2012 MLB Playoff Moments We'll Remember Forever
There is nothing better than playoff baseball.
This fall fans have been able to witness underdog stories, Cinderella stories, unsung heroes, offensive juggernauts and the fall of legends, all over the span of three weeks.
While there is still just one chapter left to write in the book that is the 2012 Major League Baseball season, there has been plenty of great action to fill the rest of the pages.
Here is a glimpse at some of the great moments captured this October.
Chipper Jones' Swan Song
On the heels of a shaky infield fly rule, a home run by Matt Holiday and poor defense by the Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals managed to defeat the Braves in the NL Wild Card Round.
While the infield fly call might be more memorable than the 1-5 effort that Chipper Jones put forth in what would prove to be his final game as a Major League Baseball player, the man can still go out with his head held high.
After 19 long seasons, the mainstay of the Braves lineup will be hanging up the cleats owning a career batting line of .303/.401/.529/.930 with 2726 career hits and 468 home runs.
He is a seven-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award recipient and the 1999 National League MVP.
Orioles Sink Rangers
The Texas Rangers stumbled down the stretch, losing the American League West to the Oakland Athletics and forcing themselves into a Wild Card showdown with the Baltimore Orioles.
After two seasons of World Series appearances and no championships to show for it, the Rangers were hungry to finally realize their dreams.
Of course in order to make it back to the big dance, they'd first have to defeat the surging Orioles.
Through the first five innings the O's and Rangers maintained a 1-1 score before Baltimore started to add on to their run total, eventually knocking the reigning AL Champions out of the 2012 playoffs by a score of 5-1.
The surreal season would continue for the O's thanks in large part to Nate McLouth who added two RBI and a stolen base.
The Underdog Takes Down the Top Dog
The Nationals had the best record in all of Major League Baseball in 2012.
The Cardinals were a team on the fringe, one that was not expected to do much in the playoffs. Tell that to the Nats.
After losing Game 1, St. Louis took Games 2 and 3 by a combined score of 20-4, asserting themselves over the Nationals.
Game 4 saw Washington fight back, taking down the Cards in a 2-1 nail-biter, forcing a Game 5.
It was there that the Cardinals put forth an amazing effort, coming back from a 6-0 deficit after the first three innings to score nine runs on 11 hits, including a four-run ninth inning, in defeating the Nationals.
Detroit Bounces Oakland in Five
The Oakland A's had momentum.
The team went 20-11 in September and October, winning eight of their final 10 games, and overtook the Texas Rangers for the American League West title.
It was a matchup of Hagler/Hearns proportions, going five games with the Detroit Tigers finally flexing their offensive muscle in a 6-0 Game 5 victory. A 17-11 run differential in the series helped them move on to the ALCS.
Giant Comeback Has Cincinnati Seeing Red
After jumping out to a quick two-game lead in the NLDS, the Reds looked like a lock for the NLCS.
Of course, the Giants didn't see it that way.
Cincinnati outscored San Francisco 14-2 in the first two games of the series, leaving many to wonder if the Giants could muster any offense whatsoever in the series.
Over the final three games they would score 16 runs, outscoring the Reds, who only managed eight runs, and silent bats from Joey Votto and Co.
Yankees End Magic Orioles Season
Like the Oakland Athletics, the Baltimore Orioles were baseball's other Cinderella story this season.
They managed to bounce the defending AL Champions in the Wild Card round and took the New York Yankees down to the wire, forcing a five game series to determine who would face Detroit in the ALCS.
Despite being outscored in the series 16-10, the Orioles hung tight with the Yanks, ultimately losing Game 5 by a final of 3-1.
Jeter Goes Down and the Yankees Fall
I don't want to say that Derek Jeter controlled the outcome of the ALCS, but when he went down to injury in Game 1, it appeared that the Yankees had their hearts ripped out of them.
The Tigers, being the predators that they are, swooped in and made quick work of the Yankees, taking the series in a four-game sweep.
The Yankees never got their bats going and were outscored by a total of 20-6.
Love Reign O'Er Me for the Giants
In what can only be described as one of the greatest NLCS showdowns in recent memory (2011 aside, of course) the epic seven-game battle between the Giants and the Cardinals was one for the ages.
With their backs against the wall, the Giants roared back to win not one, not two, but three must-win games to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in a Game 7 blowout that soaked the players and fans in the ninth inning.
For those keeping tabs, that brought the tally to six must-win games for the Giants this postseason.
Marco Scutaro, the unexpected hero of the NLCS, holding up the NLCS MVP trophy despite buckets of water coming down from the heavens is an image that will likely last in the annals of baseball history for many years to come.