and the print edition features some great photos and graphics under the direction of design director Vince Chiaramonte, as well as a terrific cover illustration from Daniel Zakroczemski on the Yankees once again going all-in with their style of Moneyball.

Here are links to all of our coverage from today's paper (And be sure to look for our Bisons season preview in Wednesday's editions in advance of Thursday's season opener in Coca-Cola Field):

Jerry Sullivan on the Bronx Bombers: "Baseball is always more fun when the Bronx Bombers are spending like sailors and rattling the cages of the other owner"

My Preseason MLB Power Rankings: The defending champion Red Sox  get to start on top but it might be a capital offense if you don't read this story. That might give you a hint who I like come October. 

Bucky Gleason's view: There's peace in the game as we head into Derek Jeter's final season.

Jay Skurski's Fantasy report:  Watch out when picking third basemen or shortstops.

Greg Connors' Mixed Media: A data journalist speaks on analytics.

Sullivan's preseason picks

Harrington's preseason picks

It's Hall of Fame Day: Let the wild debates rage over the ballot

Greg Maddux is a lock (AP).

By Mike Harrington

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2014 induction class today, with coverage on MLB Network starting at noon and the actual results being released at 2 p.m. on MLB Network, and It is a ballot once again rife with controversy.


A personal refresher here: I am a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the body that votes on players to the Hall. You have to be a member for 10 years to have a ballot and I will reach that point following the 2016 season.

So my first vote will come for the Class of 2017, which will include big first-time names like Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez and Jorge Posada in addition to all the holdovers that will surely still be on the ballot.


Big issues this year:

---The size of the ballot, which limits you to voting for 10 players and is causing so much consternation among voters that a committee has been formed to study the issue and perhaps push the Hall to allow expansion. 

---The continued question of what to do with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and other Steroid Era players

---What to do with former '80s ace Jack Morris, in his final year on the ballot and holder of a 3.90 career ERA that would be the highest ever for an inducted starter.

---The glut of big first-time candidates, who are pushing holdovers down the list or off ballots entirely. Many thought Greg Maddux would be the first unanimous Hall choice -- and he should have been -- but Dodgers beat writer Ken Gurnick of voted only for Morris because he wasn't voting for any Steroid Era players. Foolishness. 

So if I had a ballot, who would I pick?

Continue reading "It's Hall of Fame Day: Let the wild debates rage over the ballot" »

Rookie of the Year nods come tonight to open BBWAA Awards

By Mike Harrington

The winners of the Baseball Writers' Association of America awards will be announced this week during prime-time shows on MLB Network that run from 6-7 p.m. (Full disclosure: I am a BBWAA member and was one of the voters for American League Rookie of the Year).

The three finalists for each award in each league were previously announced the winners will be announced during each live telecast.

The schedule is as follows (click on each link for the finalists):

Tonight: AL Rookie of the Year announced at 6:18, NL Rookie at 6:48
Tuesday: NL Manager of the Year, 6:18, AL Manager at 6:48
Wednesday: AL Cy Young, 6:18, NL Cy Young at 6:48
Thursday: AL MVP, 6:18, NL MVP 6:48.

As a voter for the AL Rookie award, I cannot reveal my vote until the award is announced. The finalists in alphabetical order are Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer, Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias (who opened the season in Boston) and Tampa Bay outfielder Wil Myers.

The NL finalists are Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, St. Louis pitcher Shelby Miller and Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig. If I had an NL vote, I would give mine to Fernandez, who is going to get plenty of Cy Young votes after going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts this year for a terrible team.

(7 p.m. update: Myers and Fernandez were the winners. I voted Iglesias-Myers-Archer. You can see all the votes, including mine, at this link)

Make your picks for Rookie of the Year in our polls:

Playoff scenarios for the final weekend of the season

By Mike Harrington

Games 160-161-162 will be played this weekend and there are plenty of things up for grabs. The quick list:

AL East -- The Red Sox have wrapped it up. Their magic number over Oakland to finish with the best record is 2 (Boston is at Baltimore this weekend while Oakland is at Seattle). The A's have the tiebreaker edge.

AL Central/AL West -- The Tigers and A's have already clinched divisions and will meet in the division series for the second straight year if the Red Sox finish with the best record.

AL wild cards -- Tampa Bay (90-69) leads Cleveland (89-70) by a game, with the Rays in Toronto and the Indians in Minnesota. Texas (88-71) is a game back and hosting the Angels. 

