Major League Baseball, the green grass, the white lines, the hot dogs and cold beer! The night that families can enjoy each other while watching the calm and patient American sport. That’s all well and good on a Saturday night in July, but something happens to the grand old game at the end of September and into October.
With the field down to a precious few as the weather turns cooler and the leaves change colors, games become bigger and moments become more dramatic. Fans and players alike keep their eyes on the scoreboard while their heads are in the game at hand.
The waning days of the 2017 season haven’t disappointed. The only drama left today when all fifteen games are contested at 3:05 EDT will be whether or not Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins ties or passes Roger Maris’ 61 home run plateau. Twenty-four hours ago the story-lines were completely different.
Giancarlo Stanton is sitting on 59 home runs, 2 shy of Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961 on the final day of the 2017 regular season.
The final Saturday of the 2017 regular season began with the American League Eastern Division up for grabs. The American League top seed still had not been decided, and their was one last National League Wild Card berth to be filled.
At 1:00 in the afternoon, at two iconic ballparks, the two scenarios in the American League played out. While the Yankees hosted the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the Houston Astros were at Fenway Park visiting the Red Sox. Were we headed for the latest chapter in the lore that is the American League’s oldest rivalry? The Yankees began the day 2 games behind the hated Bosox. Were we headed for “Bucky Dent, The Sequel” on Monday afternoon?
In The Bronx, the Yankees and Blue Jays were tangled in a low scoring pitcher’s duel. Aaron Judge put the Bronx Bombers on the board with his 52nd home run of the year. New York would hold on for a 2-1 victory.
Following the victory in The Bronx, the scoreboard watching continued. The Yankees and their fans left the fabled ballpark in mild disappointment. The Red Sox had wrapped up the American League East with a 6-3 win vs. the Astros.
As for those Houston Astros, that loss at Fenway Park cost them the top seed in the American League Playoffs. The Cleveland Indians clinched a tie with the Astros as a result of their loss to the Red Sox. Since the Tribe swept the season series vs the Astros they locked up the number one seed.
The Cleveland Indians celebrate the 2017 American League Central Division championship. They locked up home field advantage in the American League Playoffs yesterday.
There was still one piece left to fill in the National League puzzle. Coming into play on Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers trailed the Colorado Rockies by two games for the final Wild Card spot. Things were looking pretty good for the Brew Crew in the middle of the third inning of their game with the St. Louis Cardinals. Milwaukee darted out to an early 6-0 lead over the Redbirds. Then the roof caved in on the Brewers. The Cardinals scored four runs in the bottom of the third and added three in the bottom of the eighth to win the game 7-6. The Milwaukee loss ended their surprise run at the post-season, and nailed down the final spot for the Colorado Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies unexpected trip to the National League Post-Season was completed with the Milwaukee Brewers loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
So there will be no Yankees-Red Sox one game playoff this coming Monday. There will be no Brewers-Rockies either. All eyes will be on Marlins Park in Miami on Sunday.
Giancarlo Stanton tries to catch Roger Maris at 61 home runs. Also, Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon trails Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton by one stolen base in the National League Stolen Base race.
The American League Stolen Base crown is a three-way race going into the final day. Houston’s Cameron Maybin is tied with the Royals’ Whit Merrifield. Maybin’s Astros teammate Jose Altuve trails them by one.
Altuve and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies have already nailed down the batting titles. Stanton and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees are already the home run kings.
So enjoy the finales today amid today’s NFL games. Major League Baseball’s second season begins on Tuesday in The Bronx. I will be previewing the post-season on Wednesday night. See you all then!