Last night the Oakland Athletics battled the Kansas City Royals for the right to play another game of baseball in the 2014 season. It was a brilliant game of baseball, ultimately pitting Oakland’s power (yesterday: Brandon Moss) against KC’s speed (everyone besides Billy Butler).
After Moss’ second home run of the game the A’s held a 7-3 lead going into the Bottom of the 8th. Fangraphs gave the Royals a mere 2.9% chance of winning at that point of the game. And then some magic started happening. The Royals came alive and rode a wave of bunts and situational hitting all the way to the 12th inning, where they tied and soon after won the game.
I had no real rooting interest in the game. I like sports, and when sports are played well and the stakes are high, I like them even more. And as I spread my social media wings, I have discovered that watching Twitter watch sports holds great joys in and of itself. Here are the best tweets and reactions of last night’s Royals-Athletics Wild Card game.
One of the first moments of collective Internet sympathy came from this poor Royals fan.
I saw this tweet when the Royals were down by four. It was a bummer. I am always supportive of people getting puppies after successful sporting events. When Kurt Warner promised his kids a puppy if his Arizona Cardinals won the 2008 Super Bowl, I became a Cards fan pretty quickly.
I should’ve known that with a puppy on the line, a comeback was inevitable. But I did not feel that way. I felt much more like this.
In reality, @netw3rk had it right all along.
Bunts also had their shining moment on social media last night. As the Royals smallball began to take over, different parts of the Twitterverse either celebrated the speed and bunts of the home team, or revolted with disdain at what they believed was outdated strategy.
The Bunt Believers:
And there were those concerned that this newfound reliance on bunts could potentially lead to a new world order.
In the bottom of the 9th, the bunt believers appeared to be in the right when the Royals pulled off arguably the most smallball sequence of baseball events that I have ever seen:
Willingham pinch-hits for Moustakas. Willingham singles to right. Dyson pinch runs for Willinham. Escobar bunts and advances Dyson to second. Dyson steals third. Aoki hits sacrifice fly to right. Dyson scores. Tie game. Baseball does not get smaller than this.
It also usually doesn’t get this astounding, but by the way he was dancing, Dyson knew he was getting home once he got to third.
So Dyson sent us to extras. And with extra innings brought the playoff debut of Royals pitcher Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan, 21, was the Royals No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft. He just finished pitching for TCU in the College World Series this past June.
Brandon Finnegan had pitched just seven innings in the big leagues before taking over in extra innings of a single-elimination playoff game. The last time the Royals had made the playoffs was eight years before Brandon Finnegan was born, and now grown men and women were praying that he could keep them there for a little while longer.
Brandon Finnegan pitched two scoreless innings. Twitter took notice.
When he took the mound for a third inning, he allowed a baserunner that would eventually score before getting pulled. But Kansas City would not let his heroics be in vain.
They took to the bottom of the 12th with a mission.
Twitter, while I’m sure was still very much invested in the outcome of the contest, was also super tired.
Others were mad about missing out on their regularly scheduled TBS programming.
But the game would be over soon. Eric Hosmer hit a triple and made it home on an infield grounder to tie the game. Christian Colon, who reached on the grounder, stole second and was finally hit home by Salvador Perez. Royals win, 9-8 F/12.
Tweet of the night?
Congratulations Royals. KCPD, you got your wish. Good luck in the ALDS.
Tweets will be watching.