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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What Is Baseball’s Equivalent of the Vikings’ Miraculous Victory?

For fabulous finishes in sports history, it’s hard to top Stefon Diggs’s 61-yard touchdown catch on Sunday, as time expired, to lift the Minnesota Vikings over the New Orleans Saints and into the N.F.C. championship game. As my colleague Ben Shpigel noted, it happened on the site of the old Metrodome in Minneapolis, where the Twins won the final two games of the 1991 World Series in extra innings.

Ben would know; he’s a former baseball writer. And as much as I love watching the N.F.L., I try to relate everything to my favorite sport. So when the question of a baseball equivalent to Diggs’s catch arose on Twitter, I tried to think of a precise match….

There’s only one real equivalent, but what is it?

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 16, 2018 at 07:28 AM | 101 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, miracle finishes

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2018 at 10:59 PM (#5607785)
Gibson's HR may be the most obvious. Or Maz's HR. Or, given the Vikes play requires the defense to screw up too, maybe Merkle's boner or Giambi's non-slide (although that wasn't game-deciding).

But the Vikes just moved to a conference final, didn't win a SB or anything on the play so I think that brings lots of other baseball moments into play. Any amazing feat that won a WC game or a divsional series comes into play. In terms of likelihood there was that regular season game in the distant past when the Indians(?) scored like 10 in the bottom of the 9th to win.

Technically an issue is that baseball doesn't have a clock so, technically, there never is a "Gibson has to hit a HR here or the Dodgers lose" moment. That also removes or at least reduces the "FFS, all you had to do was not totally F up on defense for another 10 seconds" element. Also dramatic moments like Gibson's HR are just good hitter out-dueling a good pitcher, no obvious screw-up involved. So it almost would have to be something mind-numbingly stupid like Cubs down by 1 with man on second, Bryant doubles, OF thinks the winning run just scored and tosses the ball into the stands allowing Bryant to score the winning run.

So I guess the answer is Buckner.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:13 PM (#5607792)
So I guess the answer is Buckner.


Nah, the game was already tied, and it wasn't an elimination game for Boston.

The only one that has all of the elements (team that won was actually trailing before it happened), both teams eliminated with loss, playoff but non-championship game was the play that ended the 1992 NLCS.
   3. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:22 PM (#5607794)
Brant Brown's Oh Nooooooooo' game came to mind, in terms of a how the F does this happen turn of events that I didn't expect to see, but the clubs don't really align at all.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 16, 2018 at 11:22 PM (#5607795)
The Athletics 10-run 7th inning down 8-0 in the 1929 World Series. Wasn't the final game, but it was the key game, giving them a 3-1 lead rather than a 2-2 tie.
   5. jeffy Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:23 AM (#5607809)
Bobby Thompson's homer is the closest analogue.
It gave his trailing team the lead on the last play of the game in the playoffs (but not the final round of the postseason).
   6. The importance of being Ernest Riles Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:28 AM (#5607810)
A's - Royals 2004 ALWC. Traded leads/ties at the end, seemed like A's had it in the bag with late lead, Donaldson looked like he could have made the play to preserve the game but didn't.
   7. Bote Man Posted: January 17, 2018 at 02:39 AM (#5607821)
Michael A. Taylor hitting an opposite-field grand slam into to the teeth of a cold wind blowing in to RF at Wrigley Field in the 2017 NLDS. It was the 8th inning of Game 4 with the Nats down 2 games to 1 (so effectively an elimination game) and Secret Weapon Wade Davis had just been brought in to face him.

In this game balls were dying on the warning track all game long with BTF guys at Wrigley reporting here that the wind was varying between brutal and not too bad, but always blowing in.

So it hasn't been replayed a million and one times on ESPN, et al like Gibson's homer, but it certainly was a game-changing, thrilling moment for Nats fans, an "OH SH!T" moment for Cubs fans, very much the way it played out for the fans of the Vikings and Saints I imagine.
   8. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:01 AM (#5607828)
1941 World Series Game 4:

Two out, nobody on and Yankees trailing -- and the Dodgers strike out the batter for the 27th/final out. BUT the ball gets away and instead of out #27, the guy scurries to first on a wild pitch. That kicks off a rally that leads to a bizzaro 7-4 Yankees win. I believe 4 runs scored after the 27th out.

OR

Bill Bevens Game. He was one out from a no-hit victory. But instead, a fly to the wall scored 2 runs and let the Dodgers beat the Yankees, 3-2. 1947 World Series.

I'd guess the Bevens game is the better comp of the two. Walk-off play. Stunner of an ending.
   9. TomH Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:16 AM (#5607829)
Yes, while Cabrera's 2-run single captures the change-of-game pretty equivalently, the Lavangetto double (after Rieiser was IBB'ed while playing with a broken leg!) to win what looked like a lost no-hitter also has the drama of the play itself.
   10. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 17, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5607851)
Cabrera's hit was the one I was thinking of. The problem is I'm sure Cabrera's single was MUCH more likely than a 65 yard touchdown pass. If I'm reading the graphs right the Braves had about a 26% Win Expectancy at that moment while the Vikings WE was literally 0%.

