SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Thanks to late season collapses by the Red Sox and the Braves, and their own victories on the last day of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays squeaked into the playoffs Wednesday night.

It took a home run by Tampa Bay’s Dan Johnson, hitting just .183, to tie the Yankees when the Rays were down to their last strike.

“I can’t believe he was even on the roster,” Madden said. “Why did they even give him a bat to put in his hands?”

Madden sent a congratulatory text to his buddy, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, whose team trailed the Braves in the wild card race throughout September before winning it Wednesday night.

“The amazing thing about (La Russa) is that he’s been at it so long, and he can still grind,” John said. “To have that many ‘grinds’ in you and then do it for that many years and that many games, I have no idea how he does it.”

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh used a weed-infested lot outside the Holiday Inn near Youngstown, Ohio for his team’s “walk-through” in preparation for their game against the Eagles this weekend. The team elected not to return to the Bay Area after playing in Cincinnati last weekend.

Madden explained a “walk-through” is a street clothes practice in which the players line up and take a few walking steps after the ball is snapped.

“That’s the time you go through a lot of defense, you go through a lot of your blitzes. (On) offense, you go through a lot of pass protection pick-ups, those types of things,” said Madden. “It’s just kind of making sure you know where to line up, where to step first, and who you have on a running play and/or pass protection or whatever.” (7:50)

(Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.)

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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