It ain’t over, ’til it’s over.

I admit it. I had given up on the Rays. At 10pm with the Rays losing 7-0, I took the dog out for the last walk of the night while the Rays batted in the bottom of the seventh. The Red Sox v. Orioles game was in the 7th in a rain delay, with the Sox winning 3-2. By the time I came back in the Rays were coming up to bat in their home half of the eigth.

I figured, “Ah hell. Season’s over. Rays are done and if they don’t start that Sox game soon. They’ll call it as a official rain shortened game. We’re done. I’ll watch the 8th, just to seal the deal. This actually works out well. I’ll get a good night’s sleep. Get up early and head to the gym.” So I grabbed my toothbrush and started brushing in front of the TV. By the time the Rays had scored two without actually getting a hit, things were starting to get interesting. They worked in another run and I’m thinking, “Well, ok. I’ll just stick with it for this inning.”

Then Longoria goes yard for a 3-run shot bringing the score to 7-6! I’m very proud of the fact that I didn’t actually scream with glee waking the children that late at night. Nor did I destroy any of Erin’s throw pillows in the living room as I did watching the Syracuse basketball team win it’s only national championship a few years ago. I do however have some self inflicted impressions of my own teeth on my wrists and forearms as I had to stuff something in my mouth to prevent me from screaming.

And I did scare the hell out of Oakley as I leaped out of the recliner and danced in the living room. Poor dog was dead asleep on the living room floor and to her it must have appeared that I was launching at her! I apologized. We snuggled. She lay back down in the same spot in front of the TV, despite my warnings. It was a process we’d repeat often as the night progressed.

Me leaping up and toward her, arms raised, punching the air, choking off a scream. The dog panicking, scrambling away. Her coming back to me for reassurance. Snuggle, relax repeat. If you followed the timeline, you can pretty well predict when it happened.

Bottom of the ninth when Johnson tied the game on what could have been the Rays’ last strike of the season! The tie score meaning at least the Rays were going to get to play more baseball tonight. Me: Leap, Punch, Choke, Dance. Oakley, Scramble, Snuggle, Rest.

When the Rays tied it in the ninth, I decided I needed a drink. I mean let’s face it. At this point, I’m all wired up. Erin got a little concerned when she saw me come back to the living room with a shot of whiskey in a pint beer glass. I’m reasonably sure she believed me when I explained that originally I was going to have a Jack and Coke, but then opted against the caffeine. She relaxed more when she realized I was earnest and that weas to be the only drink of the night.

12th inning when the TV reported that the Orioles had tied the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth! Meaning that potentially, the Rays were going to get to play again on Thursday! Me: Leap, Punch, Choke, Dance. Oakley, Scramble, Snuggle, Rest.

12th inning when the TV reported that the Orioles had just BEAT the Red Sox with a walk off single! Meaning that potentially, the Rays could win outright and take the Wild Card! Me: Leap, Punch, Choke, Dance. Oakley, Scramble, Snuggle, Rest.

12th inning Longoria with his SECOND home run of the night (and what I expect was his shortest home run at the Trop this season)! They DID it! Holy CRAP! They did it! Me: Leap, Punch, Choke, Dance. Oakley, Scramble, Snuggle, Rest.

On a related note: I so LOVE being married to a woman that appreciates, understands and enjoys baseball! The quote of the night in our house goes to Erin who repeated multiple times as the late inning heroics unfolded and the situation kept geeting more and more dramatic,  “Oh, come ON! If we were Hollywood screenwriters writing a baseball movie, we’d NEVER write this, because no one would believe it!”  Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com would agree. Read his recap of the sequence of events of both leagues.

Second quote of the night goes to Steve Berthiaume and Stuart Scott who together had one of the best Sports Center intros I’ve heard in years. It was essentially, “I’m Stuart Scott. That’s Steve Berthiaume. This is Sports Center and Oh. My. God!” Steve followed up with, ‘and THIS is why there is NOTHING better than sports!”

The thing I love about the Rays is their resilience. They just refused to quit. Totally inspiring. I hope I can channel some of that the next time I’m in the gym. Big D is right. It’s difficult to imagine how the actual postseason could live up to and exceed the drama that unfolded last night. But one thing’s for sure…I can’t wait to watch.

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