If Tampa Bay and Cleveland finish tied, the Rays would host the wild card game by virtue of their regular season record. MLB announced the following scenario today if all three teams finish tied: The Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner getting one berth. The losing club would then play Tuesday in Texas, with the winner of that game getting the other wild card.

A big developing story from the Indians is that bedraggled Cleveland closer Chris Perez has apparently lost his job, with reporters in Minneapolis saying former staff ace Justin Masterson said before tonight's game he may be part of a closer-by-committee solution. Manager Terry Francona was non-commital to Perez after the Twins got four ninth-inning runs off him Thursday night. Perez is 1-1 with a 7.52 ERA and three blown saves since Aug. 1

NL divisions: The Braves (94-65) and Dodgers (91-68) have clinched while the Cardinals (94-65) have a magic number of 1 heading into tonight's home game against the Cubs. They would also clinch if the Pirates lose at home against the Reds. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker edge for homefield and it's a huge difference because the Braves enter tonight an MLB-best 54-24 at Turner Field.

NL wild card: The Pirates and Reds are meeting in Tuesday's NL one-game showdown. It's just a question if the game is at PNC Park or Great American Ballpark. The teams are meeting this weekend in Cincinnati and whoever takes two out of three games gets to host the playoff, which will be the Pirates' first postseason game since 1992.

After 20 losing seasons, the Pirates are finally winners

PGBy Mike Harrington

Nearly 21 years after Sid Bream slid home to win Game Seven of the NLCS in Atlanta and broke every heart in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are winners again.

The longest streak of losing seasons in American team sports ended Monday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates survived a nailbiter at Texas, 1-0, to win their 82nd game of the season -- and cement their first winning record since 1992.

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette aptly noted today since the last Pirates winning season, "the United States launched two wars, impeached a president, sent a spacecraft to Mars and made Miley Cyrus -- who wasn't even alive the previous time the Pirates had a winning season -- a star. The Pirates, meanwhile, moved into a new stadium, changed owners twice, employed seven managers and five general managers and lost 1,857 games."

Click the page above for a closer look at the paper's celebratory presentation from this morning, including a look comparing life in 1992 to 2013.

With the Steelers and Penguins perennial winners, the Pirates' losing streak was a source of civic disdain. P-G columnist Gene Collier says the Bucs "were never considered lovable losers around here, were never given even a temporary license to stink with impunity like the long-suffering Chicago Cubs and their insufferable "We Wubs Da Cubs," audience or the 120-loss New York Mets of 1962, who were at least comical. Not here buddy. This town finds losing about as cuddly as a wharf rat."

Unless they completely fall apart down the stretch, the Pirates are just about a lock to make the postseason. They'd obviously love to win the NL Central, and currently trail St. Louis by one game with 19 left.

I know several Pirates fans who were convinced this had to be the year to finally snap the streak. One of them reminded me this is year 21 since the losing began. And No. 21, of course, was worn by the late, great Roberto Clemente. No way, the thinking goes, he was going to let the losing include his number.

Here's Monday's final out and the exultation to Pirates fans that "your long national nightmare is over" as called by old friend Greg Brown. The longtime Bucs voice spent five years in Buffalo (1989-93) as a radio analyst for the Bisons and Bills.

(Pittsburgh P-G front page from

Feel-good video: Upset kid gets a ball at Diamondbacks game

By Mike Harrington

Here's one from Phoenix I completely missed over the weekend that a friend sent me an email link to. It's going to be timeless. Trust me and watch it.

Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks goes to flip an errant ball into the stands to a young fan -- and it's swiped by an older kid (in the white T-shirt) with longer arms. The little guy is bummed and the camera stays focused on him.

Then a strange thing happened. Another kid -- in a Giants cap -- apparently went to the souvenir stand and bought the little guy one of those souvenir balls (they're in the $10-$15 range) to make up for his disappointment!

Yahoo's Big League Stew blog weighed in on the episode.

Here's the video from and Comcast Bay Area, with Giants announcers and former big-leaguers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow at the mic. Kuiper said it all when he asked, "Is that not the best?"

Words of wisdom from Rockies' foul ball-giving coach

By Mike Harrington

This video has gone viral in the last 24 hours and I'm posting it here as well for those who haven't seen it yet. 

It's Rockies first base coach Rene Lachemann having a chat Wednesday with a young fan in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. Just listen.

Lachemann's fan lectures when he gives away souvenirs are pretty well known in the Denver area. Yahoo's Big Stew Blog provided another one from last month, including a Santa Claus reference. Hysterical.

