I wanted to go to sleep. I tried, and I failed. As I attempted to count the sheep that formed mid-jump into baseballs, it became clear that a day such as this could not be ignored.
Myself and countless others will tonight put pen to pad, finger to keyboard in their attempts to put into words the events that took place on the last day of the 2011 Major League Baseball regular season.
They will likely fail because sometimes baseball, and I will begrudgingly extend the honor to sports in general, are simply too magical to put into words.
The baseball gods, whose existence is questioned only by those who have never played the game, did today as they have done throughout baseball's history: offering a series of possibilities, dreams, miracles, broken hearts, and physical and emotional events so unlikely that only those spiritually connected to the game could truly believe it had happened.
For those oblivious, Sept. 28 was a day in which baseball conquered Twitter, Facebook, the news. For fans of teams not named the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, tonight could have been a multitude of things: disappointment that your team was not involved, joy that the media darlings had fallen such historic collapses, pleasure or empathy toward the no-names and big-names succeeding and failing on such an enormous stage.
For fans of the teams aforementioned, you assuredly felt some form of either extreme heartbreak or indescribable joy. The collapse of the Red Sox and Braves was not only historic, but utterly unimaginable. In Tampa, this will be a day that defines your team's history, and perhaps your own. Savor it.
I played baseball in college, and at that point in time, I thought only playing the game was sufficient in feeling and capturing the true magic behind baseball's grandeur. Part of me still feels that way and yet part of me has evolved.
As a fan tonight I was able to take a non-biased look at the game of baseball and enjoy it for everything that it is: _____ (you fill in that blank because I think it's different for everyone).
As I write this my mind races with hundreds, maybe thousands of thoughts that I'd like to put to page. The beauty of baseball is that it is just not possible for me to do so without falling off track. The events that took place tonight were completely and utterly magical, unique and will never happen again.
Jonathan Papelbon will see tonight one way, Dan Johnson another, Longoria, Crawford, Epstein, Kimbrel, Abramson, you. The stats, the miracles, the videos of each moment are surely all stored somewhere for future conversation, memory and deliberation.
It is however, the overarching beauty of the game and how it transpired tonight that I wanted to convey in this article. I'm going to end it now, prematurely and without eloquence.
The baseball gods, chuckling as I attempt to describe their work in its complexity, hand over the real winner to Scott Van Pelt who tonight summed it up in broken English in one-third of a tweet: "Sports are better than anything else. Every...single...time. Wow."