In the baseball postseason, the spirits of the game glide through crisp October air in ballparks all around America.
The pressure weighs on players as they battle to become immortal with every swing and throw. The history comes alive, whether you are battling infamy like the 2016 Cubs or keeping up with tradition like the 2009 Yankees. While the postseason is important in all professional sports, baseball is a step above the rest.
I've always been a huge fan of the baseball postseason, but haven't been able to figure out why. During the regular season, it's impossible for me to have interest in a game that doesn't have the Yankees involved. However, once October rolls around, I'm all in on the playoffs, no matter who is playing.
I think it comes down to the pressure that builds with each inning and each pitch. It cannot be matched elsewhere. The great Yogi Berra was right when he said, "It ain't over until it's over." In other sports like basketball, if you are winning by something like even 15 points late, there's almost no chance you can lose if your name isn't the University of Virginia. In baseball, no matter the score, the winning team still has to secure those 3 precious outs for it to be truly over.
The pressure of the game radiates through your television and into the living room. The downtime in between pitches makes every player think about the next play that much more. Some players ooze confidence and know they were built for this. Others crumble at the thought of being the one to mess everything up. The point is, no other sport captures the emotion in real time like watching a baseball player on the big stage.
If you haven't given it a chance before, try watching this year. See humans in their most stripped-down state trying to perform for their city and their team. With one swing of the bat, any player can become legendary. That's what makes baseball different.