The Biogenesis Bans: Leadoff thoughts

By Mike Harrington

Talking out loud about MLB's announcements today from the Biogenesis scandal ... 

A-Rod: He reportedly infuriated Bud Selig with his comments Friday night in Trenton that there was a "pink elephant" in the room and it was the fact that MLB and the Yankees were conspiring to keep him off the field, with the Yankees most interested in getting out of his contract. The Commish then shut town all talks of a settlement, with ARod contending he should be no more penalized than Ryan Braun. We'll see about that.

On the field, the Yankees can use A-Rod, even at less than 100 percent. He's still going to be far more productive than anyone they've had at third base all year. But if he stays on the field for any length of time, how will they deal with the daily fan and media circus on the road? And what will be the reaction when A-Rod steps on the field in the Bronx? 

Selig knew he couldn't go for a lifetime ban, and that the union would have to defend A-Rod on simple due process if he did. So he went for a suspension through the Joint Drug Policy, which allows for the appeal. That should be heard within the next three weeks or so. 

Read the full text of Selig's statement here. 

Read the Yankees' statement here.

A-Rod is trying to maximize the money he can make by staying on the field but I'm betting this carries into 2015 -- not 2014 -- before it's all done. He's never failed a test and this is more about obstruction of MLB's investigation. It seems more personal than ever between A-Rod and Selig, much like it was at the end between Bart Giamatti and Pete Rose in 1989.

The Commish: Selig wants his legacy to be about 1). Getting rid of PEDs from baseball; 2) adding the wild-card to get more cities interested deeper into the season; and 3) fixing the All-Star Game after the 2002 tie fiasco. He's looking at retirement in the next two years and it's interesting that the PED situation became such a focus, given the way baseball was complicit in it through the McGwire-Sosa home run chase of 1998. Better late than never, I suppose. 

Continue reading "The Biogenesis Bans: Leadoff thoughts" »

More from Durham's Geltz on Buffalo weather, and his MLB debut video

By Mike Harrington

Be sure to read Sunday's Inside Baseball column on Durham pitcher Steve Geltz, the Ransomville native and former hurler at Wilson High and the University at Buffalo.

Here's one little vignette I didn't get into the story: At spring training this year in Tempe, Ariz., with the Los Angeles Angels, rookies were assigned different tasks or projects to carry through camp. Geltz's assignment from manager Mike Scioscia? The weather reports for camp -- and for his home metro area of Buffalo.

"So I'd go get Tempe and Buffalo and post it in the bulletin board and then to get ahead and get some brownie points I'd get road places we were going like Peoria or Surprise," Geltz told me Friday in the Durham clubhouse. "I'd have to stand up in the middle of the morning meeting and I'd have UV index, pollen count, all that. Then they'd be like,'What's it like back home?' and I'd have to say like, '8 (degrees) with snow.' 

"I actually kind of lucked out. Some guys had to do projects, trips, go to butterfly museums. I just had to print the weather out."

And as promised in the column, here's the video showing Geltz's debut inning for the Angels last August against Tampa Bay. There's no embed code (sorry) but the link gets you there.

Lots of extra extra innings

ScoreboardBy Mike Harrington

If it seems like a lot of long MLB days are turning into night lately, you're right.

For the third time in less than a week, a matinee went at least 18 innings. This time, it was the Yankees' 3-2 loss Thursday at Oakland that ended in the bottom of the 18th after 5 hours and 35 minutes. Last Saturday while I was in Scranton with the Bisons, we were following the Mets' 20-inning loss to the Marlins and the Blue Jays' 18-inning win over the Rangers.

So how rare is all this?

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's just the fourth time in history there has been three 18+-inning games in a month and it's never happened in a week. The previous three times were June 1967, August 1972 and May 1973.

More from Elias on A's-Yankees:

Continue reading "Lots of extra extra innings" »

Wacky video: Miggy doesn't need the help

By Mike Harrington

You probably didn't see Miguel Cabrera's 13th home run of the season, since it came around midnight during the Tigers' rain-delayed, 11-7 win at Cleveland. But it's worth multiple looks. Quite an assist from Tribe center fielder Michael Bourne.

(Remember to click the square at the bottom right of the video box for a full-screen look)

Audio: Harrington on Clemens' reputation, Hall of Fame prospects

A federal jury today acquitted Roger Clemens of perjury, stemming from charges he lied to Congress while denying using steroids.

