Baseball playoff season is a fun time. Eight. Four. Two. One final champion. I have never hidden the fact that I am a fan of the New York Yankees. That was instilled into me by my father who grew up in the Bronx and followed the team to many championships. Since I have been old enough, I have followed in his footsteps watching my team go to many playoffs and winning World Series championships. I have also been very lucky that I have attended many playoff games and World Series games, including clinching games. But, I know I am lucky. I am unlike many Yankees fans who feel that winning is a given and that we should always be in the playoffs and always hold the trophy. Every time I go to the ballpark I take in every moment. The people, the events, the game, I take in…everything.
I was recently at a playoff game and I started to think of all the playoff games I have been it, at least 50 games. I looked around and took it all in and got my idea for today’s column. Today’s column is my personal Top 5 Things to Love About Live Playoff Baseball.
#1 – Lineups – You watch everyone come to the baseline. The coaches, trainers, bench players, relievers, starters and manager all get announced. If it is the visiting team, you may want to yell something after each name. I remember a World Series Game against Atlanta that after every Braves player was announced, 50,000 plus people yelled “S*CKS”. It was a fun few minutes while letting the other team know how we felt. Now, when the home team is announced, the cheers get louder and louder because that is the line of men that you hope will bring us all a championship.
#2 – National Anthem – Now all of these men are lined up on the first and third base line. We all stay standing as we are asked to remove our hats and caps. Why do I love the National Anthem? It is the big flag, the pomp and circumstance of a playoff game and the people holding the flag making it wave. In New York, it is always men and women of the Armed Forces holding the flag and it gives the meaning a little extra feel. Also, I love the Anthem because right after it was over, it was time to play ball.
#3 – The Crowd – Something that many do not know, in 1978 the Yankees fans were the first to stand and applaud and cheer with two strikes on a batter. I believe it started when Ron Guidry was on the mound during that classic season of 25-3. But when a whole stadium realizes the moment and stands to support their player, it is impressive. Whether you are cheering for the strikeout or cheering on a batter battling with two strikes back to a full count, everyone rises and cheers. It is an impressive site and an even more impressive feeling.
#4 – The Moment – This one is hard to describe except that you just know when it is there. Each game has a moment where you feel that “this is it”. You feel that if my pitcher can get this out or if this batter gets the hit my team will win the game. Sometimes, the moment is yours. Sometimes it slips away. There are moments for the other team as well. The moments are special and the moments are what we are all talking about the next morning. But, while you are there, the moments push your pulse a few beats per minute faster and is the reason why you lose your voice during the game.
#5 – The Win – This is not the actual end of the game (although it can be, such as a walk off), but the moment when you know you won. This may be the hit that breaks the game open, or the entry of the reliever with a three run lead and six outs to go, or the sight of a ball traveling over the fence to win a game. But, from that time on, you feel that the win is definite and that your outcome will be a positive one.
Not everyone can get to playoff games or even regular season games. But these five are the ones I look forward to and the ones that, to me, define a playoff game. Enjoy the week and the League Championship Series. I will think of a World Series Top 5 for next week (I hope). Until then, stay safe, have fun and … Mark Teixera just pulled his hamstring. Let’s hope my team has a few more moments this week
Tags: Big Orange Guy, Big Orange Guy's Top 5, MLB