Often criticized for being “boring”, baseball proved, once again, that the sport is anything but that on Saturday night.
After eight straight half innings resulting in runs, Game 4 of the World Series was already making its case for “Game of the Year”.
In one solitary swing of the bat, that narrative changed. Game 4 suddenly had made its case for “Best Game of All-Time”.
Sure, it is completely subjective for me to say that. There have been memorable endings all throughout baseball’s illustrious history. Most of those moments are home runs that are etched into the minds of baseball fans forever, like Bill Mazeroski’s blast in the 1960 World Series, Kirk Gibson’s moonshot in the 1988 World Series, and much more.
What makes those moments different is that fans knew they were watching the end of that respective game.
The minute most homers leave the bat, fans and players alike know that the ball is landing in the bleachers.
Saturday’s ending was anything but set in stone.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up a dinky one out single off of the broken bat of Kevin Kiermaier to give the Rays a chance after leadoff batter Yoshitomo Tsutsugo struck out to start the inning.
Joey Wendle launched one into left center field, but Joc Pederson tracked it down for the second out.
Facing the risk of going down 3-1 in the series, Randy Arozarena stepped in to face Jansen.
Arozarena had made history earlier in the game by clubbing his ninth home run of the postseason, an MLB record.
Instead of trying to be a hero and swing for the fences, Arozarena did his job and got on base. Jansen dealt some tempting pitches after going up 1-2 in the count, but the Cuban held off.
Brett Phillips was likely not the guy that Rays fans wanted to step up to the plate with runners on first and second. Jansen jumped ahead 1-2 in the count yet again. Phillips then jumped on a cutter and lined it into center field to set off an incredible chain of events.
Kiermaier scored with ease from second.
Arozarena rounded third and had extra time thanks to Chris Taylor’s error in center field, but he tripped and fell.
Luckily, Will Smith attempted to swipe tag Arozarena , who he assumed was near the dish. The ball then rolled away and Arozarena slid into home as his dugout was already in the process of emptying around him.
It was pure pandemonium.
Fans and players both had no clue what was going to happen next during the 15ish seconds that this was all unfolding.
Watching a classic moment live is something that sports fans will never forget.
Anyone who tuned into Game 4 saw a classic game that was capped off by perhaps one of the most infamous moments in baseball’s history.
People tend to discredit when they see a legendary moment and bury it beneath those of the past. In this case, however, there is no denying that one of the most unpredictable endings in all of sports just transpired.