MLB Network, which launched on Jan. 1, 2009, is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2024. Thru Friday, MLB Network will count down the dwell 15 moments it has covered in its historical previous, through weeknight segments on MLB Tonight (6 p.m. ET), as well to across its social platforms. And don’t neglect to earn MLB Network’s 15th Anniversary retrospective show cloak — “MLB Network Legendary Moments” provided by Budweiser, with Greg Amsinger, Sean Casey and Harold Reynolds — scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 22.
The No. 3 moment on the countdown: The ultimate day of the 2011 season, which observed playoff races flow ethical down to the wire in a single in all the most dramatic “Sport 162” days in baseball historical previous.
(Present: This fable first and foremost ran in September 2016. All folks quoted below are acknowledged by their team/draw on the time of the recreation.)
Contemplate spherical Tropicana Self-discipline, and there could be a shrine to the historical previous of a franchise with some memorable moments. There could be the 2008 American League Championship Series and the Matt Garza no-hitter in ’10. Wade Boggs crushing his 3,000th hit into the ethical-field seats.
Then there could be the one moment in 2011 that no one could perchance well perchance also procure hoped for, because doing so would procure long gone beyond the scope of optimism.
On the closing day of the long-established season, the Rays and Red Sox had been tied for the lone AL Wild Card relate. Tampa Bay had closed a 9 1/2-recreation deficit for the reason that open of September. But that comeback regarded doomed to proceed as Tampa Bay fell on the abet of, 7-0, to the Yankees on the season’s ultimate day, and Boston held onto a lead over closing-situation Baltimore. Within the National League, the Cardinals completed an 8 1/2-recreation September comeback with an 8-0 earn over the Astros and a 4-3, 13-inning Braves loss to the Phillies.
Within the left-field short porch is the 162 Touchdown show cloak. Within the team’s elevators is a photo of Evan Longoria‘s fingers raised excessive in the air, simplest a time out across the bases away from formally touchdown the Rays in the postseason. Tangible reminders to folks that observed it happen, nothing looking a miracle.
Right here is an oral historical previous of the most impossible comeback in baseball historical previous, and the most impossible evening in baseball historical previous, knowledgeable by the those who lived it.
Share 1: “Properly, you had a real lunge at it. You gave it your top.”
Three scenarios existed entering the evening. The Rays lose and the Red Sox earn, thus ending Tampa Bay’s season. They both lose or both earn, ensuing in a one-recreation tiebreaker. Or the Rays could perchance well perchance also clinch the playoffs with a earn and a Boston loss.
The Rays allowed a first-inning lunge on a two-out error by 2nd baseman Ben Zobrist. Mark Teixeira adopted that with a mighty slam in the 2nd inning and a solo shot in the fourth inning to create it 6-0. The Rays scratched out simplest two hits in the first seven innings.
Tampa Bay had its probabilities, though. Two runners on in the first inning. One runner in the 2nd and third. Two extra in the fourth, and four total baserunners in the fifth, sixth and seventh blended. Nothing to show cloak for it.
Dan Johnson, Rays pinch-hitter: “All the pieces was as soon as real mild. [Rays manager] Joe [Maddon] was as soon as certain about getting everybody into that perception. ‘So what? It is simply one other baseball recreation. Let’s collect a earn.’ That form of mentality. I create no longer enjoy somebody was as soon as pressing that worthy.”
Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Occasions beat reporter: “He relished those moments. I enjoy Joe relished the chance to disclose, ‘All is reliable, all is aloof,’ to living that tone. At any time when Joe Maddon talked to the media, he viewed it was as soon as having a team assembly. Because he knew that feeling, that attitude would enact into the clubhouse. I create no longer enjoy he handled it any in every other case, and thus I create no longer enjoy gamers wished to treat it any in every other case.”
Joe Girardi, Yankees supervisor: “I enjoy it was as soon as an evening that we blended and matched quite a bit. We did now not necessarily procure a starter for that evening. We susceptible a whole lot of our bullpen that day.”
Dellin Betances, Yankees starting pitcher: “I came across out the same day that I was as soon as pitching. Before approaching the field, I was as soon as clearly worried. It was as soon as my first open on the tremendous league level. They knowledgeable me I was as soon as simplest going esteem a couple of innings. It was as soon as extra about getting some guys work. I seize show cloak of I got in hassle ethical away in the first inning and [Derek] Jeter, he came for a mound seek recommendation from, and Jeter kind of calmed me down a exiguous bit bit. … Seeking to be amusing. It was as soon as amusing on the time. It kind of calmed my nerves a exiguous bit bit, and I was as soon as ready to throw two scoreless.”