I'VE GOT IT! (except I don't for reasons that will become clear). But Rick Camp's homer in the July 4th game. Technically it was "only" a 49% increase in WE but the actual circumstances considering Camp's poor hitting ability I'd bet the odds of Camp hitting a home run in that moment were about 0%. A career .074 hitter without a home run comes to bat trailing by a run with no one on and two outs the Mets had a 96% win percentage just using the base model not accounting for Camp's poor offensive acumen.

Of course the problem here is the Braves lost the game anyway and the stakes weren't the same but I think the general circumstances are about as close as you could get. Imagine Camp doing that in the bottom of the ninth of the ALDS and I think you have a baseball analogue.
   11. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 17, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5607852)
Games 162 in 2011.

Specifically. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were 4% chance to win, with Dan Johnson of the .119 BA up to bat. Johnson's homer only tied the game, but it was a 49% swing in WPA. Meanwhile, with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th in Baltimore, the Red Sox had the same 96% WPA, and lost. So the Rays, needing both a win and a Red Sox loss, had a post season WPA of 2%
   12. Rally Posted: January 17, 2018 at 09:31 AM (#5607861)
So it hasn't been replayed a million and one times on ESPN, et al like Gibson's homer, but it certainly was a game-changing, thrilling moment for Nats fans, an "OH SH!T" moment for Cubs fans, very much the way it played out for the fans of the Vikings and Saints I imagine.


That was a great HR, but the Nats were already winning when it happened. It just changed the game from a likely win to one that you didn't have to worry about anymore. Now if he had hit a slam in the 9th inning of game 5, that would be something worthy of being compared to Kirk Gibson. But how much can you ask one man to do? As it stands Taylor drove in 4 runs that game.
   13. Bote Man Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:04 AM (#5607894)
Yep. Because baseball doesn't have a game clock the way football does, about the only true parallel is a walk-off hit of some kind. Even so, there were other types of plays that were memorable, game-changing moments.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5607901)
The perfect equivalent would be a walk-off hit with 2 outs (maybe even 2 strkes) by a team trailing in the game, occurring in an LDS game 5.
   15. puck Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5607907)
The perfect equivalent would be a walk-off hit with 2 outs (maybe even 2 strkes) by a team trailing in the game, occurring in an LDS game 5.


Walk off inside the park HR in such a circumstance, with the OF failing to make a shoestring catch on a would be single. Though could the Vikings have stopped the clock if the WR had been tackled inbounds?
   16. Stormy JE Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:24 AM (#5607909)
I'm with Walt:

Whatever you think about the pass from Keenum and catch from Diggs, were it not for Marcus Williams' boneheaded defense, the Saints win the game.
Whatever you think about Mookie's battle with Stanley, were it not for Bill Buckner's boneheaded defense, the Red Sox win the game.
   17. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5607911)
The pass to Diggs would have been even more amazing if they NEEDED a TD, but all they needed was a FG. He could have went out of bounds
at the 35 and they still probably would have won.
   18. Hysterical & Useless Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:36 AM (#5607923)
all they needed was a FG. He could have went out of bounds
at the 35 and they still probably would have won.


I haven't watched football in decades. Are 50+ yard field goals considered "gimmes" nowadays?
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5607924)
Whatever you think about Mookie's battle with Stanley, were it not for Bill Buckner's boneheaded defense, the Red Sox win the game.
That game was already tied.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:37 AM (#5607925)
Whatever you think about Mookie's battle with Stanley, were it not for Bill Buckner's boneheaded defense, the Red Sox win the game.


The game was tied at the time. If Buckner fields it, and he or Stanley manages to beat Mookie to the bag, the Red Sox don't win. The game goes to the 11th.

The problem is I'm sure Cabrera's single was MUCH more likely than a 65 yard touchdown pass. If I'm reading the graphs right the Braves had about a 26% Win Expectancy at that moment while the Vikings WE was literally 0%.


True, but it's impossible for baseball to get in a situation where one at bat can have that kind of turnaround. The game itself can get to a similar point, but it would then take multiple events by the offense to reverse the expected outcome.
   21. Stormy JE Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5607937)
The pass to Diggs would have been even more amazing if they NEEDED a TD, but all they needed was a FG. He could have went out of bounds
at the 35 and they still probably would have won.
How was Diggs going to get out of the bounds? Two defenders were nearby and Diggs, who had leaped high in the air to make the grab, is as thin as a rail.
   22. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5607938)
(#18) More than they used to be. Sure, he might have missed it with the added pressure, but it's always a little easier
indoors. It seems like the range of kickers just keeps creeping up.
   23. Stormy JE Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:47 AM (#5607939)
That game was already tied.
Indeed. My bad.
   24. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5607941)
Are 50+ yard field goals considered "gimmes" nowadays?

Gimmes? No. But a good kicker at a little over 50 yards inside a dome -- odds are he better than not that he gets it.
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:52 AM (#5607949)
How was Diggs going to get out of the bounds? Two defenders were nearby and Diggs, who had leaped high in the air to make the grab, is as thin as a rail.
A defender could miss him. Hard to imagine, I know.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5607958)
The thing that made the play a little different was the two phases of it. First he caught it, and the thought was hell, the Vikes have a chance to win it with a field goal. Then, it became, holy crap, he's going to score a touchdown.

In that case, the closest baseball equivalent might be down 1, runners on first and second and a single to right. It first looks like the offensive team might tie the score, but instead the ball scoots by the outfielder and both runners score to win the game.
   27. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5607966)
Are 50+ yard field goals considered "gimmes" nowadays?

