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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Déjà vu All Over Again?

Tonight is the final night of the Major League Baseball regular season. Last year’s season finale was arguably the greatest night in the history of regular season Major League Baseball. Four games, three of which were very close and one of which was decided by a walk-off home run to cap a seven run comeback, decided the playoff fates of four different teams. Even the casual sports fan already at home, realizing what was happening, was probably glued to his television set.


This year will not be as dramatic as all 10 playoff spots in Major League Baseball have been clinched. However, there will be a lot at stake in three games today, one of which is underway. The winner of the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Athletics will win the American League West – Oakland leads 8-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The New York Yankees could clinch the American League East with a win at home over the tragic-comic Boston Red Sox. The Baltimore Orioles could clinch the top American League Wild Card spot with a win at the bitterly disappointed and eager-to-play-spoiler Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox are playing their bitter archrivals and the Rays, I am sure, would like to take someone down (a little) with them after coming so close to October baseball but falling short.


Here are the possibilities for the teams with skin in the game today.

New York Yankees

The Yankees clinch the A.L. East with either a win over Boston or a loss by Baltimore to Tampa. Should the Yanks lose and the O’s win, then the Yankees and Orioles will play a 163rd regular season game at Baltimore to determine the division winner. In addition, the Yankees are battling for seeding. A win over the Red Sox guarantees the top seed in the American League playoffs to the Yankees.

Baltimore Orioles

It would behoove the Orioles to win today at The Trop against the Rays. A win would ensure the Orioles of nothing less than the top Wild Card spot, meaning they would host the loser of the Rangers-A’s game should they not win the A.L. East. An O’s win and a Yankees loss will allow Baltimore to host the Yankees for a one game playoff to determine the division champion. A loss to the Rays would lock Baltimore into the second and final Wild Card spot in the American League, meaning they would travel to either Texas or Oakland for one game to fight for their playoff lives.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers win the American League West and the second seed in the American League playoffs with a win in Oakland this afternoon. Should Texas lose and the Orioles defeat the Rays, Texas would be forced to travel to either Baltimore or New York for the Wild Card game, depending on which team does not win the A.L. East. If both the O’s and Rangers lose, the Rangers would host the Wild Card game.

Oakland Athletics

Oakland is in the drivers’ seat, leading the Rangers in the late innings of a winner-take-all game for the A.L. West championship. Should the A’s collapse and lose, their Wild Card position would be determined identically to the aforementioned scenarios for the Rangers.


While all of the A.L. teams playing in October have been decided, only the Detroit Tigers know in which round they will begin play. All the chips are in the air today. While teams will not be sent packing, the high drama on the final day of the regular season is what Commissioner Bud Selig wanted by adding a second Wild Card. For once, what he did worked.

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