The game of the year for Arizona sports was actually somewhat anti-climactic. The Arizona Diamondbacks had already locked up the NL West Division title and were bound for the postseason. The celebration had taken place at home at Chase Field, and the D-backs were playing out the string.
Of course, home-field advantage for at least the divisional round still hung in the balance. And the 2011 Diamondbacks had long since shown that they weren't the kind to roll over and let up on the gas. Not with Kirk Gibson at the helm.
And so it was that on Sept. 27, the rival Los Angeles Dodgers were in town trying to close out the season above .500 (they eventually did). It was the opener of the final regular-season series, and the game went to extra innings tied at 1.
That night, rookie Jarrod Parker made his big-league debut for Arizona and lasted 5 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers weren't about to roll over. But the D-backs had something to play for.
Nevertheless, L.A. put the game away with five runs in the 10th inning. Or so everyone and their dog thought. The Dodgers pounded reliever Micah Owings, whose own throwing error kept the inning going, and to make matters worse, a triple by the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis bounced off right fielder Justin Upton's head, causing him to pause in a crouch to shake off the pain. Gibson removed Upton at that point, as a precaution.
The triple drove in two runs and the Dodgers led 6-1. By the end of the inning, plenty of fans had already left their seats at Chase Field and were headed to the exits.
And then the magic happened.
Reliever Blake Hawksworth got two outs and had Cole Gillespie down to his final strike. Gillespie reached base when Hawksworth failed to cover the bag on a grounder.
A single, a walk and and error gave the D-backs a run to make it 6-2 with the bases loaded. Exit Hawksworth, enter L.A. close Javy Guerra.
A walk to Aaron Hill made it 6-3, bases still loaded. Up came Tatman, aka Ryan Roberts.
The first pitch was driven on a line over the left field wall, 382 feet in distance. Roberts rounded second base with the Gibson-esque fist pull-and-pump, shrieking as he circled the bases and into the arms of celebrating teammates at home plate.
Game over. Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 6. A season of comebacks topped by the greatest of them all.
Honorable mention: Arena Bowl XXIV -- Jacksonville Sharks 73, Arizona Rattlers 70.
In the Arena Football League championship game at U.S. Airways Center on Aug. 12, the home team came up short when 40-year-old Aaron Garcia threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jeron Harvey on the final play of the game.
Jacksonville stunned the Rattlers 73-70.
The Sharks led 32-21, and then the game turned into a back-and-forth battle of offenses, which is what sells arena football.