Gimmes? No. But a good kicker at a little over 50 yards inside a dome -- odds are he better than not that he gets it.


The Vikings needing to kick an important field goal in the playoffs?

Uh, that doesn't usually end well.

Gary Anderson - 1998

Blair Walsh - 2016
   28. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5607971)
How about a pinch hit, walk-off Grand Slam with your team down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the pennant? Hirotoshi Kitagawa did it for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2001.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:11 AM (#5607976)

How about a pinch hit, walk-off Grand Slam with your team down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the pennant? Hirotoshi Kitagawa did for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2001.


Sadly, with nobody out.
   30. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5607978)
I think the baseball equivalent would be a man on third, two out, bottom of the ninth, game 7, the batting team is down by a run, and the batter hits a sinking line drive to the right fielder.

In the baseball game, there are three possible results:

1) If the fielder catches it, the game is over and his team wins.
2) If the fielder doesn't catch it but keeps it from getting by him, the game isn't over but his team still has a chance to win (because it's only tied).
3) If the fielder doesn't catch it AND it bounces past him all the way to the wall, now the fielding team loses the game because it turns into an inside the park home run and the batting team wins.

In the football game, there are three possible results:

1) If the safety simply tackles the Vikings receiver in bounds, the game is over because there is no way the offensive line can get up to the spot for the ball and spike it in 4 seconds to stop the clock.
2) If the safety simply tackles the Vikings receiver OUT of bounds, then the game is still undecided as the Vikings have to hit a LONG (50+) field goal to win the game.
3) If the safety does what he did and misses the receiver entirely, then the Saints lose the game entirely as the Viking receiver runs in for the game winning touchdown.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5608043)
Bobby Thomson's homer is the closest analogue.
It gave his trailing team the lead on the last play of the game in the playoffs


But there was only one out when he hit it. The Cabrera walkoff in the final game of the 1992 NLCS is the only true comparison in all respects,** but even that doesn't take into account the odds against his hitting a single vs. the odds that the Vikings could come up with a 61 yard touchdown pass. Of course if it'd been Hoyt Wilhelm at the plate, then that's another story.....

There are also plenty of regular season last strike comebacks, and comebacks in postseason games that weren't game 5 or game 7, but none of them fill all the conditions that the author is talking about.

** Another would've been McCovey's line drive to end the 1962 World Series, with the tying and winning runs in scoring position, but that line drive never made it past Bobby Richardson's glove.
   32. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: January 17, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5608147)

In the baseball game, there are three possible results:

1) If the fielder catches it, the game is over and his team wins.
2) If the fielder doesn't catch it but keeps it from getting by him, the game isn't over but his team still has a chance to win (because it's only tied).
3) If the fielder doesn't catch it AND it bounces past him all the way to the wall, now the fielding team loses the game because it turns into an inside the park home run and the batting team wins.


Game 6, 2011 World Series is close but Freese's triple only tied the game. I keep coming back to Cabrera in 1992. That play could have been Pirates win, tied, Braves win with very very very little change to the actual events.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5608275)
Game 6, 2011 World Series is close but Freese's triple only tied the game. I keep coming back to Cabrera in 1992. That play could have been Pirates win, tied, Braves win with very very very little change to the actual events.

That's right, and the only difference is that while a better throw by Barry Bonds might have sent that game into extra innings, it would've been impossible for the Vikings game to wind up tied after the final play. This ending was about as improbable as the deciding game of a basketball tournament being decided by a 4-point play at the buzzer by a player whose team trailed by 3 points before the shot.

   34. Bote Man Posted: January 17, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5608300)
Others have pointed out that Jimmy Johnson pointed out on the post-game broadcast that he believes the defender who "botched" the tackle of Diggs was going out of his way to avoid any kind of interference penalty in such a critical spot. /OT-Football

Since these days I consider football to be that filler that takes me closer to Spring Training I have no idea what other possible outcomes existed with penalties, so y'all will have to debate them among yourselves; I watched it live and was as stunned as everyone. All I know is I'm gonna go on a 3-state killing spree if I don't get some baseball injected directly into my veins pretty soon now.
   35. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5608405)
All I know is I'm gonna go on a 3-state killing spree if I don't get some baseball injected directly into my veins pretty soon now.

Only 26 more days until the first pitchers report, and only 33 more days until all the players are in camp. Just park your guns in storage and get yourself a good countdown clock.
   36. Snowboy Posted: January 17, 2018 at 06:54 PM (#5608424)
14. Nasty Nate
Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5607901)
The perfect equivalent would be a walk-off hit with 2 outs (maybe even 2 strkes) by a team trailing in the game, occurring in an LDS game 5.


OK, thank goodness "Blue Monday" doesn't qualify then. Because that was a 3-1 count, and a game tied in the 9th, and the Dodgers were the visiting team, and it was a five game series. Although the Expos put two on and chased Fernando Valenzuela in the bottom of the ninth, well, the Dahhgers just sent in no-slouch-Bob-Welch, and the Dodgers won that series in 1981.

