One-Game Playoff Lets Anderson Remember ‘The Catch’
|10.07.09 at 6:13 am ET|
ANAHEIM, Calif. — For the second straight year, the Twins found themselves in a one-game playoff to determine the fate of the American League Central. Minnesota made the most of its second chance in a winner-take-all contest, claiming a walkoff, 6-5 victory in 12 innings on Alexi Casilla’s game-winning single. That allowed both the Twins and Casilla to leave behind a bitter defeat of one year ago in which a current member of the Red Sox played a prominent part.
Red Sox outfielder Brian Anderson was a member of the White Sox until this summer, when he was acquired by Boston for Mark Kotsay. A year ago, he was a role player for Chicago who delivered a moment similar to the one that Tom Brunansky offered the Red Sox in 1990.
Anderson entered the one-game playoff in 2008 with the White Sox leading the Twins, 1-0, on the strength of a Jim Thome solo homer. He came on as a pinch-runner for Ken Griffey Jr., but the purpose of the move was driven as much by a need to replace Griffey in the outfield as to pinch-run for the future Hall of Famer.
“I went in for defense. I was like, ‘Great – I have to replace a legend,’” Anderson chuckled. “That was very cool. I played in only a couple of playoff games, but that one, it was the most intense. It wasn’t ever really a playoff game because the margin for error was so small.”
In the bottom of the ninth inning, White Sox closer Bobby Jenks quickly recorded two outs. But the speedy Casilla dumped a flare into shallow right-center that seemed like a decent bet to fall and commence a rally.
But Anderson got a great jump on the ball, and made a diving catch to record the final out of the game. (Video here.) He was filled with so much adrenaline, however, that he quickly sacrificed his souvenir.
“I just remember being so caught up in the moment that when I got up, I chucked the ball in to Dewayne [Wise]. He had to go get it,” said Anderson. “I was like, ‘What was I thinking? I need to hold on to that.’”
Over the past few days, Anderson and his acquaintances have been confronted with that image repeatedly. As the one-game playoff between the Twins and Tigers neared, Anderson’s catch from his team’s 163rd game in 2008 was invariably replayed as one of the signature highlights of the game that sent the White Sox to the playoffs (where they were dispatched tidily by the Twins in four games).
Replays of the play became unavoidable. That resulted in some good-natured needling for Anderson from his friends.
“My family and friends have seen that highlight enough. They probably don’t care,” he mused. “I was out at dinner [Monday] night and they kept showing that highlight. My friends were like, ‘Jeez – turn the page.’”
Now, Anderson may have the opportunity to do just that. Rocco Baldelli’s status for the ALDS is in doubt thanks to a strained hip flexor that he incurred on Friday. If Baldelli is unable to go, Anderson — who spent a couple months in Triple A this year, with both the White and Red Sox — could have the opportunity to join the Boston roster for this postseason. He relishes being a part of an organization that still has something at stake.
“It’s cool because Chicago didn’t have the year they wanted to have, and they’re at home. It’s kind of cool that I had the opportunity to come to the playoffs,” said Anderson.
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