Photo: American League Wild Card chase – Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles.

"Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon celebrates after recording the final out of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday, September 27, 2011 in Baltimore. With the 8-7 victory, the Boston remained even with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the American League Wild Card Standings with one regular season game remaining."

I’m still trying to accept the fact that the most important games in baseball, or perhaps in all of sports right now, are being played in Baltimore. Last night, the American League Wild Card race continued at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Boston Red Sox held on to an early lead to defeat the Baltimore Orioles 8-7 and remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays atop the Wild Card standings. 

This race is so close that it’s literally going to come down to tonight’s game, the 162nd and last of the season. It could even require an extra one-game playoff to decide the winner. 

I shot lots of good action from the game last night, but decided to only post this photo of Papelbon celebrating a Red Sox victory, as that’s the main story line right now. I don’t want to post too much until this series is over and we’re able to see where everything stands. Regardless, this is the closest thing to playoff baseball Baltimore has seen in awhile (even though it’s not for the home team), and I loved the energy out there last night. 

Tonight should be more of the same. ESPN is in town to broadcast the game, the phones are ringing off the hook here, and the photo pits will be packed. So, here’s to my last game of the season (maybe)!

Boston Red Sox: Papelbon

"Boston Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon takes signs from the catcher in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, July 20, 2011 in Baltimore."

Here’s Jonathan Papelbon and his trademark staredown of the batter. 

Click the photo to enlarge if you’d like.