No one was expecting a home run by Rick Monday. He's probably a fine person, and a deserved member of the College Baseball HOF, and the first overall pick in the 1965 draft...but by 1981 he was a 35YO part-timer, and I would have been a happier 11YO that day if he'd still been with the Cubs, or out golfing or something.
   37. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5608426)
Others have pointed out that Jimmy Johnson pointed out on the post-game broadcast that he believes the defender who "botched" the tackle of Diggs was going out of his way to avoid any kind of interference penalty in such a critical spot. /OT-Football

Since these days I consider football to be that filler that takes me closer to Spring Training I have no idea what other possible outcomes existed with penalties, so y'all will have to debate them among yourselves; I watched it live and was as stunned as everyone. All I know is I'm gonna go on a 3-state killing spree if I don't get some baseball injected directly into my veins pretty soon now.


That's what others thought as well.

If he draws the penalty, whether the receiver caught the ball or not, the Vikings would have had a free play (or one with a couple seconds left) from the point of the foul. The Vikings would have tried a field goal which would have won them the game if they converted from 50 yards (not a sure thing).

The defender simply shouldn't have leaped at the receiver at all. If he stays on the ground and simply waits for him to catch it, then he tackles him in bounds and it's over.
   38. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:32 PM (#5608438)
I think because of the way baseball works -- it's a game of aggregates, you know -- there's not going to be a single play that's like this, exactly. The baseball equivalent is something like the 2004 ALCS, maybe with fewer blowouts.
   39. Steve Treder Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5608449)
The defender simply shouldn't have leaped at the receiver at all. If he stays on the ground and simply waits for him to catch it, then he tackles him in bounds and it's over.

Exactly. To avoid drawing the PI flag, just don't commit PI. Wait until the receiver touches the ball, then wrap him up with your arms and tackle him.

There is simply no way to excuse that play. The safety botched it as profoundly as a play can be botched.
   40. Jay Z Posted: January 17, 2018 at 07:56 PM (#5608451)
That's what others thought as well.

If he draws the penalty, whether the receiver caught the ball or not, the Vikings would have had a free play (or one with a couple seconds left) from the point of the foul. The Vikings would have tried a field goal which would have won them the game if they converted from 50 yards (not a sure thing).

The defender simply shouldn't have leaped at the receiver at all. If he stays on the ground and simply waits for him to catch it, then he tackles him in bounds and it's over.


Williams, the safety, came in too fast. No excuses, it's a standard safety play. They have to track their approaches and Williams simply blew it. If Williams comes in properly, really if he just stands under Diggs, Diggs will probably fall down and the game will be over.

The Saints did not make a good choice of coverage either. They kept two men in the middle of the field, at the 50, doing nothing. One of them was supposed to guard McKinnon, the RB, who stayed in to block. The other one was... apparently guarding the middle, which is where you would want the Vikings to throw.

That left two Saints to cover the three Vikings receivers on the right. They chose to cover Rudolph, the TE, who did about a six yard out, and the 3rd WR, Wright, who also ran a shorter route. Williams, the safety, was really the only one guarding Diggs, even though Diggs is the Vikings' second leading receiver, and ran a pattern exactly where you'd expect the Vikings to throw the ball. Someone should have been fronting Diggs with Williams helping in back.

Or the Saints could have rushed just three or even two, since they didn't get to Keenum anyway. Let him stand back there all day, let the time click off and have him try some heave or goofy lateral play. Or be more devious, hold all of the Vikings receivers after the ball is snapped. It's a 5 yard penalty, but the Vikings needed 25 at least and there's only two plays left.
   41. eric Posted: January 17, 2018 at 08:13 PM (#5608460)
So...I understand it was a game-winning TD catch on the last play of the game, but why is it so amazing? There have to have been caught hail-mary's in the annals of football. Is it because it was a playoff game?

And, yes, the sports aren't really comparable. In football you can have literally a 0% chance of winning (1 second on the clock, on the wrong 1-yard line, down by 9+). In baseball the chances are never 0% until the final out. Which, by the way, is one of the reasons it's such a great game.

The probability of being in an equivalent situation is much lower in baseball. If it has to be elimination for both teams, right away you're talking about a game 7 (or 5) of the playoffs--I guess the very last game of the season could happen. How many times do playoff series even go the full distance? Then to be the definite last play of the game, you need it to be the bottom of the 9th, and to be a low-probability event it has to be the home team behind with two outs and enough men on base to put them ahead--because it has to be a single play, stringing together a bunch of singles to come back from 4 runs down is highly improbable, but wouldn't fit this exact definition.

Different sports. I'll take baseball and the seemingly always-present tension rather than a game that has a higher chance of a single exciting play, but that you can't really fully enjoy it when you see it anyways because in the back of your mind you're always watching/waiting for a flag.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: January 17, 2018 at 08:21 PM (#5608464)
So...I understand it was a game-winning TD catch on the last play of the game, but why is it so amazing? There have to have been caught hail-mary's in the annals of football. Is it because it was a playoff game?

But it wasn't a hail-mary in the normal sense: the offense sends multiple receivers into the end zone, and the QB heaves one up there for a jump ball. Odds are the pass won't be completed, but, yes, once in a while it is.

This pass wasn't thrown anywhere close to the end zone, and not even really into field goal territory. There was one and only one way this play wouldn't end the game with the Saints winning, and that was for the Saints defense to blow it on an epic scale. Obligingly, the Saints defense blew it on an epic scale.
   43. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:11 PM (#5608534)
Steve Treder sighting! Where you been, boy?