David Ticket, Rays starting pitcher: “I simply attempt to treat it esteem every varied recreation. We needed to earn and for the Red Sox to lose in Baltimore. It was as soon as a loopy day and a loopy closing two innings of baseball, for both groups.”
Longoria, Rays third baseman: “I know I was as soon as worried. I enjoy everybody was as soon as. It was as soon as a worried strength. We knew what we needed to kind. We knew what needed to happen.”
Topkin: “The style that recreation started, the system that recreation stood halfway throughout the recreation, it was as soon as over. I was as soon as writing as if they’d misplaced, it wasn’t even going to topic what occurred in the assorted recreation.”
Teixeira, Yankees first baseman: “I kind of felt reliable that day. Felt stable. Got some pitches heart in and attach reliable swings on them. You don’t seek records from to ranking that many runs off David Ticket, especially in a recreation this tremendous. It indubitably quieted down a exiguous bit bit. And in the heart innings, the crowd was as soon as gentle aloof.”
Zobrist, Rays 2nd baseman: “That made it feel esteem our season was as soon as perchance over.”
Tom Foley, Rays third-nefarious coach: “Midway throughout the recreation, we looked esteem had been gentle worthy cooked, esteem it was as soon as over.”
Dewayne Staats, Rays play-by-play broadcaster: “Actuality begins to inch in. You open pondering or no longer it is accomplished; there could be no chance.”
Kelly Shoppach, Rays starting catcher: “Now that I am retired, I will be able to really uncover you that I was as soon as attempting to hit a 3-lunge homer on every occasion I got in the field. The game draw never changed for me. We’re simply attempting to scratch and claw to gather every thing we are in a position to.”
Joe West, dwelling-plate umpire: “I seize show cloak of Joe Maddon strolling off after altering pitchers. I inadvertently talked about, ‘Properly, you had a real lunge at it. You gave it your top.’ I was as soon as pondering or no longer it is all the device through. Then he talked about, ‘Thanks,’ and saved strolling.
Share 2: “I’d whine ninety nine cases out of 100, you hook that ball depraved.”
The underside of the eighth started with the Rays down, 7-0. Johnny Damon led off the inning with a single, and Zobrist adopted with a double. Then Casey Kotchman, who had the most easy two hits in the first seven innings, was as soon as hit by a pitch.
Sam Fuld was as soon as walked to herald the first lunge. Then Sean Rodríguez was as soon as hit to herald one other. A B.J. Upton sac wing with one out made it 7-3, and Longoria reduce the deficit to one with a 3-lunge dwelling lunge.
Cory Wade had been with Tampa Bay in Spring Practising and spent most of April and Might perchance well with Triple-A Durham. He had a 1.23 ERA in 21 appearances with the Bulls earlier than opting out of his contract and signing with the Yankees.
Wade entered the recreation in the ninth inning and was as soon as one strike away from closing out the Rays’ playoff hopes that evening. With the Red Sox aloof leading the Orioles, 3-2, there was as soon as of endeavor Johnson could perchance well perchance be Tampa Bay’s ultimate hope.
Foley: “I guess one in all the most appealing things that I will be able to seize show cloak of was as soon as Johnny Damon [blooping a single to left-center to get it started]. … Sean Rodriguez getting hit with a pitch, maintaining the inning going. Things simply began to steamroll a exiguous bit bit. And we simply saved coming abet and coming abet. You hear the news, the crowd cheering. You’d also very effectively be looking to know why they’re cheering. You witness up on the scoreboard, things are happening.”
Staats: “After they made it 7-3, [analyst Brian Anderson] and I kind of checked out each varied and talked about, ‘You realize, they can earn this recreation.’ After that inning, for the period of the break, both of us began to gather that feeling on the same time.”
Kotchman: “It begins tightening up, and as well you realize or no longer it is no longer over till that out is recorded. One pitch changes things.”
Johnson: “It started getting later and later. Then at closing, when one thing did open happening in the eighth, it was as soon as esteem, ‘Right here we flow.’ Things saved falling and going the ethical system. When [Longoria] hit the sizable dwelling lunge to position us internal one, that is when everybody was as soon as esteem, ‘Oh my gosh, that is surely happening. We’re ethical abet in this thing.’ You hear the crowd was as soon as getting abet into it. You stare folks had been starting up to gather on the edge of their seats.”
