Editor's Note: We've now reached the final two moments in our look back at the 2012 season. And by memorable, we mean both good and bad moments.
Moment No. 2: Josh Hamilton's error in the final regular-season game of 2012
It's not fair to place all of the blame for the Texas Rangers' loss to the Oakland A's in Game No. 162 on Josh Hamilton. After all, Ryan Dempster had a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth and couldn't hold it. Derek Holland wasn't able to limit the damage, either, as the A's got a bunch of runs late to win, 12-5.
But the turning point in the game was that fourth-inning error by Hamilton. The A's had already roared back from the four-run deficit to tie the score and get their crowd into the game. With two outs and two on, Yoenis Cespedes hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to end the inning. Hamilton came into shallow center field, put his glove up and overran it. The ball nicked off the top of his glove and went behind him. As he chased after it, two runs scored to put the A's ahead, 7-5. They were never threatened after that, winning the game and the AL West. It dropped the Rangers into the wild-card game.
"I just missed it, man," Hamilton said after the game. "I didn't break down on it like I needed to. When you run a long way in like that, you're supposed to break down on your toes so you can get there and if it moves on you, you can make the adjustment. I didn't. I kept going and it came down and I didn't catch it. It sucks."
After the inning ended, television cameras caught manager Ron Washington talking to Hamilton about the play. The skipper's body language indicated he wasn't too pleased. But he didn't get into specifics after the game, saying only that he asked Hamilton what happened. Hamilton said it wasn't any kind of heated exchange.
"He's always animated," Hamilton said. "He asked me what happened and I told him. That's Wash. Wash is animated. Even when he's out there talking to an umpire, you think he's cussing him out but he's just having a conversation with him. That's just Wash."
The play was the end of a rough final 10 days for Hamilton, who struggled at the plate, dealt with an eye issue and had fielding problems in the AL West-deciding game.
It was a difficult moment for Ranger fans, but a memorable one, too.