And sure, the Saints blew it in spectacular fashion, but the question was what the equivalent baseball game ending would've been.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:18 PM (#5608538)
14. Nasty Nate
Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5607901)
The perfect equivalent would be a walk-off hit with 2 outs (maybe even 2 strkes) by a team trailing in the game, occurring in an LDS game 5.

OK, thank goodness "Blue Monday" doesn't qualify then. Because that was a 3-1 count, and a game tied in the 9th, and the Dodgers were the visiting team, and it was a five game series. Although the Expos put two on and chased Fernando Valenzuela in the bottom of the ninth, well, the Dahhgers just sent in no-slouch-Bob-Welch, and the Dodgers won that series in 1981.

No one was expecting a home run by Rick Monday. He's probably a fine person, and a deserved member of the College Baseball HOF, and the first overall pick in the 1965 draft...but by 1981 he was a 35YO part-timer, and I would have been a happier 11YO that day if he'd still been with the Cubs, or out golfing or something.


Well, the Monday game doesn't quite meet all the criteria, but it was absolutely one of the most underrated and forgotten decisive home runs in history, especially since the Dodgers had trailed in both the game and in the Series, and since they then went on to win the World Series.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: January 17, 2018 at 10:55 PM (#5608550)
Nah, the game was already tied, and it wasn't an elimination game for Boston.

No, but it was the WS. The Vikings still have to win two games to take the championship.

The tied game issue is relevant but nothing's perfect.

I guess Hosmer's dash home with Duda's horrible throw is in the ballpark but that just tied the game in a series the Royals were leading 3-1 anyway.

In hockey or soccer, there can be no direct equivalent -- a shot can be game-tying or game-winning but not both.

Also, very very very technically, rugby games don't have to end (as I understand it). As long as the ball stays live, the game continues. (In practice of course once the winning team gets the ball, they play it out not to mention penalties and other stuff that kills the ball.) I also discovered a quirky little rule I didn't know (no rugby expert me) -- team scores a try before time has expired but they would not have time to kick the conversion before time expires (within 40 seconds of the end of game). If they want, they can decline the conversion kick in which case they are guaranteed a restart (in which the kickoff is back to them so they have a chance to score another try, penalty kick, etc).

Not baseball but my favorite (only?) ESPN Sportcenter memory comes to mind ...

Some high school kid, team down by 1 or 2, a couple seconds on the clock, other team at the foul line. Guy misses the free throw, kid grabs it, throws it the length of the court into the basket for a game-winning 3-pointer. Somebody actually has a video of it (from the kid's end no less) and sends it to ESPN.

SC Top 10 plays of the day

The play comes in at #9 ... and #7 and #5 and #3 and #1. Kid's probably still bragging about that one.
   46. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:05 PM (#5608554)
Not baseball but my favorite (only?) ESPN Sportcenter memory comes to mind ...

Some high school kid, team down by 1 or 2, a couple seconds on the clock, other team at the foul line. Guy misses the free throw, kid grabs it, throws it the length of the court into the basket for a game-winning 3-pointer. Somebody actually has a video of it (from the kid's end no less) and sends it to ESPN.


Was this the game you're talking about? The shot and the surrounding circumstances pretty much match your description.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5608561)
No, but it was the WS. The Vikings still have to win two games to take the championship.


The objective was to find baseball's equivalent to the play. That just makes it less like it.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:52 PM (#5608563)
Was this the game you're talking about? The shot and the surrounding circumstances pretty much match your description.


This one from last year also matches it, but it happened in a sectional game, so the loser's season was over.
   49. Bote Man Posted: January 17, 2018 at 11:57 PM (#5608564)
I'll take baseball and the seemingly always-present tension rather than a game that has a higher chance of a single exciting play, but that you can't really fully enjoy it when you see it anyways because in the back of your mind you're always watching/waiting for a flag.

Replay. You can't forget about the all-hallowed replay. Because we **MUST** get everything absolutely perfect every time, without exception no matter how long it takes!!
   50. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:17 AM (#5608581)

One of the obvious reasons why the Vikings play is regarded as such a stunner is because the score had swung so many times in the fourth quarter already. In fact, the Vikings had squandered a huge lead and it looked like they were going to lose an embarrassing heartbreaker; instead they won in incredible fashion. Some of the posts above seem to miss that point.

As for crazy finishes in h.s. basketball games, this New Rochelle-Mount Vernon game is hard to beat. And like the Vikings game, it required a bone-headed play by the defense for it to be possible.

The finish to the recent Stanford-USC game was also a great one.
   51. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:53 AM (#5608586)
The finish to the recent Stanford-USC game was also a great one.

And if ever there's been another football game to top Sunday's insane finish, even though the stakes weren't all that high, I defy anyone to top the 1982 Cal-Stanford "Big Game", whose final play was straight out of a Marx Brothers movie, with Harpo leading the band.
   52. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5608608)
Some high school kid, team down by 1 or 2, a couple seconds on the clock, other team at the foul line. Guy misses the free throw, kid grabs it, throws it the length of the court into the basket for a game-winning 3-pointer. Somebody actually has a video of it (from the kid's end no less) and sends it to ESPN.

Reminds me of one of the only NHL highlights I know of. Except that didn't end the game - just sent it into OT.
   53. Rally Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5608620)
Except that didn't end the game - just sent it into OT.