Longoria: “I enjoy everybody feels that pressure. I create no longer know if one particular person bears the burden of the final team. But yeah, I felt esteem, when I had the chance to, that I wishes to be able to pressure in some runs. And in a while, I was as soon as ready to kind that.”
Wade: “From the out of doors looking in, you’re nearly kind of pulling for them a exiguous bit bit. I wasn’t really scheduled to pitch in the recreation. I wasn’t even going throw because we had clinched. Within the sixth inning, they had been esteem, ‘You’d also shut the recreation if we procure the lead.'”
Johnson: “I was as soon as presupposed to bat fifth in that inning. I was as soon as up in the cage. I am taking it easy accessible. First two guys got out, I was as soon as looking at Sam Fuld approach out to the plate. Then a security guy ran over and yelled at me in the cage and talked about, ‘Hello, they desire you to hit now.’ Straight horror, since the cage is halfway up to the tunnel. Needed to lunge abet down the stairs to gather every thing on and collect accessible.”
Foley: “When Dan came up, there was as soon as a somber feeling. There had been two outs, and next thing you realize, there could be two strikes. It is esteem, ‘Oh man. He’ll perchance throw the changeup down and away.’ You are pondering, or no longer it is simply, you realize.”
Zobrist: “I seize show cloak of being on the bench and seeing Joe create the call and Dan Johnson going up to hit and all of us are going, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Sam [Fuld] had been swinging it effectively, and Dan is an infinite hitter and had constantly been a real hitter, but that year was as soon as perchance the worst year of his occupation. He hadn’t had a success with our team since esteem April. He had gotten called up in September but barely played in any respect because we had been in the lunge the final time. And [he had] barely got any pinch-hits, and when he did, I create no longer enjoy he did the relaxation with them. So that is a man sitting on no are living at-bats for approximately three weeks, and we’re going to slip him in with the season on the line and attach it on his shoulders. We’re pondering, esteem, ‘What are you doing, Joe? Sam has a real chance of transferring into scoring situation if he will get on nefarious.’ I felt depraved for Dan.”
Dave Martinez, Rays bench coach: “The sole motive he was as soon as with us was as soon as to approach off the bench and hit a dwelling lunge.”
Ticket: “[Wade] had esteem a 1.20 ERA [in May with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate], and everybody was as soon as looking spherical esteem, ‘Why will now not be we calling this guy up?’ Opts out of his contract, goes to Fresh York and throws the ball surely effectively there. He simply so occurred to be on the mound.”
Wade: “I had thrown him a couple varied changeups in that at-bat. I threw that pitch the final time. It was as soon as the one pitch that I knew if it came abet over the plate, it was as soon as going to beat me. If I saved it away, I was as soon as going to be wonderful. I never procure wretchedness throwing that pitch to a lefty. If I flow away out, I flow away out it away, but it simply reduce a exiguous bit bit. It really did; it reduce a exiguous bit bit. And he got his barrel to it.”
Johnson: “I’d whine ninety nine cases out of 100, you hook that ball depraved. That’s one in all those balls that is a real pitch. It simply so occurred that I knew this guy Cory Wade that was as soon as on the mound had this changeup that wore lefties out. I sat abet on the changeup the final at-bat. I ended up taking a fastball that was as soon as ethical there that I must procure hit early. But I was as soon as in the mindset that it was as soon as a changeup.”
Topkin: “You are preventing a closing date whine. With a newspaper, we’re on a laborious closing date. So that you just’re attempting to identify, what are you going to kind, reckoning on how the recreation ends, and when the recreation is going to full. You hear about gamers talking about the recreation speeding up on you. It accelerated on me in that whine.”
Johnson: “Watching it flow, I am esteem, ‘Preserve handsome. Preserve handsome.’ Then when it did, it was as soon as simply esteem this moment where I wanted to gather across the bases and celebrate with the team. The spherical of the bases was as soon as nearly a blur. I could perchance well perchance now not wait to gather abet. … It appears to be like to be esteem every thing that Joe comes up with turns into gold. Whenever you leer, or no longer it is nearly esteem he expected it. The reaction from Joe, he simply flips his card over and begins writing. Like, ‘Oh yeah, I knew that was as soon as going to happen.'”
Share 3: “You attempt to lunge that script for a Kevin Costner baseball movie, they flip it down, asserting no one would judge that.”
Both the Yankees and Rays traded zeros throughout the first two extra innings. Within the dwell of the 12th, the Yanks had runners on first and third with no one out. Rookie reliever Jake McGee got out of the jam for the Rays, which living up a 2nd, even extra dauntless moment for Longoria.