The News' Mike Harrington takes a look at Clemens' Hall of Fame chances and the damage done to his reputation:

Download audio

Mejia Takes Next Step

Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia will don a Buffalo Bisons uniform for the first time in more than a year tonight as he continues to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Mejia's comeback hits the Triple-A level after four comeback starts, two at Class A St. Lucie and two at Double-A Binghamton. He's gone at least five innings but no more than six in four of those startsq.

Mejia left Buffalo's April 29, 2011 game at Rochester after four innings upon experiencing discomfort in his right elbow. He was diagnosed with a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament and underwent surgery three weeks later. The 22-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic entered 2011 as the organization's top-rated prospect by Baseball America.

This is the third game of the four-game set with Columbus, with the Bisons having won the first two. The series concludes at 10:35 tomorrow morning.

Tonight's Lineups
Ezequiel Carrera, cf
Jason Donald, ss
Cord Phelps, 2b
Matt LaPorta, lf
Jared Goedert, rf
Russ Canzler, 1b
Beau Mills, dh
Andy LaRoche, 3b
Matt Pagnozzi, c
David Huff, p (3-1, 3.08)

Corey Wimberly, cf
Josh Thole, dh
Valentino Pascucci, rf
Fred Lewis, lf
Matt Tuiasosopo, 3b
Josh Satin, 1b
Brad Emaus, 2b
Lucas May, c
Sean Kazmar, ss
Jenrry Mejia, p (0-0, 0.00)

-- Bob DiCesare

A Prince of a deal for the Tigers

No more carping allowed from anybody that no one can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox. Look at the stupid money this offseason: Angels (Albert Pujols), Rangers (Yu Darvish) and now Tigers (Prince Fielder).

I'm still trying to put my arms around Fielder's nine-year, $214-million deal.  The Tigers certainly were in panic mode when Victor Martinez went down and owner Mike Illitch isn't getting any younger at 82. He's won a lot with the Red Wings and I was told by several people at the World Series how downcast he was when the Tigers lost the ALCS in Texas last year. Sounds like he's just going for it now and longterm consequences be damned.

It makes the Tigers the runaway favorite in the AL Central and probably the favorite in the entire American League for the World Series. What a lineup with Fielder and Miguel Cabrera and, of course,  they already have the MVP in Justin Verlander.

Mitch Albom says the prevailing word is "Big" in his column on Fielder in today's Detroit Free Press. A good read. Be sure to read an Inside Baseball column I'll have in Sunday's paper. By then,  I should have my thoughts collected. That's a lotta coin. 

---Mike Harrington


The postseason begins: Make your picks

While the Red Sox are going through the process of not renewing Terry Francona's contract today (e.g. he's getting fired), the real focus of the baseball world is the start of the postseason. The American League division series opens on two fronts with the Rays and Rangers meeting in Texas and the Yankees and Tigers meeting in the Bronx. That's Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia and that's must-see TV.

Right from the top, I'll put this out there: I got the Tigers and the Phillies in the World Series and I'm taking the Phillies in six. Sorry, Yankees fans. If Sabathia doesn't win tonight, I think it's possible the Tigers sweep the Bombers in three. And wouldn't that make for an interesting offseason. Remember, all division series games are on TBS.

So here's some quick analysis off the cuff. Hey, I gotta do Sunday's Inside Baseball column on the collapse of the Sox and Braves and I'm still working hockey previews too. Some multi-tasking. I give you some polls at the bottom too. Be sure and vote!

Tigers vs. Yankees -- I know all about the Bombers' offense but you have to like the Tigers' combination of Verlander, Doug Fister and Max Scherzer. You have to love closer Jose Valverde. Miguel Cabrera should get plenty of MVP looks. As for the Yankees, can you really count on Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia in this spot? Seriously? And does A-Rod show up in this series or bat eighth like he did in when he was humiliated in Game Four in Detroit in 2006. Tigers in four. 

Rays vs. Rangers -- I'm tempted, very/very tempted, to pick the Rays to go to the World Series. Maybe I should. Now that they're actually in the postseason, they have the best starting pitching in the AL. I think they get through this series and avenge last year's division series loss but you wonder how much energy they have left after that crazy September. Rays in five.

Cardinals vs. Phillies -- I don't think a lot of analysis is needed. The Phillies' losing streak near the end of the season was rooted in injuries and boredom after clinching the division title. They're ready. Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt with Worley in the bullpen. Do they need a bullpen? This is one of Tony LaRussa's better managing jobs but this is a case of thanks for playing and please drive home safely. Phillies in three.