Hard to do more than that in hockey, at least until they invent the 2-point goal.
   54. DaVoice of DaPeople Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5608759)
I always come back to Game 6 of the 2011 Series—the only thing better is if it had happened in a Game 7.

Freese came up with runners on first and second, 2 outs, bottom of the 9th, and the Cards down by 2. And he crushed it to deep right. And as the ball was flying through the air there were 3 possibilities that were all amazing to consider:

1) It goes over the fence for a walk-off 3-run homer

2) It hits the wall and both runners score to tie the game

3) Nelson Cruz makes a spectacular, World Series-saving catch.

It was about the most tense 3 seconds of baseball possible. And I didn’t care who won!
   55. SoSH U at work Posted: January 18, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5608767)
3) Nelson Cruz makes a spectacular, World Series-saving catch.


Spectacular for Nelson Cruz, I guess.
   56. PepTech Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5608786)
1995 ALDS? There weren't any outs, but Edgar Martinez' double did change the scoreboard from losing to walk-off in extra innings of a deciding game, two levels below the championship. There's even poor play (in this case, lousy arm) by a Williams!

   57. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 18, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5608818)
I always come back to Game 6 of the 2011 Series

DUDE!!! Trigger warning, please!
   58. Nasty Nate Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5608836)
1995 ALDS?
That's one of the ones the article picks. It's pretty close.
   59. Bote Man Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5608837)
Hows comes nobody ever mentions the 1994 World Series???
   60. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5608839)
Hard to do more than that in hockey, at least until they invent the 2-point goal.

For a NHL game -- what about the Stanley Cup Finals game between Chicago and Boston where Boston had a one-goal lead with about a minute left -- but then the Blackhawks scored twice in 17 seconds? It wasn't Game 7. But it did clinch the title for Chicago. In a few seconds Boston fans were feeling decent - gotta chance to extend the series and maybe win it - and then, boom, no. Done. Gone. Bye.
   61. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5608873)
The Edgar Game is a solid choice. I'd also nominate the Rockies-Padres Game 163 in 2007.
   62. PepTech Posted: January 18, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5608877)
That's one of the ones the article picks. It's pretty close.
There's an article? ;)
   63. bunyon Posted: January 18, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5608919)
I don't think you need two outs to be an exact comp. If the pass is incomplete or he gets out of bounds after the catch, there would be time left on the clock. The reason it was the last play is he had to run for the end zone. So the 1995 Edgar game is a better fit than it seems.
   64. Zach Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:39 PM (#5609144)
The only thing I can think of is if Alex Gordon had come around to score on the crazy play in seventh game of the 2014 World Series. It combines the "oh, no!" reaction of the losers with the "I can't believe this is happening!" reaction of the winners.

Also, looking at the replays, Gordon's chances of scoring on that play were about what you'd expect from a 65 yard Hail Mary with time expiring.
   65. Zach Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:45 PM (#5609147)
The Edgar Game is a solid choice. I'd also nominate the Rockies-Padres Game 163 in 2007.

The best game I've ever seen in person. The contrast between blowing the game in the top of the inning and winning it in the bottom of the inning was huge.
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:49 PM (#5609149)
The only thing I can think of is if Alex Gordon had come around to score on the crazy play in seventh game of the 2014 World Series. It combines the "oh, no!" reaction of the losers with the "I can't believe this is happening!" reaction of the winners.

Also, looking at the replays, Gordon's chances of scoring on that play were about what you'd expect from a 65 yard Hail Mary with time expiring.


Now that really would have been a perfect comparison,** except that it would've only tied the score, since nobody was on base when Gordon came up to the plate.

** And in fact even better, since it was the World Series, and not the Division Series.
   67. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 18, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5609153)
I guess no one likes my 2011 game 162 choice. To repeat, the Rays needed to win and needed the Red Sox to lose. With 2 outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were 4% to win. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in the other game, the Red Sox were 96% to win. And yet the Rays advanced.
   68. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 18, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5609189)
I guess no one likes my 2011 game 162 choice. To repeat, the Rays needed to win and needed the Red Sox to lose. With 2 outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were 4% to win. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in the other game, the Red Sox were 96% to win. And yet the Rays advanced.

If it's any consolation, the finish of that Orioles-Red Sox game was ranked by WFAN as the #1 schadenfreude moment in baseball history.
   69. An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: January 19, 2018 at 02:16 AM (#5609330)
I guess no one likes my 2011 game 162 choice. To repeat, the Rays needed to win and needed the Red Sox to lose. With 2 outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were 4% to win. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in the other game, the Red Sox were 96% to win. And yet the Rays advanced.
I do love that series of events, largely due to the heroics of ex-A Dan Johnson. But that was multiple plays in 2 separate games, which to me makes it meaningfully different from what happened last week.
   70. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 19, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5609507)
If the safety does what he did and misses the receiver entirely, then the Saints lose the game entirely as the Viking receiver runs in for the game winning touchdown.


Is there a historical reason football games don't end the minute the clock hits 0:00, and allow the snap to play out? No other sports are like this.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: January 19, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5609513)
No other sports are like this.
Basketball is like that, in a sense. I don't know much about soccer, but I don't think they end the game if the ball is in the air and heading towards the net.
   72. reech Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5609516)
Is there a historical reason football games don't end the minute the clock hits 0:00, and allow the snap to play out? No other sports are like this.


