Detroit Tigers-Minnesota Twins: A Good Ol' Fashioned Pennant Race

Justin HallCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 4: Jason Kubel #16 of the Minnesota Twins watches as the ball heads to the stands, hitting a three-run home run against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 4, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Genevieve Ross/Getty Images)

In a season where all the drama seems to have been sucked out baseball, its nice to see an old school pennant race break out in the AL Central this past week.

For the entire season, it looked like the Detroit Tigers were going to roll to their first division title in 22 years. 

They had a seven game lead over the Minnesota Twins exactly one month ago and were up by three with four games remaining on September 30.  One Tiger win combined with one Twins loss and the crown was there.

Then a funny thing happened: The Tigers couldn't win and the Twins couldn't lose.

So here we are, at Game 163, a little extra inning affair in a year that seemed to be decided months ago.

For the Tigers, all the pressure is on a team that was destined for the playoffs, that led the division for months and is playing with the hopes and dreams of a depressed city on its backs.

For the Twins, they are trying to close out the Metrodome in style, erasing memories of last years one-game-playoff loss to the White Sox and return to October baseball for the first time in three years.

For baseball fans, its a chance to revel in the glory that is the one game playoff.

An event even rarer than even a perfect game or a unassisted triple-play, there have been only 13 pennant playoffs in baseball history (eight NL and five AL). 

From the "Shot heard round the world" in 1951, to Bucky "Bleeping" Dent in 1978, to Holliday's Miracle Slide in 2007, these playoffs have provided some of the most magical moments for America's pastime.

They are like the Super Bowl and Game Seven rolled into one, a loser-go-home match for all the marbles and a chance at baseball immortality.

For the Twins and Tigers it is only fitting that their great seasons have come down to nine short innings where anything can happen.

Win and get ready to fly to the Bronx to face the Yankees in the House that Steinbrenner Built.

Lose and start polishing the golf clubs for another long winter on the links.

Either way, this game promises to provide enough drama to make up for an otherwise lackluster regular season

And if this is indeed the last baseball game in the Metrodome, it is going out in style, on the national stage for one final time.