All around the clubhouse, gamers congregated to leer the Red Sox and Orioles play. Within the NL, the Cardinals had been intently looking on the Braves and Phillies — hoping to clinch a playoff relate with an Atlanta loss.
At 12:05 a.m. the Orioles recorded three straight hits in the bottom of the ninth after Red Sox nearer Jonathan Papelbon had struck out the first two batters. Nolan Reimold tied the ranking, after which Robert Andino won it with a single. At 12:08 a.m., Longoria sent Tampa Bay to the AL Division Series, 28 minutes after St. Louis clinched its relate.
Reimold: “I simply seize show cloak of everybody was as soon as surely into the recreation. Fans knew we weren’t going to the playoffs, but they cherished to witness us knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs. So for them, it intended quite a bit. And for us, it intended quite a bit to full the year stable. Everybody was as soon as very aggressive. We simply battled to the cease.”
Johnson: “There was as soon as guys internal looking at. Within the atomize the system we came across out was as soon as simply looking on the those who had been sitting in the containers went nuts. You simply stare folks leaping and screaming esteem there was as soon as nothing occurring in our recreation. We had been esteem, ‘That simply occurred.’ Then a couple of guys ran out from the clubhouse and had been esteem, ‘You’d no longer judge what simply occurred.'”
Reimold: “It looked ineffective. He struck out the first two guys. Then[[Chris Davis]was as soon as ready to hit a double down the line. Then I got up 2-0, then I swung through two fastballs, 2-2. I create no longer know what would procure occurred if he’d switched it up and threw a constructive pitch, but he threw me two fastballs in a row, and I was as soon as ready to position it in play and ranking that lunge.”
Zobrist: “I went up to the clubhouse and I was as soon as grabbing a [food] bar, and the fellows started going nuts, and I talked about, ‘What simply occurred?’ And they talked about [the Orioles] simply tied it up. Now we’re both tied. It is nuts. I preserve a bar and lunge down to the dugout to uncover the fellows there. They hadn’t posted it on the board but.”
Robert Andino, Orioles infielder: “We weren’t going to easily mope about it because we weren’t in the playoffs. We had nothing to lose. Honestly, the final pressure was as soon as on everybody else. They simply gave us the incentive. I was as soon as simply shopping for one thing out. He has a whole lot of plus pitches to position you out.”
Longoria: “I was as soon as on deck. We observed the ultimate ranking pop up on the board. It was as soon as perchance a minute or two earlier than I went to the plate. So I was as soon as effectively conscious. We had been surely alive to by winning the recreation. The game was as soon as tied. We knew regardless, if we won the recreation, we had been going to play one other day. It wasn’t till that level that we realized if we earn, we’re going to circulate on.”
Zobrist: “B.J. [Upton] strikes out, and ethical earlier than he strikes out, we stare some guys in an pickle in the outfield, and they’re in fits. They’re front-office guys. They’re leaping up and down, going loopy, and no one else in the stadium knew why. We’re esteem, ‘Dude, one thing must procure occurred.’ Then B.J. strikes out, they post [the Red Sox-Orioles final] on the board, and the crowd goes nuts. B.J. is esteem, ‘What the?’ He is strolling abet to the dugout and is esteem, ‘What’s occurring on?’ The timing was as soon as hilarious.”
Wade: “When I got performed pitching in the recreation, I went in, we had been sitting in the clubhouse. And I am no longer going to title names, but I guess you there had been six or seven of us looking on the recreation. And we’re rooting for, and no longer even rooting in opposition to Boston, but simply rooting for a real recreation.”
Ticket: “I was as soon as running backward and forward, simply looking at, and it was as soon as a loopy quarter-hour or so.”
Zobrist: “I was as soon as starved at that level. I hadn’t eaten the relaxation since system earlier than the recreation, and or no longer it is a 5-hour recreation.”
Teixeira: “Listen, we tried to earn the recreation, clearly. But we weren’t upset that the Red Sox did now not create it. I will attach it that system.”
McGee: “That time I was as soon as aloof gentle young across the tremendous leagues, so I was as soon as simply attempting to create reliable pitches to create constructive I got outs, since it was as soon as a surely intense whine. I know when I got [Chris] Dickerson out, I was as soon as going to present all I had. I threw a 98 mph fastball on the out of doors corner, and they swung and uncared for. I enjoy the most appealing thing was as soon as in the dugout after I got out of that and it was as soon as a tied recreation. It was as soon as simply surreal listening to the followers going loopy, because they’re looking on the Baltimore recreation. As soon as that occurred, after which I create no longer know the timing, but it felt esteem 5 seconds later, Longo hit the dwelling lunge to left field, and everybody was as soon as in shock.”