In basketball, if a shot is launched before the clock hits 0:00 and goes in afterwards, the shot counts.

edit- coke to Nate
   73. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:03 PM (#5609518)
Basketball is like that, in a sense.


Hockey too I believe. And since no one knows when a soccer match is supposed to end, include that too.
   74. Obo Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:06 PM (#5609523)
Hockey too I believe.

Hockey games end the instant the clock hits zero.
   75. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:08 PM (#5609529)
Hockey games end the instant the clock hits zero.


Even if the puck is on the way to the goal?
   76. reech Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5609533)
The puck has to cross the goal line before time expires. It's not like basketball or football.
   77. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5609534)
OK, I stand corrected.
   78. bunyon Posted: January 19, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5609599)
Yeah, so hockey is the outlier.

In soccer, my guess is they will officially tell you that the ball must cross before the ref blows the whistle. However, no ref is going to blow the whistle with a ball on the way to net. Probably not even with a play developing near the goal.

I like misirlou's 2011 games 162 analogy. To me, because the nature of the sports are so different, a really good comparison just can't be made. The juxtaposition of two wildly unlikely scenarios in two different games at about the same moment in time (especially today when someone could have theoretically been watching them side by side) is a good mirror for the emotion of seeing what we saw in the Vikings-Saints end.

I didn't see the Immaculate Reception live but I assume it had about the same feel. I remember reading the account of a Steeler - maybe Bleier? - who said when the ball was batted, he turned around and spiked his helmet and went on a cursing jag and got very irritated with his teammates for acting happy.

I love baseball more than all other sports but, as has been alluded to, that sort of desperate turnaround can't really happen. Any scenario in which a lead turns into a loss has obvious indicators. If you're down three, you can win a game on a swing of the bat but the bases must be loaded, which takes time and makes you anticipate the batter who wins it. The football analogy would be a late, short FG or game winning TD off 1st and goal. There is simply no way to win a baseball game at the equivalent of 4th and long from your own end of the field.
   79. SandyRiver Posted: January 19, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5609612)
One of the obvious reasons why the Vikings play is regarded as such a stunner is because the score had swung so many times in the fourth quarter already.

Absolutely. Recounting that late 4th Q sequence:
3:01 SAINTS TAKE THEIR FIRST LEAD! OUT OF A 17-0 HOLE!
1:29 VIKINGS FG RETAKES THE LEAD!
0:25 IT'S GOOD!! GAME-WINNING FG FOR NEW ORLEANS!
0:00 oops

If it's any consolation, the finish of that Orioles-Red Sox game was ranked by WFAN as the #1 schadenfreude moment in baseball history.

After the way the Bosox played in Sept that year, this Boston homer considers it a mercy killing (and did so at the time.)
   80. SoSH U at work Posted: January 19, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5609616)
In soccer, my guess is they will officially tell you that the ball must cross before the ref blows the whistle. However, no ref is going to blow the whistle with a ball on the way to net. Probably not even with a play developing near the goal.


At FIFA level. At the NCAA and many other lower levels, the referee does not keep time the same way (he informs the clock operator each time he wants it stopped). And in those instances, the rule is the same as hockey. When the clock hits zero - the half/game is over.
   81. SoSH U at work Posted: January 19, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5609624)

I guess no one likes my 2011 game 162 choice. To repeat, the Rays needed to win and needed the Red Sox to lose. With 2 outs and no one on in the bottom of the 9th, the Rays were 4% to win. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in the other game, the Red Sox were 96% to win. And yet the Rays advanced.
.


And if it just happened a year later, that night would have guaranteed HFA for the Rays in the play-in game against the Sox (and the Cards, against the matching choking-dog Braves).

FTR, your choice is the closest parallel on an emotional level (though honestly, the Vikings winning Sunday wasn't nearly as unlikely as the Rays capturing the wild card outright when the Sox-O's game reached the ninth). I thought the exercise was to find the closest parallel of a play, and, in that sense, the 1993 NLCS game-ender is the best fit.

   82. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: January 19, 2018 at 02:46 PM (#5609669)
though honestly, the Vikings winning Sunday wasn't nearly as unlikely as the Rays capturing the wild card outright when the Sox-O's game reached the ninth)


This doesn't work perfectly, because they didn't happen at the same time, but the both the Rays and the O's were down by a run with 2 out, no one on, in the bottom of the 9th. The WPA for both was 4%. The chances of both of them winning, which is what happened, was 0.16% , or 625 to 1.
   83. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:22 PM (#5609860)
the finish of that Orioles-Red Sox game was ranked by WFAN as the #1 schadenfreude moment in baseball history.

WFAN can eat me. The real answer is Johnny Damon's grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, the point at which it becomes clear even to the meatheads at WFAN that the MFY have indeed choked away a 3-0 LCS lead over the Red Sox and are going to lose the series. Ortiz's first inning HR had more WPA, but Damon's slam was the coup de grâce.
   84. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5609862)
the finish of that Orioles-Red Sox game was ranked by WFAN as the #1 schadenfreude moment in baseball history.

WFAN can eat me. The real answer is Johnny Damon's grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, the point at which it becomes clear even to the meatheads at WFAN that the MFY have indeed choked away a 3-0 LCS lead over the Red Sox and are going to lose the series.


