Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Gut Punch

1995 ALDS (because I can't bring myself to post a picture from tonight)
It's 12:22 a.m. on Sunday morning.

The ALCS just ended on a Jose Altuve home run.

My god, I hate him in the most respectful way possible. He's George Brett. He's Johnny Damon (pre-Yankees).

He's the guy you detest because he destroys your team. You'd take him on your team (again: Damon).

Oh, it hurts. No question. The Yankees rallied behind a DJ LeMahieu two-run shot in the top of the ninth. It was "gutty, gritty Yankees" time!

But, then, no it wasn't, and I could feel it.

The Yankees could create no offense after that, and I had a feeling Aroldis Chapman didn't have it.

Bang. I just knew it.

This one stings. We (as fans) were destined for Game 7. A winner-takes-all.

Then it was over. See you next spring.

The trolls and haters started as the ball left the bat. Staying classy, as always.

So it goes. To the victor goes the spoils.

I've known some heartache in these spots. It's just the nature of it all and, again, nobody will have any pity on the Yankees and their fans for good reason. Yet, with the winning comes plenty of defeat.

That's sports.

I'm thinking of the soul crush of 1995. Just ugh. Every time I think of it, my heart bounces between hurt and angry.

It was Donnie Baseball's shot at a title, and Joey Cora was out of the baseline!

I'm thinking of the heartbreak of 2001. Want any further proof that some deity doesn't care about sports? New York needed a title. Or, at least, some felt they/we did.

After two epic baseball games (and one that was pretty good), the Arizona Diamondbacks smoked the Yankees in Game 6. Then a ninth inning of Game 7 that's hard to talk about, even now.

I think of 2004, while it wasn't a single moment of hurt, Game 7 still is, of course, awful (made better only by the fact it was over so early).

I can't even imagine what 1926 would have felt like when Babe Ruth was thrown out stealing to end the World Series.

Or 1955, when Sandy Amoros made the great play in left and then doubled Gil McDougald off first.

And 1960. Bill Mazeroski. I'm betting I would have sobbed.

Now it's 2019. The joy of LeMahieu's clutch home run evaporated almost immediately. Many of the details of this series and just how close it actually was will fade.

The Astros were far better. The Yankees lacked big hits and played sloppy defense and the vaunted bullpen failed and on and on and on. Yet, there they were, with an opportunity to get to Game 7 and...maybe...who knows?

Instead, we sit here. Friends are mad, hurt, sick.

But, you know what?

I'd rather be here right now than be the fan whose team is on the golf course. Virtually any other fan is lying if they tell you otherwise.

Save for the championship of a respective sport, I'll always take my chances in the postseason.

I'd rather not be in a championship than lose it. Perhaps backward-thinking, but it's how I'm programmed.

Anyway, I'm debating with friends tonight. I considered a social media shutdown after this loss, but of course, I failed.

Congratulations to the Astros and Nationals. I'll watch. I always watch.

Better days are ahead.

I still love sports. I still love baseball.

And the Yankees are still savages.

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