• In an epic finish to the 2011 regular season (MLB.com), Evan Longoria went all-in with a 12th-inning, walk-off homer to clinch the American League Wild Card for the Rays (MLB.com), Ryan Roberts ordered the D-backs some late-night takeout with a salami special and a side of four ribs to go and the Rays turned a nifty little triple play in the clutch (MLB.com). Congratulations to the Yankees, Tigers, Rangers, Rays, Phillies, Cardinals, D-backs and Brewers. See you in October (MLB.com)!

• Players from the Mariners and A's are already excited for the 2012 season, when they'll travel to Japan for an Opening Day series in Tokyo.

"I love it," said Mariners catcher Chris Gimenez of the series, which will support Japan's earthquake and tsunami rebuilding efforts. "I think it's a great opportunity. If I'm lucky enough to go, that's something I'll never forget, and I'll be able to tell my kids for a long time to come."

Said Japanese superstar and A's outfielder Hideki Matsui, "I think the fans in Japan are really looking forward to it. There are a lot of Major League baseball fans over there, and with what happened in March with the earthquake, it's even more encouraging to be able to watch the games in person." (Seattle Times)

• Rangers All-Stars Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson and Yankees teammates CC Sabathia, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira spill on why the legendary Derek Jeter is so awesome, like, "that time he bought a ticket for Jeffrey Maier in the bleachers and told him to bring his glove to the game," and, "that time he threw a no-look backhanded shovel pass to David Tyree in the Super Bowl." (ESPN.com)

• Brian Wilson is the new (bearded) face of VUE2011, an online virtual technology conference. In the words of Wilson, "Fear the beard, not the technology." (San Francisco Chronicle)

• Jose Reyes is taking a modeling cue from Matt Kemp (Flaunt Magazine) and posing for ESPN the Magazine's annual "Body Issue" celebrating sports diversity and the athletic form (USA Today).

"My good friend Hanley Ramirez did that last year," said Reyes. "They told me it's going to be a lot of fun." (New York Daily News)

• Veteran slugger Jim Thome is well on his way to Cooperstown, but first he'll be immortalized by the Indians with a statue of his likeness at Progressive Field. Indians president Rick Shapiro bestowed the honor on Thome, saying, "There is not a human being who has come in contact with him, in and out of uniform, that doesn't understand or appreciate the legitimate level of professionalism, the commitment to the community and the passion for the game of baseball that Jim has. He is one of the ultimate ambassadors to baseball, not just here but everywhere he goes." (FOX Sports Ohio)

• The mischievous Nationals bullpen was at it again, teaming up with Jayson Werth to add a little chaos to the Nationals Park presidents' race. (MLB.com)

Tweet of the Day: "I keep waiting to wake up from that dream last! Dude...Rays are in! And yes I did let that bubbly burn my eyes!" -- Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (@Evan3Longoria)

Quote of the Day: "Happy flight!" -- The Cardinals, chanting their trademark getaway day phrase in the clubhouse after clinching the National League Wild Card (MLB.com).