It's something that people my age have never experience with Pirates baseball. Being nervous, hanging on every pitch and holding our breath right down to the final out. Meaningful baseball going into late September, the old folks call it.
Most of my life, that feeling has been featured for playoff games that the Steelers and Penguins have played in over the last 20 years. The "I can't look" moments coming with 6.5 seconds left in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, and the game winning drive in Super Bowl XLIII, when Ben Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes in the far side of the endzone for the game winning touchdown with 35 seconds left.
That feeling was with me and probably a lot of Pirates fans last night when Jason Grilli took the mound at PNC Park Saturday night.
After watching the Pirates squander a three run lead on Friday to the Reds, with the help of errors by Jordy Mercer and Pedro Alvarez, you could not blame anyone for not looking when Grilli, who got his first save in that role since he returned from the disabled list, took the mound.
Giving up a single to Ludwick, the feeling of Déjà vu resurfaced in the standing room only crowd of 39,425 and those watching at home. A double play and game ending ground out to Barmes secured a 4-2 win, and most exhaled after not breathing for the whole half inning.
With seven games left, this week will be the most exciting and nerve racking one for fans as the Pirates try to take the first wild card and with some luck and help from the Cardinals opponents, they'll try to win the division to avoid the one game wild card playoff with Cincinnati.
Sunday's game with the Reds, three with the Cubs, and another three game series at Cincinnati will determine their spot in the playoffs.
It's "White Knuckle Week" in Pittsburgh.
Many will say to embrace it, enjoy every moment of this week and however long the Pirates are in the postseason. Remember, they haven't been in this situation in 21 years. Nobody can predict how 2014 will go.