A toast to the Yankees’ return to the postseason

Oh, it’s been a long time, but I’ve finally gotten to see this familiar sight again.

Cooler weather, Halloween, school, and the New York Yankees in the postseason. Those things have stuck with me and I expect it all every time October rolls around. It was a shame to not have it all the past two years, but now it’s back. The Yankees are back in the playoffs and everything’s normal again.

The previous two years were absolutely disappointing. Injuries, declining stars, and having to say goodbye to a group of legends that you grew up with and knew so well. It looked as if the Yankees were done. You’re used to seeing them in the postseason, so it’s such an unfamiliar feeling to see them out. It was their birthright to play in October, but it looked like it wasn’t going to be that way anymore.

Going into this season, we thought it would become a real trend.  team was even older than before. It probably seemed inevitable that this would happened, but at the same time it was hard to imagine it. The Yankees being bad? Impossible. The Yankees are as eternal as time. No matter who wearing the Pinstripes there, they’re still the same. Competing every October for the crown and often winning it. From Ruth and Gehrig to DiMaggio and Berra to Mantle and Maris to Munson and Jackson to Jeter and Rivera, they are always there. Still, it was a reality many of us fans were ready to face.

But it began different than what we expected. The bats returned. The bullpen was solid. The rotation was doing enough. Old friends like Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez did some things we hadn’t seen from them in years. Youth was coming. It looked like a throwback to the glory days. The Yankees looked as if they were a serious team again. The Yankees looked like the Yankees once again, and our fears could be calmed.

Then, what we feared what would happen at first finally happened. Teixeira broke down, A-Rod slowed down, Sabathia continued his decline. Everyone stopped hitting. The pitching, starting and relieving, became totally gassed. Every step forward was followed with three or four back. The team limped to the end of the regular season, and it makes you wonder if their hot start only saved them from another early winter.

At the same time, we saw seen a glimpse of what could be a bright future, instead of a doomed one. The young ones arrived and showed what they could do. Luis Severino responded to the hype and pressure of being the team’s potential ace of the future and has put himself in the Yankees’ present. Greg Bird flew in and picked up from Teixeira left off. Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams had a moment in their brief cameos. Rob Refnsyder showed what the Yankees foolishly missed when he finally got his chance.

Even with this horrible finish, the Yankees get a fresh start on Tuesday. It’ll be win or go home, so it could be the end there or the beginning of the real business. Toronto, who has owned them all season, could be waiting for them. That could be the turning point.

This could be a pivotal time for the franchise. Could this be the beginning of a new era of greatness for the greatest franchise in sports? Or is it the first page that long rebuild many said is inevitable? They face a tough road to that familiar endpoint of glory, but we can’t forget that history tells you the Yankees are no stranger to this kind of setting. We aren’t either. Which is why it feels so good be back.