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Archive for the ‘2011 MLB Playoffs’


Surprising St. Louis Cardinals Win the 2011 World Series 79

Posted on October 29, 2011 by Dean Hybl

An improbable season ended with the St. Louis Cardinals as the 2011 World Series Champions.

The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals are a perfect reminder that in sports it isn’t how you start, it is about how you finish.

Considering that they lost their best pitcher to injury before the season even began and with just six weeks left were 10.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, it is quite amazing that last night they claimed the 11th World Series Championship in team history.

Even in the World Series they seemingly had an insurmountable mountain to climb as they were twice down to their final strike before rallying for an improbably extra inning victory in game six.

Then in the decisive seventh game they trailed early, but scored the final six runs to defeat the favored Texas Rangers.

Since Tony Larussa became manager of the Cardinals in 1996, the team has had their greatest success in seasons when they weren’t given much of a chance.

The 90-72 record that St. Louis posted in 2011 was actually the seventh best single season total for the franchise during Larussa’s tenure. Yet, the only other World Series title the team has earned came in 2006 when the team won only 83 games.

The Cardinals finished the 2011 season winning 24 of their final 33 games to sneak into the playoffs on the final day of the season.

They then won the final two games of their first round playoff matchup against the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies to advance to the NL Championship Series. Read the rest of this entry →

Big Bad AL East Isn’t So Tough After All 18

Posted on October 07, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Former Tiger Curtis Granderson will watch his former team play in the AL Championship Series.

Well, so much for the American League East being heads and shoulder above the rest of the American League in talent and baseball stature. Following the Detroit Tigers 3-2 victory in game five of the ALDS to eliminate the New York Yankees, we are now ensured that a team from one of the “lesser” divisions in the AL will represent the league in the World Series for the second straight year and fourth time in the last seven seasons.

There is no question that the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are still head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of spending, but they both are proving that in today’s baseball world money doesn’t buy you quite as much as it used to.

Don’t get me wrong, money has definitely helped them both become consistent contenders. The Yankees haven’t had a losing season since 1992 and have made the playoffs in all but one season since 1995 while the Red Sox last had a losing season in 1997 and have won two World Series and made the playoffs eight times since.

However, while spending lavishly on salaries to attract the top free agents and available veterans has helped both teams maintain a stranglehold on at least one playoff spot each season, it no longer seems to be enough to ensure they dominate the World Series. Read the rest of this entry →

Rays Win to Cap Baseball’s Wildest Night 13

Posted on September 29, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays came from seven runs down in the final game of the regular season to make the playoffs.

Before this season, in the history of Major League Baseball no team had ever missed the playoffs after leading by eight games or more in September. Thanks to a trio of shocking comebacks on the final night of the 2011 season, it has now happened twice.

The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves have been two of the most successful baseball franchises of the last two decades, but they now are both going to be remembered for years to come for their epic collapses to end the 2011 season.

For a baseball fan, it is hard to imagine a night with more excitement than was seen on September 28th. On a night that perfectly epitomized the last month of the season for the Red Sox, Braves, Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals, there were emotion shifts nearly every minute as teams tried to stake their claim to a playoff berth.

Rays Rally While Red Sox Fade
On September 3rd the Tampa Bay Rays were nine games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race. The Rays won 17 of their final 24 games and benefitted from the Red Sox dropping 20 of their final 26 to pull off a shocking comeback.

But it was the final comeback that was perhaps the most impressive. The Rays and Red Sox entered the final night of the season tied for the Wild Card lead.

Things didn’t look good for the Rays early as David Price allowed seven runs over the first four innings as the New York Yankees jumped to a huge early lead. With the Red Sox leading the Baltimore Orioles by a run, it looked like the Rays had to hope for a Baltimore comeback just to secure a one-game playoff.

Then, a funny thing happened on the way to a long offseason. The Rays rallied for six runs in the eighth inning, capped by a three-run home run by Evan Longoria, and then tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a home run by Dan Johnson (his second of the season).

While this was happening, the Red Sox seemed headed to victory as they maintained their 3-2 lead over the Orioles into the ninth inning. When Jonathan Papelbon struck out the first two batters, it appeared that at the very least, the Red Sox would be playing the Rays in a one-game playoff on Thursday in St. Petersburg.

But suddenly, the Orioles started to rally. Back to back doubles by Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold tied the game and then Robert Andino capped the comeback with a single to rightfield that brought home Reimold with the winning run. Read the rest of this entry →

Major League Baseball’s Wild Card Wednesday 17

Posted on September 28, 2011 by Anderson Melvin

Jacoby Ellsbury and the Boston Red Sox have hit a lot of walls during their attempt to secure a 2011 playoff spot.

Popular alternative-rock band, Green Day, had a platinum hit single titled “Wake Me Up When September Ends” off of their American Idiot album in 2005. While the song may have debuted in June of 2005, it has become popular now more than ever. At least in the cities of Boston and Atlanta.

Sheer misery, agony, and torture wouldn’t even begin to describe the pain that the fans of these two historically reputable teams have had to endure over the past twenty-seven days. The month has been a, for lack of a better word, curse to the Red Sox and Braves, something Boston is far too familiar with and something Atlanta wants no part of. September has handed the Braves and Red Sox a combined 36 losses and taken near double-digit leads in both wild-card races away from each team.

On the other side of the equation, there’s the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals. With a lot of the talk coming from how poorly the Red Sox have played, much credit is due to Tampa Bay, who has gone 16-8 since being down 9 games to Boston on September 2. The Rays have baseball fanatics around the country wondering how they’ve managed to battle their way back into a tie with Boston for the wild-card. The answer is simple. They believe they can win it.

“There’s a real strong believability about what we’re trying to accomplish right now but when you get to this point, you really want to finish things off,” said manager Joe Maddon.

Rays players, fans, and coaches are all going to need to keep that belief up for one maybe even two more days if they want to make it to the postseason. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Billy Kilmer: Hard-Nosed Quarterback
      September 2, 2018 | 7:32 pm
      Kilmer

      Billy Kilmer

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month began his NFL career as an athletic running quarterback, but he endured a near fatal car accident to completely change his game during a career that spanned nearly two decades.

      Anyone who is familiar with former NFL quarterback Billy Kilmer probably remembers him as the portly, un-athletic, but very tough quarterback for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s. However, during his first two NFL seasons, Kilmer was primarily used as a running quarterback and running back for the San Francisco 49ers.

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