I guess I should've added a (smile) to my #68. AFAIK WFAN took no such poll, and anyway the giveaway should've been that few WFAN listeners would've even known what schadenfreude meant.
   85. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5609864)
the finish of that Orioles-Red Sox game was ranked by WFAN as the #1 schadenfreude moment in baseball history.

The real answer is Johnny Damon's grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS



Those games involved stakes and teams that were competing to advance, and one team definitionally didn't, to the delight of another team's fanbase.

For pure schadenfreude and nothing but, the answer is the sixth-place 1934 Dodgers eliminating the Giants in their park on the last two days of the "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" season.
   86. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: January 19, 2018 at 06:42 PM (#5609868)
[84] Fair enough. WFAN can still eat me though on general principle. :)
   87. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: January 19, 2018 at 07:46 PM (#5609883)
No other sports are like this.
Rugby was mentioned earlier this thread, but I suppose it needs to be mentioned again.
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: January 19, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5609947)
The real answer is Johnny Damon's grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, the point at which it becomes clear even to the meatheads at WFAN that the MFY have indeed choked away a 3-0 LCS lead over the Red Sox and are going to lose the series.

that really was an unbelievable moment. starter-turned-reliever Javier Vasquez enters the game with the bases loaded, and Damon hits his first pitch over the fence to give the Red Sox a 6-0 lead - and at Yankee Stadium, no less. later, Pedro in relief.

that was one long wake they held there that night.
   89. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 20, 2018 at 06:25 AM (#5609992)
For pure schadenfreude and nothing but, the answer is the sixth-place 1934 Dodgers eliminating the Giants in their park on the last two days of the "Is Brooklyn still in the league?" season.

Well, don't forget Charlie Dressen's "The Giants is dead", which he sung to the tune of the "Beer Barrel Polka" after the Dodgers had opened a 12 1/2 game lead in August of 1951. Schadenfreude was an equal opportunity employer during the halcyon days of city baseball.
   90. Greg K Posted: January 20, 2018 at 07:17 PM (#5610253)
I suspect we're dealing with the legacy of soccer pre-dating digital clocks. I imagine in the mists of time games were only vaguely timed. "Play until dinner!"

But at some point, some guy had a watch. But it made sense not to be too exact. Instead of "you've got 49.6 seconds left!", a ref might say "you've got time for one last rush, then it'll be over".

The spirit of that is still there with soccer in that the ref has an official clock, but he's always going to fudge it so as not to end the game in the middle of an attack on goal. The same spirit is in basketball and football, where they keep an exact clock, but let you finish up whatever it is you're doing at the bell.

Hockey refs seem to be the major sticklers.
   91. Morty Causa Posted: January 21, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5610476)
C'mon, people. The 1960 World Series, 7th game.
   92. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2018 at 04:57 PM (#5610482)
C'mon, people. The 1960 World Series, 7th game.

Not even close. The game was tied and there were no outs. It was one of the greatest World Series games of all game, but that's not the category under consideration.
   93. Morty Causa Posted: January 21, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5610487)
Also, the 2004 American League Championship playoff. Down 3-0 and coming back to win four straight. (Then the Sox won four straight in the World Series.)
   94. Morty Causa Posted: January 21, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5610500)
1941 All-Star game.
   95. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5610513)
Also, the 2004 American League Championship playoff. Down 3-0 and coming back to win four straight. (Then the Sox won four straight in the World Series.)

Greatest series comeback other than the 1937 Little World Series. But again, that's a different category. You should first read the article and see what the author is talking about.

1941 All-Star game.

For an individual game, but the All-Star game is at bottom just an exhibition game. And there have been hundreds of individual games with 2 out, walkoff come-from-behind home runs.

   96. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 21, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5610527)
Greatest series comeback other than the 1937 Little World Series.

What position did you play?
   97. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2018 at 08:34 PM (#5610678)
Greatest series comeback other than the 1937 Little World Series.

What position did you play?


Actually my playing career ended in 1913 when Hal Chase was traded for a bunion and an onion. I was the onion.
   98. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 21, 2018 at 09:35 PM (#5610706)
Re: #89--
Yeah, but the 1951 Giants came back to win the pennant win the pennant, which is something they wanted for themselves, not merely as an excuse to stick a shiv in the Dodgers.

The 1934 vengeance was purer. The equation was 100% uncut schadenfreude.
   99. SoSH U at work Posted: January 21, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5610708)
The 1934 vengeance was purer. The was 100% uncut schadenfreude.


The other shoe version of that was the final game of the 1993 season, when Tommy 10 Dogs giddily celebrated his fourth-place Dodgers' 12-1 victory over the 103-win Giants.
   100. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 21, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5610714)
Re: #89--
Yeah, but the 1951 Giants came back to win the pennant win the pennant, which is something they wanted for themselves, not merely as an excuse to stick a shiv in the Dodgers.

The 1934 vengeance was purer. The equation was 100% uncut schadenfreude.


Good point. I guess if you had to rank the two years for schadenfreude you would have to go with '34. But then in 1951 it wasn't just the manager with a big mouth, it was the entire Dodgers team. After the Dodgers had swept the Giants in Ebbets Field in early August, the Jints could hear the Dodgers mocking them and laughing at them through the thin clubhouse walls. Two games later, they began the 16 game winning streak that started Dem Bums on the road to Wait Till Next Year.
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