Overtime: The Final Act of the Unpredictable


Baseball was never a favorite sport of mine growing up. Children are often exposed to whatever it is their parents enjoy and baseball was never really a part of my household. That is beyond my father claiming to be a Dodgers fan from their tenure in Brooklyn.

For whatever reason, and I do not quite remember why, I fell in love with the Boston Red Sox at a young age. Maybe it is because of the funny name. Maybe it is because red was my favorite color. In fact, I painted my entire room a bright shade of it. Or maybe it was the mascot of Wally The Green Monster whose pillow pet still sits on my twin bed at home.

Whatever the reason, the Red Sox became my baseball team, and in some way, baseball became one of my favorite sports. Running Bases, the game, was a fixture in my front yard and I took a stab at bat in my recreational leagues, funny enough, donning the Yankees uniform, albeit without the pinstripes. 

There were the friendly rivalries between the Yankees and Red Sox, as I always had a group of friends in school who were Boston fans themselves. I had the joy of visiting Boston, one of my favorite cities, and seeing a Jacoby Ellsbury walk-off home run. And there is no better memory than Koji Uehara on the mound to secure the 2013 World Series.

The entire playoff run was an absolute thrill, with all of the ups and downs that came with it, and the World Series the crowning moment. Then, things changed. The ragtag group from 2013 that grew out their beards and pulled off the impossible was supplanted by a juggernaut of young talent. Because of that, a World Series returned again in 2018, but it was not the same, nor was my relationship with the team or the sport.

At that point, I had become disillusioned with baseball, doubling down on basketball, college football and more recently, a renewed sense of love for soccer. Baseball was an afterthought for many years. But, in a baseball town like New York, it becomes impossible to ignore.

There are Yankee shirts at every corner, Fordham University itself is a mere six stops from the ballpark on River Avenue and it is the topic of conversation each Saturday on WFUV Sports’ One on One that I spent an entire year producing.

So, when the time came to select beat reporters for the 2020-21 season, I was surprisingly offered the opportunity to cover those same New York Yankees. It was an opportunity that could not be turned down, to report on one of the finest organizations in all of professional sports, and to rediscover that love of baseball along the way.

Who knew, however, that I would be reporting on a season unlike any other. I came into it excited to see the home run balls the team had become known for by the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and others. I had only been to Yankee Stadium a few times before and my best memories were of the flashing stadium lights at night when a ball flew over the outfield wall. I expected to see that every night.

The same could be said for Aroldis Chapman, a shutdown closer who I remember watching clinch the Yankees a playoff berth a season ago. And then, of course, there is the ace himself, Gerrit Cole. I thought I would be joining the journey of a 100-win baseball team.

Instead, just a couple of weeks out from the MLB season ending with one last home series, three games against Tampa Bay, the Yankees do not find themselves at the top of the AL East as many expected. They are near the bottom of it and sitting on the outside of the Wild Card picture as well. 

The reason for that has not been the questionable pitching coming into the season or all of the things fans conjectured about back in April. It has been that same offense I was so excited to see, and still never really have. Now, there is one final stretch, three final series, to change that.

This season, for all of those unexpected reasons, has been incredible. Even though it was not how I thought things would turn out, I cannot wait to see what happens in this final act. I am thankful I have been able to experience it from the inside, and that I do not have any skin in the game, either.