Grab some warm apple cider, start a bonfire and get ready for the most dramatic part of the MLB season. The players will tell you that when you go to spring training, this is what you show up for. Legends are made and dreams die fast and sudden.
Some guys will never make it back to this point, and some dynasties may be just starting. It’s times like this that make you think back to all those Cleveland Indians teams that could not cut through the fog and get that one ring. All those times Derek Jeter chipped it into right field at a clutch moment on those nights where you could start to feel the nip in the air. You think back to Jose Mesa, or Caminiti homering in San Diego to send the Padres to the series.
You think of Sid Bream sliding into home plate. Or how about Johnny Damon’s grand slam at Yankee Stadium? You think about the Bash Brothers succumbing to Rijo and the Reds. Albert Pujols’ do or die grand slam off Brad Lidge. The moments live forever.
All year there’s been no way to say ‘this is the one team that is going to roll and win it all’. You can’t gauge who’s going to get hot and who is going to flop and choke. There are no sure things and if you’re throwing an ace, chances are you’re facing one.
Teams are running on fumes. Managers’ hair is standing on edge. Every win means dollars for a franchise and its players and every loss the mistakes are magnified and remembered forever.
Giants will be born this postseason. Heroes will come out to play. The boys of summer have faded but don’t be fooled: this is where the Legends of the Fall are made.