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A Series of Miracles (2017 ALDS Games 3 and 4)

It struck me as we were walking from the parking lot to the Stadium today, for the second night in a row, that most successful postseason runs appear, in hindsight, to be a string of miracles. Sometimes they seem to be a series of small miracles, other times one or two big miracles come in a timely fashion. And sometimes when you lose, it feels like it’s because your luck ran out.

Last week we were here for the Wild Card game and I wrote that it was the loudest I’ve ever heard the Stadium — the new Stadium, I should specify. The new place has milder acoustics as well as milder fans. Or at least they were milder fans until a couple of years with no postseason caused attrition among the bandwagoners. The result is that for ALDS Game 3 and 4, each a must-win elimination game, the Stadium was packed to the rafters with die-hards.

Yesterday, in an intense pitchers duel between Masahiro Tanaka and Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, I heard the two-strike clap louder than I’ve ever heard it since the days of Ron Guidry. I’m not kidding. It was louder than it used to be for Roger Clemens in those showdowns with Pedro Martinez. The two-strike clap is a tradition that started at Yankee Stadium for Guidry, but in the past 10 years it has dwindled. Not yesterday.

Today the upper deck chanted long and loud the names of Luis Severino and Tommy Kahnle, who held the Indians to three runs, while the Indians used eight pitchers who couldn’t contain the Yankees’ offense. The Yankees stranded men in the double digits and plated seven. Trevor Bauer was knocked out in the second inning, and he and every pitcher were taunted by the fans who could taste the blood in the water.

The Yankees were not expected to push this to a Game 5. They still aren’t expected to get past the Indians, but now it comes down to just one game.

This was how it was in 1996. The Yankees were down, and then they rose up. And then they got down again, and rose up again. And a series of miracles happened.

That was in the old Stadium, where “Mystique and Aura” appeared nightly. The ghosts, Jeter used to call them. He called on the fans to carry them with us to the new stadium and you know what? I think he was onto something. WE are the ghosts, those forty-thousand voices who shake the rafters and make a strong defensive team like the Indians make four errors in one game and give up six unearned runs. Who will our heroes to find the moment to break through their slumps, find their pitches, and rise up.

A series of small miracles. It could happen again. It feels like the 47,000 people who screamed their lungs out and clapped their hands last night and tonight believe that it can. I can’t wait to see if it does.

See you Wednesday.

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