Diamondbacks vs. Brewers -- Who had this matchup in March? Thought so.  In Kirk Gibson and Ron Roenicke, you have your two main candidates for NL manager of the year. Think the Yankees wish 20-game winner Ian Kennedy had found his game when he was with them until waiting to getting to Arizona?  The Dbacks are a great story but the Brewers have the motivation of Prince Fielder's last season. They have an MVP in Ryan Braun, a great rotation, a supreme closer in former Canisius College pitcher John Axford. I think Brewers-Phillies could be a fabulous NLCS. Can't wait. Brewers in four.

Now you vote.

---Mike Harrington

Linking to a wacky Wednesday we'll never forget

EvanI saw every minute of it, well past midnight, and I still can't believe it. No one has ever seen a baseball season finish like that. The Rays were once down seven runs and still a run short and a strike away from losing, the Red Sox were a strike away from winning, the Braves two outs away from winning. And every result changed.

See you, chokers from Boston and Atlanta. Welcome to the playoffs, Rays and Cardinals. Take your places in home run history, Dan Johnson and Evan Longoria (showering fans at the Trop above).

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe might have the start on new fodder for more of his Curse of the Bambino books. Wrote Shaughnessy on Page A-1 of today's Globe: "Truly unbelievable. This feels like revenge for 2004 and 2007. It is as if the baseball gods are punishing Red Sox Nation for hubris and arrogance and good times that seemed so good, so good, so good."

I like this Shaughnessy crack too: "They are the first team in baseball history to hold a nine-game lead in September, then fail to make the postseason. This makes them worse than the ’64 Phillies or the ’78 Red Sox. They are the poster boys of the Heimlich maneuver."

SaltyWrote great friend of the blog Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant: "Now we know why 2004 happened. Now we know why 2004 was followed by 2007. Somehow the baseball gods knew Red Sox fans would never have been able to handle September 2011 if two exhilarating world championships hadn't interrupted all those decades of suffering. No, a few verses of Sweet Caroline and a pink hat under the Christmas tree aren't going to cure this hurt."

Another great friend, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post, was in Baltimore and recaps the chronology of events by calling it "the single most-exciting, most intense, most exhilarating night in baseball history."

In the St. Petersburg Times, John Romano calls it "Miracles 2, logic 0" while recounting the Rays' bizarre finish through the eyes of several team personnel who weren't on the field. 

No one, of course, paid much attention to the Braves' collapse given the Red Sox situation. But as Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote, "But even a choking dog can have his day, or night, and the 2011 Braves tried to give themselves one Wednesday. They failed. They failed in the way this entire month had been a failure."

The Cardinals took until the last night of the season to finally get it together and win their 90th game. And it was shades of the 1964 team that came back on the Phillies.

So there we have it. Yankees-Tigers and Rays-Rangers in the AL. Phillies-Cardinals and Diamondbacks-Brewers in the NL. No Red Sox, no Braves. No way you thought that could happen when September started.

---Mike Harrington

Photos of Evan Longoria (left) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (right)/Associated Press

Welcome to Wildcard Wednesday

It all comes down to this on the final day of the regular season: The Rays and choking Red Sox are both 90-71 in the AL, the Cardinals and choking Braves are both 89-72 in the NL. Will we decide the wildcards tonight or get one-game playoffs Thursday in Tampa Bay and St. Louis?

The schedule remains the same as the last two days -- Tampa hosting the Yankees and Boston at Baltimore, while the Braves host the Phillies and the Cardinals are in Houston. All night games. Have your remotes ready to be clicking between YES, ESPN and the MLB Network.

The Red Sox are 7-19 in September with a team ERA of 5.90. Once-impenetrable reliever Daniel Bard is 0-4, 11.90 and not trustworthy. Look at the starters' ERAs: Bedard and Wakefield, 5.25; Beckett 5.48, Lester 5.96, Lackey 9.13. The Rays have pulled even by going 16-10 despite a .237 team batting average in September. But that 3.50 team ERA sure helps.

The Braves, meanwhile, have gone 9-17 and hit just .235. Their team ERA of 4.25 isn't ghastly, especially when you consider Derek Lowe fell to 0-5, 8.75 in September when he was booed off the mound last night. The Cardinals are 17-8, batting .293 and have a 3.25 ERA.

See SABRhounds, I don't need a lot of made-up acronym stats to tell me why these races have changed this month. 

How is this going to end up? Take the polls.

---Mike Harrington

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |