Fastballs and dingers soaring into the late October night

In October, time on the baseball field -- much like the players -- stands still.  

A cloud of dust from intricately drawn lines and the painted corners of a perfectly framed mitt can make all the difference between a joyous celebration and a hang-your-head defeat.

Rounding the base too far can lead to an embarrassing fall while the scrutiny of an ill-timed pitching change (or lack thereof) can linger in the autumn air for ages.

Or, in the case of game two of the 2017 World Series, the tides of momentum can be changed (or stopped) simply by an umpire stopping the progress of an errant throw. 

Ninety feet can seem like an inch while inch can be a mile. Bunting might no longer be an art form but managing your bullpen certainly is.

Everyone is perfect prior to first pitch, a clean slate with dreams of putting up crooked numbers to wash away the zeroes next to a name.

Perfection for others can last longer, until much-too-early-talk fills up social media, in effect giving umbrage to the old adage of not talking about a no-hitter or perfect game. No matter how early it might be.

The slog of the middle innings. The routines. In and out. In and out. A box with all the action.

An unstoppable force meets an unmovable object. Houston's high-scoring machine was struggling to make a dent in the impenetrable fortress known as the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen.

A dive inches away, separating glory from mishap. The minutia of the sport is so expansive, further examined on the grandest stage of them all.  Silent bats biding their time until cedar meets hide.

And then...

Home runs cascading. Heads whipping around in exaltation. The late nights are rewritten by names forever etched in World Series lore: Puig. Springer. And... Culberson.

The childlike wonder is never lost -- even when wearing thin on some -- is the result of a life-long passion and a manly zest to love life. 

Bat flips. 12-to-6 curveballs. Pitchers using the devil's hand to confound hitters to the tune of strikeout after strikeout. 

The sun will eventually set for both teams on this 2017 season, with only one team perched atop the throne. October baseball isn't always pretty, it's not always nice, but there's a beauty that can't be matched. Time does stand still in baseball this time of year.

Breathe it in (no crisp, cool air this year. The only thing missing). Exhale. Embrace the zany, dismiss the umps, grab your lite beer, your peanuts, and settle in.  It could very well be a long night. 

Definitely worth it.

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