October is one of my favorite times of year and not because of apple recipes or carving pumpkins. For me, October is all about playoff baseball. Baseball in the summer is always great--I love hanging out in the stands in the middle of a hot day, a cold beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other. But October baseball is a completely different breed. October baseball is win-or-go-home, tense-pit-in-the-bottom-of-your-stomach, all-out-reach-for-eternal-glory, wrapped up in a cold snap package.
The heroes of October are players that their fan bases remember forever. David Freese was unknown in September, but now he's considered a hero by the people of St. Louis.
As a fanatic of Red Sox Nation, my October squeeze is Curt Schilling of Bloody Sock fame. He pitched with a torn tendon sheath literally stitched together on his ankle. His postseason pitching performance is one of the grittiest, toughest, most amazing of all time. How he was able to dig deep and find a way to make the pitches he needed to bring the Red Sox a win when they needed it most.
Hopefully this year the Red Sox won't need another Curt Schilling-like performance--I don't want to consider the possibility that the Sox could struggle enough to need those kind of heroics, but the truth is, those heroics are what make October baseball so special.
Maybe we'll see Jon Lester return to 2010 form and record a season-high number of strikeouts. Maybe we'll see one-hit baseball from Clay Buccholz. Personally, I want to see David Ortiz smack a homer in a late inning to give the Sox the lead. David, or Big Papi as he's known to the Fenway faithful, has the kind of dramatic flair that, for me, defines October.
So for the next few weeks, I'll be wrapped up in a snuggie, on my couch, fists clenched tight, as my team fights to be the last one standing. Maybe they'll win, maybe they won't. But the good news is that whatever happens, however the games shake out, you're guaranteed more than one unforgettable moment.
Those unforgettable moments are what made me want to write a novel about baseball, and when I created Jack Bennett, the scrappy, talented, but always underdog player, October made me want to create some of those moments for him.
P.S. When I wrote this two weeks ago, I didn't know that I'd be predicting an actual event. But I did.
Gives me goosebumps, even days later.