So, this is the scenario that Major League Baseball dreamed about when it scheduled all the games on the last day of the regular season for 3 p.m. Eastern.
A four-way tie for the two American League wild card spots remains possible, thanks to Mitch Haniger’s late-night heroics for the Mariners less than 15 hours before the game that will decide whether it means anything.
Seattle beat the Angels, 6-4, after having gone down 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning on Jared Walsh’s three-run homer. So, today, the Mariners… can’t quite reach the postseason for the first time since 2001.
If Seattle wins, and either the Yankees or Red Sox lose, then the Mariners will get a 163rd game of their regular season — a scenario in which the Mariners memorably won the American League West in 1995.
The standings situation is clear enough: Boston and New York are at 91 wins, Seattle and Toronto are at 90.
If it’s a four-way tie, the Yankees choose whether they want to go to Boston or Toronto, with the Mariners making the other trip. The winners of the Game 163s would then face each other in the wild card game.
There are also permutations for a three-way tie for two spots, a three-way tie for one spot, and a two-way tie for the second spot. Of course, if all four contenders win, it’s just two teams for two spots, in which case the disappointment of not getting a Game 163 would be quelled by Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway in the wild card game.
Oh, yeah, and if the Giants lose again and Dodgers win again, there’s a tiebreaker game for the NL West title, with the loser going to the wild card game at home against the Cardinals… for the chance to face the West winner in the NLDS.
Now, here’s another scenario to ponder as the wider scenario unfolds. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered on Saturday to spark the Blue Jays’ rout of the Orioles. If he gets to, say, 50, and the Blue Jays wind up in the playoffs, is that enough to wrest the MVP from Shohei Ohtani?
If you like huge car crashes, good news, it’s Talladega weekend in NASCAR, and Saturday delivered.
First came the truck race, which went to overtime after a crash, and then really got wild on the final lap…
…and then there was the Xfinity race, which ended under yellow due to darkness after its Big One.
The Cup Series is sure to be more of the same, because that’s just what this track is.
Misadventures in gambling
So, I don’t bet on sports. It’s not a moral thing, and once it’s legal in New York and available on my phone, I probably will make a wager every now and then, because it’s fun. But it also really does mess with how you watch sports.
Yesterday, I picked Oregon to cover a 7.5-point spread at Stanford. When the Cardinal tied the game on an untimed down to send it to overtime, my first thought was, hey, Oregon could get that cover, maybe, with a touchdown, two-point conversion, and a defensive stop.
Well, the Ducks lost outright. Yesterday’s other misfires: Arkansas (+16.5, lost by 37) and UTSA (-21, won 24-17). The winners: Texas (-4, won by 5), Ohio State (-15, won by 39), and Penn State (-12.5, won by 24).
That’s a third straight .500 week, which would be losing money because of the vigs, which is why I don’t plan to be a person who regularly bets on sports.