Foley: “When he hit that ball, I did now not enjoy it was as soon as getting out, because he hit it so laborious and so low. But it completely simply cleared the fence. I really procure to circulate abet and witness and stare what I did. I create no longer seize show cloak of what I was as soon as doing. I kind of seize show cloak of slapping him 5, slapping him on the abet, running in and birth celebrating. Gargantuan moments. That was as soon as an unparalleled recreation.”
Longoria: “Without extend, I did now not enjoy it was as soon as going to exit. I wanted to create constructive I got on 2nd nefarious, because I know I hit it laborious. I watched it flow over the fence. And when it did, clearly I was as soon as excited.”
Topkin: “I literally was as soon as looking down at my hands pondering, ‘You bought to jot down this. You simply observed the most impossible thing that ever occurred in baseball, and as well you have to additionally procure to jot down it, because you bought esteem three minutes.'”
Chris Westmoreland, clubhouse supervisor: “We weren’t surely fascinating for the relaxation, then all of a surprising every thing came alongside side out extend. I seize show cloak of us having to, ethical on the cease of the recreation, transferring the final furniture out of the clubhouse. We had customized vinyl sheeting for lockers. We had an right carpet that match internal our clubhouse, to position above our carpet to preserve the final champagne from transferring into. I simply seize show cloak of the chaos of all of it. Me and the team had been simply running loopy.”
Kotchman: “It was as soon as one thing esteem late accelerate. It is no shock that Longy comes up with the hit ethical there. It is esteem, ‘Run figure he would kind that.’ It is kind of esteem Jeter in Fresh York for his 3,000th hit. A pair of of those guys procure a aptitude for the dramatic. That was as soon as one thing surely particular.”
West: “The Longoria dwelling lunge was as soon as the most impossible, most historic thing in that franchise’s historical previous.”
Buck Showalter, Orioles supervisor: “You attempt to lunge that script for a Kevin Costner baseball movie, they flip it down, asserting no one would judge that. That’s why we all approach out here. Things happen that will now not be presupposed to happen.”
Tony La Russa, Cardinals supervisor: “The celebration that we had in Houston for transferring into that day topped the World Series and Championship Series and Division Series celebrations simply for pure pleasure. I mean the real fact that, you have to additionally procure to be kidding me, we’re in with out having to play one extra recreation? It was as soon as so, we could perchance well perchance now not judge it. We could perchance well perchance also no longer judge it.”
Jon Jay, Cardinals outfielder: “That was as soon as one in all the funnest moments in my baseball occupation, ready in that clubhouse for approximately three hours. The total boys, placing out, looking on the Phillies-Braves recreation and simply rooting on the Phillies ethical there. They came through. I will never neglect it. I aloof procure the dwelling video on my phone of all of us going nuts internal the clubhouse in Houston.”
Wade: “It was as soon as a surely cool time where you became into a baseball fan. Since you were not that the final season. But that moment allowed us in that whine to be a baseball fan. It was as soon as relaxing to be an component of it.”
Westmoreland: “I’d whine after that, it was as soon as three or four hours we spent in the clubhouse after every thing was as soon as performed. So perchance from the cease of the recreation, 5 or six hours. Oh yeah, [the sun is up]. If no longer, or no longer it is starting up to.”
Jay: “I seize show cloak of looking at Longoria hit the dwelling lunge down the left-field line in the Rays recreation. There was as soon as simply so worthy happening in baseball. It was as soon as this kind of groovy day for baseball followers, and even for gamers ourselves. All of us admire this recreation. It was as soon as simply an unparalleled day with so worthy uncertainty occurring. Particularly for us, that we went on to earn the World Series. That was as soon as one thing that clearly changed my existence eternally and is one thing I am very grateful for.”
Longoria: “These moments, they kind of flow fast. That’s why they’ve video, the stuff we are in a position to circulate abet and witness at every time or no longer it is all talked about and performed.”
Johnson: “These are esteem those key moments. A form of, I create no longer know show cloak it. When Carter hit the shuffle-off in Sport 7. These moments of baseball that kind of attach a save on why folks leer the recreation, why folks follow the recreation, why folks cheer for their team. It was as soon as only one in all those moments kind of attach a save on baseball.”