'This is what it's all about'
Editor's Note: Oakland A's rookie Huston Street is writing a regular diary for ESPN.com throughout the 2005 season. The 22-year-old former University of Texas standout was named the A's closer earlier this season and was the first player from the 2004 draft to play in the major leagues.
September is upon us. Summer is fading while fall approaches. Although many other seasons are just beginning, Major League Baseball is entering its final month of regular-season play. Almost 130 games are in the books, and for many teams, their fate lies in the 32 games remaining.
America's pastime was built on this month. For so many years we have waited, anticipated, cheered and cried as various pennant races took shape and were finally decided. This month is the culmination of all the offseason trades, the spring training cuts, midseason acquisitions, trade deadline deals, and ultimately the performances of so many players.
I write this article thinking about the month that lies ahead. Every series is a momentum swing. No one knows which game will be the game he will look back on as the turning point. I feel myself hanging on every pitch and every out.
Watching as a kid growing up, I heard so many times that "this is what it's all about." Let me be the millionth to say it, but this is what it's all about.
One month of solid baseball is all that separates our team and so many other teams like us from the playoffs. One month of solid baseball will deliver a chance at a dream that everyone wearing a uniform has dreamt. One solid month of baseball will provide an opportunity to realize the one goal to which all other goals fall secondary. To win a World Series, you must first make the playoffs, and that is what this month is all about.
As I have said so many times throughout my articles, I am just a rookie and really have no clue what to expect. Again, I can say that with full authority. What I gather, though, from my teammates who have been here before, who have been to the World Series, and who have won and lost this race, is that nothing should change. Inevitably, the situation intensifies, but if everyone can just maintain his focus and keep to his routine, the results will take care of themselves.
No team knows exactly where it will stand come Oct. 2, but all the teams believe they will be within the group still playing. That is what makes this month so special. It's not April anymore. There are no days off. Everyone who is even remotely able to play is playing. This month is all about winning, and doing everything possible to accomplish that task.
I have watched for so many years as these races came down to the last day. I have watched as seasons ended and some teams were spraying champagne while other teams were packing up their lockers.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from "A League of their Own," when Jimmy Dugan says to Dottie Hinson, "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great."
When everyone says, "this is what it's all about," I think they are referring to accomplishing something great because of what it takes to get it done.