I walked my daughter to the bus stop this morning.
It’s a short stroll, really. Around the corner and down a hill – just enough steps to pad my Fitbit stats and see some familiar October sights. There were pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.
Of course there was.
The Yankees will play Game 1 of the American League Championship Series tonight in Houston. Watching the Yanks play baseball deep into October is typical of my childhood. Not so for kids my daughter’s age.
The Yankees reached the ALCS or World Series 7 times from 1996-2004. Then, 3 more times between 2009-2012. Since then, their lone Postseason appearance came in 2015 when they lost to the Astros in the AL Wild Card Game.
So, tonight is special for kids like my daughter, born within the last 10 years.
A boy waiting for the bus noticed my shirt and asked if I was excited for the upcoming series.
“Of course,” I said. “How about you?”
His face lit up. His smile was huge, like an Aaron Judge homerun swing.
“Yeah!” He said. “I’ve never seen them play in the ALCS before.”
He then gave me a “thumbs down.”
“When were you born?” I asked.
“2008. But I was too young to watch the 2009 World Series,” he said.
His excitement reminded me a lot of myself back in 1996 – the first time I’d seen the Yankees win a playoff series. He had a look of wonderment – like he was about to witness something he’d never seen before.
My Yankees – you know, Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Posada and Mo – are nice historical footnotes for today’s kids. Now, Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and the rest of this young core of players are ushering in a new generation of Yankees success. They’re bringing the new generation of fans along with them.
The boy’s reaction did make me further appreciate the late-90s dynastic run. It’s so difficult to sustain success from one year to the next. Every opportunity to win a championship should be treasured. You never know when it will happen again.
Many say these Yankees arrived ahead of schedule. They weren’t expected to compete this soon. They are “playing with the house’s money.”
It’s never the wrong time to win a Title. Teams that get this close must capitalize. “Wait ‘till next year” isn’t guaranteed.
Just ask the 2015 Mets.
It’s possible, this could be the only shot this young group of Yankees have to win a World Series.
Or, it could be just the beginning of another sustained run of success.
The latter would give kids my daughter’s age a childhood experience similar to mine. Yankees baseball, deep into the Fall, would once again be a familiar October sight.
Like pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.
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